Himitsu Sentai Goranger

7be604c28fbea57cffe9303ce0d34127vlcsnap-2018-12-01-17h37m27s191The Crimson Sun! The Invincible Gorangers (真っ赤な太陽! 無敵のゴレンジャー) – The show’s opener and the very first episode of Sentai period. A pretty solid start at that, with quite possibly the most extreme intro to any Toku show, with all of EAGLE’s Japanese branches being massacred by the Black Cross Army, with each branch leaving behind only one survivor. The exact purpose of EAGLE’s existence isn’t made clear, but given the surge of terrorist groups like Shocker, DARK and most recently, Black Satan (All from shows that will later be established as taking place in the same universe as Goranger), it could very well have been set up to counterattack such organizations. The individual Rangers aren’t given too much development, aside from Kiranger Daita’s penchant for curry rice and riddles and Aoranger Akira’s guitar-playing (A common trait for Miyauchi’s characters), though all seem keen on avenging their fallen comrades at the hands of Black Cross (In this case, Aoranger Tsuyoshi against Gold Mask). Ultraman Taro‘s Kiyoko Matsuya appears as a teacher of Kindergartners being held ransom. Not the absolute strongest start ever, but a decent, and historic beginning. 3.5/5

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The inspiration for Darth Vader.

The Blue Earth! The Desertification Plan of Death (青い地球! 死の砂漠化計画) – After proving themselves very competent by wiping out EAGLE in almost its entirety, they move on to their next ingenious strategy – to turn the entire Earth into sand. In fairness though, it is via a successful device built by a scientist, which they obtain through some pretty scummy methods (Once again taking a child, the scientist’s son hostage). The Black Cross Masked Monster in charge of the operation, Warrior Mask/Musha Kamen was responsible for wiping out Shinmei’s EAGLE base. Also revealed is the possible survival of more EAGLE agents, along with the manager of Snack Gon (And perhaps those girls that seem to frequent the place) clearly knowing something. Nothing amazing, but a pretty fun episode. 3.5/5

Big Counterattack! A Yellow Whirlwind (大逆襲! 黄色いつむじ風) – A decent episode with a bit of character development for Daita, who apparently loves curry rice so much, he’s willing to eat some left out in a stranger’s home. Black Cross is once again simply trying to rid the world of life, creating a bomb with powers equivalent to the H-Bomb. More surviving EAGLE agents are revealed, including one among Black Cross, and several present at Snack Gon, with agents 007 (Seriously), 008 and 009 being properly introduced after hanging around the cafe for a few episodes. No word if they’re licensed to kill or not. 008 and 9 will only stick around for a bit and leave little impression, but 007/Yoko Kato will go on to be one of the show’s most memorable characters. The head chef of Snack Gon’s true identity is also revealed, though really, it’s obvious from the start. Black Cross yet again holds a child ransom, this time Taro, Agent 007’s little brother and the show’s token “Kenny”. The scene of Tsuyoshi and Daita sleuthing through Black Cross’ hideout for the bomb is fun, if a bit overlong. Bronze Mask was the destroyer of the EAGLE branch Daita belonged to, though it is never brought up during the episode. An enjoyable episode, but a bit too similar to the previous one. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-17h45m56s829A Crimson Kick! Smash the Great Microbe Plan (紅のキック! 砕けミクロ大作戦) – Another simplistic, but pretty enjoyable episode focusing on Peggy, who proves to be quite the badass. Black Cross’ plan of creating a deadly mold showcases their desire to simply wipe out mankind and Earth as a whole, as opposed to simply taking control of it. Jade Mask (Who destroyed the EAGLE base Peggy was stationed at)’s crazy multicolored poncho will be donned once again by Blushing Mask later in the show, Booba in Changeman 10 years later and Gentoku Himuro in Kamen Rider Build 43 years later. 3.5/5

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“Are you my mummy?”

Green Anger, Immortal Gas-Person (みどり色の怒り 不死身ガス人間) – An Asuka-centered episode featuring the destroyer of his EAGLE station, Poison Gas Mask, whom Asuka tries to extract revenge on. Poison Gas Mask may be fully robotic (or certainly more machine than man) given the installation of a “Immortality circuit” that grants him teleportation abilities…somehow. If you couldn’t guess from his name, Poison Gas Mask emits a deadly toxic gas he plans to spread all across the world (With Black Cross even devising a way to make harmless natural gas lethal). Like the episodes before it, not stellar, but quite enjoyable. 3.5/5

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I saw Lon Chaney Jr. walking with the Emperor…

Pink Moonlight! Wolf Corps (ピンクの月光! オオカミ部隊) – A fun, Peggy-centered episode involving a Mac Tonight-looking Masked Monster creating an elite werewolf army. If that sounds crazy, it’s because it is. The concept of a werewolf army was previously seen in Kamen Rider‘s Werewolf Monster’s Huge Murder Party. The werewolf soldiers make Wolf Seijin from Ultraman Leo‘s Bride of the Werewolf look like Rick Baker’s work in An American Werewolf in London, though in fairness, these wolves are simply meant to be mutated dudes (With it even wearing off on one guy). The training of the wolves goes on in this small town located by a cemetery that Peggy is unfamiliar with. Whether the entire town was a gigantic ploy by Black Cross, or the inhabitants simply don’t care (Like in The AvengersMurdersville) isn’t clear. Kenji Ushio makes a small appearance as a police officer. Interesting to see him in a non-villainous role, but he feels wasted. Fortunately, he will return to the show shortly. 3.5/5

Black Fear! The Murderous Poison Fang (黒い恐怖! 殺しの毒牙) – A pretty average, but more than serviceable episode. The Gorangers are tasked with guarding an American man visiting for mysterious reasons from assassination attempts by Black Cross due to his Nobel peace prize-winning method of creating world peace, though just what his method is is never revealed. Apparently, the crossbreeding of a cobra and boa into a “King Cobra” has become widespread enough (Perhaps done in the past by other organizations like Shocker?) for an antidote to exist. Nothing too special, but entertaining enough. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-17h56m52s772Blue Shadow, Variblume Secret Strategy (青い影法師 バリブルーン秘密戦略) – Another variation on the whole “Black Cross tries stealing weapon” plot, though done in a more comedic fashion. Witch Mask seems to exhibit supernatural powers (Though they could perhaps be illusionary/technological tricks), yet Black Cross is apparently incapable of freezing things, attempting to steal a freezing device. Daita is so obsessed with curry rice, he actually stops chasing Witch Mask to eat a bowl lying on steps. That’s unhealthy. Peggy and Asuka have next to no role in the story, not appearing until the climax. A few chuckle-worthy bits, but nothing too amazing. 3/5

The Red Balloon! Wind Speed at 100 Meters (赤い風船! 風速100メートル) – Another pretty average, but serviceable enough episode. Despite not having the scientific minds to create a freezing-device, Black Cross is able to create a hurricane machine, and plan to wipe out Tokyo with it. Once again, a child is held ransom, though in a rather clever move, the Masked Monster befriends her (Bribing her with balloons), using her as shield of sorts against the Gorangers. Nothing very special at all, but an alright way to spend 24 minutes. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-17h58m34s527Green Shudder! The Escape From Ear Hell (みどり色の戦慄! 耳地獄からの脱出) – A pretty standard, but enjoyable fare. Black Cross’ desire to destroy the world utterly is further exemplified by their wanting of a scientist that discovered the formula for minus energy (The same kind seen in Ultraman shows?), which can apparently create a bomb more powerful than a nuke. Asuka features somewhat prominently, being badly injured and creating a new Midorang to use against the Masked Monster. The Masked Monster is easily the strangest up to this point (Which is saying something), being based off of…”Boat ears”. Hiroshi Miyauchi doesn’t appear in person, with Aoranger simply showing up for the fight. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-17h59m04s531Super Energy of Silver! Burning Hell (銀色の超エネルギー! 焦熱地獄) – A strong episode centered around Yoko/007 (Who’s apparently a Dallas Cowboys fan) and a choice made that put not only the Gorangers but all of Tokyo in danger. Black Cross is yet again holding a kid ransom, with that kid again being Taro, whom being Yoko’s brother, puts her in a very tough decision – save her brother but lure the Gorangers into the trap, or let her brother die. The Masked Monster resembles an evil Kamen Rider and manages to do a good deal of damage with his fire-generating powers. Kaijo, who scolds Yoko for her decision, is revealed to not only have lost friends at the hand of Black Cross, but also family. Like the last episode, Hiroshi Miyauchi does not appear in person, with Aoranger being badly injured for most of it. A solid episode that asks what it means to be an EAGLE member. 4/5

The Pink Secret! Defeat the Human Bomb (ピンクの秘密! 人間爆弾を倒せ) – A pretty weird, Daita-focused episode with one of Black Cross’ more straightforward schemes – destroying more EAGLE bases, this time with mechanic bomb-men. Lead by Horn Mask, they manage to destroy a good number of them, truly solidifying EAGLE soldiers as the show’s redshirts. But despite being able to locate and destroy numerous bases, Black Cross apparently still does not know for certain that the Gorangers reside at Snack Gon (Despite soldiers and monsters visiting before, though none did live to tell the tale). Horn Mask, despite accomplishing a good deal, has got to be one of the dumbest Masked Monsters up to this point, with Kiranger, eager to prove himself after being insulted by Horn Mask, being severely beaten, and instead of simply killing him, he SENDS HIM BACK IN A CONTAINER to Snack Gon. Peggy showcases her bomb-building skills for the first time. Kind of a mixed bag, but some genuinely high stakes and a fun climax, plus some good moments for Daita make it worth watching. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h00m50s403The Red Coffin! The Mysterious Skull Mansion (赤い棺桶! ドクロ屋敷の怪) – The first Sentai episode to be written by future-showrunner Hirohisa Soda, and a very fun, spooky episode. There isn’t much in the way of plot, with Masked Monster Skull Mask (easily among the show’s coolest) kidnapping top scientists via hypnotism through a record and impersonating them (Wouldn’t it make more sense to hypnotize them to do his bidding?). The Gorangers are said to be immune to Black Cross’ hypnotism, though whether they were trained to fight it off or had some sort of enhancements made is unclear. Guest stars Kenji Ushio, in a fortunately much larger, more fun role than his last appearance. 4/5

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Here comes the sun…

The Big Blue Fortress! The Great Rage of Variblume (青い大要塞! 大暴れバリブルーン) – The introduction of Sun Halo Mask, the first of the Black Cross generals brought on to assist in destroying EAGLE, said to hail from Africa, which would mean Black Cross has branches across the world. Sun Halo Mask’s plan of obtaining Variblume is a pretty logical one given all of Black Cross’ schemes it has foiled, not to mention it’s destructive firepower. He doesn’t exactly get along with Masked Monster Rainbow Mask (Say what you will about Black Cross, but at least they’re supportive of the gay community) though. At long last, we get an episode somewhat centered around Akira, with him taking responsibility for the loss of the Variblume and doing his best to get it back. Was another episode to be released theatrically, and a good choice for it. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h02m00s110White Weirdness! The Eye in the Mirror (白い怪奇! 鏡の中の目) – A Peggy-centered episode that really showcases the importance of teamwork. Sun Halo and Mirror Mask (Who get along a lot better than Sun Halo and Rainbow Mask did)’s plan to drive Peggy insane and force her out of the Gorangers, therefore making them weaker with one less member is fairly clever, though why they chose her in particular isn’t clear (It can’t be a sexist thing, can it?). The scenes of Peggy being haunted by Mirror Mask are rather psychedelic and certainly convey a level of madness. More EAGLE members are massacred, with Black Cross targeting power plants that provide power to their bases. A pretty enjoyable episode. 4/5

The Purple Theme Park! A Demonic Cemetery (むらさき色の遊園地! 悪魔の墓場) – ANOTHER plot involving Black Cross wanting to turn the world into a desert, this time through a chemical compound that causes water to evaporate at a rapid speed, something Sun Halo Mask successfully used while in Africa. Like the previous episode, Peggy and Kenji (along with Yoko) feature prominently, with much of the action taking place at a theme park, which leads to some fun set pieces, even if the bit with the Zolders going after Yoko on the world’s slowest rollercoaster is laughable. Even if he carries a giant comb (That he’s apparently willing to kill himself over if it loses all of its teeth) Black Hair Mask is a legitimately terrifying monster. Not a bad episode, but reuses too many elements from past episodes and what’s new isn’t too special. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h03m41s505Horrible Black Crusaders! Attack According to the (Secret) Plan (戦慄の黒十字軍!(秘)作戦で攻撃せよ) – A take on the whole “brainwash children to join the army” plot these shows tend to have, which is always pretty twisted. The whole team (aside from Peggy and Daita) are split apart for the majority of the episode, with Akira left at base on standby, even wanting to go out and look for his teammates, only for Commander Edogawa to turn down his proposal (Some leader). Peggy and Daita fake hypnotism from Cyclops Mask in order to rescue the mindwashed children, which is a clever idea, though makes Cyclops Mask look extra incompetent. The suits worn by the child soldiers resemble Mr. Titan from Kamen Rider Stronger (Which was airing at the same time). Sun Halo Mask only appears briefly during a fight at the beginning, with his exact involvement in the plan not being known. The Fuhrer is also completely absent, which could explain Cyclops Mask’s mild incompetence – he has nobody monitoring him. Not a bad episode, but a bit on the confused side. 3/5

A Blue Spark! The Spy Front That Floats in the Sea (青い火花! 海に浮かぶスパイ戦線) – A very spy-oriented episode with secret-selling, double-crossing, tracking devices and all of that great stuff. EAGLE is revealed to have branches outside of Japan, with blueprints for a super weapon being stolen from a Swiss branch. Sword Mask is one of the goofier Masked Monsters up to this point, looking more like a garden pail than sword, though features one of the most violent deaths up to this point. A pretty fun episode, if a bit hard to follow at times. Guest stars Yukie Kagawa, who sadly doesn’t share any scenes with her future-Spiderman co-star Mitsuo Ando. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h05m43s226Crimson Fight to the Death! Sun Halo Mask vs. Akarenger (真っ赤な死闘! 日輪仮面対アカレンジャー) – The final appearance of Sun Halo Mask, whom after a string of failures, with a particularly embarrassing one last episode, is given one last chance to prove himself. Similar to Ambassador Hell’s final episode in Kamen Rider, Sun Halo attempts to earn Tsuyoshi’s trust and give him information on Black Cross, though any intrigue surrounding it is absent as Sun Halo is shown instructing troops to fire at him moments before the ruse begins. Nevertheless, Tsuyoshi’s honorable treatment of the wounded soldier makes for some great character moments. Along with more EAGLE massacres, featured is the first one-on-one duel between a Red Ranger and General, something that has since become a common staple in Sentai shows. Certainly predictable, but a good episode and solid end for Sun Halo Mask. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h06m37s049Blue Miracle! The Mysterious Airship That Came From Antiquity (青い驚異! 古代から来た怪飛行船) – The first in a three-part arc introducing the Gobi desert Black Cross operative Iron Mask Temujin, who wastes zero time in proving himself, embarking on a mission to locate an ancient battleship that’s said to have sunk Atlantis, discovered from Japanese archaeologist Dr. Shimizu, who was in the Gobi desert at the time. But before all of this, Temujin massacres an EAGLE base for good measures. The lost city of Atlantis will be explored several other times throughout Sentai, sometimes with conflicting origins, though nothing revealed here seems to contradict anything. Akira features prominently, with Temujin’s robotic Masked Monster Shot Mask being extremely powerful. The first of many Goranger episodes to feature Kenji Todoroki in a role (With him being Dr. Shimizu). 3.5/5

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Oh the humanity!

Yellow Air Raid! Nightmares of Atlantis (黄色い空襲! アトランティスの悪夢) – The second of three episodes in the Atlantian warship arc, and like its predecessor, a pretty fun romp. With the warship in Black Cross’ hands, they plan to use it to turn Japan into the next Atlantis by sinking it (Eat your heart out Submersion of Japan). Once again, Taro, along with a group of other children, is held captive, with Temujin using them as bait to draw in the Variblume and destroy it, believing it to be the only thing to stand in the warship’s way. More backstory on the warship is provided, revealing just why an Atlantian warship would destroy it’s place of origin. Daita features prominently. 3.5/5

Green Dogfight! The End of the Mysterious Airship (みどりの空中戦! 怪飛行船の最期) – The final part of the Airship arc, with Temujin still keen on sinking Japan with the help of hydrogen bombs, though this time planted in a more stealthy manner – underground. More Atlantian mythos is provided, with it being revealed it’s leader fled to Japan after it’s destruction. After making quick use of him via mindwashing, Dr. Shimizu is gunned down by Black Cross in an extremely shocking scene, though is revealed to have only suffered minor injuries. Are Black Cross bullets are only fatal on EAGLE members? 008 tells the resting Shimizu and his son that they have nothing to fear when at an EAGLE base. Riiiiiight. Temujin proves himself to be a worthy adversary, cleverly diverting the Gorangers’ attention by allowing them to try defusing a bomb while his men begin dropping more all over the city. Kenji features somewhat prominently, though not to the extent of Akira and Daita in the previous episodes. A pretty fun end to a pretty fun arc. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h10m33s349Blue Anger! Strong Midomerang, Big Counterattack (青い怒り! 強烈ミドメラン大逆襲) – A Kenji-focused episode, which is a little odd considering the previous episode sort of had him front and center too. Being the youngest member of the team (He’s said to be just 17 early on, though he’s probably 18 by this point), Kenji’s immaturity and prone to anger is showcased, with Temujin’s warrior Razor Mask giving him a good taunt, causing him to break the Midorang, which just happened to be housing top secret info about the Goranger’s base, something Black Cross STILL hasn’t figured out. The EAGLE massacre at the very beginning turns out to simply be a training mission for Razor Mask, but fear not, we get a scene of Black Cross’ ludicrously long-range missiles destroying the same two buildings and construction site. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h11m32s287Crimson Fuse! Eight-Eyed Torpedo Attack (真赤な導火線! 八ツ目の魚雷攻撃) – A pretty solid “ticking time bomb” episode, with everyone getting a chance to shine. The bomb planted on an EAGLE ship is apparently strong enough to wipe out half of Tokyo, really putting everyone on edge. To make matters worse, the team’s explosives expert Peggy is badly injured, and EAGLE’s bomb squad is (Big shock) massacred, leaving it up to the others to defuse it in time. Tsuyoshi’s determination to prevent it from detonating even if it costs him his life is admirable, as is Asuka’s refusal to leave his side. The Masked Monster, Eight-Eyed Mask is among the goofiest thus far, being Lamprey-based with the ability to cause sea storms, though does cleverly attempt to mislead Shinmei and Akira as to which wire will stop the bomb. 4/5

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Sunny D has in fact been a Black Cross plot this whole time.

Multi-Changing Blue Veins! The Dreadful Poison Expert (青すじ七変化! 恐怖の毒薬博士) – Another “teamwork” episode with everyone having equal footing. Black Cross is after a substance called “Whisker” which is said to be a MILLION times stronger than normal iron. The Masked Monster, Vein Mask is easily one of the most despicable, specializing in poisons and other lethal chemicals. The episode probably has one of the highest-seen body counts in the show up to this point, with numerous EAGLE soldiers being killed, often in distributing ways, though that isn’t to say there aren’t some goofy poisons utilized as well, namely one that causes somebody to start running and never stop (Something that would happen to Boi years later in Zyuranger). Though it temporarily saves his life from Vein Mask’s poison, changing the doctor behind Whisker’s blood type is bound to have negative repercussions in the future…a bit on the crazy side (Though really, what episode hasn’t been?), but a lot of fun. 4/5

Yellow Object Q! Gorenger Base S.O.S. (黄色い物体Q! ゴレンジャー基地SOS) – An “infiltration” story with a very spy-oriented flavor. The big twist of the episode (Revealed fairly on) is not surprising in the least given it involves a character we’ve never met prior, but leads to some solid moments, particularly with Yoko/007 (Taro is held hostage once again). Temujin’s method of accessing the Goranger’s base is clever (Though it is rather pathetic Black Cross still hasn’t figured it out as being Snack Gon), though you think he’d take extra care as place some sort of tracking device on the object in order to pinpoint it’s location, rather than relying solely on Iron Claw Mask. The Masked Monster Iron Claw Mask (Who looks more at home in Kamen Rider Super-1 design-wise) is certainly powerful, but has an incredibly stupid weakness – the disliking of a frequency emitted by a flickering fluorescent light within the Variblume’s hangar. Had potential to be one the greats, but falls a bit short in some levels. The elusive Agent 0010 is portrayed by Shin Saito, who will later go to star alongside Hiroshi Miyauchi in Kaiketsu Zubat. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h14m41s962Big Red Eruption! Infiltrate the Underground Base (赤い大噴火! 地底基地に潜入せよ) – For the first time in a while, a Kaijo-focused episode. Black Cross’ latest scheme involves creating an Earthquake machine with help from a scientist being forced against his will (Surprisingly, his daughter doesn’t manage to be taken hostage). Just how the giant machine is constructed is also shown – construction workers from all over are simply captured and forced to build. Edogawa advises the team to use some of their “new powers” (Years before Power Ranger Super Megaforce), a few which have been showcased these past few episodes. But their latest is revealed during the typical Goranger Storm attack, with the ball becoming a turtle that bites Iron Comb Mask (The second Masked Monster to features a giant comb and who must be made from iron given its in his name) and inflicts serious damage. I kid you not. When captured, Tsuyoshi’s way of reaching the team is about as contrived as it comes – he attaches a note to a balloon that just happens to reach the others. Some truly ridiculous moments, but a decent episode nonetheless. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h16m24s171Red Pursuit! The Mysterious Seal Train (赤い追撃! なぞの封印列車) – Another Kaijo-focused episode, though everybody gets a chance to shine. A fun “race against time”-style story with Black Cross getting a hold of what’s said to be the world’s smartest Supercomputer, the Super X (Not to be confused with the aircraft of the same name from The Return of Godzilla) and planning to do all sorts of nefarious things with it. It being deemed the most advanced (When it’s a stationary block that speaks in a robotic tone) when at least some the Masked Monsters, including this episode’s are shown to be robots (Not to mention the likes of Kikaider, the DARK destructoids, etc.) is a bit puzzling, but whatever. The Masked Monster Door Mask is as goofy as he sounds, with him claiming to be a magician with a penchant for locks (Almost sounds like a 60s Batman villain), whom forms quite a rivalry with Kaijo. If you thought last episode’s Goranger Storm attack becoming a turtle was crazy, something perhaps even crazier occurs during a (highly enjoyable) one-on-one between Kaijo and Door Mask. The Goranger Storm also gets another twist to it (Created by Peggy accordingly), albeit one a lot less goofy. For being such a supposed technological achievement, the Gorangers sure have no qualms in destroying the Super X. A very entertaining episode. 4/5

Golden Columns of Fire! Consecutive Mines, Big Explosions (金色の火柱! 機雷連続大爆発) – A kind of substandard episode with one of the more barebones plots (Black Cross simply setting up mines all over Japan), but as per usual, entertaining enough. Mine Mask has got to be the most devoted of all of Black Cross’ soldiers, more than eager to take his own life in order for all of the mines to detonate. You almost feel sorry for the guy. The Gorangers’ search to find him before he takes his life is fun, though overall, a mostly average episode. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h18m55s268The Black Challenge! Enrage, Five Stars of Justice (黒い挑戦状! 怒れ五つの正義の星) – At long last, after numerous stupid encounters that should have been giveaways, Black Cross figures Snack Gon to be the Gorangers’ headquarters, and capture the head chef whom they believe to be Commander Edogawa (spoiler: he is). A pretty big accomplishment after a string of failures, though the Fuhrer has his doubts. Until everything is undone by the end, of course. Not that it’s surprising, but a change in formula would have not only freshened things up but also raised the stakes. The Masked Monster is by far the strongest up to this point, being able to dodge the Goranger Hurricane (Did Black Cross also figure out Whisker’s formula?), resulting in the team needing to upgrade it. Say, didn’t they already give it some upgrades, with the biting-turtle and Peggy’s double-modification? Is this episode set before those events, or were they deemed worthless? Nevertheless, the new modification is another pretty goofy one, albeit still not to the level of the turtle. And after a few episodes without one, we open on another good old EAGLE massacre. Though there’s a lot of wasted potential present, still a pretty solid episode, with Edogawa’s resisting of Black Cross’ interrogation and the team’s determination to retrieve him making for some great scenes. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h21m31s750Hot Blue Wind! No Response from Variblume (青い熱風! バリブルーン応答なし) – A Shinmei-focused episode that further showcases his bond to the Variblume, being deemed its sole pilot by both EAGLE and Black Cross. After attempting to capture their commander last time, Black Cross figures to get the Gorangers’ next best asset – the Variblume, where they plan to use it to drop a bunch of bombs. Pretty basic, but logical enough. Revealed is another EAGLE-memeber that turns out to be an agent for Black Cross, though unlike 0010, it isn’t revealed if he was planted by Black Cross and rose to the ranks in EAGLE, or joined Black Cross after becoming disillusioned with EAGLE. A pretty clever scene that really showcases Black Cross’ sleaziness occurs when they threaten to kill the Gorangers with a bomb if Shinmei doesn’t cooperate. Initially, it seems stupid for them NOT to still use it even after Shinmei agrees, but the little twist as to why they don’t is clever. A pet bird that smack-talks Daita is introduced, the first of many “talking animals” in Sentai. Another new power is introduced for the Goranger storm, where this time the ball becomes a piece of lumber that Hatchet Mask cannot resist chopping. Though goofy, it might seem to suggest that the ability (along with it becoming a turtle) is more of a hallucinatory trick, as when he chops the lumber, it explodes. A solid episode all around. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h21m59s599The Red Target! A Fake Goranger Appears (赤い標的! にせものゴレンジャー出現) – A somewhat standard, but but enjoyable episode. Black Cross’ plot is more to spite EAGLE than anything else, with them wanting to destroy their plasma research center, a building made from a super-strong material that only a diamond beam can destroy. So off to steal some diamonds! In a somewhat clever scheme, the Gorangers are framed for the robberies/murders of security, but their names are cleared pretty quickly, making the whole thing kind of pointless. The Gorangers are caught directly disobeying the orders of an EAGLE higher-up, which initially seems like they will face consequences, but nothing becomes of it. The Masked Monster, Iron Princess Mask might very well be the strangest up to this point, which is saying something. The Goranger Storm attack is equally strange, becoming a giant peach he cannot resist slicing in half. Guest stars Hirohisa Nakata. 3.5/5

The Yellow Spy Battle! You Saw the Power of YTC (黄色いスパイ戦! 見たかYTCの威力) – A Daita-centered episode that kind of shows him at his worst. Wanting their hands on an underground device that could help EAGLE locate their base, Black Cross give Daita his very own pet android (Won via a carnival game), which just so happens to be a Masked Monster the team encountered the night before, with the only difference in appearance being the mask its wearing. But despite that, everyone is simply slightly suspicious as opposed to certain its a trick (Though granted, it was dark out when they first encountered the Masked Monster). Daita develops a friendship of sorts with the android, which really could have lead to some emotional bits, especially once the truth is revealed and he’s forced to fight his friend, but none of that happens. The Masked Monster android (One specifically confirmed to be 100% mechanical) Blushing Mask (another really bizarre one) wears the same multi-colored poncho as Jade Mask, which can also be seen in various other Toei shows. The notion of owning a sentient android doesn’t seem to be all that far-fetched, though given Kikaider will later be established as taking place in the same universe, I guess the novelty would have worn off by then. It should be no spoiler that the Gorangers win in the end, and indeed have the device that should be able to located Black Cross’ base..yet almost nothing is made of it, and never will it be brought up again. Not an awful episode and a few funny bits, but kind of weak. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h26m53s925Big Strange Black Bird! Condor War Bomber Fleet (黒い大怪鳥! コンドラー戦斗爆撃隊) – Essentially a big “revenge” episode, with Black Cross enacting a large all-out attack on the Gorangers after their string of failures at their hands, with perhaps the previous episode’s hitting them hardest. Temujin orders himself to be executed due to his many failures as commander, much to the hesitance of Steel Mask and even the Fuhrer, really showcasing the respect he has gained in the past. Introduced is the Condor Bomber Fleet, a group of small biplane-like aircrafts hailing from the Nazca desert that manage to not only severely injure Asuka, but take down the Variblume. Asuka displays more of his nobility by telling Kaijo and Peggy to go on without him, though they of course refuse to leave him behind. Not much in the way of plot, but an enjoyable episode that for the first time in a while, has Black Cross at an advantage. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h29m49s971The Fierce Crimson Charge! The Mobile Fortress Invincible Battleship (真赤な猛進撃! 動く要塞無敵戦艦) – A Daita-focused episode that once more shows his nativity, but also his caring side. Somewhat similar to The Yellow Spy Battle! You Saw the Power of YTC with Black Cross manipulating Daita with a friendly agent of theirs (With Shinmei even referencing the events of The Yellow Spy Battle! You Saw the Power of YTC), though here it is done with much more emotional weight, with you really feeling for Daita when he discovers the truth. Black Cross raids an EAGLE research center and steal some rocket plans for their own creation – a flying battleship (Not The Giant Claw sadly), which the Fuhrer himself even takes a ride in. The Masked Monster is another weakened by a noise frequency, though this time coming from the YTC, which he wisely knows needs to be destroyed, hence the sending of a spy to get close to Daita. A solid episode all around with some great development for Daita. Was released theatrically as The Red Death Match. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h32m52s830A Pure White Flash! The Black Cross Fuhrer’s True Form (真白い閃光! 黒十字総統の正体) – A real fun “infiltration” story with both Black Cross and the Gorangers constantly upping each other. Black Cross are revealed to be aligning themselves with another terrorist organization called “Black Hole”, who are also said to be worldwide and bent on world domination (Just like Shocker, Geldam, DARK, Destron, G.O.D., etc.), with the two’s first joint-production being the nuking of Tokyo with a bomb supplied by Black Hole. The Fuhrer features quite prominently, and makes mention of how humans often dine, suggesting he himself is not one. Edogawa fully reveals himself to both Black Cross and Black Hole with almost no fanfare whatsoever, therefore confirming to their faces that he is in fact the chef at Snack Gon, something fought valiantly to protect just episodes ago. The final twist at the end regarding the Gorangers is certainly a little over the top, but shows the value of other EAGLE members, and may even suggest that more Goranger teams are in the works. A really fun episode from start to finish. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h36m04s790The Blue Cliff! The Search for Demonic Pirate Treasure (青い断崖! 悪魔の海賊宝さがし)/Crimson Sea of Japan! The Superpower of the Mysterious Meteorite (真赤な日本海! 怪隕石の超能力) – A very fun two parter that begins as a “buried treasure” story, something that’s pretty standard in Toei Tokusatsu shows (With one of the earliest and still best being Kamen Rider‘s Shinigami Chameleon/Duel with Shinigami Chameleon! World Fair Impression), though is quite enjoyable here, with plenty of fun sleuthing, an elaborate setup by the Gorangers, and benefits somewhat from Black Cross having an idea as to just what is contained in the buried treasure, something they intend on using for their latest weapon. Like the Fuhrer making mention of humans as if he is not one, there are more allusions to extraterrestrial life present, or at least mysterious, gravity-defying objects. Though everyone has one shining moment (Well OK, Asuka doesn’t do a ton), Peggy and Shinmei shine the most, with Peggy just being her awesome self and Shinmei’s bond with the Variblume really being showcased. Kenji Todoroki makes his second appearance in the show as a descendant of the treasure’s burier. The fact Pirate Mask (The Masked Monster of the first part) never appeared in Gokaiger is criminal. Though it perhaps feels like an excuse to send the cast and crew on vacation at a beach resort, a thoroughly enjoyable pair of episodes. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h37m08s739The Crimson Vengeance Demon! The Momorenger From Hell (紅の復讐鬼! 地獄のモモレンジャー) – A “brainwash” episode focusing on Peggy, who is brainwashed by visiting Arabian Desert operative Iron Cage Mask to kill her teammates. Though that plotpoint is mostly settled before the break, the remainder with Peggy attempting to redeem herself and regain her ability to transform is terrific and even emotional. It’s revealed that in order for them to transform, the Gorangers must be in the proper mindset – determined and in the right spirit. Temujin expresses clear disdain for Iron Cage Mask, perhaps worried he will be replaced by him by the Fuhrer after his string of failures. In a truly bizarre scene, Peggy performs a Noh Dance for Iron Cage Mask (Wouldn’t a traditional Arabian performance make more sense?) to “prove” she’s under his control, something only Temujin is smart enough to suspect might be a ruse. Yet it leads to an excellent scene, so all is good. Iron Cage Mask leaves a pretty decent impression (Certainly more than the generals that will replace Temujin), and its a shame he didn’t stick around for a few more episodes. A great episode that shows just how important all five are together. 4.5/5

Big Black Counterattack! The Battle of Tottori Dune (黒い大逆転! 鳥取砂丘の攻防戦) – After just one episode, we return to the Kaike Grand Hotel (Featured prominently in The Blue Cliff! The Search for Demonic Pirate Treasure/Crimson Sea of Japan! The Superpower of the Mysterious Meteorite), where Black Cross has apparently determined to be the perfect spot to use their new rocket-drill, where they plan to penetrate the Earth’s core and set it on fire. But first they’ll need a new type of fuel made by a scientist being protected by the Gorangers. Perhaps desperate to prove himself still worthy, Temujin plays a prominent part in obtaining the fuel, with the Masked Monster mostly awaiting orders at Kaike. Somewhat hampering the episode is the bratty little daughter of the fuel’s inventor, who stupidly steals a pendant supposedly containing it, giving it to Asuka, then being kidnapped by Temujin. Thankfully, her role is downplayed once captured. The mechanical spider used by Temujin to hear-in on the Gorangers is a reused Satan Bug from Kamen Rider Stronger. Not the best episode out there, but pretty enjoyable. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-18h40m05s090The Black Ironman Dies! Farewell, Variblume (黒の鉄人死す! さらばバリブルーン) – The final appearance of both Temujin and the Variblume, and certainly a way for both to go out. Clearly no longer of any use after his numerous failures, Temujin attempts to prove himself to the Fuhrer, going as far as to sabotage the mission of the newly-appointed commander Magman. Though obviously upset by his string of failures, the Fuhrer still displays some clear respect for Temujin still, going as far as to let him sabotage Magman’s operation and praising him for it. A new missile that can penetrate the underground up to 50-feet is installed for the Variblume, likely made using the fuel from the previous episode. And of course, the Variblume meets its end in a scene that’s both heart-wrenching, but also vital. Fortunately, a replacement aircraft is soon revealed – the Varidreen. An excellent end for both Temujin and the Variblume, and just a solid episode all around. 4.5/5

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Congratulations! Your Klansman evolved into a Starfish alien!

The Crimson Phoenix! Enter, the Invincible Varidreen (真赤な不死鳥! 無敵バリドリーン登場) – Proper intro to both Magman and Varitank. Magman leaves good first impression, stealing EAGLE’s blueprints for the Gorangers’ suits to analyze all of their innerworkings and weaknesses, resulting in the team having to give up their current suits and the Goranger storm and replace them with new ones…that look the exact same (Just like MMPR) but with new powers. Magman’s mobile armed fortress is called the Navarone, a pretty obvious homage (Hell, since the Guns of Navarone was an Axis operation, maybe Magman worked on the original). The Fuhrer at long last reveals himself proper in a scene that comes from nowhere, but is quite effective. His design is goofy, but Mitsuo Ando manages to sell it. Shinemi learns to work with the Varidreen. A great episode. 4.5/5

Blue Multi-Purpose Tank! Varitank Launches (青い万能戦車! バリタンク発進) – An episode with Magman once again trying to destroy the Gorangers internally, this time looking for their secret base. Once again, all signs point to Snack Gon, but they all give up after being unable to find any secret entrance. But what makes it dumber is the fact Edogawa revealed himself in A Pure White Flash! The Black Cross Fuhrer’s True Form, meaning they should all know he is the head chef of Snack Gon. Maybe the Fuhrer is just bad with remembering human faces. For the first time in a little while (By this show’s standards), we’re treated to a good ol’ EAGLE massacre. 007 is captured while attempting to infiltrate the Navarone and is tortured by Magman, who really shows off his cruelty. And for those worried, the Goranger Hurricane’s attacks are just as silly as the Goranger Storm’s, with this episode’s becoming a tea kettle on the Masked Monster’s head. Not a bad episode with a fine amount of action, but pretty standard. 3.5/5

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No way will the monsters get goofier than this.

Dark Sword Shark! Attack of the Marine Hitman (暗黒の剣鮫! 海の殺し屋襲来) – A really basic episode with a really basic plot that’s pretty much just blowing up EAGLE oil refineries. The Masked Monster is another super goofy one, being based off of a shark (Can you guess what movie was popular at the time?), which in itself is pretty unusual, with most being based off of objects rather than animals. Due to it being torn apart by Electricity Mask last episode, Snack Gon is given a complete makeover, while also adding a healthier, largely fruit-based menu (Not unlike the Rangers’ main hanging spot in MMPR). It’s not exactly clear if its the same building given a makeover or a new location. Shozo Izuka takes over from Eisuke Yoda as the voice of Magman, sounding pretty identical to Temujin. Not a bad episode, but really standard. 3/5

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…I take that back.

Black Super Express! Locomotive Mask’s Big Rampage (黒い超特急! 機関車仮面大暴走) – A really funny episode with quite possibly the goofiest monster (and I know I say that pretty much every episode, but I mean it thus time) up to this point – Locomotive Mask, who’s running all around Tokyo for confidential reasons. I won’t say what the reasons are, but it’s another plan of Magman’s that involves attacking the Goranger internally. It seems to be confirmed here that the new and improved Snack Gon is at a different location from the original. A lot of laughs are present in this silly but thoroughly enjoyable romp. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h26m56s168Big Red Counterattack! Angry Goranger (赤い大逆襲! 怒りのゴレンジャー) – Another Goranger-sabotage plan, though this time devised by the Masked Monster and the Fuhrer himself, with Magman just following along. Black Cross aims to have the Varidreen and Varitank for themselves, a plot device used before with the Variblume, but still just as logical. In order to get them, Black Cross uses a certain something as bait – Edogawa himself, the Fuhrer apparently finally remembering who he is. The trope of using a special individual as a bargaining tool for the Ranger’s battleship/mech will go on to be used in many other shows, but is very effective here, made all the more strong with the team’s clear dedication to rescuing their commander, while still retaining their arsenal, despite his orders telling them to value their arsenal before his life. The method that leads to their victory (Um, spoilers?) maybe makes Black Cross look rather dumb, but still makes for an awesome moment, and also has a great moment for Yoko. A very good episode. 4/5

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It’s a Kodak moment.

The Black Supply Depot! Close Call at the Theme Park (黒い補給基地! 遊園地危機一髪) – Another theme park-based episode that makes great usage of its setting (Even having killer costumed characters), though not offering much in the way of plot, with said plot being Black Cross getting their hands on a newly developed fuel by EAGLE (Which they intend to feed to the Condolers and perform an air raid on Tokyo), and hiding it at a theme park. Camera Mask is a perfect balance of silly and cool, and bears a rather strong resemblance to the Gorma Clan monsters from Gosei Sentai Dairanger that would appear nearly 20 years later. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h28m13s212The Big Green Escape! The Swirling Trick Play (みどりの大脱走! 卍のトリックプレイ) – An episode that certainly features one of Black Cross’ more elaborate schemes – creating a fake EAGLE base to lure Peggy and Asuka, who have returned from Paris with the blueprints to a Frankenstein-themed robot with the ability to withstand extreme heats and nuclear warfare for them to build for their own nefarious purposes. Said Frankenstein-bot bears an uncanny resemblance to the Iron Alliance’s footsoldiers from the latter half of Super Robot Red Baron. And yes, Peggy and Asuka were the ones assigned to build it, as if it were an Ikea table. Could EAGLE just not trust anybody else with those blueprints? Or have all the EAGLE scientists just been slaughtered by Black Cross by this point? Not the strongest moment for Peggy and Asuka, who while initially skeptical of the whole base, are completely reassured after hearing Edogawa’s voice (Not actually his, of course), and only realize the whole thing to be a trick after noticing the eyes of a painting on the wall (That old trick). The Masked Monster (Who loves wiggling his chest in a suggestive fashion) claims to be neither flesh nor blood, but is probably not robotic, indicating he’s some unholy spirit of sorts. Though it has its moments (The rest of the team’s search for Peggy and Asuka is nice) a pretty weak affair overall. 2.5/5

The Blue-Winged Secret! Dangerous Varidreen (青い翼の秘密! 危うしバリドリーン) – Another perfectly serviceable episode with some good moments, but pretty middle-of-the-road overall. Black Cross’ plot to frame the Varidreen for several raids on EAGLE bases, thereby turning the higher-ups at EAGLE against its creators (Therefore allowing Black Cross to learn just who the creators of the Varidreen are and kidnap them for their own deeds), with them being told of a mole within their ranks, is interesting and has plenty of potential, but is pretty much reflected to a single air raid by the Condolers and a crowd of people begin told about the “truth” of the Varidreen. Nevertheless, Shinemi displays his usual affection for the machine and is determined to prove its innocence. The Masked Monster is shown to be an avid butterfly collector (And seems to want the Varidreen due to its slight resemblance to a butterfly), with is all sorts of weird, especially considering he is a bear trap, but kind of funny. Guest stars Kenji Ushio. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h28m41s499The Making of Blue Counterfeit Money! The Sunset Gunman (青いニセ札づくり! 夕陽のガンマン) – A pretty entertaining episode with Black Cross real desperate for money, 50 Billion Yen to be precise, for “suffocation bombs” being sold by a mysterious “Mr. X”. Black Cross are apparently real broke (With the Fuhrer even citing the poor economy) to the point where they use counterfeit money to fund most of their projects. Not sure if that makes them look more pathetic, or more clever. Now just why they seem to be on-board with paying Mr. X as opposed to just shooting him counterfeit cash and then killing him beats me, unless he has a great eye for funny money (They later seem keen on just killing him). The Goranger’s method of stopping the transaction is goofily awesome in a way only this show can pull off, as is the Masked Monster, Gunman Mask. Mr. X is played in-person by prolific voice actor Eisuke Yoda (Though why he was able to appear here but not remain Magman’s voice actor is unknown). 3.5/5

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“Is Seymour there? Last name Butz.”

The Pink Telephone Demon! The Murderous Dial (ピンクの電話鬼! 殺しのダイヤル) – A spy-oriented story involving the leaking of various EAGLE projects and assassinations of top scientists and commanders. Though a mole is initially suspected (Meaning said mole would have to be a very high-ranking official), the truth behind the leaks is soon revealed in the form of Telephone Mask. He would be another contender for silliest monster in the show, but considering who appears in the next episode…Telephone Mask has the ability to call people (And intercept not just phone calls but also faxes) and shoot something lethal out of the receiving end, though there actually is an explanation for the ability – small devices are planted in phones and via his circuitry, are activated when ready. Though the scientists working on them is killed, those bikes seen being created will soon be making an appearance. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h34m37s264The Red Home Run King! The Deadly Number 1 (赤いホームラン王! 必殺の背番号1) – One of the more popular episodes of the show mainly due to its Masked Monster – Baseball Mask, who’s arguably the series’ most popular, having gone on to appear in Gokaiger and Super Hero Taisen. The plot, while nothing amazing, is somewhat unique, with EAGLE capturing a Black Cross scientist and Black Cross attempting to get him back. Said scientist, an expert in explosives, is named Dr. Shinigami, just like the character from Kamen Rider. Perhaps naming your child after the bringer of death is a lot more common than you thought. Baseball Mask is a really fun villain who’s silly motif leads to plenty of funny scenes, and he displays a surprising amount of respect for his men, even willing to turn on Shinigami after he tests a weapon on them. Though mostly remembered for its kooky enemy, a fun episode. Shinigami’s actor Nobuo Yana, will return to the show soon in a substantial role. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h35m23s142Crimson Challenge! The Volcano’s Last Big Eruption (真赤な挑戦! 火の山最期の大噴火) – The final appearance of General Magman, and good riddance to that. A very good, gripping episode, but Magman’s demise isn’t nearly as strong as Sun Halo’s or especially Temujin’s, really showcasing the weak villain he was. The Navarone’s blueprints manage to fall in the Goranger’s hands (And though they’re initially unreadable, they’re eventually decrypted through a laughably contrived method), upsetting the Fuhrer for the last time, who like with Temujin before him, locks out Magman and welcomes a new commander – Golden Mask. Magman’s desperate all-out-attack with the Navarone is certainly destructive, and the Goranger’s raid on the battle station is a lot of fun and tense, costing a sacrifice to be made. The final battle against Magman starts promisingly, but ends on a farce involving the Goranger Hurricane (Which would be fine for a monster of the week, but not a general), really showcasing what a poor villain he was. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h37m23s203The Colored Daishogun! Tutankamen’s Curse (色の大将軍! ツタンカーメンの呪い) – The proper debut of not only Golden Mask, but also the replacement Kiiranger, Daigoro Kumano, who’s taking over from Daita, who was apparently sent off to train EAGLE members in Kyushu. The change is only temporary (Baku Hatakeyama temporarily departed from the show to partake in a play), and it shows, with him making almost no impression at all. And if they needed a stand-in Kiiranger, why not use Yoko? She’s proven to be the team’s most trusted and skilled companion time and time again, and even filled in for Momoranger once. Perhaps the idea of a female Yellow Ranger was too ahead of its time. Golden Mask sadly doesn’t leave much of an impression either, with him not even having much screen time, even if his overt Egyptian aesthetic (Including a Sphinx-base and death trap stopped only by answering a riddle) is cool and his plot of spreading a bacterial gas created by the Nazis is pretty terrifying. For the first time in a while, we’re given a female Masked Monster in the form of Big Ear Mask, who’s as weird as she sounds. Also making their debut are the Gorangers’ new bikes, the Star Machines, which were previously teased a few episodes back. The final appearance of Mitsuo Ando as the Fuhrer, though only in-person. His voice is provided by Nobuo Yana, who will take over the role fully. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h38m35s623Blue Summer Vacation! A Demon’s Killing Beach (青い夏休み! 魔の殺人海岸)A fun “vacation” episode has suggested by the title. The plot is about as basic as they come, with the team going through several assassination attempts while taking a break, in order for them to be out of the way when Faucet Mask (Said to be a top assassin from the Middle East) assassinates leaders at an upcoming peace conference. With most of the team (Sans Kaijo) on a break, you think there’d be some time to get to know Daigoro better, but other than the fact he likes fishing and dessert, there’s none, instead focusing mostly on Shinmei, who proves himself a great second-in-command. The Saboten Izu Park makes an appearance (Even mentioned by name by Asuka), a place seen in so many shows (Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Ultraman Ace, Bioman and Maskman just to name a few). Nobuo Yana makes his proper debut as the Fuhrer, and doesn’t leave too good an impression. 4/5

Himitsu Sentai Goranger: The Bomb Hurricane (秘密戦隊ゴレンジャー 爆弾ハリケーン) – The only Goranger movie to be an original production, with the rest simply being repackaged episodes. Like most Toei Superhero movies from the period (And still now, really), more emphasis is put on action and the exotic location than plot, but a fun time is had. Said plot is about as basic as they come, with Black Cross setting up a missile base in Matsuyama (A place the team will revisit several times in the future), where they plan to launch several misses at parts of Japan. That’s it, though they are in cahoots with international arms dealer Ken Ito (Who is said to have supplied weapons to other terrorist groups in the past), who is played by Kenji Todoroki, in his third appearance in the series, and his mysterious sexy assistant. There’s very little plot, but the action and the scenery make it all worthwhile. The Masked Monster isn’t referred to as such, instead being called “Steel Sword Dragon”, being called a Black Sheep by the Fuhrer, and doesn’t utter a word, coming across as a big dumb brute. The Fuhrer himself is quite involved in the strategy, with him even going out in the field. 3.5/5vlcsnap-2018-12-01-22h46m31s740

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h39m09s184The Black Encircling Net! Five-Faced Peggy (黒い包囲網! 五つの顔のペギー) – A Peggy-centered episode somewhat similar in story to Pink Moonlight! Wolf Corps (Which in itself reminded me of The AvengersMurdersville) with her infiltrating a town taken over by Black Cross. Though this time instead of using it to train a werewolf army, they’re holding it ransom with a bomb planted underneath, allowing them to create a new kind of explosive gunpowder in peace. Peggy assumes various disguises in order to evade them, a feature that many Pink Rangers will do in future shows. Peggy and Asuka are the only Rangers to feature prominently, with the other only appearing real briefly in the beginning and in-suit at the end. Though the suppression of the townspeople is not explored at all and the plot is a bit on the confusing side, an enjoyable episode, as with all Peggy-focused ones.Guest stars Yoshifumi Tajima and Tsutomu Sekine as the eccentric truck driver Peggy hitches a ride with, who will go on to play the Conductor in Ressha Sentai ToQger nearly 40 years later. Could they be the same character? (For real, could they? I’ve never seen ToQger and doubt I ever will) 4/5

Crimson Ambition! His Excellency the Fuhrer’s Gold Castle (真赤な野望! 総統閣下の黄金城) – One of the dumbest-plotted episodes in the whole show, with Golden Mask wanting to collect all the gold in the world to build a castle for the Fuhrer, clearly wanting to stay on his good side for all of his inevitable failures to come, which really showcases his boot licking persona. And I mean ALL the gold, as they even raid a family’s small house containing small pieces of jewelry. Among the gold-containing setting raided is a transaction between Black Hole (Last seen over 20 episodes ago) and what look like the KKK. Daigoro attempts to prove himself to the others, but quickly gets captured, in a pretty pointless subplot (Daigoro doesn’t even feature prominently, with Peggy and Asuka again taking center stage). Yoko once again assumes the role of Momoranger (along with some unnamed EAGLE lackey filling in for Mido), more evidence she should have been the replacement Kiranger. Not unwatchable or anything, but pretty dumb. 2/5

The Crimson South! The Mysterious Big Gold Plan (真赤な南国! 謎のゴールド大作戦) – If you can believe it, a continuation of the previous episode, with Black Cross still out looking for gold to make a castle for the Fuhrer out of, though this time they have their sites on buried treasure in Matsuyama. Truly the epitome of a “filler” episode, with almost nothing noteworthy about it. The “buried treasure” aspect has been done before and to much more interesting results, and the Matsuyama setting, while still pretty, was already seen in the movie. In fact, it’s pretty clear the episode and the movie were shot back-to-back, with Kenji Todoroki once again appearing, this time as an EAGLE captain. Deathbird Mask is among the more unique Masked Monsters, basically just being a pterodactyl that eats people, and is the only member of Black Cross to appear (Sans foot soldiers of course). Makes you wonder just how important this whole mission really was to the Fuhrer. A pretty weak episode that concludes this moronic plot line. 2/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h39m52s375Blue Inland Sea! The Floating Secret Fortress Island (青い瀬戸内海! 浮かぶ秘密要塞島) – Another Matsuyama-based story, and an improvement over the last, though still nothing too special. Picking up right where the last episode left off, with the team enjoying a break (For someone who only lasts 12 episodes, Daigoro sure gets a lot of downtime), while Black Cross hatches an ingenious scheme to…blow up the island of Shikoku with a missile, stored within a giant clam. Said giant clam is a Masked Monster, and is certainly among the show’s more grotesque in appearance, not to mention is quite powerful. Mostly everyone has a moment to shine (With the exception of Daigoro, of course), most notably Shinmei and Asuka’s fight together, followed by Asuka believing Shinmei to have perished. When the giant clam is first examined in the hotel lobby, a little girl, who was never seen before, is seen closely guarded by Yoko, attempting to touch the clam, only for her to never be seen again. Presumably, she was the result of the cutting room floor, but who knows. Ironically, Yoko doesn’t appear again after the scene, so perhaps the two went on an unseen adventure together. There’s a pretty funny twist on the Goranger Hurricane during the climax that will come back to bite them next time. The final appearance of Kenji Todoroki in the series, with him reprising his role from the last episode. An entertaining episode, but really nothing special. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h41m52s403The Pink KO Punch! The End-Ball Match (桃色のKOパンチ! エンドボール勝負) – One of the show’s more popular episodes of show thanks largely due to its Masked Monster – Cowshoe Mask, but also due to the fact it’s just a really good, funny episode. Black Cross attempts to create their own version of the Goranger Hurricane, realizing it to be responsible for the deaths of almost all of their monsters, utilizing the football accidentally dropped in the sea by Midoranger last episode, in an excellent bit of continuity. So it’s back to Matsuyama (And the New Diamond Hotel, which must have really appreciated the advertisement it got during these episodes) once again to try and get the football before Cowshoe Mask and his men do, and while it may seem redundant by this point, it’s handled well, with only half or so of the episode taking place there. Black Cross’ replication Hurricane manages to still do a decent deal of damage, with us getting our first EAGLE massacre in a while. The square-off scenes between the Gorangers and Cowshoe Mask and his squad with their Hurricanes are a ton of fun, and Cowshoe Mask is as funny as he looks and sounds. Just a really fun episode from start to finish. 4.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h42m25s943The White Mystery! The Trap of the Grim Reaper’s Mansion (白い怪奇! 死神館の罠) – Another “Black Cross trying to get their hands on deadly substance” plot, though with a fun “haunted house” twist to it. Said MacGuffin is some sort of incredibly powerful gunpowder created by EAGLE scientists that Kaijo is assigned to deliver within 30 hours, or it will detonate. Black Cross aren’t even aware of what is in the capsule Kaijo is carrying, just choosing to intercept the rendezvous just to be jerks, and spending much of the episode trying to figure out just what it may be. In a great scene, Kaijo is at his most helpless, being drugged heavily by Ribcage Mask (Who has the ability to resurrect the dead, apparently) with the inability to speak, unable to tell Peggy and Asuka where Rib Cage Mask is hiding with the capsule. They real desperately try to make Daigoro Daita in this episode, by having him eat several plates of food, answer Taro’s riddle and tag along with Shinmei, but still forget to make him interesting in the slightest. A fun episode. 4/5

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“It stinks!”

A Flash of Black Lightning! The Protruding Cannon (黒い電光石火! 飛び出す大砲) – Black Cross is certainly back at their massacring game here, with the classic TV Mask intercepting the locations of EAGLE Nuclear Power Plants and destroying them, which would in turn plunge much of Japan in nuclear chaos. A lot of intercepting and counter-intercepting is at play here, giving it a good spy-vibe. TV Mask has the ability to emit hallucinations that the team are under attack from large swarms of Zolders, perhaps studied from Goranger Hurricane technology. Nothing amazing, but an enjoyable episode with lots of action and a classic villain. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h50m11s217Blue UFO!! The Space Army’s Big Invasion (青いUFO (ユーフォー)!! 宇宙軍団大襲来) – A “change-up” episode for Black Cross, with them receiving mysterious UFO reinforcements and new ninja-like footsoldiers that may possibly hail from beyond the stars, an upgrade that frankly should have occurred earlier, given Black Cross’ villain decay as of late. In addition, the Fuhrer and Golden Mask are also given a new flying saucer-like fortress, perhaps to make up for them not getting that gold castle. What little plot there is concerns the saucers and soldiers destroying EAGLE radar centers and the team debating whether or not they truly are from space, something we never get a clear answer on. To further signify change, the classic earworm ending theme is replaced with another, much less memorable song. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h50m32s199The Crimson Suicide Squad!! The Black Cross Castle Raid (真赤な決死隊!! 殴りこみ黒十字城) – Essentially the second part to the last episode, with Black Cross continuing to show off their new toys, particularly their new flying fortress, which does some serious damage to Tokyo. The Gorangers seem more convinced that said powers do indeed hail from space. The fortress takes a serious toll on the Varidreen, with the team using what little they have to infiltrate it and prevent it from totally obliterating the city. The Masked Monster, Fallen Leaves Mask has got to be one of the dumbest concepts, yet one of the cooler executed. Not much in the way of plot, like the episode before it, but a pretty enjoyable romp with high-stakes. 3/5

The Red Hostage Exchange!! Battlers’ Big Charge (赤い人質交換!! バットラー大襲撃) – A Kaijo-focused story with plenty of espionage goodness to be had, including infiltration, the stealing of decoded plans to a superweapon, hostages masquerading and death-faking that sounds like a lot of fun, and while it is, the whole thing does feel rather…plain? The plans to some superweapon that we learn nothing at all about, are stolen but in decoded in a way only one individual can read, resulting in said individual being sought after by Black Cross, in exchange for Daigoro who manages to get himself captured once again. A few twists and turns are had along the way that do make both Black Cross and the Gorangers look clever. Windmill Mask is another goofy-but-cool one, though his shoe-themed weapon that locks people to the ground is puzzling (Wouldn’t it have been more suited to Cowshoe Mask?). The climax is among the goofiest in the show, with various windmill-themed attacks from both the Zolders and Gorangers. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h51m28s109Crimson Special Attack!! Kiranger Dies at Sunset (真赤な特攻!! キレンジャー夕陽に死す) – As evidenced by the title, the final appearance of Jiro Daruma as Daigoro, and the return of Daita. Despite Daigoro’s poor characterization during his tenure, an excellent sendoff for the character with a lot of emotional weight. Black Cross acquires a horrifying mold that causes rapid rust created by EAGLE scientists (Who are apparently just as mad as Black Cross’ with their creating of so many horrible weapons), thanks largely to Daigoro messing up, resulting in him attempting to retrieve it at all costs, especially after Taro is injured. The rusting of machinery is quick to concern Shinmei, knowing his beloved Varidreen is bound to become a victim. Daigoro’s death scene at the hands of Can Opener Mask (And yeah, perhaps a bit of an embarrassing monster to be killed by, though I suppose it could have been somebody like Locomotive or Cowshoe Mask) is a tear-jerker, and it is a shame his character was handled so poorly. The first episode where the action and stunt work is handled by the Japan Action Club (J.A.C.), who will handle it for the remainder of the show and Sentai series to follow. 4.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h52m23s102The Pink Rebellion!! The Big Attack of Needle-Needle-Needle (ピンクの反乱!! 針・針・針の大攻撃) – An episode bound to give crazy anti-vaxxers a platform, with Black Cross creating a vaccination that turns people into mindless followers that chant “Black is beautiful”, in a very awkward situation. Now obviously, they are referring to Black Cross, but it’s rather unlikely the writers did not hear the phrase prior to writing the episode and is a sheer coincidence. Peggy and Yoko feature prominently and are as fun as ever, with Shinmei getting a chance to really shine too. Injection Mask is bound to freak out trypanophobics everywhere. A pretty enjoyable episode, even if its unintentional politics are a bit awkward. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h53m41s517The New Multicolored Vehicle!! Variccune Launches (五色新兵器!! バリキキューン発進) – The introduction of the Goranger’s latest vehicle, hot air balloon-like Varicccune (And don’t worry, the Varidreen is going nowhere), which is used primarily for mass-transportation. Said introduction gets little fanfare, with it being said to be worked on by EAGLE and completed within a few hours to rescue Daita, who after being absent for several episodes, already needs to be saved again (Was this originally written with Daigoro in mind?). The plot is about as barebones as they come, with the evil Pineapple Mask creating and selling a bunch of pineapples cameras to search for the Gorangers’ base, hoping in vain somebody with access to it bought a pineapple (Which Yoko did). Said plot is ridiculed even by Golden Mask, who puts it all on Pineapple Mask. It would appear the Gorangers’ have moved to another location for their base once again, with Snack Gon getting another, much classier makeover. Serviceable, but insignificant minus the Varicclune’s intro. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-19h55m07s747Blue Counterattack!! Stop the Space Express (青い逆襲!! 宇宙特急をストップせよ) – A nice “teamwork” episode that has the whole team working together to rescue Akaranger, in a nice twist of things. Featured is possibly Black Cross’ most over-ambitious plan to date – destroying the Van Allen Radiation belt, therefore plummet the Earth into flames. Certainly a step up from making pineapples to look for the Goranger’s secret base, and also further indicates their newly-found space ties. The scientist Black Cross needs to for their plan is Professor Kudo, which also happens to be the name of the scientist from Green Shudder! The Escape From Ear Hell, played by the same actor no less. It isn’t clear if they are the same character (Both do seem to work in different fields), but you never know (Twins?). 4/5

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SING US A SONG, YOU’RE THE PIANO MAN

Big Crimson Decisive Battle!! The Earth Migration Plan (真赤な大決戦!! 地球移動計画) – Another really sci-fi-oriented story, with Black Cross devising a scheme of moving the Earth out of its orbit (Like in Gorath), using Mt. Fuji’s magma as an energy source. Because why not? Intruders are driven away with a piano tune and ballet dancer that hypnotize people into committing suicide, in a pretty dark twist of things, a plotpoint that’s entirely done away with after the break. Piano Mask is about as goofy as he sounds. The final appearance of Eri Kanuma as Yoko Kato/007, which is very unfortunate. She is given no proper sendoff in the slightest. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-20h01m51s173Blue Secrecy!! Varidreen Left to be Dismantled (青い機密!! 解体されたバリドリーン) – A Shinmei-focused episode that once again shows his devotion to the Varidreen. The plot is about as basic as they come with Black Cross obtaining the Varidreen and studying it for themselves. Apparently the Varidreen still surpasses their various alien warcraft in strength and speed. Shinmei risks it all to get back his precious ship by infiltrating their hideout in a real enjoyable scene with some nice underwater filming. Perhaps to compensate for Yoko’s departure (Which goes unexplained just like her fellow 00s’ departures did early on), Edogawa makes his first appearance in a little while. A fun episode. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-20h02m36s452Black Whirlwind!! It’s a Contest! A Straight Line (黒いつむじ風!! 勝負だ! 一直線) – A strong episode featuring a Masked Monster with a legitimate sense of honor – Kendo Mask, who proves to be not only a formidable foe, but a respectful one, even saving Kaijo’s life. This honor of course is not tolerated by the Black Cross, leading to a scene that’s both tragic and terrifying, resulting in not only EAGLE members being slaughtered, but also innocent civilians, children included. Not only is their a powerful, tragic story, but the episode itself is a lot of fun, with some great fight sequences (With Kendo Mask undeniably being powerful, something Black Cross realize is invaluable to them). 4.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-20h03m04s078Freezing Blue Wave!! The Plan to Freeze Earth (青い大寒波!! 地球氷づけ作戦) – A story with Black Cross once again trying to freeze the Earth, something they attempted at doing way back in Blue Shadow, Variblume Secret Strategy. They don’t even have any apparent assistance from their new alien comrades, they just capture several scientists and force them to build freezing spray for them. Glasses Mask is among the weirder Masked Monsters, who instead of just being a big pair of glasses on a human body is a big-eared dude wearing multiple pairs. He supplies Zolders with glasses that allow them to see in slow-motion, defying the laws of time, in order to prevent the Gorangers from using their weapons. An entertaining episode, despite its retreaded plot. 3.5/5

Fiery Crimson Hell!! Stove Mask’s Conspiracy (真赤な火炎地獄!! ストーブ仮面の陰謀) – An episode where Black Cross creates something that could just as easily be used for good purposes – a chemical that turns oil and other fossil fuels to water (Its supposed creator Stove Mask even states he should get a Nobel prize for it) – but opt to use it for bad, right in the midst of the Oil Crisis. The then-large oil shortage and Black Cross taking advantage of it could have made for a real interesting plot, though its mostly neglected in favor of more action and Stove Mask hiding admits other household heaters. Stove Mask’s primary attack is a flamethrower that burns people alive, in a pretty gruesome scene. Akaranger stuntman Kenji Ohba features somewhat prominently as a Zoldier disguised as an EAGLE soldier, and will of course go on to have some major roles in future shows. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-19h39m36s122Crimson Infiltration!! Did You See Tsuyoshi Kaijo? (真赤な潜入!! 君は海城剛を見たか?) – Another episode where the whole team bands together to rescue a (supposedly) captured Kaijo (Something it apparently takes the team ten days to guess), and like the last one, an enjoyable affair, though not without some flaws. Black Cross’ plot involves them stealing a lysogenic bacterium held by EAGLE scientists that when mixed with certain spider venom can melt the flesh off of people. Said lysogen apparently has the ability to turn liquid waste into fresh water, something awfully similar to the oil-to-water chemical made by Black Cross last episode. Could this episode be perhaps set before the previous, with Black Stove Mask studying it to make his chemical, or could they perhaps have just figured out its reaction to spider venom through his version? Despite Peggy being present during Kaijo’s disappearance and taking the blame, Shinmei is affected the most by it and makes up a majority of the episode. Do I smell a more-than-just-friends thing going on between those two? Iron Spider Mask is a rare animal-themed monster, and a really fun one at that. An entertaining episode, even if the shifting between Peggy and Shinmei is awkward. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-20h11m10s920Black Fear!! The Bloodsucking Snake-Woman (黒い恐怖!! 吸血ヘビ女) – A Peggy-centered episode that’s both creepy and a lot of fun. The Gorangers by this point have become well-recognized heroes, with them receiving a plea from a young woman to protect her village from a legendary snake god that’s killing other girls and draining them of their blood. Of course, it’s no surprise twist that Black Cross are behind the killings (Playing with the villager’s superstitions), but the scenes of them taking place are disturbing, and the team’s investigation into the matter is entertaining (Even if Daita acts like a perv around a 17 year old girl). There’s a twist as to why Black Cross are committing the killings in the area that’s revealed during the last few minutes and has no barring on the plot. Frankly, I would have preferred if it were just a scheme to lure the Gorangers and kill them one-by-one. Regardless, a real entertaining, spooky episode. Curiously, the Goranger Hurricane’s attack involves a “freezing spray” awfully similar to the kind used by Glasses Mask in Freezing Blue Wave!! The Plan to Freeze Earth. Guest stars Tomoko Ai. 4/5

Black Jamming!! A Primeval Roar (黒い妨害電波!! 原始の雄叫び) – A Daita-centered episode that kind of shows his vulnerability, but also his caring side, showing what a good guy he really is. Black Cross is once again looking for the Gorangers’ base to attack it with a new jamming device, and attempt to earn the trust of Daita to get them there, in a fairly clever scheme. Mammoth Mask has Zoldiers create a “Death Mask” by putting a clay-like substance over a dead man’s face, therefore allowing it to be worse as a disguise. A mildly confusing scene occurs after Daita escapes from Black Cross’ prison (as planned), remarking it’s awfully close to the Goranger base, only for it to be revealed the next scene that Black Cross’ spy has yet to see the base in question. Presumably, he was just taken back to the EAGLE base he was from, but it’s a confusing line that serves no purpose. EAGLE soldier Kurokawa is played by Kin Oomae, who acted alongside Baku Hatekyama in Tsuburaya’s Army of the Apes, and will go on to have several roles in the Sentai series. 3.5/5

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This is awesome and you know it.

Crimson Pursuit!! The Formless Assassin’s True Form (真赤な追跡!! 姿なき暗殺者の正体) – A Kaijo-centered episode that’s a lot of fun with plenty of snooping involved. People keep turning into skeletons, with a mysterious woman usually being present, resulting in the team trying to figure out the connection. The Masked Monster, Ice Skate Mask is revealed to be working independently (With some outside help) in developing a gas that’s guaranteed to turn the Gorangers to bones. The Fuhrer doesn’t seem too upset by this, I guess as long as it works. During a scene where he investigates the house of the woman believed to be behind the deaths, Daita disguises himself as Columbo, even referring to his wife several times. It needs to be seen to be believed. The final fight takes place at a theme park, with plenty of fun setpieces, and the final match with Ice Skate Mask taking place on (big shock) a skating rink (The Gorangers apparently have built-in ice skates ala Batman and Robin). But c’mon Kaijo, you didn’t have to kill those goldfish. I’m sure everyone got the idea that the pills handed to them were lethal. 4/5

Crimson Crossing in Enemy Territory! Escape to Hope (真赤な敵中横断! 希望への脱出) – A “ransom” episode that once more involves a child, along with Kaijo (Who’s now making it a habit to be captured) and Peggy, in exchange for the kid’s father, a scientist who’s discovered a new type of uranium. Pretty standard stuff, but a perfectly enjoyable episode. The scientist’s hesitation to exchange himself for his son is surprising, but not entirely unjust, as no doubt will the weapons Black Cross makes with his uranium cause way more deaths than just three people. The scenes with Kaijo, Peggy and the boy trapped underground are fairly tense and reminiscent of “underground” episodes of Ultraman. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-20h14m12s805Black Doubt!! The Murder Spy’s Trap (黒い疑惑!! 殺人スパイの罠) – An Asuka-centered episode with him accused of murdering several EAGLE soldiers, along with stealing microfilm by his senior officer and friend Yokota. Of course, he didn’t do it and the whole thing is a Black Cross plot, with Yokota being involved, leaving Asuka on the run while trying to prove his innocence. Yokota displays clear jealousy at Asuka’s promotion to Midoranger, which is understandable given his less experience/younger age, though it begs the question as to where Yokota was during Black Cross’ massacre of the base when Asuka was said to be the only survivor. The episode is pretty compelling, but the ending feels very rushed and leaves quite a plothole – the full truth is revealed to Asuka (With some particularly nasty blackmailing by Black Cross involved), but a certain death leaves nobody other than Asuka with the details of what actually happened, meaning he, who had been found guilty, would have no way of proving it. It’s implied that Kettle Mask’s appearing and Asuka’s recollection of him committing the murders (Something he was only able to recollect after being found guilty, thanks to whatever it was they put in his coffee) got him acquitted, but the whole thing should have been handled better. Guest stars Daisuke Ban, who in a very ironic twist, plays somebody jealous a Ranger played by Yukio Ito. A few years later, he will finally get his wish and play a Ranger that takes over from Yukio Ito in Battle Fever J. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-20h14m38s524Black Magician!! Mystery of the Dollhouse?! (黒い魔術師!! 人形館の怪?!) – A Peggy-centered episode that signifies the show is coming to an end, with Black Cross striking at EAGLE internally, having discovered the location of their top computer center. An enjoyable episode with one of the show’s more memorable monsters in the form of Yo-Yo Mask (And his human disguise, who is played by his voice actor Masaya Taki) and his mechanical yo-yos that follow the individual colors of the Gorangers. The climax, while certainly silly, but rather ingenious and of course lots of fun. Just a fun episode, not much else to say. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-20h15m41s601Orange First Love!! The Roaring Megalopolis (オレンジ色の初恋!! 吼える大都会) – With just one episode left, we’re treated to another Peggy-oriented episode, and a rather tragic one at that. EAGLE are apparently working on creating their own mobile fortress to combat Black Cross’, which naturally, Black Cross aren’t too thrilled with. We’re treated to a glimpse at Peggy’s past before becoming Momoranger, with it being revealed she fell in love with her superior officer Daigo prior to the Hokkaido branch’s destruction, with him disappearing without a trace, only for Daigo to reappear three years later. Of course, not everything is how it seems, but the scenes with the two are nice and you can feel the sorrow, but ultimate acceptance within Peggy. The Masked Monster Tiger Mask is real similar to Steel Tiger Mask from just a few episodes ago, showing what a slump the designers must have been on at this point. I’d suggest they’re brothers…but that probably isn’t the case. Guest stars Shunsuke Ikeda. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-12-01-20h19m38s222Great Crimson Victory!! Shine Forever, Five Stars (真赤な大勝利!! 永久に輝け五つ星) – The series finale, and a decidedly mixed one, with some very strong scenes, but others that either come from nowhere or should have been properly explained better (Indeed, I feel the episode would have worked better as a two-parter). A pretty simplistic plot, with after so many failures, the Fuhrer decides to settle things with the Gorangers once and for all and combat them himself, though not before being warned of a bad omen by Golden Mask involving the constellation of Cassiopeia, which just so happens to be five stars (Like the five Gorangers) and contain the first syllable of each member’s name. If I had to guess, I’d say this whole plotpoint wasn’t planned from the start, but it is a clever connection. It’s just too bad the whole astrology element and the Fuhrer being weak when Scorpio passes Cassiopeia was never once alluded to. The Furher certainly proves himself against the team, though is completely helpless when he sees so much as a “W”-shaped object. Though his exact origins are never explained, there is with little doubt he is not of this Earth. Golden Mask, who never got a proper “farewell” episode like the other three generals, does get a chance to really shine. It’s just too bad it took this long. The climax is pretty strong (If a bit similar to Crimson Challenge! The Volcano’s Last Big Eruption‘s), with the team using what little they have to bring an end to the Fuhrer and castle once and for all, requiring some sacrifices if necessary. Not a bad cap to the show, but a bit rushed feeling and would have benefited greatly being a two-parter. 3/5

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