In this episode of Zyuranger, the team once again have their backs up against the wall as Bandora finally manages to summon forth their greatest threat yet – the being who have her power, Great Satan.
After a strange white spire bearing a mysterious face plants itself in the middle of the city, Bandora retreats to her palace and proceeds to going into strange chanting. Spending nearly two days straight chanting, the witch is attempting to summon her master, Great Satan to this world once again. Great Satan sealed himself away in hell a long time ago after losing a battle to God and now seeks his revenge.
The spire can only serve its purpose when 13 kids who are exactly 10 years old are gathered up and used as sacrifices. Bandora has found 12, but the team is on the look out for the 13th, and once they do find her, they vow to protect the kid. If the team can stop Bandora from summoning her master, she will finally die. Unfortunately, Bandora has other plans and sends down every general she’s got and a ton of Golems to finish the job, which is just what happens. The kids are used to finish the summoning of Great Satan, a giant disembodied blue head sporting crystalline spikes as hair.
The mysterious new threat bestows even more power on Zombi Franken and causes it to mutate into the much stronger Satan Franken. The team heads into battle with the powered up monster, but with Great Satan giving it power, all seems hopeless as the episode ends.
This episode was a difficult one for me to judge. I enjoyed the second half, but the first part with the team searching for the kids and all kind of bored me. That portion of the episode felt kind of forced in just for the sake of having kids in an episode, though I’m not sure how else it could have been done. Maybe I’m just growing tired of seeing kids in Zyuranger so damn much? I mean, I did dislike this aspect of the show in the past, probably with good reason in my mind.
Once the draggy first half ends, we’re into full throttle with an intense mecha battle going on, set against a really creepy night time setting. I love that this show can nail the mood almost every time. I’m reminded of a two parter in Kakuranger that ends ominously in the night with the villains standing victorious at the end of part one. Though the ending in this episode lacked that sense of intensity from those Kakuranger episodes. Still, all said, there were great things done in making the battle seem creepy. Dark blue skies, lightning, Bandora turning her scary factor on (she is a witch) and that freaking disembodied Satan in the sky? Yeah, makes things feel pretty epic.
But like I said, this is a difficult episode for me to judge because, while I do really enjoy the second half, that first half dragged for me. There was some serious mood whiplash going on throughout the episode. While, yeah, the team is frantically searching for those missing kids in the first half, it doesn’t quite feel as intense as it should? I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t get any sense of urgency from it and I think it might actually have been thanks to how mundane those scenes were shot. It’s almost like everyone focused so heavily on the second half that this first half is just haphazardly put together.
The first half isn’t completely without its positives though! Anything with Bandora chanting is very creepy. Sometimes she comes off as a kooky witch and sometimes she’s portrayed as this…user of black magic who has sold her soul to the devil. I think that’s just playing to the wide spectrum of witch portrayals out there. They’re not always shown to be as cunning or evil as they probably are when you really start to think about their witchyness and what they can actually do.
Nonetheless, Bandora was creepy in this episode. At one point the cryptic chanting somehow overloads her and she goes blind for a while. This is followed up by showing blood dripping from her eye ducts. Do I just have the courage of a two year old or was seeing Bandora with what appeared to be blood tears unsettled anyone else? This is the sort of stuff I love, despite being creeped out by how it was done. The director on these episodes really knows how to play up the core aspects of Zyuranger and the mythology it pulls from to craft its world view.
Circling back to the second half of the episode again! While the mecha battle wasn’t anything to write home about, Zombi Franken’s transformation was so well done. You have Great Satan breathe his Satan breath onto him and that causes his head to split open and sprout a new head. It’s not something reading about can do justice, this is one of those scenes you need to see with your own eyes to really understand just how insane it was. That monster, though, dude’s been through a ton, hasn’t he? This is what? His third transformation already. This time he becomes Satan Franken, yet another Strongest Monster Ever. The episode ends with all things hopeless once again and we’re now moving into a four part story. While I love these longer stories, at this point…I dunno. I get the feeling that cohesive nature of an overarching story between the two is done. These four episodes could have easily been two two parters.
Regardless, I think I would have been freaked out by this episode as a kid. Some of the stuff that I felt was kind of weird here would have been ten times more bothersome to me as a kid. Seeing Bandora cry blood? Yeah, try not having nightmares from that.