|This article is about a/an episode in Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger.|
The Bitter Curse of Z ― A New Chapter Begins (非痛なるZの呪い ― そして新章へ Hiita naru Zetto no Noroi - Soshite Shin Shō e) is the tenth episode of Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger. It explores Hiroyo's relationship with her father, and introduces Takuma Tsuzuki, her brother.
With the mysterious Doctor Z now in control of Blatantly Evil Marketing Firm B, Hiroyo finally reveals the truth regarding the Akibaranger, the Delusional World and their connection to the Z-Cune Aoi anime, even as they find themselves against a tough new opponent.
At Café Himitsukichi, Hiroyo shows Akagi, Mitsuki, and Yumeria the original character illustrations of Aoi Ichikawa and Malseena done by her father. She explains to them that Takehiro was a genius who earned his doctorate at age 21 and became a top professor at 24 before marrying her mother. They divorced when the otaku spirit he tried to repress since high school made him pursue a career as an animator. After struggling for a few years, Takehiro landed his big break when Studio Bell Village approved his character designs for their project. He worked sleepless nights to create Malseena and other characters who would become the Stema Otsu Corporation's Chief Clerks. However, the studio felt his works were too dark and violent in contrast to the more popular moe and yuri styles, and after having disagreements with the chief animator, he was fired from the studio and ostracized from the industry. After returning to the field of science to pay for child support, Takehiro made a breakthrough by discovering the "Moeshinsuki Particle", a parallel universe of particles that react to electric impulses in the human brain and bring delusions into reality. Then, one day, he disappeared, along with all of his research. At around the same time, Hiroyo left college and landed a voice role under the pseudonym "Shuri Toyozuki" (an amalgamation of her real name, Hiroyo Tsuzuki). Takehiro was, at first, happy for his daughter, but he had lost all hope and turned evil when the studio hired a younger artist to re-work his original character designs into what eventually became Z-Cune Aoi. During the wrap-up party following the release of the series' final episode, Hiroyo received the three MMZ-01 units and her father's concept sketches from him, who wrote to her to use them to do good in the world. At first, she was happy that her father made the units in appreciation of her success, only to realize that they are the catalysts for his twisted goal to bring his delusions into reality. Because of this, Hiroyo wishes for the trio to be involved any further in her family matter. Reflecting on these revelations, the trio take a walk around Akihabara when they encounter a motorcyclist who saves a puppy in the middle of the street. Mitsuki and Yumeria are immediately attracted by the man, as he waves at them before leaving. Suddenly, the trio are ambushed by Delu Knight, Doctor Z's new lieutenant. Determined to take down Doctor Z's organization and help Hiroyo bring closure to her family matter, the trio transform into the Akibarangers, which suddenly unleashes a surge of pain within Hiroyo as a scorpion tattoo crawls from her chest to her throat and she starts coughing out blood. During the fight, the lieutenant reveals to them that Hiroyo is already feeling the side effects of their use of the MMZ-01 units in the real world, and the more they use them, the closer she falls to their curse. Meanwhile, at Stema Otsu Corporation's secret base, Doctor Z orders Malseena to lay off all of the 40-plus Chief Clerks, as he has no use for them, much to her dismay. After overpowering their Inordinate Cannon with his Delusion Mirage slash, Delu Knight is ordered by Doctor Z to retreat, as he prefers to continue seeing them tortured during lunch tomorrow. Back at Café Himitsukichi, Akagi gets a phone call from Sayaka, who thanks him for saving her from Asakusa Alpaca. The motorcyclist then enters the café and introduces himself as an Interpol agent. He reveals to them that according to Takehiro's research notes acquired by the CIA, the MMZ-01 units contain a curse in the form of the scorpion tattoo that crawled from the Malseena illustration to Hiroyo's body. The more often the MMZ-01 units are used, the closer the scorpion crawls to her throat before she loses her voice permanently. The agent then opens a metal briefcase, revealing 20 candles; 16 of them are lit, indicating the number of times the MMZ-01 can be used before the curse is complete. Lastly, as an assurance to protect them, the agent reveals himself to be Takuma Tsuzuki, Hiroyo's younger half-brother. He tells them that he will work with the Japanese police to track down the Stema Otsu Corporation. After Takuma bids them farewell, the phone rings and Kozkoz picks it up, hearing that The Pentagon wants to recruit Akagi into the United States Department of Defense due to the leadership skills he displayed in the Asakusa Alpaca incident. Akagi is very concerned about his teammates and their mission to stop Doctor Z's evil scheme, should he decide to move to the U.S., but the trio and Hiroyo come up with a great idea. The next morning, Takuma arrives at the café, playing his trumpet before introducing himself in front of everyone as the new Akiba Red.
- Nobuo Akagi: Masato Wada (和田 正人 Wada Masato)
- Mitsuki Aoyagi: Kyoko Hinami (日南 響子 Hinami Kyōko)
- Yumeria Moegi: Karin Ogino (荻野 可鈴 Ogino Karin)
- Hiroyo Hakase: Maaya Uchida (内田 真礼 Uchida Maaya)
- Kozkoz Mita: Kozue Aikawa (愛川 こずえ Aikawa Kozue)
- ©Na: Honoka (穂花)
Tropes and References
- "Moeshinisky Particles" is parody of Gundam's Minovsky Particles. Possibly also a pun on "moeshinu", which means to love something so much it makes you want to die.
- Master Kaku is a character from Dairanger, who defected from the Gorma to form the Dairangers.
- The scene where Takuma saved a puppy could possibly be a shoutout to Choushinsei Flashman: The Movie, involving a sequence where the team melodramatically saves a puppy. The puppy of this scene and the one from Flashman are both of the Shiba Inu breed.
- It may also be in reference to Takayuki Hiba's first appearance in episode 23 of Sun Vulcan when he lands a helicopter upon the still-moving Jaguar Vulcan in his first appearance, thus demonstrating his abilities to do dramatic and impossible things prior to becoming a Ranger
- Like with the arrival of Doctor Z, Akagi refers to the new character as having a Showa-style of freshness
- Takuma Tsuzuki is played by Takagi Shinpei, twin brother of Takagi Manpei, who played GekiBlue on Gekiranger. Shinpei also made an appearance on Gekiranger on Lesson 38: Biba-Biba! Another Retsu. The gloves his character's wearing have a similar pattern to the GekiChangers, the transforming item of the Gekirangers. In Akibaranger, Kozkoz grabs a picture of Manpei, trying to point out to the Akibarangers Takuma and his similar appearance.
- Part of Yumeria's roll call, "guns reimagined as cute girls" is a reference to Upotte!!. Upotte!! is also written by Naruhisa Arakawa.
- In Nobou's roll call he mentions Commander Arashiyama from Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan.
- A modern Sentai show has an average run of 50 episodes, which is also normally the average number of featured Monsters of the Week throughout the show. ©Na's line alludes to this fact, mentioning the 40 subsection chiefs still on the payroll (since ten episodes of Akibaranger have already gone by).
- Nobuo thinks Delu-Knight resembles Silva from Bioman in both appearance and rank.
- When Takuma revealed his MMZ-01 curse tracker, it turned out to be reference to Zyuranger's Burai/DragonRanger. Burai has a limited lifespan, represented by a green candle. Each time Burai steps out of his hibernation room, the candle burns, diminishing his remaining life. The sound playing in the background is the tune of the Zyusouken, Burai's weapon.
- The scorpion could also be a Power Rangers reference. In Lightspeed Rescue, Ryan Mitchell, the American Exclusive Titanium Ranger, was placed under a curse where each time he morphed, a cobra tattoo would slither up his back, and once it reached his neck, it would kill him. In Hakase's case, when the scorpion reached her throat, it would take her voice away.
- The part about the Pentagon wanting to hire Nobou shares a similarity with Sun Vulcan's. In Sun Vulcan, the original VulEagle was invited by NASA to join them in the United States. He was then replaced by Takayuki Hiba, the second VulEagle.
- When Takuma arrives again and announces he is the new AkibaRed, this is a possible parody of Ichiro, the titular Kikaider 01, who used to announce his arrival by playing a trumpet.
- The commercial for the DX MMZ-01 aired alongside this episode is a faithful representation of the commercials for official sentai toy merchandise. The voiceover is done by Tesshō Genda, who also does the voiceover on the official sentai toy CMs.
- Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger (opening)
- Heroic Lily
- Oretachi Muteki sa!! Dairanger
- Choudenshi Bioman
- Juken Sentai Gekiranger
- Ashita wa Akiba no Kaze ga Fuku (ending)
- This is the first episode to not have a sub-section chief, instead the Akibrangers fight Delu-Knight for the first time.
Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger Volume 4 features episodes 10-13: Ep. 10: The Bitter Curse of Z ― A New Chapter Begins, Ep. 11: The Replacement is Cool, Not Lame, Ep. 12: Lame-ale: Farewell, Deluded Sentai, and Ep. 13: Recap! It's Okay to Not be Lame!.