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Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Kamen Rider Drive E4: What Is The Proud Chaser Thinking About?

Oh, man, guys, I totally meant to be posting links to ~spooky archive reviews~ in the pre-review spiels this week, but I forgot yesterday, so here's two:

Garo: Makai no Hana is the first ~spooky archive review~ for today, and Murdered: Soul Suspect is the second.

I also meant to have a Kamen Rider Bingo done, but then my computer crashed, and I hadn't saved. Folly.

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 4
What Is The Proud Chaser Thinking About?

This episode opens on a rather uninspiring fight scene between Drive and Chase, before quickly moving on to a conversation afterwards that sums up a lot of my problems with Drive so far. Kiriko demands to know why Shinnosuke didn't fight, and Shinnosuke replies that there was a victim at the scene, before leaving Mr. Belt to explain that Shinnosuke was protecting those two through that fight. 

Let's talk about showing and telling, shall we? Telling and exposition does have a place in fiction. This is not that place: This entire conversation should have been unnecessary, because we should have been able to see in the fight scene that Shinnosuke was trying to protect those two instead of fighting. We didn't, really: What it looked like instead was that Shinnosuke just didn't care, and that made Chase look like he wasn't really a threat.

It's all well and good to tell us that it was a tough fight and that he was protecting Kiriko and the victim-painting, but it's useless. Your window of opportunity for prising an emotional reaction from your audience has passed, show. You wasted it with poor writing, poor fight choreography, and apparently not knowing the basics of writing fiction.

This is not the mask of a man desperately trying to protect something.

Things luckily pick up from that disappointing first fifth of the episode, as we get a pretty interesting scene between the villains. Heart and Brain explain that they have been tasked with gathering a certain quota of evolved Roimyude - what Paint/Asaya refers to as the Promised Number - before the appointed time, and that Roimyude who endanger that plan by drawing too much attention will be executed. 

Paint's confident that the police won't be able to pin the crimes on him, though, and he seems like he might be right, as Gen and Shinnosuke find that all the paintings are now gone (stolen, Paint informs them), although Shinnosuke does notice coloured cables going into the wall in what might be the most obvious clue ever. There's a short interrogation at the station, where Paint unsubtly implies that if the police move against him, he'll kill or harm the women he has trapped, something which makes Shinnosuke respond with understandable anger.

This is probably the most compelling I've found Shinnosuke, to be honest. I do like the trope of someone who is easygoing but can turn stern and severe at a moment's notice in the right circumstances, I really do, the writers just really need to work on making him a) Not sometimes irritatingly smug, and b) Remotely consistent. They also need to work on making the rest of the Special Crimes Unit not obnoxious, and giving Kiriko some character depth. 

But still, neat.

Speaking of the Special Crimes Unit, aaargh. Luckily, they're showing up in a plot relevant scene, and actually a pretty okay one at that, as Scientist Lady Person says that she analysed the canvas and found out that it's made of a conductive material for storing data, and that it requires an enormous supply of power. 

... What's going to happen to this painting, then? The one disconnected from a power supply for what must have been at least a day? Is the woman within going to be released and assume her natural, fleshy form, or be released and die? I bet this will never be answered.

We also get to see Shinnosuke's piecing-together-evidence computer-y effect again, which is - stop it, show. Just stop it. It's not as dramatic as you think it is. 

Speaking of things that aren't as dramatic as the writers think they are, there's a scene which perfectly exemplifies both that issue and the showing-vs-telling issue, as the show desperately attempts to make us sympathise with a small, plastic car by having a belt exposit on how said plastic car used to be light-hearted and fun, until his partner, Dimension Cab, was damaged and had to leave service.

Firstly, I - I have no idea how you'd show that personality change, but god knows it's something you need to show, instead of just telling me. Secondly, thanks for that unsubtle callback to Shinnosuke's partner being injured and how you sapped the tension out of that situation with expert speed. Thirdly, a tiny toy car called Dream Vegas is melancholy and full of revenge because his partner, Dimension Cab, was injured in a battle against a robot? 

This picture of Chase isn't relevant, bar his look of suppressed distaste.

That might be the most ridiculous thing in Kamen Rider for a while, and I invite you to remember that the last series was about dancing fruit samurai.

Luckily, we get to swiftly move on from that, as Paint lures Shinnosuke into a fight with Chase. It's - better than the last one, I guess. There's a steering wheel sword. Chase exposits, because of course he does.

The episode does start to pick up again from here, though, as we get a scene where Kiriko confronts Paint, with Paint very effectively shown to be incredibly creepy and also a total lunatic. Her resolve to do her duty as a police detective and take him down despite her fear kind of falls a shade flat when she's incapacitated mere seconds later, but it's revealed shortly thereafter to be a ruse on her part, meant to help Shinnosuke track down the paintings by having Mr. Belt pinpoint the centre of the density shift.

Aw, look at these two, being all badass.

After a short and pretty good fight scene, we head into the end of the episode. Shinnosuke and Kiriko are now fully fledged friends, the women have all been released from the paintings, I hate the Special Crimes Unit, and Heart, Brain and Chase are talking about Shinnosuke. While Chase wants to, er, chase him down, a very large Roimyude who likes eating says that he'll do it instead. Brain is - displeased.

We also see that Scientist Lady Person - who is called Rinna, I learned in the preview for the next episode - knows about Shift Cars and might be evil. I have total faith that this will come to absolutely nothing and in fact be entirely forgotten about two episodes from now. 

I have mixed feelings about this episode, let's put it that way. Hated the beginning, kind of liked the end, so it's definitely an improvement over the last episode. I admit, by that last scene with Dream Vegas and Dimension Cab, I was a little invested in their character arc, too.

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