Well it's finally time for me to review Kamen Rider Wizard. Now I am only basing this on the fifty-one episodes, I'm not counting the special two finale episodes, but again that will be a special review for the two episodes. Now if you know me I was a very strong supporter of Wizard, this is the first series that I have really liked and see mixed opinions. Wizard's split fanbase really made me think of how Hibiki was treated by the fans. Some love it and others say it's not even a rider series. Wizard got some of that as well from the fans. For me I am always fine for a franchise to branch out to a different motif or theme. Then with magic themes it's usually not a good thing for me. Now I can say magic movies or series are good, but I just don't like them personally. The best examples are Harry Potter and Magiranger as I don't like their form of magic and a form I do like is mostly alchemy so Full Metal Alchemist fits right there. Well I have held this long enough it's time to review this magical series.
The story of Kamen Rider Wizard is about a man named Haruto who becomes a Mage because of a ritual that had people turn into monsters called Phantoms. Haruto is still human because he fought his despair and gained magical powers. The reason why he even had this moment because he was a Gate, a Gate is a person who has magic in them. Now people who are Gates cannot use magic though, so it's merely stored there and when a person faces despair they have a fight with that. If they give in they become a monster called Phantoms that completely replace them as people. A Phantom is the darkest side of a person as they hunt down other Gates to gain more allies. When a Gate stands up against their despair, they keep their humanity and their magic is no longer stored, with the right equipment they can use their magic abilities. Haruto gains his powers from a White Mage who gave him his belt and rings. Haruto even finds a man called Wajime who made the jewels that Haruto now uses. So Haruto lives a new life as a Mage since his sole task is to defeat the Phantoms. Along with him though is a girl named Koyomi as she was also given to Haruto by the same person. She is not normal though, it is even questionable if she is human at all. She is a living doll that uses magic to function and Haruto has to give her magic so she can continue to live. Everyday Haruto has to find Phantoms, defeat them, and defend the Gates. Haruto can even save Gates from despair by going into their underworld and destroying the magical monster in that area. This will then leave a Gate unable to have magic anymore. Throughout the series Haruto starts to realize that there is far much more than a simple battle of good and evil and the main villain Wiseman is easily using his strings to put things into play.
So the other characters in the series are Rinko and Shunpei. Both of these people were saved by Haruto when they faced their despair. Now these two help out Haruto with protecting Gates. Rinko is a police officer who uses her position to protect people even though she doesn't have magic. Shunpei is a young man who had a love for magic when he was young and kept his belief of magic. When Shunpei was saved he decided to become Haruto's assistant since he cannot use magic, but he can help the man who does use it. There are even other side characters like Kizaki who is an officer in Section Zero who looks into Phantom cases. He is rather strict and sees Haruto as a threat, but he soon opens up to the man and accepts him as a hero. Then with the Phantoms there are some generals who get the other Phantoms to attack Gates. Wiseman's right hand Phantom is Medusa, she follows every word of her leader. At first she stands back, but when she strikes she strikes hard and gives the heroes a hard challenge. Phoenix is a Phantom who loves violence and nothing other than that. All he wants to do is fight and Wizard is his ultimate rival. He is pure sadism and when he is set loose, he makes sure to make his impression on the characters, physically! Later in the series a new Phantoms appears called Gremlin, but he rather call himself Sora, his human name. Sora has an attachment to his human life and even calls other Phantoms their human names. Sora is like Phoenix with that they are both sadists, Sora is more of a smarter one though and loves to mess with people. The secondary rider of the series is Beast who is Nitou Kousuke. This man found his belt on a archaeology trip and the Chimera of the belt gives Kousuke his powers, but he needs to consume Mana. If not Kousuke will not only lose his magic, but also his life. Then the main villain Wiseman is a very mysterious figure who gives all the Phantoms their orders while he stays in the shadows, but again he is the puppet master of the story.
There is also the White Mage, but shush.
Pros- Haruto was a really fun main rider character for me. I loved the things he goes through and how he overcomes them. He has a fear of death and still fights on and he really gets into tough situations. Also I love his actor, he brings some quirks to the character makes his scenes more enjoyable at many times. Along with that the many other characters were good to me as well. Koyomi could have been used more, but when she was used the series did use her very well. She has a good back story and how she reacts to situations made her a charming person. Rinko and Shunpei were basic characters, but at many times these two can do some great things. Rinko had her shining moments when she put her life on the line even though she cannot even manage fighting a simple Ghul. Shunpei can't fight at all, but he is morally strong and stays true to himself and he can give some nice comedic moments. Kousuke really gave me good impressions from his beginning since he acted like a hero, but still had anti-hero qualities. He even said Haruto was his rival in the beginning, but clearly as the series moved on he learns more about himself and doesn't see Haruto as a rival, but more of an ally. The Phantoms had pretty cool concepts to them as all of the monsters have connections with many mythologies. Phoenix and Sora are my personal favorites of the series and I can easily say Sora is my overall favorite. Both are heavy sadists and while Phoenix was a pure powerhouse and Sora was a clever villain. The designs were very good with both the heroes and villains, now Beast does look like OOO Ratorata, but he does have some nice designs still and Hyper looks cool. I was very happy with Wizard's designs, simple colors with black and when forms progress the colors take more of the suit and Infinity was amazing to look at and I am amazed how much it shined. This concept of magic I really liked, the idea of spells being equips in the form of rings was very fun to see. There were some really varied rings and yes some are ignored like Fourze's switches, but there are many variations so I was happy to see some of those. Now the biggest reason why I like Wizard is the hope versus despair concept. I have gone through many hard roads in my life and I always got back up. The series did really good with some of the moments of when people hit despair and got back up. Along with I had a lot of fun with the minor parts of the series, the minor characters were pretty unique compared to each other and many still are in my head. Then the overall feeling is very balanced it's not too dark and it's not too quirky. I went along with the drama and easily laughed along with the comedy.
Cons- Now there is a lot of filler here. A lot of the filler could have been cut, but again I had a lot of fun with those episodes, except for two.... Also the series did do a good job with balancing the minor with the major parts of the plot. Again there would be moments I would have switched around certain episodes. The series does go through many forms as well and different riders. Now some forms did get ignored and this lead to some attack spells being ignored, but there was a better balance compared to OOO and Fourze. Even some of the action got into a lower grade at many points and that really did weaken the experience, but most of the times there is more plot to have then and whenever they want some great action they do a great job. Still the biggest flaw is the amount of filler this series had and for some this can be hard to get through, but for me it wasn't nearly as bad compared to other series.
The Mage concept could have been done better.
Overall- Kamen Rider Wizard is a series that I do love, but it doesn't get into my top five because of filler overwhelming the series. This lead to some moments being rushed, but I still loved the ideas that were there and they may have been short, but I still love most of the direction. None of the characters except for one minor character... There were some nice effects used along with great designs and an very overall fun experience. Kamen Rider Wizard is my sixth favorite rider as I give the series an A-
Now I am going to enjoy some donuts!