When the Barbans realized that heat energy isn’t enough to revive Daitanix, they set their sights on electricity and employ Dreadredder to gather the energy. At the stable, a misuse of his electric powers against some thugs leads Hikaru into an argument with Hayate. Running off into the city with Yuta, Hikaru starts using his Earth to make money as a street performer. When Dreadredder makes his move, the others are alerted to the situation thanks to Moak and arrive after the Barban has gathered energy, though they manage to drive him away. Back on Daitanix, the pirates realize they’ll need a more efficient manner of gathering energy and Bucrates has just the thing. After the battle, Hayate confronts Hikaru once again and the two have another argument. Later that night, Hikaru returns home with food he bought using his street performance money and is berated by everyone for misusing his Earth. Hikaru storms out and runs into Dreadredder, deciding to take him on by himself. The others head to the city to help and Hayate manages to find Hikaru and Dreadredder, who has already drained most of Hikaru’s energy. An inspirational moment later as he sees his friend being defeated and Hikaru storms into battle with renewed vigor. The two warriors then call their Star Beasts and defeat Dreadredder when the pirate becomes a giant. On their way home, Hikaru and Hayate make up as Hikaru realizes that all of the arguments are out of concern Hayate has for Hikaru.
Strictly comparison based, this was a much better episode than the last one.
Hikaru and Hayate are two of my favorite characters and I love seeing them interact with each other and, frankly, I think I’m always going to like character focus stories that manage to make it about two characters.
As the youngest member of the team, Hikaru still has a lot of maturing to do when it comes to being a warrior. That growth and learning is a theme within the series and I’m glad they manage to make it work for these character during the earlier, more simplistic focus episodes. We’ve got a classic case of father-knows-best-Hayate clashing with wild-child-Hikaru. You’ve got to imagine that Hikaru must be incredibly powerful to be selected as a Gingaman given his behavior here. The kid’s impulsive, arrogant, and stubborn, not the best traits for a warrior.
While at no point in this episode does anything lead you to believe Hikaru’s actions are right, it doesn’t cast him as this snobby kid. He’s got a lot of growing to do, that much is true, but so do the others in the way they deal with him. We see that their upfront and often rash confrontations with Hikaru lead to more arguments and drive a deeper wedge within the team, something that no one needs this early in the game. By the end of the episode, we’re at this nice medium where Hikaru knows what he did was wrong, but he’s also still very firm in his belief that Hayate needs to knock off his lectures and treat him like more of an equal than a child or a little brother.
If you had read Hayate to be this rash and argumentative guy from the first two episodes, you were…mostly incorrect. He’s actually very responsible and when he does butt heads with others, it’s out of his concern for their safety or for the safety of others. If we were to join the Gingaman 20 years down the line, you just know Hayate would make the perfect mentor for the team. As a warrior, he’s quick and decisive, and as a friend he’s loyal and very protective. He had no issues with diving in head first to defend Hikaru. Even as he was defeated and knocked down multiple times, Hayate kept standing and that’s just pretty awesome. You almost think Hayate could act as a Red because he’s got this very strong character about him and always looks out for others.
Another oddity or two introduced this episode was the Earth Drift technique the team managed to pull out of nowhere. Using their combined Earth energy, they’re able to call forth daylight and make the night appear to be day. It’s an interesting idea, but not one I’m particularly fond of, mostly because this technique robbed us of what could have been some otherwise really impressive night battles. As things stand, we ended up with a so-so series of battles taking place during they day and, while they’re not terrible, they could have certainly been improved upon. Also! We’re introduced to the weapons our team carries. Unlike other teams, their individual weapons are actually used before they transform. Hayate has a flute that shoots poison darts, Goki has a whip, Saya has a slingshot and Ryouma carries a boomerang. It’s interesting to see these weapons used only when they’re not transformed, it’s usually the other way around but this is just one of the many things that I think makes Gingaman unique.
Gingaman’s also continuing to make the giant battles an incredible watch. I never get tired of watching the Star Beasts in their organic forms lumber around and take out the monsters. These battles add such a new dynamic to the game that Sentai has never really done before. And as I was watching the battle during this episode, I came to the conclusion that this is the perfection of what Raki in Turboranger was supposed to be. Raki was this giant griffin, portrayed as a man in a suit and…it didn’t quite work. You applaud them for trying something like that, but it just didn’t work very well. Here? Here all the Star Beasts look fantastic and like real creatures. They move in very believable ways and because the four-legged ones aren’t played by guys in suits, it’s much easier to believe them as giant animals.