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[小さくなァれ!] Chisaku Nare!

Let’s Get Tiny!

Writer: Noboru Sugimura

And, we’re moving on to the second quarter of Zyuranger here with the 14th episode of the show. What’s in store for us here? Well, it’s one of the most bizarre episodes the series has to offer, one that typifies the very bizarre and surreal aspects that Zyuranger is most famous for.

We open up to Dondon, a dwarf fae applying to be part of Bandora’s gang. He’s a pretty talented guy, Pleplechuan seems to like him well enough and he’s got some talent. …unfortunately(?) his talent is not for creating monsters. Dondon likes using his powers to create playful apparitions and images for kids to enjoy. Naturally, Bandora sends him packing. Can I just say how awesome it is to see the application and job interview process for bad guys? It’s done in such a comical manner that I love.

Back down on earth, Dan and Boi meet Toshio, a kid at school as they’re greeting kids on their way to classes. Turns out Toshio has been trying to skip class, and he forgot to do his homework. This gets him a scolding from his mother and later his teacher. Fed up with it, Toshio skips town on class and Dondon literally falls from the sky in front of him.

Dondon and Toshio get along just fine from the get-go as they’re both tired of being rejected by the world around them. Using a bit of his magic, Dondon creates jars that can miniaturize objects for him and Toshio to have some fun with. The two start miniaturizing bikes and buildings, Tokyo Tower, a bullet train and a jet. The Zyurangers immediately think this is one of Bandora’s plots and head to stop her.

Dan and Boi discover Toshio and Dondon and give chase, commandeering a car and tailing the two, who have now hitched a ride on the back of a truck. So what does Dondon do? Makes Dan and Boi (and the car) small! The two demand that Toshio and the Dora Monster let them out…and Dondon takes some serious offense to being called a Dora Monster. So, naturally that doesn’t work. Boi does his best to make the two of them realize there are people in the things they miniturized and so they set them free, having no idea they were making people small as well.

Toshio is about to free Dan and Boi…until Dan blows it by giving the kid an earful and telling him he’s gonna spank him once he gets out. (weird…) Toshio chucks the bottle and then the two run once Bandora’s gang appears, trying to capture the jars that Dondon created. Luckily, the rest of the team arrive on scene and it’s time for a fight scene! Everyone is having a bit of a difficult time being two men down, but they’re doing the best they can.

While everyone is fighting, the jar containing Dan and Boi is tossed into the air and onto the ground. Mei goes after it to free her friends, but is soon attacked by Gryffozar, as she takes a sword slash to the chest. The bottle is then thrown out onto some train tracks with a train approaching. The two inside are panicking like crazy while Mei is set upon by Golems and Gryffozar. She somehow manages to make it out just in the nick of time to save Dan and Boi and return to them their normal size.

Going back to the fight scenes involving Mei. Seriously, those are some very brutal yet understated fights she found herself in this episode. Mei is basically ganged up on by the gold beast and a ton of Golems. I love scenes like this, if only because they show just what sort of pain the heroes have to put up with.

Toshio and Dondon book it while the fight is going on and are trying to hide, though Toshio is mostly trying to avoid his parents, angry at him for skipping class. Bandora finds them and tells them that the only way to get out of trouble is by destroying the adults making them feel like crap. Dondon’s against it, Toshio’s just wondering how he can do it.

And then Bandora makes them giant.

What follows has really got to be one of the most surreal robot fight scenes from the entire series. Heck, from Sentai as a whole. We’re treated to a giant Dondon and Toshio wrecking the town and fighting against DaiZyuJin. The robot gets sucked into one of Dondon’s jars and made small at some point during the battle. The team is mostly hesitant to fight because…well, they don’t really want to fight a kid.

While in the bottle, Dan just laments his terrible luck, being turned small twice in one day has got to suck. Geki calls for the Godhorn, which manages to break the jar containing DaiZyuJin. Toshio is able to grab the sword before DaiZyuJin can and…then his mother appears.

This is actually a kind of creepy scene. The mother is basically telling the team to kick her son’s ass and punish him. You see Toshio, holding the sword, go from looking sort of threatening to hiding behind DaiZyuJin because of his mother. Boi’s kind of set off by this and tells the mother that she’s the real bad guy here. She’s been punishing Toshio and embarrassing him without any regard to how he feels. Eventually, the two reconcile and Toshio and Dondon become small again. Though before they do, Dondon tries to miniaturize Bandora’s gang, but fails. Had he not failed, we would have been in for a very short series.

Dondon sets off to return to his forest, but leaves Toshio with a present…a “sculpture” of DaiZyuJin. Merchandising, baaaaaby!

I love this episode. You don’t think it’s going to take itself seriously, given the fact that it’s a giant kid fighting DaiZyuJin, but it works. And, it manages to send a nice message about watching how you treat your kids. This feels like a Sentai episode created specifically for adults. What kid is going to get the message here as was intended? It’s basically, in no unclear terms, telling the adults of Japan to step up and be better parents. Understand their kids more and know how to treat them with respect and sympathy. The parenting era of roughing it is over and feels antiquated today (by which I mean 1992…and today) and this just wasn’t the sort of message I expected from Sentai.

I can sort of see the earliest inklings for Kakuranger in this episode. That show was all about social commentary, criticizing the modern generation of kids for being lost and the older generation for being the crappy parents that got them lost in the first place. I just love that they targeted this episode at adults, knowing full well how many adults are probably watching with their kids. Sugimura, you done good.

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