Join us as we start on a wild ride through Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger! Can Yamato lead his Zyuman friends through an adventure to save the human world from the Deathgalien? Find out how we think he’s doing as we share our thoughts on:
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger; Episode 1 – The Bustling Animal Land!
Save As… to Download Episode Length 1:45:18
NOTE: The Player doesn’t seem to be working right now, but the “Save As…” should get you the episode. I will work on this. -Ammit
Before we start Sono is going to give credit where it is due:
Episode Writer: Komura Junko
Episode Director: Shibasaki Takayuki
Komura Junko is our lead writer and has several past Tokusatsu credits, Co writing an episode of Go-Onger, and co-writing Go-Onger V. Gekiranger, several episodes of Goseiger and Gokaiger, about half of Akibaranger and Kamen Rider Wizard (as well as Wizard’s solo movie and the Wizard half of Wizard x Gaim), and a few episodes of Drive.
Shibasaki Takayuki is our lead director and has a number of past directing credits, mostly in Kamen Rider, directing at least a few episodes in every Kamen Rider from Kabuto to Fourze, with the exception of Kiva. He was also the head director on Go-Busters, though seems to have only directly been in charge of a few episodes. (This seems really bizarre to me?) as well as some directing on Drive and Ghost and a lot of Heisei Rider movies and DVD specials.
Animal Instincts – Overall Thoughts about the episode & it’s message
WEEK 1 – FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Sono- I have high hopes. I’ve been avoiding most pre-show press due to how Ninninger ended up for me because of that, so I went in mostly blind aside from a few little things and I’m already in love with everyone. It feels fun and bright, but not overly silly. The villains feel like a threat, and the cast already all feels very heroic. I got SUPER emotional listening to the OP and during Yamato’s first big fight, and even a bit during the very cute dance ending. All around, it feels like really good energy and I’m excited to see where this show goes.
Ammit- I forgot how good it can feel to watch Super-Sentai. Yamato is really personable and the four Zyumen we met seem interesting. I like how the 4 guardians of the Link Cube are split male/female and there are each half dour and chipper. I think the dynamic will be really fun between them and I can already see arcs waiting to be travelled just from some key dialogue. The heroism is turned up to 11 and while the use of Invaders from Beyond isn’t great, that blemish is offset by the fact that Earth’s saviors are from a different Beyond and are NOT humans. Yamato’s ability to transform with Zyuman power also erases the artificial lines separating all life forms and sends the message that “we all are one” if not one and the same.
Aleph- Gonna be the one skeptic here. It’s got legs, don’t get me wrong, and I think there’s a lot of good potential introduced here in the first episode, but there’s a level here at which I feel like it’s just this side of too traditional in structure? All the boxes were ticked off, no doubt–sitcom scenario, baddies, first transformation, robot fight, even a hint at the sixth member of the team–but the whole time I kept thinking of a less-weird Jetman or Gingaman. I look forward to being shown to be wrong and love the heck out of a zoologist as our Red and the designs are weird but carried out nicely, but the first ep feels just this side of too safe. Which is a weird thing to say as it’s honestly such an abstract thing coming down more to gut than anything else because if you grilled me on what it was that made me iffy on it, I don’t know what I’d say.
Hackles Up! – Problems & Nitpicks
- The Cube/Block motif feels so lazy to me? Like it’s a cube. It’s just. A square??? They’re also really bulky and it’s hard to make holding a square aesthetically appealing.
- The suits themselves feel a little uninspired. I like the helmets, but the body of the suit I feel is kind of dull? It’s different, but not all that interesting.
- Gettin’ pretty tired of “5 Person Team. 3 Person Robot”. Just stick the other two on as arms. This isn’t hard
- Perfect Sculpted Lips because we don’t need to sexualize the ONLY female villain so far.
- The Deathgalien names didn’t seem to match their aesthetics well. The cube guy wasn’t called Jag’d OR Kubar. Why not?
- The Zyumen tails sticking around when they get their human faces because I can feel that getting really fetish-y really fast
- Wait, is nobody else gonna mention the rubber/plastic horse masks on like a third of the background Zyumen? Because I was trying SO HARD to stop noticing them but there they were. All the time.
- Also that dude that Red’s living with had best have a thing he’s doing because for all “older dude the heroes live with” is well-trod territory in Sentai, the costume antics straight out the gate put me on edge. Weird guy is great, weird guy I’m supposed to spend lots of time laughing at is not for me.
- And, fine, I’ll be the guy who says it: the music was NOT working for me. I’ve loved Sentai music before (I straight-up bought the Toqger soundtrack) but this one is gonna be a grower, I think. It’s not “Kamen Rider Agito” bad, but it’s… I’m gonna need a bit.
Tide Turners – Stuff you enjoyed.
- We had a lot of world building for just the first episode. We already know what pretty much everyone is about and got a lot of personality out of every member of our cast.
- The animal suit designs are really nice (with the exception of any Horse people who are literally just THAT horse mask.) and I think they show a lot of personality of the characters. I feel like they’re even a bit above and beyond the ones in Gekiranger.
- It reminds me a lot of GaoRanger, but not in a way where I feel like it’s copying from GaoRanger. It’s just a very similar energy and I like it.
- Yamato saying humans are animals because of all that can mean
- Amu calling out the Contrivance Cubes’ uncanny ability to make things super convenient
- Leo nuzzling Yamato after yelling “human” at him and raising his arms to cease him
- The essential conflict set up between these selfish, self-pleasuring Gamer Villains and our Heroes who serve others as a profession
- Flight of the ZyuEagle
- Whip Sword
- Gonna +1 that whipsword. That’s a good weapon.
- I really enjoyed a lot of the design? Like how the cube thing was built into at least a lot of the background of the animal world? And if, as Ammit says, we can understand our heroes being contributing members of society fighting against a bunch of awful gamer-types, the fact that the baddies explode into pixels is just wonderful. And seeing the foam cubes they toss on the robot at the end? Wonderful.
- Speaking of the baddies, the head bad guy with the glowy mouth? That was a good touch.
- Hey, a scientist-hero! I love that. And the kid can act! That’s been a really nice change from Ninninger which, while a decent enough show… whoof.
Evolutions – What do you think this show has in store for the future?
Sono- I’m hoping for an anniversary skit involving GaoRanger with a joke about Red and Yellow being switched, and Leo joking about taking over as leader. (Even though Sela is clearly the one in charge here.)
Ammit- Eagle will return to mentor or as the 6th ranger.
Aleph- No clue. Aside from the return of eagle, I got nothin’. Ask me again after episode 3, cuz that’s where even the slow-starting ones tend to make their stand.
What do you think of the Block/Cube motif?
What do you think of the show taking on an environmentalist angle?
What are your opinions so far of the villain group?
NEXT WEEK — EPISODE 2: DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THIS PLANET!
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