Ultraman Orb’s Shibukawa supposedly lives a ‘Hardboiled’ life… Does this mean he and Kamen Rider Skull used to be friends? Anyways, as the viewer gets a chance to see the life of Shibukawa, an iconic kaiju makes it return to the Ultra series. However this time, this particular kaiju is sporting a slight new look!
Shibukawa monologues his days working for VTL, until he catches his daughter Tetsuko doing weird stuff. He goes to ask Naomi to find out if Tetsuko is becoming a bad egg. Soon after Tetsuko arrives at S.S.P.’s office and complains about her father, and that she grew tired of her name thus changing it to Katherine. She also laments how earlier her father chased off a guy she was interested in, a jewelry salesman. Since Tetsuko thinks her father is terrible a parent and at work, Naomi insist that they shadow Shibukawa for the day. Gai arrives as they’re about to head out, and he gets pulled into all this because Tetsuko becomes enamored by him as well as Jetta drags him along. During the group’s shadowing of Shibukawa they catch him “hitting” on several women and discover he may be a huge ladies man!
Tetsuko runs off and Gai tries comfort her, where he discovers Tetsuko just wants her dad to be the hero that she used to think he was. They follow after Shibukawa again who is seemingly harassing the jewelry salesman Tetsuko likes, only to discover he is a Shaplay alien who has planted Slimtonium on young women to absorb their life-force for energy. The Shaplay summons forth his personal Bemular to attack the city, and Gai goes to fight it as Shibukawa fights Shaplay. Tetsuko cheers her father on which allows him to gather himself to outwit and defeat the Shaplay, as Orb turns to Origin form to vanquish Bemular. Soon afterwards Shibukawa, and Tetsuko make up as things for them go back to normal while Gai questions who is Tetsuko due to only knowing her as Katherine… Later that night Shaplay seemingly has survived, but is struck down by Juggler.
When I first saw this episode I found it to be genuinely good, however after a couple of screenings I found it to be barely mediocre. I felt that now was not a good time to focus on Shibukawa’s personal family life since until this specific episode it seemed like he was elderly bachelor married to his job, not a widow and a single father. Now, I say widow because the episode does not paint Shibukawa’s marriage as divorce, but that of typical Tokusatsu/ drama logic of being a widow. Never the less, the fact he barely mentions his family and hung around Naomi made it seem he was loosely goof yet badass single uncle, who checks in on his only niece very often as if she was a daughter. Then as for the issue between him, and his daughter it followed yet a typical plot seen and felt like this could have fitted in more properly near the Ragon episode, or before Maga Orochi awoken; I would have preferred if Shibukawa’s daughter either was mentioned in idle conversation in previous episodes or appeared on few occasions to assist in explaining the need for this episode.
For the appearance of Shaplay, it is common to see this alien be reused in the modern era the Ultra series, so it truly is not a surprise that it would make appearance within Orb. However as for its motives in the episode, I felt it was a reused plot from either on the alien race’s previous appearances in the series, or was just an evil plot seen countless times in any toku. It even foreshadowed that Shibukawa’s ladies man appearance was a misunderstanding by S.S.P. and dealt with the actual case. Then as for Shaplay’s Bemular, which is called Bemular Empowered, it is just a normal Bemular costume painted to have blue highlights, and huge ox-like horns that on-screen is seemingly stronger than the rest, as well as having several energy based abilities. Now, originally the hype for the creature was quite high amongst the community due to early concept art, and shadowed out previews making it seem Bemular Empowered would be highly altered design, so we were slightly or highly disappointed by the overall cheap appearance; yet, several still love its card art that will be sold alongside the vinyl releasing this month. Even though that the design was a disappointment, I do feel Bemular needed a variant as well needed other abilities than its Godzilla-like thermonuclear ray, so I cannot complain to gaining energy absorption and electrical blasts… especially since I highly enjoy electric based attacks. I just hope that in the future when Tsuburaya attempts to introduce a new Bemular it is a highly modified design requiring a new suit that stands out from these two variants, similar to Gomora and Red King EX!
To conclude this review, I must say that Episode 18 is a filler episode that is slightly camp and re-uses a typical plot seen throughout the various Tokusatsu series. The only reason one would honestly want to watch this is for some of the comedic bits found in this particular episode, or fans of the kaiju, Bemular. This episode is one that everyone can easily skip, as it hold barely any merit to the overall plot. The only things that one may question about this episode are Shibukawa’s family and what was the deal with Juggler’s brief appearance. Then as for the next episode it looks like another filler episode, but may be actual character development for Naomi outside of her reincarnation storyline, as well as focus on that shipping between her and Gai!