A new week, a new discussion! Let’s talk about Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger!
So, well before I began watching and getting caught up on Zyuohger, the first DX mecha for this series, ZyuohKing had already hit Amazon Prime. I was on the tail end of finalizing my Ninninger collection and the price was good, so I picked it up not really knowing what I was getting into and thinking, “Why the hell not?”
When I first saw the initial promo shots, toy catalogue scans, and general plot synopsis, I was extremely skeptical of Zyuohger. Every time I saw the cube theme, I couldn’t help but think of Minecraft (which I’ve never really enjoyed). It felt cartoony, the costumes looked bland, and the story seemed pretty unextraordinary. Then the day came that ZyuohKing landed, and I was seriously underwhelmed by this toy. I was enamored with the concept – It was great looking, very well crafted and the design made sense from what little I’d seen and read about Zyuohger. But I wasn’t compelled. So onto a shelf it went, and I begrudgingly spent money on each toy release still not really sure why I was doing it and without even a clear understanding of what Zyuohger was all about.
I finally found myself caught up on all the rest of my toku and dove right in. (In case you’re curious, I’m watching TV-Nihon’s releases of each episode as it comes out. You can find their tracker via Google.)
Thus far, my mind has been absolutely blown. I can honestly say, I haven’t found anything I don’t like. I absolutely adore everything about Zyuohger, and every shred of doubt I had going into it has been cast asunder. Keep in mind, it’s pretty rare that I don’t eventually end up loving a Super Sentai series or a Kamen Rider series. Some take longer than others, but I usually end up in love with each series in at least some way… So my opinions aren’t always super subjective. :-D. But even so, this Sentai has been nothing short of impressive, and I think that it’s living up to expectations as Super Sentai’s 40th Anniversary series.
The first thing I can comment on is the music. I absolutely fell in love with the opening theme for Zyuohger – the first time I heard it, I felt this twinge of inspiration that reminded me of when I was a kid just falling in love with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. The ending theme leaves a little to be desired, but after about 40 seconds in, I’m always smiling with the music.
My second major skepticism was the costumes. At first glance, they’re pretty basic overall. They aren’t awful, but they’re just very… Refined(?). Then you see them come into play when the Zyuohger’s Awaken their Instincts, and suddenly everything fits much better. While I’m sure more could have been done to dress the costumes up, that could always come later in the series, but I definitely appreciate them after having watched the series.
I’m currently undecided on the story – jury’s still out. I like the potential that’s been laid out, and to avoid spoiling what’s known thus far for those who may just be jumping it, I’ll just say that I’m optimistic for what’s to come. So far I feel like all of the characters are likeable. At this point the only character I d0n’t care for is Tusk – something about his personality just seems off to me; he seems to be the series’ whiner and I can only hope that grows out of him as the series continues.
Special effects have really stood out, especially how the cube theme is represented so well in the on-screen effects. Everything from the Henshin sequences to the mecha battles and Zyuoh Animals are superbly done – none of the effects appear cheap or thrown together, and they all flow naturally with the scenes.
I’ve opted out of the bulk of the Zyuohger role play toys this catalogue cycle, but did spring for the DX ZyuohChanger. The design is very show-accurate and all of functions are identical, however the speaker is extremely quiet in this toy which is kind of a let down. To hear the announcer you almost have to put your ear closer to the device, and even then it can often be a challenge to understand. Based on this fact alone, we’ll probably not be doing a review on this specific device. All currently-released DX Zyuohger mecha since ZyuohKing have landed at our door, and just with our initial impressions, they’re all very high quality and excellently designed. Many complain that the legs do not articulate for either ZyuohKing, ZyuohWild, or Wild Tousai King modes… And I have to ask, “Really? That’s a real complaint?” It’s pretty clear to me, as someone with less-than-minimal knowledge of toy design, that there is no other way to have done these toys and maintained the simplicity and ease-of-use. They’re not the world’s most posable toys, and yeah, I suppose they aren’t very functional, but they all look damn good and display really well on a shelf.
If I had to pick one thing to complain about, I’d fight tooth an nail to pick anything. But if it became life or death, and I had to pick or face my wife’s righteous fury, I’d probably complain about the announcer. Something about the announcer bothers me in this series. I loved Gokaiger’s announcer. I still have Go-busters’ announcer set for notifications on my phone. But the Zyuohger announcer is… Meh. I know that they’re trying to keep with the “wild” or “jungle” theme… But really, all he succeeds at doing is being annoying. There. I did it. I found something that isn’t awesome about Zyuohger. And you’re all here to witness it.
That said, I thin that about sums up my thoughts on Zyuohger. Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback or would like us to talk about a specific something within the Sentai or Rider Universe, let us know! We’ll see what we can make happen.