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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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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 25 Review

At the halfway point in the series, we are at a crossroads in Lupinranger vs Patoranger. Lymon, the Gangler from last week, is still at the height of his abilities, with some new tricks thrown in this week for good measure that force all seven rangers to work together for the first time. This leads to the creation of the monstrosity of a mecha seen previously in toy scans, Good Cool Kaiser VSX. This comes at the height of a shared trust problem between the two teams, and even from the Lupinrangers to Noel.

 

 

This episode focuses primarily on the fallout from the Patorangers’ defeat at the hands of Lymon last week, even citing the collateral damage and civilian casualties caused by the battle. In addition, the main interpersonal dynamic focuses on an injured Noel, his relation to the other teams and specifically to Kairi, and sets the foundation for Noel’s resolve to be tested. Despite severe injuries, he keeps fighting and figures out the secret to Lymon’s golden safe.

 

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In the end, it takes all seven rangers working in full cooperation to get anywhere near Lymon, and they only turn to this point out of desperation after much prodding by Tsukasa. Clearly, none of them like this idea but they are forced into it because they are simply and wildly outclassed. Lymon’s abilities are presented in such a way that makes it clear the Rangers have been fighting and struggling against the bottom of the barrel, up to this point. This is a bit of a deviation from the norm, as the Rangers have largely not scaled up in power to keep up with their enemies this year, as is tradition. Instead, the action has been centered around them finding new and creative ways to use existing abilities.

 

This new Ultrazord-class mecha marks the first significant power spike for the teams since Noel’s introduction, and with the upcoming scans revealing more, it will be interesting to see what sort of enemies necessitate those upgrades. Good Striker, especially, is going to be getting at least two new versions that we know of already, so I am curious to see how the rest go. Along with this, there can only be so much time left before the police discover the thieves’ identities. Maybe Noel will be the key, or maybe we will even see more Rangers added as the series goes on. The tradition recently does seem to be teams of ten plus, after all.

 

 

Overall, this episode does a lot to establish a new dynamic between the two teams and their middleman, but falls a bit short of true progress. There are a few bits of comedic exchanges between characters, including swapping seats in the new all-Ranger mecha, and some heartfelt dialogue, but it still leaves a bit to be desired in the end. Stay tuned for the next one to see how it all unfolds!

 

As always, leave your thoughts below and let’s discuss!

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 24 Review

This week, a new ship is born for the fans to get excited about. This episode focuses very heavily on Kairi, Tsukasa, and their respective stories as well as how the pair of them interact. After raiding a club to capture Giwi, a Gangler general, Tsukasa sees Kairi and believes he is an innocent civilian, taking him to safety before they share a bonding moment over their shared lack of family. Both are orphans, Kairi raised by his brother and Tsukasa by her grandfather, in turn. The whole flashback scene in which Tsukasa tells her story is fittingly somber, starting from her grandfather teaching her to defend herself, all the way up to saving her friend from a rape in high school.

 

 

Through this sequence, her voice is calm and contemplative, and even the music in the background is somber, as if the world they live is lamenting their shared loss. After the brief exchange and a lecture about not letting family get away, Tsukasa leaves and Kairi is able to just think for a while.

 

As we cut back to the Ganglers, Zamigo is able to make a return appearance, now doing shady deals with Giwi. Giwi, in turn, finally lets his power loose as one of his victims is turned into a living flower pot of sorts, covered in leaves and vines that keep growing back exponentially every time they are removed. The police waste no time in putting a warning out to the public, but for many people it is implied it may be too late. Thankfully, in a reaction of sorts, it’s Kogure to the rescue! He seems to know how to stop the plants from spreading, and gives the Lupinrangers these instructions as the police check into the victims. It’s a good way to show them playing both sides, with Noel in between presumably feeding each side intel from the other. The rest of the battle plays out pretty much as par for the course, and despite being seen as a general up to this point, Giwi is defeated with relative ease.

 

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Before Giwi has even exploded, though, Zamigo is approached by Lymon hoping to make a deal. The next episode seems to suggest that Lymon will be the new primary antagonist, and go so far as to rival boss Dogranio in the scope of what he can do. How will this play out? Maybe this will force the tag-team we all know is coming. Stay tuned to find out!

 

What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 23 Review

The Ganglers we know are not the only dimension-hopping criminal syndicate. When the Lymon Gang arrives on the scene, even boss Dogranio takes notice, and we open this episode on the Ganglers plotting how to get around their competitors. A series of kidnappings against chefs leads to Noel asking Touma for help luring out the kidnapper, on the condition that Touma be allowed to claim any Lupin Collection items the group might stumble across. Noel makes the deal easily, knowing the GSPO have already failed in their mission to catch this criminal.

 

 

With the way Touma moves about his kitchen, teaching a class, it makes me wonder if the actor himself may be a chef, or trained as one. It’s certainly not an uncommon hobby, especially in Japan. The class, and the subsequent capture of Touma and Noel by a Gangler, all go according to plan, and they begin to explore the Gangler’s hideout, an old ship sitting in Tokyo bay. When discovered, they change and engage. This Gangler’s name is Ushibarock, and he is a member of the Lymon Gang, revealed when Lymon himself enters the fight.

 

Lymon is what Noel calls a, “Status Gold,” meaning that he has a gold safe. When Touma tries to open it, he gets the combination right only to be met by an error message. Noel theorises that VS Vehicles can’t open Gold safes, and the attempt may disable a VS Vehicle temporarily. It’s at this point that we learn Ushibarock’s motivation: He needs a chef for his hideout.

 

 

What begins to sound like the culinary Hunger Games quickly becomes something more akin to Iron Chef. With some encouragement from Noel, Touma agrees to take part in the contest. Noel confides that he is not a chef, but pours the same level of dedication Touma has for cooking into being an artificer. As the lead caretaker of the collection, his pride is wounded when a piece is damaged, and that is something he cannot allow. As the two work on their own trades, Touma contemplates if cooking might have been his true calling. One cannot be a phantom thief forever, after all.

 

When presenting his dish, Touma appears, at first, to have poisoned Lymon and his companion. Instead, Touma is appointed at once as Ushiarock’s replacement. Lymon, in his way, is seeking to become Dogranio’s replacement and tells Kairi as much during their first encounter on the ship. Here, we see the Scissor dial fighter make a return, with Kairi using the shield portion to protect Umika from a blast of flame. Through the best kind of teamwork, Noel and Touma are able to retrieve Ushiarock’s item and then the battle becomes 4-on-1, following the normal pattern from there forward.

 

The police are conspicuously absent this week, apart from the cameo of their failed cooking show plan, but all in all, this episode stands out as a high point of what this series can be. Lupinranger vs Patoranger continues to deliver, despite having minimal marketing items compared to its Kamen Rider counterpart, Build, and with the series currently approaching the halfway point of its run, there is plenty of time for the show to continue to improve.

 

What did you think of this week’s episode? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 22 Review

French romanticism is tested against Japanese sensibilities, as Noel has decided to play Cupid this week, in the name of furthering everyone’s favourite ship. After a quick encounter in which Noel meets the Lupinrangers as a member of the GSPO, he pickpockets Sakuya’s phone off of him, making Umika chase him to give it back. After the pair are gone, he remarks that he can’t help playing Cupid. This encounter leads to Umika discovering this week’s Gangler, Demeran, a classical capture-type Kaijin who catches people in some kind of flower pot.

 

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Sakuya tries to intervene but Umika is captured, and what follows is a series of sitcom-level shenanigans that prevent Umika from saving herself without revealing her identity as Lupin Yellow to her neighbours, Sakuya, or others.

 

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This allows Sakuya to play hero and get in her good graces. As part of this, he goes back to Jurer, apologises to Kairi and Touma, and then gets underway with the rest of the team. The other Lupinrangers spring into action as well, and we see a certain depth added to Noel as he begins to deeply regret pushing this. Demeran seems to have no motive other than capturing people, which is a bit sad due to the wasted potential there. The motivation could remain the same and the stakes raised dramatically if even a line about using the captured humans as food were to be added on.

 

When not focused on Umika being inadvertently forced to play damsel in distress, we begin to see Noel and Sakuya’s resolve tested, as the two work side by side to save the trapped Umika and civilians. Their desperation shows as they try more and more drastic measures to get the situation under control, until they finally figure out a way to solve the problem. For all his regrets, though, Noel takes full ownership of the situation and maintains control throughout, showing his experience and expertise hiding beneath this goofy, light exteriour.

 

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Once the people are freed, the action is free to take a more dynamic turn, and the camera movements become far more erratic to reflect this. While not entirely subtle, it’s a nice change in pace as the whole episode begins to feel more frenetic and action-packed, even for as brief as the sequence is. Overall, another excellent entry this week, including the debut of X Emperor, Noel’s custom mecha sets up a few  things to come. With Noel’s X Emperor having two forms to start, like the man himself, it leads to possible combinations with both teams in different ways. X Emperor Blade could combine with PatKaiser, or X Emperor Gunner with LupinKaiser, just for the sake of inversion of expected pairings.

 

 

Noel and Sakuya play off each other well, and I can easily see them beginning to work as a buddy-cop duo a la Starsky and Hutch or CHIPS. The two are already growing close, and may continue to do so as they form an almost brotherly bond. The preview for next week shows a cooking contest, allowing Chef Touma to shine.

What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 21 Review

If Noel is a con man, he is certainly playing the long game. This week, we see Noel’s allegiance tested, and learn a little more of his back story, as both Good Striker and Kogure acknowledge him as a long-time friend and servant of the Lupin family in France. The police are hesitant to trust Noel, and even the Ganglers are confused by his duality, though they seemingly do not know that Lupin X and Patren X are the same person.

 

For much of this episode, we see Noel begin to form his plan, playing both sides off of each other to strengthen his own position, including hand-delivering last week’s Lupin Collection item to the thieves, before later trying to steal another to make the police trust him. Tsukasa, ever the observant one, is hyper vigilant around Noel, though she is as reserved with her mistrust as Keiichiro is open. The leader and the newcomer fit together like water and oil, even after Noel has shown that he can be trusted, due to Noel operating on a different mission and different chain of command.

 

There are two sequences in this episode of seemingly-invincible enemies, first with the Gangler of the week, and second with Noel himself. The Gangler adopts a Chrome form, hardened like metal, and stands still tanking hits while Kairi is able to his item.

 

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Noel, however, is not such an easy opponent and projects a force field on every hit the thieves manage to land while in his Lupin X form. Patren X is not shown to have the same ability, but does make an appearance in battle for the sake of dramatic flair and presenting a consistent image to the other Patorangers.

 

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In this episode, we also see the first appearance, but definitely not the last, of PatKaiser Trains form, which is similar to the way Noel’s train items combined with LupinKaiser last week. Noel, himself, again remains in a train car at vehicle size, though the gold train is shown to be equipped with some kind of energy weapon that he can use against Kaiju. In the end, his motivations remain unclear and both sides remain suspicious of Noel, though the thieves seemingly have more reason to trust him now.

 

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As the episode ends, Noel and Kogure are seen walking along a Tokyo street, with city lights for a backdrop, and Noel tells Kogure they need to talk. The implication is something dark and scandalous, but we will need to wait to find out.

 

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The preview for the next episode indicates that the French romantic in Noel will come out, as Sakuya decides to finally take his pursuit of Umika’s affection a step further. Seeing this as a positive, it seems Noel will push them both further together and help Sakuya along with a bit of traditional French romanticism and the ideals of love.

What did you think of this week’s Lupinranger Vs Patoranger? Who do you think Noel is really working for?Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 20 Review

The double agent appears! In the opening seconds of the episode, we are given a first glimpse of the new Ranger, as he boards his train to leave Paris behind. Despite being played by a Japanese actor, it seems our Double Agent Ranger is French, as he remarks that he’s off to the “Chaos of Japan.”

His train, shown from the inside for only a second, has a similar interiour design to the previously shown mecha, and has the sigil of Arsene Lupin on the side. From previous material, we know that this new Ranger is also operating as a member of GSPO, so we’re left with a sense of mystery about him right from the start. He even enters the country in a flashy way, running down a group of Ganglers before his train turns into his weapon. He introduces himself as, “A solitary sterling Phantom Thief, Lupin X.”

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As is tradition, Lupin X is made out to be invincible, and takes the new Gangler’s item effortlessly using a number code, as opposed to the traditional spinning lock the other Lupinrangers have. He is clearly a light character, even going so far as to take a selfie with the girl he rescues.

Interestingly, though, Kairi is just as shocked as Keiichiro to learn of the existence of Lupin X. Thankfully, he doesn’t need to wait long for an answer. He’s brash, full of energy, and big on theatrics, including a demonstration of athleticism. In the midst of a show of backflips, Lupin X steals the phones of everyone nearby, openly declaring that he is Lupin X before he passes phones out back to their respective owners. Keiichiro arrests him on the spot.

Before departing, Lupin X leaves his calling card on Kairi’s phone.

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Lupin X is called Takao Noel, and makes a joke and a show even of just telling the police about himself. He is consistently, and fittingly, dramatic while also being lighthearted and a bit fun. It seems only Commander Hilltop knows, though, that Noel is a deep cover agent transferring in from the French HQ of GSPO. Keiichiro immediately takes a strong and hilarious dislike to Noel, setting up some of the best jokes of the episode. Despite all his theatrics and silliness, though, it is revealed quickly that Noel is an engineer, and a brilliant one at that. Noel is the creator of the VS Changer system, and even went so far as to design his own changer that allows him to become Lupin X and Patren X at the flip of a switch.

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As is fitting for a debut of a new hero, Noel is easily the best part of this episode. His movements in battle are acrobatic and draw the eye in much the same way that movies featuring Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan do. His motivation is selfish in the end, and the brashness he displays even brings out new traits in the other characters, as confusion gives way to fear and fear, in turn, to anxiety. Touma even goes so far as to raise his weapon as he declares that Noel is a threat. To me, at least, this seems to be a hint that Touma would not be above killing Noel in the end, if it meant that the Lupinrangers could accomplish their goals.

This mistrust is quickly swept aside when Noel allows his own VS Vehicles, X-Train Silver and X-Train Gold, to combine with Good Striker to create a new form of LupinKaiser. As his price, Noel claims a temporary leadership role on the team. After this, it is the police who are quick to doubt him. They question his motives, understandably, and when the thieves return to Jurer, they find Noel already waiting.

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Overall, this episode is fantastic. The whole dynamic of the show’s previous cat-and-mouse game is instantly turned on its head by the arrival of brash, bold Noel Takao, and I cannot wait to see what more he can bring to the table as the two teams begin to question himself, themselves, and each other. Noel clearly has a much bigger part to play that has yet to be revealed, but we will have to wait to see where that comes from and how it plays out. What did you think of this episode? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 19 Review

This week begins on a relatively light note, with Sakuya quickly thwarting a would-be rapist, targeting a young girl. It’s made clear based on dialogue that the rapist is a Gangler, but after being humiliated, he just runs off, rather than changing and attacking.

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When Sakuya returns to GSPO HQ, they are met by Deputy Director Yamagami, who scolds them for the media’s treatment of the Lupinrangers, the police’s low case clearance rate, and more. Commander Hilltop offers to treat the higher ranking official to lunch, and the group makes their way to Jurer. Yamagami is, essentially, the cliche of an angry police captain who dislikes his subordinates, and not much more of his character is shown at this point. Lupinranger vs Patoranger, however, does have an incredible track record for adding depth to characters through subtle touches, set pieces, or dialogue, in a very Dark Souls approach to world building.

Over lunch, the police get a lecture on proper police conduct and attitudes, while the earlier Gangler is revealed and begins a revenge scheme against Sakuya. Sakuya, for his part, is seemingly manipulated into pouring a bowl of soup over Deputy Director Yamagami’s head and attacking his squad mates, as well as Commander Hilltop and everyone else in Jurer. At the end of it all, the Gangler walks away laughing.

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The tone becomes decidedly more dramatic as Sakuya is given a two-week suspension, including the cliched, “Turn in your badge and gun,” routine seen in American and British police dramas. At Jurer, Keiichiro tries to make amends for the earlier incident before Good Striker gives the Lupins a warning about a Gangler having been inside the cafe.

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We eventually see Sakuya in his home, and learn just from the background decoration that he is musically-inclined, and travels outside of Japan. The detail of his travel, while small, adds layers and history to the character, perhaps coinciding with his military service. Sakuya is a decorated, trained long-distance sniper, after all. The Patorangers are police officers, and would have volunteered for a task force to gain their abilities, so it only makes sense that they would have career history behind them, and I look forward to seeing more of that come into play.

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Sakuya puts the puzzle together, only for the Deputy Director to foolishly hold a grudge and ignore the information. Keiichiro and Tsukasa are attacked as a result of the Deputy Director’s willful inaction, and Sakuya defies his suspension order to try to help them. Thankfully, Commander Hilltop is in Sakuya’s corner and comes prepared with VS Changer and Trigger Machine ready.

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After a brief battle, the Lupins enter only long enough to retrieve the Gangler’s Lupin Collection item, then depart, leaving Good Striker with the police as a show of good faith. Touma even goes so far as to say, “I’m sure someone’s mad after being framed.”

After the battle, tension builds as we wait to see the fallout of Sakuya’s defiance. Even the music becomes somber as Sakuya prepares to be permanently dismissed from the Patorangers, only to end up being praised highly and even hugged by Deputy Director Yamagami. Now in much higher spirits, Yamagami goofs off a bit, including bringing the running joke of Hilltop’s name to a head, before the episode ends. The preview for the next episode shows, at long last, the debut of Lupin X/Pato X, the double agent ranger.

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What did you think of this episode? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 18 Review

This week on Lupinranger vs Patoranger: A previously-defeated Gangler returns?!

The returning Gangler, Anidara, is one of the Crush brothers, who were both previously defeated by the rangers. He returns at Kaiju size, and the police waste no time in deploying PatKaiser to put him down for good. After a failed assault, Good Striker is the first to figure out what’s happening. PatKaiser is defeated and the Lupins swoop in. With them, Good Striker goes for another round.

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When we learn the truth of Anidara’s resurrection, we also learn more about the Lupin Collection. The items were made in the Ganglers’ world, and Destra claims they should not be able to be used by humans. This is an interesting turn that could lead to a revelation later related to Arsene Lupin, Kogure, and everything we think we know about the thieves. This is simply another small piece of a much larger puzzle the show has been teasing us with for several weeks now, and it shows no signs of changing this direction any time soon.

The next piece of this puzzle comes in the form of Good Striker’s origin. Arsene Lupin is the creator of Good Striker, it seems, and he built Good Striker as a guardian for the Collection. This gave him sentience, transforming him from an item in the Collection into a living being.

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Kogure gives more insight into Good Striker beyond his utility, stating that like any creature with sentience, he has his own troubles, personality, and experiences to draw from. The thieves make their exit in the attempt to track him down, and learn of a fight at a particular time and place.

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The showdown is a trap, obviously, and we see the police begin to plot behind the scenes to lure out the Gangler and the Lupinrangers using this bait. Ultimately, it is Kairi who finds Good Striker, on a park swing like a child. Good Striker eventually confides that he is a neutral party, concerned only with the Collection and acting based on how he feels in the moment, and the pair share a moment of mutual respect by way of a rough approximation of a fist bump.

When the duel between Anidara and the Patorangers comes, as predicted, the thieves are on site. The police are waiting, and retrieve Good Striker like an item.

We see an interesting moment where Kairi interrupts the combination of PatKaiser, and creates a hybrid mecha only to start a fight in the cockpit. During the attempted heist, we see that items from the Lupin Collection do not change size when their host Ganglers do. From there, the item is stolen and the episode ends on a note about Good Striker as a character.

Overall, this episode does a good job of shedding light on some of the more obscure elements of the show’s world, back story, and characters, and it seems to be building up to more reveals later. With the upcoming arrival of LupinX/PatoX, who knows what more will come?

What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Leave a thought below and let’s discuss!

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Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patoranger Episode 17 Review

This week’s Lupinranger vs Patoranger opens on a distinctly lighter tone than  Kamen Rider counterpart, Build, as we see a moment of comedic and heartfelt awkwardness play out in the middle of Jurer, with the whole of both Ranger teams in view. Keiichiro is talking to a beautiful woman, Mana, who gives him flowers, and after a brief exchange, she invites him over. He refuses and his teammates spend a while after trying to make him see that Mana is romantically interested in him. Umika consoles Mana, somewhere far away, only to be interrupted by this week’s Gangler. It attacks a crowd, and Umika pulls Mana to safety while calling Kairi for help.

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The Gangler’s power is to take humans into a deep sleep, filled with sweet dreams, and once affected, they remain essentially comatose, with their minds stuck in a dream world. This Gangler, in that sense, doesn’t have the most detrimental ability the Rangers have run across up to this point. It does, however, do a lot of good to set up a way for Mana to express her feelings to Keiichiro, or for him to see her for what she is.

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As it turns out, Mana’s attempts to get through to Keiichiro were a last ditch effort before she is set to leave Japan and go to school in Austria.

With Sakuya’s help, Umika arranges a date between Mana and Keiichiro, and the pair take the time to try to make Keiichiro understand Mana’s feelings. It’s almost painful to see how oblivious this decorated police detective is to another person’s motives and mindset, but it serves the plot well, and when Keiichiro literally stands up and salutes Mana, the soundtrack almost screams for a sad trombone. The awkwardness is almost painful.

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Keiichiro’s explanation is that he wasn’t so oblivious, but played it off that way due to his duty to defeat Ganglers. He tells Umika that he cannot allow himself any distractions, which is reinforced in other parts of the episode later. Shortly after entering the battle, four of the six rangers are drawn into the dream world set up by the Gangler, and we learn from Umika’s arrival that the Dream world is shared.

One man eats all the ramen he can, Tsukasa finds herself surrounded by stuffed animals, and the life energy is visibly drained away from both to fuel the dream world and the Gangler. Sakuya, when he appears, asks Umika to sign an idol photo book of herself, and Keiichiro appears at his happiest as a bicycle cop. Seemingly, Umika is the only one in this world who has the free will to fight the control the dream has. She begins to sing to Keiichiro, the same song he’d recommended to Mana when he gave her the record in the beginning. The shot is artistically cut between Umika singing, and Mana playing the song on her piano as leaves float over the screen. Things begin to cut back and forth, and he finally puts it all together.

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This was always going to be a police episode, so it’s no surprise when Good Striker goes to the Patrens. They make quick work of the Gangler, Nero, but not before Kairi can get his item.

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There are a lot of romantic overtones in this episode, even through Keiichiro’s awkwardness, and it eventually becomes clear that he does care deeply for Mana, in his own way. As the battle ends we see Mana in the airport, and begin to expect Keiichiro will show up and make some big speech to stop her at the gate, and keep her from leaving or at least keep her thinking of him. Instead, she leaves for Austria uneventfully, and Umika scolds him for hurting her friend so deeply. As she walks off, Keiichiro begins to question how she was in the dream world, even going so far as to ask his partners if they were truly certain they’d ruled out the Jurer trio as the Lupinrangers.

After a cliffhanger finish, we are given a preview of next week, which will seemingly focus on a battle over Good Striker and answer some questions about the Lupin Collection.

Overall, this is a solid, well written episode that rides the waves of emotions and subverts expectations equally well, including a lot of symbolism of Mana as an angel. From the initial previews, I had expected Mana herself to be the archetypal tsundere, the sadistic or insane girl who cares only for love and violence. Instead, the writers went completely the other direction and made her nearly angelic; kind, beautiful, and musically gifted, she is the kind of woman we are meant to believe a hard-boiled detective like Keiichiro could easily fall in love with.

What did you think of this episode? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!