Ken combats crazy cults and carpenters in White-Fletched Arrows and Tearful Parting
Episode 14 has a few surprises under its unassuming exterior. Whether those are the surprise birthday party kind or the surprise call from your doctor kind is up for debate. In the first column, we have some nice fight choreography, Midori and Osamu finding their niche, and a really passionate carpenter. In the other, we have a really stupid group of villains, and even more stupid townsfolk.
The town Hayakawa visits this time around has a peculiar problem. The Baboon Buddha cult has occupied the town, and they demand a young woman as sacrifice lest the town suffer the wrath of their god, Baboon Buddha. It’s a standard cult MO, and the townspeople ask no questions as they let this happen to them. Of course, the Baboon Buddha is just a front for the Red Ears Family. Normally I’d be rolling my eyes, but sometimes tired cliches are necessary to move the plot along, so I’ll let it slide.
The Red Ears’ plan is really disturbing, but the episode never really addresses it. The girls they take for sacrifice are really sold off to wealthy foreigners. The episode mentions that much, but no one ever actually says the the words “international sex slavery,” which is what’s really going on. Even Zubat’s evidence card that he leaves behind for Tojo’s men just accuses Red Ears’ leader of brutal murders. He’s totally guilty of that too, but someone really should do something about the sex slavery.
The Red Ears employ a particularly skilled hitman, Carpenter Jinjuro. Guess what his skills contest entails? See, first he builds a deathtrap really fast, then Hayakawa has to alter that trap using the same tools. Honestly, they should make an “Extreme Carpentry” reality show. I’d totally watch it if it’s done Jinjuro style. He was super passionate about his woodwork. Sure, his side job is murder, but what great artist isn’t just a little on the crazy side?
Everyone’s favorite side characters, Midori and Osamu, show up twice in this episode. Both times, they’re basically serving as walking infodumps. In the first act, they fill victim-of-the-week Mito in on the truth behind the Baboon Buddha. In the second, they let Mito’s friend Shigeki know where the villains have taken her. Other than that, Midori and Osamu are entirely absent from the episode. By this point, it feels like they’re smart enough to know what’s going on with the villains, and savvy enough to know that it’s best to leave the action to other people. They’ve found their niche as expository devices, and it works for now.
This episode is nowhere near as good as the last, but it isn’t that bad either. The bad guy’s plan, while not as fully explored as it should have been, still makes sense under the conditions established in the episode. The primary condition being stupid townsfolk. Hayakawa’s fight with the mook monks was pretty good, and Carpenter Jinjuro was an entertaining character. Sadly, when you know a show can be better, you start to expect better. This episode doesn’t deliver on the past few episodes’ precedent, but it’s decent in its own right.
Every Wednesday The Tokusatsu Network staff members review every episode of a tokusatsu series. To see previous episode reviews, visit our Reviews page.