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Ranger Reject – 3 [Our Evil Will Bloom, Someday]

Welcome all, to another week of Ranger Reject! I know, Black Lagoon isn’t out yet, I promise it should be out tomorrow. I have it done and written I’m just collecting screenshots and re-reading it now. My delays aside though, lets dive into our weekly Super Sentai show!

The episode picks up right where we left off, with Fighter D plotting to steal the Divine Artifacts. What’s surprising though is that Ranger Reject actually goes and does it right away. Seriously, I expected some kind of infiltration and intelligence gathering arc or something first. A delay of some kind where he gets to know Suzukiri better, learns about his enemies and formulates some kind of plan. But no, Ranger Reject says fuck it and has him march in the front door the next day. After all, because of the Sunday Showdown they already know when the Rangers won’t be home. So why not? Honestly, it’s kind of refreshing. Pacing was a bit fast, maybe could have been handled a bit better in spots, but it was memorable, kept the shows energy up, and was better than dragging it out for 3+ episodes. Good job!

Diving into the heist itself, this was pretty good. I liked how Fighter D finally got to be… strong? Useful? Effective? He won a fight in a way that made sense, that wasn’t contrived or convenient. His main power, really all of the Fighers main power, has been their immortality. So of course a suicide bomb wouldn’t bother him. He’s just going to regenerate and come right back! But the Rangers, for all their arrogance and combat ability, can’t say the same. I don’t get why he didn’t go through with it, he could have brought down Red Tower had he wanted too and really hurt the Ranger Corps. I suppose Ranger Reject wanted to keep him sympathetic, and you can’t really do that if you turn him into a domestic terrorist. Still, I hope Fighter D gets to pull it off somewhere down the line.

Following that we have the fight with Red Ranger, and this was also pretty good. While Fighter D still lost, and decisively at that, we’re already seeing him grow as a “villain”. The way he used his regeneration to throw the water tank, or the fakeout when he turned his arm into the sword to trick the Rangers. That one actually got me too! I was very confused how he had lost his arm, I thought he could freely regenerate it, what do you mean he sacrificed it for the sword? It made no sense! But Ranger Reject had a plan, and it worked, and I like that. We also got to see that the Rangers are clearly superhuman even without their artifacts, making it clear that stealing them is only half the battle.

On top of that, we also got to see that the Rangers aren’t necessarily… I mean, they’re evil, obviously. But they are a profit driven greedy kind of evil, not a “We want to kill you all for no reason” evil. They seem to have figured out that after 12 years their show is starting to get stale, that they need to shake things up a bit. And what better way to do that than to try and rehabilitate a monster? Or to have them strike outside of the Sunday Showdown? Naturally Fighter D refuses, that’s not surprising, but I think it shows just how little their lives mean to the Rangers. They can’t even be bothered to kill him unless it’s good for their ratings. That’s how little of a threat they think he is. Between that and Ranger Red’s little theatrics, I thought it was good characterization.

Speaking of killing Fighter D, he’s not actually dead… right? There’s no way Ranger Reject kills off it’s lead character in episode 3? I mean, I could see it switching focus to another Fighter, going from monster to monster as they slowly work to eliminate the Rangers could be cool. But I feel that would lose a lot of the personality and emotion Fighter D brings to the conflict. Despite his name and design, he’s not that replaceable. So the question becomes, if Ranger Reject didn’t kill him off here, how did he survive Blue Rangers relic? Did he fake his own death? At the very least Suzukiri doesn’t seem to think so, she seems to believe he’s dead after retrieving the artifact. I really hope Ranger Reject has a good explanation for this, because it’s a really important plot point.

I don’t want to fix her, I like her exactly how she is.

Finally lets take a moment to talk about Suzukiri and Hibiki. I’m really not sure what to think here. Everything about Suzukiri screams danger, she doesn’t seem like she’s truly on Fighter D’s side at all, only using him. And she doesn’t even seem to hide that fact with how sadistic she can be at times. Hibiki meanwhile seems to actually… like him? And approve of him? But if he knows Fighter D is a monster then why act like their confrontation was a test and invite him to join the Rangers? The very organization he is fighting against? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I’m hoping Ranger Reject will explore it a bit in the future. With how quickly it’s moving I’d expect it to be revealed sooner rather than later, but you never know with these kinds of things.

So yeah, all in all another good episode of Ranger Reject. Definitely one of the series I’m enjoying the most this season, its story keeps surprising me. It also helps that the show looks pretty good, there’s some great shots in this episode from that Third Class ranger fighting Fighter D in the basement to Ranger Red’s own antics. I really hope Ranger Reject is able to keep this production up, it would really suck for the narrative and characters to stay strong, maybe even improve, while the animation slowly gets worse and worse. It’s happened to many other shows, Shangri-La of last season would be a good example of a series that started to wane near the end. I just hope it doesn’t happen here, because I’m enjoying this a lot.

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