Monday, August 5, 2013

Ultraman Ginga episode 4: still about dreams

As shown by the preview, this episode focuses on Chigusa's dream of becoming an idol.

Anyway, episode 4 has two people from a magazine visit the school for a photoshoot, which unfortunately, they couldn't do because the model they arranged for bailed on them. However, they decided to just pick a different subject for the photoshoot, that being Misuzu. I'm not sure if magazine staff would be allowed to do that, but at least the photoshoot doesn't come across as too blatantly skeevy. But this is a children's/family show, so duh.

Despite Misuzu getting the literal spotlight, this episode is about Chigusa. She tried to offer herself for the photography session (that sounded kinda dirty), but the two guys didn't seem to even notice her. Chigusa is mostly a little quiet his time, which is honestly for the better considering her voice.There's a scene where Tomoya also pops up to make her day worse, and his dialogue doesn't really serve much purpose but make him look totally horrible. It was already clear that Chigusa was upset how Misuzu was getting the attention and was already further along the path of becoming an idol. Tomoya spelling that out, as well as the way he phrased it (at least, according to Over-Time's translation) doesn't tell us anything we couldn't guess already, but instead makes him look like an ass. I hope that was the intention, since the alternative would mean the writing treats the audience as really really stupid.

Anyway, the enemy of the week is a major step up as a character, compared to previous episodes. This time, Valkie targets Chigusa, exploiting her negative emotions in this episode (which I'm guessing are a mixture of jealousy and feeling inadequate). She's turned into the monster Ragon, which is like some sort of fish (wo)man-thing. This time, the monster was clearly seen by people besides Misuzu, so I'm assuming the whole thing will no longer be a secret to the rest of the main characters.

There isn't any actual fight scene in this episode. Hikaru lets himself get beat up as King Pandon, and as Ginga he just reverses Chigusa's transformation using a new ability called "Ginga comfort". You have to wonder why he couldn't have "cured" the previous enemies without actually injuring them. Hikaru's "fight scene" dialogue is in basically the same soft-spoken voice as the previous episode, which bugs me. Shouldn't he demonstrate noticeably different emotions when the opponent he's facing is actually one of his friends?

A bit of a twist after Chigusa/Ragon is "defeated": Jean Killer shows up, piloted by Tomoya. Ginga is continuously pelted with shots by the giant robot. The scene drags a little too much, almost as if they're trying to make up for a deficiency of explosions in this show. Jean Killer transforms into spaceship mode and flies off after Ginga is changed back into Hikaru. We even see his timer turn red for the first time. Finally, an actually threatening opponent!

So, that about sums up the episode. Ultraman Ginga is so far not a vey impressive show. I wouldn't blame that on a lack of good ideas, but rather unimpressive execution and low production values. The best thing about this show is that it has thematic consistency, which is enough to keep me watching, but that's not going to apply for everyone. The fact that dreams/aspirations is a major theme, along with more real world-ish setting reminds me quite a lot of Superior Ultraman 8 Brothers. It looks like Chigusa's dream of becoming an idol might get tied to Kenta's dream of being a photographer, judging by that shot of him making a frame with his fingers. Either that, or they'll be a couple. And in case anyone's wondering, Taro is still where he was left off. Next episode looks l‪ike it will involve a dark spark user transforming with (gasp!) the Ultraman Tiga doll! 

Ultraman Ginga © Tsuburaya Productions

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