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:
Episode 20 – Champion of the World!
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Before we start Sono is going to give credit where it is due:
Episode 20 – Champion of the World!
Episode Writer: Komura Junko
Episode Director: Nakazawa Shoujirou
Nothing to add here.
Misao with his three dads.
Animal Instincts – Overall Thoughts about the episode & it’s message
I don’t know how this show expects me to handle Misao. I mean they go a little overboard with it, but he really just wants friends who like him and think he’s nice, and he feels bad for hurting people. He’s so sweet! He wants to be noble and do the right thing and help people, but he also feels guilt over what he did under Genis’s influence and doesn’t want to use strength he hasn’t earned, and that was given to him at the expense of others.
I think they’re really using him to explore the ideas of guilt. I’m not sure if it’s intentional that they’re really exploring the symptoms of abuse with him, but the signs are all there, and I’m really eager to see where this show takes Misao and how he learns to cope with the things that have happened to him and how they weren’t his fault.
Yeah, it is REALLY hard to not make that connection and if that’s a thing they’re doing on purpose? Friggin’ kudos. I might quibble with some of the way it’s manifesting as I go back and forth about whether or not making him kind of a quasi-comic figure is the thing to do and having lots of contradictory ways it could read… but at the same time, good on ‘em for trying. ‘Cuz you sometimes get made aware that there are people out there who use “victim” as an insult or a way to dismiss things and here comes this show for kids saying “No, look, if you didn’t have a say in a thing, what happens is not on you and we should be pointing the finger primarily at the person who started all this awfulness”, which…
I mean, there’s stuff for adults that doesn’t have that level of empathy. And with how much nuance they’re managing to pack in given that the target demographic isn’t yet in their teens? I gotta give ‘em a whole mess of credit for the attempt even as I sorta side-eye some aspects.
I like where you’re both coming from. I was really impressed with how it all played to me. We saw our heroes struggling as a unit to show the proper empathy and response to Misao’s trauma. They’re all aching to help him and he is so hurt he can’t let them until the very end when Yamato calls him Miichan. I’m not lauding the show for Yamato manipulating him because that isn’t what happened, though I’m sure someone read it that way, but I am thrilled that they showed off that listening to people and validating their needs is a way to connect to them. That’s really neat and I hope that’s what kids watching take away from Misao’s immediate turn at hearing his nickname. If you can’t connect with someone no amount of empathy can help them. Maybe.
Hackles Up! – Problems & Nitpicks
- WHY DID WE DO ANOTHER GROSS SCENE WITH GENIS? Why, Zyuohger? I asked nicely not to do that again and it was almost grosser this time with how we go into the fact that Genis didn’t just kidnap this guy and dump a bunch of animals into him, he also took advantage of Misao’s loneliness and insecurity. Again, this is all good writing, but man it’s heavy stuff and it was uncomfortable to watch.
- Leo, you’re a rude jerk.
- Will definitely agree about Genis and Misao. Holy dang that was unsettling. To take it out of the kind of uncomfortable it was at the start into something possibly humorous, but, did anyone else get sort of a Disney-Jungle Book vibe off Genis? Something about his weird body combined with his “believe in me” got me thinking of Kaa. That said, given the scene, wow, glad nobody was singing.
- I think about the only other thing I could say would be a thought that the tonal whiplash between those unsettling scenes and the slightly-silly bowling-monster (who’s just… over there somewhere? Did they beat him off-screen and I forgot?) was a bit much. Which is two episodes in a row where tonal whiplash has been A Thing that jumped out at me.
- Seeing the drama of leader wanting to redeem a villain character is a bit redundant.
- Is Naria seriously equipped with that nunchuk style weapon that she uses only to shoot? I can’t believe that prop came back and I’m miffed she didn’t go Bruce Lee on anyone with it.
- How injured are this people-turned-pins?! It’s probably the silliest thing we’ve seen from a villain, but it looks brutal and deadly.
Tide Turners – Stuff you enjoyed.
- The whole team loves Yamato so much. They worry for him and are willing to trust his judgement. I just thought all of them sitting around worrying about him after Misao beat him and talking about how much Yamato had helped everyone was really sweet.
- Naria got to fight!! And she was holding her own against four Zyuohgers! I wish we’d gotten to see more, but man this little bit was nice.
- After Misao breaks out of his mind control, Leo and Amu actually go and rub their faces on Yamato when they congratulate him on getting through to Misao. I cannot believe this. Like holy heck is that a cat gesture, and not one I expect to see because it’s kind of awkward for a person to do.
- Yeah, boy, all the stuff with Genis is… I mean, wow. UNCOMFORTABLE. I mean, I guess I should put this in the “tide-turners” because once again, they have made me afraid of this pile of glowy garbage, if not for the fact that we’ve got Professor Sadism and his two henchmen Punchy McGee and Lightbulb-head. Weird tonal stuff going on is what I’m saying.
- Where the heck was Bowligen all this time? At least the characters remembered him when he showed up again. BAH!
Evolutions – What do you think this show has in store for the future?
It looks like it’s time for a series of episodes of each team member getting paired with Misao to learn a valuable lesson about friendship.
Unfortunately, I think we’re gonna see a LOT more of creepy Genis. I want Naria to murder him SO MUCH MORE now.
Misao might chat with his three dads a lot.
Quick Reflexes – Questions in reaction to this bit of Zyuohger.
- Do you think the Rhino, Crocodile, and Wolf zyuman are actually Misao’s delusions or something more?
NEXT WEEK — EPISODE 21: Prison Break!
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