We are back in the final stretch of this season. Last episode was a big game changer, but this one appears to be a simple Christmas Special. If I had to guess, this will be the last filler of this season. So, click "read more" and let's get on with it.
The episode begins with the return of Souta from all the way back on episode 14 as he gives Christmas Party invitations to Sakuya for him and the other Patrangers.
Sakuya promises Souta that he will bring the other Patrangers to the party and bring a chicken feast with him. Apparently, chicken is a traditional Christmas food in Japan. Cut to intro!
So far, yes, this is building up to be filler. But, festive filler at least.
One theme song later, we are at the Patrangers' HQ where Jim is doing research on his computer about the past disguises the Gangler from the last episode was using. Turns out, they look identical to people who have gone missing, only further proving that his disguises come from the deceased.
This also further proves that the Patrangers former comrade Satoru is most likely dead.
Elsewhere, Sakuya begs Tooma to prepare the food for the kids Christmas party. Sakuya said he knew a French chef, I thought he meant Noël Takao. Speaking of which...
Random French lesson time! Fun fact, that is also the name of a 2005 movie. Wait, the extra ranger is named partly after Christmas?
The Lupin Rangers agree help, even Noël Takao volunteers to pick up a cake from Paris. So, he hops in his X Train and takes off.
I make fun of that for being stupid if it wasn't so amusing.
Cutting back to the Patrangers' HQ, more missing people match past disguises. However, Keiichiro has a breakthrough. He notices that all the people they found went missing during the February of the previous year during a mass missing people incident and believes that instead of the disguises being made from diseased, they were made from people who were kidnapped for the sake of making these disguises. That is pretty wishful thinking. But, even if it were true, who knows is the disguise making process didn't kill them, and even if they are alive, they are probably being treated as lab rats or tortured. With this breakthrough, they immediately begin investigating.
Sometimes it feels like the Patrangers got the brains and resources to end the Gangler invasion, but they lack the strength and the Lupinrangers are the other way around. If that is what they were going for then I am impressed. Although, I fear it is only a coincidence.
Later, a new Gangler appears just as Sakuya and Kairi are out shopping for the party.
That's one heck of a name.
This Gangler wants to end the tradition of eating chicken and replace it with Samon. Why on Earth would he want humans to eat his own kind? This would be so much funnier if a chicken monster was doing it. Samon as an interesting power to summon cooked salmon and launch them into peoples mouths.
This monster of the week is giving out free food. Even Kairi calls his salmon delicious. Sure, he is stealing chickens but, I question if everyone would consider him evil. Not that I would ever eat salmon.
Sakuya henshins up and goes on the attack while Kairi hangs back not being able to henshin in front of Sakuya. The fight quickly turns into an argument over what the Japanese should eat during Christmas time. Even given a fancy title card.
I dunno, ham always felt right to me on Christmas. I wonder how Power Rangers would handle a story involving cultural foods.
Sadly, this duel ends in defeat for Sakuya.
Samon gloats a little then leaves to spread more salmon to the people. He then decides to broadcast his message to Japan on TV.
This episode has way too many funny images.
Sakuya and Kairi go looking around and find the Gangler has gone to the stores and replaces all their chicken with salmon.
Only 50 yen per some form of measurement. That's dirt cheap. I hate fish but even I might have been tempted.
Every store that sold chicken suffered the same raid so, our rangers are out of options until the Gangler is defeated. All this time, Sakuya still hasn't told Keiichiro or Tsukasa about the new Gangler. Or even the children's Christmas party for that matter. Sakuya is not ready to give up; he is burning with determination to keep the chicken tradition alive because, as he puts it, a Christmas without chicken is "like a New Year's without mochi". You tell him green! Keep the nasty sea food. At this point, Noël Takao makes a return just in time to deliver his own "Christmas without chicken is like" metaphor.
These metaphors probably aren't going to connect with an American audience. Not that they were intended too. But, boy I would love to go to a beach with a ramen booth. He also remembered the cake.
This episode is trying to make me hungry in every way possible.
Noël Takao is able to deduce that Samon has the Lupin Collection piece "Une Faim De Loup" which gives a boost in the olfactory senses or sense of smell. But, isn't Une Faim De Loup French for starving? Umika starts sniffing the air in response to hearing about this power. This episode is really going all out with the silly factor. Sakuya requests Noël Takao to go back to France to pick up a chicken.
I'll say this, so far this episode is a lot more entertaining than the clip-shows we get with Power Ranger Christmas specials.
With the chicken successfully collected, things are looking up. However, Noël Takao points out that the children will be in danger if they don't stop the Gangler before having the party. Well, duh! However, Sakuya has a plan. He gets Tooma to cook the chicken outside in order to lure out Samon. Still not getting any reinforcements from Keiichiro and Tsukasa though.
Isn't that kinda small for a whole classroom plus 6 or 7 adults? Even with the cake. I could finish that tiny bird myself. And I want too!
Umika and Kairi are waiting in ambush in their phantom thief costumes when Umika notices that Sakuya really is a "nice guy". I almost forgot about that little love side story. Anyway, this plan works. Samon comes running fast, falls down once, but gets up and rushes to the chicken. Never an unfunny moment.
Sakuya and Noël Takao greet Samon with a kick, henshin up, and begin to fight as Tooma takes the chicken and runs. This fight, like the last one, quickly turns funny as Samon uses one of his special attacks on Sakuya, a lucky salmon dish. He lands on salmon fried rice. Then, this happens.
That is probably a real recipe.
Noël Takao gets Hizunamasu as his lucky salmon. (Thinly-sliced salmon head cartilage and daikon with vinegar.)
That looks and sounds disgusting.
Noël Takao and Sakuya both admit to loving salmon but, the power of Christmas Chicken drives them to victory.
Samon gets knocked down and looks up to see the Phantom Thieves (unmorphed) as they steal his Collection Piece.
Hey look, another repainted past changer/morpher. Lunar Wolf Ranger/Gaosilver. G-Brace Phone./Lunar Caller.
The three thieves all henshin and join in the fight. They easily win using their two super forms. I would call that a kill steal, but Sakuya at least got to turn the handles on Super Lupin X. Then, the typical formula; monster goes boom, Gauche appears to make the defeated monster grow, and the Lupinrangers get to do the giant battle. But with a twist, Gauche reals in Samon's broken safe with a fishing rod and after he is giant, she turns some of the Portermen giant. After that, Samon gives the giant Portermen Salted Salmon Blades.
|Ever been hit with a frozen fish?
These footsoliders are so poorly used in this season. They barely appear and don't even serve the typical purpose of letting the Rangers show off some martial arts. So, it is nice to see them do something for a change.
Surprisingly, Samon actually gets a couple hits in by literally smoking the two Super Robos, with more salmon dishes too.
All that really seems to do is make the cockpits hot. Kairi is easily able to counter this by summoning a third Super Robo and they quickly blast away the Portermen. They finish off Samon by first using their Magic VS vehicle's power to send him into a hallucination.
Then, they blast Samon away while wearing Santa costumes over their Ranger suits and bit him an Eternal Adieu. The more I hear that phrase the darker it sounds.
The episode concludes, as you would expect, at the children's Christmas Party.
They end up service salmon along side the chicken anyway while having fish decorations on the tree and everyone is happy with that. I feel like this episode could have had a more peaceful ending then. Keiichiro is missing from the party. He lagged behind to continue investigating and is still at the Patrangers HQ. However, just as he was about to leave, he finds out that Kairi's brother is on the list of people who went missing during the disappearance incident. At the same time, he remembers that during their investigation of the three of them back on episode 8, Umika and Tooma also had connections to the disappearing people's incident. Now, music plays implying something has been discovered but the episode ends back at the Christmas party where Kairi notes that Keiichiro is late. THE END!
This episode was goofy and hilarious with a great ending. It played the silly factory with no holds bars and I would have been satisfied with it as a silly Christmas filler. However, it ended things on a big suspenseful note as it implies Keiichiro has fully confirmed the identities of the Lupinrangers. I am truly shocked and impressed that this much creativity went into an episode like this. If I had one nitpick, it would be that the whole episode was really starting Sakuya, but he didn't get to participate in the giant battle. Although, at the same time, the 3 core Lupinrangers didn't get any action until the end when they stole the show appropriately. Despite that nitpick, this is honestly an episode I would re-watch just for fun. Haven't had that level of silly enjoyment from this season since episode 13. Granted, this is probably an unpopular opinion, but I loved this episode. 5/5