Oct 122014

Tokusatsu post, as it were.

Garo: Hoono no Kokuin #2
I’m writing this after just finishing up this episode. I liked it. I actually did. To tell the truth, I wasn’t sure about episode one. It seemed above average. But I wasn’t sure if my view was clouded by my wanting a Tokusatsu based property to succeed. But episode #2 is really solid. It opens with a terrific little scene and the rest of the episode was a good mix of exposition and action with a little humor and some world building thrown in. It feels way more balanced than the first episode.

The main dude remains the weakest part of the show but next episode will feature Zaruba, so he might improve a tad. If the rest of Garo: Hoono no Kokuin is able to keep this level of quality, I’d say it’ll be one of the better straight up adventure anime of the year (note the very specific category). Between this and Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis, it looks like we’ll be closing the year with a solid batch of pure adventure programming.

Kamen Rider Drive #1
Saw this when it came out. It’s pretty decent for what it is. As with many Kamen Rider shows, especially the sillier ones aimed at kids, it opens with mass murder.

The pilot opens with an event known as the Global Freeze, which messes with everyone’s time. People suddenly freeze in their tracks or slow down, but their perception of time is still going at a regular rate. During which, monsters immune to this effect, start indiscriminately (and arbitrarily) murdering everyone. A diner full of people are shot with lasers which explode in slow motion, so they’re conscious in real time whilst they’re being blown to bits in slo-mo. Meanwhile, a giant bowling pin (or was it a bowling ball?) from the local bowling alley is knocked off the roof and is slowly about to crush a group of hapless bystanders; when suddenly, a monster jumps outta nowhere and kicks it at them. So they’re quickly smashed to bits rather than slowly crushed. That’s hilarious, since they were gonna die anyway. That monster dude’s just being a dick there.

Anywho, we skip to the future/present, where our main character is a slacker cop in a division that investigates “Slowdowns”. Blah blah blah, it’s a very kiddy show feel here. Monsters appear, our hero learns to transform and defeats them through the power of merchandise driven powers. The end.

Overall, a nice first episode and I’m somewhat intrigued for the second episode. It’s doubtful that Drive will be another Gaim, simply because Drive’s format will be 2 episode shorts, which wouldn’t be very conducive to Gaim’s style of serial story telling. The tone seems to lighthearted but not overly silly, despite the fact that magical little toy cars seem to be a very integral motif. Hopefully Drive will be solid overall and make a good gateway series for the filthy casuals, like Kamen Rider W.

Kamen Rider Gaim’s still the way to go if you’re from an anime background though. I’d recommend sticking through that till ep 4, ’cause that’s when the show stops sucking, and if you can stand it, watch till ep 14, ’cause that’s when the show actually gets good.

Kamen Rider Blade #1 (live-ish)
Supposedly one of the better Kamen Rider shows, although it too supposedly had a slow start. I’m writing this as I watch, so this might be a live-ish (edit: definitely a live-ish) thing. We open with motorcycle riding and someone fighting Batman (psst, it’s Kamen Rider Garren vs a Bat Undead). This is followed by abseiling because, DUH, what else would you do after riding a bike and fighting a monster?

The main dude is asked to hurry on his bike to go and save the guy fighting the bat monster. The guys at mission control are asking him if he wants to save the dude, if so, to hurry. But… well, we get sound effects that he’s hurrying, but our eyes tell us that he’s travelling at a very leisurely pace. Guess Blade doesn’t want to save Garren after all.

As Blade arrives to help out, we cut to the opening sequence, which is HILARIOUS given the death battle we were just witnessing. Not a bad opening though. I like it.

We get a nice chase scene out of it. Especially given the technical capabilities of the time (2004 to 2005). Blade uses Tackle! It is the opposite of Super Effective!

AHAHA! Garren just told Blade that fighting blind is no good… against a bat monster. OHOHO, oh you subbers.

More AHAHAing, the main guy returns to his apartment and it turns out the landlady rented it out while he was out of town. What a bitch (not because she rented out a tenant’s room without letting him know, but because she rides a muscle bike).

Okay, I’ve just finished ep 1 and I like it. I heard peeps saying the first few eps were slow but I totally disagree. The first ep gets a lot of backstory out of the way, considering we know this series has multiple main characters. It also sets things up for future intrigue.

While Kamen Rider’s always been about the merch, this was from a time when the merch was less obvious. So unlike the toy commercial pilots we’ve been getting for the last half dozen years or so, there’s no shilling at all in this ep. I mean, yeah, the characters have ostentatious designs and use gimmicky equipment, but this first ep is very much a straight up sci-fi/horror drama so far. The only humor is where this dude’s niece sass at him.

If this show only gets better from here on out, I might have to reassess my Kamen Rider rankings.

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