Episode Reviews

Kyouryuu Sentai Zyuranger 18 – The Man Who Would Be King


[憎しみの兄弟剣] Nikushimi no Kyoudai Ken
The Hate Filled Brother’s Sword

Writer: Noboru Sugimura

Last time we saw the introduction of the near unstoppable Dragon Ranger, Burai. Awakened from his slumber, the team quickly learned that although he is a Zyuranger, he is not their ally. Burai makes quick work of the team and leaves them defeated on the ground as he walks away, laughing menacingly. What’s more, Burai announced himself as prince of the Yamato tribe, but that can’t be right, that’s Geki’s title…right?

This episode picks off right where the last one left off, the team is in shambles after being defeated Burai and Geki is demanding to know who the heck this new guy is. Barza and Gnome did their best to hide the truth from Geki and the others while Burai was asleep, but now that the guy has been awakened, they have no choice but to to tell them just what it is they’re up against.

Burai is Geki’s older brother, one he never even knew about. Things soon grow more complicated when Barza tells Geki that the two people who raised him as a son, the king and queen of the Yamato tribe, are not his real parents. When Burai was eight years old, he had an infant brother, Geki, and that brother was adopted by the Yamato tribe – though the flashback makes it look like this might not have happened on the best of terms. Whatever the case, things grow worse when we learn that Geki’s real rather lead a rebellion against the Yamato royal family and intended to take the throne for himself.

Although the Yamato king defeated him, he did not kill Geki’s real father, choosing to spare the man’s life. Stubborn in his ambition, the defeated warrior attacked the king and was struck down with a single swing of the sword. Young Burai watched from the sidelines in horror as his father was killed, running to his side once the king had left. This is where we learn that Burai’s father’s final words demanded the boy grow up to be a strong warrior and avenge him one day. Burai’s chance for vengeance is stolen from him when Bandora attacks the five kingdoms and kills the Yamato king in the process. Or at least that’s what Burai thinks until he remembers he has a brother, the heir to the Yamato throne and the new source of hatred for him. But until that day Burai would be strong enough to defeat his brother and take the throne, he went into hiding in the Gnome forest where he would train for many years to come.

After having this giant bomb dropped on him, Geki needs some time alone and rushes outside to think about everything he’s just been told. He has a brother, trying to kill him, and the people he knew as his parents weren’t even his real mother and father.

Burai overlooks a body of water and swears he will take Geki’s life very soon. Bandora, loving the entire turn of events, starts singing about it and…er, we’re treated a good thre minutes of Bandora and her gang singing. This totally does not fit the tone of the episode thus far, but I kind of love it. Burai overhears the singing after Bandora makes her way down to earth and just scoffs. He immediately tells Bandora that he isn’t taking orders from her even though she wants to work with him.

Rather than giving him orders, she leads Burai to an ancient sword, the Hellfriend, that can match the strength of the Zyuranger’s Legendary Weapons. Fueled by his rage and hatred, Burai pushes through flames and defeats an evil knight to obtain the ancient Hellfriend sword. Bandora laughs knowingly as she watches this all go down.

As Geki hides away in a forest, overlooking a small lake, Bukbak appears and gives him a message from Burai. The rest of the team show up after they heard Geki confront Bukbak, but he hides the truth from them and tells them nothing happened. This is a great scene, you see the stoic leader finally show some fatigue from the events occurring around him. It’s a great source of humanization for Geki, he knows how close this is tied to his own personal history and doesn’t want the others involved in it.

When Geki meets up with Burai, the latter is disgusted when Geki calls him his brother and soon enough, the two are fighting. Well, sort of. Burai is swinging away and trying to kill Geki. Geki? He’s just trying to avoid the attacks and not get himself killed, he’s absolutely against the idea of fighting his own flesh and blood. Burai tells him that he’s going to kill him and become the ruler of the world, uniting it as one at long last.

The rest of the team show up and transform, as does Burai, and it’s a four on one battle, guess who’s wining? The team is basically helpless against Burai, he decimates them within moments of the battle taking place. Bandora is watching from afar and loving everything that’s happening, but she knows Burai can’t beat the team just yet as they have DaiZyuJin, but she has a sly smile on her face when she says that.

In his transformed state, Burai goes after Geki and starts kicking his butt some more. Still not fighting back, all Geki wants to know is why things have to be this way. They’re brothers, the quarrel was between their fathers and not them, so they shouldn’t be at each other’s throats. Burai, on the other hand, sees things very differently. Geki represents the lavish lifestyle of the royalty. He thinks of him as a spoiled brat who got everything he ever wanted while he had to suffer just to survive and grow stronger.

DaiZyuJin appears and sends an energy attack Burai’s way, while sending Geki his Dragon Strike sword and demanding that he fight his brother. Defiant towards the will of DaiZyuJin, Geki claims he’ll never fight his brother. DaiZyuJin isn’t pleased to hear this and attacks Geki himself before turning on Burai. Good ol’ Dragon Ranger thinks he has it in him to attack DaiZyuJin, but of course a Ranger fighting a giant robot isn’t going to work. Geki is joined by the rest of his defeated team as he pleads for DaiZyuJin to understand his situation.

Back at her palace, Bandora muses that DaiZyuJin has just ten days left before its, and the Zyuranger’s, destruction is at hand.

Whoa boy was this ever a great follow up to what we were presented with last episode. Burai was a total mystery in the last episode, but here we learn what the truth is and boy is it a doozy. Geki has bomb after bomb dropped o n him this episode and is dealing with it the best he can – and given the circumstances, he’s sticking to his convictions pretty nicely. DaiZyuJin continues to prove how much of a dick he can be when he attacked Geki. Nothing like having your giant robot/god attack you when you’re down.

Bandora continues to be mysterious, communicating with “Satan” and exposing her intentions to take down DaiZyuJin in just ten days, at least to her gang. She’s got something dreadful in store for the team and given Geki’s distraught state at the moment, you have to wonder just how they’re going to deal with it.

So, yeah, this episode has just about everything you would want. Drama like crazy and characters having to face difficult situations they’ve never dealt with before. Geki’s been a strong, solid leader thus far, but even he seems to have his breaking point and this episode pushed him to it. You just gotta feel for the guy, to learn he has a brother, and then to learn his parents aren’t his real parents, and then to learn his brother is trying to kill him. He’s trying to hold on to the final remnants of his history and can’t bring himself to strike Burai.

Burai himself is one crazy MF’er at this point. He never takes a moment to breathe. Once the battle begins, all he has on his mind is killing Geki and the others, but mostly Geki. While Geki is on the ground pleading for the battle to stop, Burai simply brushes it off and rushes towards his brother. It’s going to take a lot of work for these two to ever be on the same page.

I’ve got to wonder what the thought process behind the creation of Burai was. While he was a bit of a loner, X1-Mask was essentially willing to help out the rest of the team in Maskman. Here is seems like they went the other way and made Burai as antagonistic as possible. I mean, yeah, he has his shades of grey, but he’s still a crazy MF’er trying to kill his little brother. I have a theory that someone really liked the rivalry between Ryuu and Gai in Jetman the previous year and wanted to take that all the way by making an evil Ranger. Whatever the case, I’m glad it happened because the character of Burai adds some incredible color to the show. The battles between actors Yuta Mochizuki and Shiro Izumi are crazy and fun to watch. Mochizuki, a member of the JAE and a pretty great martial artist, is allowed to unwind for once. Sort of. He’s mostly defensive here, but that still leads to some of the most interesting action shots of the series and brings out the better actor in Mochizuki.

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