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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 5 Review: Fruit Bowl Madness

Continuing on from the previous episode that had characters like Kouta have a sudden change of ideas with Mai being an idiot, but had gleaming moments for Kaito and Micchy. This episode however switches over some of that and makes total hypocrites out two of the characters I mentioned.
The first character I want to talk about is Micchy, what the hell happened to this guy? I remember in episode four it seemed like he was going to take Kouta's spot because I thought he was inspired by Kouta being the hero. This episode though supports that idea, but doesn't at the same time. I was confused with how Micchy was thinking in this episode because he made no sense. In the beginning of the episode he has a dream where he is watching Mai dance (a bit creepy) and there the other Mai appears and tells him he has a life of fighting waiting. Micchy clearly says that if he continues to fight as Ryugen he can get Mai's attention. So hearing that means he just wants Mai as a girlfriend, what happened with arguing with her in the previous episode? Then when he is talking with Kouta he says that he can fight for what he believes in. Hearing what Micchy said made me think that he was not replacing Kouta, but being the hero himself. When Kouta is ready to fight again though and Micchy tells him not to... I would have thought Micchy would want Kouta to fight alongside him since he was so happy to see him back on the team before. This was so confusing because he had three different emotions here. First there is his lust for Mai that is controlling him, his sense of righteousness, and then pure selfishness. Micchy pick the one thing you want to do.
Then there is Mai, oh my goodness was she at her worst in this episode. So let's get this straight, Mai hated having Kouta being Gaim because he wasn't doing things for himself and was putting himself in danger. When Micchy does the exact same thing she's fine with it... WHAT?! I mean wow just slap on her forehead the word hypocrite because she deserves that title now. It gets better though; her explanation for this is that Micchy is a part of the team. Kouta was part of the team and came back! Also she is so confident in Micchy after just one fight! Mai are you an idiot, he just fought a monster and had a challenge with it, he's lucky he had that gun. What ends up happening, Kaito shows up and alongside him he uses two monsters to help him in a fight. Micchy gets one intense beat down and could barely defend himself. I will say this series loves to quickly disprove on anything Mai thinks.
Also it just keeps getting better and better. Kouta starts to realize what the meaning of having the powers mean and the way he convinces Mai is that he is going to fight for himself. By fighting for himself he means being the hero like he was doing before. The best part is that Mai was still disagreeing with him at first. Mai one of your teammates is getting destroyed in battle and I would bet Kaito would do more than defeat Micchy. I'm not saying murder, but I can see him breaking some bones. This is the absolute worst for Mai in the series so far and I'm afraid if it's going to get worse from here on. Literally she takes back what she says when it's about Micchy even though he's doing the exact same thing Kouta was doing. Then it's fine for Kouta now since he's fighting for himself even though he's still being the hero. So the message here is that truly being heroic means being selfish? If so the message doesn't fit since Kouta is still acting like the hero, my head hurts right now.
Now I did say Kouta makes his comeback and that is something that I can like here. Also I'm hoping that Kouta was just persuading Mai that he was going to fight for himself. If he wasn't I can slap hypocrisy on him as well since he has a speech about what to do with power with Kaito. Kaito uses powers like a mad king and will keep control of his people and then showing his own people what happens to people who don't agree with him. Kouta on the other hand wants to use his power to support others and be an influence on the broken-hearted. So it's exactly how I thought Micchy was influenced by Kouta to fight. So pretty much Kouta is back to being Kouta or this whole time he was just saving people because he wasn't thinking for himself. Again I am confused on what's supposed to be the message for this episode, I want to be on the side with being the power to influence others, but there is still this whole selfishness heroics message as well. So even though Kouta took his stand back up there is a lot of confusion to what exactly he is doing now, other than the same things he was already doing before.
There is a glimmer of hope as Kaito is still awesome! I know this guy is a complete jerk, but he is so far the character that hasn't been jumping around anywhere in development. The guy loves using his power to make examples out of people and then having people join him to share that power. It's quite funny on how he's a knight who is usually a guard of a king and yet Kaito is the king. Again I don't even agree with his ideas, but he just has a different viewpoint and in ways he's not wrong. First he is doing exactly what he has been saying and for the most part it's working out well. Team Baron is grouping up more people since Kaito has been dealing out Lock Seeds and his goal was to have some loyal dogs in his control. Then there is how he wanted to take down Gaim because he was not going to take any risk as he says Team Gaim does have some strong points. This makes him send out two Inves to fight alongside him against Ryugen. That was an insanely great moment seeing how fast he is using his seeds in different manners. He started to use them to gather people and now he is controlling the monsters, which is just amazing. Again, I may not agree with him, but his character is still the strongest one of the series since he is staying the same and showing on how strong he can be.
Another interesting development is how two of Kaito's new so called dogs are already thinking of revolting against him. Jonouchi meets up with Hase to tell him what Kaito's true intention of having more members is really all about. This gets Hase mad just like how Jonouchi is and they need to find a way to be on Kaito's level and luckily Sid is around. At the end of the episode we see that the two guys get their own drivers and become the next Armored Riders. Now for the last minute reveal I would say it works better here than the previous episode with Ryugen since it's somewhat of a twist. Now this is ruined since we know exactly what the two are going to do with these new powers. There is no doubt they are going to fight Kaito in that moment and end up leaving Team Baron and I bet they will get that upper hand. Mostly because the two still act like they are fighting for Kaito and that will get him off guard. So I do like the little revolt these two are having as with them being riders I can't wait to see how their characters are going to develop.
The action in this episode is much better than episode four as it does show us Ryugen's first fight, how Baron starts to dominate, and Kouta's comeback. Ryugen's first fight was pretty good since there was a sense of struggle since Micchy clearly didn't have a full understanding of his powers. Luckily his gun gave him the advantage over the flying Inves. Then Ryugen quickly gets dropped to the ground by Baron and his Inves since Ryugen had to be in closer combat. He clearly doesn't have any close range fighting down as Baron takes this advantage. I did love seeing Baron purposely getting him in corners mostly thanks to the two Inves. Kaito was still using his spear as a sword, but I did like how he did use the whole weapon like even using the bottom half to knock Ryugen and then punch him. Kouta returns as Gaim and with his view of how power should be used this has Ryugen give Gaim the new Lock Seed. So wait, Micchy wants to impress Mai, so why didn't he use it? Oh well the appearance of Ichigo Arms good as Gaim did use it like actual throwing knives and the finisher was sweet to look at. So the action easily improved compared to episode four as it's close to what the first three episodes had.
Episode five is another pretty messy episode like episode four was, but at least it did improve the combat. I'm still confused three of the characters motives on how they feel about the current situation of Armored Riders. Then there is still Kaito being the best character in the series so far. So I would say this episode is around the same area as episode four, but thanks to the better action I would give this episode a C.
Next Time: Finally I can bust out some Rocky Horror jokes in a Toku show.


  1. Micchy whole predicament isn't really that confusing. His whole reasoning for being a rider seems to be a combination of things. Him being inspired by Kouta's herorics, letting himself bear the burden of protecting the team instead of kouta, and his crush on Mai. When you think about it they all are interconnected in some way. As for Mai while not full on love you can obviusly tell she has some liking for Kouta thus dosen't to see him carry all this burden for his team, when he could just be living a regular life. Now obviously she still cares for micchy as well but she also dosen't want Kouta sacrificing everything for everyone but himself.

    1. Having multiple reasons for fighting does happen, but this is the outcome is usually what we just saw happen to Micchy. I knew he had a crush on her, but it didn't seem it was like "I need her." I still find what Mai said to be very hypocritical because what about everyone else on the team, they probably have other lives and easily have to sacrifice their own time for the team. Also now Micchy is exactly do the same heroics as Kouta so he's sacrificing a whole lot. Just hearing Mai be fine with that was so silly because she seemed like the character who was hating the rider fights. Then Kouta is still part of the team because he came back and all he sacrificed were some part time jobs, not a one in a life time job.

    2. The way I see it is that Mai is fine with the others because they probably already have stable lifestyles, whereas Kouta has a different predicament as he quitted the team in order so that he can help his older sister make more money to have a more comfortable lifestyle which is a heavier situation, so Mai probably just didn't want him throw all of that away again. Now I'll will admit once start thinking about this you do scratch your head a bit, but I still wouldn't say Mai is a "bad" character, she just has some writing flaws which they probably might of overlooked.

    3. The thing is that I don't think Mai knows about their lives. I mean if you really think about it Micchy is part of a big school. If Mai cares so much then she would be saying the same things to Micchy, so I guess she doesn't know about his life. I will agree Kouta doesn't have the most stable lifestyle. Mai does have flaws and that's why she isn't a good character right now.

  2. One important thing to take into account is that Kouta is 20 and Micchy is 16. The whole beat rider thing is sort of considered to be kid stuff. Kouta left the team to try to move on into adulthood, and Mai is concerned that he just quit multiple part time jobs to help out a team that he's not even technically a part of anymore (even though he's helping them, he didn't really rejoin the team). To her, he's complacently going back into kid stuff while putting himself in dangerous situations when he should be continuing to try to advance his life, and that he's doing it out of some weird sense of obligation because he has the belt. Micchy, on the other hand, is an active member of team Gaim, and knowingly chose to take the belt, whereas Kouta stumbled into it. Mai is ok that Kouta is helping again because 1) otherwise Micchy was going to get destroyed and 2) he's choosing to do this for himself and not out of obligation. Remember, from their perspective, Kouta isn't the protagonist or hero, he's a guy who quit the team to work on becoming an adult only to stumble into some power and quit his jobs so he can help out his former teammates. There's a difference between fighting for yourself and fighting to benefit yourself, Kouta was saying he's truly choosing to fight, not that he's going to fight selfishly now.

    As far as Micchy's character goes, I think your problem is that you misjudged him initially and are still trying to look at him through that lens. Without spoiling anything, as the series progresses, you'll see that Micchy is clearly a chaotic good character, while Kouta is more lawful good. The part of his character that comes out when he convinces Sid to give him a belt isn't an abnormal moment for him, it's showing this other side to him. Yes, he was "arguing" with Mai last episode, but even in that scene, I felt like it was pretty clear he was crushing on her hard. Even though it might not seem to make a lot of sense from the outside, he was trying to tell her that he cares enough about her (and others) to suffer for them. For non-story reasons, Micchy gave Kouta the ichigo lockseed because he's the main character and needs more upgrades, but plotwise, I think it's because Micchy looks up to Kouta so much, and he knows that Kouta is going to be able to use it better than he is (and it's not the last time that's going to happen).

    Also, if you notice, Kaito has a strong distinction between power and strength. To him, power is your ability, and strength is how you use it. He's not so much of a jerk (and an even stronger and more interesting character) when you realize that, and it puts a lot of his motivation into context. If Micchy is chaotic good and Kouta is lawful good, Kaito is neutral good, fighting for what's right, but his view of what's "right" is much more selfish.

    I've been watching Gaim since the beginning, and have seen each episode 2-4 times. It's a really good series with characters that are a lot more intricate than they seem at first. When something seems hypocritical about them, try looking at it as revealing more of their true character, especially because there's a lot of surprise reveals about the characters and their motivations to come. Looking back at it now, the whole first arc (through episode 11) feels like it's a lot of setup and helping you get to know the characters. I'm really looking forward to the rest of your reviews on this, and I hope it starts to click with you a bit more! I'm sure you're gonna love where it's going.

  3. Also, the Aesir guys did some episode by episode critiques of TV-N's subs for episodes 1-5 and 16, and I highly suggest you check them out. While the intended purpose is to point out the flaws in their subs, it's insanely helpful in outlining character motivation and smaller, easy to miss details.