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Ranger Reject – 6 [1 Plus 2 Equals… Threat!]

Welcome all, to the halfway point of Ranger Reject This week is another fast one, blazing through content in way I’d rather Ranger Reject didn’t. That’s right, this is another 4-5 chapter episode, meaning we have a lot to talk about and not all of it is good. Lets dive in!

As I said, this episode moved fast and covered a lot. Ranger Reject was running a mile a minute this week as it speeds its way through the Final Exam. And you know what? I can’t say I’m particularly happy about it. We went from just meeting these people, these other cadets, to immediately getting thrown into a big exam where most of them are probably going to fail. The exam itself also serving as our proper introduction to the 2nd-in-commands of the various squads as they act as the “obstacles”, letting us meet characters like Hisui properly. This kind of sucks, because I was hoping we would get more time training and getting to know this large cast of new characters. That the final exam would be the climax of the season rather than the mid-point. Maybe Ranger Reject can make it work? But I’m starting to worried.

Getting into specifics, this episode was mostly about Fighter D and Shion, the one exception to my complaints around not getting to know the new cast. We get to see how arrogant and aggressive Shion is, especially towards “Hibiki”, how little real experience he has, and we learn that he’s here to kill some kind of “monster”, most likely the Red Keeper if I had to guess. A lot of it is pretty standard stuff if I’m being honest, as is him being utterly useless as he dives headfirst into an impossible situation. Still, it’s nice seeing him forced into teamwork by Fighter D who, unlike Shion, knows just how outmatched they are here. After all, he and the other Dusters have been outmatched for over a decade! Seeing them slowly come together as a unit, and inevitably friends, should be cool.

Speaking of the exam, Jesus Christ is this thing unfair. They have to, as teams of two basically untrained cadets, defeat and retrieve a key from the 2nd-in-commands of the entire organization? Who have years of experience over them and, probably, some kind of secret magical or scientific advantage? Talk about over doing it, do they actually expect them to win this fight? Trying to either force teamwork or only let the very best of the best through? Or is this all a farce and they don’t expect anyone to pass? Comments from Hisui make it seem like this is normal, that they went through it as well, but this still seems crazy. It would explain so much of the Rangers being filled with monsters like Tokita, and the Keepers being as strong as they are. I suppose it’s something we will have to wait and see on.

Still, even with the test being insane, both pacing and difficulty wise, watching Fighter D pull it off is pretty rad. I love how much he uses his head, like creating a smokescreen with the fire extinguishers so he can safely transform into the various 2nd-in-commands and pit them against each other, preying on their clear internal conflicts. That was smart, and played well into his skillset! It’s also a believable way for him, a grunt combatant, to actually win fights. He’s not pulling random bullshit power ups out of his ass, he’s just fighting smart, something no one else in Ranger Reject seems to do since they are confident in their power. I also liked the explanation of why he’s so cautious, how a single hit could reveal him since he can’t actually bleed as a Duster. It feels like Ranger Reject has really thought everything out.

It’s also not like Ranger Reject doesn’t have time here, split into three days as the exam is. This episode really only covered one of those three days, a third of the exam, so there’s room for Ranger Reject to slow things down and pick itself back up. With how fast it’s moving I’d expect the next two episodes to cover the next two days of the exam, though if we’re unlucky the next episode could cover both. Either way, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Ranger Reject has a set place it wants to end the series at. And while I have been assured that place is great, and that the series only gets better, I am still concerned about the liberties the adaptation may take to get there.

Finally I want to talk about more about Hisui, the 2nd-in-command for the Green Squadron. We don’t know to much about them, mostly that the Green Squad is known for specializing in stealth operations. That seems pretty odd if I’m being honest, what enemies do the Rangers have that requires covert operations? Not the Dusters that’s for sure. Maybe each other, or foreign governments? It feels like there’s a lot more at play than just a media empire and the Dusters, so I’m looking forward to learning more about that. As for Hisui herself, look, you know me. A domineering short woman more than willing to beat someone up for questioning her? Maybe a bit violent, but still my type. Hopefully she get’s some more action scenes, because between her and Tokita the villains continue to be pretty great.

So yeah, all in all an unnecessarily fast-paced, but still solid, episode of Ranger Reject. It’s nice that even when clearly covering far more ground than it should, Ranger Reject is still pretty good. Fighter D continues to be a great protagonist, both in how he fights but also in how he balances between being Hibiki and himself. I’d say the weakest part of the series, aside from the occasional speed, is how it continuously adds new characters without doing much with the old. I chalked that up to the the first few episodes being an introductory period, getting us used to the setting and plot. But now that we’re getting into things proper, we really need some stability in the cast if you ask me. Overall though, enjoying Ranger Reject quite a bit.


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