It’s freezing in Tokyo. But Zyuran gets hot and sweaty easily, so he keeps turning the heater in the shop down even when everyone else is cold. Kaito wishes they had a kotatsu. The Kikai4 want to know more about the “bewitching” kotatsu. And (un)lucky for them, the Tojitendo of the Week is Kotatsu World who is forcing people to enjoy time at warm kotatsu tables.
The Zenkaigers hurry downtown. Vroom is very excited to learn more about the tables so Kotatsu World traps him and the other Zenkaigers, including the Goldtsuikers, at their own warm table.
Everyone at a table feels comforted and warm, so nobody wants to get up. Kaito says that’s why Grandma Yacchan got rid of their kotatsu when he was younger since he would just sit there all day.
A sweaty Zyuran, however, can’t handle the heat anymore so he easily gets up from the table. They realize you can’t be released from the kotatsu unless you actually want to leave. Kaito suggests electric blankets will allow them to remain under a kotatsu while being more mobile. Zyuran hurries off to go buy some, but every store is out of stock.
Secchan calls Zyuran who tells him to hurry back to the others as everyone under a kotatsu has turned into a lazy cat.
Zyuran tries to get the sleepy cats up and about with water and theme song dancing. But nothing works. Zyuran refuses to give up on his friends and the rest of the city. The others see Zyuran in a new light, even seeing him as the father figure they never had.
Secchan flies in to give Zyuran Kotatsu World’s location. Zyuran hurries over and battles the Tojitendo. But Barashitara arrives and it’s a two-on-one situation.
Secchan tells the others and suggests they use the Patranger Gear. That combines Kaito, Vroom, Magine and Gaon under one kotatsu. Secchan flies up to borrow the ship to use to hook the kotatsu and bring them over to where Zyuran is battling Barashitara and the World.
The others arrive just in time to help Zyuran and they all henshin nya.
The kotatsu-bound Zenkaigers have to fight from under the table while Zyuran takes on Barashitara.
Kaito decides to use the new 46th Sentai Gear his father gave him. And that summons the next Sentai Red, DonMomotaro.
DonMomotaro teams up with Zyuran against Barashitara. Vroom tries to help out and Kaito summons legendary cat Sentai as well. DonMomotaro queues up Kotatsu World for Zyuran to finish off for good. Everyone is back to normal and free of the feline kotatsu lethargy.
Dai Kotatsu World appears and warms the city. DonMomotaro lets Kaito and Zyuran use his bike to combine with into Don Zenkai-Oh.
Kaito and Zyuran take on Dai Kotatsu World and finish him off with a Don Zenkai Crash.
DonMomotaro drives off, completing his cameo tease for next season.
Back at the shop, the others are pampering Papa Zyuran.
Over at the Palace, a beaten and bruised Stacey sits in a cage, surprised (but also not) that Ijirude would throw him under the bus. He accepts that karma has come to bite him in the…
Gege flies in to ask how he’s feeling. Stacey thinks Gege is here just to make fun of him. But Gege blinks and he is suddenly inside Stacey’s body
Other than that last scene, this was pretty much a filler episode/promo for DonBrothers.
So before we get to this episode, I guess on New Year’s Day, people were debating the merits of Zenkaiger on the Twitters. I usually try to avoid such things, but I did end up scrolling past some of the comments.
One of the main points of contention is how different Zenkaiger is, I believe. Some are not happy with it at all. Others are pointing out that fans have decried the sameness of Sentai the last couple of years, yet now dislike a season that tried something different.
I think the news about DonBrothers and its wacky premise and execution is also riling people up. And I must admit, I’m not really overly excited about those odd-looking CGI characters.
Without making this a Season Wrap-up post at Episode 42, I’ll just say that I don’t think I fit into any of those camps that I stumbled across last weekend.
I’ve enjoyed Zenkaiger a lot. It might not make my favorites list. And I might not be excited to watch every week, but I’m also not dreading every episode like perhaps I did with other toku seasons like Kamen Rider Saber or LuPat or Zyuohger (as examples).
Zenkaiger is simply a fun series. Lighthearted and feel-good. And certainly a welcome feeling to have during our continued struggles today.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish the season did better with its writing and character development. I’ve been very hopeful all season long and liked seeing that, at first, the show was able to effectively make each character an actual, distinct character. Even our Kikai4, with the limitations of rubber suits in terms of being able to effectively express emotions and the like, were able to present themselves as their own character and not just some paper-thin cartoon caricature.
That unfortunately tapered off a bit halfway through the season. And one good example of that is in this episode.
You kind of forget Zyuran is supposed to be an older gentleman. Indeed, a father figure. But the season doesn’t really touch on those character points unless it’s their focus ep. The same can be said for the other Kikai4. Such as Vroom’s inquisitiveness or Magine’s insecurities about her eccentric hobby and being the youngest(?) on the team. Even Gaon’s human obsession, probably the most developed plot of the Kikai4, got brushed aside after that one episode where he is suddenly enlightened without explaining the origins of his self-hating, anti-Kikainoid prejudice.
Then we have the Goshikida Family drama which had been very intriguing and mysterious. But the two most interesting aspects of it (Stacey’s possible connection and the whereabouts of Papa and Mama Goshikida) have also been brushed aside and heavily diluted, especially after the last few episodes.
I think one of the season’s missed opportunities is really being able to continue with the early-season character focus. As limiting as the rubber suits for the Kikai4 might be, it can also be very freeing. Playing up the fish out of water dynamic, delving deeper into their pre-Zenkaiger lives on their home worlds, focusing on the team’s diversity and differences as a powerful strength, etc.
Anyway, this is a perfect example of an episode where I had fun and enjoyed it and I like everyone I’m watching on screen. But it’s not going to be memorable moving forward. I’m not angry or annoyed like I was for the aforementioned seasons I’m not a fan of. But I also don’t feel the spark or excitement I’ve experienced in the most recent seasons of Sentai, specifically.
And it has nothing to do with the season’s out of the box differences. They’ve been quite fun, even if there’s actually more things I wouldn’t mind them doing that’s far from the norm for Sentai. Really, it’s just as simple as feeling the writing and overall narrative could be better.
Now tall skinny or little ball-sized CGI Sentai team members? We’ll have to judge that when we reach that point in the future. Lol
But Zenkaiger? It’s fun and enjoyable. And, for now, that’s all.