Posted by: Z.F. | May 2, 2009

Kamen Rider Decade Episode 2-13 Review

As I promised I would do a general review for Decade and since the series has been nicely divided amongst the different worlds I guess I would review each of these “worlds” individually. So let’s begin with the world that started it all

decade-review1Kuuga no Sekai

The Gist: Tsukasa and Natsumi arrive at Kuuga’s world which more or less is like the original Kuuga world. The atmosphere is great and I felt like I was transported back to 2000.

The Parallels: Kuuga’s World and Kuuga’s series are pretty much the same thing. Aside from different characters the Japanese Police Force are furiously fighting the Grongis. So this entire arc was faithful to the original which is why I like it so much. Of course Ichijo and Godai’s friendship has been changed into a romantic relationship since Ichijo’s character here is a woman.

The New Rider: Onodera Yuusuke pulls it off.  Murai had large shoes to fill and he does so with his own style and talent. Still my favourite character in this series. Tsukasa (as of right now) is getting better too.

The New Baddy: N-Gamio-Zeda is the new Grongi King. He looks ok and not as cool as the other Grongis. I thought this series failed to make some new menacing monsters.

The Costume: Tsukasa magically adorns a new outfit at the moment he steps out of Hikari Studio (which also changes). In Kuuga World’s he is a Policeman, an obvious reference to the original series since Kuuga is more or less a police drama.

The Lessons Learned: In every world Tsukasa have a little moral he likes to teach the kids out there right before the big fight. He usually stands beside this world’s Rider and tell this world’s new villain he is “The Passing  Through Kamen Rider!”

The lesson learned here: “Protecting the Smiles of Others”. A nice homage to the original Kuuga who said something similar in the early episode of the series.

 The Cameos: Kick and Punch Hopper makes an appearance in this episode. The first of few to come back in voice form. They don’t deliver here but it’s nice to see them back though. I thought they can at least do a Rider Kick or something.

The Worst Part: Final Form Ride….

The Best Part: There’s actually a few. The fight itself was pretty damn good. Kuuga’s bike entrance, the orgy of Grongi, the helicopter pad used by Decade to launch himself and perform his Rider Kick. But aside from the action my favourite part was actually Yashiro’s death. She was only in two episode but she definitely made a big presence. I liked her character a lot and her final words to Yuusuke was incredibly moving. Her death was also surprising and to have her die just right after the Riders finish off the Grongi was even more surprising and tragic.

The Grade: A+ , as a two parter standing on it’s own it deserves an A and comparing to the other worlds to come it gets an additional +.

 decade-review21

Kiva no Sekai

The Gist: A quick return to Kiva’s world and a lot has changed. Fangire and Humans now coexist and Wataru is a little boy.

The Parallels: There’s some Violin stuff, Castle Dran and Kurenai’s house is still use probably because the set guys knew they were going to reuse it before taking it down. The story itself focuses on the struggle between a world with Fangire and Humans and more importantly a son’s relationship with his father. All of this are included and all of it are done fairly well.

The New Rider: I heard a lot of good things about Kid Wataru but for me I didn’t like him. Little kids transforming to fully grown men isn’t my thing. Sentai did it a few times and I was glad Rider didn’t have to stoop to this level but they did. I like the story but we could have done with the kid…

The New Baddy: Beetle Fangire is one of the better Decade villains. He is well design and looks like a Fangire you would have seen on the show. I liked it even more when he had new decorative armor plating when he consumed the Arm Monsters.

The Costume: Violinist.

The Lessons Learned: “Fighting for what you believe in.” Which is a lesson taught in most Toku shows. In this case, it specifically references Wataru’s desire for humans and Fangires to coexist. It’s a bit cliched and well I thought Otoya’s teaching was a bit better than Tsukasa’s. So overall this one was a bit weak.

The Cameos: Kaixa is back and as bitchy as ever. Taking a page straight from Faiz’s entire series, Kaixa is here and wants to take Tsukasa’s belt. It was an extremely random appearance but I liked it. Kaixa is one of those guys you love to hate and enjoy seeing him again. Other cameos include Spider Fangire which wasn’t even necessary and Kivat II acting once again as Kiva’s mentor.

The Worst Part: Just Wataru himself. I didn’t like the kid. He was better when he played Kid Jan/GekiRed in Gekiranger a few years back. I wonder why they didn’t get the other Kid Wataru from the original Kiva series.

The Best Part: There’s also a few good parts here including seeing the 3 Kiva forms again without seeing Emperor Form and that little twist at the end where we find out who Wataru’s father truly is. But the best part comes at the final battle which includes a Double Rider Kick! The Final Form Rides are all annoying however Kiva doesn’t finish its victim off with its arrow (which interestingly extends from his crotch area) but he reverts back to Rider form and performs a Rider Kick. It’s a shame it doesn’t turn dark when he does Darkness Moon Break but a Double Rider Kick where the Riders fly up a skyscraper will always be a memorable moment and for Kiva’s World that was it.

The Grade: B-

decade-review3

Ryuki no Sekai

The Gist: The Reality Show Style of the original Ryuki has been given a Law and Order Make Over. Natsumi is framed for murder and Rider Battle is required to determine her verdict.

The Parallels: This new Rider War is less intense and less dark. Some say it’s Orwellian but I thought the original was more Orwellian than this. These new Lawyer Riders don’t die so in a way it seems like a tuned down of the original Rider battle in Ryuki. The new Shinji is also a journalist and he and Ren also have a tumultuous friendship. Also the whole Lawyer thing can be a reference to Zolda (in the original show) being a lawyer.

The New Rider: He’s good. A bit annoying but wasn’t the original Shinji a bit annoying to until we just grew to love him.

The New Baddy: The best new villain in Decade, Kamen Rider Abyss. A creatively designed which is based on monsters that were already on the show. And it’s played by an old guy which is always cool but I didn’t think Kamata is that good and to make him the next Undead was a lame attempt to somehow tie the world together to create contrived cliffhanger. I just like the design and I like evil Riders.

The Costume: Phoenix Wright.

The Lessons Learned: “Fighting together as a team”. I really enjoyed that little speech the two gave before fighting Abyss. It’s a remark to the original series where the Riders are all self centered and fight only for their own selfish goals with the exception of Shinji who fought for a greater good. In this episode it was the same thing, Abyss believes the humans aren’t altruistic but the Riders prove him wrong and says that sometimes we might fight for ourselves but sometimes we fight for others as a team and therefore we become stronger.

The Cameos: None

The Worst Part: The very thing that ruined the original series: Time Vent. Time Vent is used again and I can’t help but think that the Natsumi we all met in the first episode is still right now stuck inside a prison cell somewhere in Ryuki’s world wondering where the hell is Tsukasa and why isn’t he going to save her!

The Best Part: Knight vs. Kiva, a smart fight scene from beginning to end.

The Grade: C+, The world changed a bit too much for my liking. The characters were alright but it didn’t hook me in and using Time Vent to solve everyone’s trouble didn’t make this epsiode any better.

decade-review4

Blade no Sekai

The Gist: Blade’s World has a realistic take on how an actual Rider Organization might work, however if you know Rider, all of these organization are corrupt.

The Parallels:The Blade Riders are still sealing the Undeads. This World pretty much depicts what would have happened if Blade, Garren and Leangle remained as members of BOARD instead of as renegade Riders where their base of operation is a Milk Addict’s house. This version of BOARD is as fishy as the one from 2004.

The New Rider: He’s average and not really likable similar to Kenzaki. The other Riders are even worse. New Garren and Leangle have been given the generic bully role (almost) but New Chalice is somewhat more interesting atleast his evil plan was.

The New Baddy: The never before seen Paradoxa Undead has been finally revealed and man is he not even close to looking like the other Category Kings. The Kings from the original show were intricately and beautifully designed. They were menacing. This one looks like a mix of bug and a weird furry animal like a squirrel or something. Kamata doesn’t deliver here, they don’t explain why he is both Abyss and an Undead. I guess they just wanted to save money by not hiring 2 different guys for a similar role. Hajime is the more interest villain, his plan to make his own Undead to fight them in order to get funding from the government is a brilliant idea, a very James Bond Villain type of a plan, which of course all fails miserably.

The Costume: A Cook? What the hell? I think they should have done Salary Man which is what they were going for anyways. Cooking has been in a part of most Rider shows since they all hang out at some type of restaurant but the Blade riders themselves didn’t cook much. This would have been more appropriate for Kabuto.

The Lessons Learned: “Evolving Together.” This is somewhat related back to the previous theme from Ryuki’s world about humans being self absorbed and fight, in this case, to move up the ranks. Tsukasa speaks of teamwork but includes the idea that humans work not to compete but to grow together and help one another while doing so. I really liked this one but it doesn’t directly connect back to the original series.

The Cameos: None, however Todoroki (just the Rider) comes back and do some weird Ongenki guitar jamming.

The Worst Part: The fight itself. Since Blade the graphics department got a budget cut. But the fight was rushed and Kamata who was a 4 episode villain really didn’t do much

The Best Part: I guess it was the Lesson Tsuaksa taught us…the fight for both episode was mediocre.

The Grade: C, Perhaps the worst World of the bunch. The episodes were long and tedious and really had nothing going for them. The build up was good but the fight was abysmal. Also having them kill Sakuya and Mutsuki was a bit too much. I thought they could’ve learn their lessons but they died before anyone could save them.

 decade-review5

555 no Sekai

The Gist: Smart Brain is now a highschool. Humans are afraid of Orphenochs and a mysterious Rider name Faiz protects them.

The Parallels:Smart Brain is back but in a very interesting form. It’s a high school which isn’t all that far-fetched since Hagata from the original show did open a School for his children (but if I remember correctly that was an elementary school). The relationship between Orphenochs and Humans hasn’t changed and Orphenochs wanting the find out who Faiz is and take is belt is present in this version of Faiz.

The New Rider: I actually kinda like him now. He’s more of a sissy version of Inui Takumi but aside from that they are both very similar. They are Faiz and Wolf Orphenoch and struggles to be both. Both Takumi’s hid their Orphenoch nature until they had to reveal it in order to save the person they care for, Mari and Yuri, respectively.

The New Baddy: Lucky Clover is back and they have been reincarnated into a group of high school bullies. They are kinda cool and they actually reminded me of how ineffective the original Lucky Clover was. The new Orphenoch is Tiger Orphenoch which I have to admit is a very nicely designed suit.

The Costume: A High School Student.

The Lessons Learned: “Protecting the little things in life.” Which mirrors something Hongo Takeshi said in Kamen Rider THE FIRST. I like this one too. I guess you can change the “little things” into humans since they represent the same thing. Humans and their dreams are fragile and even moreso when Orphenochs try to destroy them. I do recall the theme of protecting the dreams of others being a part of the original Faiz series. They talk about it a few times and eventually end the series with a conversation regarding that. Faiz and Kiva do share some of the same morals concerning the division between humans and monsters. Since they did something like that in Kiva’s World I am glad they did something else here.

The Cameos: None of the actual actors came back but as for Riders who did we got Kabuki, Rey, Kiva and Ryuga. Good to see those movie Riders again. And once again Ryuga died trying to Rider Kick someone.

The Worst Part: Diend showing off his Air Conditioner Face to the world. Diend/Kaito gets more and more unlikable every week.

The Best Part: I felt the relationship between Yuri and Takumi to be the strongest aspect of these two episodes. The scene where Yuri accepts Takumi even though she detests Orphenochs was nicely done.

The Grade: B-

agitodecade

Agito no Sekai

The Gist: A direct sequel to Kuuga. The Grongis are evolving and the Police Department have developed their latest power suit, G3-x, to fight the Unknowns.

The Parallels: There’s a few. Agito in this world is an actually related to Kuuga since they have Grongis. The Police Department is clearly the one from the original Agito series. There’s a mysterious letter. And the Unknowns are hunting down humans with Agito powers.

The New Rider:  Ashikawa (a portmanteau of Ashihara/Gills)and Hikawa/G3-X) Shoichi is all 3 Riders from Agito. Which make sense since Gills is an incomplete Agito and Shoichi in both series was one time in his life G3. It’s cool how they did this and the character itself reminds me of how a Rider should act like (mysterious, dark, struggling to be human and running away from humanity to protect it. And he also is what a Rider should look like, since they are all bums (because most of them don’t have jobs) but only until now do we have a Rider who is an actual bum and the first Rider with actual facial hair. He’s old too which is a nice change.

The New Baddy: Buffalo Lord, I thought his design was alright. Nothing to special. The stuff in Agito was much more scarier.

The Costume: Post Man. Which is interesting since I thought they might do a gardener or something.

The Lessons Learned: There’s actually a few here but I guess the main one is that “We choose to continue our journey.” Also something about us being humans being foolish but we do so to protect others. The Unknown and the Mysterious Youth in the original show was all about controlling humans and making them do what they were told to do and those who don’t or those with Agito powers are killed. In Agito’s World it is very much the same. But Tsukasa tells the Unknown that even though humans might be weaker or more foolish we don’t need a higher power to tell us what we should or should not do.

To be honest all of thse little lessons are all done quite well. I like them all.

The Cameos: Those back in Rider form include Drake and Delta. I love Drake, I don’t care what other thinks. I still feel that he has one of the coolest designs ever. And that cross attack was damn cool.

The Worst Part:  Final Form Ride. Why? Read on.

The Best Part: Seeing Agito again. This is one of the worlds that they manage to do correctly (Kuuga being the other one). Agito is my favourite show and I am happy they didn’t mess this up like they did with Blade. I was just delighted to see Gills doing his crazy Rider Kick again and also Agito doing his. But then he had to turn him into his damn bike which I think was stupid and that Final Attack Ride really didn’t look that special at all. And one other thing that I liked about this episode since it all of it was done pretty well is that they focused on Yuusuke again. I like how he accepted that this Yashiro isn’t the Yashiro he fell in love with and that he wasn’t superficial enough to stay and crave for a girl that isn’t really the girl he loves.

The Grade: A-

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