First Look: Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger Vs Keisatsu Sentai Patranger

Premise

The Lupinrangers are a team of phantom thieves aiming to steal back the scattered pieces of the mysterious Lupin Collection by any means necessary. The Patrangers are the starched collar cops out to bring them to justice. For the first time ever it’s Sentai versus Sentai in a fight to the finish!

Zigg’s Verdict: Gambling On Change

Super Sentai is so incredibly formulaic that even minor alterations to the recipe can dramatically affect the perception of a series, but the core idea of Lupinranger Vs Patranger goes far beyond a small tweak. The idea of two teams in direct competition is a mainstay of the inter-series crossover movies, but has never been attempted over the course of an entire series before, and based on this premiere it’s going to have quite an impact on how the story unfolds. Wisely, this first episode largely sticks to focusing on one team (the Lupinrangers) but even so, it’s extraordinarily busy, even by the rammed standards of tokusatsu season premieres. The good news is that there’s a flair and drama to the storytelling that shines through, particularly in the extraordinarily kinetic action scenes, which are an obvious step up over previous years. Character work seems broad but decent, with everyone coming off as initially likeable, and the monster design is absolutely top-notch as always, with the Mafia angle a fun new avenue to take the baddies down. Trying to keep all of these different lines flowing smoothly is bound to be a concern, but this was a strong, entertaining debut episode and a good sign for the franchise as it embarks on a new experiment.

Iro’s Verdict: Take Your Time

I thought the Persona 5 anime was starting next season? Joking aside, this was a solid premiere, setting up all the basics we need (the teams, the baddies, the mission control) and leaving a nice few dangling plot threads for the show to follow up on. The action sequences were surprising for something as standard and simple as Super Sentai, with director Teruaki Sugihara’s penchant for wild camera pans and other (occasionally questionable) cinematic flairs throwing me for a hell of a loop. If I’ve got any major complaint, it’s that the Lupinrangers are absolutely getting top billing when it comes to screentime, though one could argue the Police theme has already been given its due in the franchise. Really though, I just want to see more Commander Hilltop; that guy seems rad.

Euri’s Verdict: It Crept Out of Nowhere

This episode has a lot going on, but it has made me cautiously optimistic about this series. I’ll admit that my main interest going into this was seeing how the show handles having two teams, and while this was mostly the Lupinrangers dunking on poorly organised cops, I think we’ll start seeing some push-pull as we go from here. I’m really curious about how they move away from the traditional Lupin story to one where the cops and the thieves are actively teaming up. This episode sets up a relationship between the two teams similar to Lupin and Zenigata’s relationship in Lupin the Third, but you’ve got to assume that at some point they’re going to be on the same side. If that happens, we’re also going to have two reds. Whatever the case, I’m excited to see how the show will play out. Please make Hilltop a ranger though.

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