「凶鳥の眷属」 (Kyouchou no Kenzoku)
“The Black Bird’s Kindred”
It lost its V-fin antennas and got the Banpresto logo shades treatment like SRX, but the Huckebein Mk. III makes its appearance in this adaptation as the Exbein, complete with the “Ace Attacker” theme. Ryouto goes all out with it as well and uses the AM Gunner’s Full Impact Cannon with the Boxer parts still attached to deal with the arrival of the Inspectors. Now there’s sheer robot awesomeness and then there’s that. I still remember the Alpha days when this Personal Trooper came into my possession and there was no way you could combine both add-ons and do what Ryouto did. Even on the OG2 stage that this episode is based on, it was only the base Huckebein docking with Rio Meilong (Natsuki Rio) in the AM Gunner, not the Boxer swinging it around like a huge cannon to counter Mekibos (Ishida Akira) in his Graterkin. However, I absolutely loved the way Ryouto utilized the T-Link System and piloted with reckless abandon to adapt to the situation, plus “manhandle” Rio a bit in the process. I’m sure she enjoyed the ride that he gave her on some level given her fondness of Ryouto, plus Marion Radom (Nakamura Kaori) and ex-husband Kirk Hamill (Kazama Yuuto) got to see the fruits of their labour in action. As the “black bird” family of Personal Troopers after the Vanishing Trooper Incident — where the first Huckebein’s Extra-Over Technology (EOT) based Black Hole Engine went out of control — this Tronium Engine-equipped version of the Huckebein/Exbein showed the results of continued development on it. The destructive power of its Geist Knuckle and Catapult Kick spoke for themselves as to why the Inspectors were after it.
This episode wasn’t all about Ryouto kicking ass in the Exbein as he and Radha Byraban (Sakuma Rei) fled Mao Industries to deliver the prototype to Earth though. Joining the cast of good guys was one of my favorite characters from the classic timeline, Ryune Zoldark (Hidaka Narumi), daughter of the former leader of the Divine Crusaders Bian Zoldark, in her revamped Valsione along with her “Flapper Girl” theme to mark her entrance. While those unfamiliar with the franchise will undoubtedly take notice to how her robot resembles a girl in a suit of armor complete with long flowing red hair, I was more focused on the skin-tight pilot suit that she had on. The attire I’m accustomed to seeing Ryune in from way back in Super Robot Wars 3 is a short white tank top with ripped jeans, but I’m really liking this new look instead of that fairly tomboy one. In any case, she received quite a thrashing at the hands of Mekibos after momentarily turning the tides upon arriving, before Ryouto bailed her out with the Exbein. I would’ve liked to see her use her Psycho Blaster like she planning to, but that will have to be saved for another day. What I’m looking forward to the most with Ryune though is seeing her interactions with her crush Masaki Andou, who’s slated to show up next time in Cybuster. There was also brief mention of Shuu Shirakawa as well, so it’ll be cool to see that “Lord of the Elemental” side of the story pick up at some point down the road. As far as I’m concerned, there’s always time for some Cybuster/Granzon action even though the Inspectors have arrived and attacked all the major Earth Federation bases at once.
As per the subtitle of this sequel, the Inspectors are undoubtedly a big part of the story, so it’s probably worth mentioning that their key members are the aforementioned Mekibos, Vigaji (Kusao Takeshi), Aguija (Asakawa Yuu), Sikalog, and Wendolo (Kaida Yuki), the last of which is their leader. A notable change in cast from the games is Asakawa Yuu playing Aguija in this adaptation. Also, Sikalog only communicates telepathically and never actually speaks, so he doesn’t actually have a voice actor. Not to be overshadowed by their sudden arrival are captain Lefina Enfield (Iwao Junko) of the Hiryuu Custom and her Octopus Squad led by Katina Tarask (Yaguchi Asami). Alongside her are squad members Russel Bergman (Aoki Takashi), Tasuku Shinguuji (Yamaguchi Kappei), and Leona Garstein (Sakakibara Yui), who played a key role here in helping Ryouto, Rio, and Radha escape from the moon with the Exbein. We didn’t get to see Tasuku’s gigantic Giganscudo Duro in action other than seeing it pick up Radha’s shuttle, but Leona did showcase a bit of what she’s capable of in her Siegerlion. Still, their escape doesn’t change the fact that Ring Mao (Ogata Megumi) and Rio’s father Yuan stayed behind at Mao Industries under the assumption that their attackers wouldn’t simply kill them. It took a while, bu the Inspectors have finally arrived as the new alien threat and now it’s time to see what our plethora of protagonists can do about it. The action was already pretty intense in this one and really well animated, so I’d imagine it’ll only get better from hereon in.
Hmm, I have a sudden urge to go and play Original Generations now…
* Gotta love how the Exbein’s weapons control are a page right out of the game (including attack power). They’re translated as well!
* There are a few variations in the spelling of certain characters’ names (e.g. Ryune vs Lune, Mekiboss vs Mekibos, Agiha vs Aguija, etc.), so I’ve decided to go with the official English ones according to Japanese sources.