“Memory of Stardust” and “Candies and Steamed Buns”
The Minato family, upon being visited by the person threatening to end the world, perform a dance about manju. Unsure of how to proceed the plot, we revisit the case of the missing mother. She’s been in Aizen’s basement all along, trapped inside a space vase.
We’re finally on the home stretch of episodes, but it seems like the show is intent on tying things up as late as possible. Both of these episodes can be quickly and accurately summarised by saying the Goth Alien really wants to blow up Earth to kill the big bad, and the Ultramen are not psyched about that so they fight. The plot does inch forward right at the end of episode 21 in what seems like a resolution to the case of the missing mother, but the rest of it can be written off as two episodes of Goth Alien being stubborn.
We get to see a little of Goth Alien’s backstory, such as how her brothers were defeated by Leugocyte and seemingly killed, the reason why she’s so eager to get revenge. Knowing more about these brothers allows us to draw some parallels between the old and current Reubes, even down to the little sister that doesn’t get to do anything except scream out for her brothers and be protected. From Goth Alien’s perspective, it’s got to be pretty awful to see people that look like her brothers (Rosso and Blu) but aren’t, but the show doesn’t really play on that. Yes, she calls them fakes, but that’s about all she has to say about it. There’s some room here to make us feel sympathetic towards her before she inevitably joins Rosso and Blu in stopping Leugocyte, but she hasn’t done much to warrant it. In fact, a lot of her speech while controlling Grand King Megalos seemed to be tipping her further into villain territory (and kudos to her actor to be fair, she does a pretty good job).
The gyros appear to gain some kind of sentience in episode 20, when they fly to the aid of Russo and Blu who are being attacked by Goth Alien’s (previously hidden?) fireball powers. Baby steps in convincing her that the Minato brothers are official Ultramen despite her objections, but what a weird thing. I wonder if this has been done before in an Ultraman series so that it’s not such a weird pull, or if the show will try and explain it by saying the original Rosso and Blu are in there somewhere. Or, you know, just never mention it again. The Aizentech monster restraint system is also blown up when Goth Alien accidentally awakens Gomora, so we won’t be seeing that thing again in the future. Curiously, there was a lack of D.R.L.N. in both of these episodes, despite being heard and mentioned.
Another thing I don’t quite understand is the decision making behind what monsters are showing up. Gomora makes sense, as it’s a classic Ultraman monster and doesn’t serve as a major threat. Grand King Megalos, while a bit ridiculous looking, is at least a new monster for this show and a better robot than the bad one from the episode 19. But why bring Horoboros back for a fourth episode? There is already an in-canon reason to explain how monsters can get stronger, such as when the original Horoboros received a power-up, so if we have to revisit a monster why not one from way earlier in the series, and one that hasn’t been around a lot already? Better yet, a new monster, even if it’s just a classic one that hasn’t shown up in R/B yet.
I’m sure it’s pretty obvious that I didn’t really care for these episodes based on what I’ve already said about them, but I don’t think anything in this show so far has put me into such a state of utter disbelief quite like the manju song did. They’ve been building Goth Alien up as a villain hellbent on revenge and without a care about what happens to Earth, and she rocks up to the Minato home dressed in a school uniform offering them a box of manju, which in turn causes the entire family to burst into song and dance. There is a time and a place for things like that, and I say this as someone who tends to only really enjoy Ultraman when the episode isn’t plot relevant and people are goofing around. If you want to have another goof episode then go for it, but mashing scenes like that and then moving straight onto Goth Alien asking them to die so she can have revenge on Leugocyte simply doesn’t work.
On a less negative note, I believe we’ve been getting more hints as to what, or who, Asahi really is. When we see the moment where the Minato mum is sealed away in the strange evil vase machine in Aizen’s basement, we see her drop a lot of sweets – the kind that Asahi tends to carry with her. Doesn’t seem so odd at face value, but when you remember that Asahi showed up out of nowhere, you start to wonder why there are similarities. After this scene, the camera does a very good job of just zooming into Asahi’s face, as if expecting a reaction from her. On top of that, when Goth Alien takes responsibility for loss of their mum, Asahi insists that it wasn’t deliberate, and further complains when Goth Alien shoots down that idea. Asahi shouldn’t have any idea what the circumstances were, of course.
So, she’s the Minato mum? Maybe? The way she insists that the mum-napping was accidental makes me wonder if she’s aware of the situation or not. Probably not, going off the run of episodes we had when Papa Minato questioned her existence with incredible care. Plus there’s always the chance I’m reading too much into it, so I suppose we’ll see in the next batch. They were rather keen on not showing Mama Minato’s face in the episode preview for 22, though.
- Grand King Megalos is the Dalek of Ultraman.
- Asahi gets different outfits but Rosso and Blu must remain colour coded AT ALL TIMES.
- Papa Minato’s arm sloth is the best character in this show.
- Goth Alien dresses down to have her power sapped, but is sure to re-attach an Aizentech badge to her t-shirt. This is also the case when she randomly shows up in a school uniform.
- Rosso rescuing the car mid-fight was easily the highlight of these episodes.
- Goth Alien’s phone wallpaper is the photo of her and Asahi with Pigmon from the Halloween special, and that is also very good.
- Still no Dinosaur Tank.
Euri’s done a good job of summarising the actual material aspects of this show. Historically, here, I would make some goof about how the recent joke episodes are still 100% canon and must be respected as part of the plot, but since the show is actually respecting them, I’m kind of at a loss for what to do here.