This episode has some more drama between Hikaru's buddies. Kenta is apparently really upset about the rest of them trying to keep the Ultraman and monster-related stuff secret from him, and this led to Alien Valkie giving him a Dark Spark. This subplot wasn't done very well, and it's resolved a little too quickly anyway. Kenta doesn't even get to use the Spark Doll he was given.
On the plus side, Misuzu's actress managed to look (somewhat) convincingly worried seeing Kenta and Hikaru argue, and that probably counts as an achievement, considering the acting ability in this series.
The main focus of this episode is Tomoya. There's a glimpse of his backstory, but not much is very clear (at least from what I've been able to understand). He seems to have something against Hikaru and the talk about following one's dreams, but I'm not sure what this all means. I assume we'll find out how he relates to the whole dreams and aspirations theme later on.
I'm honestly a little bothered by how Tomoya needs to use the Gunpad to control Jean Killer, instead of controlling the robot directly like other Spark Doll users. It's a pretty blatant example of toy promotion. But I guess they need to give him a uniqe method of fighting to contrast with Hikaru after they inevitably team up.
Hikaru's use of the Ginga Spark this time is less formulaic compared to previous episodes. He first uses the Kemur Man doll to transport himself into Jean Killer, and later on confronts Jean Killer using the Doragory doll (which he got from Kenta). Hikaru transforms into Ginga after that, and the battle then involves lots of flying. Interestingly, Hikaru as Ginga runs out of time before he can defeat Jean Killer, and the transformation gets undone before the fight actually ends. Pretty neat to have the time limit used forsomething that's actually kind of dramatic instead of just as a sign that the fight is close to over, and Ultraman will remember to use a finishing move.
Hikaru successfully frees Taro, but suddenly, both him and Tomoya are attacked by Ultraman Tiga (whom Taro recognizes, somehow) in his "Tiga Dark" form. The episode ends one of Tiga's energy attacks is speeding towards the two boys.
Interestingly, Tiga here is like Alien Valkie in that he doesn't appear to be a transformation being used by any human. I guess it confirms that the shadowy main villain's Dark Spark works differently than the others, as it can restore Spark Dolls to life instead of using them for transformations. The preview for the next episode looks promising, as it appears to show a flashback of Taro's childhood (along with his parents) and Ginga teaming up with Jean Killer (who becomes Jean Nine).
Ultraman Ginga © Tsuburaya Productions
Say, anybody else bothered by how these kids seem to dress in the same outfits for every episode? It made sense with other Ultra shows since the characters wore uniforms, but here it's just odd.