I’ll start with talking about the designs of the three Go-Busters. I was almost immediately sold on the costumes, but it took me a lot more time to warm up to the helmets. Yellow Buster’s helmet was the one that bothered me the most since it ‘just didn’t look right’. I’m still unsure about Yellow’s helmet, but I’m fully onboard with Red and Blue’s, particularly because of the coloured visors. The weapons are also really cool-looking and useful due to their dual functionality.

Similar to Shinkenger and Abaranger, this episode featured the opening credits over the in-episode action. I like it when they do this since it makes the first episode feel special in some way. Although, a part of me is annoyed when they do this because I’m always eager to see the opening sequence. I loved the song as soon as I heard it in the low-quality form just after the press conference, so hearing it played alongside the action was really awesome.

I don’t have much to say about the characters since this episode was mostly about setting up the universe and throwing out key points. I do however like what I’ve seen so far from all three Go-Busters and the three Buddyroids. I’m indifferent towards the staff at the moment, but I’m sure they’ll get focus in future episodes. I’m definitely interested in these unique weaknesses each character has, especially since they could provide some great comedy moments in the future. I also like that we have a character who isn’t directly involved with the battle: Hiromu’s sister. I’m sure this’ll provide a lot of conflict and drama as the season progresses.

The villains Enter and Messiah look interesting, even if we don’t know anything about them yet. I really like human-faced villains since they often give more to the scene so I’m looking forward to some more interaction with the Go-Busters. The transformation and creation of the Shovelroid looked really cool from the card-swiping to the mechanic voice reciting ‘Shovelroid’. I presume this’ll be shortened or not even featured in future episodes because it is quite a lengthy process.

The big change on most people’s minds is the lack of traditional stock footage for henshin sequences and mecha combinations. I like this change since it encourages creativity which we’ve already seen both with Yoko and Ryuuji transforming mid-air and with Hiromu on the Cheetah Bike. Accompanying the henshin sequence is the call that a lot of fans have been talking about: “It’s Morphin’ Time”. I’m not quite sure why this was chosen to be used, but I’m okay with it. While on this subject, I also like the “It’s Time for Buster” and “Transport” calls since I’m always a fan of ‘talking weapons and henshin devices’.

As a side note, I loved how the Go-Busters appeared in battle from behind a poster. I’ll enjoy seeing all the different places they can appear from in future episodes.

The change in cinematography and style is something that really stands out for me and lot of other fans this season, especially in the Mecha battles. After Gokaiger’s somewhat dull and formulaic Mecha battles, this is a change that I’m very happy about. By looking at behind-the-scenes photos from before the season even premiered, the battle was shot outside rather than in the usual studio which just made the whole scene even more convincing. Usually, series have either vehicle-based mecha or animal-based mecha, but this year we have the triple-functional CB-01 Cheetah. It’s nice to have some versatility and with the machines having multiple modes this should result in some unique mecha battles.

I did enjoy the ending because it was fun and dance endings are always entertaining to me. My one problem is that there won’t be any variations of the ending like Gokaiger and Go-onger, since I usually get bored of seeing the same ending week after week. They could’ve done verses about each individual Go-Buster in a similar style to Go-onger and they could either be played on a rota or depending on the character focused on in the episode.

GRADE

I give this episode a 3/5; while it was a good at introducing the concepts for this season, it lacked in character development and plot. I will continue watching as this season does look promising.