Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ultraman Ginga episode 6: halfway finale

Episode 6 was the final episode of Ultraman Ginga's summer arc. Is it a good halfway end? Well, read on to find out.

After the end of the previous episode, Taro manages to teleport Hikaru and Tomoya (along with himself) to safety, away from Tiga Dark. Why Tiga doesn't just look for them, I don't know. In fact, Tiga pretty much disappears with no trace until much later in the episode. I guess even dark Ultramen have some form of time limit here.

Anyway, since they were back at the school, we get to some backstory explained for Tomoya. Apparently, his father is the head of "Ichijouji Group", whatever that is. Apparently, that means they're rich, and Tomoya himself doesn't have any dreams or desire because he can easily get anything he would want, since he's apparently heir to said group. I'm not really sure how to feel about this, but he would probably be more sympathetic if he was say, worried his future is already planned out or stressed about any possible responsibilities that might get handed to him. Tomoya's lack of desire is also sort of used to explain why he's different from the other Dark Spark users, but it doesn't really explain why he needs to use the Gunpad to control Jean Killer.

Tomoya also appears to have some father issues here, and that allows Taro to relate to him with some backstory of his own. Speaking of which, Taro's flashback is at least neat in that it's an attempt to convey a positive message, even though it's not something that's actually demonstrated. On a less positive note, Taro still doesn't make it clear if he's an alternate version "native" to this universe (like how the Superior Ultraman 8 Brothers universe had it's own version of characters from different continuities, including Daigo, Asuka and Gamu) or if he's the "regular" Taro who travelled to this universe. It's not really an important issue, but it's worth mentioning.

On to more significant things: Hikaru offers Tomoya the challenge of defeating Ultraman Ginga in a fight, as something that would require effort to achieve. Surprisingly, Hikaru transforms into Ginga straight away without changing into a monster or alien first. Impressively, Hikaru (as Ginga) easily defeats Tomoya and Jean Killer by... "phasing" his hand into the giant robot's control room and snatching Tomoya's Dark Spark. It comes of as a little too easy, honestly.

Afterwards is the big fight for this episode with Ginga against Tiga, who made Alien Valkie giant-sized to help out. I do not recall Tiga ever having this kind of power. Seriously, it's just weird.

As promised by the preview for this episode, Jean Killer suddenly becomes Jean-Nine, and Tomoya is able to help Hikaru. Jean-Nine having his own version of the Gunpad doesn't feel right, due to how dinky the thing looks when held by such a bulky robot, making it one of the more intrusive examples of toy advertising in this show.

The fight scene itself just doesn't impress me. It didn't combine use of miniatures and scenery with clever camera angles well enough to reinforce the illusion that the combatants are actually gigantic. And the lack of special attacks on the Ultramen's part (besides Ginga's arm beam) doesn't help either. At least the insert song during the battle was great. Too bad it's pretty much the only good music used during any episode.

All in all, not a very impressive episode. But that's pretty much how every episode of Ginga has been so far, so um... it's consistent, I guess. But not in a very good way. It's a little disappointing that Tiga Dark was just a mindless super minion under the mysterious main villain's control, instead of another human. Sure, the episodic villains didn't have great characterization, but it was at least something.

The episode ends by blatantly pointing out that there's more to come, since the show will be on hiatus for a little while. The viewers are reminded that the main villain is still unknown and Ultraman Ginga himself is still a mystery. Speaking of Ginga, he gets a little dialogue as a separate entity from Hikaru, but it doesn't amount to much, besides confirming that Ginga is himself a sentient entity.

Ultraman Ginga © Tsuburaya Productions

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