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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kamen Rider Wizard Episode 40 Review: Broken Wheels (Major Spoiler Alert!!!)

For this episode of Kamen Rider Wizard we get Kousuke acting very selfless once more as he bonds with a kid on how to ride a bike, meanwhile the team look into the mystery of Fukei.
So we now are getting some revealing for the White Wizard and whatever plan he is scheming. Haruto finally knows who gave him his powers, but this man is still hidden in the shadows for some reason. Also why did he reveal himself like that in the first place? The beginning of the episode covers what happened in the past as we see a scene where Fukei first gave Wajima the job. We see four magic stones which were clearly the first elemental forms for Wizard. This time the stone was far different from any ring seen before so what powers does it hold. Going on with this Rinko helps out with Haruto to find out who this man is and I like how they cover everything so far. Haruto can't even be sure if the man is called Fukei since it could be a fake name, the only useful information they have is his appearance so it's time for some research.
The two go to Kizaki for help as they try to find who the man is by looking up files. It's amazing that he doesn't appear anywhere so I guess he is not a Japanese native or he completely erased his history somehow. I will say I am a little disappointed that this wasn't the overall focus for the episode as this felt more like plot B. I mean we are closely getting to revealing the White Wizard and when we finally get to see him the series decides to hold up. In past episodes I felt that the balance of plots "A" and "B" were well done as we got fun side stories and good expansions on the story, but here is probably the weakest example of that balance. A perfect example is when Beelzebub was around and caused chaos for a very social woman while we had Rinko talking with Phoenix even the previous Sora arc was a great example as well. So I would have liked to see more of Kizaki as he barely any screen time, but I bet part two will fix on that.
Now with that complaint this episode still isn't bad, but things can't be perfect. For our little side story we get a good one as a kid wants to learn to ride a bike to show someone something special. This kid is Yuzuru and for Kamen Rider fans they may recognize that this kid was the same kid who played as the AU Kiva in Decade. I can't believe it's been since 2009 that show started and the kid aged a lot in four years. I will say his acting has improved over time, but that still isn't saying too much since he was four years younger last time. The kid has trouble with some emotions, but he did happiness quite well. Then he did have trouble saying his lines. It mostly sounded like he just said his lines with little emotion at times, but that could because his character does act shy. Still I think he could add a little more to his lines, but who knows he could improve and he could appear as a future rider all we know.
Going on with the character, Yuzuru now he is a nice one. He is a kid who had a past regret since his early childhood when he got a friend of his in trouble. She is older than him and this happened when he was in his elementary years I would say. He took Akari's bike when he was young and got hit by a truck which caused an issue with his mother of course. He felt bad for doing this and having her take the blame for that accident. So he wants to learn how to ride to show her that he is fine to ride a bike. Also she is leaving soon so he wants to make sure she can leave happily and by how they act towards each other they both remember the incident very well. I will say I was expecting a love story from this when he first saw Akari, but it's more like mending an old wound. I bet Yuzuru has affection towards her, but he sees her like someone to look up to. So he wants to make sure the person he looks up to can feel better. Also learning the bike at his age is not dumb since some people still don't know how, like me and I'm nineteen.
Kousuke had the overall focus for this episode and I'm happy he is still getting episodes like this. He is still getting some nice additions to his character. This was a problem I had with Fourze as when Meteor's story was done he mostly just was in the background more. He did have some episodes where he did things, but the show just threw him away at times. Here we see Kousuke act like a big brother towards Yuzuru and yes he has a dead father so add that to the dead parent list in a Toku. I can take this as a replacement for less screen time for the investigation since it's great to see the secondary rider to get a share of the spotlight as well. Now onto how he trained him it was well done I have to say. He knew how much time there was so he had to teach his student quickly. He didn't even start the kid with training wheels he had him get used to bike by himself, then he got him some physical training which was a little goofy, but it did get me to smile, and finally he had him get used to the downhill speeds to see if he can control himself. It covers the basics very well and he got him to get used to more higher up bike riding in a very short time so hands to him.
I do have to say though the whole Kousuke being a bike expert did come out of the left field. We see Kousuke wanting some Phantoms to eat and then Shunpei comes up with a bike. Kousuke is jealous of the bike and he talks about how he used to ride one in his past. I guess the only background knowledge we could have had was that he was a student before. For an American student like me, people usually took the bus or got a ride from someone to school. There were a few bike riders though, then there is Japan. I remember all the anime I watched back then and whenever there was a school anime there were bikes nearly everywhere at times, heck they were plot points at times. So with that knowledge I guess I could just put it as a neutral complaint, but for those who don't know much about Japan this really comes out of nowhere. Heck the series could have shown Kousuke doing dangerous stunts on his bike in his past which fits with the arc he had with his mother.
For the Phantom of this arc we get Sylph who is a mythical creature that lives in the wind. It's only mythos only lives in western tradition as it's only form is from a man named Paracelsus. So there isn't much to him in the background part and his design is pretty basic. A lot of blue variations for his skin with some nice molding to give some detail on his body. His human form is well out of there as he wears a white smock like shirt with frills and he wears a lot of blue make up, a little creepy, but nowhere close to Sora. Sylph though proved to be a lot more better than his design I have to say. Now he doesn't live in the air and isn't invisible, but he can hear anything that travels in the wind. He uses this to learn about Yuzuru. He even helped him perform a stunt on his bike so he could only trick him later when Akari was around. He actually uses the bike to attack her then! He had a really good plan to get the kid into despair and it works so what will happen to Yuzuru?
I will talk about the action now and save the big moment for later since well it's a rather big deal for the fanbase right now. So first thing to cover is some bike action and no I don't mean motorcycle action, I do mean bike action. The first fight is Beast on a bike. Now I do find this a little funny since Beast never had a rider bike, but he still got a bike fight. I also see it as a little poking at the riders using bikes. Now the bike usage is lower compared to older rider series. The last series I felt had huge focus on their bikes were Kuuga and Agito. It's just a different era for Kamen Rider and I am accepting change from many franchises so as long I get a good show I got a good show, I'm not going to be one of those fans who will hate a series just because it didn't have a lot of bike action. I still heavily defend Hibiki to be the most under rated rider series so that gives you an idea how I stand on changes in the franchise. Now how was the fight though?
The fight was okay, again it does come out of the left field, but it still made more sense than the unicycle scene from Kyoryuger..... Now I remember seeing the actor for Kousuke do his own stunts before. With the bike fight though I can tell they mostly used a stunt actor I mean they have to. I really think they should have just had Kousuke transform while riding into the scene since it would avoid the obvious stunt man. It's obvious because they keep having a long distance shot and we barely see Kousuke's face. I will say though if I didn't know that trick it still looks believable though. They got a stuntman who has a similar build to Kousuke and I wonder if the stuntman had a wig or he really had to have his hair like Kousuke's? Then when he transforms it's pretty much the same fight still just with some slashing. They easily could have added a magic attack during this, the Sabre Strike would have been very impressive. I could just imagine him circling around the Ghuls as he forms the attack with a five or six.
The second fight is mostly Kousuke struggling as Yuzuru is falling into despair, but there is something more important. Haruto leaves the station after making a face those looks identical to Fukei so that it can be looked up on. He finds himself in a battle against Medusa as she doesn't want him to get in the way. Shockingly Medusa gets the upper hand again showing she is still able to be challenge for the riders as she drains Wizard's magic before he could use the Drago Timer. I would have liked to see Sora fight along with her and even if they were two fights going on they were just struggle fights and they had their fair amount of cut away moments so they never felt too special.
Now with Wizard and Beast in a pinch who could possibly help? Well a savior does appear and it's Mayu! She comes when Wizard was drained of his magic and she is hear to get revenge for the death of her sister. She is even equipped a rider belt and a ring as she transforms! First thing I have to say we finally get a female rider in a series! Holy crap I can't believe it took this long for this moment to happen. It's finally time to see a woman do a rider kick! Now here's the big commotion in the fanbase she transforms into Kamen Rider Mage which was seen as to be like the Riotroppers in the upcoming Wizard movie. So people are mad that she isn't getting fair treatment. Personally I cannot say yet since her transformation was the last thing in the episode. I'm not mad that she is Mage, if she is going to be the only one in the series I will be fine with that or if it works well with the story I will be happy. I bet it's more of a tie in for the movie though. I will have to see how she is used though, if she just gets a quick fight and then leaves I will be mad, but if she stays around and can still be a character in the show I will be happy along with that she gets a good amount of action. Overall I am excited to have a female rider in a rider series for once. I will talk about Mage's design in the next review.
Overall this episode would get a B for me. Things may seem half and half at times, but the overall episode still has a good feeling to it. Some scenes are shot very well and even though the action wasn't the best, the bike fight was a little different and I give credit for how they did it. Also the story for Yuzuru is nice as it's a redemption story in many ways, but it's also about giving some happiness before they leave. Then the Phantoms was a good amount of fun as well since he was a pretty clever creature. So yea a "B" fits this episode well I think.
Next Time: It seems Mayu is staying with the crew (I'm already a little happy).


  1. All things considered I quite liked this episode, especially Mayu turning up at the end and transforming. I started shrieking at my computer screen when that came on, I was so excited.
    Sylph reminded me of the spider Fangire from Kiva (weird and creepy and really annoying) but as a villain he made out alright since he had a pretty good plan.

    1. I agree there were things I didn't like in the episode, but everything still feels good in the overall episode. Also I don't find those type of creepy villains annoying, but just creepy. Ryo gave me some fun when he got on screen cause my goodness he was a wacky and creepy guy.

  2. I like the gate for this arc. He's very sincere, and his motivation is nice and simple. He feels guilty about hurting his crush/big sister figure and he wants to prove that he isn't a burden.

    This phantom's plan echos the one from way back when, tricking Shunpei into thinking he was good at something (Spoiler Warning: Shunpei isn't good at anything). By having Yuzuru succeed a few times he lulled him onto the perfect emotional cliff edge, prime for a repeat of history. I can see someone falling into despair for this.

    I'm really *REALLY* annoyed that Mayu doesn't get a unique costume design though. I was so hoping for a Witch theme....but the demonic-looking outfit she gets is neat enough. Kinda lacks color though, compared to our heroes.

  3. Yea the Gate surprisingly had a good amount of depth, but some there are others I could bring up who had that same amount like Mayu for an instance. I will say I would have liked to see a new design for Mayu as a rider, but again I have a feeling the movie won't have that much of a connection with the series since it seems to be stretching on some details. Like there was a photo of Phoenix, Mayu, and Sora together.