This episode is the day that Gai Kurenai gets to finally master Thunder Breaster, and is the same day he will regain his Origin form… Oh how lucky he must be?! Anyways, here is to the future Zeppandon, and all the possibilities for Juggler to make new combinations… I hope…
Juggler makes an attempt at Naomi’s life, where she questions his motives and hate towards Gai. Luckily Gai arrives in time to save Naomi, and he takes her out of the hospital to safe location along with her damaged nesting doll. Naomi awakens the following morning to Gai apologizing for endangering her life however Naomi explains nothing is truly his fault and she believes in him. She even gifts him the final piece of the nesting doll in hopes that it will restore Gai’s own lost hope, meanwhile at the hospital Shibukawa explains to Shin and Jetta that Orb has now been deemed an enemy to world. Back at Gai’s location, Naomi explains to him Orb did nothing wrong and she want Orb to know that before telling him about her families past in Rusalka. Naomi sings the song again, and the nesting egg cracks open to reveal inside a photo of Gai and Natasha from 1908. He then realizes Natasha is Naomi’s great-great grandmother, the revelation causes him to breakdown and thank Naomi, even though she unaware of what’s occurred. Gai also insists than Naomi needs to sing the song to Thunder Breaster the next time that form appears, as he leaves to confront Juggler and Zeppandon!
Gai embraces the darkness finally which allows him to control Thunder Breaster at first, as the two giants face off. In their back and forth battle the two seemingly are a match for one another, with neither side backing down. Yet, the longer Orb lasts in the form Belial’s evil seeming tends to regain some control over Gai. Shibukawa inform VTL that Orb has reappeared and engaged a kaiju, VTL immediately responds but attacks Orb putting S.S.P. in danger. Luckily Gai takes control of Orb again to save S.S.P. proving he’s no longer a threat, as Naomi begins to sing to him and causes the blank card to reveal it’s the Origin form! Gai activates the card, and it summons to him his lost Orb Calibur that was seemingly sealed within Maga Orochi which then fully unlocks his transformation. Orb Origin is reborn, and Naomi realizes Orb was the Ultra she dreamed of as he brings the Smackdown to Zeppandon! Juggler manages to survive the attack, but the Dark Ring is destroyed in the encounter while Gai returns to S.S.P.
Coming off Episode 16 I knew 17 would be a great episode, and highly thought Juggler’s visit to Naomi’s room would be more eventful however it actually wasn’t, it was just the tipping point! Juggler destroying nesting doll was a key point the episode, but it took some time for it to be of use to the overall plot. Now, Gai finally opens the cracked doll to discover Naomi is the descendant of Natasha I was not entirely too pleased due to the fact it felt like an odd cop out and contradicts that Naomi is a reincarnation. This plot point is highly contradicting or a bit of jumbled mess for me, because I feel like Naomi’s mother Keiko should have also known of Gai’s melody too as if Natasha passed it down to her family than how it miraculous comes to Naomi. Along with the melody, I and some other fans believed that Naomi’s dreams should have been more like bedtime stories than the actual reincarnation like dreams, to better foreshadow and tie into Orb’s past in Rusalka during 1908. We also thought that this was highly typical writing provided, since several Japanese writers tend to have their own take on supernatural or science-fiction elements that easily contradict western ideals, so it is easy to look past weird back-story leading into this “love-triangle” between Gai, Naomi, and Natasha. Yet, I will say the scenes between Gai and Naomi were highly emotional, as well as became inspirational which could loosely see a parallel to Daigo and Rena’s relationship in Ultraman Tiga. Then when it came to Gai mastering Thunder Breaster, and Gai re-obtaining his Origin form in the same episode it felt cheap, but as was an effective method in achieving both goals. I understood why it would be done since Gai seemingly lost the power from using the power in a malicious and vengeful way, so embracing Belial’s darkness would help him understand about the balance between light and dark/good and evil.
However, I found the action to be incredible at least during Thunder Breaster’s portion of the battle where Orb and Zeppandon were more or less equals, and that neither seemed could out do the other. Now, I would argue that Juggler/ Zeppandon was slightly stronger than Thunder Breaster in general since several times Zeppandon barely seem fazed by the attacks it would receive. However once Gai regained Orb Origin form the entire battle was completely one sided as expected, but it did not reveal all of Orb’s techniques that he obtained from the Orb Calibur. From what I am guessing is that within the next few episodes, Orb use one of the elemental attacks per episode to give the sword’s multi-attributes screen time rather than forcing their reveal within a single showing. What I did like from the form debut, and battle was the direct marketing with Bandai by using the power-up form toy on screen similar to how Daichi and X used the Exceed Slugger last season.
As an overall power up episode I found it to be decent, dramatic, and a little odd in some areas. The biggest shocker from the episode was that Juggler’s Dark Ring was destroyed in the process, which makes me question what will come of this. With the Dark Ring gone now this should make Juggler more unstable and more aggressive however with episode descriptions out for the next few episodes it does not appear he will strike back soon. Now, what I am more questioning is if the rumors that Ultraman Zero will be appearing are true, because if that is the case will it affect the series even further or tie into the upcoming Ultraman Orb movie…