Kamen Rider Double Episode 3 Review: Money Money Money!
For this episode of Kamen Rider Double, urban legends are floating around as a popular one is a hidden casino. To anyone's surprise then, the case has to deal with this casino, Million Colosseo.
The case with the mysterious casino is probably one of the simplest cases in the series. There isn't much a mystery since we even find out who the culprit is in this episode. The mystery is more on finding the location so that the heroes can put an end to this insane gambling. Now the best part about Double is that it knows when to balance things out. By that I mean if one thing is low there will be something to replace that. Usually this is done with more plot development or if it's more of a filler episode, it will have something strong with simple presentation. Now Double has shown it's comedic themes before, but since episode three's case isn't all that much compared to the previous case the comedy really comes out strong here.
What I love about Double's comedy is the physical side of it. Now I will say I'm a fan of smart writing with witty dialogue. There can also be a strong sense of direction for telling an actor how they should be portraying their character. Double has wit to it, but what really delivers the comedy are the performances themselves. There are many images of Shotaro's faces around the internet along with many other characters. In this episode mostly anyone had a funny face, Jii, Akiko, Makura,Watcherman, the culprit, and especially Shotaro. There is also more than simply working with their faces as well like how Shotaro shoves both Jii and Makura to talk to Wakana. When he gets to that point he acts all flirtatious and having this bold appearance. After that he starts to skip out of the building with glee since he got Wakana's autograph. Again Renn is easily the best actor in the show as there will be many more excellent performances to come from him later on.
Along with the comedy the series starts to establish more of the side characters. Watcherman gets more of a scene as we find out he's a blogger. I know that isn't much for character development, but since he always loves to take pictures of cute girls for his blog really does show what kind of character he is. Along with that his looks are quite unique... not saying he is ugly, it's just not the most usual look you will ever see. Also we get more clarification on the two police officers as one is nicknamed Namakura because he is dull and that is pretty true. This side character does get angry a whole bunch of times, but compared to many other side characters he is quite dull. So again that is just some clever comedic writing right there. Jii was around as well as he talks to Shotaro with calmness like usual. Again I just love these personalities as it makes the most minor characters have some enjoyment to the show which every character should be doing or be embracing some sort of emotion of story progression.
This case's character is Yuuko as she is a victim of the casino. It seems she was a nice and gentle girl who worked alongside her family. A cool part of this episode is when Phillip talks about the family as their business makes a Fuuto only dish. Again these little things really made the city of Fuuto feel like its own, learning little details at a time to get a tight grab onto the viewers. Either way there is a complete transformation of character as we first see her as the nice girl working hard. Then after one day of being at the casino, she completely changes into a rich snob. She even smacks people in the face for not getting her the right jewelry, which again points to some nice physical work, it's much smaller, but again many shows can ignore the physical elements. Good job on the costume and makeup direction as well since Yuuko even looks completely different. Even if Yuuko smiles it's a completely different look and feel to her. Step by step the little details for many things can really build up on character and setting.
I mentioned before on how the Gaia Memories really grow along with the city and this episode shows that off as well. The villain is in head of the casino and of course his memory has to deal with greed. All I can say the Money Dopant is much better than most of the Yummies and Greeed from OOO. Before OOO completely destroyed this concept, the Money Dopant did a great job of being a unique monster in the franchise. First, it starts to show that not all of the memories will be combat orientated. Gaia Memories just contain special powers that can do things no normal human being can perform. Along with that, the man who is the Money Dopant, Kaga makes his victims really break down and change their personalities. We see one of his victims becoming homeless pretty much as he needs to pay off his debt and sadly he didn't make it in time. Money can take the soul of another and use it for his own personal currency. I even love that he gets a big belly from getting souls which easily represents that gluttony and greed work alongside each other.
Even if the Money Dopant is not a fighter he can still be a threat and that is thanks to the man himself. Kaga also has a funny appearance to himself and yet he can still make people afraid of him. He's this short little man with goofy hair and facial hair, those eyebrows are something else. He even has a sadistic yet fun way of showing people that they lost. When Kaga went to get a full payment from his victim he treats the situation like he lost a sport or something. Literally Kaga even smacks him on the face like three times in a funny manner. I guess his appearance can have a creepy vibe to it as well cause when this guy smiles, it makes me laugh and yet disturbed at the same time. I'm just saying this, Money is one of my favorite Dopants and this is only episode three! It may not be for fighting as he literally skips when he is getting away from the heroes. He is so confident in himself since he holds peoples' lives in his gut, again very literal.
As for Shotaro and Phillip in this episode we do get an interesting pivot point for them already. With Phillip he starts to question about his family and where they are. He even starts to have an interest in an actual human being and has this affection towards Wakana for some reason. With Phillip, he starts to overreact with the idea of his family as he blanks out at the worst of times. It even gets so bad that Phillip blacks out in the middle of battle. Shotaro ends up seeing Phillip's thoughts about his family and even before that he starts to worry about Phillip. So these two are showing compassion for each other compared to last time with Shotaro punching Phillip. Sadly this is only the beginning of this arc so there isn't too much to dive into at this point.
For the action, it was quite low and even when the fighting was going on it ended up being more comedic. This is because Money Dopant is not a fighter as he ends up fleeing or resorting to cheap tactics. Double actually had to hold the Dopant down on the ground and it ends up becoming a little slap fight at that moment. There was even some action on top of a bus and I can't really recall the last time Kamen Rider had fights on top of a vehicle like that. Money though only gets on hit on Double before he gets Phillip to black out. The fight was heavily one sided and that was the point, we also got to see more of Metal along with Cyclone this time as it's great for deflecting projectiles it seems. I also the love how the effects worked in this episode as they are small changes to what is happening. The flying coins, Money uses go quite fast and the tint of gold really establishes that quickly. When Double goes into Cyclone Metal there are simple wind motions around Double and his weapon. Then the rest of the fight focused more on how Double uses the weapon and not resorting to too many effects. Again even if the action was lower it ends up being good thanks to good direction.
Episode three is simple, but there is nothing wrong with that. The episode contains a whole lot of fun and in the end it is still well made. The comedy was at a strong point and there was an overall great presentation. Even then there were some nice little developments with Kirhiko and the Sonzaki's, but I will save that for the next episode review. I give this episode an A since I will agree it's not perfect because some of the effects could have been done better, like the CGI animation for the motorcycle.