Winding things down with the last 6 episodes. Last episode was a Christmas special, but it ended on a cliffhanger that implies Keiichiro has learned who the Lupinrangers are. What will happen? Click "read more" and let's find out.
The episode begins with Goodstriker, Noël Takao, and the Lupinrangers at a shine to celebrate the New Year. Umika gets to steal the spotlight for a minute with her kimono.
Sadly, this festive moment is interrupted by the appearance of the new monster of the week.
Not a Gangler this week, but a red Porderman with a safe head.
The Lupinrangers are about to henshin, but the Porderman uses his collection pieces power. Goodstriker notices the glowing safe and rushes over only to get caught in the same wave as the Lupinrangers. When the rangers come to, they appear in jerseys in some weird arena in another dimension.
At least the monster was nice enough to color code them.
The Porderman appears and announces this place as the Gold Silver Pearl Escape Present Game. Catchy. Goodstriker informs the rangers that this is the power of the collection piece called "Play Together". These names are getting lazy. This collection piece has the power to bring someone to a fun party. In this case, the Porderman tells the rangers that they will be trapped there forever if they cannot clear five trials. I would say that collection piece was poor luck of the draw for the monster, but he seems to be making it work. Kairi attempts to steal the collection piece in order to escape the dimension, but this Porderman is only an illusion and he fades right through him.
The Lupinrangers decide they have no choice but to play along and the games begin. Cut to intro!
That is a lot of setup before the credits even role.
One theme song later, we are at the Patrangers HQ where Keiichiro has called everyone for an important announcement. He pulls up the 3 people the Lupinrangers are fighting to get back because all of them were part of the mass disappearance incident.
From left to right that is Tooma's fiancée, Aya, Kairi's older brother, Shori, and Umika's best friend Shiho. Combining this with Noël Takao telling Keiichiro that the Lupinrangers are fighting to return their loved ones in episode 32, Keiichiro comes to the conclusion that Kairi, Tooma, and Umika have to be the Lupinrangers. But, lots of people disappeared. Wouldn't that make everyone who had connections to someone who disappeared a suspect?
Quickly cutting away from that scene before the reactions, we see the Lupinrangers first trial. Or rather, they draw it from a box.
Kairi jumps into this challenge and does an impression of Tooma. But, not talking like him, he instead does the aerobics that Tooma did while he was under a spell in episode 27.
Tooma is not amused. That kinda was a low blow.
Out of fear, Kairi quickly changes his art to simply impersonating Tooma's role call, it fails. Kairi gets a wash tub dropped on his head and Noël Takao takes a turn. He does an impression of Keiichiro's role call and makes fun of his steam. This is a success.
Noël Takao says a lot of nice things about Keiichiro, Tsukasa and Sakuya accompanied by flashbacks. I feel like this is only being done to make the confrontation with them all the more painful.
Meanwhile at the Global Police HQ, Keiichiro begins to explain his reasoning in further detail. Again, accompanied with flashback, he points out the various times that the Lupinrangers were coincidentally at the same places of Kairi, Umika, or Tooma. Sakuya tries to object, calling those instances coincidences or something similar, but the final nail in the coffin was when Tsukasa finds a picture of a young Umika and Shiho.
This young Umika looks exactly like one of the lost kids in episode 33 that were responsible for the Patrangers losing Lupin Yellow's VS Changer. Tsukasa passes out from embarrassment knowing she hugged Kairi and called him cute, then it cuts back to the Lupinrangers for their second trail.
What is game, truth or dare?
Now, it has become apparent this episode the second clip show of the season. (The first being episode 29.) It takes the Lupinrangers a couple guesses, but they are both full of flashbacks. They succeed by remembering the final battle with Destra. (Episode 42.)
On a side note, a quick cut-away shows Zamigo making enemies with the Gangler's leader Dogranio. It seems they wanted to establish the old cliche' of the rouge monster turning on the main one. That routine has been done in past Sentai plenty of times and now, the only question is fining out which one of them gets to be the final battle.
Back to the Lupinrangers, it is time for their third trial.
These vague challenges have been way too easy.
Once again, it takes a couple tries and they show a bunch of flashbacks. Ultimately, Umika gets the win by dressing up the 3 guys and Goodstriker as women. I'm not showing a picture of that. This was a throwback to episode 11 when the Patrangers all got to be drag. I hated that episode. No, not because I'm anti drag but because it was a terribly scripted episode.
Going back to the Patrangers, Tsukasa recalls more moments that could prove the Lupinrangers identities. More flashbacks. Sakuya again tries to object, pointing out when they originally suspected Kairi, Tooma, and Umika back on episode 8 when they proved their alibis. However, this is quickly debunked when Tsukasa recalls moments when the Phantom Thieves uses disguises. Even with all the evidence, Sakuya is still in denial, but is left mostly speechless. Poor guy, just when Umika was starting to like him back.
Now, another cut-away for the Lupinrangers 4th trial. They need to show their treasure and not just talk about it.
This one was an easy one for both the trail and an excuse to show more flashbacks. With a twist this time, Goodstriker in his puppet form got to appear over the clip-show and give quick one liners. How on Earth do they carry around all those toys?
However, this trial was a trap. The Porderman says the Lupinranger's slogon "here is an advance warning. I'm taking your treasure" then makes all the Collection Pieces disapear before bidding his own "eternal adieu". Well, that means the Lupinrangers are now completely powerless. Things just went about as low as they can go.
One last hope, Goodstriker is outside the dimension with the rest of the Collection Pieces and he hears the Porderman say that his poses are what controls his dimension powers. So, he goes on his own attack and forces the Porderman into that pose. What?
That was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. The monster of the week overpowered by Goodstriker? And I almost thought this episode was about to become interesting.
Anyway, the Lupinrangers emerge from the other dimension and quickly recollect their Collection Pieces with practically no resistance. Now, it is time to steal the Porderman's treasure. Although he actually gets a few dodges in, it doesn't take long to get at the safe.
Wonder if there are any frozen mutants inside that thing.
Noël Takao henshins directly into Super Lupin X and finishes off the Porderman and, since it isn't a proper Gangler, it doesn't get a Giant form. The Lupin Rangers all pray at the shrine for the new year.
Back at the Global Police HQ, it is decided to but the Juro Bistro under surveillance, but, Sakuya begs them to back off and let him do a solo investigation because he is determined to prove Umika and the others innocents. Poor guy. I can relate to being too trustworthy.
Cutting away to the Ganglers world, Gauche is shown doing experiments with two collection pieces.
Oh no! She kidnapped Saba!
However, Zamigo appears before her. He has come with a request for the mad scientist Gauche and will pay any price for it. But, the episode ends so we don't get to know what it is until next time.
This episode was a clip-show and an unfocused mess. The villain was an intentional joke that wasn't funny, that other dimension was just lazily written, and the Patrangers never even left their HQ. Not at all like the confrontational episode that was tease. However, if there is any positive, it did have 2 strong cliffhangers with Zamigo and Sakuya. However, that really only helps the next episode in terms of quality. As far as this one goes, it was a set-up episode full of flashbacks. Not the worst thing I've seen, but not impressive at all. 2/5