Mashin Sentai Kiramager vs. Ryusoulger (魔進戦隊キラメイジャーVSリュウソウジャー) might be one of the best Sentai VS films. Rarely does a team-up or crossover event capture the essence of both original series as well as this film does. A perfect blend of exciting action and character-driven story results in an unquestionably wonderful and satisfying experience.
Kiramager vs. Ryusoulger opens with Mabushina convincing Takamichi they watch a free movie screening they stumble upon downtown. Takamichi is initially suspicious of this theater that’s seemingly popped up out of nowhere. And those suspicions turn out to be correct. The whole thing is a ploy, headed up by Yodonna, to trap people in a Yodon Studios film to suck their darkness out from them.
On the other side of town, Juuru is struggling to find inspiration for his drawings he hopes to enter into a competition which Tametomo has suggested for him. As he’s drawing, he sees a curious man paddling in Tokyo Bay. This curious man turns out to be Koh who has just returned to Japan from his travels around the world.
Koh is set to meet up with his old friends. Juuru helps bring him to their meeting place which ends up being Yodonna’s dark theater. Takamichi, having fallen asleep during the Yodon film, is able to escape the theater to tell the others about what’s happened. And that includes Mabushina and the other Ryusoulgers having been trapped in the film.
Unfortunately, four of the Kiramagers also get sucked into the film where they are forced to act to the pleasure of the directors against the also-trapped Ryusoulgers. From here, the Kiramagers and Ryusoulgers team-up and work together to stop Yodonna’s evil plans.
One of the highlights of VS movies is seeing the various pairings that emerge between teams. Those pairings are usually novel combinations that play to the strengths of each character aside from just matching colors.
In this film, we get to see the pairings of the intelligent and perceptive Tametomo and Melto, skilled Greens Sena and Towa, powerful Pinks Sayo and Asuna, the lovably dashing Shiguru and Bamba and the best big brothers Takamichi and Canalo.
And of course, the pairing of Juuru and Koh takes center stage. Their similarly positive personalities are a natural match. But one of the best moments of the film is Koh essentially taking Juuru under his wing and imparting a piece of advice he learned from a dear friend. (A beautiful, emotional tribute to Ui Tatsui and the late Mana Kinjo.)
These fun encounters are more than just fan service. They are all able to draw upon both original series and that helps to add a welcome depth to the overall story. It is especially meaningful for anyone who has watched and enjoyed the two original series as well. Being able to take advantage of that established foundation for both character and story helps to build a strong foundation that makes this film more than worthwhile.
The film has no trouble reestablishing that connection between the characters and the audience. Sadly, that’s not always the case for post-series films. Not a problem here though. And that makes the film all the more affecting.
To compliment the great, character-driven narrative, the film features some explosive, kickass action sequences. Just simply amazing scenes of edge of your seat action. Most especially the plentiful unhenshined action scenes and battles that fill most of the film and are a welcome sight.
It’s no surprise that the action works so well when you see that the great Koichi Sakamoto is the film’s director.
Koichi Sakamoto’s always-dynamic direction helps bring to life Ayumi Shimo’s pitch-perfect screenplay. Again, capturing the best themes, aspects and qualities of both Ryusoulger and Kiramager. And of course, the talented cast bring it all together.
Another major plus is that this film is solely focused on these two teams. There is no promotional cameo for a third (or more) team shoehorned in, as has become the norm the last couple of years. So that focus on characters we have already grown to love just completes the experience.
Overall, Mashin Sentai Kiramager vs. Ryusoulger is simply an excellent film. It’s not often that a post-series film can hit every mark. But this film does. Everything comes together for a fresh, new experience that, most importantly, knows how to respect and draw upon the original series. And that results in an incredibly exciting and fun visit with old friends that is most satisfying.