English Dub Review: The Reflection “The Reflection”

So, all of this was to summon Fin Fang Foom?

Overview (Spoilers)

Now that almost all the reflected summoned to White Sands by Wraith have become darkness reflecteds, the villain can control them like puppets. This gives him an army to fight the good guys with, even if he can’t force these reflecteds to use their powers. Mecha Dead Wing faces off against I-Guy 2.0, and can now use flying drones to bounce his microwaves off. Ian is surrounded on three sides by the energy that goes right through his suit to boil his blood. He is rescued by the four Japanese girls, who each have an elemental ability (Light, Fire, Wind, and Earth) and their own sentai costume. Together, they shred Dead Wing all over again. They head into the fray to fight the darkness puppets. Tide turns in the fight when X-On copies the sand powers of one of the bad guys. Using that, he frees Lisa. Time is running out, however, as the Air Force has called in an air stri- where’d the planes go? The fighter jets slam into an invisible force field that slowly grows more visible. It’s a pyramid of darkness, and the more real it becomes, the more life is drained from the darkness puppets. Once complete, a dark wind fills it, emanating from Wraith. All of the reflecteds that have survived found that their powers no longer function! Everyone is powerless! Worse yet, Wraith’s master plan is coming to fruition. At the top of the pyramid, a claw reaches into our universe through a rift. Wraith reveals that this is why he sacrificed Eleanor and hundreds of other people. To summon the entity behind the darkness so that it would take over everything. Spurred on by the memory of Eleanor, the team presses towards Wraith. Their warm wishes reach the true Eleanor deep within Wraith, and she contacts them telepathically. She even realizes that X-On had been spared in the fire, not by cowardice, but because his friends saved him at the cost of their own life. Eleanor appears before Wraith and declares that she is ready to let go of her darkness, and tells him that he is no longer real… just in time for X-On to steal Wraith’s power to control darkness. But how can he use his powers when everyone is deactivated? Simple. He isn’t a reflected. His powers are something else entirely. He shatters the pyramid, restoring everyone’s powers. Wraith’s cronies leap in for another fight, but Steel Ruler has switched sides. Ian unleashes a final blast, destroying Wraith and returning Eleanor to her body. The baddies flee and the heroes are ready to fly off into the sunset until… what is that coming from where the rift was? Is that… The Reflection?

Courtesy: Funimation

Okay! That is how you tease the second season! The ending of this episode simply raises more questions about the deeper reality of this story. We have never known what the Reflection is, until now. It is the fall out from a planar rift, bathing the planet in the exotic matter. However, now we have to question: what caused the first Reflection? X-On has the power to mimic the powers of the Reflecteds, but is not one himself. He seems to be some sort of psychic. This teases a whole bunch of backstory, while at the same time, it promises a new set of the plot from the Second Reflection. And Ian makes a great Green Ranger for 9Nine.

Our Take

As I have said multiple times, the only saving grace of this show is its story, which is well written, compelling, and packed to the gills with mysteries that beg to be solved. Even though the big question has been answered, its answering doesn’t remove any of the mystery. Moreover, this ending is satisfying. The series can end here, and I’m mostly okay with it. It built the plot up to a climax, resolved it, and then opened out the universe further. What this did not do was nullify anything accomplished by the heroes. It did not allow the villain to somehow escape despite a confirmed kill. It did not make the victory hollow in any way. It merely revealed that something new, and potentially worse, is on the horizon. This is good writing. There is only one bit of the writing here that I take issue with. Does anyone have a count as to how many times the word “Darkness” is uttered? Beyond even Wraith saying it to say it while staring a Nicol Bolas over there, it shows up almost every other word. It gets a bit annoying after a while.

Oh, how I Wish I had good news to report on the technicals. The animation is as terrible as ever. Some shots, despite having lightning bolts hitting and controlling people, nothing moves at all. Even the lightning. Sometimes, the people move, but the lightning stays still. Then, you have the scenes with 9Nine, which had a slightly better animation to show off what is likely the network’s pop idol project du jour. The action is jerky at several spots. Even though you can spot points where the animation actually improves, that improvement is temporary. I did find the Pyramid of darkness concept looked impressive, especially the wind effect within it.

The voice acting is just bad. And amateurishly directed. I believed nobody in their parts except Eleanor (Aviva Pressman) and X-On (Vic Mignogna). Vic is an old pro, so that explains why he can stand out. Aviva, on the other hand, has had time to work with her character. As such, many of the characters are just… there. There isn’t much emotion coming from them, and those characters that have accents have them badly. The audio quality is not as bad as it has in the past, but I can still hear mic popping and static noise.

Score

Summary

While the Reflection has had terrible art, animation, and voice acting, and an annoying habit of staring into nothingness for quite some time, the plot has always been rock solid. It seems like the only thing Stan Lee actually put any effort into while he got this series off the ground. The ending of this series is with a bang. While I am interested in solving the remaining mysteries, I don't think I would be picking up the second season. This episode gets eight pyramids of darkness out of ten.

8.0/10

Marshall Daley

One part best-friend/philosopher, one part creepy mad scientist. Shaken, and sprinkled with geeky factoids, quirky humor, and a major case of skepticism towards the world and you might just find a cocktail that changes the way you see... Everything!

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