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Friday, September 7, 2012

Kamen Rider Wiazrd Episode 1 Review: It's Showtime!

The beginning starts off with a narration about Mages and there shall be one who will save the world from the terrors science can't solve, Wizard. We see the main hero eating a doughnut on top of a spotlight as a little robot bird comes to him. The bird has seem to found something as the main character pulls out his bike from a magic circle. We then see a group of police officers around a building as they are ready to go in. What's inside is unexpected as there are monsters attacking workers inside. Bullets are useless on the monsters and the leader soon appears. A female officer is held by her throat by the MOTW, but the hero arrives and his silver bullets hurts the monsters as the bull get's one of his horns blown off. The bull creature sees that the boy is a Mage and attacks with fire, but he is unharmed as he transforms into Kamen Rider Wizard and absorbs the flames with a magic circle. Wizard fights off the grunts while the opening theme plays and the main monster makes a run for it as Wizard finishes the grunts with the Shooting Strike. After the fight, Wizard calls in to report about the Phantom (the bull monster) running away. A woman named Koyomi tells him to summon more creatures like the Garuda. We also hear the name of the main character, Haruto. He does has he is told and summons a Unicorn and a Kraken like creature. The female police officer, Rinko goes up to Haruto since he knows about the monsters. Haruto soon explains what the Phantoms are by talking about people who have high levels of magic, Gates. When a Gate dies a magical force will appear which is the Phantom. The bull Phantom then reports back to his leaders Phoenix and Medusa. The two have human forms and tell the bull to ignore the Wizard and take the Gate into despair. Back to the heroes, Rinko figures out that the Phantoms must have been after a person who was a Gate. She asks Haruto about how he uses magic and he responds by saying he keeps a Phantom inside of him? Haruto is then arrested and Koyomi sees everything through her crystal ball. Rinko then asks him again about Phantoms as he is behind bars. Haruto can sense Rinko's determination since she still wants to confront the Phantoms. Sadly only Mages can fight them, but Rinko doesn't want to give up. She starts to badmouth Haruto about how he probably doesn't feel despair and this causes him to flashback. We see many Phantoms being born and Haruto is almost turning into one himself. Before Rinko leaves, Haruto tells her if she falls into despair then he will be her hope. The other officer from before who now has a head wound brings Rinko to the Chief as the police are dropping the case. Rinko storms out of the building and following her is the other officer and Koyomi who was around senses something about him. While in his cell, Haruto gets his doughnuts back from where he left them thanks to magic. Rinko and the officer stop at a park where she talks about why she became a detective as her father was an officer and then the man attacks her. The unicorn appears and with it is a message from Koyomi telling him who the Phantom is as it's the wounded man. He becomes small and rides on the unicorn to get out of the cell. The man transforms into a Phantom as he crushes Rinko's pendant with her father's picture in it. This starts the despair process for Rinko and Haruto soon arrives as he shoots the Phantom. Haruto activates his driver and transforms into Wizard. When the Bull goes on full offensive, Wizard changes into the Land Style and uses the Defend Ring to summon a wall in front of the Bull while he was charging at him. Wizard kicks the Bull into the air and changes to Hurricane Style and slashes the Bull with his sword in the air. To finish things off Wizard goes back to Flame Style and uses his Kick Strike. Rinko is still going through despair and soon Wizard puts a ring on her so he can teleport into her inner mind which is called the Underworld. There a giant Phantom appears and Wizard counters with a Dragon! The dragon doesn't fully obey him, but when he combines with his bike he has full control. Wizard finishes off the Phantom with the Slashing Strike and Rinko is saved and is no longer a Gate. The episode ends with Rinko waking up finding the ring on her finger as our heroes drive on Haruto's motorcycle.
I have to say this first, it wasn't a two parter! Holy crap it's has been a while since there has been a single part. Den-o started the trend as it kept continuing. I don't hate the two arc style, but seeing a one parter is nice for a change. With that the episode is very straight forward and it doesn't have a resting point. There weren't any panned out scenes things just flowed very well. We got many things explained, but we also got many questions in one episode which is great. The episode doesn't even end at a cliffhanger at all which even Kabuto pulled that off many times. So the first episode stands out since it was one episode that had good pacing and gave us good insight of what is happening, but leaves us with questions still. Also the beginning didn't have the usual opening like Kamen Rider series as we actually see the main hero first which is surprisingly uncommon in the past rider series. The opening theme played during the first fight and the song didn't match that well at first, but it caught up with an up-tone beat. The opening theme reminds me of Anything Goes a little, but with the energy that Switch On had. Also a male signer being the lead is something Decade did last.
Now onto Wizard himself, Haruto. I am already liking this character. He has the feeling of Tendou, but I can tell he became the person he is now because he found hope. His fighting style is carefree like Faiz and Decade, but he really flows with big movements. I love seeing this since his sort of cape thing blows around when he is moving which helps showing his movements. I like his main weapon and the best part is that it appears by magic. Previous rider series just pulled weapons out of nowhere, but Wizard uses magic to summon what he wants. Also most of his rings on a chain by his waist. Land and Hurricane were used and they are good looking forms. I like how they resemble different types of jewels and each form has a definite style on how it works. I bet each form will also have different ways of working with attack rings like Defend and Kick Strike. So Wizard can have many finishers without have the many forms like Double and OOO. I already talked about Wizard's design, but seeing it in action it really looks good and the belt fits and isn't an eyesore at all. Reminding me of the belt, Haruto keeps it on the whole time. It can transform from being a normal belt into the driver which is awesome because he can have his belt on the whole time unlike some past riders who somehow carry their belts without it being seen because some of those belts should be obvious to see in a pocket.
The Phantoms are like the Grongi, but mixed with the Worm. First they replace a Gate when they die and hide in secrecy. They also keep human forms and so far there are two who are the head honchos. I do like how Phantoms are born and seeing Wizard being the opposite of them is interesting. Wizard has magic because he kept his hope and held the Phantom within him. How the Phantoms operate remind me of the Orphenoc since they are trying to create more of their race and like the Worm they keep the memories of the person. Rinko was an interesting character, but really crushing a pendant sent her to despair. I know her father died (it wasn't said, but you can tell), but her memory alone should keep her hopes up so yea that part was a little dumb.I did like how Wizard helps people find hope, but what he does is get rid of the magic inside of the Gate. This probably means anyone saved by him won't become a Mage.
The action was also very well done with the beginning fight showing off how he fights along with his main weapon. The second fight shown more forms and different types of attacks. Then the third fight was in the Underworld where Wizard summons a freaking dragon how awesome is that! The dragon looks pretty good too along with other effects. Effects are always improving though so it's no surprise that effects won't look as bad as the Power Dizer from Fourze. The other effects were some nice bullet animations along with the elements used in this episode. So this series used more action than the previous rider series like Double, OOO, and Fourze, but it feels great as each fight in this episode were well done with nice direction and effects that were good to look at.
Overall this episode shows a lot of great things. First is that the two parters could be shortened as those moments will be saved for big crucial parts of the story. There was more action and having the giant monster fight reminds me of Den-o when the giant Imajin popped out. Haruto is working with someone, but it's not like Double, OOO, or Fourze and Wizard is going back to some big basics. This is a very strong start for a Kamen Rider series and I cannot wait for the next episode, an A.
Next Time: Another Wizard?


  1. You didn't mention how unBELIEVABLY annoying the Driver is this time around? That thing never shuts up!

    I did absolutely adore the action. Fantastic swordplay in the opening fight with the mooks (Mooks! So many of the KRs I've been watching don't have mooks.) And the constant ring switching gave me great hope for the variety of action we'll see in this series.

    But my mind keeps coming back to the belt...the repeated "Preese!" (I know it's saying 'please'...but it's bad at it.) and repetitious Henshin sounds grate on my nerves terribly. So on the one hand, I love how much he changes forms. But on the other hand more form switching means more belt chatter...not worth it I say.

    I'm also 50/50 on the characters so far. Haruto is fabulous. Love everything about him. Rinko on the other hand (who looks to be a recurring character) was gods awful. Just terrible. I didn't believe her acting one bit. Compared to real female police officers in past series (Ozawa from Agito comes to mind) she's like a high-school drama queen. Wearing high heels to a gunfight? Arresting Haruto on no charges then acting all indignant when she's told to let him go? She's everything I despise in a female character.

  2. I agree Rinko didn't get on my good side either and her plot point for this episode was kinda bad. The episode though really shown some great things and gave us insight of what's coming up ahead in one episode! I'm just really happy that Wizard is doing one episode arcs. Then so far for the other characters we don't know them yet so it's hard to rate them for now. The belt is not really on my bad side that much, it's just the "please" thing is the only bother some part for me. I think I could know why the belt talks like that which could be because Haruto has a phantom inside of him so it can actually talk through the belt. That is just a guess though. Wizard did a really good job for it's first episode even with Rinko getting depressed over a pendant being crushed.