The ToQgers arrive at a train station taken over by the Shadow Line which has been renamed “Kettougahara” (Duel Meadows) controlled by the Shadow Line’s Sabre Shadow who makes everyone duel. At the same time they also need to find out if they were truly dead or not.
This episode surprised the hell out of me because first of all, the tone suddenly changes from a very light hearted to somewhat dark. Honestly I feel like I’m watching a serious Gokaiger episode or a lighthearted Kamen Rider episode! There’s nothing wrong with this, in fact I quite liked it. Just because Sentai is lighthearted doesn’t mean that they can’t be serious.
Also, I did comment on the previous episode that I wanted to see the ToQgers talk about their past since they were childhood friends. This episode, particularly the beginning really showed that all of the ToQgers have a good chemistry with each other and when they talked about their school days it really feels like they are grown childhood friends.
We are also introduced to Wagon, the Naomi of this series. While I wanted them to hire a gravure idol to play Wagon, making her a human character, a female android character is common in Sentai, and plus it’s also a fan service to Nobuo Akagi.
This episode also explains on what is Shadow Line’s plans and how they did it. Shadow Line have an unseen emperor that will come and make Earth his home. To do that, his bitches needs to transform Earth into a planet with dark energies, and the method of doing it is by building stations across the world and cause trouble to the point where the people of Earth will produce a negative energy such as depression or regret. It’s a very unique way for them to work, and doesn’t sound too cliche. And I still consider the big boss to be the resurrected version of Aigallon 😛
Putting aside their questions for now, the ToQgers arrive at the first station they need to free the town from, which is a station that turns the city into a kid-friendly version of Battle Royale. Everytime the ‘dictator’ of the town makes an announcement, the citizens has to pick a partner and starts killing each other with tommy guns. I’m not kidding. They used the FREAKING TOMMY GUNS. But since this is a kids show, they can’t make people kill each other literally, it’s just taking on the concept of betraying each other caused despair within oneself.
What happens when the citizens didn’t comply? Well the Shadow Line forces will come and duel the citizens. In this case, the ToQgers are the victim, thus a fight ensues. Before that, I have to talk about the breaking the 4th wall thing. It’s stupid and I hope that it doesn’t turn into a running gag. Thank goodness only Raito & Kagura did it. If it’s Hikari it would be out of charatcer.
For the first fight scene we get to see ToQ 1 utilizing a new type of Ressha called Scope Ressha for attacks. The Ressha gives ToQ Blaster the sniping ability, as well as to kill multiple targets at once with a single trigger. Handy, no?
Now for the Transfer Changes. It’s really nice to see the female blue suit, same goes with yellow. ToQ 4 really did a good job at handling the Signal Hammer, which is similar to his Tunnel Axe but with a blunt edge instead of a bladed. Also, this is minor, but the Signal Hammer’s design is obviously based on Thor’s Mjolnir, with a longer handle.
I really liked it when ToQ 2 fights clumsily, the rail on his visor falls off reminiscent to his glasses, and this is actually the kind of the running gag that I looked forward to, if it will be one. As for ToQ 5, again she utilizes her imagination power to overcome the situation. I’m glad she imagines a different skill instead of imagining sheer strength.
Saber Shadow retreats because ToQ 1 demands them to have another duel because it’s not fair because the ToQgers have just arrived to the city. I have to talk about how the ToQgers are surprised at how ToQ 1 was able to reason with the guy, this makes me worry because it looks like they are going to make Raito similar to Daigo. I don’t want to talk about him anymore if possible. BUT, this is just the beginning, overfocus on Red is normal.
Look I know that Red gets the most focus is normal, but even if you want to make him look like a god, please make others feel important too. That’s why I hated Kyoryuger so much. The show is good but it’s all focused on that turd and the other were just his bitches to show that he’s not lonely.
Anyways, this episode also focuses on Hikari, who’s pretty much ignored in the previous episode. Here we get to see his personality. He is the most cynical member of the group, and not in a bad way. But to put it positively, he is the one that thinks based on the reality that they are facing, which may sound cynical at time. Regardless, his ‘cynical’ thinking makes him one of the most relateable characters in the show. The other ToQgers try to deny the fact that they are dead, while Hikari just accepts it since they have amnesia save for their childhood memories, and nothing else.
Since he is the most different out of the five, I assume he would develop a rivalry with Raito, even this episode shows that they didn’t see eye to eye often. But to show that they are childhood friends, Hikari didn’t engage in a fight with Raito, thanks to Mio being the big sister of the group. I just love Mio, especially when she hands out those sandwiches to Hikari earlier.
The ToQgers faces Saber Shadow again, with ToQ 1 duels him as promised. The other ToQgers takes on the Crows, and I just love this scene because it shows more of the bonds between the ToQgers. One thing that I noticed about Yasuko Kobayashi-written series is that she tends to emphasize on bonds, which is great for a Sentai team. Oh, and ToQ 4 claims that he’s afraid of heights.
Then comes the best fight in the episode, which is ToQ 1 VS Saber Shadow on trains. At first I thought the train battle is going to be similar to naval battles from Assassin’s Creed IV but with trains instead of ships, but it’s more of the classic battle on top of the trains.
Since this is a Hikari-focused episode, he also gets in the spotlight which involves him piloting the trains while Raito does the fighting. This really shows a great teamwork and trust between the two. The fight takes airborne, and what disappoints me is that ToQ 4 just mentioned that he is afraid of heights, yet he’s able to fly the Resshas normally. I guess they don’t want to make him look dumb on his focus episode.
Anyways the battle on top of the trains is really well done, but the best part is that Saber Shadow brags as the usual MoTW would when they’re about to win, only to have his swords cut thanks to the train going through the tunnel and he was pointing his swords up to the sky at the time.
For the MegaZord battle, this time they recycled the sequence from Shinkenger VS Go-Onger which is having ToQ-Oh fighting Saber Shadow in a wild west gunfight. It was pretty cliche for the wild west standards, but for Tokusatsu, it’s really okay since they rarely did that. Oh and the train split move is really neat.
With Saber Shadow destroyed, the city is back to normal and the ToQgers departs on the next station. Also, Hikari theorizes that they may not be dead at all, it may be because the city where they came from was already a Shadown Line territory, which is why Ticket said they were as good as dead. This seems to be true for now, unless Urobutcher is also involved with this series.
Overall, I enjoyed this episode more than the previous one, thanks to the serious tone of the episode. Truth to be honest I would’ve prefer if they keep this tone for the rest of the series, since I’m not a big fan for light tones. But it’s Sentai, it’s inevitable.