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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kamen Rider Double Episode 4 Review: Bet It All On Black

Sorry if it has been a month since a post, I've been working on Smash Bros Post lately for Herotaku and Smash Bros really came at a good time, since things got complicated so quickly! Well, I am back from my little writer’s block and it's time to count up more sins! For a little update I have been watching Drive as well and I really hope it's stays strong as it feels like a spiritual successor of Double. Anyways today's case continues with Phillip and Shotaro facing the Money Dopant, Kaga in a duel, but not in the usual fashion, but with roulette and cards!
The first thing I want to mention is the appearance of Million Colosseo in this episode. In the previous one everyone was talking about how the casino is heaven. The place even looked bright and majestic whenever someone was talking about the place. The place ends up being dimly light with the staff wearing these creepy face masks on. To top it off there is literally a monster running the casino so this place seems more like hell than heaven. Again it's just a nice touch of the set designs and how things like that can tell the audience about what is happening and what should be expressed.
Reminding me of the casino we got to see more of the man behind the crimes, Kaga and he is as slimy as we thought. This guy loves to gamble and he even loves to see people crumble when they loose everything. The girl the heroes had to follow became a victim of Kaga and before he takes her life he goes through her whole story of why she came here. Last time when Kaga took a victim's life he had this dark humorous side to it. This time he was clearly rubbing salt into the wounds when he was taking the girl's life. Kaga even challenged both Phillip and Shotaro as he shows his true abilities. He is a gambling genius as he can read people easily and make then do what he wants. The guy even gives off that same performance as he even gives off a laugh in the episode and again I laughed, but it made me feel so wrong at the same time. It's even nice to have a villain like Kaga, he's not a fighter, but still a major threat to the heroes.
Going on with the comedy aspects in this episode there were simple pieces of how Shotaro acted when he bashed into the casino. He was ready to fight, but Phillip just passes by and he is completely ignored. There was even the fact that Akiko smacks the villain in the back of the hand and he was even transformed, this girl doesn't have much fear! There was even Kaga's performance as well like in the last episode. We even had the appearance of Santa-san! This guy dresses up like a casual Santa as he gives presents no matter what month it is. He is such a minor character, but I just love this guy as he's so excited to be delivering presents as he sends out strange sounds and hand motions. This guy just does this too much that it ends up making you laugh. Again I mentioned this in the previous review as physical performances can do more than wit and smarts.
Along with the comedy we got a bit more insight with the Sonozaki family and it's time for the big wedding! This isn't your usual wedding though and again I just love that set design! This time the lights are gleaming through while everyone is silent with the priest, it feels like a usual wedding. The odd thing is that we know what these people are, Dopants. Even when the kiss does happen both Saeko and Kirihiko transform into their Dopant forms. Also this was the first reveal of Nasca, not in a fight, but in a wedding. The show even teases this two times before the initial reveal and in this episode Kirihiko gets a punch from Clay Doll. First of all can we talk about the great moves Kirihiko pulls off while dodging Wakana's attacks. It's so silly to look at and Kirihiko just keeps his grin the whole time, he only broke that grin when he thought he had to take a hit from Terror! So we had a unusual way of revealing one of the villains of the series and we even find out that the cat in the family is a Dopant, how awesome is that?!
So with the heroes they had to face Kaga in a duel of gambling as Phillip thought he could win. Phillip saw that he can tell where the ball would land in the roulette wheel and it lead him to think he could face Kaga. Again I loved this sense of challenge as Kaga really shows off why he was a threat. It wasn't in a fight, but simple playing some games and betting on it. One is used to the tense of building up a fight and yet this episode builds it up with roulette and a card game, the hype is real! Phillip puts the Gaia Memories on the line while Kaga puts people's lives on the table. It starts out one sided, but Kaga read Phillip perfectly and makes a comeback to destroy Phillip completely. He even makes Shotaro break major sweat in their game of old maid. Kaga's card technique was excellent as he made people do what he wanted pretty much like what he did to Phillip. Kaga was simply a genius with gambling as this was threat in a much different fashion and even though there was little action, the real intensity was with the gambling.
Phillip in this episode was acting like his usual self as he was confident in himself, but he was ending up hiding his true emotions. Phillip shut downed whenever he had to think about his family since it's the one thing he doesn't know about and it's the most important thing to know about. Shotaro easily notices this thanks to him seeing his vision from before. Phillip doesn't know anything about his past and not knowing that can be stressful. In the end though, he found how to deal with that stress by having a replacement family at the very least with Shotaro and Akiko. Also a thing to notice seeing how cracked Phillip was that even Akiko had to whack him on the head to clear his thoughts.
Shotaro had to find a way to help his partner and he tries to calm the poor boy down. He ends up using the lines that his mentor taught him from before from how nobody is perfect which will easily come back in the series. Phillip just sees him as being annoying as Shotaro trying to be a brother to Phillip just made him madder. Shotaro found a way to have his partner help him out with his duel as the two easily bonded back together just like in episode two. The two even share a moment of glory when they hear that they have become an urban legend of Fuuto, Kamen Rider Double!
The only action piece was at the end of the episode and it was little and one sided as one would expect. This was set when Shotaro and Phillip won the duel against Kaga. Kaga doesn't have his life coins anymore to back him up so he just runs for it! I love that the big villain just books it! He doesn't even want to fight, he knows he would lose so he said "Screw it!" Double does catch up by using his bike to ram him and then caught him by using Luna, Metal, and Heat memories. We got to see Heat Branding again, this time on the ground though. I love the big flames coming from the Metal Shaft and then Double just dashing towards the foe and striking them down! It's pretty exciting to watch even if it was short...
Kamen Rider Double still hasn't failed me and I will admit it right now, it never has. Again I love each episode and this one is still so great. The set pieces were just perfect for this episode, the comedy was being delivered well again, Nasca's first reveal was awesome since it was done in a different style, and we got to see the most exciting gambling ever! Sure the action was low, but the build up for Nasca was great and again seeing a villain being a threat by not even fighting is fun in its own way. The episode gets another solid A.
Next Time: Trigger and Shrimp?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kamen Rider Double Episode 3 Review: Money Money Money!

For this episode of Kamen Rider Double, urban legends are floating around as a popular one is a hidden casino. To anyone's surprise then, the case has to deal with this casino, Million Colosseo.
The case with the mysterious casino is probably one of the simplest cases in the series. There isn't much a mystery since we even find out who the culprit is in this episode. The mystery is more on finding the location so that the heroes can put an end to this insane gambling. Now the best part about Double is that it knows when to balance things out. By that I mean if one thing is low there will be something to replace that. Usually this is done with more plot development or if it's more of a filler episode, it will have something strong with simple presentation. Now Double has shown it's comedic themes before, but since episode three's case isn't all that much compared to the previous case the comedy really comes out strong here.
What I love about Double's comedy is the physical side of it. Now I will say I'm a fan of smart writing with witty dialogue. There can also be a strong sense of direction for telling an actor how they should be portraying their character. Double has wit to it, but what really delivers the comedy are the performances themselves. There are many images of Shotaro's faces around the internet along with many other characters. In this episode mostly anyone had a funny face, Jii, Akiko, Makura,Watcherman, the culprit, and especially Shotaro. There is also more than simply working with their faces as well like how Shotaro shoves both Jii and Makura to talk to Wakana. When he gets to that point he acts all flirtatious and having this bold appearance. After that he starts to skip out of the building with glee since he got Wakana's autograph. Again Renn is easily the best actor in the show as there will be many more excellent performances to come from him later on.
Along with the comedy the series starts to establish more of the side characters. Watcherman gets more of a scene as we find out he's a blogger. I know that isn't much for character development, but since he always loves to take pictures of cute girls for his blog really does show what kind of character he is. Along with that his looks are quite unique... not saying he is ugly, it's just not the most usual look you will ever see. Also we get more clarification on the two police officers as one is nicknamed Namakura because he is dull and that is pretty true. This side character does get angry a whole bunch of times, but compared to many other side characters he is quite dull. So again that is just some clever comedic writing right there. Jii was around as well as he talks to Shotaro with calmness like usual. Again I just love these personalities as it makes the most minor characters have some enjoyment to the show which every character should be doing or be embracing some sort of emotion of story progression.
This case's character is Yuuko as she is a victim of the casino. It seems she was a nice and gentle girl who worked alongside her family. A cool part of this episode is when Phillip talks about the family as their business makes a Fuuto only dish. Again these little things really made the city of Fuuto feel like its own, learning little details at a time to get a tight grab onto the viewers. Either way there is a complete transformation of character as we first see her as the nice girl working hard. Then after one day of being at the casino, she completely changes into a rich snob. She even smacks people in the face for not getting her the right jewelry, which again points to some nice physical work, it's much smaller, but again many shows can ignore the physical elements. Good job on the costume and makeup direction as well since Yuuko even looks completely different. Even if Yuuko smiles it's a completely different look and feel to her. Step by step the little details for many things can really build up on character and setting.
I mentioned before on how the Gaia Memories really grow along with the city and this episode shows that off as well. The villain is in head of the casino and of course his memory has to deal with greed. All I can say the Money Dopant is much better than most of the Yummies and Greeed from OOO. Before OOO completely destroyed this concept, the Money Dopant did a great job of being a unique monster in the franchise. First, it starts to show that not all of the memories will be combat orientated. Gaia Memories just contain special powers that can do things no normal human being can perform. Along with that, the man who is the Money Dopant, Kaga makes his victims really break down and change their personalities. We see one of his victims becoming homeless pretty much as he needs to pay off his debt and sadly he didn't make it in time. Money can take the soul of another and use it for his own personal currency. I even love that he gets a big belly from getting souls which easily represents that gluttony and greed work alongside each other.
Even if the Money Dopant is not a fighter he can still be a threat and that is thanks to the man himself. Kaga also has a funny appearance to himself and yet he can still make people afraid of him. He's this short little man with goofy hair and facial hair, those eyebrows are something else. He even has a sadistic yet fun way of showing people that they lost. When Kaga went to get a full payment from his victim he treats the situation like he lost a sport or something. Literally Kaga even smacks him on the face like three times in a funny manner. I guess his appearance can have a creepy vibe to it as well cause when this guy smiles, it makes me laugh and yet disturbed at the same time. I'm just saying this, Money is one of my favorite Dopants and this is only episode three! It may not be for fighting as he literally skips when he is getting away from the heroes. He is so confident in himself since he holds peoples' lives in his gut, again very literal.
As for Shotaro and Phillip in this episode we do get an interesting pivot point for them already. With Phillip he starts to question about his family and where they are. He even starts to have an interest in an actual human being and has this affection towards Wakana for some reason. With Phillip, he starts to overreact with the idea of his family as he blanks out at the worst of times. It even gets so bad that Phillip blacks out in the middle of battle. Shotaro ends up seeing Phillip's thoughts about his family and even before that he starts to worry about Phillip. So these two are showing compassion for each other compared to last time with Shotaro punching Phillip. Sadly this is only the beginning of this arc so there isn't too much to dive into at this point.
For the action, it was quite low and even when the fighting was going on it ended up being more comedic. This is because Money Dopant is not a fighter as he ends up fleeing or resorting to cheap tactics. Double actually had to hold the Dopant down on the ground and it ends up becoming a little slap fight at that moment. There was even some action on top of a bus and I can't really recall the last time Kamen Rider had fights on top of a vehicle like that. Money though only gets on hit on Double before he gets Phillip to black out. The fight was heavily one sided and that was the point, we also got to see more of Metal along with Cyclone this time as it's great for deflecting projectiles it seems. I also the love how the effects worked in this episode as they are small changes to what is happening. The flying coins, Money uses go quite fast and the tint of gold really establishes that quickly. When Double goes into Cyclone Metal there are simple wind motions around Double and his weapon. Then the rest of the fight focused more on how Double uses the weapon and not resorting to too many effects. Again even if the action was lower it ends up being good thanks to good direction.
Episode three is simple, but there is nothing wrong with that. The episode contains a whole lot of fun and in the end it is still well made. The comedy was at a strong point and there was an overall great presentation. Even then there were some nice little developments with Kirhiko and the Sonzaki's, but I will save that for the next episode review. I give this episode an A since I will agree it's not perfect because some of the effects could have been done better, like the CGI animation for the motorcycle.
Next Time: Santa and Clay Doll

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ressha Sentai Toqger Episode 12 Review: Imagination Deus Ex Machina

For this episode of Toqger everyone, but Right has lost their imagination and cannot see the train anymore. Can Right save his friends so that they can all board the train and make Zed's experiment a failure.
First of all this episode doesn't show our red warrior like a god! This was a focus episode for Right and at first I thought he just ignored the hypnosis because his imagination was stronger and all that, but luckily that didn't happen. Emperor Zed wanted to test Right and see if he can do anything to make his friends back to normal. Now I will say there was a deus ex machina moment in the episode which I will cover later, but it wasn't because of just Right. Right struggled through this and him just interacting with his friends didn't snap them out. Sure the actual reason for why his teammates come back is confusing and just falls into the stereotypical area. At the very least it didn’t paint their leader as a deity. Now was this episode good... no.
I am still having trouble to really find things to talk about in this episode and even just following how the episode plays out doesn't even help me out. The series still has this bland taste to it as most of the episodes play out like one would expect. I mean really this path wasn't anything special. The problem occurs, exposition from the villain, Right trying to talk to his friends, sudden deus ex machina, and fighting occurs. The series is not really doing anything different as the main hero's story is just gaining back their memories while it seems the villains are going through more character development. I'm not saying the villain's development is good, but I can tell there is movement at the least.
So I will discuss on how Right saves his friends because I'm really trying to get what happened there. Right starts to figure out that the passes he made for his secret base ended up connecting the team. So all he does is look at the card and I guess his imagination made the cards appears for everyone else. Then the final rule of the secret base was to always help. I guess that was the kicker in their memories? The part I don't get though is that don't the heroes already remember this? I mean even when the heroes were hypnotized they still remembered about the secret base and the rules. Why would just seeing the card again make their imaginations come back? Again the writing was going straight into a wall so this had to happen, but this really just lead to pointless suspense. This is something that happens in this series a lot! Maybe the connection is that when they were kids making those rules those were the times they had their imagination at the highest potential. Again this was nothing, but a deus ex machina as the series almost ran into a wall with this plot.
Everything before the heroes coming back then was just plain boring. I wasn't mad or anything, but sometimes being bored is worse. Again with Kyoryuger and Go-busters, I didn't like the shows and yet I can say they are worth analyzing. Kyoryuger was a battle for me as it went back and forth as I do feel the series did have great potential if certain formulas were changed. Go-busters was a mess when it started to constantly change around themes and motifs and yet that is more interesting to look into. I'm not saying Toqger is worse than said series just because it's boring, but I can say I would rather watch the previous series because at least thinking about them feels worth it in the end. So what else happens, oh Zed spices up the evil base with spotlights and a disco ball because he loves those sparkles! Even the monster with the cool design ended up being nothing special since he was just the loyal bodyguard and ended up dying because of personal pride. Reminding me of villains I guess I should cover that thing then...
Well I can at least Zed is doing things because of his obsession though. I'm with Baron on this, if Zed didn't have this sparkles obsession we would probably have some dead heroes right now. I know villains do this from time to time, but some can get away with it because they really think out their plans. I mean imagine if Right did get hit by the dark light and was hypnotized the series pretty much would have been over. Zed just toys around though and again this is the big bad of the series... so yea I do not like Zed all that much right now. I mean even a plan that could at least progress some of the plot like the whole amnesia story with the Toqgers ends up doing nothing! Then there was Gritta as she is thinking of killing Zed so that she cannot be his bride. I think her original plan of just running away worked out better though as she only got caught because she went to Zed directly. Even Schwarz just comes out of nowhere when he was sent to find Gritta. Now Schwarz is starting to figure out that Gritta could be admiring him because he found his old handkerchief on her, man he is blind. Also Zed sees the sparkles in Gritta so he starts liking her and kisses her on the cheek, this is creepy!
Just have this burned into your minds.
All that is left is the action as even that was nothing special. The heroes reunite and fight the MOTW with the usual flair. I will say there was one big flaw when Right literally swung at nothing. It wasn't even off screen or anything like that. Right literally threw a grunt down a hill and yet he still swung in that direction after blocking another grunt's sword. I guess the grunt was supposed to be there and just didn't get there in time, was this just a one cut method or something, take more than one cut if there is going to be a flaw like that. Then they switch colors again and use the finisher that barely ever makes sense, but hey it's all about imagination! Even the mech fight was really stupid because Right just has the idea of combining all the trains together because it seems their imagination is at the highest potential! So we already get a clustered mech and it looks awful like many clustered mechs. It's just Toq-oh with a new head piece and the three other trains just slapped onto it. There are even pieces that just extended from the chest as they look so fragile. The new helmet looks silly too, nothing with this mech looks right! I'm amazed the poor suit actor can move in that thing. So the reveal of this mech is just clashing swords, one cannon attack, and the big finisher. Again I'm amazed the thing can move as I was just expecting the cannons to be firing the whole time. The finisher is then a complete copy of one of Go-ongers' finishers, but with trains.
There isn't really much else to say about this episode as these episode reviews are turning more into rants. It's the only way I can find to actually talk about this series though because what is given to me is bare to nothing. The heroes' development is really low and even if the villains are getting more it's not any good and not that much larger. The fights were the same old except for the clustered mech which was just a mess to watch. This episode gets a D- as the main villain is really doing nothing all that new for the series and so far I think his presence is making the series worse right now.
Next Time: Diesel and fire... why doesn't that sound right?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Kamen Rider Double Episode 2 Review: Half Boiled

Sorry for the little delay on Double, I'm really trying hard to work in a daily schedule for my episode reviews, but it's been hard with recent events. Not saying I am having a tough time or anything, I'm actually really happy it's just being happy does take up a ton of time. Either way let us continue with Kamen Rider Double as another Dopant has appeared and it takes the prime suspect for some reason.
While the first episode of Double was clearly bringing exposition in a great fashion, it now knows what to do next for the follow up episode. Now Double does follow the two episode formula, but the series really works with this well thanks to the cases. Each case doesn't feel too long as it's a great amount of focus leaving room for likable minor characters and knowing where to live the important details. Episode two shows that in many ways because while Shotaro is putting this case to an end, we are also shown who the villains are and expecting someone new into their family. The episode then doesn't give too much exposition and just starts filling in the gaps of information that episode one didn't explain yet. Meanwhile during this, Akiko is much silenter in this episode as she is getting things and as I said before she is clearly showing the audiences' thoughts so around this time the people watching should be catching on as well. There are even some subtle details this episode puts in and you can see them if you really remember the first episode or the overall series itself as I will easily mention those in the review. Overall the second episode is a perfect follow up thanks to how it keeps on going without stopping at any point.
Phillip gets a bit more screen time in this episode and things start to get interesting with his character. First, we now learn how Phillip's powers of accessing information and how he helps Shotaro with the cases. Along with that he starts to spout out more of his opinion in this episode. Phillip is straight to the point just like his information. It's a funny thing since he is a man who just reads and learns as he doesn't really have a code of conduct as of yet. The series does start to build on his humanity much more later on, but as of now Phillip can be insensitive. Now this doesn't mean he is just being a jerk to be a jerk he has his reasons. Shotaro wants to save Marina because she is a close friend of his and right there is not the hard boiled style Shotaro wants to live by. Phillip says she should be finished off since she has been consumed by the Gaia Memory. Phillip then brings up how Shotaro is actually half boiled and doesn't have it in him to be hard boiled. This really starts to bring up the most important character arc in the series as Shotaro needs to find out who he is.
Shotaro has said this many times before and the saying itself have been said multiple times in the series already and that is hard boiled. This is Shotaro's greatest struggle since he wants to be like his boss who sadly passed away, but he cannot let his true self go at the same time. If you watch Kamen Rider Skull's back story which I highly recommend you can see what hard boiled is. Shotaro is simply not that type of man since he wants to save people even if they are criminals. When Shotaro learns that his friend, Marina is the Dopant who killed the previous suspect and has been working with him before he went out of control. Shotaro is told that she herself has gotten out of control, but Shotaro still hopes that she is herself. Now Shotaro ends up delivering justice to the woman as he plans on arresting her and he does keep his serious performance. A thing to note here then is that Shotaro is mostly wearing all white which is something his boss had on when he was killed. He does start to crack up though when he had to confront Marina when she was pretending to care about the fallen man and again when Marina started to act out of character. I just love how the actor performs during these moments as he is Shotaro, there are rider actors that are great, but only a few can really be the character themselves, Renn Kiriyama is one of those actors though as I will easily bring this up on multiple occasions.
The series will also be bringing up on how Shotaro and Phillip work together. Now we can easily tell that they are used to their line of work, but their partnership still has to improve. We see the two fight for the first time and it wasn't a pleasant one. Shotaro ends up giving Phillip a punch to the face and Phillip couldn't predict that whatsoever since that was out of character for Shotaro. Now the overall Double lore does have a follow up on this as it's brought up more than once. Let’s just say Shotaro's boss had some bad moments as well. In the end though, Phillip comes to save Shotaro as the two quickly work together again and become the two in one detective.
While the case was straight to the point with no mystery, the series decides to put more focus on the Dopants themselves and the people selling the Gaia Memories. First of all I love how they show what happens to people who use Gaia Memories. Before Marina went crazy we are told that people end up losing their sanity after using the memories and yet we never clearly seen that. The Magma Dopant just seemed like a normal MOTW while the next one was clearly insane. Marina was the T-Rex Dopant and she soon started to build up a craving for human flesh when she became the Dopant. She literally says that she will eat Shotaro! It's a great way of showing us how Dopants act as the people who start becoming them end up becoming the exact thing they represent. Also for a simple T-Rex monster the series got creative with it by letting it grow a full dinosaur body, now they had to use CGI and this was 2009 so it wasn't the best, but still I give points for the creative touch. The series easily has some more clever Dopants though and it's one of the many reasons why they are my favorite type of monsters in the franchise.
So who is exactly letting these memories get into the public's hands? Well it's the rich family with fancy looking business men of course! We have seen the Sonozaki's before in episode one with their fancy dinner. We did get to see that one of them is a Dopant as well, but something is special about them. We then see more of these special Dopants and start to learn that they use a belt of their own. The character Kirihiko is also shown for the first time and we see more than his character, fan girls calm down! The Sonozakis give out these Gaia Memories for a price of course, but we don't really know their plans as of yet, pretty much it just seems like they are making money at this point. Still having the Gaia Memories being passed out like drugs is unique and again makes it easily blend in with the world of Double. It's quite funny that Marina was hiding her memory in her purse, just an odd thing to have with your other daily supplies. Then the initiation scene was quite interesting as Kirhiko gets a special belt and a Gaia Memory of his own, easily establishing a big villain for the series.
Onto the action of this episode as it pretty much saved until the end, but there was a cool scene with Shotaro. In the previous episode we have seen him use some cool little gadgets and we got to see two more of them. These devices work with memories as well, but you can tell right off the bat they are not Gaia Memories. His camera uses the Bat Memory and transforms into a camera, pretty simple and Stag is used for his phone as it transforms into a stag beetle. I do like these cool little gadgets as they do get their time to shine as well in the bigger action scenes later on. Going on then, most of the fight used CGI which isn't a bad thing and the series does use it better than how some other series both before and after. It does get bad at points like when Double himself because a CGI module, but the soundtrack and the quickness of the fight still makes it decent none the less. We also got to see the power of both Heat and Metal Memories as it's a powerhouse! They are used quickly and we can already tell that it's the power form for Double. This is thanks to how Heat Joker was used as Double uses his fist more and with the Metal having a new weapon and straight up bashing through the enemy really establishes that. Double has the best gimmick that rider series has been using lately as Double easily started that trend, sadly none did it as well as Double.
Episode two is a great follow up episode as it establishes more of what makes this series great. Phillip and Shotaro start developing and playing off of each other. Akiko's role is easily more established in this episode. While the case was simple and Shotaro knew who it was early in the episode there was the inside look at the Sonozaki's to really give the episode some more meat. The action could have been better, but I still give credit for the creative touch for the T-Rex Dopant. The episode gets a solid A has again it's one of the best beginnings to an absolutely amazing series.
Next Time: Money and Metal!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Super Smash Bros 3DS Demo Impressions


Smash news is always full of excitement and I got the demo for the upcoming game which is coming next month. All I can say is that I am blown away by what I've been playing so far.
http://herotaku.com/blog/1/entry-14054-super-smash-bros-demo-impressions/#.VBSJcPldWt0

Monday, September 8, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 38 Review: Casting Aside One's Doubt (Major Spoiler Alert!!!)

Again I have skipped another episode of Gaim because it was just a tie-in for the summer movie, I really can't say much about it. Anyways episode thirty-eight actually continues the story as Micchy is slowly breaking down and is going to get what he wants now.
Now I can easily say Micchy is a villain in the series, this episode shows though of how Kouta was correct in some ways. Micchy is completely twisted up from all the events that have been happening to him. Even in the beginning of the series there have been moments when he hated his brother and just had fun with his friends. Then it moved on to him starting to argue with Kouta and having him learn information on his own. Finally we get to him making his own plans and doing what he wants, but with all that has been happening to him he is still lost and is just a puppet just waiting to get picked up. Even though Micchy thinks he has control, in the end someone is just holding onto his strings. This is absolutely a great character to look into because even if Micchy still has his soft side for his friends, his insanity still peaks out. Literally in this episode he is smiling to Mai and wanting to take her and yet he still commands an Overlord to attack poor Peco. So I still do see that Micchy is going too far with things as Micchy is completely lost and is broken, it's actually more sad than I thought.
In episode thirty-six Micchy has done the unbelievable, he attacked his own brother and even killed him! Reduye is happy to see that Micchy has done this since her toy is going through some interesting things. Even with Takatora gone, Micchy still sees him. In their last fight, Takatora said that Micchy is his shadow, but by that he meant that Micchy what was everything wrong about Takatora. Micchy ends up taking the shadow metaphor into being inferior to his older brother. With that mindset, Micchy is starting to think he is better than his older brother and yet the doubt still lives within him hence why Takatora appears in his subconscious. In the end though having this imaginary Takatora taunt Micchy leads him to clearing his doubts. When fighting Gaim and Baron, he still sees Takatora at many points and he just ends up trying to shoot him down along with the two riders. Micchy has even become confident in himself as he decides to let Gaim and Baron go when he was clearly winning. So with no more doubts in his head, Micchy has gained more power and by himself he takes on Kiwami Arms and Baron with Lemon Energy Arms! This is just brilliant pacing as it does have a perfect path, it just still amazes me how far this show has gone.
Another interesting plot point in this episode is that the professor has returned. Last time he straight up ran away from danger, but for some reason he has returned. Ryouma even wants to work with Kouta and the others, again which is not like him. Yoko right off the bat doesn't believe in Ryouma or at the least knows that he is scheming something. Ryouma says there is another way into Yggdrasil Tower, his own secret path. I can say I do believe that he would have one, but why does he wants the rider to get into Yggdrasil? The audience and the characters can so tell that Ryouma is planning something as he is clearly being obvious since he knows the riders will go there regardless. So Duke is on the side of good for once and I can say it won't be for long. Personally I love his attitude, he right in your face and knows how to taunt others. When he knows of Takatora's death he is pretending to care just to taunt Kouta. Another thing to say is that he isn't as invincible as he was before since Kouta got some hits on him this time.
Kaito starts to take his stance more and more regarding Micchy and he has every right to now. Micchy has become a more serious foe for him and Kouta. Kaito is trying to get his message across for Kouta since Kouta is still in some trouble with himself. Kaito sees that Mai actually has her own strength and that is hope. Now Kouta easily has hope as well, but in the end it's not the same as Mai. Kaito sees the difference though since Mai actually sees a future. Kouta does have a strong resolve and is doing things with his own power and yet he is just helping others. Kouta doesn't really think about what could happen in the future or most importantly what could be in store for him. Again this is good pacing as this was brought up in the beginning of the series. Mai saw that Kouta was just helping others and not doing things for himself. Kouta did say he was doing what he wants and that was helping others and being the hero. Many people have been telling Kouta that he needs to take a stand and Kaito is the best one to do so since he could be his greatest rival someday.
Kouta is put in a dangerous situation since he knows that Micchy and Takatora did fight each other. He even finds Takatora's old belt and Lock Seed destroyed, but no Takatora around in sight. Takatora is gone and Kouta thinks that he could have to snap Micchy back into sanity by himself. Kouta is even asked about his future and he doesn't know what to make of it. To help him out, Mai wants to know what Kouta's future will be as the two make a promise to know of each other's future when all this chaos is over. With this being brought up at many points, I do feel that this could be Kouta's handicap. He wants to help people and one of those people is Micchy. During the big fight there were moments when Kouta held back. He ends up fighting more seriously though because of Mai being in danger, so maybe this could be the start of Kouta looking more into Kaito's side?
The Overlords got a scene in this episode as it's Reduye giving an update to Roshou about their plan on using humans to bring back Roshou's love. This is what Roshou wants and yet he still feels regret mostly because his race is heading closer to extinction. Roshou hates seeing his own people getting killed, but he's rather calm with his regret. High chance he wasn't like this when his race heavily declined in the beginning. Reduye though says that the starting of their extinction was because of Roshou. Reduye's proof is Gaim having the power of the golden fruit as he is seen as an enemy. Roshou is simply slowing down the humans' demise. Roshou doesn't even see the humans as being enemies since they are sharing the same downfall as his own race. Roshou would even want a human to bring a new future for them, so again this is exactly like Takatora. There is a set plan, but in the end there is still doubt as Takatora and Roshou show this and funny enough Kouta could be their hope. Since Roshou and his people are heading onto certain doom they can only do one thing left which is to help another race. Roshou is not a villain by any means, it's just sad that all of the others pretty much are.
The action in this episode was another impressive feat mostly thank to how Micchy improved as a fighter. I have to say this episode brings the Jinba Arms out of nowhere and I really have to wonder why. I guess it was just a funny thing to see since Kamen Rider Duke returned, but other than that there was no point. Gaim has two more forms that are more powerful than Jinba Arms and yet he goes to that first. So where the fight really got good was near the end as Micchy was fighting both Gaim and Baron with their strongest powers. When Micchy got knocked down he made sure to strike back. My favorite part though is how Micchy blocks Baron's attack and grabs the Mango Punisher while being thrown at him! Then I still did like the use of the area as Gaim was thrown around a good amount of times. Still seeing Micchy being a better fight has increased the intensity of the fights since he wasn't the best fighter before.
This episode was great which is what I need from the previous episode is. I love this new view of Micchy since even if he has become a more powerful foe he is tragic in his own way. The series works really well with their main characters as it's hard to judge which one has the best development. They all have their own different paths as Kouta is the pure hero, Kaito is an anti-hero in some ways, and Micchy is taking a villainous path, but even that is not working out for him in the grand scheme. Along with that additions from Ryouma and Roshou were delightful and the action was good overall with a nice sense of surprise. I give the episode an A-
Next Time: Time to storm the tower!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ressha Sentai Toqger Episode 11 Review: The Emperor Of Sparkles!

In this episode of Toqger the gang head on to a amusement park as they take an off day for the time being. Meanwhile, the darkness has been formed to make a track for the Emperor, but he doesn't seem to be around, so where is he?
I have to say this episode had much more screen time for the villains while the heroes literally had barely anything to do with this episode. I mean Right did have a little bit of things, in the end though he was just acting like himself and didn't change. So an episode with a reveal of the main villain really has barely anything to talk about that is a bad sign to begin with there. At the very least in Kyoryuger when the big bad was revealed I had much more to talk about. Wouldn't it be better for the track of darkness being formed and connecting to a town since it couldn't controlled. The team then find out there is a Shadow Line and head there to take down the usual monster of the week and then the surprise of not seeing the usual monster would have been better. Sadly this episode has useless filler throughout the whole beginning of the episode and then the emperor of darkness is just around. Couldn't this episode at the very least have a child with the gang and try to cheer the child's day up, like really this show needs to have more substance to it, especially for the reveal of the main villain!
This seems to be worth showing.... ugh
I can say I do like how the villains acted when the emperor was not on the train as they become frantic, well two of them at the least. Meanwhile Schwarz and the emperor's right hand man are completely calm. This episode does lead to the other big villains to be doing something other than being in the shadows or making a wedding dress. Reminding me of that, Gritta runs away which was expected because it's been like since the beginning of the series since she has been afraid of seeing the emperor. Again everything is just going as expected with no twist to spice it up. The villains even come at the expected time when the emperor was going to say his name because then he can say it with his henchmen around to make it a dramatic effect, again predictability ruins that though.
This lamp monster has a sweet design though.
So the emperor of darkness is around and yet I rather call him the emperor of sparkles because he just loves the sparkles! Literally he has a whole line of dialogue about how much he loves the sparkles because they are so bright. Now I can see why he takes a fascination with them since he's been living in darkness for his whole life, literally. Then what he wears is well, interesting... compared to the whole cast of monsters with a steam punk theme, I would think he would have something to represent that. Maybe his monster form will since it has been revealed that he is not human and just has that form for some reason. I can say he does get my interest which is because of how silly he is and not the fact he is threatening. Why is Gritta afraid of this guy? The series makes this guy look like a fool and then they just do the really cliche ways of making a villain seem scary. Right stares at him and his eyes turn pitch black and then he can use force powers that knock everyone down. Also it doesn't help that he doesn't even want to fight or kill off his enemies because he finds them interesting. This is just a boring way of revealing a villain as I am questioning if he is threatening or not.
The action in this show was a bit more than the usual flair and that is only because of how the villains fought. We got to see more of the generals fight and again I do like their style. Just like Schwarz, Baron and Noir still do carry their style while fighting. Noir just uses a parasol and she is wearing a dress and everything. She has very limited movement and this easily made some of the stunts a bit slow and odd to look at. Does she still have her style, yes, but it's not good for the flow of the fight. Baron has a similar style to Schwarz as both of them are swordsmen and Baron does keep his posture rather still like the other general. He does use the cane part of his sword well to trip people up or make some quick twists. Also he can even use his hat like Oddjob how can I hate that. Baron can even use his hat for an energy blast. The mech fight was pretty much the same, but with a new finisher and it's just a team up attack. Diesel-oh at the very least does something different, but Toq-oh does the same. So the action a bit more to it, but it's only a little above average.
Zett then does reveal something that was predicted at the beginning of the series, the fact that the Toqgers have been devoured by darkness before. So it's pretty much a confirmation at this point since I think a person like Zett can easily tell when people were devoured by darkness. High chance the five of them somehow escaped because of their imagination! I bet they didn't even fall into the darkness, it was more the fact that their city or station fell into it and they were just around during that time. So we have a bit of progression right now, but it's nothing big since the show already talked about it in the beginning! The ending of the episode was interesting though as Zett sends his monster to make the Toqgers not see the train. I guess his power is to cloak things in darkness since he is a dark lamp. Right is the only one who can still see the train probably because he didn't get hit by the dark light or he was strong enough to resist it. Sadly his other teammates cannot see the train anymore so what will happen now?
I'm surprised I had this much to say about this episode since there was barely any meat on the bone yet again. The series just thought that revealing the main villain would be enough to make the episode interesting. I will say it does make it interesting since we have a new character in the scheme of things, but interesting doesn't always mean entertaining. It's more like I want to see more done with him and the things they are hinting at right now. So far this episode didn't really do much with Zett other than what happens at the end. Overall this episode didn't feel like much because we literally wasted the beginning of this episode on seeing the team having fun at the amusement park. This episode gets a D+
Next Time: Reuniting never felt so good.