The “WestShopRangers” make their debut in the district. Their tempo and timing are off, but the improve with each performance, going up against “baddies” – the shop owners in disguise. When the vice principal takes them to task for having a job, they remind her she approved it, and keep doing it. Wakana goes back to ask the vice principal, Naoko, how her mother wrote songs, just when “Nao” is remembering the only time she visited Mahiru before she died. She repeats what Mahiru told her: song isn’t work; it flows from the heart. During a show, Konatsu’s purse is snatched by a cyclist. Wien chases him down on foot, and the rest of the rangers back him up. They get the purse back and teach the guy a lesson through song. Wien writes Jan of their victory.
We like how Wien propels the others into rushing straight into their ranger show. They’re nervous and uncoordinated, but they get the job done. Even funnier is watching the old owners battle the rangers, and one throws his back out, which pits Sawa against her mother Shiho. It’s all great fun and you can totally see shoppers getting into it – most especially the kids. Also, they get better with each performance. There’s no mention of the nature of the drama they’ll be putting on for the White Festival, but it seems like it would be easy to make that a Rangers-based narrative – almost as if these shop performances were practice.
In between these shows we delve into Naoko’s memories – even in high school she was a serious girl who rarely smiled – but she shared a love for music with the more outgoing, outwardly passionate Mahiru. There’s a scene when Mahiru tells Nao she’s not going to make it that makes us tear up – it’s pretty grim statement, but as it turned out, a true one. Now Mahiru’s daughter is at Nao’s school – like a little Mahiru – and while she won’t show favoritism to a friend’s child, Nao does offer solid advice – don’t overthink, have fun, and the music will come. We also get a taste of Wien’s near-obsessive determination. He simply doesn’t quit, pursuing a thief across half of town and even taking a couple punches. For a second there, we thought he’d be defeated, but then the other rangers showed up. It was a great victory – and this was a great episode, with a little of everything.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Car Cameos: Cars passing by in the shopping district include a JDM Honda Odyssey, Mitsubishi eK, Suzuki Swift, Toyota Vitz, Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W203), Nissan March, and a fourth-generation Toyota HiAce.