Well it seems things have only gotten worse for Gai Kurenai now, as he has yet to master Thunder Breaster and chose to leave our supporting cast in S.S.P.! The thing worse that could happen now would be if Juggler returned to tell him Maga Orochi survived their last encounter… Oh, wait Juggler does return to exactly do that… ‘Spoiler Alert’!
Shin and Jetta plan to make no mention of Gai to Naomi, since his disappearance. The two decide to show her a vintage recording from 1908 where in Rusalka, an Ultraman appeared causing a massive burst, which is the same one Orb caused battling Zetton! Then Shibukawa appears with Naomi’s mother, Keiko, mentioning that’s where their family comes from and the Russian nesting doll which is their good luck charm. They also inform Naomi that her recoverywas miracle, and that the press wants to hear thoughts on Orb’s most recent battle. The press and the rest of the world thing Orb has gone bad, whereas Naomi understands Orb lost control and was not truly his heroic self. Then Naomi orders everyone out of her room, after Shibukawa explains Orb is now an enemy and Keiko her distaste for Gai especially since he “ran out” on her daughter.
In Rusalka, Gai walks through the woods remembering his past life there, and his time with Natasha. Juggler soon appears and he taunts Gai on how Belial returned him to his past ways. The two begin to fight it out using ki blasts, before Juggler reveals Orochi’s tail remains active as well as allows him to combine Beast Demon Kings! Juggler then proceeds to fuse Zetton and Pandon to form Zeppandon, a kaiju he can Ultra Live into. Gai responds by transforming into Spacium Zeperion, and the two continue their battle. However no matter what form Orb chooses he is unable to best the beast, and he will not submit to using Thunder Breaster. This unfortunately brings forth his defeat, as he is forced to retreat using Stobium Dynamite as a way to escape. Gai is then visited by Natasha who gives him a blank Ultra Fusion card, and then somehow turns into Naomi who wants him to come back to her because she can accept the real Orb! That night at the hospital Naomi hums ‘the song’ to herself, as Juggler also whistles the tune throughout the halls of hospital, drawing out his blade as he draws closer to her room!
This episode cut some corners when it pertained to answering ‘mysteries’ the show contains, and foreshadowing events to come, but it was not entirely a bad thing especially since the series is now less than 10 episodes away from its finale. I found Naomi’s mother explaining that the family comes from Rusalka was a little too direct into possibility that Naomi could be Natasha’s reincarnation, or at least attempts to tie the family more into Gai/Orb’s back story. Along with the fact Keiko, her mother, had Shibukawa bring the nesting doll to the hospital also foreshadowed, yet again Orb Origin form even before would Gai mysteriously receive the blanked out card later on. I also found it odd that the series may use Gai’s ability to master Thunder Breaster as the way to unlock his Origin form. Now, I cannot be entirely displeased by this since the target audience is for young kids, and the fact the Ultra series no longer receives 40+ episode seasons so things cannot be dragged out like in a Toei production.
Aside from the corner cutting plot developments the overall story of the world turning on Orb was interesting especially since this was technically his first offense, but the trope with heroes is normally once is enough to scare the world. Yet, I found it cool when Reiko pointed that out about the public’s decision to turn on Orb is ridiculous, and heroes can make mistakes too. The other thing that made the episode pretty good was Juggler’s return, revealing Orochi survived, and fusing together Zetton with Pandon into kaiju he could Ultra Live into. I even liked the possible trope towards Grand King Ghidorah on how Maga Orochi survived through its severed tail, but I thought there could have been a better explanation as to how Juggler knew it would help him fuse Zetton and Pandon together. It made me think that Orochi had more sentience than I originally thought it had, and maybe it can communicate with Juggler through the Dark Ring? Then as for the battle between Juggler as Zeppandon and Orb, I was left with another question; was Juggler connected to the beast in an actual Ultra Live state, or was he simply just hanging out inside of it? That question was raised from how Zeppandon’s actions would seem to mimic Juggler as he controlled it, but then would shift as if the monster also had its own personality. Zeppandon was highly narcissistic and brutal, but because it was not a natural kaiju in several aspects there is some mysticism about out its natural mentality. The fight was decent, but I thought it could have been better and possibly feature more intense moments. The coolest highlight was Orb using Stobium Dynamite to retreat in the battle.
Overall this episode is just barely over average, while still being highly enjoyable. The cliffhanger ending with Juggler making an attempt to take Naomi’s life is honestly a perfect send off to await the next episode; as well make fans like myself think that this will lead to Gai revealing that he is Orb to save her. Yet, Episode 17 will also need to do a few things to simply out do this one such as further explain Naomi’s family being from Rusalka, and feature a more impressive fight between Gai/Orb and Zeppandon. I look forward to whatever is in store, but seriously hope that the hype for Orb Origin truly pays off!