I feel like I should just get to the elephant in the room here. First of all the major plot point for this episode has more than a bad sexist tone, but also a complete betrayal of a character and some bad clichés. This is just a mixture of horribleness here so let’s just get it out of the way. Now this is actually Mio's first focus episode unless you count episode four since she shared the spotlight with Tokkai (also is just a much better episode). Mio in that episode and at many other times is and acted like a tomboy and she has shown signs she just wants to be strong and improve herself. Mio doesn't have time for relationships and she has a disinterest in them also. So why in the hell would they try to force love on her? Now don't get me wrong this long angle thing could have worked if they actually did it right, like maybe matching her with someone that could help her improve or some sort of friendly rival. The episode doesn't do that and decides to match her up with a man who thinks all girls need protecting and yes I know he was under the MOTW's control, but Mio shouldn't have fallen for that! You know how they could have made this better when he does save her, Mio jumps right back into action and the two work together and maybe used the man as a sparring partner or something like that, don't make a character like Mio be the princess who needs to be saved!
So how does Mio react to all of this happening to her? Well I would say I did like the idea of how she was rejecting the idea since she hates it. Mio even deludes herself that there is no date, but a duel! Again, maybe that sparring partner or friendly rival idea would have worked out much better since Mio is expecting a duel. The scene that happens though is just awful, while training Mio stops for some reason. She keeps thinking about the man and it soon causes her to cook out of nowhere! This didn't really feel like Mio at all since her acting liking this doesn't fit with what she has done before. If Mio wanted to impress the man she would have found her own way and since he saved her before I would think she would try to show off her skills as a fighter. Let's look at Persona 4 for a moment with the character Chie as she is the tomboy type of girl. If you max the social link with her and become a couple she doesn't change like Mio does, she acts the same since that was the person you fell in love with. Chie is tough and stands up for herself, so what she doesn't act like the usual girl, she's a person not a sexual stereotype. How Chie progresses in the social link is how Mio should have been, working hard with what she does best. Now there was a bit of redemption at the end since she bounces right back after getting her heart crushed and wants to be the fighter she has been already, but my goodness everything else that happens is just bad and we are not done with this yet.
This all has to do with the monster's plan as the station he wants to make as to deal with broken hearts. The monster has a marionette theme if you couldn't tell as he controlled men to act like the hero and impress the girls. Now this does happen at times, there are moments where a man could be the hero and get the girl, but that is still mostly a huge cliché in the entertainment business and barely happens in real life. So the same thing is happening again and again and this just made things bad as well. Maybe if they tried to change things up and tried to do different tasks, or for an actual comedic effect switch up the gender roles. For a series that is trying to be comical it really misses out on some good gags. Maybe the whole sexist tone could have vanished if the series decides to mess around with gender roles, but nope they just play along with them. It's just another uncreative thing for the series to do so that is not surprising, but I sure wasn't expecting the series to go into this route.
Now I will say there was little cool thing that I did like which was with the Diesel Train. The team had to use that to explore around and I would like to see episodes with the other trains. It's a little detail, but it does create this nice sense of exploration and imagination at the least. Then reminding me of the Diesel Train it makes a much better mech than the main one. Disel-oh was formed in this episode and it's pretty much random since it easily should have appeared in the previous episode, but at least this is actually a cool mech. I was okay with Toq-oh, but there were problems with the designs, mostly with the color arrangements. Diesel-oh actually has a great color blend thanks to the fact the mech only uses three trains. The main train is in the center while the other two cover both bottom and upper parts. Then the whole body shape fits the powerhouse type it is as I really love the head piece with that idea. Now the fight was pretty quick, but it did showcase that the new mech is a powerful one as it broke free of the monster's strings and just kept punching it. The finisher was a bit silly though because of when it starts spinning it's completely stiff, I know it's a robot, but I feel like the animators just got lazy with making a pose for the CGI model. Still this is a far better mech than the main one as I think this one should be used more often, just imagine if Diesel-oh had some new support trains.
As for the rest of the action it was the same old thing we have seen before. For some reason the series thought it would be bad for Mio to have a solo fight and decides to have her get defeated quickly by the monster. What a mood killer I have to say I mean she didn't fall into darkness, had an amazing start by using the hammer to make explosions appear around the grunts (great camera shot I have to say), and then she just gets defeated by the monster. Also there was a thing with the giant fight where the monster says just using power cannot win and yet that is exactly what happened during that fight. Why not have that for the other fight, Mio has a hammer weapon and she is quite powerful with it. They easily could have done a cliché where she breaks the monster's weapon and that would have felt a bit more dynamic. There was a quick moment that was actually a bit different which was when Mio was wearing Pink and knocked the monster's weapons away and then we got the strange cannon finisher like usual.
With the mech fight I have mentioned that I do really like Diesel-oh and it's mostly thanks to how it's a powerhouse. The mech just puts up its dukes and keeps bashing heads in. Even for a mech that just uses fist there was way more creative things with this then the main mech. First I like how it blows steam since it's an older train and the fact that the mech can actually have some actual movement. That was the main problem with Toq-oh it was stiff the whole time and yes I know it's because it was on tracks, but that got really old fast. With Diesel-oh it's actually moving like other Sentai mechs. There was an odd moment then when all of a sudden when the monster gets an upper hand there is no music at all. Again just another mood killer and it didn't last long so why even have the monster get this upper hand for less than a minute. Then I have to say the mech as a shockwave attack and it did this in the city... collateral damage everyone! Yes there have been many moments during mech fights were things get destroyed, but not by the heroes themselves, well I bet there are others there is still no excuse though. Overall the mech fight was above average at best, but that is glorious for a series that had its main mech on tracks.
This episode had a big mess with its main focus even if it does fix itself at the end. Along with that the series plays with the same old things it has been doing. The other teammates barely do anything else in this episode, comedy that just misses all the time, and Wagon is still annoying! At least the action had a bit of a step up mostly thanks to the new mech, but this episode gets a D- because the only saving points were some nice camera shots with the action.
Next Time: Tokkai dies at the end?