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Monday, September 26, 2016

My Current Thoughts On Kamen Rider Series Part Three

Alright this one will actually have an easy theme to work with. I am focusing on the three shows after Kamen Rider Double, but I will go in order of Wizard, Fourze, and OOO. There is a very special reason why I am going to save OOO for last. I will admit I know the flak I got for loving Wizard when it was originally airing. Now as you can clearly see, I still have Wizard in the background because one I am lazy, but the other reason is that this background was made by a friend of mine so I will probably keep it because of that. For Kamen Rider Wizard, out of the three I will be mentioning this is still my personal favorite. I can easily agree that one of the other shows is stronger and that is the difference of a favorite and knowing when something is just better. Again that is all opinionated and if you feel your favorites are the best masterpieces around, you have the freedom to say that. For me as a critic, I need to know my personal favorites because it helps find out who I am and then just knowing what is simply a more well put together program is important for analyzing. Then both of these are important for when you want to recommend shows to other people. So let us actually get to the topic of Wizard and why it is still my personal favorite out of the shows that came after Double.

Kamen Rider Wizard
Why does Kamen Rider Wizard stand out to me as a person? One thing is that I may not be big on magic based heroes, I do love it when they are done with jewelry, weapons, and summons. A great example of this would be M.A.R not the best show, but it was fun to watch what different types of powers and magical weapons there were. In terms of designs, Wizard stands out with the jewel concepts and I love the use of black to make the other colors stand out. For the beginning of the action, I was a big fan of the action, Wizard had a great style of fighting and I will admit, when he got more powers some of those fights did lower in quality. There were some bad uses of CGI and there were good ones as well. I still enjoy the reveal of Water Dragon and the use of the Dragon summon fighting against the Phantoms inside others. I feel the Phantom concept was stronger than the Worms because of how they complete erase a person and will still have their memories which makes them extremely dangerous because of how they can interact with others. The story of how things simply went out of control because of one man's ambition is cliche I will admit that, but in the end the main story was not the focus of the show. Now that is a flaw in itself and it is hard to ignore. To me though, Wizard did have a strong focus on their filler episodes because of the concept of hope and despair. Haruto was helping out others to find their hope and while Haruto did hold onto his to become Wizard, he still needed to find some answers on his own. I find the show to be extremely helpful in regards to facing your despair and sometimes it does require a helping hand. Kamen Rider Beast while his story was simple, I can say his process of becoming a selfless person was fun, encouraging, and bit of a learning experience to how people can change. I even enjoy his motif of being a stage magician which inspired me to create a rider with the same motif, Trickster. No one in the cast actually bugged me and while some characters were wasted like the Mages, it was still a fun concept and had moments still. So with Kamen Rider Wizard it does hit many personal spots for me and it made it special for me to watch and I still remember many of the episodes and moments the show had. If it did focus a bit more on some story points we would probably have a bigger focus on the Mages and the White Mage, but in the end I am still happy to what Wizard was. So for my personal thoughts, Wizard still comes off as an A, but I will admit the show is a bit more of a B or B-
I still keep my opinions about Sora/Gremlin.

Kamen Rider Fourze
I have to say that with some great talks with my fellow Toku Warriors, mostly Janitor Joker. It did give me a bigger appreciation of this show. For Zolda, he extremely loves this show and when I first saw it, I did enjoy it. Now these days I am still rather mixed, but I see it in a better light than I originally did. It is hard for a show to do multiple characters that effect a story and that is probably one of Fourze's biggest achievements. The Kamen Rider Club was full of colorful characters and all had their own importance and even crucial story moments. For many the whole friendship angle can be beaten to death and while Fourze does follow it, the show performs the concept to where things feel nice and warm. By that I mean that the show can surprisingly be strong in showing how friends our made even if these people are completely different. Gentaro who dresses like a punk is actually the nicest person around and he makes a unique group of friends. We got the jock, the cheerleader, the goth, the spaz, the genius, the talented one who first starts out like a bully, and then someone who hides his pain. It really collects a lot of tropes and it has been done before and yet Fourze still has a nice smell to it. It felt natural for the most part in regards to friendship and it does not stop there are many others that Gentaro befriends, even teachers! Now something similar to Wizard, I did enjoy the concept of Fourze's weapons as well. Some were a bit silly and were not even weapons and yet some can be used for different purposes. My personal favorite is the Pen Switch because it was bizarre idea for a weapon and I wished it was used more. I can admit though some were just tossed out. The show did experiment around with them though as one of my favorite moments is when Fourze is just boarding along with with his claw. Cosmic States really holds up to be one of the best final forms around in terms of design and powers. Now one thing that did hurt the show was the villains. I am not talking about the Gamou and his loyal men, Libra, Virgo, and Leo. The rest of the Zodiarts were a bit lackluster though. When Cancer first came into the show, I enjoyed the hell out of him. The fun did not last long though and he was taken out by one of the most ridiculous forms and attacks in Kamen Rider history. Scorpio was good as well and had a good twist on who that actually was, but again when you keep moving on, you soon just forget about it though. Other Zodiarts were then just used for MOTW and while were still good, it would be more amusing if they were bigger villains in the end. The switch use got mixed up a bit in variety which was good and Meteor still had some awesome fights even if his character did just kind of stopped after his story was resolved. At least they still have Ryusei some funny moments and a girlfriend that all the fans want! So overall Fourze and Wizard do have similarities, but Fourze did have a more concrete story. So it is around the B+ area.

Kamen Rider OOO
I remember when I first watched OOO and I can still see my initial thoughts on the show. I praised it pretty well back then and there is Maki who I put as my favorite villain. I have to take back both of these claims. First I have a bone to pick with OOO in regards to what it did to Kamen Rider. We all remember Foundation X from Double. Riku Sanjo wanted to make the new Shocker and while Fourze did bring them back, sadly OOO easily caused a problem of not using Foundation X. There was even a connection in Kamen Rider Double where the foundation was researching the medals. What do we get in place of them, Kougami. While I love the guy's voice, what is reall his purpose in the show? That is pretty much what OOO is, what is the point? Eiji was a traveler and because of his past he did start to have desires, we learned that, then it takes like how many episodes for it to come to fruition? Eiji has a character was quite questionable as well because he is just watered down Godai and I can't believe I put this guy in my favorite characters list before! The Greeed were weak as villains and I still keep true to that. They got heavily ignored when Maki became the big villain and to be honest it is pointless as well. Literally it could have been anyone else who had interest in the Greeed. Then there was Maki's backstory with his sister and I remember originally liking that, but in the end that does not really connect to much. Things just happen in OOO and it just feels cluttered and messy. The whole concept of OOO was poorly handled as literally medals are thrown to the camera because you need to buy these things! The designs for OOO were messy when it was random combos and I will admit I personally like the random combos more though. The use of their powers had to be thought out, but even the writers gave up and just focused on the main combos. I still like most of the main combos as well, but some got overused and others were only ignored for budget reasons. The show just feels poorly planned because I do like the first Gatakiriba fight, but after that this form is so underused. At least the movie did something silly yet cool with that form. We even have Hina and her only connection to the story is because of Ankh using her brother's body and that was just by chance. I will say that I did heavily enjoy both Gotou and Date. Both Kamen Rider Briths were simply fun to watch for me. Gotou was a hero in progress and Date was the hero already that got to teach Gotou. It is Torodoki and Zanki again and while those two were better in the categories of, effective fighters, better development, and better weapons. Still Date was extremely fun as a character and gave the show the best humorous moments. I just feel bad for Birth in the end though, they just never stand a chance in any battle and yet Gotou could take down like three Greeeds when he first became Birth in the show. Then their is Ankh, I still like him and him becoming a threat later on was not shocking, but still fun in the end. Ankh slowly become more humane was enjoyable because meanwhile other Greeeds were just being... dumb. I can believe that Gamou was dumb and yet everyone else was not smart as well. The show's pacing is horrid, most of the fights were forgettable, the concept of OOO's powers are poorly handled, most of the characters are just boring, and yet it sold well. If you want to see how OOO could have been done well, just watch episode three and four of Kamen Rider Double.
Now do not get me started about OOO during the War movies!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney First Turnabout Review: Mr Did It! (Spoiler Alert)

I will admit this, I found a new series that I am just going crazy for right now. I started playing the Ace Attorney series last month and I have already made a huge jump on that. I got through the first three games and the spin off title with Miles Edgeworth and as of right now almost done with Apollo Justice. Now while I could review the whole games in one go, I feel like that will not do my new obsession justice. So for the time being I am going to review all separate episodes from all the games. I feel like observing and talking about each episode of the series will really help paint out what the games are doing. They are clever with tons of charm and the very first case does a great job of highlighting that. So get ready to slam some desks, it is time to review the Ace Attorney series!
I guess I should put this here... all of these reviews will have SPOILERS!

For the first case of the franchise we deal with Phoenix's friend, Larry Butz. Already you can tell the names of the many characters will be full of puns. To start it off is Larry Butz which is dead obvious and this will not be the only time we shall meet him. So what has happened to poor Larry? He is on trial for being the suspect of murdering his girlfriend Cindy Stone. Larry is a defense attorney's worst nightmare as Larry is screaming it is all over and that he will just turn himself in. This guy is just trouble in one package as there is a saying for this guy, "If something smells it is usually the Butz." Now since this is Phoenix's first trial, his mentor, Mia Fey is here to help him. Phoenix took this case because of his friend and even though Larry is essentially screaming his is guilty, Phoenix knows he is innocent,,, or at least until he starts to get tricked. I loved how Wright started out, he is a bit dumb and just starts to buy any story he hears, but luckily Mia is around to smack some sense into him.
The first ever prosecutor Phoenix has to tango with is Winston Payne who is known as the rookie killer or at least he was. Payne already starts out playing hardball by getting Larry to burst out. He display the facts that Larry's girlfriend was actually not that loyal to him and to be frank they have already split up, even though Larry is in denial. Cindy has been known to have some sugar daddies and Larry was not happy hearing about this and even says the next time he sees her he is going to make sure to he finds everything out while yelling, just great. Then Payne brings his eye witness to the stand, Frank Sahwit and if you have played the game already or at least seen the first episode to the anime, we already know that this is the true culprit. So with that knowledge that he is the killer, it is up to the player to direct Phoenix to making sure this man is arrested. At first though he buys his story about seeing the body, way to go Phoenix!
 Thanks to Mia who gets Phoenix into cross-examining the witness, we find out a flaw in his testimony. This is the meat of the game, looking at the statements of the witnesses and seeing if we can break them down or simply add more information to them. Frank says he say the body at 1 PM and that is already a lie! The time of death was 4 PM and presenting this information gets Frank to think of more lies. Again thanks to how we already know this guy is a criminal gets you thinking of how to break his case. Then if you get one lie, the lies will keep coming. To prevent getting caught, Payne tells the court that he heard a television say the time which is why he thought it was 1 PM, but again this is not possible again. There was a power out during the time of the murder so there is no way he could hear any television! Frank now says that a clock told him the time and it was right on the table, but there was no clock! There only thing on the table was the murder weapon itself, the statue of The Thinker! This little statue will be a major player for another case which I am surprised how much this was used in the story. Catching someone's lies is extremely fun at this point because you just keep breaking someone down and just waiting for him to commit his crime, but everyone is so stubborn in this series!
For once Payne himself actually says something that actually helps him at this point and reveals the statue is actually a clock. When the head is turned, it will tell the time. So this is actually a clock and who made it you ask? Larry Butz of course! Still there is one big problem with this knowledge. First the clock itself was three hours slow and how could Frank know it was a clock. This is when you start dealing the big blows to his testimony and start fully accusing Frank as the murderer! The only way one can know it was a clock was to use it, which means Frank was in the apartment. Then with the time being three hours slow, Frank must have heard the clock when he used it as a weapon which left an impression to the murderer. With those blows Frank loses it and throws his toupee at Phoenix and starts screaming about this accusations. Frank saves himself though by saying there is no proof that the clock was behind three hours on the day of the murder and with that, Phoenix case is broken, or is it? The final showdown now occurs as Phoenix finds evidence that the clock was actually ahead and not backwards, why because of Cindy Stone being a traveler! Cindy was in Paris and had the clock with her during her travels which means the time zones were different. The clock was actually nine hours ahead and she did not adjust it when she got back and by presenting her passport, it reveals everything! Frank starts to foam from the mouth, passes out, and is quickly arrested.
 To end things off, Larry is still sad by all that has been revealed. Larry's poor heart is broken, but thanks to Phoenix presenting the clock to him it does actually shed some light. Cindy must have thought Larry was someone at the least because she carried around this big clock around with her. With that Larry feels a bit happier and already hits on Mia (oh Larry!). Larry even gives her a present which was another Thinker clock that he had made. With all done, Mia starts to wonder about Phoenix's past with Larry since Phoenix has said because of Larry and another friend of his, he owed them for helping him out and it was what soon had him thinking of taking this career path. Phoenix does not to get to tell the story yet and will he ever get that chance to begin with?
Even if the first case is extremely easy compared to everything else the series will throw at you, this is still an extremely fun case. It plays with the basics extremely well to get anyone the feeling of how things will go done, Usually if someone is on trial there will be hidden information and if you are defending someone, you should be defending them. Having Larry be the first one to defend is fun and annoying at the same time. Larry has some great funny lines, but imagine being his defense attorney, that would be a nightmare to deal with. Then there is already good amount of humor being thrown around, like the toupee for example. Then the heart racing feeling of catching a criminal along, just makes you want to scream "Objection!" There are even some great lines like "Well Mr Sahwit, or should I say Mr Did It!" I will say the only flaw would be how the prosecution did not even stand a chance, Payne is weak compared to anyone else you will face, but that he is why he is tutorial case material. Overall it is a fun first case that gets the huge fundamental of objecting presented and shows of these trials will be going from here on so it gets an A.
Next Time: Husbando Alert!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Current Thoughts On Kamen Rider Series Part Two

Now we are back here again, talking about my current thoughts on the Kamen Rider franchise. Now the last time I discussed about the rider shows I really love strongly to this day. Double, Kuuga, and Black. I feel these three shows show great strengths of the eras they were part of. Now I am missing the original era and I know Black is Showa as well, but I feel Black shows new light of the Showa era while the originals had their own thing. Again I will be watching some of these originals, I have seen Amazon and will be watching the original series, V3, and Stronger. Now I am going to change focus on shows I do not think lightly of. I will be honest I have been getting some negative vibes just in my overall life so I feel talking about some in my eyes are bad shows can help me out. There is ton of material to talk about with these shows so let us get straight to it.

Kamen Rider Ryuki
Now even back then I considered Ryuki an average show and there is still a good amount of things that I actually really like in this show. One of them being everyone's favorite psychopath, Kamen Rider Ouja. He was a straight up murderer and even though the show tried to give him a backstory and it was silly, I just end up loving this character for being a murderer. I even like the aspect he brought to the Rider War. The riders were not dying so the war was going on for too long, so the man who started it puts a murderer in the battlefield because he knows bodies will drop because of the murderer. Then there is Kamen Rider Zolda as well who I got to appreciate a bit more from recently playing the Ace Attorney series and talking with my fellow Toku Warrior, Zolda. Zolda was an attorney who would win a case regardless if it was right or not, he just did it for the glory, fame, and riches. Again with Ouja I personally like how he stays true to himself, but this time I can actually respect him as a person. I even like the bond he shared with his assistant Goro. Overall I feel these two characters are good reasons that make the show a bit more tolerable than some others I will be talking about here. There are still minor characters I like as well like Imperer and Taiga, but they were not big focuses compared to others. Now there are some problems with this show, first there is the ending which I will not spoil, but it is a cop out regardless. I hate endings that just ruin absolutely every aspect of the show. I did like Ryuki what it had to do with death, but the ending just ruins that aspect. Now onto the main characters themselves, I do not hate fully, but they can get annoying to me. Shinji does have some arrogance to him even if he is trying to do good, but that leads to a whole other question of what is good or bad that I will not dive into. Renn is then a bit too all over the place. At some points he can be the cool cold lonely solider which I do like, but then out of nowhere he will be hot headed like Shinji and even hold himself back because he has not yet fully committed to what he is doing. Even though he is fighting for a pretty noble purpose in his regards. Then when these two bicker it just stalls the show! Even if the show stalls itself, the actual story is bland with barely any surprises. Then the other problem with Ryuki were some of the effects, I know this is a low budget show during the early 2000's, but they did get lazy and just went to the special effects which look laughable at times. Now there are good moments in terms of effects, designs, and suit action too. I really do like Zolda and his Mirror Monster with their onslaught of the possibly biggest bullet storm around. I really enjoy Imperer's finisher with the use of his herd of mirror monsters. Taiga's has those cool claws and even drags people all over the ground with them. Now bad effects that I get a laugh from is Ouja's CGI body doing the kicks in midair and Gai hopping onto his monster for his finisher. Again I will still say the show is mostly an average one as it did have a good idea putting the Battle Royale concept with Kamen Rider, but I do think the amount of riders should have been less and not just having some for a movie! Then the actual main plot is thin and the closer you get to the end of the show it really starts to fall apart.

Kamen Rider Faiz
Faiz is pretty much this heavily ambitious show, but in the end it becomes a punching bag for us fellow Toku Warriors. I know my friend Janitor Joker really loves to talk about Faiz, he easily will take jabs at it, but he can admit the show was trying to do something. I will not lie I can see these aspects as well. Kiba was an amazing character until a certain part of the show which is pretty much near the end. The whole aspects of the Orphnochs and how they wanted to be the dominant race was a great idea. There were different aspects shown with these creatures. There was Kiba and his group which did not want to be part of the murder spree, there was the organization wanting their goal to work and will get rid of traitors who do not help them, and then there is just monsters. I personally love it when there is like this other faction having fights with the heroes and themselves, it just makes things a bit surprising. Then there is Kaixa, again usually the biggest punching bag of the entire show, but I personally like this character a great amount. He has a struggle with trusting others and when things are not getting done in his eyes, he will do it himself and he ends up making things move along in mostly bad ways. Now for the hero and his allies... yea they are all annoying in their own ways. Takumi I find to be to distant only for the sole fact of hiding plot points, but I do like the idea of his struggle. Mari is a bitch and that is all I have to say and I am sorry for the language, but I had to. Then there is Keitaro... he is useless all around. I hate his guts, I hate his comedy, I even hate his love story which really got insane in that crazy book! Now some other problems with the show are the villains and the lack of explanations all around! There is also the terrible ending which I think is a reoccurring theme for these three shows. Smart Brain is well confusing... the belts which they made make no sense since they are being made by Smart Brain which is secretly an Orphnoch group. Why would they make belts that could end up being used by humans? Wasn't the sole purpose of the belts to be for their leader? Which brings me up to the leader of the Orphnochs... what a lazy and quick way to reveal a final villain. To be honest having the Dragon Orphnoch as the final villain would have been better, I don't like this guy because he just does nothing except be threatening on the battlefield, but at least he was this constant threat in battle. The King just appears and he is just powerful, deal with it. The final nail on the coffin for me though is the constant use of all of the rider belts! You think IXA and Thebee had it bad, you have not seen Faiz. Belts are just passed around to everyone. It just just a gimmick in the end for the show and it got annoying. This is even the first rider show that really just threw around new powers like they were just toys. Again the show did feel gimmicky all around, but the aspects and ideas are good, it is just the execution that ruins them. I do not even like the majority of fights, but I can say when they used CGI effects it was better than Ryuki, but it did use them a bit too much. For designs I pretty much like Kaixa and Horse Orphnoch the most. Overall Faiz is an ambitious mess.

Kamen Rider Kabuto
Kamen Rider Kabuto is so the 50/50 series for me. I can actually like it to a high degree at times, but then I start to think differently because of seeing something I missed or remembering something. I go back and forth on this show, but I feel that this stays true at least to me, that Kabuto is the most over rated rider show. Now I can see why people can like this and it really fully depends on how you feel about the characters. Tendou is arrogant to the point where Shiji is jealous of him. I do remember even back then I said he had his share of struggles, but to be honest it does not last long. Tendou is just this perfect heaven boy and it really gets annoying. Then there is the lack of explanations for about everything and I thought Faiz was bad with this. Things will just happen in Kabuto and the reason for the most part is, deal with it Tendou walks the path of heaven. With the other characters then... yea they are not much better than Tendou. Kagami is not the worst, but he can be annoying and to be honest I liked him when he was Thebee. Personally he should just have stayed as Thebee since in the end Thebee is just thrown away so why even make more rider systems if you are going to ignore one. I feel bad for Thebee, he is one of the worst treated riders. The user for Thebee just end up getting new systems and the last guy just uses it for reasons and did not keep it for reasons untold. The whole conflict with Thebee users is just ends with the Hoppers and yea... I still hate these guys. They add nothing at all to the show! Kamen Rider Drake is underused as well, but he also does not serve much story purposes if any at all to begin with. Gatack is just around because Kagami needs a rider system now even though he had Thebee, but Thebee went to someone else who ends up not using it as well... Dark Kabuto is just Dark Kabuto and again barely serves any true purpose, you will literally say "Hi Dark Kabuto, bye Dark Kabuto" many times. I will say the only rider I liked in the show is Sasword and it does matter if you like his comedy and I do for the most part. I like his relationship with his butler and his story actually has some importance since it connects to the Worm. He is also one of the few characters that at least tried to teach Kabuto something. I say tried because Tendou is just Tendou no matter what. ZECT is even more confusing than Smart Brain because there is never any real reasons for why they do things! Why use the Zecters, why create so many, why try to capture people who use them, but not for the company, and why even bother to try anything since their track record is the worst. So with all of that said, at least I like the fights. I like the whole Clock Up aspect and there were even other Worms that had better versions of that. How the backgrounds would slowly move was nice and you can tell the budget was used up for this purpose. Other than that... there is not much saving the show. So as of right now I am not a fan of Kabuto, but who knows I could change my mind again because I go back and forth with this, but at least the show is not the movie because the hell with that movie!
How much do I hate this movie? Maybe a review could be needed...

Since I mentioned some of my fellow comrades here is the overall blog page. (
Now for the Twitter Accounts

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Current Thoughts On Kamen Rider Series Part One

I have watched a large amount of Kamen Rider shows, but there have been times when my opinions have changed. Now I will only be covering rider shows I have fully finished which means a good amount of Showa will be left out, but I have been watching the original Kamen Rider (halfway through), V3 I need to get back to, and Stronger is on top of my watchlist. Still I will go in order for how I see fit. There are some that have not changed as much so I will probably bring those series up first.
Kamen Rider Double
Throughout the years I still love Kamen Rider Double, I will say my overall favorite Toku has changed to Metalder, but I can still find new aspects of Double to respect. Still Double is my favorite Kamen Rider series as I wish some current rider really follow in its direction. The show had a unique style and yet still gave tribute to the series before it, mostly the Showa era. The mystery angle the series had yet a bit predictable at times, were still fun stories to watch. Double personally did the best with the two arc style that Kamen Rider picked up thanks to the little mysteries. Sometimes they were not mysteries, it was even straight forward, get the criminial cases like with Arms Dopant. The Dopants in general are still to me some of the greatest monsters in rider not only because of design aspects, but just in terms of characters. Some were a bit complex or completely insane and the degree there was to them was unpredictable. There were basic ideas like Magma and T-Rex, but then we get to Money, Liar, Terror, and even Utopia. Then even when the concept was simple the show found ways to make them surprising like the Weather Dopant. This was thanks to giving unique properties in both design and abilities. What made Isaka stand out was how far he went to gain his powers and even upgrade his own, again in concept he does have a mixture of elements and hence his powers should be weaker than one that fully focuses on let's say the element of fire, but Isaka made sure to make each one stronger and kept that balance too. Then there were just many other surprises all around, the Sonzaki family with how they treated the Nasca and Claydoll Memories, how Accel ended up connecting to the big puzzle, and the dynamics of Shotaro and Phillip. There is even a grand amount of backstory that just helps open the world of Double which has not been achieved in current rider after it, maybe the closest was Gaim. Still in the end Double has just many of my favorites and most are personal and I can see where some might find disinterest. In the end, I do not mind because still to this day I keep watching it and finding new things to think about.
 Also Skull's story is still by far the greatest in modern rider to me, it captured everything that not only made Double strong, but just Kamen Rider in general.

Kamen Rider Kuuga
As I said before, Double is my personal favorite rider show, but I cannot lie and say that Kuuga is the rider show of the Heisei era. Not only did it start the revival of Kamen Rider, it is still by far the most ambitious the franchise has ever got. The whole show itself was changing Toku in general as it does break many traditions. As my good friends and I talked about before, Kuuga can just be a surprisingly good cop show. The police are a major focus in this show and it is great to see them be as brave as the main hero. There are many scenes of them trying to figure out how to stop the Grongi and even solve their little puzzles and without them Kuuga wouldn't stand a chance. Then along with good world building there is so much flavor text all around the show. So much detail is put into about everything! I simply cannot ignore the amount of work the show had. Then there were the amazing use of filming, it is a great use of angles and watching things flow. It is one of the few Toku shows that remembers about how things stay in motion even if it is off camera. Still one of the best moments of the franchise was when Kuuga fights the Hopper Grongi, a great use of slow motion with an intense build up. This just all blends into a perfect show as I barely find faults in the show. Again Double is my favorite, but I cannot ignore the presence that is Kuuga.
Kuuga Ultimate is still by far the best rider design.

Kamen Rider Black
Onto another cherished classic in the franchise, Kamen Rider Black is up there with Kuuga in terms of how much it meant for the franchise. The creator of Kamen Rider, Shotaro Ishinomori really made sure to make this show stand out and the same for the concept of Kuuga. Black took the first step into mutants being used along with cyborg technology to create a Kamen Rider and then in the 90's we get the first pure mutant rider, Shin. One big thing about these first three shows I mentioned they all have a cast of actors that just worked the best for their characters. Shotaro played by Renn, Godai played by Joe, and Kotaro protrayed by Tetsuo. These three actors define their characters and I bet other actors could try, but I bet if I could compare those three would just beat all others who try. With Shotaro he gave such a lively performance, Joe really brought the fun and mature side, and Tetsuo brought the hero into Kamen Rider Black. While Renn is my obvious personal favorite for a rider actor, Tetsuo is still the best. He had everything needed for this hero. He had the appearance and the voice to protray the character. Along with good acting from a main lead, the action of Kamen Rider Black is still some of the best in the franchise. A great use of strings and camera work really makes Black stand out. Now I will admit like some other Showa riders, the focus on the kids can get a bit annoying to me, but hey this is a kids show so it makes sense. Black also broke some ground with the use of Shadowmoon as there have been evil riders before, but Shadowmoon polished the concept greatly with him being a strong fighter, a parallel to Black, and the whole brother story works with their struggle. Then in terms of an ending, Black has pure beauty and sadness with its ending. The concept of loss is strong with Black and it never lost that vision.
So I pretty much started this little series with my top three favorite Kamen Rider shows. To be honest I do not know what will be for next time because I legitly just did this at random. I just typed all of this up in less than an hour. I just got bored and couldn't get anymore sleep, a bit funny if you ask me.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Kamen Rider Amazons Season 1 Review

Hey I am actually talking about current Toku and in its entirety! Only because this was like thirteen episodes long and I had a blast with it (not the way you are expecting though). I watched this with my friend and fellow reviewer over at Toku Warriors and you can go see his review on the show ( Now my friend and I had similar responses to the show, some different, and many jokes (mine being better). I will say a quick way to say my opinions on this show is how I describe my reaction for Shadow the Hedgehog, EDGE LORD!
Now I am fine with edgy shows or premises here. Recently I just finished Zero Time Dilemma and that game is full of death, betrayal, misery, and chaos. Amazons clearly has all of those things, but how it presents it is boring and uninteresting. The color scheme of the show needs to not take pages from director Zack Snyder and actually have more color! I hate it when a show or movie just goes with the terrible grey filters. There is nothing wrong with having color in these types of shows. Personally color can actually make things more savage, like the color red which the show mostly uses it only for Amazon Alpha (because his suit is red, got it... moving on). Anyways the use of the grey filter is done horribly because the show can literally forget when to use it. I remember in the final episode that the filter jumped on and off the screen and it is obvious because things looked brighter all of a sudden. Now one can say it was meant to do that, but if the filter leaves for a second and then just pops back on, something tells me that was not supposed to happen. Then there was the funny addition of giving Omega's bike the lion’s roar sound effect. I remember yelling at the bike to shut up because the roaring would not stop. It just kept playing the sound effect every time the bike would show up on screen!
Then for the gore of the show... it is weak. This is a big reason why I call this show an edge lord because it is trying so hard to be edgy. Yet for some reason the gore in this show is low. Most of the blood in the show is Amazon blood and that just looks like black tar or green goo, something that video games had to do to get around certain video game ratings. I guess now these days gore is just gore no matter what the color is. To me the real gore is red blood and the show does have it sometimes, but when it does they get rid of it right away. Like when there was a pool of blood on the floor and when it starts to spread out, it is black... what? It is even worse when the camera focuses on the open wound for a brief moment and you can tell that the actor is simply wearing a black shirt to make it seem like it is an open wound. I know this show is lower budget, but this is where camera work can be used to avoid little flubs like that.

The original Amazon was not afraid of the gore
Before getting to the plot of the show then there is like two more things I need to cover with the ascetics of the show. First off, many of the designs are bad to okay and with only one great design in my opinion. I agree with my fellow reviewer and pretty much everyone else that Amazon Alpha has the best suit design of the show. Hell I might say he is one of the better rider designs for the franchise in past five or six years. Now for Omega... he is the reason why most of modern rider designs are horrible. To me he just looks like he is made of plastic and trying a bit too robotic which for Amazon should not happen! The monster designs are just boring overall, I will say though the caterpillar Amazon took my interest because it actually worked with a cocoon design. Then as I said before the other designs are just forgettable at best and sometimes I had to wonder what creatures some were, oh and one had nipples for some reason.
The final ascetic would have to be the action of the show and yea... it sucks. In the whole show there was barely any fight that impressed me. A part of that has to do with the lack of gore for the most part. Still many fights will just end with no big payoff. A big example would be how a fight was escalating and then Omega just hits it with his bike and boom! The direction for it was terrible since Omega was barely even going that fast. I will say the fight that was at least something was where they were surrounded by Ant Amazons and Omega just went all out because he was showing off his arsenal and killing off foes by tearing and splitting others in half like the true Kamen Rider Amazon. Now what slightly ruins that and some other scenes in the overall show is how the bodies move. I swear a Photoshop master would love cropping images from this show since it is funny how the bodies are placed in the action shot. Now there is the execution team which I will bring them up again later on, but their fights go the same way for the most part, just shoot, shoot, oh and have the girl just stab the monster a bit with the knife. I will say I did like how they were implemented with Amazons like Omega and Mole, but still their style is the same and sometimes they barely do anything that is impressive.
Now for the plot of the show, the whole story of the show is simply unoriginal. Include the aspect that it is trying to be edgy you got a cliché show with both concept and execution. The reason why the Amazons are even a thing is because of science! Yup a bunch of scientists let the Amazons cells go out to too many people and now we got an infestation. There is even a scientist who used it on himself which is Alpha and he is out to kill all Amazons because he feels that it is his responsibility. For Omega he is a caged bird, wait a fish stuck in an aquarium (don't want to confuse the two) and just finds his Amazon to finally wake up. If you thinking this sound familiar, then high chance you have played Resident Evil. Things even get worse as there are conflicts for no reason, philosophy is going back and forth between characters, then top it off with (SPOILERS!!!!) scientists trying to achieve the next step of humanity. So this is a blended mess of Resident Evil, Kamen Rider Ryuki, and with a bit of Gaim mixed in. None of this was even a surprise because of how the company was acting towards the situation and it seemed like they were letting things be and that is pretty much what is happening. Even the identity of Omega Amazon is straight up predictable because of how his mother treats him.
Then reminding me of the characters I can say I only like a handful of characters by the end of this season. At first I liked Jin (Amazon Alpha) because he had a sense of humor with this terrible situation and was actually doing things for the most part. Jin never walked around with his philosophy, he knew what he wanted to do and he would die for that. Sadly by the end the show just paints him as the villain even if he is fighting for humanity, but he is crazy so that makes him the bad guy. Meanwhile Omega is just this confused child, at first he wants to kill off the Amazons, but then he finds out they are people too and will only kill the bad Amazons. Even though for most of these Amazons their awakenings are sort of out of their control and some try to find ways around it so they do not cause chaos. Even when one of the main Amazons eat someone, Omega simply goes "It is okay to eat people, it is kill or be killed, but maybe we can find a new way," way to jump around there boy. Then for the execution team, I like them. They are simple characters as most of their back stories are surprisingly a bit subtle. I like how unknown these people are like the captain who does have some family issues, the sniper who is trying to help his mother, a young girl that simply helps at a daycare, a con man with his luck turned around and people taking his money, and then the Mole guy. The Mole Amazon was actually a nice character and I can say looking back he had a tough path of him trying to stay away from being awakened. Mole loved being with the team as he found new friends within that and so did the others by the end of the show.
Overall Kamen Rider Amazons is a show that goes back and forth too many times which cripples the pacing of the show. You know it is bad when the show ends without anything finished, but hey there is second season coming up so let us just end season one with nothing. Add on the fact the show will actually shy around the gore and will have bad effects for most of them anyways. The only thing that can actually brighten up the show are the few amount of the characters since the main character is just confused, many of the scientists are just cliché scientists, Jin just goes crazy, but the execution team is what dragged the show to at least not be a complete failure. Still this is not a good show in my opinion as I give it a D. There are few good things here and maybe for the next season they can focus on those more and then fix some major issues with the effects. Still I had fun laughing at this show for being edgy which kept me watching it so you can say I also got some guilty pleasures with it. The final thing I can say is that at least the theme song is awesome.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Choujinki Metalder Review

Just like with anime, current Toku has been giving me some issues lately. I still liked some of the Kamen Riders like Wizard and Gaim, but with Drive and Ghost I lost interest. The last great Sentai for me was Gokaiger, but I will admit watching Kyoryuger still felt like it was worth my time. After Kyoryuger, I gave up on Toqger not even half way and Ninninger got no interests from me at all. I am hearing great things about the recent show from my good friend Fantasy Leader, so I will give it a shot when I can. For now I want to go backwards with Toku and watch the ones that caught my interests and most of those shows are Metal Heroes. The Metal Hero franchise has some great concepts to their heroes like Jiryaya, B-Fighter, the Space Sheriffs, and the show in question today, Metalder.
The story of Metalder is that long ago the robot known as Metalder was built, but it was kept in hiding for many years. The inventor, Dr. Koga decides to awaken his creation after the discovery of God Neros, the merchant of death. Neros wants complete control of all criminal organizations and with these high finances and strong military power, he will soon control the world. Koga’s plan goes successful, but at a cost. When the android, Metalder woken up he was given the name Ryusei Tsurugi and yet this android has not been given any purpose yet. Koga sacrifices himself by having himself get killed by God Nero’s troops and as they begin to attack Ryusei, his rage activates him. Ryusei suddenly transforms into his battle form known as Metalder and after surviving a battle against the army, he starts to question why he was brought to life by Koga. Throughout the show, Metalder starts to experience life as Ryusei and as Metalder. With Ryusei, he starts makes bonds with real life people and as Metalder he bonds with the people he fights or fights with.
Metalder himself is a strong character and I know this show was heavily inspired by Kikaider, anyways, the show really dives deep in the philosophy of robots and fighters in general. A great way to describe this is that Metalder feels like a strong war story collection. There are many stories being told in this one show and while some can easily mess this up by simply focusing on certain parts, Metalder knows how to give make the stories connect together. This is thanks to how side characters were implemented into the show. Many of them have their roles as Ryusei’s friends start to teach him about being a human and actually learning about emotions. As Metalder though he starts to learn how these warriors are, some who are sadly forced to fight, some fight for their dreams, or some simply love the mayhem. Metalder learns many things about emotions and conflict and it actually shows since the actor knew how to show that in the character. In the beginning he is heavily robotic and bland and then later on he starts to smile and even shows other expressions like confusion, anger, and even sadness. 
Along with Metalder himself there are a large amount of villains in this show and I have to say, these are the best villains I have seen in Toku. Kamen Rider Double with their Dopants is a close second, but the Neros Empire is full of amazing characters. There is the emperor himself as he is the most threatening man I have seen. He knows what to do on day one! He quickly learns what Metalder looks like and have assassins after him. Neros even knows how to utilize his men. He upgrades and repairs his men even if they failed, because he knows they will have use still. He quickly gets rids of traitors though because he wants no one to stab him in the back. I even love how he keeps his plan B all the time. A great example of how this man thinks is that his best warrior suggests he should go to kill Metalder, but Neros stops him because if he loses him, he loses his strongest warrior. This has been a problem with current Toku and that is that the villains stopped feeling threatening. Neros puts many villains to shame since he his evil, smart, and strong at the same time. My favorite moment of his is when he tries to make the perfect robot that can take Metalder’s attacks and even keep the musical aspect of what the robot originally was because Metalder was built with the love of the arts, the biggest one being music. This is a villain that analyzes his foes and tries new ideas around them and each one can be effective.
Now for the Neros Empire in general there are many names to mention here, but I will pick my personal favorites. Top Gunder, Neros greatest assassin who soon starts to learn about what he is actually fighting for and does not kill with no purpose. He is often seen as the lone wolf and has a hard time working with anyone in the army, except for his commander and emperor. He even slowly becomes Metalder’s ally thanks to how Metalder shows mercy to his opponents and saved his life from when Neros tries to kill him. Hedogross was a mutant that never got any help from anyone and was always looked down upon. A slave of the empire named Wisdom was his wife and he promises to make both of their lives better and he gets his chance by fighting Metalder and I was surprised on how much his story opens to other characters’ stories like Wisdom and his son, Junior. Ben-K of the Armored Army, one the first foes of Metalder and was spared by Metalder as well. After being left alive and being told to value his life, Ben-K became a traveling monk living in peace with himself and when he notices the Neros Empire and Metalder, he decides to help Metalder protect a family from being murdered to atone for his sins.
Big Wayne was a former general of the robot army and when one someone close to him is almost sent to death, Big Wayne frees him by entering the battlefield once more. Rhapsody, a musical robot who is forced to be changed into a fighting robot, after his fight with Metalder he gives him a performance and barely survives from Neros attack and continued to be the performer he always was. Valski, the commander of the Robot Army, always thinks the best of his troops and never wants them to die; he will always defend his own and is actually jealous of Metalder in a specific way. Coolgin, the commander of the Armored Army and the right hand man of Neros, he is the most loyal member where he vows his life to Neros and becomes a strong rival for Metalder. Geldring, the commander of the Mutant Army and easily the biggest scumbag of them all! He always takes the cheap shots to win his battles and would abandon his men or send them to die in a heartbeat. The overall presentation that many of these characters have is amazing and I only have a sample of these characters.
The biggest aspect of the story is the tone of it. I will admit the show can be straight up depressing at many times. Again this is why I would call it a collection of war stories, usually they never end well. Now the show does have happy moments, but at many points they are bitter sweet at best. The final three episodes in particular left me a broken man. The overall philosophy they explore with all of their characters and the final three really reveals what some characters’ thoughts were. The show has a powerful sense of sadness and it really creates a sense of beauty with it as well. Metalder shows the true bitterness of the battlefield, people die in battle and sacrifice themselves for others, their dreams, and their own desires.
The action of Metalder is even a high value of the show since the show had a high budget and it even blew that! There are times you can see it with some certain uses of characters. Even though some can be repeated, they find new ways to use these characters which really helps to keep things fresh. My favorite example would be how the ninja master soon becomes a master stage magician. What also helps the action is that each foe has a new aspect of fighting. One simply put Metalder into a dream state and was not much a fighter in general. Again this was the beauty of Neros, he knew many aspects of his army and used that to the highest potential. Metalder is constantly on the run or put to the test in his abilities. I really love when Neros uses certain armies for training or just to send an all out attack on Metalder. There is a constant surprise to the fights and how Metalder learns to embrace his human spirit he actually learns new ways to fight. The big advantage of having a robot super hero is that the show can really show the damage the hero goes through one time being his arm falling off and yet uses that as a weapon! The movements of the fights are strong as well and you clearly feel the power of many fighters, like when Metalder can destroy boulders or bash off his opponent’s heads with his kicks. Overall it was one of my favorite experiences in terms of action because of the constant surprises and how well Neros knew how to use his troops. The other saving factor for the action; is that it was not just limited to Metalder even if he is the main character. There are many fights between different members of the army and each other. It just build this nice world making you remember that there is more than just the main character.
Some may know what I think of Metalder already, but I finally got this review done and I can easily say this is my favorite Metal Hero show, but just one of my favorites in general. As a personal best, I will put it with Kamen Rider Double and Dairanger, but on the critical side of things this is probably the best of the three. Kamen Rider Double and Dairanger have many aspects that Metalder has as well like the great action and strong stories that really built their worlds well. With Metalder though, the constant philosophy the show explored and kept it consistent and kept true to its tone. I know many shows that tried to have too much in terms of philosophy and just having it is the end of a show because it jumps around too much with the tone. Metalder was just beautiful with how great the characters felt and how sad some of their stories turn out and yet leaves so happy that a show had the audacity to do the things it did. The 80’s and 90’s of Toku were simply amazing! Metalder gets an A+ in my book!
Finally, to end things on a personal note, what I feel what Metalder was trying to explore into was the philosophy of our fate. The show explores with robots, mutants born into battle, and humans forced to fight or even some feeling they need to offer their lives to a man who saved them and gave them a home. Metalder was even originally made to be used for combat in World War II and he ends up having to save the world, but in the end our fates our undetermined. We simply must live doing what we think is right and hopefully that will bring us the happiness we need. That happiness can even just be giving happiness to someone else, but it is what we want to do. Man, machine, or mutant, it does not matter, we all live in our own ways. We interact and bond who we want to and being able to have those is life itself and again anyone can have it and experience it in their own way. I just found this beautiful as the core concept of the show and I would love to bring that to a deeper focus for another time.