Level E 5 – It Ain’t Easy Being a Power Ranger
I swear that’s Edward Elric at the far left . . .
This is a pretty well-worn idea (if you’ve been an anime fan for more than a few months, then you’ve probably seen some sort of Sentai send-up episode at some point), but it’s still fun in Level E, more so than usual because the kids don’t actually do anything worthwhile with their newfound identities. They transform, curse their benefactor and use terrible powers that completely suck unless they are leveled up. Baka enjoys RPGs just a bit too much, I think.
Oh, and they also have their lives threatened by their green-skinned alien assassin teacher. I really love the aliens in Level E because they so frequently defy popular portrayals of aliens. The teacher is this presumably badass assassin who goes galaxy hopping and kills for cash, but her real dream is to teach, and I guess she views Earth as an exotic locale. The idea of aliens looking at our planet and seeing it as some quaint little place like a retirement home or something is just hilarious to me. I can’t imagine what sort of alien would want to settle down and deal with kids all day instead of killing the fuck out of bad guys, but hey. Even the killers need a rest every so often.
But, yeah, I guess Earth is the Florida of the universe. Better hope the planet doesn’t get too much advertisement, though. Resources are scarce enough as is. Who knows what would happen if a bunch of aliens were to come in and suck everything up without paying taxes? Wait, sorry, I almost turned into an AM radio host there. Won’t happen again, I swear!
See what happens when you are the leader, kids? You get pushed around by your subordinates and targeted by killers. Never be a leader. (Although should we be surprised that this kid gets shit on so much by everyone in this episode? It’s not so much that he is a huge geek than it is him being dressed in red. There’s a reason why everyone knows the Redshirt, you know. They were made to have pain inflicted upon them.)
Going back to the other kids, my favorite is definitely the fat one who is partway through puberty but not quite there yet. His wispy mustache is particularly hilarious. As a Mexican man who grew up in a primarily Mexican community, I saw my fair share of those all around. There’s never a time when the wispy mustache isn’t hilarious. (And, yes, I include the years where I had one myself.) Makes the kid look twice as old as his classmates and yet not that much older than them at the same time. Such is the mystery of facial hair.
Also got huge belly laughs from Baka’s supremely unhelpful tutorial. Best part is him tossing out ideas like “You could get a jet or a tank, but those are expensive!” You know times are tough when the Sentai forces have to buy their own weaponry. Can’t you just see a group of five color-coded warriors standing in line at Home Depot buying hammers and shit to use as weapons? Hopefully they got some good coupons from their local newspaper, too. Those things are a godsend, I am telling you. Buy newspapers for the coupons, everyone![/self-serving shilling]
As much as I am enjoying all the side stories and fear the team’s showdown with Craft (unless the show changes gears once again in the next episode), I do wonder if we are ever going to get back to Yukitaka and Miho. I miss them.