Wow, this was… really great?

Like, really great. I’ve seen one other episode of Zenkaiger (the one with the kotatsu), and I vaguely recognize the main guy as also playing a character (the same character?) on DonBros, so I’m not coming to this thing totally cold. But it’s also not a series that I was prepared to dig as much as I did this time out. It’s utterly delightful.

I mean, a lot of that is the way it subverts the Damsels In Distress schtick that the Specter special sadly leaned into for its finale. When Magine and Reika showed up to the big battle at the pier, having already broken themselves out – because they are both superheroes, of course they could break themselves out – I was so goddamn happy. I like that this episode of a completely different show addressed the weird way these guys seem to, like, take ownership of women in the name of protection, instead of treating them with a modicum of respect and dignity. Zenkaiser (I don’t know any of their names except Vroom and Magine) helps center Ryoga by getting him to have faith in his sister, rather than succumb to fear and anger out of a lack of control. It’s very smart, and incredibly appreciated.

And also: I like that Reika has a new friend at the end of the episode? It’s such a cute, sad moment. I don’t think Reika ever had a friend before. Her brother was up on a pedestal, and I definitely got the impression that everyone at work hated her. With, y’know, good cause, but still. So it was nice to see her make a friend (or more, your call) of her fellow superheroine hostage, and for her to have absolutely no idea how to communicate that to Magine. It was adorable, and one of my Top 10 favorite Saber things, even if it didn’t actually happen in a Saber episode.

Despite that high praise, I still don’t feel like I’m any closer to being a Sentai guy. It was all very charming, and a blast to watch, but it also sort of gave me a headache? It’s very on. There’s a manic energy to this episode/show/franchise that’s fun to dabble in as a tourist, but I don’t know if this level of energy is what I’m looking to experience over fifty-odd episodes. It’s– it’s a lot. I am a grown man with the interests of a hyperactive child, but I am not actually a hyperactive child. This is probably a great show to watch while you run around your living room, but I’m too tired to do that.

Still, a very fun little team-up of some outgoing Sentai guys I don’t know super well, and the two most unfriendly and taciturn swordsmen that Saber had to offer. Very clever to build the two-parter around Orihime and Hikoboshi, since it gives you two similar enemies to fight across two different shows. It’s honestly set a pretty high bar for Super Hero Senki to clear, but this episode’s deft handling of mismatched teamwork has me feeling fairly confident in its chances.

We’ll find out for sure tomorrow!


An excited Rintaro pulled Ryoga aside. “I heard you and your sister were taken to a parallel world?!”

Ryoga stopped his patrol of the Northern Base’s main meeting room. “That is correct. I detailed it completely in my after-action report. You should have been included in the message chain.”

Rintaro was animated, more so than Ryoga preferred. Of the many swordsmen of the Northern Base, Rintaro was one of the few that Ryoga thought had potential in the Sword of Logos. To see him so… unprofessional, it was disappointing.

“Oh, I read it thoroughly,” Rintaro said excitedly. Well, it looked like he wasn’t a lost cause yet. “I found it fascinating. The mix of cultures, the strange machine-people, the similarities to our own history and traditions…” Rintaro seemed to gaze off into the distance. “I was wondering if I could ask you some further questions about your adventure.”

Hmm. Ryoga wasn’t fond of the word “adventure” to describe a military operation. It smacked of the same overly-romanticized nonsense that Touma’s imagination had infected the Northern Base with. However, Rintaro was one of the few swordsmen to take his duties as seriously as Ryoga and his sister, and it would set a bad precedent to rebuff him now. Better to let this run its course.

“You may ask,” Ryoga agreed.

Rintaro leaned in closer to Ryoga, and asked with a hushed voice, “Were the heroes of that world always dancing?”

“They were,” Ryoga said gravely. “And there were songs, and declarations, and poses. So many poses. It was horrible.”

“But, weren’t they able to help you defeat the villains with those same dances? And didn’t you participate in one of the declarations? I just thought, with all of the danger that Storious and Isaac pose, that we might see if it was possible to integrate additional fighting styles or techniques into our training. Perhaps a small dance tutorial could–”

Ryoga gripped Rintaro sharply by the shoulders to stop his rambling. “Rintaro, no. You can’t go down that road. I honored the customs of my hosts, to help save my sister. I would suffer any ignominy for her, even dancing, although I’m thankful it never came to that. But we must be vigilant as soldiers of the Sword of Logos. We must maintain our dignity. We cannot sing and dance before a battle, no matter how much we might want to. This conversation is over.”

Rintaro had a confused look on his face. “‘No matter how much we’... did– did you *want* to sing and dance before a battle, Ryoga?”

Ryoga decided to patrol Liberation, immediately. “I SAID THIS CONVERSATION IS OVER.”