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Choudenshi Bioman: Episode 2 – Protect the Earth!

[集合!宿命の戦士] Shūgō! Shukumei no Senshi

The Warriors of Fate Gather!

Writer: Hirohisa Soda

The four remaining Bioman members search far and wide to find Yellow Four. Looks like we’re getting some backstory, folks!

Furious with Mason’s failure, Doctor Man sends Farah to find out who the Bioman are and who created Bio Robo. She tracks down and attacks Yellow Four, who had already broken off from the team. After a short interrogation that leads to no answers for Farah, she orders “pet”, Farah Cat to attack, I’m guessing to beat the answers out of her. The rest of the Bioman team, who were in their Bio Jets searching for Yellow Four as well, come to her rescue just as she is cornered by Farah Cat and Psygorn, a monster with four heads that each have a telekinetic power. They retreat and convince her to come to the underground Bio Base.

In the base, Pebo fills Yellow Four and the rest of the Bioman crew on how they came to the planet Earth. Pebo’s planet, Bio, was far along in technology but it had taken a horrible, destructive direction. Tearing the planet to bits, the citizens of Bio decided that they wanted to protect the lengendary beautiful planet of Earth. So, they sent Pebo and Bio Robo to Earth about 500 years ago to keep an eye on the planet. But, upon arrival, five youngsters of the time confronted the giant robot fearlessly and these were the people Bio Robo chose to carry the bio particles needed to one day become heroic warriors. The current Bioman team are the descendants of those brave young men and women of that time and possess this power.

The story is disrupted by an attack by Farah and Psygorn, which is their queue to get into action. Red One makes one last effort to convince Yellow Four to join the team. He tells her that by becoming a member of Bioman, she can protect the dream of her dead brother who was a photographer wanting to capture the beautiful of nature in Africa. She agrees and transforms into Yellow Four. Now, what I like about this part is that this is the moment when we finally get to know the names of all of the members of the crew. It’s like only when they become a complete team will their true identities become known. Mika Koizumi is Yellow Four, Shiro Go is Red One, Shingo Takasugi is Green Two, Ryuta Nanbara is Blue Three, and Hikaru Katsuragi is Pink Five. And with that, they go on to battle against Psygorn and Farah Cat.

This was a bit more of a story-heavy episode than the last one. We get a bit of back story on Mika and why she became a photographer. We also learned the history of Pebo and Bio Robo, and why they came down to Earth hundreds of years ago. It’s an interesting premise that they were sent down to protect Earth. But I like the notion that throughout the galaxy, Earth is known as the most beautiful planet even though other planets are far more advanced than us. It could be because of how primitive technology is here compared to planets like Bio, where we don’t have the technology yet to completely destroy ourselves (though that probably isn’t far along. Oh, dreaded reality!). We still do not have much background information on the other Biomen, along with the villains, though I’ll be surprised if we get any more story out of the bad guys aside from Doctor Man wanted to be the best scientist in the universe. It would be nice to get a deep story behind them since a hero is only as heroic as his enemies are manacing.

One thing that did throw me for a loop while watching this episode were the quick cuts between scenes. There were some transitions that were so jarring that it felt like an extra scene was cut. For example, when Red One and Pink Five come to Mika’s rescue, we get a shot of Red One firing his laser gun, then we see the team speed away in a car, then immediately they are in another location and Mika randomly tells her story. The scenes with Red One can I guess be considered passable since they do make a quick getaway. But, the next scene where they talk to Mika and out of nowhere she talks about her brother and his dreams, it just seemed like a bit more dialogue would have helped that part flow better. These types of edits happen a couple of times throughout the episode and are a bit distracting. I know that with the intro and outro theme songs, it is roughly an 18 min show. And, maybe they improve on this throughout its run. But if it continues like this, it make take a while for me to get used to these transitions, as minute as they may seem.

The action in this episode were actually really good. A lot of cool set pieces were set up with wire work and camera tricks to show off the abilities of these warriors. From jumping off of tall structures to acrobatic group attacks, it was fun to see these suits in action. And, with the Bioman theme song playing in the background, it makes the fight scenes all the more awesome. It may not be sophisticated choreography like in recent shows, but the action of the 80’s has a fresh sense of ingenuity and creativity that is rarely seen these days. The lengths the production team goes through to get the point across of how supernatural these characters are always seems to blow my mind when I put it into context of the era. Speaking of which, I LOVE the mech scenes in this episode. Well, more specifically, the mech transformations. I may not like the designs all too much, the mechs of this era all seemed very similar and were either space/air-crafts or ground vehicles. But, I love thinking about the mechanics they must have used to get these models to retract certain pieces, lift others, open different hatches so that other parts can fold in. They all move on their own and everything sort of fits into place. With no CG and little sfx to make the transformation sequence look futuristic and flashy, the mech scenes in this and other shows in this era always look amazing to me no matter the design.

I’m liking the show so far, even if we only know Mika to a certain degree. The story is moving at a rather steady pace, and we are seeing more and more action from the other team. I’m still not completely sold on the villains yet, and every time someone yells FOR THE MAN, I kind of cringe a bit. But I’m still very interested in the show and cannot wait for the next episode to drop.

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