Kamen Rider Gaim 46 & 47 (finale)

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Sep 302014

Oh hey, we’ve actually been keeping up with this show pretty consistently since we started blogging it on MG. So, here ends the Gaim series proper. Do we wanna dance with ‘em again?

NO! We do not.

That’s not a bad thing though. It simply means that the story’s over.

Episode 45 left us in the middle of a climatic battle, which ep 46 wraps up with a clean finish. The episode then continues on a timeskip. A couple loose ends were left dangling, but it’s the kind of loose ends you wouldn’t mind being left unanswered. The episode then ends on a really nice note. There was a sense of finality to it.

But then ep 47 comes along. It’s very blatantly a “redemption” episode. The tone is definitely more in line with some other Kamen Rider series, although the ending was pretty nice. It wraps up everything and for some reason, that just made me want more of Gaim.

I doubt the next Kamen Rider series is going to be near as good as Gaim, at least, not in Gaim’s style/format. In fact, the next series, Kamen Rider Drive, looks like it’s gonna be pretty wacky. Which might be a nice change up, considering the heaviness of Gaim.

Gaim is arguably Urobochi’s best work so far. Now, hear me out. I like what I’ve seen of Urobochi’s stuff. But from what I understand, he tends to leave in the middle of projects. For instance, the first episode of Gargantia was pretty good, but it sucked after that. I didn’t even know that Urobochi was involved in the project, but then it turns out he only wrote the first and last episodes? Psycho-Pass, same deal. He only wrote the first half? Coincidentally, that’s the half that I dug most. Same with Madoka, which I heard somewhere that he didn’t write the whole of it? Although if he DID write all of Madoka, I guess Madoka’s just a failed attempt on his part. Perhaps he was constrained by the limited episodes format?

But he apparently wrote most of Gaim. So that’s like, 40+ eps. And it’s been very good stuff for a kiddy show. He’s not doing the next series, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him return in a couple years to take the reins again. Hopefully with an original idea/concept. What I mean by that is, Gaim had a lot of secret love letters to previous Kamen Rider, so it’d be interesting to see Urobochi just do a Kamen Rider from scratch.

Goodbye Arms, Exit Stage Leeeeeeft!

Kamen Rider Gaim 41, 42 and… well shit, 43.

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Sep 012014

Weird, I thought I only missed blogging Kamen Rider Gaim 42 at most. Seems I’ve missed episode 41 as well. Welp, let’s talk about some additional stuff to make up for the lull, shall we?

I’ve talked about how Kamen Rider Gaim’s the one series that feels the most like a live action anime, and that’s exemplified by the main character, Kazuraba Kouta.

The first episode of Kamen Rider Fourze totally felt like a live action shounen manga/anime series with how the school the show’s set in being divided by cliques and stuff. But then the show veered off into… weird territory. So then came Kamen Rider Gaim, written by Urobochi Gen, who’s been writing a buncha anime of late, and you can feel it from the pacing of the first dozen or so episodes. But then things go interesting ’cause the story progressed in a way that’s probably unlike most other shows, anime or otherwise.

See, they knew they had at least 40+ episodes to work with. Most other kids shows would rely on a number of different formula to fill up the run. Shows like Pretty Cure or Sailor Moon can be pretty repetitive, and you can arguably skip a bunch of episodes and not really miss anything. Stuff like Polar Bear Cafe, Tentai Senshi Sunred, Shinryaku Ika Musume, Keroro Gunsou and others, rely on being episodic and having running gags, but don’t really have a strong continuous narrative. Then you have shows that are adaptations of long running series like Hunter x Hunter, Death Note, Naruto etc. These tend to be delivered in chunks known as “Arcs”, because presumably, regardless of how popular the original source material was, the manga guys really couldn’t know for sure how long they’ll hang around. Or whether they’d be ALLOWED to end their series.

But Kamen Rider Gaim knew it was gonna be a long running story and the production guys apparently wanted to tell an actual story here. Sure, there’s some padding here and there. Not because they were short on story material, but it seems they had to slow things down to be in time with the release of the toys. But the point is, it’s rather rare to see a full year(ish) long series with a definitive goal in mind.

The other point I wanna make, the main point in fact (because I accidentally went on a tangeant), is that… where Kamen Rider Gaim is totally a live action anime, the main character, Kazuraba Kouta is totally an anime main character. Not simply for his role in the story, but in all his mannerisms and over-acting; you could literally transplant him into just about any anime series with his character type.

Outside of this context, he’s kinda over-acting, but within it, it’s an interesting thing to note.

So, Kamen Rider Gaim 41 and 42… things go about how you’d expect them to. The episodes are solid enough, with plenty of drama, but we’re neeeeeeeeeeeerds, we know how this was all gonna go. They’ve also planted the seeds to some timey wimey action going on. And episode 43 delivers.

By god does it deliver. Not just on the timey wimey, which was straightforward enough. But well, you know they’re gonna have to asspull a bit for the remaining 4 episodes, but by gosh… I have no idea who’s going to be the final boss right now. I know we’re gonna get a final boss due to magazine spoilers. But at this point, it could even be the side character chick for all we know.

Actually, know what? I’m calling it. I’m hoping Ryouma’s out of the picture and that Marika’s gonna be Jam.

OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let’s Go Kamen Rider

 Kamen Rider  Comments Off on OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let’s Go Kamen Rider
Oct 242011

OHOHO! Once more I hijack Mecha Guignol and corrupt it with live action-ness. No 2D loli traps for YOU! Bask upon 3D manliness in leather and spandex. OHOHOHO!

But srsly, this here’s a OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let’s Go Kamen Rider movie review at the moment anyhow?

Since this is not a toku blog, I’ll provide a little background to this movie. It’s a crossover movie involving pretty much every Kamen Rider ever, but primarily focusing on Kamen Rider OOO, Den-O and the original Rider 1 and Rider 2. You don’t really need to watch any Kamen Rider to get this flick, although it helps if you’ve seen Den-O and the first few episodes of OOOs. It also wouldn’t hurt to know the premise of the original Kamen Rider.

That premise? A couple guys get kidnapped by an evil organization known as Shocker. They get turned into cyborgs (Rider 1 and Rider 2) but escape before they’re brainwashed to do Shocker’s bidding. They become “allies of justice” (aka superheroes).

There, now you know the premise, so onto the movie review.

It’s a pretty good movie, even if you’re not a hardcore fan of Kamen Rider. It’s sufficiently stand alone that you can still get it, but if you’ve watched Den-O and OOOs in particular (especially Den-O), a lot of things do make more sense. Especially one bit near the end when we start to see more Riders.

Where this movie differs from other Kamen Rider movies is that it has an actual plot that makes sense. With other Kamen Rider movies, it’s usually just a simple storyline designed to milk a character’s drama and culminate in a big battle. With OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let’s Go Kamen Rider, we have an actual evolving story that’s actually akin to the kind of stories from stuff like Doctor Who.

The premise here is that the OOO crew met with the time traveling Den-O crew. They tag themselves along and due to the character of Ankh being an asshole, they caused history to change to where Shocker successfully took over the world. This prompts quite a bit of time traveling and even some neat time looping and stuff. There’s an actual foreshadowed part that was done with enough subtlety that the pay off actually succeeded as a surprise.

The heroes act pretty much like they usually do, but it’s the villains who are just plain awesome. There’s one scene where Shocker holds a televised UN meeting, and all the members of the UN are the other villainous organizations, such as G.O.D. and the Cult of Golgom. And some of the villains objected to turning part of the human population into monsters and killing the rest, because their respective organizations’ goal was complete genocide/destruction of the world.

There’s also cameos galore. Some of the cameos even make sense. If you’re into the franchise, you’ll get ‘em. If not, then they’re just neat monsters in the background. For instance, there’s a villain named Shadowmoon who’s often standing in the background. He really ought to be a primary antagonist, but it kinda makes sense for him to be a mere lieutenant if you consider that history’s been changed. Also, they had freaking Kame Bazooka! (He’s a turtle monster with a bazooka on his back, ala Blastoise). The movie’s just chalked full of this stuff. I’ve half a mind to re-watch it again to see if Starfish Hitler or Ant Capone might be standing in the background somewhere.

Aaaanyway, it’s a neat movie. It’s not necessarily a great gateway movie though. It’s got a good balance of story, action and cheesiness & fanservice (especially near the end) that should appeal to peeps who are already into the franchise or have an open mind about this stuff. But it probably wouldn’t convert a staunch objector to these kind of shows, since to fully appreciate how much the story actually makes sense, you really have to have seen Den-O.

But if you’ve got an open mind and some free time, then go ahead and watch it. It should be amusing. And Landon, this means you, you cur.