A pretty crazy episode, that...doesn't quite necessarily make sense as a Jetman episode. I could see why people would dislike it, or dismiss it as filler. (An overused term, often used wrongly.) It's hard to justify its purpose or deny it's filler-y, but...it's a damned weird episode, and I like it. It basically makes me think of the way a TV show will have a special Halloween episode in October to mark the holiday.
Radeige is seen practicing occult powers, taking a spirit form to kill the Jetman. He quickly succeeds in killing Ako, Gai and Raita. He comes close to killing Ryu, until Ryu is saved by...Super Monk Masashi Ishibashi! A rare good guy role for Ishibashi, and he kicks ass here. Odagiri enlists him to help the Jetman, and he guides Ryu's spirit to the netherworld to help go save the others' souls. It's interesting that, while Ishibashi is performing the ritual that sets up Ryu's journey, Ryu looks absolutely terrified. He's pale, he's sweating, he's breathing hard. They don't outright say it, but it's obvious he's terrified of the supernatural, and kinda doesn't want to be doing this, but as leader, he steps up and performs his duty. Even Gai kind of looks at Ryu like "I hate the dude, but...he really stepped up! I wouldn't have made a trip like this for my favorite Playboy Bunny."
Ryu goes on a journey where he faces off against witches and monsters and youkai and Radeige, making his way to the hellish pit where his comrades' spirits are being tormented by the spirits of dead Jigen Beasts. (They're cornered over a lake of what I assume is boiling blood, but it looks like a Hawaiian Punch/dry-ice combo.) Kaori's left behind in the land of the living, devoting herself to intense prayer, which does manage to give Ryu a boost at a critical moment when things look doomed for him and the other three.
The strangeness isn't limited to the Jetman's supernatural adventure, though. Another strange part of this episode is the ending. When the four have returned to life, they're cheerful, and they partake in that Sentai cliche of playing leapfrog. Bwhat? What show am I watching here? Usually, it's the younger teams that do this. Who made this decision? Like "Damn it, I'm stumped on how to end this episode! What can...hmm, let's think. They just came back to life. Their spirits were tormented in hell. They were saved in just the nick of time. So...they'd be happy to be alive, obviously. How can I best display this? Shit! I've got five minutes to turn this damn script in! Screw it, they're going to go straight into some leap frog. Yeah! That's ballsy of me. This is a team that's at each other's throats every other episode, nobody will expect it. It's a Sentai cliche, but it WON'T be cliche here, because it's so unexpected. It will be novel! Whooooooooo, me! Drinks on me, everyone!"
Stupid, awful, terrible episode I loathe. It's not anywhere near as funny as it thinks it is, not anywhere near as amusing. It's forced, it tries too hard, it's DUMB. None of the jokes land. It tries so hard, your TV will drip with flop sweat. (Dry THAT up, Dryer Jigen.)
And it's not because Jetman can't do comedy or be funny, because it can and has been. But it's always worked best with a sarcastic kind of comedy. Not whatever this pseudo absurdist, slapcrapstick this thing is. Hang your head in shame, Arakawa.
The second and last episode written by Mami Watanabe (and with a co-writer this time, Naoki Yawatari). This is an episode that...should be really good, and a classic Jetman, but it's never quite worked for me for some reason.
A couple that's survived their dimension being destroyed by Radeige make their way to Earth; the guy wants to live peacefully, the girl wants revenge. One problem is that it's too close in number and too similar in story to the episode with the Dimensians. Another problem is weak casting -- you had the familiar faces as the Dimensians, which by association made you feel like you knew them and you took a quick liking to them. The two actors here are just generic and instantly forgettable. The third thing is, their designs are atrocious -- they look a cross between figure skaters and some low-tier, cheap thing typically found in Fiveman.
The episode contrasts the young couple and their being targeted and torn apart by Vyram with Ryu and Rie, with Ryu being hellbent on saving them and keeping them from being torn apart. It's such a good, strong idea for an episode, and it should have made for something really emotional and epic, but...I just find it lacking. Something's missing! This whole episode just feels like a watered down or abandoned script for something like Changeman, Flashman, Spielban, Maskman or even Fiveman. It's not a bad episode, and certainly not one of Jetman's worst, it just holds back or is incomplete. It feels almost like the writers walked before the script was done, they were shooting with an unfinished script, the director hated everything and all of the cast members were fighting that day. There's just something so off about this one...
Nobody seems to have their heart in it. Much like me, trying to write about this episode.
Inoue returns to save us after a string of weird-to-bad-to-ho-hum episodes. This begins a three-parter that tries to cover more ground than an hour possibly should.
When two idiot hikers stumble upon a cave and unleash a demon, it's a mistake the Jetman are going to have to pay for. However brief it is, it's a nice change to have opponents for both the Jetman and the Vyram. (It's just too bad the three Majin are masked characters instead of some cool stunt-casting. The underling one that's first unleashed looks like a Battletoad! I was just going to refer to him as Zitz, but I looked his name up.)
The underling Majin,
Radeige himself revives the other two Majin with his own blood, in hopes of controlling them. Radeige's actually kinda cool in these three episodes. (He has a great villain line to Gai and Kaori, that if they want to be together, he'll gladly bury them together in the same grave...after he takes their heads.) The episode ends with Gai and Kaori ready to give a relationship a shot. Oh, and Odagiri is building Tetra Boy, the mecha she thinks will win the entire battle with the Vyram. Yeah. If she had watched past Sentai shows, she'd know not to pin her hopes on one of the "Boy" named mechas. She's always like "Damn! If only Tetra Boy was ready!!!!!!!!"
Random note: I hate those two bozo hikers at the start of the episode. They're whiny, they're cowardly...yet they think it's a good idea to go into a weird cave that's not on the map -- a cave that is emitting pink smoke. They're dumber than the pothead prankster in a slasher flick.
While Gai tries to finally enjoy time alone with Kaori, they neglect their Jetman duties, leaving the team with the line-up in classic Sunvulcan colors. (Man, what a weird team it is without Gai and Kaori. Imagine that show!) When the two Majin end up kicking everyone's ass, Ryu rips the two slackers a new one. Fed up with hearing Ryu's speech of putting your personal life aside for the sake of saving the world for the umpteenth time, Gai flips and storms out, eventually discarding the Cross Changers and forcing Kaori to leave the team with him.
And it couldn't have come at a greater time, when they have two new enemies who know how to kick their asses! Not wanting Radeige to get all of the glory, Maria enters the battlefield, which ends up being a mistake -- a blast from the two Majin causes her to revert to Rie. Ryu noticed the resemblance way back in episode 5, of course, but here it's confirmed for him. Since I trash Tanaka so much, I'll say that I think he handles his scenes with Rie in this episode nicely, especially when he's trying to console her when she begins to think of the horrible things she's responsible for as Maria. A battle calls him away from her, and in the meantime, she's found by Vyram and reverted back to Maria.
So close and yet so far! The episode ends on a cliffhanger, Maria kicking the crap out of Ryu and putting his noggin out with her foot like she's extinguishing a cigarette. Damn it, if only they had TETRA BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Random note: Tetra Boy's big contribution is that he becomes a bazooka for the robots. He's Arthur G6 for the mecha. OK, I have to admit that's kinda funny. Also: Tetra Boy doesn't run on fuel or Birdo Guts or Yuuki or whatever -- he's obviously fueled by cocaine, caffeine and Pop Rocks.