REVIEW: Shuriken Sentai Ninninger vs. ToQGer the Movie: Ninjas in Wonderland

 

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CAST

Shunsuke Nishikawa (Super Hero Taisen GP: Kamen Rider 3)
Gaku Matsumoto (Ressha Sentai ToQger vs. Kyoryuger)
Kaito Nakamura (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger vs. ToQger)
Yuuka Yano (Come Back! Shuriken Sentai Ninninger)
Kasumi Yamaya (Space Sheriff Shaider: Next Generation)
Hideya Tawada (The Boy Inside)
Jun Shison (Survival Family)
Jin Hiramaki (Ressha Sentai ToQger)
Riria (Zero: Black Blood)
Ryusei Yokohama (Rainbow Days)
Ai Moritaka (Beginners)
Shin Nagahama (Ressha Sentai ToQger)
Toshihiro Yashiba (All Esper Dayo!)
Takashi Sasano (The Hidden Blade)
Ryota Yamasato (Terrace House)
Megumi Han (Twin Star Exorcists)
Masaki Nakao (Your Turn To Kill)
Miki Yanagi (Futari Monologue)
Shohei Nanba (Kamen Rider W)
Tsurugi Watanabe (Hana Wa Sakuka)
Haruka Tateishi (Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger)

 

The Ninningers awaken to find themselves on a mysterious train, floating in and out of various elaborate dreams. As they begin to seemingly be picked off one by one in these dreams, five mysterious people appear within them to warn them it’s a trap. The ToQgers have returned, and have been tasked with saving the ninja team from the clutches of the Shadow Line-powered Yokai Wanyūdō. However they’re are unable to save Takaharu and he is taken to the Dark Doctor Mavro – a ninja-obsessed member of the Shadow Line.

Stealing Takaharu’s nintality to produce the evil clone Dark Akaninger, Mavro plans to use it to flood the world in darkness. Takaharu himself is also in trouble, as he begins to find himself slowing fading away after Mavro’s tampering. It’s up to the combined forces of the Ninningers and the ToQgers to put a stop to the doctor’s evil plans and save Takaharu before it’s too late.

Ninninger vs. ToQger  strikes a rather good balance and manages to get good use out of all its stars. The story might focus on Takaharu and Right, but in the lead up to the climax all the memorable scenes are provided by the rest of the characters. Meanwhile Emperor Mavro is an excellent addition to the Shadow Line – a gleefully insane villain boasting another of the great monster designs ToQger did so well.

The plot itself provides enough unique spins to hold everything together nicely. The two series’ respective tones are extremely similar which allow both teams to stay firmly within their comfort zones while bouncing off of each other to increase the zaniness ten-fold.

Topping things off is of course the giant robot fight – a staple of all Super Sentai productions whether they be movies or episodes. However the one Ninninger vs. ToQger is truly a spectacle, and undoubtedly among the best the franchise has produced in recent years. A night time battle sequence is usually remarkable on its own, but this one also  has bundles of imagination on its side. ToQger’s use of Kuliners means more than just a blown-up version of the monster, while the interaction between the two series’ respective mecha is both simple yet ingenuitive. It’s a dazzling end to an already well done movie, and makes the fight feel more than just a Super Sentai trope that’s just there to tick boxes.

A final treat for ToQger fans, and a shining example of how good Ninninger is.