Episode 3 is a great slice of backstory for Touma/Lupin Blue and goes well beyond what is expected of a Super Sentai series, in its early stages, to build up his motivations and personality as a character.
We open this episode on the two teams coming face to face, totally unknowingly, while Umika does her best to hide Good Striker, affectionately referred to as Goody, in a cooking pot. There is a ton of tension in the slow exchange, which is then immediately undercut by the Patorangers revealing they only came in for lunch.
As the police officers banter amongst themselves, Keiichiro stops Kairi and asks if they have met before. Touma, while passing out menus, decides to make a pass at stealing one of the Patorangers’ VS Changers, but the Patorangers depart suddenly. In their place sits Kogure, asking for the piece of the Lupin Collection they obtained in episode 2. He also gives them a lead on another piece, leading to our monster of the week.
This Gangler is a sculptor who uses his power to change a building into a statue of the Ganglers’ leader, Boss Dogranio, before being met by the Patorangers, who transform and immediately open with lethal force.
If you follow me on social media, you know I believe the Patorangers to be some of the most inept police officers in the history of tokusatsu media, especially when compared to their contemporaries like the Dekarangers and Space Sheriffs. They do a good job of reinforcing that point here.
The Lupinrangers eventually intervene in the fight, and the Gangler attacks both teams with a sticky substance that looks like chewing gum. In the fight, Sakuya’s VS changer changes hands a few times. The Gangler challenges both teams of rangers to chase him, then disappears.
The scene cuts to the Lupinrangers debating their next move, largely based around chasing the Gangler from earlier. Touma insists that they should be trying to get the VS changers from the Patorangers at the same time. Kairi and Umika, however, disagree.
“What’s the rush?” Kairi asks his companion. This episode does a lot to build up the backstory for Touma, including scenes of a peaceful time spent at home with his fiance, the exact moment of the proposal over dinner at home, and then her subsequent death at the hands of a Gangler.
Touma’s fiance, Aya, is found in a case made of crystal, which shatters the moment he gets close to it.
In the present, Kairi tries to reinforce the tactical advantages of working as a team, reminding his teammate that flying solo gives the enemy the advantage.
Back at the police station, the Patorangers are gathered in their briefing room, with Sakuya being scolded by Keiichiro once again. Kairi calls in a false report using a voice scrambler, trying to set a trap, and before departing, Commander Hilltop gives Sakuya some parting words of wisdom. “Mistakes made in work can be made up in work.” He says, and the team departs to join the fight.
As expected, they find the Gangler, but quickly become trapped in the pink goo shown earlier, and the Gangler departs the scene, being met just outside by the Lupinrangers.
Touma takes this as a lesson in trust, seeing that Kairi was right about them having more tactical options as a team than they do individually. They jump into the fight, and the ensuing fight choreography shows how much work was put into making every movement flashy and stylish for the Lupinrangers. The CG is iffy when the Gangler begins sculpting weapons out of a nearby stone column, but the rest looks fluid and smooth.
The Patorangers, still stuck, try to find a way to escape the goo. Sakuya has a moment of self-realized motivation, and manages to free himself before extracting Keiichiro as well. They almost leave Tsukasa behind, which is briefly played for laughs, and then we cut back to the Lupinrangers again.
Good Striker has joined the fight, but rather than fusing the team into a single entity as it did with the Patorangers, the ability leads to Kairi making two identical copies of himself. The five then take aim at the Gangler with their Seizing Strike attack, and thus ends phase one of the typical two-part encounter in week-to-week Super Sentai.
The Gangler is quickly revived as a Kaiju, and the Patrangers use Good Striker and their Trigger Machines to form PatoKaiser. Here we find out that Kairi theorized this was possible after forming LupinKaiser the first time in episode 2. The Lupinrangers stay on the ground and watch, while PatoKaiser and the Kaiju Gangler get into a battle of projectiles, destroying the statue of Boss Dogranio, before the Patorangers finish it off.
Good Striker pops into the cockpit of PatoKaiser to congratulate the Patorangers on a job well done, then disengages from PatoKaiser, undoing the combination, and leaves.
Back at the cafe, we see a brief exchange between Kairi and Kogure before the Patorangers return for lunch. They apologize for running out previously, and in the shuffle, Kogure disappears. Sakuya, inspired to confidence by the events of the episode, begins trying (and failing spectacularly) to flirt with Umika, while Touma suggests putting laxatives in the Patorangers food as a joke.
The episode ends on this note and we are given a preview for next week.
What did you guys think of this episode? Do you prefer the Lupinrangers or Patorangers? Leave a comment down below!