Episode 02: Aoi chikyuu! Shi no sabakuka keikaku / Blue Earth! Desertification plan of death
Original air date: Saturday 12 April 1975
Notes on episode title:
Aoi – blue
Chikyuu – Earth
Shi – death
no – grammatical particle indicating the preceding is a possessive noun
Sabakuka – verb meaning ‘to turn into a desert’; oddly specific…
Keikaku – plan or project
Why am I noting this? Again, most sources call this episode ‘The Deadly Desertification Plan’, which is fine, I guess, but the more accurate translation I have provided adds some nuance. Since the plan belongs to Musha Kamen / Warrior Mask, is he ‘death’? Is the intended plan behind the desertification to cause death? All aspects apply.
Archery and Birdies
I really love how when Aoranger uses his bow and arrow, he literally just shouts ‘archery’. It’s so… obvious. He’s doing archery. To the bad guys. It looks bizarre when I read the sentence back, but it absolutely works in the context of the show.
During the end credits, the Gorangers are shown flying with rocket propulsion on their belts. My only exposure to the Gorangers so far has been through their appearances, or others’ using their powers, in later movies or episodes in the Super Sentai series – and none of these have included the rockets. They appear in this episode to help Akaranger and Momoranger join the rest of the team for the roll call – they are literally called ‘birdies’, which is also what they say to activate them, which is just incredible.
The Tokusatsu Element
The genre of programme to which Super Sentai belongs is called tokusatsu, but when I use the term, I generally mean the elements which are specific to tokusatsu – the dioramas of buildings, the models of vehicles, etc, as opposed to the acting, plot or general direction.
The tokusatsu element in this episode – and the show as a whole, so far – has been amazing. We get big elaborate displays of the Variblune going into action, Warrior Mask’s rocket emerges from the ground, it’s all really well done.
The Mystery Door of Mystery
Well done for spotting this door, Kiranger. Akaranger clearly knows what it is and suggests we’ll all find out later. Can’t wait.
The Realistic Element
I think it is a stretch to call the show realistic, but I like how real it feels. When Aoranger is hit by an arrow fired by Warrior Mask, there’s no bizarre explosion or anything like that – he gets an arrow in his shoulder, which later has to be removed and the wound tended to. Similarly, when the Zolders fire at people, they are struck by bullets and die as anyone would under those circumstances.
It was also neat that Akaranger didn’t escape captivity by the use of some kind of ancient alien relic or previously unrevealed secret power – he just slipped a hidden knife from his sleeve and cut his bonds. Simple.
That said… I find it hard to believe Koichi would so easily get out of Snack Gon, with so many people watching him and keeping him safe. I also find it hard to believe that Midoranger and Kiranger would bring him to Snack Gon but not bring his mother with him.
And… well… when Warrior Mask had the chance to fire the sand ray at the Variblune, he chose to fire it at Akaranger and Momoranger. Riiiiiight. Plausible, those, as his plans were being foiled and he may not have been thinking straight.
Spies Among Us
Clearly one of the girls at Snack Gon is up to something, with her cryptic message for the proprietor immediately before Midoranger and Kiranger were summoned beneath the building. Now that we know there is at least one EAGLE agent among the Black Cross Army – well, sorry, there was at least one agent among them – it wouldn’t surprise me if the three girls were all secretly EAGLE members.
You’ll be missed, 002. The question is… who is 001?