Japanese Name: Ressha Sentai Toqger
Reconnaissance Report by: Rizwan Merchant
Progress: Episode 07
As you all know, over the past few weeks I have been following the latest Super Sentai series coming out of Japan, Ressha Sentai ToQger. After seeing the first episode, I was really excited to see where things went from there. Episode 2 picks up directly where Episode 1 ends, with Ticket informing the ToQgers they are dead, and the team demanding information on what that possibly could mean.
In between the first two episodes, I did some reading on reddit, and spoke to a few people and learned the revelation from Ticket may be an issue in translation among the fansub communities. On one hand it could mean that they are really dead, and on the other it could mean that the team is doomed to death if they continue as ToQgers. It turns out they aren’t actually dead (thank god, else that would be a bit weird), but instead it is in reference to the fact that their memories since childhood are wiped out. They have amnesia because the city they come from is currently in the control of the Shadow Line, and since they were not affected they became the ToQgers.
Over the course of these six episodes, we get a lot of character development for all five ToQgers, one character per episode, starting with Hikari/ToQger #4 (Green). He wasn’t really given much exposure or focus in the first episode, but Hikari is actually much more analytical then Tokatti/ToQger #2 (Blue), who is just book smart and acts nerdy and smart. Tokatti is the only one to really question them being dead, and offers a theory about their hometown, as mentioned above, that is later verified by Ticket and Conductor in a little more detail. The development of the other ToQgers is not as fresh and fleshed out as Hikari and Tokatti, but still provide some great scenes for us to get to know and love them. There’s the soft spoken and loving character Kagara/ToQger #5 (Pink), the tomboyish Mio/ToQger #3 (Yellow) and the ever optimistic and stubborn Right/ToQger #1 (Red).
We also see a little bit of the dynamic between General Schwartz and the other villains on the Shadow Line, namely Miss Gritta, who is a really freaky purple cat that is infatuated with Schwartz. Beyond that, the other generals seen in the Shadow Line are not explored much, and instead we are treated to a monster-of-the-week that wreaks havoc on a town which the ToQgers must defeat. The cool part of the monster-of-the-week mechanism so far has been the way the monster terrorizes the town it attacks. Each method is different; one week, the townspeople are made to duel once an hour to the death, or eat all the food of a town to consume the darkness from their hunger, or absorb motivation from a town, rendering the town lacking all motivation.
Overall, I am very pleased with the direction ToQger is taking. The fight scenes have gotten less confusing with the color changes (most likely because I am used to it), the monsters have been entertaining, and the story and characters are gearing up to be really awesome. The next few episodes I suspect will show off the Shadow Line Generals more and we will get some more plot development. So if you haven’t checked out the 38th Super Sentai Team yet, I recommend you give ToQger a look!