Aaaaand I'm less optimistic about Kuuga after these two episodes. A whole bunch doesn't work: Sakurako is stuck behind a desk for two episodes, the body count is ludicrously high, the emotional plot for the week is misguided, several characters come off as total assholes, a bunch of the subplots move incrementally without in any way impacting this story's plot... I felt real sour after this one. Yikes.

The big flaw, as usual, is that the emotional plot for these episodes doesn't work. It really, thoroughly, infuriatingly doesn't work. It's a guy who wants to be an Unidentified Life Form because he's got an unspecified, presumably end-stage disease. For some reason, despite the public knowing nothing about them except that they are murderous monsters, incapable of communicating with humans, he's decided that they're immortal and can make him immortal, too. Insane, but, y'know, a jumping-off point for a story. After that, though, it gets dumb. Godai tries to befriend him, mostly by spouting platitudes about the preciousness of life to a clinically depressed person at the very end of his short life, a person Godai has spoken maybe three words to prior to this. It's like the Mika story, where Godai's one-size-fits-all Protecting Smiles outlook is not just unequal to the task, it's condescending and tactless. Worse, the medical examiner shoves the guy's face in a dead body, tells him that death comes for us all, and then gives a potentially suicidal man his switchblade back, basically daring him to use it to end his own life. And these are two of our heroes? What is wrong with these people?! And to end the story, the Grongi Fan nearly gets eaten by Merman Grongi, gets saved by Kuuga, and then runs off, terrified, into the city. The end! What... what exactly is that resolution supposed to make me feel? Team Kuuga ignores this guy's pain, tells him death is inevitable, and then saves his life to abandon him. Heroism!

If that were the only problem... I mean, it'd still be bad, the emotional plots are the main point of these episodes, it's basically the only thing that differentiates one monster attack from the other, but the rest of the show could maybe make up for it. No dice! Sakurako is completely sidelined, spending scene after scene talking to Jean about some ancient beetle-themed device that won't show up for at least another episode. All set-up, no payoff. The Nana scenes are cute but pointless, since she has a maybe one minute interaction with Godai in the first part, and no interaction in the second part. Like too many other things in this story, it all just exists in isolation, nothing connecting to make this feel like a complete story. It's like five writers each wrote five random short stories, and the producers shuffled the pages together and called it two episodes.

The Grongi are maybe the only thing that comes out of these episodes without making me salty, but it's close. The bodycount for these episodes is getting grotesque. I'm longing for the days of Wizard, when the monsters only tried to gaslight victims into wanting to die. This, it's too much. I don't need a razor-toothed merman eviscerating and devouring his literal boat-load of victims. I don't! It's been interesting watching the weird struggles within the Grongi Gang, as they get closer to whatever their master plan is, but the violence is starting to get overdone, and it makes Team Kuuga look laughably outmatched. Uh, well, I guess the Grongi stuff made me salty, after all. Yay!

This story was an all-around miss for me. Sorry!