Zyuranger Episodes 17-22
August 3, 2015
Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating The Flash
Mighty and morphin', but also dicks to children.
(We start off today's episode with Linkara dressed as the Green Ranger)
Linkara: Hello and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall. You know, a little known fact about me is that I am a fan of Power Rangers. I'll give you a moment to recover from that shocking revelation.
Linkara (vo): On the off chance you know nothing about Power Rangers, other than it features a bunch of multi-colored spandex heroes...
(Clip from Power Rangers RPM)
Doctor K: That... is not... spandex! The material is a self-assembling nano--
Linkara (vo): Whatever. The point is if all you know about it is that, the thing to note about all of its various seasons is that the majority of its action sequences come from a long running list of shows (clip of Power Rangers: Dino Thunder where the group watches the Japanese version, Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger) all classified as Super Sentai. It's kind of ingenious, really. While work still needs to be done to refoley and redub these sequences, you save a bunch of money on effects but don't have the awkwardness of dubbing that can make it look like a poorly recorded Godzilla movie.
Linkara: But since they started first and have been going on longer and have different quality standards than America, Super Sentai often has radically different plots than Power Rangers. Fortunately, hitting rubber suited monsters is a universal constant.
Linkara (vo): Now me personally, I'm just not interested in Super Sentai because it was Power Rangers that I grew up with. I don't doubt the quality of those shows, and I might even check them out later for funsies, but it's the American series with their puns and dangerous pink energy, and evil pizzas that are no match for a simple stoplight that will always be the thing I choose to behold.
Linkara: But then we have Patreon sponsored reviews so people can make me watch or read something against my will and here we are now. I am your obedient review puppet.
Linkara (vo): And thus we have this particular string of episodes for Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger (pronounced Joo-ranger)...
Linkara: Hey don't look at me like that. It's how it's pronounced.
Linkara (vo): ...a series about a group of warriors from an ancient human society that coexisted with dinosaurs until the evil witch Bandora waged war on the dinosaurs and wiped them out.
Linkara: Still a more accurate dinosaur history than Marville.
Linkara (vo): The five warriors were placed in suspended animation, because in fiction, ancient civilizations are more advanced than us, hence why they're all so easily destroyed. Before being awakened by the wizard Barza to contend with Bandora. Bandora herself had been exiled to another planet by Guardian Beasts. Said Guardian Beasts then lent their power to the five warriors so they could become multicolored fighters.
Linkara: But today's review gives us the sixth member of the ensemble, and the one that on American TV ended up becoming quite possibly the most popular Power Ranger of all time. Let's dig into Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger episodes 17 through 22 and see what I make of this stuff.
(We go to the opening sequence and the title card, which uses the Zyuranger theme)
Linkara (vo): The theme song of the show introduces us to our five heroes as well as a bunch of stop motion puppets resembling their ancient animals. Eat your heart out, Spielberg. The first thing that I notice about the song, especially in comparison to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is how much more mellow this theme song is.
Theme song: The legendary warriors/Zyuranger, Zyuranger/The hope that crosses time
Linkara (vo): Sure it has its exciting bits, but it's like "Yeah we got cool weapons, but it's not all that big a deal." So anyway, let's jump into the first scene of this children's show.
Bandora (Machiko Soga): Satan of hell!
Linkara: Damn it! Why didn't we have the Power Rangers fighting Satan and not just the Sentai? The Power Rangers could have stopped One More Day!
Linkara (vo): So after Bandora finishes pledging her allegiance to Spencer's Gifts, the Longbox of the Damned skull transmits a message to her crystal ball.
(Clip from Mystery Science Theater 3000)
Tom Servo: You've got mail.
Linkara (vo): The crystal ball shows a little boy who will apparently be important for her wish to destroy the Zyurangers. Said boy, in tiny shorts, because Japan, realizes that today is a special day and looks under the floorboards of his home. There, he discovers a chest and a green key within it that starts glowing. Enjoy the radiation, kid. And then smash cut to a dude surrounded by candles and covered in wax? Gotta say, this cemetery has a crappy maintenance staff for cleaning the crypts. However the kid's big nosed, and I mean obviously fake big nose even by low budget standards, grandpa arrives to try to get the key back from him. Naturally since this was of vital importance, he went home in his slow moving construction vehicle.
Gnome (Rikiya Iwaki): You took the key out, didn't you, Ryota?! Give me back the key!
Ryota (Hiroki Uemura): No! Stop Grandpa!
Linkara (vo): (singing) This is the song written for the kid chase. His grandpa will get back the key. He tried to kill him with a forklift. (normal) However it's not Gamera who comes to this child's aid, but the Zyurangers, who I guess have child danger sense or something. Also, two of our brave ancient guardians are smacked off the forklift by an octogenarian with a fake nose and sunglasses. Apparently the old guy is named Gnome who had previously helped the Zyurangers defeat whatever the hell they called Pudgy Pig in Japanese*. They try again to stop Gnome from killing his grandson, but Barza the wizard shows up in his very wizardly...white truck. He tells the five not to interfere.
- Pudgy Pig is called Dora Circe in Zyuranger
Linkara: Satan, child murder and tiny shorts. (Thumb up) Thanks, Japan!
Linkara (vo): Apparently the key gives the kid incredible leaping powers since he's able to jump up and out of the way of the two attacking old guys. You know, I'm pretty sure this was a scene in Superman Returns. Our heroes finally grab the kid.
Ryota: I'm Gnome's grandson.
Geki (Yuta Mochizuki): His grandson? So you are a fairy too?
(Ryota's ears enlarge and become pointy. Linkara is quite stunned)
Linkara: You know, I wasn't expecting to need alcohol this early, but...here we are.
Linkara (vo): The kid, Ryota, explains there was a sixth warrior placed into hibernation and he goes by the name Burai. He also tells them he likes shorts because they're comfortable and easy to wear. Gnome apparently also lived back then and was the one to put him to sleep. Since he's more powerful than all five of them, and is the only one who can defeat Bandora.
Linkara: Why didn't he defeat her the first time? Was he on break when Bandora killed the dinosaurs?
Linkara (vo): Anyway because magic or whatever, Burai can only be woken on the same day he was put to sleep.
Ryota: And that day came for the first time! That's today!
Linkara: So there were no other June 19ths in the last 170 million years? Is it like a leap year or something in this universe?
Linkara (vo): Ryota runs off when the Rangers wanna hear the explanation of why the old guys don't want to wake up Burai. And back at headquarters, the other Rangers are reading their giant book of plot details. Seriously, I've never understood why huge books are considered much more impressive or mystical. Doesn't it just make it cumbersome and more difficult to read, which defeats the entire point? And then Bandora calls them up just to tell them how Burai is gonna be woken up, even though she has no reason to call, which even they point out. Meanwhile the great wizard Barza and the ancient Gnome fairy guy...are raiding Ted Nugent's pantry for machine guns and grenades.
Gnome: We don't know any attack magic, so these are the only way.
(Linkara is holding up an assault rifle)
Linkara: (as Gnome) I know that this will teach my grandson a very valuable lesson about stealing things.
Gnome: Between you and me, we've decided not to wake up Burai. And we promised that we will never reveal the real reason.
Linkara: Guntoting old men who keep unnecessary secrets from those around them. I'm starting to think 170 million years might be a good retirement age.
Linkara (vo): Speaking of, Ryota and the two Rangers arrive at the cave and are immediately attacked by some squibs, I mean Gnome and Barza. (in old man voice) The South shall rise again! (normal) Ryota runs forward to go to the cave and his loving grandfather opens fire on him. You know, I'd just like to remind you that the only evil thing the supposed villain of the show has done is say "Hail Satan" while the good guys chase a little kid, shoot at him, and toss grenades at him.
Geki: Barza, stop it!
(Barza has thrown grenades at Ryota. Cut to a clip of Llamas With Hats)
Carl: I do not kill people. That is--that is my least favorite thing to do.
Linkara (vo): Bandora unleashes Grifforzar and a squad of Golem Soldiers at the group, although all I can think of is how Grifforzar is giant sized right now and could easily stomp on them while the Golems distract them. But whatever, time for the epic transformation sequence.
(The Rangers grab their bucklers and push them out to the screen)
(We get a shot of the t-rex before cutting to the team as the Zyurangers)
Linkara (vo): Huh, I guess they all use the t-rex now? Anyway, they summon their Guardian Beasts which form into Daizu...Daiju...Dai... The Megazord. Anyway, Ryota opens the door and is sent flying out, Burai waking up and having the worst case of morning breath I have ever seen. However, turns out Burai is kind of a dick since he leaps up to them, tells them to go to hell, and starts kicking their asses.
(Burai as the Dragon Ranger shoots out a green fireball at them)
Linkara: You know, I just realized... I don't think he ever does that energy ball thing ever again. At least not in Power Rangers anyway. I mean what, is it a one time thing where he just (as Linkara waves his hands, a fireball starts appearing) waves his hands together and--(He then shoots out a fireball. He tries it again, but nothing happens) Huh. That was a waste.
Linkara (vo): So naturally after this dangerous new warrior appears and kicks the asses of our heroes, there can only be one thing to see in the end credits: goofy hijinks and silly music.
End song: We'd love to go to the galaxy/Anything is possible with courage
Linkara (vo): Yeesh, and I thought Blake's Seven's ending was mood whiplash. Anyway, from "The Sixth Hero," we move onto "The Hate-Filled Brother's Sword." It seems like a bit of a mouthful for a sword name, but it is a +3 to stamina, so I think it evens out. Anyway, it turns out that Burai is the older brother of Geki the Red Ranger.
Linkara: Oh my god. If red and green can't work together, how will we save Christmas?
Linkara (vo): Geki's a little confused about this, since people usually remember when they have an older sibling. And just to add onto the shocking revelation train, Barza tells Geki that he's actually adopted. The king and queen of their tribe were without a child and so they just decided, "Eh, we'll just take some peasant's kid. I mean they've already got one." However apparently the people were a little pissed off that their monarchs could just take kids from them whenever they wanted. So their was a rebellion in their tribe led by Geki's biological father. It did not end well.
After he swore to avenge his father's death, Burai went to live with Gnome's people and worked on training himself to eventually usurp the throne. And since Geki is heir to the throne, he's gonna be the one who gets the Inigo Montoya speech...despite the fact this kingdom no longer exists and he's still his biological brother who was stolen from his normal life as a baby, and Burai knows that full well since he saw it happen.
Linkara: Let's not even get into the fact that even if Barza and Gnome didn't want to reveal the full details, they could have still just said "Burai hates Geki. Long story, if you release him, he will try to kill you all."
Linkara (vo): And Bandora just likes to watch Burai as he stares at crashing waves.
Bandora: It's getting interesting.
Linkara: (as Bandora) This is better than my soaps.
(Burai is seen standing on a cliff brooding)
Bandora: Let's pre-celebrate! Let's all dance together! Start the music!
Linkara: (pumping his fists) Bandora's dance party, woo!
Bandora: You foolish humans. I'm the biggest witch of all...
Linkara (vo): You know, I hear Bandora's single went double platinum.
Bandora: (singing) Do-Dora Dora Do-Do-Dora Dora/Do-Do-Ra-Ra Do-Do-Ra-Ra Bandora
Linkara (vo): What's odd is that this isn't the weirdest Lady Gaga music video I've ever seen.
(Bandora and her group teleport down to earth)
Bandora: (singing) Stupid humans are the ones/Who are dirtying Earth
Linkara (vo): So is this just like a regular jam session for her? She'll stop trying to take over the Earth and bring everyone on a picnic to sing and stuff?
Bandora: Do-Do-Ra-Ra Do-Do-Ra-Ra Bandora/Do-Dora Dora Do-Do-Dora Dora
Linkara: The new theme song for Dora the Explorer is weird.
Linkara (vo): However it seems Burai is not impressed with Bandora's musical talents, but she's a good sport, deciding to help him out by...making him fly away and go on an acid trip, but in this...wherever it is, is the sword Hellfriede.
Burai (Shiro Izumi): Darn it! Geki! I'll defeat you and conquer the world!
Linkara (vo): What you gotta love about Bandora is that she keeps a healthy routine for herself on that bicycle. Anyway Burai gets the sword and, well...
(Burai is shown holding Hellfriede in the air gaining its power while the audio for the opening of He-Man plays)
Prince Adam: (voice only) By the Power of Grayskull.
He-Man: I have the Power!
Linkara (vo): Geki is lured out to a fight, but naturally Geki really doesn't want to fight and gets his ass handed to him. You know it's said that the sparks thing is supposed to be a substitute for blood, but it really doesn't stop the face bleeding here. Apparently this version of the Megazord--okay, Daizyuzin--can actually talk, giving Geki a sword and telling him to fight for great justice.
Geki: I can't fight against my own brother!
Daizyuzin: You fool!
(Daizyuzin fires lasers out of his eyes at Geki, knocking him back)
Linkara (vo): You know, if you can shoot lasers out of your eyes, maybe you oughtta be using that on Burai instead of the guy on your side.
Linkara: I'm noticing a trend that the heros are bigger assholes than the villains.
Linkara (vo): You know, come to think of it, if the Daizyuzin can move and talk on its own, why the hell does it need a cockpit for the rangers to go inside of? Anyway, from there, we move on to "Female Warrior Scorpion!" Said female warrior scorpion is Lamy, whom Bandora summons. However, right now, she's in the form of...a rock that very inconspicuously rolls around with scorpions on it. Those things must be pretty chill, too. You'd think they'd get smushed. Then again, the rock is only made of styrofoam. However, after beating up the rangers, the rock hatches to reveal (as captioned) "LAMY". I love the caption there. Otherwise, we'd confuse her with someone else.
Lamy: Idiot! I'm a genuine executive of Miss Bandora. My name is Secret Agent Lamy!
Linkara: You know what? I buy that this woman is a secret agent. She rolled around inside of a giant rock without a single person noticing until she attacked. Next Metal Gear game, I want Secret Agent Lamy as the main character.
Linkara (vo): Just imagine if someone was doing a series of retrospective videos on this show, and then completely neglected to mention her! Oh, and Lamy is actually Grifforzar's wife.
Linkara: Hot monkey-on-scorpion action.
Linkara (vo): What I love about this is that Bandora is actually a pretty supportive boss. Not only do they have regular jam sessions, but she reunited Grifforzar and Lamy, and even promised promotions and rewards to her minions for a job well done.
Linkara: It's so weird for me to run into evil dictators who know how to keep their employees happy. Is she hiring?
Linkara (vo): Anyway, after a subplot involving dinosaur eggs - long story - we're brought to our next episode, "Daizyuzin's Last Day".
Narrator: Daizyuzin. Height: 41.7m. Weight: 570 t. It can destroy a mountain with one punch.
Linkara: And he's single, ladies.
Linkara (vo): So it turns out the rangers don't actually know much about Daizyuzin, but there is one thing they're certain of.
Barza: We are benefiting from Daizyuzin, but we don't know much about it other than it's God.
Linkara: I am interested in hearing more about this religion where God is a giant Gestalt robot.
Linkara (vo): Bandora launches a major attack on the city to force the rangers to summon Daizyuzin, even threatening some kindergartners in a bus. However, Barza soon learns the answer: there's gonna be a total eclipse.
Barza: Daizyuzin's power comes from a mysterious power called Gaiatron, which derived from nature and solar power.
Linkara: His carbon footprint is nowhere near as big as his actual footprint...which tends to smush the trees that he draws his power from.
Linkara (vo): You know...you guys have guns. Hell, Gnome and Mr. Wizard have actual guns and grenades too. I'm betting you can shoot them without summoning the big robot. Anyway, the eclipse begins, and Bandora makes Lamy grow...which, for some reason, turns her into a lobster monster, I think. Anyway, they're able to fight off Lamy and Grifforzar for a bit, hoping to run away to last out the eclipse, but then Bandora makes Burai grow too. It's something that doesn't happen very often in Power Rangers or Sentai, but it's always cool when it does. Anyway, the onslaught of the three is too much, and the Guardian Beasts are sent, well, into hell, it looks like. So, yeah. That's a bummer. But hey, at least the day-for-night is over. Next up is "The Guardian Beast's Great Riot".
Dan (Hideki Fujiwara): Daizyuzin!
Linkara: (as Dan) Can you toss up the air freshener?
(Cut to Bandora's base, where three Golem soldiers are playing the trumpet)
Linkara: Seriously, Bandora! Why are you trying to take over the world when you could start the greatest band in the universe?!
Linkara (vo): During the celebration, Burai decides to finally betray Bandora, but she's not the evil witch for nothing, blasting him so hard he falls back down to Earth. It's definitely something more disappointing when it comes to Power Rangers versus Super Sentai here. Rita Repulsa never really did much in terms of actively fighting any of the rangers or showing off her own power. Sure, she would occasionally cast a spell, but lightning blasts like that? I recall her doing it once. (clip is shown from Power Rangers: In Space of Rita firing at Divatox) Against another villain. And she missed. Anyway, Burai finds himself in the company of the littlest Klansman. I'm just wondering how that ball is so bouncy against dirt.
Burai: Who are you?
Clotho: Come with me.
Linkara: (as Clotho, waving his arms) I am the ghost of Christmas past.
Linkara (vo): And then Burai is pulled away by the ball. Really kind of having a day, isn't he? Dude helped destroy God and can whoop the asses of the rangers, but is getting tossed around by powder here. The kid, being a dick, says that he's stuck in this dimension, inside of it he will never age - but if he leaves, he'll only have 30 hours to live.
Linkara: Look, kid, I think there are easier ways of finding people to play ball with you.
Burai: Are you kidding me? Who will believe such a silly story?
Linkara: You are a 170 million year old guy who lived alongside dinosaurs before moving in with gnomes and fairies, and you were just exiled from the moon by an evil pop-singer witch, and you transform into a spandex-clad superhero, who sometimes grows giant-sized to battle robots! (beat) This is not the weirdest thing that's happened to you lately!
Linkara (vo): After failing to attack the kid --
Linkara: The alternate title for this show was "We Hate Children".
Linkara (vo): -- he hands Burai a new weapon: the Zyusouken, a.k.a. the Dragon Dagger.
Clotho: Zyusouken can be a flute, too.
Linkara: (as Clotho) Your European tour with Bandora starts next week.
Linkara (vo): Using the dagger, he teleports out of the place and plays the flute.
(Scene is shown of Burai playing the flute on a rooftop, set to "Down Under" by Men at Work)
Linkara (vo): So here's what I don't get: the flute summons the Dragonzord-- err, Dragon Caesar, I get that part, but was it always there? You mean, it's just been sitting there for, like, 170 million years and nobody saw it? Anyway, the thing goes on a rampage, as it would want to do, since it's essentially Mechagodzilla. (clip is shown of Dragon Caesar biting into a red-and-white pole) OM-NOM-NOM! However, the fun stops when Burai spots Geki helping some victims of the attack.
Burai: How could you, Geki!
Linkara: (as Burai) How dare you try to help the people I've hurt and killed!
Linkara (vo): Realizing what a colossal douchebag Burai is, Geki swears to finally fight him...not that it does much good against finger missiles. Barza, in the meantime, goes to some temple to appeal to the Gods to bring back the Guardian Beasts.
Burai: Please bring back the Guardian Beasts one more time! I beg you!
Linkara: (as the Gods) Well, Barza, if you can't take care of your pets properly.
Linkara (vo): The episode ends with Bandora unleashing Grifforzar and Lamy against the Dragon Caesar without much success, bringing us to the final episode of the arc: "Combine! Gouryuzin".
(Burai is shown playing the same four notes on the flute repeatedly)
Linkara (vo): So here's a thought: he's just playing the same damn notes over and over again. Are we sure he's actually controlling the thing? Seems like Dragon Caesar just likes that tune and thinks that's its battle theme. Barza is successful in bringing back the Guardian Beasts, meaning we literally saved the day through prayer. Well, okay, Barza explains that the magma contains Gaiatron energy, so all it did was heal them, but come on! It happened right after he was done praying. (clip is shown of Guardian Beasts in the clouds) And hey, look, they are in Heaven now. (set to clip of T-rex) Avenge me, Simba. Grifforzar and Lamy so the Guardian Beasts can fight it out. The T-rex and Dragon Caesar go one-on-one, same as Burai and Geki, including yet another one-off power for the green ranger. This one involves playing his flute while walking Geki, creating an energy shield when Geki finally realizes "Hey, I've got a gun." Geki finally gets the upper hand and defeats Burai. In Giant-Robot-ville, Daizyuzin is formed and body slams Dragon Caesar.
Linkara: Oh, where the hell is the ref? This match should have been called as a DQ as soon as the other Guardian Beasts entered the fight!
Linkara (vo): Daizyuzin tells Geki he has to finish off Burai, but of course, he's not gonna kill his own brother. He even tells Burai that if it'll end his hatred, to go right ahead and kill him...and, of course, he can't bring himself to do it either.
Linkara: See? Sometimes boys just need to work out their aggression by punching each other a lot. Now, you two kids go up to your room and find a nice game to play.
Linkara (vo): He gives up his hatred, which causes the sword to disintegrate for some reason.
Daizyuzin: The evil has disappeared from Burai's heart. His hatred is gone.
Linkara (vo): Well, that was...easy. Who knew all he had to say was "come at me, bro" and that would end it? The six morph into a roll call, but what's more, Daizyuzin demonstrates that Dragon Caesar can join with some of the other beasts to become Gouryuzin. Unfortunately, things don't exactly end on a happy note, as Burai teleports back to ghost land and is informed he only has 25 hours and 10 minutes left.
Burai: Who are you?
Clotho: I'm the Spirit of Life, Clotho.
Burai: Spirit of Life, Clotho?
Linkara: (as Clotho, with his hands up) I am Clotho. My washer load must only be whites.
Linkara (vo): Also, for a Spirit of Life, you seem to have a lot of fun killing a guy. And so the episode ends with the other rangers wondering where the hell Burai disappeared to.
Linkara: (makes a gesture as though he's holding the DVD) These episodes were-- (realizes he's not holding the DVD, so he grabs it off the shelf behind him and retakes) These episodes were...perfectly okay...although I still think I prefer Green with Evil.
Linkara (vo): Don't get me wrong, this series, what little of it I've seen, is just fine and these episodes are perfectly entertaining in their own right. That being said, a lot of the drama feels a teensy bit forced in places. Geki not wanting to fight his brother and then ultimately deciding he needs to is handled very well, but Burai's complete dickishness is kind of confusing. There's a bit of a difference between "wanting revenge" and "take over the world"! Even if his goals aligned with Bandora, she's still the one who ultimately screwed over your world and forced you to wait 170 million years in a cocoon, man. His turn back to goodness was forced too. As soon as the two fought each other, that was enough for him to give up his hatred? Again, he waited 170 million years for this revenge! And why did the sword disintegrate when he changed sides? It made sense in Power Rangers; the spell to keep him evil was temporary, and the sword kept it going.
And then there's just bizarre stuff like "let's murder the child to keep Burai from being freed" and continuation of dinosaur egg subplot from previous episodes that ultimately goes nowhere, since they go right back where they started. And then there's the destruction of Daizyuzin being undone so easily. Sure, in Power Rangers, the Zords had the same thing happen, although with less prayer, but there was an ever-increasing sense of dread throughout the entire storyline, and it was still the biggest defeat the rangers had suffered up to that point. And there wasn't an implication of complete destruction; just heavy damage, which is still pretty bad when your enemy has their own giant robot.
And why did Gnome and Ryota disappear from the story when the first episode established that they actually spent time with Burai and thus might be able to bring him back from evil? However, the saving grace in all of this is, of course, Bandora's concert tour and just how nice she is to her minions. It's actually quite refreshing after a lot of villains I've seen.
Linkara: Ultimately, Super Sentai is just not really my thing, but that's okay. This was still fun to do, and I wouldn't be against more in the future if it was Patreon. Next time, though...(sigh) next time we'll see me echo the children-hating of the Zyurangers, since it's Tandy Computer Wiz Kids time again.
Bandora: It's impossible! The Guardian Beasts have been resurrected? I've got a headache now.