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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 42 Review: Hell Fruit (Major Spoiler Alert!!!!)

With Roshou and the rest of the Overlords gone, it seems like this is the time for victory, but the Overlords were simply giving the forest less time to devour the Earth. Helheim is still spreading and in this episode we start to find the reason why it's around as the characters start to express more of their views.
So let us get straight to the elephant in the room, we find out who Sagara is and the whole reason of why the Helheim forest is around. The answer was right in front of us the whole time, Sagara was the forest itself. I would say this is a bit on the crazy side, but it does make sense since Sagara can clearly change forms and him knowing of the Overlords and their whole history makes sense. Then how he can make the fruit even makes more sense since he is the forest itself. Then him being a snake is odd, but that is just an Adam and Eve thing right there, I mean there is a golden apple as well so that's just obvious. Now I am just going to look back on the previous episodes knowing that DJ Sagara was the forest the whole time, my goodness that's just weird. Overall I do like this resolution since why Sagara is doing this dives into a concept that Kamen Rider did try before.
Sagara, or by this point I should say Helheim appears because he wants to see things evolve. Again he is simply an observer and being around ends up testing the people who find the forest. This even fits with how Sagara affected the other characters by tempting them with more power like how he gave Kouta new powers. Helheim then chooses this approach since if a race fails it simply means they are done for and don't deserve to live on. The race was simply too weak enough to endure the trial of Helheim and because of that they died off just like the Overlords' race. Many times he has said that destruction brings anew and he clearly means that for the world itself. Now the concept of evolving has been done before, but Faiz didn't really do it that well or I should say it barely focused on it. Gaim is literally a show about progress and with heroes growing with new powers and the main hero himself becoming an Overlord easily shows how evolution is being done correctly. So with Helheim revealing itself and it's plan there is actually someone else who would agree with those views.
Kaito is suffering through his wounded that was given to him by Reduye, but Kaito still stays true to himself. With the Overlords gone now, Kaito reveals that he was simply stopping the Overlords reign since they were clearly stronger than humans. This was easily Kaito trying to show that humans can stand up and sadly he wasn't the one who did it, that was thanks to Kouta taking down Reduye. When Kouta realizes though that the forest will continue to spread, Kaito speaks out saying it is not a bad idea for the forest to devour the world. Kaito is simply seeing that the powerful will survive in the new world since they deserved it. Kaito even sees that the past Overlords and their race were simply too weak to take on the forest and adapt to it. If Kaito knows that humans can survive through this that is fine enough for him since a new and stronger race will come out of it. This was a great scene to have in the beginning of the episode since we find out about Sagara being Helheim as well. This was a clever way of hinting the point of the forest.
There was another scene with Kaito that soon reveals where these thoughts came from and it's something we knew for a long time in the series. Previous, Kaito's home was taken away by Yggdrasil and since then Kaito tried to find his place in the city. Kaito was showing his strength through the Inves Battles back then and even before that he was a dominating man. Again Kaito stayed the same throughout the whole series as his views have not changed ever since the beginning of the series. Things simply changed and Kaito adapted through that with those ideals of his. When Yoko finds out about Kaito's wound, even he starts to consider that he could fall in the end. Yoko asks him though about why he thinks that having Helheim spread out would be good, but Kaito simply says why not. Kaito has nothing left in this world that he even wants to save. Kaito has always been my favorite character in the series and that still continues because of his views and what continues to strive him forward even in a world with nothing of value to him. Kaito lives because he is strong and that strength alone will keep pushing him and for him the strong ones are those who are rewarded.
Mai is then becoming a central role of the plot thanks to the golden fruit being planted inside of her. The fruit is having a strange reaction on her body and will be changing her into an Overlord. Mai is given a new role though, she has become the bearer of the fruit and she will decide who will have it in the end. This is when Sagara reveals himself by telling both Ryouma and Micchy that the fruit was given to her by him in a technical standard. Helheim appears before Mai in her subconscious telling about how it's not her role to see things till the end. Mai was one of the people who didn't want to see the world end, but now she cannot stop it. Again Helheim tells her that the future is coming and nothing will stop it and for something to begin anew something must be destroyed, wow Gaim is even doing Decade's story better. So I have a feeling that the Mai we have been seeing was trying to stop the events from happening as she could be from a different timeline since fate does have its way of grabbing people.
Micchy starts to have even more issues now since everything is crumbling before him. Ryouma even finds a way to use the poor boy to his. Ryouma gives Micchy a new Lock Seed, the Hell Fruit which will drain one's life for great power. If Micchy uses this he can stop Kouta since he will clearly have Mai offer herself to save the world. Micchy simply wants Mai to be around him and with that resolve in him he takes the risk. Before heading off to fight Kouta though he has another interesting psychological moment. Micchy is starting to see that he was doing nothing in the grand scheme of things, he was just in the way. Micchy even starts to wonder what he was fighting for and can't even remember Mai's smile clearly noting that he has lost his way and cannot find a way to turn back. Takatora's ghost then appears and tells Micchy that he has been betraying people and nothing else. Again Takatora's ghost is simple Micchy's guilt manifesting in Micchy's imagination. Micchy will die for Mai though as he decides to use the Lock Seed even if the idea of his death leading to nothing as of a result in the back of his head.
Micchy finds Kouta and uses the new Lock Seed as it changes Ryugen's look. First the green coloring is replaced with red and the new form looks like a combination of Grape and Kiwi Arms. The new looks really shows a dark form nicely with the use of red, green, gold, and black. Red clearly takes the whole color scheme, but with the other colors filling in the eyes and other design pieces, it really feels like a hellish form. Also I do love how this gives Micchy a new way of fighting and to make him actually be more of a threat since we already saw what he could do with a strong resolve before. Again Micchy has lost his mind and yet he still has a resolve thanks to that as all he wants is for Mai to live on. The fight then with Kouta and Micchy was good with showing how strong the Hell Fruit is. Micchy doesn't hold back and uses its powers multiple times. The form even gives Kachidoki a run for its money, but the fight ends when Kiwami comes into play to be a cliffhanger.
Episode forty-two simply works with the buildup of Mai having the Golden Fruit and now things keep building up. There is Kaito who wants the forest to devour the world and Marika is even joining him with that ideal. Micchy has gained a new power and with his resolve to save Mai he will die for her. Then there is Kouta who has to deal with all of these events going on. Just how will he save Micchy or could he have to deal the final blows to his former friend. The drama in this episode was nicely done except for Kaito's scene with Yoko since the rain was a little too loud and got distracting at points. My favorite part would probably have to be with Micchy because there was nice use of camera focusing and Micchy's actor showing the character breaking down was well done. Overall this episode gets an A- as the next episode will probably end of this payoff, but just gives us even more and I can't wait for that.
Next Time: A new Overlord?!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 41 Review: Roshou The King Of the Overlords (Major Spoiler Alert!!!!)

The time has come for the riders, they finally meet the king of the Overlords, Roshou. Kouta and Kaito head to him to save Mai, but what is in store for them? Can these two actually stand up to Roshou and what of the Golden Fruit?
This was an intense episode that really packed way more action than a usual episode. This is clearly where the series has been building up to in the previous episodes. Micchy starting to fight with no doubt, Kaito already in the game and still staying strong, and now even Kouta has found his resolve. Is it really possible for Kouta and Kaito to actually defeat Roshou and gain the Golden Fruit, no they couldn't. These two were defeated with barely any effort from Roshou clearly showing the powers of the Golden Fruit. What's even more shocking is that Roshou didn't even have the fruit in his hands during the time of the fight which I will cover later. I was confused on the fact of how he could be able to use the Golden Fruit without even having it, but I guess once someone takes a bite out of it, the powers will stay with whoever took that bite. This is one powerful fruit for sure since Roshou really shown what the fruit can do like even creating new life!
As I said before Roshou doesn't have the Golden Fruit anymore, but that doesn't mean the riders got it. Mai is the one who has gained the fruit thanks to her words giving a clearer insight to Roshou. Roshou was talking about how lonely he was since he lost everything and he won't help anyone because of that. Roshou saved many of his people for naught and even the one he loves is lost. Roshou thinks she lives in regret for giving the fruit to him, but Mai says something that gives him some insight. Mai tells Roshou that his lover trusted his words since he was doing an overall good deed and Roshou remember that she did give him the fruit for that purpose. Roshou had a strong idea, but his resolve wasn't the strongest. Roshou knows now that he can at least give the humans a chance by planting the fruit into Mai and sending her back to Earth. Roshou has now done the task his race can only do now and that was to give the humans a chance to survive and prevent a future just like theirs. Again Roshou clearly shared traits that Takatora had, but he also resembles Kouta in many ways since he was also a hero trying to do good for the world. He even attained the Golden Fruit to do so just like how Kouta is trying to get it.
It's amazing that Roshou only had this fight in the entire series unless you count him killing Sid as a fight. Roshou didn't pull a single punch when facing the two riders and my goodness it was amazing to watch. In many series I have watched the heroes always have a comeback, but that didn't happen at all for this fight. Roshou stayed in the lead because of the power he has gained. I loved all the effects being used as I can tell the budget was waiting for this moment. Thanks to this being in the Helheim the effects come out better and my goodness there were a lot. Roshou had lightning attacks and his force powers as well had this lovely blue tint to them and I loved seeing the blue tint shining onto Roshou's white body. So many things looked natural for Roshou to have which really helps with special effects, when they actually look realistic for the show's world. Even the effects from the riders were top notch like the simple yellow laser arrow that Roshou grabs and uses against the riders. Even the orange flames looked amazing as they completely covered the rider's bodies, this is also thanks to good lighting works while the effects are being used, making them actually look like they are there. There were even simple touches from Roshou's blade getting a bright blue on them just worked perfectly for this fight.
Even when Kaito is taken out of the fight things still continue well with Kouta still standing up. First of all, Roshou is really not holding back this is a fight for the Golden Fruit and he will kill anyone who is not worthy. Kouta stayed up longer than one would think considering since Kaito was defeated quickly. Roshou could even create new life and use Inves to attack Kouta and he still fought his way through. In the end though Roshou was far too powerful and even with Kwimai Arms, Kouta lost and even his Lock Seed was destroyed in battle. Roshou does die and by Reduye's hands as she sneaks an attack on Roshou and even pulls the fruit from his body. Sadly the fruit Roshou was holding wasn't the real one and causes Reduye to completely kill Roshou while demanding to know where the fruit is. Kouta is beyond furious with Reduye as she has been going too far for too long and he is going to put an end to that.
Before getting to the next and final fight for Reduye I want to mention how much the acting was near perfect. Micchy and Reduye got the crazy part hands down with Micchy completely breaking down. Even good visual signs with his hair in a mess and his eyes red in many shots really shows the state Micchy is in right now. Reduye even had these happy moments when she thought she had the fruit in her hand and then quickly transitioning to manically killing Roshou with an angry voice was perfect. Roshou kept his stoic yet harsh voice in check which I always loved. Kaito and Kouta were really experiencing pain and they sounded and looked liked it. Many people were really dead on with their performances, even Jonouchi and Oren were!
The final fight for Reduye was another good one thanks to the strong use of effects in this episode. Kouta has achieved Overlord powers from the last episode, but now he has full control of them. His eyes glowed red and he even restored his Kachidoki Lock Seed from when Roshou destroyed it. The song, Kiwami Escalation was playing during this song and it's a good song and I will easily get more into that when it's played for a longer amount of time. Still seeing Kouta using the powers of the Overlords were amazing as he defeats Reduye with ease. I mostly love the part when he uses Roshou's sword thanks to the vegetation grabbing it for him. There was more of a simple effect with speeding up moments which were quick and shown with a little blur, but still quite effective. I will say though having the same finisher done on Reduye did make the fight feel a bit anti-climatic though. 
Other things that happened in this episode were the end of Micchy fighting Kaito as the two ends up just punching each other in the face while yelling at each other. I do love the fact that Kaito was telling Micchy's problems and then those words are put into Micchy's subconscious as his brother's ghosts comes back. Takatora tells that Micchy is the only one is not worth anything which comes from Kaito telling that Micchy is only lying to himself about how he thinks about Mai saying Micchy just wants her as a doll. Again Micchy had these bloodshot eyes and it really worked into how crazy Micchy has become. Later on he does fight Jonouchi and Oren and props to them for surviving, I knew they would, but still give them some credit. The two had some trouble with Micchy, but they had a funny moment when Jonouchi literally becomes an acorn missile and launches himself at Micchy, it even knocks him out. I do like though how Jonouchi is picking up Oren's confidence as it's creating a more likable personality for him.
Overall this was a strong episode that ends most of the payoff, but yet there is even more build up put into this episode. Mai has the Golden Fruit now and Micchy is freaking out and even Ryouma is worried about this. Then there is the fact that Kouta is getting up those steps for his goal while Kaito for once stands back and is left in shock. The show is really going to get stronger even with the end of the Overlords and their race. I do have to say though this episode had a strong ending with seeing Roshou's lover at the end seeing him to the end as they both rest eternally. The episode gains abother A because there was that one anti-climatic episode and some hiccups with the effects even when the majority of them was good.
Next Time: The Final Lock Seed

Friday, November 7, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 40 Review: Destruction Or Salvation? (Spoiler Alert!!!!)

In episode forty of Gaim, Kouta and Ryouma find the hostages, but Reduye has something in mind for Kouta as he shows him his fate. Will Kouta accept whatever his fate is, or will he break free and finish his mission?
There is no doubt that Reduye is the real mastermind anymore, she has been on the ball with her plans and in this episode she almost got Kouta in her grasps. She tries to show Kouta that he is becoming an Overlord which is something that Kouta does want, but he never realized that being an Overlord would mean becoming an Inves. The Inves and even the Overlords were what Kouta has been fighting for the whole time and just saw them as the enemy. Kouta himself is becoming what he has been fighting and even what he has been searching for since he did try to convince the Overlords to help the world. For once Kouta is put into someone else's shoes for a change and Reduye finds the best way for this role reversal. Kouta becomes the first Inves he had to fight which was Yuuya and now Yuuya has become Gaim. I do have to wonder how Reduye knew about this, but I bet it's because she dived straight into his mind so she saw his memories or maybe Micchy has been telling her? Either way this was a devious plan thought up by Reduye and it really gets Kouta to start questioning himself.
So with Kouta in the role of the Inves he starts to see that having power will have consequences. While Mai is with Roshou, Sagara appears and starts to tell Mai of Kouta's fate. Since he could gain the power of the forbidden fruit, Kouta only has two choices. Those would be to save the world and leave himself out of it or save himself and change the world in his view. Reduye even shows Kouta this by having the Inves attack civilians and telling him that this can be his own world. This whole concept of showing Kouta this point of view was great since it really went back and forth. There were times that Kouta tried to stay his real self in this new world and then being seen as a monster and actually going along with it. The reason why people would fight Kouta is because he has too much power and that would break the balance of the world. Kouta already having a small sample of the forbidden fruit is breaking that law and thus he is changing already. There were signs of him not being able to eat normally and by the end of the episode we see that Kouta has control of the forest's vegetation. People are already afraid of monsters to begin with and just knowing that is easier to understand than actually understanding the situation.
This really dives into the idea I have brought up before in my previous review with the ideas of how heroes are portrayed. Many people would say the means justify the ends, but in the real world the ends stay true the most. Kouta would have saved the world with the power he gained, but the people would only see him as a monster in the end. Kouta has to understand that people will be afraid of him because of that power and there have been heroes who faced this struggle before. This really reminds me of how No More Heroes shown Destroyman, a superhero who just loves to kill and that just shows the end results of some of the so called heroic deeds of heroes. How Gaim works with it is similar, but they completely throw out the hero idea out of it. When Kouta breaks free and fights the Inves in the illusion he simply says that he is on a mission. Kouta is not sacrificing himself for the people as he is doing this for himself. Kouta wants to save the world and he will not ignore that part of his mission. I bet he does understand now that people will be afraid of him no matter what. In the end though Kouta wants to save the people and the entire world which is what he wants the most no matter what.
In the previous episodes people have been asking of him of how far he will go to save the people. This is the moment that really shows that Kouta will keep on going now. He had to fight his former friend in an illusion and he still accepts the fact that he is no longer of this world. Even if Kouta saves the world those he has died will not come back. He gets a better understanding of how much he needs to do and this actually starts building a parallel between him and Kaito. I have mentioned before that Kaito already has this mindset and he really takes that to an extreme level. Kaito will change the world in his vision and will have people follow him. Kouta in the previous episodes even wanted Kaito to be the one to change the world and yet he doesn't know if Kaito really wants the same world that he wants. Kouta just knows that Kaito can change the world and now Kouta is starting to understand that he needs to be the one to save the world and not just simply change it. I bet Kouta won't be as aggressive as Kaito and yet he will start to do things with only himself in mind. Again Kouta is on a mission and he won't let anyone stop that mission.
Reminding me of Kaito he did get some moments in this episode. First I would love to mention how he frees the hostages by simply breaking the machine with his foot! Everyone tried to release everyone at first and then Kaito just gives the machine his boot! Again this really shows how different Kaito is, he knows the end results and will aim for those. Then there was him fighting Micchy which I have to say there was a cool camera moment for this episode. To avoid showing the two transforming with all of the effects they simply had a pan out shot of them running while starting up their transformation. As the camera goes off of them then, the two appear in their armor in the middle of a clash. Again this was for budget reasons and yet this was a cool way of getting around that as we could imagine what happened ourselves which is always a good sign for camera work. The shot was straight and simple and when it goes away from the scene we can still tell what is happening, again the world of the camera is large and many things can happen even if we can't see it. Going along Kaito straight up tells Micchy he is being used and yet the boy thinks he is using them. I really do love how Gaim gives the audience a chance to learn what is going on and then the show itself will tell the answer at a longer point of time just in case for those who didn't get it and can then look back and realize when things started.
Episode forty really focused on one thing this time and it deserved all of its screen time. Kouta learning that power causes fear is something he needed to know of. With how Kouta fights back in the end was fantastic and he is clearly staying on track of his mission. Again the show is really working the concept of heroes and villains and is trying to break that down. One can easily been seen as a hero or a villain, but that doesn't matter. The end result is what really matters and as Kaito said before those who have power and use it will change how things play out. They are the people who change the world even if they have bad intentions or not the world will simply change for them. Then there is Kaito who is trying to break down the idea of destroying the rules of the world and most importantly the rule of destruction itself. This episode gets an A for giving Kouta another strong moment in the series and really making him one of the best main characters in the franchise.
Next Time: The battle for the forbidden fruit!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy 60th Birthday Godzilla: Gojira Review

Today is an important day for the Toku genre, the reason why this genre exists has just turned sixty years old. It's quite amazing to think that the idea of suit action and a whole genre of special effects started sixty years ago. On November 3rd the original Godzilla film premiered in Japanese theaters and it's the start for a filming icon and it's still as strong as ever thanks to the new film. Also even though I do have some personal favorites of the franchise and for just movies in general, but the original Godzilla film still stands to me as one of the most timeless films thanks to it's how the effects were used and the use of the overall dark tone to show how nuclear warfare affects the world.
I can still watch this film to this day and it was a more of a recent discovery for me. With the new film coming I wanted to marathon through many Godzilla films and I found that I had the original film and both versions as well. I know I had to start with the original even though my memories from the past were getting bored, but that was when I was like in my early teens. Going back to the film really opened my eyes and again is one of the darkest films I have ever seen, but it's not done with excessive gore like how some people see dark now these days. The idea of being a dark film needs to have a dark theme first of all, you cannot just have death with no point. This film finds a way to fit a massive amount of death and actually still give off the dark feel. I have seen what people call dark now these days and it doesn't compare to what this film delivers that is because of the themes and messages it plays with.
For those who don't know, World War II was a big deal and it caused massive catastrophe for many countries. Japan got hit with atomic bombs and the idea of Godzilla was to show the effects of nuclear warfare with a monster. This idea of having a monster symbolize a dark theme has been done before with King Kong showing slavery, but I find that Godzilla using the nuclear threat theme was just better in general. This is thanks with the use of the characters and I am including Godzilla as well. Many times the monster was just a monster and just rampaged through cities and destroyed everything in site. Godzilla follows this, but how the movie shows it is different. Godzilla is who he is because of the use of nuclear bombs and even though he is a giant monster that can destroy cities, he still suffers. Godzilla is still an animal and it cannot help itself if it's going through the city and causing destruction. Godzilla is heavily tragic and then all the destruction he causes onto the people is tragic as well. The movie easily shows the suffering that both sides will have with nuclear warfare. The people are killed and deal with losing their loved ones and even the one who attacks has to suffer as well. What's even more sad is that the humans have to fight back so it's just violence on top of violence and even in victory the humans still lose in a way.
For the human side of things there was the character known as Dr. Yamane and Dr. Serizawa as these are the two most iconic characters from the movie. Yamane was a man who simply studied Godzilla and he is the one who gives us the most information about the monster. He knows that Godzilla is a creature that suffers and he sees the people struggling to survive. Then there is Dr. Serizawa one of my favorite characters in any movie, he is a simple character and yet he is one of the first iconic tragic heroes I can think of. This doctor kept himself in hiding as he found something interesting after his time in the war. It's called micro oxygen and he soon finds a way to create a weapon with the new element. It's far too destructive though and he knows the world isn't ready for it so he keeps it in secret. In the end he knows the weapon will kill Godzilla and he decides to use it, but he offers his own life to make sure no one will ever re-create the Oxygen Destroyer. So the people lose a great scientist, a man who could have benefited society and he had many people who cared for him even though he stayed secretive. Also the film ends at a great point with Yamane saying if nuclear testing continues as so, there could be another monster like this which just puts a final slam on the overall message of nuclear warfare and testing.
The film also has a great way of it's special effects and yes this movie is sixty years old and I will still say it holds up. This is because of how the suit moved along with the black and white cinematography. Godzilla to me looked like a monster the whole time he was on screen while the other films shown him in a much different view. The original Godzilla though was an image of horror and remember he symbolizes the atomic bomb, imagine how scary that must have been for Japan during the time and I bet that horror can still hold up. The whole dark imagery just works greatly with that idea as the scenery even works well with that idea. Flames are covering everything as things start to crumble, this is a real way of having things to be dark. It's not edgy, this is actual darkness and a real way of showing a different form of horror. The film makers had to do things differently with how they presented the monster as they wanted to do what King Kong or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. They had to go with a suit and I find the movement being slow fits the idea of a monster actually going through a city since it's not the usual environment the beast would be used to, also the whole being gigantic thing doesn't help either. Overall the effects were just the beginning of Toku and it's also one of the most groundbreaking moments for special effects and that cannot be ignored.
The original Gojira film is a masterpiece and I don't know how much I will say that in my life. This is a film that started a franchise that I see really evolved with the times. Godzilla then continues to be amazement to movie goers everywhere even if every film wasn't as great... (I'm looking at you Godzilla's Revenge!) The franchise did continue to have great moments of films as it did continue with some other masterful films like my all time personal favorite, Godzilla VS Destroyah. I don't even need to give a rating to this film there is no grade that can show how much this film done right and how much it means to the whole film industry, the fans, and myself. If you haven't watched this film I highly recommend that you do and with Godzilla coming back to the theaters with two sequels to theaters in the future. This is the film that started everything that I mostly love in entertainment as I hope it can continue to be a legendary film even after forty more years.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 39 Review: Storming The Castle (Spoiler Alert!!!)

In the previous episode of Gaim, Mai has been kidnapped by Micchy and he has completely lost it. Now Mai is in Micchy's grasps and that means she is closer to the Overlords themselves. Kouta wants to save Mai and now he has to trust one of his enemies to get into Yggdrasil Tower, Ryouma Warring.
Micchy at first was slowly going down the wrong path, but now he is clearly going down that path faster than ever! Micchy is still dealing with seeing his brother and even have arguments with him and he even offers his friends to be offered for Roshou. Things look bad for the kid and Kouta still wants to save him and I high chance even Mai feels this way also. She is seeing him at his worst and yet he thinks he got everything all wrapped up. Then there is the fact he is talking to himself and making himself angry, I can easily see how people were very split about this character. For one he has done a whole lot of wrong things, but again Kouta did as well even though he didn't know that Yuuya was an Inves. For many superhero series the saying "the ends justify the means" is highly used. Gaim though is breaking that down with just having the ends since Kouta still accepts what he has done as a sin. The same can be said for Micchy for his wrongdoings and everyone can redeem themselves later. I mean look at Kaito as well he uses power for his own use and he clearly knows that in the end he will have to do something that is labeled as horrible. Kaito doesn't mind because in the end his power will change the world as so he thinks and now Micchy is having that same thought process, it's just that Micchy is dealing with many psychological issues as well so he's twisted for that reason. Kouta has been told to change the world with his power and yet he still wonders how far he has to go and hopefully he can find that reason soon.
To really bring things to a full perspective about what I am talking about there was a scene in this episode that really shines. Ryouma makes a comment about how Jonouchi and Oren are probably dead from the horde of Inves. Kouta gets mad and starts acting irrational, but cannot still bring himself to punch Ryouma. Kaito though stops the argument saying that Ryouma is correct and yet he still gives him a punch to the face saying that he shouldn't be that cruel. Again Kaito knows that there are no means and the end is what stays true, but even he won't go as low by not respecting anyone who sacrifices themselves for any cause. Ryouma then is very much a man who just wants the end for his desires and he will use anyone to get to that. This series just opens up how "hero" characters just work by bringing out many different traits for each character. There is Kouta who is the noble hero who still wants to stay true to the idea of the hero by saving everyone. Kaito is the monarch, but not a cruel one he understands that people will do anything for a cause and some die for that and he will keep moving and have people follow him. Kaito has shown his view on what other people think though and if they got the power to do so then they are strong in their own way like we have seen his scenes with Mai. Then Micchy is the one who struggles and cannot find his path so he tries to go on both and when one completely breaks he will zoom through the only option left. I just hope this just stays true throughout the rest of the series.
Reminding me of Mai she is left in Roshou's care because Micchy knows that the others will be coming to save her. Even though Mai is in the forest and is left to hang out with the ruler of the Overlords she stays calm. Mai knows her friends will be trying to save her and she still has trust in Micchy. Roshou is confused and wonders why Mai still does trust him and her reason works with the theme I've been talking about. Mai simply says just because someone betrays you that they could still could be trusted. Many times betrayal shows a complete change of character and Micchy does change, but he changes too many times. If Micchy does find his way he could become a better person. Kouta killed someone before and yet he is still acting like a noble hero and wants to atone for his sins. Meanwhile someone like Kaito has been fighting Team Gaim in the beginning of the series and even ruled over the competition during the Inves games and yet he got people to group up together because they trust his power. Micchy though is still being a trusted fellow because Kouta and Mai know that he can be saved.
There was also a scene with Ryouma that really got my interest as well as he talks with Kouta about bonds and relationships. Ryouma says there are people who put great value in bonds or put no value in them. Ryouma is simply a man who is "afraid" by that he clearly means that he only wants to worry about his own life and his desires. He uses Kouta as an example, he says that Kouta should abandon his family and friends and not even worry about Yuuya's death because that way the stress will be gone. Kouta simply says he cannot do such a thing because those bonds what made him powerful and keeps him going. Ryouma just wants his own desires and will barely let anyone share his desires if they don't feel the same passion he does for power. Also Ryouma is a fun character, he is the mad doctor and he loves it! The best episode to show that would be the Kikaider episode because the glory that is Ryouma putting his brain into Hikaider is outstanding!
I mentioned that Jonouchi and Oren offered themselves for the cause and it seems like that because they had to fight many and I mean many Inves! If they did die there (which I bet they didn't), that would be a great glorifying moment for them. Now Oren being a soldier in a past it would make sense since I bet he has seen others do this during his time in the conflict. Jonouchi though is a different case; he was a coward for the majority of the first part of the series. Now he is going all brawn along with Oren and can actually keep his own up. Also knowing that these two won't die I want to see how they got out of that situation, did they really defeat all of those Inves? Either way it was a cool moment for these two minor characters and again moments like those makes any character memorable or luckily it was a good moment.
Along with that there was a bit more action compared to other episodes which is fine since there was enough character work in the previous episode. This episode is setting things up and yet following up on aspects as well. The whole heading to Yggdrasil Tower and having Mai with Roshou will lead to something big, We also got to see more of Micchy being crazy and being lost on his path. I usually see one or the other happen, but having both is hard to do. Episode thirty-nine does that well and even with the bigger focus on action there was a glorious amount of it!
I loved how Baron, Marika, and Knuckle have a fight together as this is pretty much the new Team Baron. Even with the fact they had to face many CGI models this episode knew how to do this and that is by throwing all of the CGI! There was a whole lot of it and that makes it hard to really focus on the models, but that's not bad. You know what they are and what is happening, but not getting the full focus actually helps since the CGI is not the best. So by throwing more it can create a bit of chaos, but that can be exciting in its own way. There was also the use of Watermelon with Knuckle as I love the idea of watermelon knuckles! The better fight was with Ryouma and Kouta though since we got to see more of Ryouma. I love the idea that Ryouma toyed with his own Genesis Drive to make him strong since that makes sense. He is a scientist and not the best fighter so he just gives himself some boost to make himself stronger than the usual warrior. Ryouma even makes his finisher has a big difference to it and it's such a cheap tactic. He summons images of himself to distract the enemy and then he sends the final arrow at them, how cheap is that? How Ryouma fights simply fits his character and he is a mad doctor who loves to take cheap shots, I love it.
Episode thirty-nine as I said before was a more action based episode, but they did know how to cram the important character plots as well. There is a great amount of set up for what is coming up as I can tell the fight with more Overlords is coming! Ryouma was absolutely glorious with how vile he is since he has a funny way of presenting himself. Then this episode is really making the themes easier to see as that could mean the really big moments will be coming since there aren't many episodes left. Still this episode gets an A- because even though it did feel good, there was a bit too much crammed in.
Next Time: What the HELL?!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Update For November

This is probably the most least active month for me ever. I'm really sorry I have been dealing with a job promotion, classes, and other surprises like yesterday I saved someone's life. Hopefully this next month will be when I bring my A game though. I will continue to work for Herotaku so make sure to check out the website frequently to see if I got a new article on there because anything that isn't Toku will be on that website, I also post my Toku related content on there as well, but anything non-Toku is exclusive to Herotaku. I will give you my plans for what I hope this month will bring. First of all any episode review starting on November 1st will be Gaim only. I'm going to finish Gaim so that I can head onto Double/Drive. Now for those wondering I will be skipping Toqger for episode reviews. This is because the show is just draining me and reviewing that series is one of my most painful experiences of reviewing for this site. I will get a full series review like I did with Go-busters, just don't expect it to be a positive review... I do plan to do more month specials after November and some could be for Herotaku only as of right now I am doing a Smash Bros Special for Herotaku and it will end sometime in November. Who knows I could even try to stream some Smash Bros when the Wii U Version comes out as I will make an update on that when I make my choice, could be a day one release stream. Overall, I am planning to get back into motion so I'm sorry to active readers for not getting as much content as before, I'm coming back with a bang folks!

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?