Level E – 5

This must be the season for Hero Squad parodies – first Mitsudomoe, now Level E. And if you guessed that both of those show, as good as they are at paroady, would deliver the goods – you’re right. Of course Gachi Rangers has been a two-season running gag, but “Earth Rangers” made a great premise for this extremely clever show.

The emphasis was squarely on comedy this week, so there really wasn’t any of the suspense of the prior eps – but that’s fine, as good as this show is at delivering the laughs. This time, Prince Baka (for his own amusement, natch) decides to kidnap an apparently random bunch of elementary school boys and turn them into the “Earth Rangers” squadron for justice. The first hilarious element here is that the boys are completely blase about being whisked away in a spaceship by a guy in a skin-tight jumpsuit – they’re more worried about getting back in time for their dates and such. All except for the geeky Class Rep, who gets chosen as the leader, Red – and this just makes him the object of that much more scorn by his four friends.

It all gets better when it turns out that the guys’ teacher, Tachibana-sensei, is an alien – an assassin, no less. But she’s only been assassinating to pursue her dreams of traveling the galaxy and teaching. Once the jig is up and the boys are interesting in nothing more than getting their wristbands off, Prince Baka sets them another challenge – in order to get rid of them they must travel to Yamagata and steal the key – from the Captain of his guards, of course.

Really, what this show amounts to is that the lead character is one giant troll – every week he trolls the characters, and sometimes the audience too. He’s a complete tool – all he’s interested in is manipulating other people for his own amusement, even little kids. And the amazing thing is, it totally works – the sense of mind-screwing that the show does is totally fun when it rally should be pissing you off (though Baka’s on-screen victims don’t see it that way). There’s really nothing remotely like this airing now and hasn’t been any time recently that I can remember, and that alone would make this show a treat – but factor in that it’s addictively entertaining and a breeze to watch and you’re really got a winner on your hands.

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2 comments

  1. m

    Yeah, I wasn't sure what to make of this episode, as I feel like Baka isn't just trolling the anime characters, but us viewers as well. I've never seen a show like this before and it's holding my attention regardless.

    Oh, hm, and based on the organization of your paragraphs, I find that the photos of Blue Ranger and Tachibana-sensei would be better switched.

  2. I still have no idea why they chose to anime this thing after 15 years, but I'm certainly glad they did – it's quite a trip.

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