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Goki begins to feel the isolation of being cut off from his people while feeling useless to the team. 

[大地の知恵] Daichi no Chie
“Wisdom of the Earth”
Writer: Yasuko Kobayashi

vlcsnap-2012-12-09-02h09m05s29With the Star Beasts now allied with the Gingaman, the Barban leader, Zehab, realizes that they’ll need to double their efforts and sends out Sambash to find anything that might revive Daitanix. Sambash employs the services of Rigro, a demon with fire powers. At the lake standing before the Ginga Forest, Ryouma and the others are visited by the Star Beasts, encouraging them in their fight against the Barban pirates. A seed falls out of the pendant Ryouma was given and then Yuta introduces the team to his father, Haruhiko Aoyama. The good man provides the team with lodging at the stable a friend of his is letting him use. While the others enjoy their new place, Ryouma notices how down Goki has been lately, but the blue warrior shrugs it off. The others then reveal that they know about human technology thanks to scouting missions – well, they know about it, but when a phone Hayate is holding rings, he jumps. The others then plant the seed Ryouma found and a gigantic tree sprouts from the ground in mere seconds, amazing everyone. Out in the city, Rigro is making his attack, stealing body heat from citizens and making them freeze before moving on to the heat from the city itself, turning it to a snowy scene. The Gingaman appear and battle off the threat for the moment, but when Goki realizes he’s unable to protect even a small patch of flowers, he decides to return to the Ginga Forest.

vlcsnap-2012-12-09-02h08m00s132At the lake the next day, Ryouma meets up with Goki and reveals that the reason being unable to protect flowers bothered Goki so much was because that day was to be the day a rare breed of flower had bloomed for the first time in 12 years. Goki says that he felt he could fight without hesitation as long as he saw the flowers bloom. The others join the pair and before they can do anything, a mysterious voice calls out to them and reveals that the Barban are attacking the city again. Our heroes rush to the city and eventually force Rigro into a corner and he drinks that Barba-X, becoming a giant. The Star Beasts appear and do battle with the now giant Rigro and in the end, a combined attack from Gingarilla and Goki is enough to defeat the giant pirate once and for all. After the battle, the voice calls the team again and prompts them to return to the stable, by the giant tree. Hikaru falls into an opening in the tree and the others rush in after him, finding themselves inside a temple and inhabited by a living tree named Moak, who promises to help the team and guide them in battle from now on. As an act of kindness, Moak allows Goki and the others a vision of the rare flowers blooming as proof that the Ginga Forest is still alive and can be revived.

We’re finally moving onto character focus episodes here and of the first couple, this is actually my least favorite of the bunch. I feel like there isn’t nearly enough time spent on Goki and his side of the story feels pretty glanced over by the time the episode comes to an end. It’s a little difficult to understand just why he was feeling in the dumps over the flowers – though by the end of the episode it’s pretty clear. I think I can understand why Goki was doubting that the Ginga Forest would ever return, but it sort of comes out of nowhere. Nothing in either of the previous episodes had lead us to believe Goki (or anyone else for that matter) was having these doubts. That said, the previous episodes did reveal that he’s a bit of a worry wort, so I think one can make the connection that his head might lead him to conclusions that aren’t entirely logical.

vlcsnap-2012-12-09-02h07m36s158There isn’t a whole lot going on with the villains in this episode, though it’s great to see them reacting to our heroes finally having the Star Beasts. The Star Beasts were the ones that sealed them away long ago and they’ve got a bitter hatred of them thanks to that, leaving them to rush into battle and do whatever they can to take out the Gingaman and revive Daitanix. The monster in this episode wasn’t entirely memorable, but his powers allowed for some interesting use of scenery. This is one of the early episodes, so obviously it was shot during the winter and they’re actually making use of the snow here! It’s very rare that you see Sentai have these really cool snowy battle scenes going on. I think this series is the last time we see any Sentai use snowy scenery until nearly a decade later with a random scene in Boukenger early on in its run.

Setting aside that those battles in the snow look very cool, it’s great to see what the production is doing here. They’re making use of nature and having the Gingaman fight in different settings that you wouldn’t normally get. Well, a lot of it is still in the city, but there’s that sense of nature you get by seeing the team fight in the snow. That scenery just fits so wonderfully with Gingaman and what they’re all about – nature! I want to see the show make more use of these nature scenes just to tie back into the theme of the heroes because they are a lot of fun and make the stories seem grander than they would normally be. Often times we get stories set in a normal city and while that isn’t terrible, having them set up in other locations from time to time adds this fitting visual element to the fights and filming of the series. Just look at how gorgeous that shot of the Gingaman against the snow looks.

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The giant fights also continue to impress in this episode, thanks mostly to the Star Beasts not having their robot forms yet. The way they lumber around captures that Kaijuu movie feel so perfectly. These are fights you feel are almost too good for Sentai and TV in general since there’s some amazing quality to the production going on. I think my favorite aspect of these fights is that we can clearly see the personalities of each of the Star Beast and how they interact with each other.

Speaking of personalities! Hayate isn’t as rough as one might have thought him to be based on his previous appearances. While some of the others are quick to write Goki off as a quitter, Hayate actually gives him the benefit of the doubt and believes he just needs time to think and sort himself out before he can dive into the fight again. Also, on top of everything else, we’re introduced to Moak, what one might call the mentor character in the series. What’s interesting about Moak is that, thanks to games like Zelda, you might imagine him as this ancient thing offering sage advice and while he offers advice, he speaks in an almost casual tone. Everything so far about this series is showing us the stories of the people who will become the legends of tomorrow, so I think it’s very fitting.

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