I have definitely been missing Kyuranger. So once I saw that Uchu Sentai Kyuranger vs. Space Squad was finally available to watch, I knew I had to watch it immediately.
And I was not disappointed. It was so much fun and even a little comforting to be able to visit with our saviors of the galaxy one more time. All of the elements of the series that I love and remember were present here in this movie. And with some trademark Koichi Sakamoto action thrown in.
To add to the nostalgia I already had with missing Kyuranger, we get an All-Star team of some of the best villains from the last decade.
The basic premise of the movie is pretty simple and even a little predictable. The Kyurangers are shocked to find Hammie is working with an evil terrorist organization and has stolen four Neo Kyutamas, a new, ready to be mass-produced Kyutama that can help in the recovery efforts of the galaxy which is still trying to rebuild after Jark Matter’s reign of terror.
But the Kyurangers are split into two groups, especially after Hammie injures Supreme Commander Ronpo in a confrontation. One side wants to take Hammie into custody and is led by President Tsurugi along with Commander Stinger, Raptor and with some initial help from Naga and Balance. The other side who trusts Hammie has a good reason for what she’s doing is led by Lucky and includes Champ, Kotaro and Spada. Garou, who has married and has a new baby, comes in after an all out battle between the two sides.
Eventually, it is discovered that Space Ninja Demost of the Genmakuu organization has just been manipulating Hammie into retrieving the Neo Kyutamas and eliminating the Kyurangers. Once that’s all cleared up, the Kyurangers are all able to reunite and defeat Demost with also some help from Gavan, Geki Jumonji and Shaider, Shu Karasuma.
The story itself is certainly familiar and even predictable. But what makes it work is the characters themselves. And especially their relationships and bond that they formed throughout the series with each other and with us the viewer. Throughout the film, almost every story beat comes back to the Kyurangers’ relationships with each other. And for a movie that is basically a civil war, having people who you know are close and consider each other family end up fighting each other, it legitimizes and gives depth to the tension and confusion that comes about for this situation.
There were some really great moments in terms of character beats such as Champ and Kotaro unhappy with Stinger’s decision to side with Tsurugi against Hammie. Then there’s Tsurugi, countering Lucky, pointing to how while they believed in miracles and each other to bring them out of tough situations, they’ve got to be more practical now.
And of course Commander Ronpo’s words of wisdom when the rest of the Kyurangers needed it most.
And then the climactic civil war battle. It was equal parts emotional and exciting. You had the Kyurangers paired up and fighting with the ones they had the most significant backstories with from the series.
For example, Stinger versus Champ and Kotaro. Or the implied lovebirds Spada and Raptor. And of course our two Reds, Lucky and Tsurugi. Meanwhile, Naga and Balance on the outside unsure of who to side with, but knowing that they all shouldn’t be fighting each other was also very much in character for them as well. Garou coming to Lucky’s aide of course is what we expect from him too. And Commander Ronpo being Commander Ronpo is already a win. Though I certainly have a major gripe about how he was used during the movie which I’ll talk about in a little bit.
And finally Hammie, the star of the film. Throughout the film, even when we are still to believe that something has gone terribly wrong with her, we see her hesitation and internal struggle. We can see that she knows what she’s doing must hurt her friends. And it is shown through subtle moments or the more outward expressions of her beginning to doubt and even maybe regret her decision. It was also awesome to see badassHammie here as well.
None of this would work without that foundation that was built and fostered during the series. All 12 of our saviors of the galaxy legitimately and sincerely care about each other and regard each other as family. As an audience member, you wouldn’t care about people having a civil war if they weren’t even close or liked each other in the first place. And there are certainly Sentai and even Kamen Rider teams or allies that don’t have that close of a bond. But with Kyuranger, the characters and their relationships really are able to be the strong foundation for any story. And that’s what made this a really enjoyable and exciting film.
My only complaint really is the lack of Commander Ronpo in battle including the lack of him in the final decisive battle and roll call where he doesn’t even appear let alone able to morph into Ryu Commander.
Though this was a team up between the Kyurangers and Space Squad, as the title suggests, Geki and Shu really played a very supporting role to the 12 Kyurangers. Though since it’s already been established that there is that relationship between the Space Squad and the Kyurangers by way of the crossover in-series, this movie very much played out like a traditional Returns film instead of a huge or traditional Toei Universe team up.
Still it was fun to see Geki and Shu again. I had actually forgotten that Hiroaki Iwanaga was nuShaider.
And that brings us to our All-Star team of villains. It was definitely amazing to see Escape, Basco and Juzo again.
And though I’ll have not watched Gekiranger, but definitely watched Jungle Fury, I still was able to feel Mele’s presence and importance to the story. Even with just the short clips that they included during the film and with the little information that I know about Mele’s character, the film made a really good job of connecting her and Hammie with their similarities as well as being a great way to touch up on what I understand and appreciate as a truly great story of from a previous Sentai season.
With Basco, Escape and Juzo, I was expecting maybe a little more from them. If anything, they were just glorified cameos. But I certainly can’t complain because just the sight of them is certainly a welcome one. And getting to see them battle one more time was really just a wonderful experience. Especially as they were fighting my favorite Sentai team of all time. (Well, tied with ToQger of course. Hehe)
The Stinger vs Basco and Spada vs Escape face offs were particularly enjoyable. Spada vs Escape was kinda hot. lol
Also a special mention to Yuko Takayama, aka Wizard‘s Rinko-chan who also did a great job in the film especially the big reveal that she was indeed Demost.
And of course the final fun Easter egg featuring Mao Ichimichi/M•A•O returning so Luka and Raptor can go at it over one of Spada’s macarons.
But we bring it all back to the Kyurangers. Like I mentioned, this played out more like a Kyuranger Returns film and not so much a big crossover event. But the strongest aspect certainly was being able to use and draw upon the relationships between the Kyurangers to put together a sincerely emotional and exciting film.
I wanted this movie to make me cry. Good tears of course. And I certainly did during that climactic confrontation between the Kyurangers. Now, I certainly wanted a little more. But honestly, I don’t know that I really would have anything but positive things to say. The fact that I’ve been missing the Kyurangers so much since it ended, really made me excited and just really appreciative that I get this one, maybe last, opportunity to see all the Kyurangers together as a team.
Though, we certainly never know in the future. =)