“In the Name of Ultraman”
After a bad training montage and the discovery of a new power-up, Rosso and Blu ask Ultraman Black Black Black Black for a rematch.
We knew that there would be another power-up coming this episode thanks to the preview from last week. Last time this happened, when Rosso and Blu got wind crystals, we were treated to one of the best episodes of the series. It’s safe to say that there were high expectations going into episode 9, and these expectation were not met.
The plot has everything on its side, too. Rosso and Blu have just had their butts kicked by Aizen as Ultraman Black Black Black Black, so not only are we going to see the turnaround (which, honestly, could have waited a few episodes) but we’re getting a power-up on top of that. Unfortunately, the majority of the episode is spent on a long, dull training montage, and the occasional news of Aizen rescuing someone or doing a good deed, which TV reporters are having a good time reporting on.
I don’t have anything against training montages if they’re done right – I love shounen anime and the Rocky franchise, so I’m all about training montages. However, absolutely nothing we see during their training is translated to the eventual fight with Aizen. We see Rosso throwing baseballs at a mock-monster, presumably to improve the strength and accuracy of his throws. Cool, but it wasn’t important. We should have seen the previous episode make a big deal out of him missing throws and have him succeed in the second fight. There’s also a lot of weapon training, both against props and between the two brothers, but overall they performed worse than Aizen with weapons again, with the exception of when they bounce lasers around with their swords for a bit, which obviously wasn’t practised. All we needed to see was one of the two playing the role of Aizen during training, using a weapon like his large sword so they could come up with some countermeasures.
We do learn something interesting about Aizen playing the hero as Dark Orb, in that he seems to be deliberately creating the scenarios in which he gets to perform good deeds. The scene that was most interesting about this is when he saves a plane from crash landing, before we find out that he’s been faking his heroics. Unfortunately, the show doesn’t give us the background to that, as I think it’s pretty important to know whether that one is legitimate, whether the plane was empty and being controlled by him, or whether he did something shady so that the plane would go down. His other good deed, where he caught a kid’s balloon out of the air and returned it, doesn’t quite have the same implications even though we know he arranged the scenario with the kid personally.
The fight was anti-climactic, and really needed to be built up to while having Aizen on hero duty for a time. Using the earth crystal amounted to about the same effect that the random non-transformation coins gave us when they were introduced several episodes back, with no drama to the same extent as we saw with the wind crystal. To top it all off, Blu and Rosso stole Aizen’s magic pizza cutter to prevent him from being an Ultraman, which I honestly think was a dumb decision. Even if they’re doing so on account of the monster-related disasters he caused, taking the pizza cutter away doesn’t stop that. It just makes it his entire focus, as he can’t be an Ultraman any more. Hopefully this just becomes a moot point and he has D.R.L.N. fly through a window to steal it back.
- I get the feeling it was really obvious, but I only just noticed that the symbol behind the A on Aizen’s very obvious Avengers logo is a heart.
- No monster of the week! How weird is that? It’s definitely for the best given what the episode was about, it’s just a shame they didn’t make the most of it.
- Still no Dinosaur Tank.
So, Aizen’s motives, eh? We now know at the very least that he’s attempting to sell his brand. He’s doing the Spider-man balloon rescue thing, and generally being a friendly neighbourhood Ultraman. It all seems mighty suspect, especially when he tries to bribe children with his bad toys. I am pretty sure we’re gonna find out that the plane he rescued was a plant.
I really wish that this show would give us more indication of how news outlets are covering this stuff; it seems like public opinion is a theme they want to explore, but they’ve not shown us anything about it other than some very specific individuals. I’d suggest that Aizen’s PR moves were bad, but our protagonists are so much worse; knowing full well about Aizen’s good reputation, they show up in Ultraman form to his offices and throw a glove at his window. Without the context of how this is being covered, though, we have no way of knowing what the public consensus is. By absence of perspective, we’re missing out on the single most important aspect of what we’ve been led to believe is the villain’s motivation.
I am extremely proud of the kids who called Aizen out for his really bad Ultraman name.