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Monday, December 15, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 44 Review: Power Spoiled Banana (Major Spoiler Alert!!!)

In this episode of Gaim, Kaito learns about Mai's fate and how to retrieve the Golden Fruit. To obtain the world he wants he has to make sure no one stands in his way and the only one who can face him is Kouta.
This episode ended up explaining more of what happened with Mai when she obtained the power of the Golden Fruit. When she was traveling back into time there was a point where she stopped appearing in the series. So my guess would be that her appearances in the later episodes had Mai talking more and somewhat longer with her words not being all too vague. It was in the beginning of the series when things got odd which is because the Golden Fruit couldn’t do this and soon this backfires on her. Mai is now lost in a parallel world where the fight from the first episode is taking place as we see Kouta and Kaito fighting each other. This is where Sagara reveals that these two are the fated ones and one of them will be the chosen one. I was wondering when this part of the series was going to come back since that was in the back of my head when the series started to change its tone. This was just a nice callback as that one moment revealed what the series has been teasing us with, Kouta’s and Kaito’s duel.
Kaito is not holding anything back right now thanks to his new powers and he is making sure that he becomes the chosen one. He even summons the three allied riders to see if they are going to be on his side or not. Oren and Jonouchi clearly fight Kaito, but there was one person who was struggling with his choice. Still seeing Kaito being a bit more on the crazy side was different. This isn't a bad thing, but I did have an odd time dealing with the matter at first since I did see the episodes without subtitles first and was just thinking that Kaito became evil. It was thanks to seeing the subtitled versions and soon finding on a major theme of Gaim which I revealed in other episode reviews is that there is no good or evil.
Now Kouta is clearly a good person and we know this since he is fighting for the world, but there have been moments when Kouta has said that he is fighting for what he wants. This can sound selfish, but we know what Kouta’s dream is and that is to change the world. Kaito himself says he wants to save the world so does that really make Kaito a villain just because he is attacking others. Kouta had to fight the other riders at some points and he may not have liked it, he knew he had to. Kaito is making sure his resolution comes out on top which is the same thing Kouta is doing. Kaito just has a different way of doing that and that is by destroying the world. Now where has the idea of destruction been brought up before? It was in the episode where Kouta gains Kachidoki when Sagara told him he has to destroy the rule about the power of destruction. So in the end Kouta is going to have to destroy something to change the world and Kaito is simply going to destroy the world to change it and again this could be a good thing. Remember how Ryouma wanted to see if human evolution can progress with the use of the Golden Fruit, Kaito could end up being that step in human evolution. So again this isn’t about good or evil, this is about people trying to make their dreams a reality.
With Yoko, I really hate to say this, but I like and don’t like how her character progressed in the series. I remember Ryouma saying that she was powerful and could even be more powerful than some other big players in the series. I do think that Ryouma could have meant something else and this is why Yoko is acting like how she is now. Maybe Ryouma meant that she has the power to change things or keep things in balance. Since she is looking for a king to follow this could be connecting to that point. If this is true that is good and yet I have a personal disinterest with that. I guess I was expecting her to go on her path when Ryouma left her to die and she was going to take Kaito’s words to fit her own dreams. What I am trying to say is that I thought she was going to be a stronger character than how she is right now. She just followed someone and she stayed like that which does bother me and it just feels like she went in a circle. I’m just mixed with how Yoko was treated mostly because of my personal interest in her at the beginning of the series, but my critical side can clearly say this is still done well because this was hinted at before and I still like the scenes she has with Kaito.
There was Zack who had a complete change of pace or so we think. When Zack asks Kaito if he was serious about destroying the world, Kaito tells him that he needs to gain his own future and then asks him about the future he wants. This makes Zack join Kaito’s side as he attacks Jonouchi and even helps Yoko to destroy his belt. So Zack is staying on Kaito’s side, but I can tell he is planning for something different. When he sees Kouta fighting Kaito he realizes that he is injured. Zack goes on the attack and quickly tells Kouta to retreat. First of all, a man like Zack would know not to interfere with a duel and he even tells Kouta to run for it. Zack is clearly doing something on his own which could be to obtain his own future and as of right now we don’t know what that is. Still for a character that wasn’t doing much lately this was a great comeback. I always liked Zack when he became Knuckle and I have a feeling I’m going to like him much more when he decides to take action.
Now I knew Kouta wasn't going to die, but luckily he was revived or anything like that, he simply got healed thanks to his Overlord powers. You can still say that is a revival since Kouta passed out completely and Micchy thought Kouta was dead. There is an explanation here though, it’s simple, but it’s better than a last second revival from Mai or something like that. Anyways, Kouta’s nightmare has come true and that is Kaito becoming his final foe. Kouta even thought that Kaito could have the Golden Fruit since he thought he wanted to save the world, but Kaito never said anything about that. This again just brings up that point I mentioned about how there is no good or evil in this series. Kaito is a guy who just wants to make his own world and if he has to destroy it, so be it. Kouta has learned this as well though and he knew he had to fight Kaito at some point since characters like Yoko have told him this before. Kouta has to stop Kaito though because he and Kaito have different views on the world itself. All I have to say is that the final fight is coming! 
There was some good action as we had more rider versus rider action which is something the series has always been doing right. Lately when a rider has to fight another rider there have been many dumb reasons why like the Taisen films. With Gaim though it makes good reasons why riders are fighting each other because there is no good versus good, good versus evil, or evil versus evil there is just fights to change the world. This is probably why most of the action felt right in many places compared to the Taisen films since I personally hate when heroes fight each other with no real purpose. It’s just bothersome to see this since these are good people and you would think they could find a truce of some kind. Looking back at the Taisen films I can never imagine seeing Hongo fighting Kouta, personally I can see those two getting along well. This is usually why evil riders were created so that the heroes can fight riders without that awful aftertaste of fighting another hero. With the Gaim series though, it breaks that trope of good and evil by just having resolves facing each other. Overall though the cool moments of the action were when Kaito and Kouta had their short duel as this was only a taste of what is yet to come.
Overall, there really isn’t much wrong with this episode. Again I do have my personal disinterest with one or two things, but I’m not letting that get in the way of my critical thoughts. Again in a writing point of view this is well done as characters are facing off with real purposes and not fake ones. This is just how a good superhero show should be done more often and I’m not saying always having good versus evil is a bad thing, but there are many problems with that though. The usual tropes get in the way at times like the one with the villain having no real purpose since he is just evil and he doesn’t need a reason. This is the year 2014 and writing should be done better especially if it’s a major focus. I have seen things done right with tropes before mostly because they are done in a more over the top sense and pay attention to pure fun and hell even those things give heroes and villains a good reason to fight. Episode forty-four of Gaim gets an A- because there were some odd directing moments just saying that Kaito and Micchy got a bit too close to each other faces.
Next Time: The final duel begins!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 43 Review: Lord Baron! (Major Spoiler Alert!!!)

The Golden Fruit continues to move the plot of the show as Micchy's and Kouta's fight comes to an end, but the results will surprise many. Another surprise is how Mai reacts to all of this.
The episode begins with a big bomb that is for sure, Micchy actually defeats Kouta. Kouta lets his guard down on purpose so when he takes a lethal blow he can get rid of the Hell Fruit Lock Seed. Micchy was in complete shock when this happens since he was in the heat of the moment. Micchy was saying things on how he would die for Mai as he didn’t care for his own life anymore. The whole Hell Fruit Lock Seed didn’t last long which does disappoint me in a childish way and by that I mean I can’t see this form anymore. In an actual story purpose, it’s great that this Lock Seed is gone because it gave Micchy a complete wake-up call though. Still having Kouta die at that moment is a big shock on its own right, especially when it first happened. Many fans were in disarray because of this since many of those fans just hate Micchy without understanding his character.
Micchy again is a character that is lost and this episode really proves all of that. When Kouta is talking to Micchy he says on how they used to be friends not so long ago and even he wonders how that got lost so quickly. Kouta even tells Micchy that he has his whole future and that a few mistakes won’t be ruining his life. Micchy has been confused for a long time in the series and Kouta is telling him that it’s fine to be confused. There is a long road ahead and a few mistakes won’t be destroying it. Kouta is telling Micchy to forgive himself and sadly Micchy is going to have a hard time doing that now because of Kouta’s death. At the least though, Micchy will try to keep Mai alive for Kouta’s sake. So Micchy who would die for Mai has now changed his path to stay alive and keep someone else alive for Kouta, sadly this couldn’t happen.

A huge scene that happens is that Micchy finally gets the biggest knife in his back. There have been other knives in his back mostly from Reduye and the other Overlords, but Ryouma simply put him out of commission. He ends up taking the Golden Fruit for himself and that means the operation was a success, but only for him. He killed Mai just to get the Golden Fruit since as he said before the fruit was infused with her heart. I will easily get to how delightfully evil Ryouma was in this episode later as he really turned the tables. Well with Mai dead in front of Micchy’s eyes he breaks down and Ryouma soon starts to take that to his advantage. First he kills Takatora’s belt, preventing Micchy from transforming into the strongest form. Ryouma then starts to tell Micchy that Takatora tried to prevent Micchy from growing up too fast since the real adults will easily punish those who were not ready. That moment clearly shows that the confused Micchy was not prepared for what was going to happen and major consequences are happening because of him. He was more collected, he could have had a chance to prevent or at least change things, but Mai will try to do that.

Mai is dead there is no doubt about that, but her spirit lives on within the Golden Fruit. With this she obtains a new form and some new powers since she is literally the Golden Fruit. With unimaginable powers she decides to change the future by traveling between time itself and try warning everyone to back away. What’s really interesting is that we do learn that she did succeed at one point, but it was thanks to Sagara that put things back into line. It was also interesting to see that Sagara was traveling around with Mai meaning he is a being that could already do this. He decides to be an observer and when something got out of line he simply put it back into place so he can continue to watch what he wanted. What I didn’t get was that the things Mai were saying was not what she wanted to say. This is shown with her telling the heroes of their fates cryptically and not straight to the point while the real Mai wanted to tell them right off the bat they will die. Maybe it is due to the fact that not even the Golden Fruit can do that much or maybe Sagara was affecting her words since he was following with her in time. Either way her words got changed and ended up not helping the situation; it clearly did change certain things though.

With this episode flashing back to the previous episodes were Mai tried to warn the heroes of their fate, there were other callbacks to the series. First there was seeing Sagara announcing during the time of the Inves Games and even dressing up like the deejay again. The whole time his role was apparent since the beginning of the series as he observed things and announced them to others. There were even callbacks with Kaito since he had to make a choice the Helheim Fruit. He holds it in his hand as this is reminder of the time he was going to work for Ryouma and the others when first investigating the Overlords as he crushes the fruit in his hands. This time however he takes a bite out of the fruit and even talks about Hase. His transformation then even reminds me of Demushu since Kaito gained Overlord powers and used one of them during a fight. It’s amazing when the series starts doing these callbacks as they that shows how much the show has been playing the audience with foreshadowing. This is great for watching the show again and it’s just great writing in general.

I really feel that Ryouma has been at his finest during these recent episodes because he was constantly keeping up with how things have been changing. The many events of this show would clearly scare many away or even break them, but Ryouma not only stays he still becomes a major player and stays on his road. He wanted the fruit and he stayed true to that as he killed someone for that with no doubt whatsoever. He even tricked Micchy to kill Kouta for him and with his kill switch that destroys the other Genesis Drivers, he has nothing to worry about or so he thought. With all of that, Ryouma was letting his true self go as he was strangling Micchy and brutally beating up Kaito. Things really got out of pace even for Ryouma though as he started to lose it when the Golden Fruit vanishes and when Kaito got his new powers. The thing with Ryouma is that he kept with science and could never predict the impossible. I mean who would know that the Golden Fruit could become sentient pretty much and that humans could actually become Inves and maintain their minds? Sadly, these were then Ryouma’s final moments in the series and that is probably why they made him this big player during the recent episodes. Still the series even noted that he would be a big foe with that one fight he had with Kouta in the middle of the series.

Kaito took a huge leap in today’s episode as things were looking bad for him as he could die from the Helheim’s poison in his body. During the fight with Ryouma he loses because he is just using the standard driver and Ryouma is more of a cheater than a strong fighter. The poison starts to hurt him again and then things get interesting at that point. I did love how Kaito was losing it since this was a do it or die moment and he was saying some lines like starting an experiment. So he takes a bite into the fruit and becomes Lord Baron! Well that is what I’ve been hearing what it’s called and I would like to consider this a new form for Baron. First of all I love the design; it’s easily my favorite of the Overlord designs right next to Roshou. First it clearly works with Baron’s mold as he still has the horns like in his base form and he still has some form of shoulder pads. The color palette is similar, but the amount of silver is replaced with red and black. There are still touches of yellow which clearly reminds me of Banana Arms. Kaito just took down Ryouma with no problems then which lead to a rather silly moment. Ryouma starts telling Kaito that he will soon die because of this new form since Ryouma is a man of science and rejects that humans can evolve without it. Then he just falls off a building… there was even the odd moment with all of the feathers around Micchy and Kouta…

The action was quite low since Kouta was killed off early in the episode which should feel more overwhelming than I thought, but I know he is coming back even when I saw this for the first time. Still there was Lord Baron completely dominating Ryouma in a fight which was still rather fast. Again I bet the series had to save up money for a really big fight since the finale is coming close, but this is why they had this big reveal or turning moments. Gaim is clearly more about the story which is great since good drama can easily replace action. Still seeing Lord Baron like that was awesome since he was using the many powers that were soon dominating him. The effects were used well which is probably why is a quick fight since they can’t have too many effects used.

Episode forty-three is just another stellar episode, what really made this episode stand out the most was the use of callbacks. Then how they tried to show that Kouta died was a way to pull at the audience’s strings again. Micchy’s whole character starts breaking down as he killed Kouta and couldn’t save Mai as Ryouma soon gives him a complete scare of his life. Ryouma was amazingly evil again and on top of things until Lord Baron came. As I said there were some strange moments like Ryouma’s death and even with something like Sagara exploring with Mai in time, I was laughing when I think I shouldn’t have. With that though this episode gets an A-
Next Time: Hail to the king, baby!

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.