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They’ve done it folks…they’ve crossed the sea. Â This week Akibaranger faces down one of their best and most dangerous rivals…the Powerful Rangers! Yep, Power Rangers finally makes its first official appearance and it is glorious. Â This might be one of the best wink-wink episodes of Akibaranger yet, for fans from Japan and America alike.
More after the jump…
The reason for Luna’s return is laid bare this week: Hakase had to actually pay her to appear as an Akibaranger, so she could only afford to hire her that once! Â Luna is still trying to make it big as an idol, but without a third member the gang is really off balance. Â Akagi and company try yet again to appeal to Luna by convincing her that being an Akibaranger will help her career by cornering her outside an audition she’s attending for a big name North American film director.
The audition is a nice short parody of the American Director (aptly named George Spielburton in the show), and it ends with Luna making an understandable, yet extremely flawed observation…
Luna saw Spielburton playing with two action figures (Tommy and Jason), and made the assumption that because he was a fan of Powerful Rangers, which resembled Sentai, that Sentai was actually a copy of Powerful Rangers. Â Of course Akagi and Moegi explode with nerd rage, Sentai was born in Japan obviously! Â However…a battle with Malshina introduces two new fighters to the Akibaranger Guest Star list…Tommy and Jason!
Well not exactly. Â You see, this is the Powerful Rangers! Â They’re the show that Super Sentai copied off of, by taking it’s footage and…wait…wut? Â It seems that Red and Green here think Akibaranger is the enemy, and their sworn to destroy the “copycats” any way they can! Â And back in reality, it looks like history has changed yet again to make the Powerful Ranger the original series, and Sentai the copycat! Â Akagi and Moegi have a lot on their hands this week…
This episode contains a veryÂ caricatured version of the Power Rangers, one that has to be seen to be properly experienced. Â Everything about these two is perfectly in line with a habit or styling of the Power Ranger series, versus how they would have done it in Super Sentai…but it has a very clown-like feeling to it. Â Meant to be taken as a lighthearted jab more than a scathing review, the Powerful Rangers are a send up that easily could not have happened. Â This is the kind of crossover you just wouldn’t see Power Rangers or Super Sentai doing, but Akibaranger acknowledges that there are fans in another country who watch Sentai in some form. Â And even if it’s sometimes confused for the source material, there’s no forgetting where Sentai really comes from once you know.
This episode has its low points though. Â The monster of the week is a little..well, weak. Â But at least the more time goes on the more we learn about this new baddie, General Pain. Â He’s a super fan of Sentai, on Akagi’s level or better (and I think that’s some heavy foreshadowing), and he’s gained some sort of disciple named Akina…but honestly let’s get back to talking about Powerful Rangers. Â The B-plot in this episode is just a little weak.
I noticed some subtle things that were pretty cool about the fight sequences with the Powerful Rangers. Â They moved more like boxers and pro wrestlers than flashy martial artists, and they preferred to punch, chop and even choke the Akibarangers! Â Punches to the face and choking were two things specifically edited out and reshot from Super Sentai footage that Saban used for Power Rangers, to hopefully avoid children emulating the actions on the playground. Â The fact that the Powerful Rangers use those actions made me chuckle a little, given it’s something the Power Rangers could never do on North American TV.
It goes a little further. Â Their Japanese is terrible and very funny (Red rolls all his r’s like a Japanese high school delinquent), and their Engrish-y reactions are great. Â At the end of the episode, a prop familiar to Japanese and American fans alike shows up and does its thing!