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SODO Sundays – October 14th, 2018

Hello, tokusatsu community! It’s Joshua Perry here to talk about SODO figures on my fortnightly series, SODO Sundays. Today, the first couple of figures in Zi-O Set 3 are revealed.

Kamen Rider Zi-O

The first few figures have been revealed for Zi-O Set 3! First up is the Fourze Armor. This armor, being more involved than others, will take up 3 of the slots in this set. The first 2 slots will be for the armor itself, and the stand. A rerelease/slight remold of the base Zi-O body from Set 1 will be in the set as well to allow for the different design the Fourze Armor has compared to others. Like in the show, the rocket mode used in the finisher attack can be done as well.

In a surprise move, SODO announced they will be covering the, as of now, toy and Ganbarizing exclusive Ride Armors. Ryuki is the first to be revealed as a part of Set 3. This is a basic armor, just a simple head, chest, shoulder pad, and thigh swap. If you missed out on the armor body from Set 1 and 2 then good news, it’s included in Set 3 as well. Also included with Ryuki is a new version of the Zikan Girade in sword mode that is now molded to have a Ridewatch in the slot for the finisher attack.

Both the Fourze and Ryuki armors are Zi-O only and no Geiz version pieces are included.

SHODO-X

As mentioned in the last episode a new SHODO-X set is on the way. The Bandai Candy Toy blog has released some new images of these figures as well as teased some possible upcoming SHODO figures in the works.

On the next episode of SODO Sundays, it’s showtime!

As always you can watch SODO Sundays Season 2, Episode 5 here:

That’s it for this edition of SODO Sundays Season 2! Stay tuned for the next edition on both Toku Toy Store News and YouTube channel.

 

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Power Rangers Legacy Wars: Street Fighter Showdown Review

The day has arrived; the ultimate marketing synergy of Power Rangers and Street Fighter collides in a wholly original short film produced to advertise the Power Rangers: Legacy Wars game.

Earlier in the year, we saw that this short was going to be a thing and who better to produce it than Bat in the Sun, the production company behind the internet series Super Power Beatdown, which has had two Power Ranger focused episodes (both starring Jason David Frank, who’d have thought).

sfs1The story is pretty much the new plot for the game with a hint of Dimensions in Danger, with Bison and Rita joined forces and created powerful clones of the Power Rangers that are in the Legacy Wars game. It’s bare bones but just enough to justify a video game or an internet short.

sfs2The fight choreography is on par with Bat in the Sun’s previous efforts. Impacts are hard-hitting and the energy effects are pretty solid for this budget.

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The Ryu Ranger costume is very nicely rendered for live action too, and fits the MMPR aesthetic very well. It’s just a shame they contrived a reason for Chun-Li not to get a power coin because she looks kinda silly in the big hero shot. Shout out to the music composer too, bringing in a fantastic remix of the Go Go Power Rangers theme.

Overall, it’s a fun little 8-minute romp for a game advert and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a follow-up if there’s enough interest or another major character update (Chun-Li Ranger?).

You can watch the full short film here:

What were your thoughts on this short? Did you have fun? Want to be nit-picky about power scaling in this short? Know how much meter Ryu burned over the course of it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Anniversary Reviews: Decadriver

Kamen Rider… F-f-f-f-flashback!

A little over 10 years ago, we were given one of the first Kamen Rider anniversary series. Kamen Rider Decade gave us a look back through ten years worth of Riders, and how their stories evolved the franchise into what it is today.

With another anniversary series currently airing, it seems appropriate we take another look back over the years, but this time we look at the Drivers, how they’ve progressed in terms of technology and gimmick, and if they still hold as much charm today as they did back then.

Starting today we have the Decadriver, the primary Henshin device of Kamen Rider Decade.

Small and sleek, the Driver kept things simple, while also being quite pleasing to the eye. With a white centre and a very nice gun metal mount that contrast beautifully against the black waistline of the suit.

The Decadriver is the third Driver, following Ryuki and Blade, to use the card system, this time scanning barcodes down the side.

To use the Driver, simply pull on either side of the mount, the core will rotate and lock into place. Once in this position, simply slide a card in the top and you’ll be greeted with a nice, loud callout that announces the type of card entered.

The cards come in five forms, Kamen Ride, Form Ride, Final Form Ride, Attack Ride, and Final Attack Ride.

The Kamen Ride cards feature an image of the Rider with a name banner on the front, and on the back the logo of the Rider with “Kamen Ride -name-” along the edge. Similarly the Form Ride cards feature an alternate image of the Rider, usually one of the different forms the Rider can take, such as Kiva Garulu or Faiz Axel, and share the detailing on the back but with “Form Ride” instead of “Kamen Ride”.

The Final Form cards show images of the Rider the card belongs to, along with an altered form of said Rider, usually where they’ve been turned into a weapon or vehicle.

These forms are used by Decade in the second episode each Rider appears in. Blade for example, becomes his own sword, where Agito becomes his bike in glider mode. Though as a one off, when Final Form Ride W was used, it split Cyclone/Joker into Cyclone/Cyclone and Joker/Joker, essentially creatng a second Rider.

The Attack and Final Attack cards are a little different, instead of an alternate form of the Rider, the Attack cards show an image of the attack in motion, such as Decades “Attack Ride Slash” showing Decade swinging his sword.

Now though, the Final Attack Ride cards are something special. Each card features a glossy gold logo of the Rider it belongs to, on a deep dark blue background. During the callout these cards trigger, the voice stutters for dramatic effect, for example “Final Attack Ride R-R-R-R-R-Ryuki”.

Moving along, lets see how the tech holds up.

 

Turning the core of the Driver over, you’ll find two screws to the left and right side, opening these panels up will allow you to insert a pair of AAA batteries. once in just screw the panels back on and hit the power switch on the bottom.

The mechanics for the physical operation are relatively simple, on the back of the core there is a small switch, this is pressed when the driver spins as you open/close the mount, this plays a sound to show the Driver is turning.

While not as advanced in terms of electronics, it features a set of LED lights in the card scanner which light up around the window, showing off the Rider logo of the inserted card.

This Driver still delivers clear, great quality sound.

Even coming up to 10 years old, in my opinion this Driver still has a place up there with the most recent ones such as Ex-Aid or Drive.

It’s worth noting however, that over time, and with prolonged use, the scanner in the Drivers core can become rather twitchy. Sometimes misreading cards, giving errors, or in some more extreme cases failing entirely. But even if that should happen, be honest, you’d still have an amazing display piece on your shelf.

 

 

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Super Sentai 2019 Trademark Revealed

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… the Super Sentai trademark reveal!

As reported on by @trademark_bot on Twitter, which has been the place to reveal Toei trademarks in the past, we now have the title of the 43rd series in the Super Sentai franchise. “Kishiryu Sentai Ryuusouger” will be the 2019 Sentai series. This title translates to “Knight Dragon Taskforce Ryuusouger”, implying this series will have dragons, knights, and other medieval elements to it. The suit and mecha designs should be revealed when the 1st quarter toy scans drop around mid-December.

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What do you think of this title? Are you excited for a medieval-themed Sentai? Leave a comment down below!

 

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Kamen Rider Zi-O: New Forms and Rider Revealed

A series of new scans were released today, showing new forms for Kamen Rider Zi-O and Kamen Rider Geiz, seemingly using new gimmick items from the Q2 toy catalogue. In addition, a third Rider has been revealed, Kamen Rider Woz. As the name indicates, this will be the Rider Armor form of Woz, the beautiful Time Jacker who has served as both ally and antagonist up to this point. The forms, seen below, are called Zi-O II (2) and GeizRevive. 

Zi-O II uses the Zi-O RideWatch 2* to transform, and will be given a new item, the Saikyou Grade, which can combine with the Jikan Grade to form Zi-O’s Ultimate Weapon.

GeizRevive will come in the form of the Revive RideWatch, a black hourglass that is usable by Zi-O or Geiz.

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In addition, Kamen Rider Woz and the DX BeyonDriver have been revealed in the same batch of scans. For his Rider Form, Woz is heavily inspired by Kamen Rider Necrom, right down to the wrist-mounted Driver and green colour scheme. The BeyonDriver fits as the time piece not yet shown in Zi-O’s motif of clocks as gear, being that it is the series’ allegory for the Apple Watch and other smart wearable technology. It has a digital face and buttons, giving it a look that is somewhere between Necrom’s Mega U-Loader and the Buggle Driver II from Ex-Aid.

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Kamen Rider Woz will have the following forms:

  • Rider Quiz
  • Rider Kikai
  • Rider Shinobi

Look for all of these power-ups and items, as well as Kamen Rider Woz to debut in the upcoming episodes of Kamen Rider Zi-O over the next few weeks. Be sure to check back with us at Toku Toy Store for more information and scans as well.

What are your thoughts on these developments in the series? Are you excited for Woz to become a proper Kamen Rider? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!

*Translation per Matt Hunt (@TheRealMattHunt) via Twitter

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SODO Sundays – October 1st, 2018

Hello, tokusatsu community! It’s Joshua Perry here to talk about SODO figures on my fortnightly series, SODO Sundays. Today the rest of Zi-O Set 2 and some news from the SHODO line on this special Monday edition!

Kamen Rider Zi-O

The rest of Set 2 has now been revealed! First up is the Ex-Aid armor. Just like with Drive and Ghost the SODO Ex-Aid armor is including pieces for both Zi-O and Geiz versions. Also included is the punch hammer fists and a stand like usual.

Although it doesn’t premiere till next week’s episode the Geiz exclusive Faiz form has also been revealed! Bandai included everything they could’ve with this one, he comes with a stand, the Faiz Shot weapon. a swappable leg piece with the Faiz Pointer on it, and even the gun mode of the Faiz Phone X! Sadly there are no pieces to make a Zi-O version of this armor.

These 2 armors finish up the complete Set 2 line-up, the Ex-Aid, Ghost, Faiz, and Drive armors as well as re-releases of the Zi-O and Geiz armor bodies from Set 1.

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SHODO-X

Premium Bandai has revealed a new SHODO-X Set due for release in February 2019. Included are figures for Kamen Rider Diend, Faiz, and Faiz Axel. Faiz’s bike Auto Vajin is also included, as well as pieces to make the robot form for Auto Vajin.

SHODO doesn’t stop there as new Showa bikes and the Yellow Shocker Rider #1 have also been revealed at a toy fair in Japan.

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Next time blast off when SODO Sundays returns to its normal Sunday release.

As always you can watch SODO Sundays Season 2, Episode 4 here:

That’s it for this edition of SODO Sundays Season 2! Stay tuned for the next edition on both Toku Toy Store News and YouTube channel.

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Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 2 & 3 Review

Kamen Rider Zi-O is off to a running start so far, cramming character development, lore, and more into just the first episode. Now, following up on that fantastic debut, the show is in full swing with no signs of slowing down.

Episode 2

This second episode focuses heavily on Build, Cross-Z, and the impact of time travel on history. Another Build makes a return, and a new Rider Armour makes a debut. Just like before, this episode is packed, but the emphasis is heavy on action this time around.

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When Another Build returns, this time with a regeneration ability, Sougo and Geiz have a tough time taking it on. Continually absorbing powers, Another Build becomes so strong that it is unbeatable. This takes about a year, beginning in 2017 in Build’s timeline, and after a brief combat encounter, Sougo and Geiz time travel back to 2017 to stop Another Build from gaining that power. Thankfully, the consequences of time travel are at the forefront here, as both Sougo and Geiz end up using powers drawn from Sento and Banjou, in the form of the Build and Cross-Z Ride Watches. One of the biggest questions they end up asking after, though, is how Sougo got the watches in the first place.

This is explained, expertly, in the form of a temporal causality loop, presented as follows:

  • Sougo and Geiz defeat Another Build
  • Another Build’s defeat allows Sougo to obtain two blank Ride Watches
  • Ride Watches are given to Sento for refinement
  • Sento gives Sougo the Ride Watches in the future
  • Sougo  and Geiz travel back in time to defeat Another Build and restart the loop

Overall, this episode is excellently crafted, heavy on well choreographed action scenes, and shows that the series is not afraid to tackle high-concept ideas in science fiction. This keeps the bar set high for the rest of the series, and with the next episode focusing on Ex-Aid, we are off to a strong start that will carry forward for the whole run of Zi-O, in the best case.

Episode 3

Who would have thought the future Demon King of the human race would be bad at video games? Shortly after Geiz and Tsukuyomi rent out the spare room in Sougo’s house, one of Sougo’s friends falls ill while playing an “Unbeatable” game on his GENM-branded game system. The game? Mighty Action X.  Following advice from Woz, Sougo takes his friend to the Seito University hospital, where they meet the genius surgeon, Kagami Hiro, who tells them the symptoms Sougo’s friend has are increasingly common, but the cause is unknown. No mention of Game Syndrome is made, but a link to Mighty Action X is suspected. Based on this, it’s safe to assume Sougo arrives somewhere towards the beginning of the Ex-Aid timeline.

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As they begin to do more and more research, they are finally confronted by Another Ex-Aid, whose design is equal parts lazy, clever, and hilarious. The comparison has been made endlessly, up to this point, but I will include it here. Another Ex-Aid uses elements of Ex-Aid’s level 2 form and his final form, Hyper Muteki, to make something that looks a bit like The Predator, from the film series of the same name. Before they make too much more progress, though, they need more information and return to the hospital.

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It’s here that another of the easter eggs in this episode pops up, as they find the Genius Gamer M’s notes about Mighty Action X on the desk of pediatric doctor Hojo Emu, whom veteran fans will know better as Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. The notes are written in German, instructions for inputs on the game that translate to the Konami Code. When Sougo uses the notes, he clears level one of Mighty Action X, and they end up sucked into the game.

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It’s here we meet Emu, and then the episode ends on a cliffhanger, getting ready for a fight. Overall, this episode is fantastic like the previous ones, but ends rather abruptly after building a great deal of excitement. Episode 4 will continue the Ex-Aid arc, followed by a combined Faiz and Fourze arc for episodes five and six.

What did you think of these episodes? Is Zi-O everything you hoped it would be? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!

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Power Rangers Beast Morphers New Cast Members Announced

Power Rangers Beast Morphers is still in production, set for a release date in February 2019, but is still light on casting announcements. Hasbro seemingly hopes to change that today with the reveal of several new characters, cast recently in the show. So far, not much information is available, only character names and actors, but there is some speculation to be had from some of them. See below for more:

The first new character will be Nate, played by actor Abraham Rodriguez. Nothing else is known at this time.

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Next we have Ben, played by actor Cosme Flores. Again, no other information was made available.

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The first new female character after the Yellow Ranger, Betty, will be played by actress Christina Ho.

Kristina-Ho-Headshot

And now we can get into speculation about new characters for the next two. First up is Blaze, played by actor Colby Strong and believed to be a villain corrupted by the Evox organization, alongside our next female character, Roxy, played by Liana Ramirez.

It seems diversity is a key point this season, with many actors of varying ethnicity getting involved in the production as major and minor characters. The story is being adapted from Go-Busters and seems to be sticking close to many of the themes of that series, so far. Look for more information to be revealed in the coming months leading up to the premiere. Power Rangers Beast Morphers premieres in February 2019 on Nickelodeon.

What do you think of this reveal? Are you excited? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!

Source: ThatHashtagShow

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 26-32 Review

This one was a long time coming. For any of you who have been readers for a while, you’ll know that Lupinranger vs Patoranger has been missing from the TTS News section for a while, but I’m here to bring it back for you.

Let’s kick things off with a quick review of the most recent story arc, which focuses on testing the bonds of loyalty within the teams, and even between them. Note: This review will cover episodes 26-32 of Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger, and some minor spoilers may be discussed. Let’s dive right in. Shall we?

Episode 26 starts us off at an auction house for the criminal underworld. Items included in the Lupin Collection are on the block, which leads Noel and Umika to go undercover. There’s a certain amount of intrigue, like something out of a crime novel, as they try to discover who the Gangler is. Characters from all over the world make appearances, including an American who, notably, has no spoken lines. This contrasts greatly from someone like Hilltop, who is canonically American but speaks fluent Japanese, or even Noel, who is French. It is very nice, though, to see the global aspect of the GSPO emphasized in subtle ways like this, expanding the scope of the plot beyond Japan’s borders. When they do discover who the Gangler is, though, it comes as something of a twist for the team, having just gone based on Noel’s guesses up to this point.

It’s a safe bet to say Noel is an even mix of Arsene Lupin and Detective Hercule Poirot, the French Sherlock Holmes. Both sides come out in situations like this, when he throws together a crazy heist plan based on a Sherlockian theory, made based on analysing evidence. When it all comes together, it’s incredibly satisfying to see the scheme play out.

Episode 27 offers more of the same, this time a team-up between Touma and Sakuya. The focus in this episode is on a “Martial Arts” dojo that turns out to just be low-impact aerobics. What makes it interesting, though, is that the Gangler who runs the dojo is a cartoon villain straight out of Looney Tunes, complete with bombs wrapped in snacks and silly sequences of dancing. For this episode, we don’t get a lot of substance, but we do see Touma being a bit on the brooding side as Sakuya tries to get him to open up. Much of the dojo sequence is played for comedy, and the Gangler’s power is admittedly very understated, as something like mind control or suggestive influence could have been used so much more effectively in different hands. 

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Thankfully, episode 28 has a bit more to offer.

This episode gives us our first real glimpse into Umika’s family life, as her father comes to visit for her birthday. Latching onto Kairi in a comedic, over-the-top way at first, he thinks the Bistro is something more than it appears, as Umika was previously a bit of a princess or a spoiled child. The arc of the episode is in two parts, with Umika’s father first learning to trust Kairi, then seeing that Umika is now a woman grown, and able to take care of herself. It’s a bit about letting go, and about the bond between parent and child, but big on emotional beats nonetheless.

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Episode 29 is another that is big on introspection, and the meaning of memory. In an experiment being performed by Gauche, Keiichiro loses his memories, and is only stirred out of his stupor by photos of the Lupinrangers. There is a certain amount of passion that comes along with anything that he does involving them, and that combined with the use of photos, manages to burn through Gauche’s haze to drive him to action when his team needs him. In this episode, there is a big action set piece in which Keiichiro becomes like a machine, using the Crane Trigger Machine as a replacement for his own arm at one point during a battle. It’s big, stupid fun in all the ways Super Sentai should be. There is even a moment where Keiichiro sees Hilltop, and thinks he is American actor Eddie Murphy, as seen below.

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For episode 30, though, we get a big character development moment from Keiichiro, and the arc that starts from this episode begins a trend of these twists that continue over the next several episodes. On a paid vacation, Keiichiro takes a trip. Kairi, coincidentally, is at the same spot, and the two attempt to hang out as friends, neither knowing the other is their opposite Red Ranger. There’s a moment where they play off each other like a buddy-cop duo right out of a Hollywood film, with “K-man” playing the serious role juxtaposed against Kairi’s lighter humour. This, of course, all comes crashing down when Keiichiro manages to get sucked back into work to get a new VS Vehicle from a shady arms dealer, only to be ambushed at the scene.

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After being rescued by Kairi, the two resume their normal fighting, going until Keiichiro decidedly has the upper hand in the fight over the new VS Vehicle. A call for emergency services ends the fight, with Keiichiro putting his trust in Kairi to do the right thing and help people, using the new VS Vehicle to put out the fires. Kairi does as he is asked, and keeps the Vehicle as a reward. It’s a big moment, and the emphasis is there, well and properly, right down to the music and shot composition. But this isn’t the end of new developments for Keiichiro or any of the police, as the next episode shows.

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Episode 31 focuses on Tsukasa, and her bond with a Gangler who is seemingly deeply repentant for his crimes. Called Yoshii, the Gangler dreams of a peaceful life, fantasizing about an overly-romanticised home life with a family, casting Tsukasa in the husband role. The others are reluctant to trust this Gangler, naturally, and are even more so when he is offered a plea bargain in exchange for information. It’s through this deal, however, that they learn about a project Gauche is collecting the safes of defeated Ganglers for. Noel correctly predicts that something is off, and in a twist reveal at the end of the episode, he ends up coming to Tsukasa’s rescue as Yoshii’s true nature is revealed.

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This entire episode serves as a credit to the skill of actress Okuyama Kazusa. She appears genuine, in most scenes, conveying an earnest nature and a desire to form a real connection with a potential ally. When the betrayal and the attempt on her life come near the end of the episode, her shock is palpable, as is the sense of defeat she seems to feel as she is proven wrong. In the end, though, the intel about Gauche’s experiment is proven correct as the setup of the next episode is put into place. Yoshii’s safe ends up being the fifth on a single Gangler, newly added to the battle.

Episode 32 focuses on this Gangler, and the lengths the team has to go to in order to defeat it. With five safes, it is mathematically impossible for one team to take it down, so Noel proposes the police and thieves work together. Sticking to his principles, Keiichiro refuses until he is challenged to a traditional duel against Noel, with the identity of the thieves and their freedom being Keiichiro’s prize if Noel fails. The battle plays out spectacularly and Keiichiro accepts help from the thieves at the end.

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This episode marks the second appearance of the combined mecha made from Good Striker, X Emperor, and six VS Vehicles. The thing is an unwieldy monstrosity of a machine, but gets the job done in the end, and Keiichiro finally begins to see that sometimes the minor, personal victory needs to be set aside for the greater good. A lesson is learned, and he is better for it. When the episode ends, all of our characters are in a better place, and we are given a closer glimpse into what happened at the end of the duel, subverting certain expectations and what we believe we saw, expertly using camera angles and weighted, deliberate character choices.

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What did you think of this arc? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!

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Ultraman R/B Episode 9 & 10 Review

In the aftermath of the debut of our first major villain for Ultraman R/B, we have been given two fantastic episodes that each highlight the different strengths of the series, from the comedy to the characters and the action.

There is a full arc in these two episodes, where we see the brothers dealing with their first real defeat in a meaningful and interesting way, as well as seeing what Aizen’s definition of a hero is. The character development is fantastic, each scene is crammed with some meta joke or callback, and all the characters play off each other incredibly well. Let’s begin with episode 9.

The setup for this episode is simple: Ultraman Rosso and Ultraman Blu have been defeated by Ultraman Orb Dark Noir Black Schwarz, and have to really come to terms with that. As many fans previously called out, the brothers and even some one-off characters make light of the name being way too long, with Katsumi even going so far as to point out that, when translated, his name is literally Ultraman Orb Dark Black Black Black, taken from English, French, and German respectively. To their credit, the brothers don’t waste all their time making jokes about a poor choice in hero names, though, instead dedicating themselves to training while at human size with mockups of the weapons and abilities they use as Ultramen.

Asahi tags along, but is unable to figure out what exactly they are doing, somehow.

Her coming along to the training session turns out to be a stroke of good luck, though, as she falls and suffers a leg injury that leads to the discovery of the Earth crystal hidden in a cave. It’s with this power that they finally manage to overcome Aizen in the rematch. Up to this point, he has been making himself known to the citizens of Ayaka by causing disasters, and then stopping them. Much of the setup to the battle happens off screen, but given the setting change after they challenge him, it’s safe to assume there was some debate about a cool hero not causing property damage, or the brothers simply asking that they protect civilians as much as possible. When they do beat him, at long last, they take the weapon Aizen has been using to transform, vowing that he will never use it again.

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Instead, we see Katsumi using it for special attacks as soon as episode 10! The brothers attempt to take a day off, a family picnic, only to be met on several occasions by Aizen or his Kaiju, even being offered high-paying jobs at Aizentech, stationed overseas and safely out of his way.

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When they refuse enough times, they encounter their toughest Kaiju opponents yet, and end up being beaten after Katsumi stops a building from falling on Asahi and Ushio. They are defeated and earn a failing grade in Aizen’s second Ultraman Test, at which point he reclaims his henshin device.

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After the credits roll on this episode, the preview for the next one seemingly confirms a fan theory that has been circulating for a while. If this theory proves correct, Aizen’s tests, repeated Kaiju attacks, and even becoming an Ultraman himself are all attempts to groom and train the brothers for some bigger threat that will soon loom large. The preview shows a previously-unseen woman with shining eyes, dressed in an all-black Japanese lolita dress, clearly a villain unless the show opts for more clever subversion. That remains to be seen, but I hope you all are excited as I am for what’s in store.

What did you think of these episodes of Ultraman R/B? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!