First off, I’m glad to be back to review the latest season of Super Sentai! I have a feeling that this season will be easy to write about, as Uchu Sentai Kyuranger is already off to a strong start. I admittedly have a bias - I'm a sucker for space-themed media, and this season's constellation theme is fun and consistently-well executed. Speaking of fun, the characters and the general upbeat energy made Kyuranger's debut an entertaining ride.
This show already seems more bold and unique than Zyuohger, which had a great cast but was rather lackluster. Obviously, it was a bold choice to have a show with nine rangers. It was an even bolder choice to introduce all of them in the opening theme song (and in pre-debut promotions) without including them all in the first episode. The mystery of who will be the 6th (and 7th/8th/9th) Kyuranger is nonexistent. This implies to me that the writers are confident that the story will have enough intrigue and strength without the character reveals.
If we're as lucky as Lucky, the story will be as interesting as the show's designs. These suits are the best I’ve seen in a long time. Each are incredibly unique, and I appreciate the details on each one – such as Garu’s furry-textured suit. Hammy’s the coolest looking green since…honestly, maybe Zyuranger? Greens don't normally get cool designs. The glitter effect on the helmets and the transparent, color plastics of the Globes and other items keep a fun, celestial toy vibe that reminds me of the 1990s.
While are the designs are unique, they have a cohesion that Zyuohger never did. The odd animal/cube aesthetic fell flat, and I never got used to their literal animal suits (although I did grow fond of the helmets). The styling of the Kyurangers' suits and mechs make up for the inconsistencies in CGI, which ranges from surprisingly decent to awfully cheesy.
I was also impressed by the new henshin; the transformations are quick, brutal (pretty sure some grunts were thrown back just by the power of the Star Change), and awesome. As both a toku and magical girl fan, I'm sick of long transformations. Plus, Lucky wastes any extra screen time available for an extended henshin scene with his constant exclamations of luck.
Speaking of Lucky, this season's Red is no Yamato. I prefer my Reds to be more Lawful or Neutral Good than Chaotic Good, but I’m willing to give Lucky a chance. I hope he lays off on his catchphrase a bit – we get it, luck is his gimmick. But a warrior who only succeeds through luck is not an entertaining or inspiring one.
I’m also not a big fan of warriors who can only communicate with their fists. While this tactic was effective with the stubborn Garu, I don’t want fights on random beaches between Lucky and prospective Kyurangers to become a regular thing…even if it does sound cooler when it is written out like that.
Spada and Hammy are fun, albeit one-dimensional characters. I hope their origins are quickly revealed. Currently Garu is the most developed character, with a classic angst-filled, tragic backstory. Champ is a downright cool, weight-lifting Taurus-themed robot, and that’s really all the development he needs. With such a huge cast, it will be hard for Kyuranger to strike a balance, and I hope that this doesn’t result in some potential interesting characters being put on the back-burner.
So far we know little about the baddies, Jark Matter, beyond their identity as an evil Shogunate that has conquered the 88 constellation systems. Like the Kyurangers, I hope that they are developed a bit further. Toku fans are familiar with the galactic evil empire trope, but what is Jark Matter’s end game? What makes them so strong?
While I’m a bit concerned about the character development, I am still very excited about Kyuranger’s potential. It already seems like the show is setting up to be something great - or at the very least, something memorable.
To get started with Disqus head to the Settings panel.