Before the final battle begins, the team needs to clear their names. Again. 

[参上! 凶悪戦隊] Sanjou! Kyoaku Sentai
They’re Here! The Vicious Sentai
Writer: Naruhisa Arakawa

The Zyuranger appear and after gathering a crowd of people, go on a rampage and begin attacking everything in sight. The news manages to capture this and poses the question as to whether or not the heroes have lost it and gone evil. The real Zyuranger then appear, and we learn that these other Zyuranger are just Golems lead by Dora Mirage, a monster with the ability to change the appearance of any creature. The fake Zyuranger then turn into humans and attack the team, while the team fights back knowing that these are just Bandora’s goons, all the public sees is the heroes attacking helpless citizens. Driven out of the town, the team ends up with a lonely old lady who takes them in. Though they assume that because of her isolation she doesn’t know who they are, she keeps up with TV and knows who they are and knows that they’re true heroes not capable of doing what she saw on TV. The team celebrates the woman’s birthday with her, giving her some company at last, and vow to return for all of her birthdays in the future as they go off to fight and defeat the mimics, clearing their name once and for all.

Man, these guys don’t have any luck in getting people to trust them, do they? First, we have the Dora Mimic incident and now these guys tarnish their reputation even more. It’s odd that no one could guess that maybe Bandora had something to do with it. The team hasn’t exactly had any problems being heroes throughout their stay in the city. Though I guess if you see them attacking people, regardless of the situation, calm thinking probably isn’t going to be the first thing to come to mind. Either way, they’ve got their good name back by the end of the episode and they’re going to need it as they move into the end game beginning in the next episode.

I thought the portion of the episode with the older woman was absolutely charming. It’s bizarre seeing the team wear modern day clothing again, but it kinda fits. I do wish the team had gone back to visit the woman in the end, but I guess the more important thing was that they stayed with the children who believed in them again. The old lady basically has no family around, with her son and his family having moved away overseas long ago. It’s her birthday and she’s lonely, but she decides to take the team in. Despite what the team thinks, she knew all along who they really were and this is what I was talking about earlier. I mean, the lady isn’t being objective since she used their eyes as a judge of character, but it’s still nice to see someone that doesn’t buy into the mob mentality. It’s hard to buy into the mob mentality when you’re so far separated from the mob itself.

Overall, I loved this episode quite a lot more than the previous one and just in general. It’s one of those things that speaks to you on different levels and just makes you feel damn good about stuff when you finish watching it.

There was something about this episode that struck me as a good one for Christmas viewing. I guess the theme of togetherness really does it for me here. Growth also seems to be another predominate theme throughout the episode. I think the older woman can represent the growth a viewer might go through from the start of the series to the end. Even if you just think about the kids in the audience, a year is a long time and they’re sure to have changed over the course of the year that Zyuranger was on the air. Actually, a year is a lot of time for change in anyone’s life when you think about how long it truly can be. Sure, after a point you’re not likely to change your mentality or convictions, but you’re more than likely going to face new and challenging experiences that you’re going to carry on with you as memories for the rest of your life.

And, this might just be my own take on things, but does anyone else love that one line the kid spoke to the team? “I used to love you guys but now I hate you!” Coming so late in the game, I read it as an allegory for the short lifespan that a Sentai has in the grand course of things. One day, Zyuranger’s the new thing everyone on the block is talking about. One year later? Everyone’s forgotten about Zyuranger and talking about Dairanger. Time, fame, and adoration are fickle things.

Though, the ending also strikes me as anything being able to come back as long as it can prove itself again. Whether it be to a kid watching it a few years later, a new generation of kids altogether, or a blogger reviewing the show 20 years after it originally came to an end.