Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger – Part 2 (Episode 25 – 48 + 100 Years After)

So we’re doing things a little differently with Kyoryuger. But there’s a reason for it. I promise. It’ll all make sense eventually but first let’s take a look at some villains and designs.

So last time I introduced you to the team and the basic story of Kyoryuger. This time I’m gonna talk about what ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the show: the villains. And the mechs. But only one movie. I’ll explain that at the end.

When talking about the villains there’s really five names you should know: Chaos, Dogold, Aigallon, Candelira and Luckyuro. Chaos is the leader and somewhat ironically the least interesting of the five and therefor that’s all you need to know about him. His entire personality is about reviving Deboth himself and that’s it. He’s boring.

He, on the other hand, have three knights or generals, whatever you want to call them. Each of them embodies one of three emotions: anger, sadness and joy.

Initially the most important of the three is Raging Knight Dogold. He’s a living set of armor that fought Ucchi back in the day so the two are very much intertwined. The heavy bruiser of the initial villain lineup, he’s confident in his own abilities to a fault and is prone to losing control to his anger easily. And out of the three knights, he’s the one who stays the most similar up until the end. Though there’s a definite arc to his story, very tightly tied to Ucchi’s, he also seems to disappear into the background for a long chunk of time in the middle. Which is a shame because what little of his crisis is revealed, he seems to carry a pretty heavy burden. Being a living set of armor, he has to, most often, force himself upon another person in order to live. As such he sees himself as little more than a parasite, sucking the life out of someone else in order to stay alive and his quest to find a body that will last a long time takes him into some interesting territories.

And it’s hard to fault his desire to stay alive, one of the most basic things in the entire universe. You have to wonder what his life would be like if he wasn’t so angry all the time, perhaps he could find a willing host? A victim or the cause of his own strife?

The second villain worth talking about is the Sorrowful Knight Aigaron (I’m assuming a pun on Eye and gallon?). As his knight title implies he represents sadness and his task is to make people… well, cry. Or feel sadness. In the beginning he’s not a very effective villain, more bumbling than menacing. However, as the series progresses it becomes clear that he has feelings for Candelira and this changes his outlook on life in general.

Out of all the knights, he’s probably the one who undergoes the most change during the series. His fate is also exceptionally cruel and tied intimately with Ian, Kyoryu Black. But it doesn’t end as one might expect, the two’s relationship ending in a strange place when you consider where it began. Sadly, like Dogold, he also becomes sidelined for a long time in the middle, only appearing occasionally with a stupid plan. However, after seemingly sacrificing himself in a bid to take out the Kyoryugers, he returns a changed man.

He’s also fiercely strong, he may look weak and considering his theme of sadness you’d think he was a pathetic fighter. But more than once he intervenes and changes the tide of battle, a knight not in name only.

Last of the knights, but not least, is Joyful Knight Candelira. The most out of place of the three knights and… villains in general, she embodies love and happiness. She abhors violence and her catchphrase is “Keep smilin’!”. It’s shown early on that she really doesn’t fit in with the other villains, her schemes far more beneficial to humans than her counterpart’s plans. The worst she ever does is entrance people to get in the Kyoryuger’s way rather than outright attack them. Despite this, a number of monsters and villains throughout the series suggest that she is the strongest knight of the three, a fact that was put to the test in the finale.

Like Dogold and Aigalon before her, she has a connection with one of the Kyoryugers, this one not as harmful as the other two’s. Instead it’s with Kyoryu Blue and it’s a budding romance. Like the other two knights, her relationship with one of the Kyoryugers is instrumental in showing how much the villain grows and changes over the course of the story. Or in this case, rather how she slowly comes out of her shell and accepts that she, in fact, isn’t much of a villain at all.

The last villain I want to talk about is Funfilled Spy Luckyuro. Although calling her a villain feels a bit off since like Candelira she doesn’t really do a lot of harm (except for making monsters grow). As the series progresses she’s revealed to be more human than Deboth, striking up a friendship of sorts with KyoryuPink over their love for the same manga. And that all she really wants out of life is to be… well, happy and is constantly at odds with Chaos who finds her to be quite annoying.

However, unlike Candelira, Luckyuro doesn’t really embody an emotion and more serves as a lieutenant to all the knights. Though she does share a special bonds with Candelira as the two are close friends. I’ll get into why this is so important in the finale as discussing the relationship between the knights and why it’s so important is… kind of spoilerish.

I love the design of the above mentioned villains though I’m less crazy about Chaos (another reason I just don’t care about him). They’re very nostalgic to me, very playful and oldschool somehow. They’re also based (loosely I’d say) on the Wizard of Oz though I personally find it to be more of a superficial influence than anything truly intrinsic. I didn’t even think about that until someone pointed it out to me and I kinda went “Huh… okay, I guess I can see that.” To clarify, Aigallon is the tinman, Dogold the lion, Luckyuro is the scarecrow and Candelira is Dorothy (and some say Chaos is the Wicked Witch but I genuinely don’t see that).

This love also carries over to the monsters who I just found… enjoyable. They’re considerably less serious than the sentais that immediately precedes this one, with more wacky plans and hijinks than you can shake your fist at. Their attacks and personalities are also equally wacky, straying closer to childishly dumb than mature yet childish. Design-wise this is a series that skews towards a younger audience than, I’d say, at least the last two years and probably a bit further than that. Many monsters are inspired by everyday household items but done up in very comedic ways. This might put off older viewers for sure but at the end of the day the show is for kids. Besides, this series finds maturity in other areas that I found quite surprising.

But again, more on that next post.

Next let’s talk quickly about the mechs before moving on to the next movie review. This is one where I’m a bit torn, especially on how they handled them. The individual mechs, as in the dinosaurs themselves, the Zyudenryu are pretty sweet with a special pat on the shoulder for the badass T-rex mecha, Gabutyra who is, for a large chunk of the show, practical effects. Clearly inspired by the realistic dinosaur suits we’ve been seeing around these last few years, Gabutyra looks and moves pretty damn well. I was actually quite surprised when he was revealed as I fully expected him to be 3D animation, like the other Zyudenryu.

And for the most part I enjoy the combined mechs as well. When the primary one, Kyoryuzin, was revealed the first time I was pleasantly surprised, expecting another super cluttered design like it normally is when there’s that many individual pieces (dinosaurs). The only thing I didn’t really like was the shoulder-head as it just looks incredibly unwieldy and… not nice. I also have to admit that I laughed more than once during the combination sequence as one poor dinosaur had to latch onto Gabutyra’s… well, butt. Sorry, I know it’s childish but where his left arm is is where the butthole would be… thereabouts, anyhow.

And I loved the way he could exchange arms. Instead of cramming every single dinosaur into a single design he could switch out the arms for different attacks and abilities and… I approve of that. And the mechs that followed I found mostly okay as well. Pteraiden-Oh was pretty cool, inspired by a typical knight-design but I hated the chest mounted head. And Plezu-Oh was also pretty cool except for that thing on its head. So overall I liked them, regardless of flaws.

However, I began having an issue when they began combining with each other. And while they weren’t necessarily cluttered, they weren’t… practical either. And while most of them just annoyed me (because as soon as they start combining, the early mechs become obsolete) the one that really irked me was the final combination, Cho Kamitsuki Gattai Gigant Kyoryuzin. Or to put it short, the Dinosaur God combination. It was just plain and simply ugly. And clumsy. And ugly. And stupid. And ugly.

Really, the only one I liked virtually 100% was Bragi-Oh.

Clean and simple design, very cool weapons and simple colors with an obvious reference to their inspiration. The music that plays when he transforms just pumps you up something fierce and while a bit overstated with the gold details, I none the less find him very appealing to look at. Sadly he’s also criminally underused and I think they immediately go from this form to the Dinosaur God form in the episode he was introduced, showing just how much they weren’t planning on using this. And I think he only shows up in a handful of episodes and plays an active part in maybe two or three. And that’s god damned criminal.

So, that’s it for build up, you should have a pretty good idea on things going into the finale. So next I’ll discuss the last movie they released for this series. And yes, I’m skipping right to the last movie they made because I want to discuss Kyoryuger vs. Go-Busters in a separate post for… reasons. Deal with it!

WARNING! There will be spoilers (of sorts) about the ending of the series in the review that follows. I’ll try to keep spoilers light but there’s only so much I can do.

Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger: 100 Years After
(Toei, 2014)

There’s been 100 years of peace since the Kyoryugers defeated Deboth and saved the day. But when the Deboth Army suddenly revives, a new generation of Kyoryugers must take their place. But their replacements are… a bit underwhelming. Under the leadership of Candelira and Luckyuro, the new rangers are thrust into the fight whether they want to or not. But can they overcome their problems and become a true team? The answer may come from an unexpected source in the past.

It’s time for another V-Cinema release. This one tells the story of what happens to the world of the Kyoryugers 100 years into the future. And it’s… amusing. I think that’s the best word for it. There’s a very self-aware humor permeating the entire movie and you can tell they had a lot of fun with this movie. Both writing and acting it. Each actor gets an opportunity to play someone a little different than their Kyoryuger role and the writers really went to town with the puns and sarcasm this time.

We’re thrust into the action right from the start but can tell something’s not quite right and the villains pick up on it too, schooling the new Kyoryugers on what it means to be a sentai. Not only do they complain about their lack of teamwork but their inability to dance and the fact that their color choices are all kinds of wrong. There’s too much blue, for instance, and why are there two silvers? Well, one is gray and the other is silver but there really isn’t much of a difference, is there?

Inevitably they get the colors right and the proper Kyoryugers is formed yet again but the story of how they got their colors wrong and why no-one could remember what their color was was surprisingly well woven into the story. Rather than just being a throw-away gag it actually did matter to the story… well, they gave an excuse for it, at the very least. I do think it’s a bit of a coward’s way out, it would’ve been fun to see them actually using their new colors rather than going back to their ancestor’s but I guess you don’t sell many toys that way.

The one thing I wasn’t particularly impressed with was the villains as there was really only one new. But this is basically just a big excuse to reuse a lot of old costumes so I was hardly surprised by this. And for what it’s worth, I kinda like the new villain even if he was poorly established. I mean, he turns out to be Deboth’s regret or something? I dunno, his motivations confused me quite a bit. But that’s okay, this wasn’t about him so I don’t care.

I’m also quite surprised that they dared suggest some of the Kyoryugers in the past ended up having sex and children and stuff. Hell, it confirms that some of the budding romances from the series ended up “fruitful” in the end and I don’t think I’ve seen that before.

It did also continue a pretty significant theme of the series and gave the team the sendoff they kind of deserved in the end which was nice. I mean, we’re going to see them again down the road, both in crossovers and something, as far as I know, unique in terms of sentai: a Korean sequel series. But if this is the canonical way Kyoryugers end then it’s not a half bad way to go and I actually didn’t mind this movie as much as I normally dislike V-Cinema releases. And it speaks to Toei’s new willingness to actually expand the series beyond what they were and… I approve of that.

So here’s to Kyoryugers and the future! See you next time when I’ll be picking the series apart a bit more!

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