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Machine Sentai Kiramager: The Story So Far!

It’s been a while, but it looks like Super Hero Time is finally returning to broadcast on June 21st, bringing Tokusatsu titans Kamen Rider Zero-One and Machine Sentai Kiramager back to our screens! Despite this necessary break in programming, I think it’s fair to say that Super Hero Time returning is pretty exciting, in part due to the continuation of Machine Sentai Kiramager, which had really only just begun before Super Hero Time went on hiatus. Kiramager has had a pretty excellent showing so far in its first 10 episodes, but if you haven’t watched the re-cap special or Kiramager itself during its time off, you may have forgotten a few details – don’t worry, because we’re here to give you a ‘sparkling’ refresher course on everything that’s happened in Machine Sentai Kiramager so far!

Things began in a fairly standard way for contemporary Super Sentai first episodes – we were sweepingly introduced to our core team of heroes: KiramaYellow, Sentai’s first ever e-sports champion, KiramaGreen, a running athlete, KiramaBlue, a popular actor, and KiramaPink, a young surgeon. This group is introduced to us in classic Sentai fashion as an incomplete unit, using the powers lended to them by the ‘crystalians’ to fight threats on earth as the Kiramagers. The Kiramagers are chosen for their ‘Kiramentality’ –  a clever portmanteau combining the Japanese onomatopoeia for sparkling/shiny (‘kira kira’) and ‘mentality’ to represent a ‘shining’ way of thinking. The Kiramagers draw their power from sentient gemstones which latch onto those with a high level of ‘kiramentality’ forming a symbiotic relationship with them. As a team they’re looking for their fifth member – KiramaRed.

Of course, KiramaRed is found almost immediately in the form of our point-of-view character, Juru Atsuta, who is spending their time drifting off into imagination during school. This changes pretty quickly once the Yodonheim army attacks earth, immediately drawing the attention of the Kiramagers to respond to the threat, whilst Juru is initially too busy drawing to notice, but eventually catches on.

If you’ve seen a Super Sentai series before, then this first episode unfolds in the way you’d expect. Juru meets the team and is chosen by the crystal to become KiramaRed, but is initially unsure of how they’ll be useful to the team, despite the fact they’ve already been elected as the leader. This leads Juru to think about how they can use their existing skills to be a Kiramager, culminating in the first use of Juru’s signature ‘kiramaking’ power to bring his inspired drawings to reality, using the power of crystals. Juru does this to create the vehicle ‘machines’ that will become a mainstay in this series, and the five crystals work together as a fire engine, jet, helicopter, digger and sports car to save Tokyo from this kaiju threat. A bond is formed, and our team is created.

After this introduction, we then get several episodes dedicated to showing us members of the team learning to work together. There’s an episode focused on KiramaGreen, Sena, and her struggle over having to dedicate time to her career as an athlete against her responsibilities as a Kiramager. Red goes through the typical struggles of a Sentai Red ranger, caught between asserting himself as a leader and understanding Sena’s struggle as a friend. This ultimately leads to them using their inspirational powers to create a crystal that allows the user to create a clone of themselves. Neat! That’s something that will definitely come in handy later on, both in this episode when they use it to foil the villain, and the series as a whole where it will no doubt continue to be used.

We’re then treated to an episode about KiramaBlue, Shiguru Oshikiri, who in the opening fight of this episode fall’s victim to the enemy’s vice grip, which plants a literal giant vice onto his head, causing immense difficulties in his daily life as TV actor, as well as putting him on the proverbial bench for the Kiramagers. Oshikiri’s usual stoicism and arrogance is turned up to maximum as he attempts to deflect any assumptions that this new vice on his head bothers him in any way. Shiguru continues to attempt to act in their TV shoot and fight alongside the Kiramagers, but quickly finds that it’s quite difficult to keep up such a facade with a vice on your head. Ultimately, Shiguru learns to be a bit more trusting and open up to his team, choosing to let them support him in the final confrontation against the Vice Marsskman.  Another important teamwork lesson! 

The next episodes focus on the group’s Crystalian leader Mabusheena. With Mabusheena’s episode, we get the first steps towards developing a villain and our series arc. Mabusheena’s uncle Garza arrives on earth (in a pretty cool looking phantom train of some sort), and we learn that it was Garza who assassinated Mabusheena’s father, King Oradin, after being turned by the evil forces of Yodonheim. Despite this, Garza claims that King Oradin is alive! Of course, this is merely a deception by Garza, but the arc of the episode involves the Kiramager team uncovering Garza’s sinister intentions whilst Mabusheena is manipulated by him through her belief in her father’s life – it’s a sad tale, but a compelling one for sure. Mabusheena soon realises the truth, thankfully, KiramaRed is around to protect them from Garza in a pretty cool solo fight.

We then get an interesting episode about KiramaYellow, Tametomo, in an episode which briefly explores the dynamic between the sentient crystals and the Kiramager team. The crystals appear to have plenty of banter behind the scenes – the yellow crystal Shovellow asserting that Tametomo should be the leader of the group rather than Juru, and sets out on a mission to prove it. This is all occurring whilst we see Tametomo themselves in their element as the leader of their e-sports team. After Tametomo’s e-sports match, Sena talks to Tametomo, revealing an intricate backstory where his grandfather tragically died after a heart attack, after a less-than-positive interaction with young Tametomo who yells at him for buying the wrong video game. Tametomo deeply regrets his spoiled behaviour towards his grandfather, and asserts that his crystal Shovellow reminds him of his grandfather in some strange way. Shovellow is intent to make Tametomo leader, so searches for the new crystals on earth in order to create the ‘Shovellow corp’ (despite warnings from the other crystals to not do this). Shovellow ultimately succeeds in finding the other crystal machines, and jokes about creating a new super Sentai show with Tametomo as the leader and the sole member. 

Ultimately, the final fight with this episode’s villain involves Juru becoming frozen, briefly entrusting Tametomo and gemini clone to lead the counterattack in an elaborate performance designed to convince Shovellow of Juru’s power. It’s a nice moment that shows a slight evolution in the dynamic, and after the fight is wrapped up, we see Tametomo resolve to continue working with the slightly difficult crystal Shovellow, stating ‘he knew what I really wanted, deep down, after all’ in what could be described as a touching moment.

The next episode is all about KiramaPink, Sayo. It kicks off with a camera type Marsskman that has the ability to capture people with its photography powers – Sena and Shiguru are quickly captured in a photograph, which in turn transports them to a strange prison which drains their energy. Sayo on the other hand receives a head trauma, which transforms her into an amnesiac with no memories beyond age five of her life. This obviously puts the team in a difficult position, so Juru and Tametomo set out to cure Sayo’s amnesia by taking her to visit her old Aikido teacher. They learn of a pivotal event in Sayo’s young life (rescuing the adorable dog, Kotetsu!)  that established a pattern of working hard to save lives under pressure. Reminding her of this doesn’t do much,  but once the other Kiramagers are captured by the camera, the pressure forces Sayo to change back into their Kiramager form and then rescue the others with Helico, the pink crystal machine, before combining with the rest of the machines for one more showdown. Sayo’s memories are soon after restored by another head trauma induced by a playful Mabusheena, and the status quo remains!

Episode 7 begins with the team deciding that Juru can be a better leader and inducting him into an intense training regime – he’s forced to run with Sena, do Kendo with Shiguru, Aikido with Sayo and a shootout test with Tametomo. Juru is pretty exhausted by these tests, but feels ultimately that they are in his best interests to continue with. Things escalate, however, as the group begins to argue about which method of training is the most effective for Juru. This is quickly cut short by the appearance of two new Marsskmen, a fridge type and an oven type, who argue between themselves, mirroring the arguments of the Kiramager team. After their initial battle, we cut to Juru’s next training regime, which is even more intense than before, showing juru starting to hallucinate. This episode culminates in a battle against Garza, with Juru nearly passing out at the wheel of the combined crystal machines, until he notices a new hallucination – a shining white mech which is protecting the Kiramagers!

Episode 8 begins where the previous episode left off, and the other members of the Kiramager team can’t see the ‘shining giant’ that Juru is apparently hallucinating.  When Juru faints, the shining mecha vanishes, allowing the Kiramagers to escape. Juru falls into a coma-like state from exhaustion, and the red crystal blames Juru’s team for pushing him too hard with the training regime. Mabusheena tells the Kiramagers that they neglected his artistic skills, which is what gives his ‘Kiramentality’ life and is an essential ability within the group. Whilst comatose, Juru dreams of the Crystalian King Oradin, Mabusheena’s deceased father, creating a sketch under his guidance. When he wakes up, he realises that his dream was at least partially real, as he has drawn the image of a secret warehouse, which houses the white crystal Mabushina came to Earth in. Garza discovers Juru looking for the crister and attempts to destroy it, only for Juru to transform the crystal into a new crystal machine – the Mashin Express, which he uses to outrun Garza. The rest of the group apologises for their excessive training methods, and Juru then puts the rest of the team through an art class, restoring balance in a satisfying and humorous way.

We are then treated to two episodes that feel slightly more filler-y that the preceding two-parter. In episode 9, Sena encounters a rival from her past, Makino, who treats her with disregard and  who we eventually learn used to beat Sena regularly in the traditional Japanese card game Karuta. After a Karuta-themed Marsskman appears, Sena is forced to confront her past in failing against Makino in Karuta, as Makino witnesses Sena’s weakness when duelling against the Karuta Marsskman. Ultimately, the two are able to resolve their differences after saving Makino from the villain of the weak, and the two gain a mutual respect for each other. Episode 10 on the other hand sees our heroes buying into an internet urban legend about an idol who rises from the grave every night to sing. After watching a performance online, some members of the group get put to sleep through the insidious end to the idol’s performance, which launches a ticket into their hearts. Shiguru recognises the idol as a fan of his, Iyo, leading Sayo to attempt to fix the problem by forcing Shiguru to confront Iyo. It’s revealed that Iyo is being manipulated by a Yodonheim Marsskman, and also that Shiguru previously led them on through ambiguous responses to her affections. As more and more people become brainwashed by the Iyo’s broadcasts, Sayo is able to intercept the signal and restore her friends to health, while Shiguru confronts the situation by saving Iyo and defeating the Marsskman in one precisely controlled cut.

That’s (almost) everything that’s happened in Machine Sentai Kiramager so far! Personally, I think it’s been a very solid series, even in these early stages. It’s got a long way to go still, but Kiramager has remained pretty consistently whimsical, funny, and willing to engage with its characters on a personal level. I can’t really issue many complaints about what I’ve seen so far, and I had a lot of fun returning to it for this recap. I’m excited for the upcoming appearance of the sixth silver Kiramager and much more once the show has returned this weekend!

Are you exited for the return of Kiramager? What have you enjoyed so far? Join the conversation on social media or drop us a comment below!

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Toei Tokusatsu World Review: Ninja Captor

If you were a Toei produced ninja in the Showa Era you had a car; that’s just the way things were! Ninja Captor was really one of the forerunners of that trope, airing in 1976/77, which carried into future ninja series like Jiraiya and Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (alright, it’s a cat bus rather than a car but you take my meaning!)

The first episode begins with the kidnap of a little girl, the granddaughter of a Ministry of National Defense General. She is taken to the underground lair of a evil ninja group, Wind Demon Stealth Army, and is whipped profusely until one of the underlings with a conscience, Daisuke Izumo, steps in and fights her out to freedom. He is assisted along the way by an older gentleman, a student of Master Tendo who is putting together a group of ninjas: Ninja Captor. The team will eventually include the aforementioned older gent, a larger set man and a woman; a fairly diverse group for Showa Era Japan. Conversely, the programme features the gratuitous whipping of children and the Shocker combatman-esque footsoldiers have swastikas on their foreheads, so there’s that.

The man whom this first episode centred around, Daisuke Izumo, is played by Daisuke Ban, is well known to the tokusatsu genre having played Jiro in Kikaider and starred as the title character in Inazuman prior to Ninja Captor and going on to play Battle Cossack II in Battle Fever J. He’s very good; I can see why Toei used him in their shows as much as possible.

I went into this episode not knowing when it was produced and was shocked to learn that it was the seventies, airing alongside debut Sentai Series, Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. I feel like this show has held up a lot better than Gorenger but shares a lot of the same pitfalls. Ninja Captor is very Sentai-like, though, from the obvious of a team coming together to fight evil down to the team roll call and pose by the group. If you enjoy that in Super Sentai, there’s no reason you don’t love it here.

Overall, this is a very likeable show. It’s a fairly simple story but I, personally, don’t view that as a bad thing here. It follows the since tried and tested format of “bad guys do a bad thing, group rallies together to defeat them, everyone is happy” that we’ve become so used to in tokusatsu. We have plenty of characters to learn more about as the show progresses and the bad guys pull no punches; it’s nice to see an actually threatening group of antagonists in a toku – swastika mask grunts aside.

If you are one of the people massively disappointed that Gorenger isn’t on Toei Tokusatsu World Official because of the region locks then I’d recommend you give this a go instead.

You can watch the first two episodes of Ninja Captor now on the official Toei Tokusatsu World YouTube channel.

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SODO Sundays – March 24, 2019

Hello, tokusatsu community! It’s Joshua Perry here to talk about SODO figures on my fortnightly series, SODO Sundays. Today, Build takes over Zi-O as we also have some Ryusoulger and Kamen Rider Den-O news to cover.

Kamen Rider Zi-O

The SODO ad from a while ago had already revealed we would be getting a figure of the new Cross-Z form Cross-Z Evol but now it’s been fully revealed. This figure will also come with two accessories: the Pandora Box with the coloured panels on it as well as a new stand extender piece.

Cross-Z Evol is the final entry in Zi-O’s Set 8. But that’s not it for Build…

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The villain of the Cross-Z V-Cinema, Kamen Rider Killbus, has been revealed as the first figure for Zi-O Set 9. His figure will also include this stand extender piece as well as a Drill Crusher and Kaizoku Hassha.

Kamen Rider Den-O

Kamen Rider Den-O was revealed a while ago as the next entry in the SODO Chronicle series. Here we have the details. The set will come with a Plat Form base body and four armor sets for the Sword, Rod, Ax, and Gun base forms of Den-O.

Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger

Pictures of the new Ryusoulger YUDO figures have been revealed. This set, releasing in May is confirmed to include the main 5 team as well as pieces to plug into the arms for the different soul abilities. Ryusoul Red’s Power Soul is shown off in the pictures.

As always you can watch SODO Sundays Season 2, Episode 15 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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SODO Sundays – January 13th, 2019

Hello, tokusatsu community! It’s Joshua Perry here to talk about SODO figures on my fortnightly series, SODO Sundays. Today, Zi-O Set 6 featuring Build and some new YUDO news. 

Kamen Rider Zi-O

The first figure of Set 6 has been revealed. The Double (W) Armor from Heisei Generations Forever is here! Featuring all the details, like the Gaia Memory shoulder pads, this form is perfect to add to the collection of Heisei Armors. Due to space and previous releases, the Zi-O base body will not be included in this set, just the armor.

The EX Time Mazine Set was also shown off. This set will feature the ability to change the Ridewatch face to be Zi-O, OOO, Ex-Aid, or Build.

Kamen Rider Build

As reported before, Zi-O Set 6 will feature SODO Build. The figure to be included in this set will be from Build’s final episode: RabbitDragon! This form will include the Beat Crosser as well as feature painted legs this time around.

Ryusoulger

Listings have popped up that confirms that YUDO will return for a third year for the new upcoming Sentai, Ryusoulger. A set of the main 5 will release in May.

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As always you can watch SODO Sundays Season 2, Episode 10 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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This Week in Tokusatsu – December 8th, 2018

Lupinranger vs Patoranger’s final arc continues this week, in explosive form! On the Kamen Rider side of things, Kamen Rider Zi-O’s Ghost Arc begins, and Decade returns! Let’s dive in, shall we?


Lupinranger vs Patoranger Episode 42

All seven rangers are forced to come together to battle the Gangler general Destra this week, after being soundly defeated on their own. The battles have weight and consequences, which is always a refreshing touch and a good way to ground the show in a realistic setting, including injured rangers and the city being evacuated. Even the police, minus the Patorangers, are evacuated so Destra can be dealt with. A surprising source of conflict, though, comes in the form of Kogure asking Noel to step down from his duties as Lupin X.

There’s a bit of intrigue here as well, as the preparation for the fight spends a lot of time focusing on how each red ranger thinks he can use the other. Kairi knows Keiichiro will protect people, and Keiichiro, in turn, counts on Kairi’s greed and lust for the collection to guide him. In the end, both men behave as the other predicts, leading to Keiichiro actually saving Kairi’s life.

After forming Good Cool Kaiser X, the rangers are paired up based on their roles, with Noel, Kairi, and Keiichiro making up the “head” or lead section of the machine. Touma and Tsukasa end up on one side, with the remainder going to Sakuya and Umika. It makes for a brief but interesting exchange, and once the moment passes, the rangers get down to business and take on Destra.


Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 13

This week kicks off the Ghost Arc of Kamen Rider Zi-O, and features some big moments and returning characters. Kicking things off, we first meet Tenkuuji Takeru, Kamen Rider Ghost, and actor Nishime Shun returns to fill the role. Another Ghost appears, and Woz throws his lot in with the Time Jackers?! Though we are not told who he means, Woz tells Swartz, Hora, and Uhr about a man who will alter the course of history in regards to Oma Zi-O’s rise to power. It’s implied, at first, that this is Geiz, coming off the heels of Woz revealing his book can no longer accurately predict the future. It is a history book from a specific timeline, after all.

As Another Ghost continues to attack, Sougo, Takeru, and the others begin to discover a method to its seemingly chaotic attacks, and find that it is targeting people whose actions cause accidents resulting in the injury or death of Innocents. This starts with a factory, then a hot dog cart with a gas leak, and at the factory site, we learn that Another Ghost is, more or less, a zombie. The identity of Another Ghost is revealed in a way that paints it as a tragic figure, the Time Jackers using the man behind the mask for their own means.

When Decade does appear, he is using Agito form and the Neo Decadriver, and takes on Geiz and Sougo before leaving. An interesting point is that Decade is firmly with the Time Jackers here, if only to fill his normal passing-through role. Hora even offers to back any succession to power Decade might want, though he refuses. In the final moments of the episode, we get to see Takeru shine, as Sougo is seemingly killed and Takeru is the only one who can see or communicate with the ghost left behind.

I feel as though this would have been a slightly better way to resolve the “two Sougos” problem caused by the Gaim arc, but this could certainly still lead to some interesting developments. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing more of what Decade will bring to the table in the following weeks.


Garo: Kami No Kiba

This movie has been out for a while, but in the lead up to covering the current Garo series, Jinga, it seems appropriate to start with this movie. The movie focuses on a group of horrors trying to use a dark makai knight to power an ark called the God’s Fang (Kami no Kiba), on which they will build a new world. The movie is set in the Dougai Ryuga universe of Garo, latest in that timeline on its release. I highly recommend this film for anyone interested in watching the new series, but cannot recommend it as an entry point, as a lot of the plot points rely on prior knowledge of previous Garo series, characters, and lore. However, for veterans, this film marks a return to form for the live-action side of Garo.

To set up this ritual, this ark, a Makai priestess named Banbi begins stealing the armours of veteran knights, and this is how we meet the returning characters from the other Ryuga-verse Garo series.

The new Makai Knight, Jinga, is played by Kamen Rider Decade’s Masahiro Inoue, and is at once a madman and a warrior. The contrast, as well as his horror powers and fighting ability, set him up quickly as a threat, with three knights and a priest unable to defeat him at first. Though the end of the film doesn’t directly set up the next tv series, it is fittingly cinematic, with the cgi-heavy armoured combat being well choreographed, if at times a bit too jarringly quick.

Overall, I recommend giving this film a watch, if only to keep up with Garo continuity, and especially if you plan on watching Jinga. The series itself will be covered in This Week in Toku starting next week.


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

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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.

Trademark

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

 

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Power Rangers Confirmed for Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us” Season 3

After some teasing from the staff, it was officially confirmed during their San Diego Comic Con panel that Power Rangers will be one of the four toy brands featured in Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us” Season 3.

Last month, it was shown the staff of the show visited the headquarters of Toei in Japan. Likely to cover the Super Sentai portion of Power Rangers history. It was also shown the staff visited Hasbro, the new owners of the franchise.

 

The other toy franchises covered will be Wrestling, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and My Little Pony. It’s unknown when Season 3 will premiere.

Do you watch “The Toys That Made Us”? What do you want to see from this episode? Leave a comment below!

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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 16 Review

Yeah, science! We open on an explanation of why Ganglers explode when killed, and how they can be revived as Kaiju. The prevailing theory is that the safe is the Gangler’s core. Before they can go into too much detail, though, we are met by this week’s Gangler attacking a wedding. It’s an odd crab-stingray-man and the Lupinrangers waste no time in engaging. This new threat demonstrates a body-swapping ability early on by turning Umika into a bird. This classic trope is the setup for the episode, leading to some confusing shenanigans as another attempt at swapping a ranger and a bird is made, only to turn Touma into the Gangler himself.

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Touma, in a slightly foolish moment, attacks his own body right in time for the police to show up. Not knowing any better, they intervene and assume Touma is the same Touma they know from Jurer. The police know him by name, and they tell him to run, right in time for the real Touma, in the Gangler’s body, to be attacked by the police. The way it tries to swap back, for a moment, indicates that the power is a skill it has,not something connected to its Lupin Collection item.

There is a moment where it figures out it is attractive, by way of a pair of high school girls, while the monster Touma is simultaneously snuck home wrapped in a tarp. Everything in this episode screams of some missing levity returning to the plot. As always, Tsukasa is the first one to realize anything is off as the groups debate why Jurer is closed and where Touma is. The thieves react visibly, which would give them away in any other scenario. However, for plot reasons, their facial expressions are seemingly ignored.

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A small, but important detail, is that after the body swap, Touma and the Gangler keep their own voices. For much of this episode, the Gangler’s voice and constant, random, “Yayyyy!” Grated on my ears like nails on a chalkboard, even with as interesting as it was to see how the Gangler adapted to being a human. Tonally, the episode does make a brief diversion back to the heavier darkness of the last few episodes as Touma makes Kairi vow to stop this Gangler, even if it means killing Touma’s human body. The result is the same in the end as if they do nothing, he says, and it sets up a duel between Gangler Touma and Kairi, fighting for control of Touma’s body.

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A daring gamble on Kairi’s part leads to another dramatic moment, and then the fight resumes as the tone shifts back to the more familiar Sentai feel.

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With all three thieves, we see a new combination form for LupinKaiser, replacing the blue and yellow arms with green and black, for the ScissorBlade and Cyclone Dial Fighters.

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The battle comes to an end quickly after that, and things return to normal, with the police none the wiser. Back in Jurer, in a packed room full of all six main characters, the police call Touma out for skipping work, and caution Kairi and Umika about Touma slacking off to hang out with girls.

Next week, Keiichiro has a girlfriend?! Stay tuned and see. 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 15 Review

The Patorangers are in rough shape following the events of episode 14. Keiichiro remains hospitalized, and the others are up and moving but hurt. We open the episode on Commander Hilltop entering Bistro Jurer. He already knows the names of each Lupinranger, but does not let on that he knows more just yet, citing the bistro’s fame around the GSPO station. As it turns out, he has come to buy snacks to take to the hospitalized Patorangers. We get the first indication of a language barrier, indicating that Hilltop may be American, like actor Ike Nwala, who plays him.

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The curious line, “Hold me tight,” when Hilltop means to use the Japanese colloquialism, “Omimai,” is a nice way to diffuse some of the tension created by the commander’s presence in the bistro and the news of the Patorangers being injured. Overall, his tone is relatively light given the grave circumstances, and is meant to be reassuring. Par for the course, we eventually get our arc for the episode in the form of learning that Keiichiro can only be cured by the defeat of Togeno, the hitman Gangler from episode 14. Kaijin abilities are often removed in this way in Tokusatsu shows, and this series appears to be no exception. It’s a familiar plot device, but not an entirely unwelcome one.

Learning that the Patorangers are injured brings out another layer of that humanising depth and complexity seen in previous episodes for all of these characters, but none more so than Kairi, as he shares a moment with Tsukasa to learn how much the police are risking in the name of public safety. Having been confronted with the very real possibility of the death of his rival, Kairi is clearly conflicted, perhaps even hurting. As much as it would make the Phantom Thieves’ job easier to have the police out of the way, they have gotten to know the Patorangers on a personal level through regular contact at Jurer, and may even consider them friends, in a way.

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Togeno, shamed and shunned by Boss Dogranio, goes on a rampage, and here we see Touma’s first contact with the Gangler. No longer content to use the poison quills from his own body, Togeno now carries a rifle, fitting for his profession when in human form.

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Even badly hurt, Sakuya is willing to jump right back into the fight on hearing of Togeno’s return, but finds Tsukasa suiting up at the station when he arrives to do the same. Tsukasa insists they will fight smarter, coming up with an effective plan to bring down Togeno.

This is how we learn Sakuya is a trained sniper, and in Tsukasa’s plan, Sakuya will put that skill to the test, setting up an exciting gun battle between himself and Togeno. Sadly, we never truly get to see this play out as we get Sakuya dual wielding VS changers instead. It would have been exciting to see Sakuya shine, as his sharpshooting training indicates his background may be more layered and nuanced than his simple joking personality may suggest. As GSPO is a global organization, there exists a possibility that he may have military training, maybe even as part of NATO. This revelation would open the world of Lupinranger vs Patoranger to more possibilities and a large crossover event at some point, especially if this continuity is the same as Dekaranger.

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Keiichiro makes his return, barely able to stand. A combined shot, cooperatively made after Umika intervenes, defeats the Kaijin-sized Togeno and allows for him to be resurrected as a Kaiju.

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The mecha scene shows the debut of the Crane and Drill form of PatKaiser.

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After Togeno is defeated, the poison that had spread ceases to be, and the team is healed of their sickness. The preview for next week sets up a new conflict between Touma and the rest of both teams, as he is bodyswapped with a Gangler.

Also included is a preview for the fantastic-looking Uchuu Sentai Kyuranger vs Uchuu Keiji Gavan.

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