Hayakawa Ken investigates a mysterious explosion in episode 8 of Kaiketsu Zubat: Propane Explosion of Sorrow.
The formula continues as Hayakawa wanders aimlessly into a new town, nonchalantly stumbling into a dilemma that he must resolve. At least this time, he enters the scene in style. Toting his favorite guitar, Hayakawa rides into town not in a car or a horse, but on a bulldozer. It makes absolutely no sense but for this show, you might as well make a grand entrance like that.
This time around, we have a corrupt leader, Mickey Hebiyama, who aims to become the mayor of the town under the Viper Peace Society. While a majority of the town supports his campaign, a small group of protesters saw through ingenious name and have fought to have him ousted to the best of their abilities. Seeing them as a threat, Mickey rigged a propane tank to leak flammable gas into the shack where the protesters gather. When accidentally ignited, the explosions killed everyone in the shack except for Shinkichi, who was outside taking pictures of the exterior. Arriving just as disaster struck, Hayakawa helps Shinkichi find out who was behind the explosion.
Of course, it follows the trend of previous episodes from here. Hayakawa finds the culprit, in this case, Mickey, and is confronted by his bodyguard, a “blind” swordman named Jigokuichi who he does battle with till the end of the episode. I say “blind” only because he wears a blindfold solely to hone his skills. And all of this is part of Dakker’s plan to take over the city.
Yet, we still do not know much about Dakker and their intentions aside from the obvious. Why do they care about this small town? Are they just an organized crime syndicate or something more? And why does the leader where his costume when it seems like none of the characters have superhuman powers? Character and story elements like these really make it hard to follow the show, especially when you’re faced with the same scenario every episode but with a different skin.
When people say that Zubat is Miyauchi’s show, they really mean it. He’s the only character that shows any sense of life and energy. Sure, he’s smug, but at least he’s entertaining to watch. That being said, charm can only take a show so far. Without anything interesting to move the story along, we’re stuck with a stagnant show that endlessly repeats itself. Which is perfectly fine for the first few episodes. But being a quarter of the way into Kaiketsu Zubat, its difficult to tell if this formula will ever change.
Every Wednesday The Tokusatsu Network staff members review every episode of a tokusatsu series. To see previous episode reviews, visit our Reviews page.