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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Kamen Rider Drive E5: What Are The Steel Robbers After?

This post is up a day late, but from the looks of it people really enjoyed yesterday's guest editorial from the Nine Over Five persons, so that's good.

Kamen Rider Drive 
Episode 5
What Are The Steel Robbers After?

I admit, my excitement wanes more and more for Drive, because the first four episodes did not, exactly, tickle my fancy. Maybe I'm just being too harsh, though - it's entirely possible that if I weren't writing these posts, I'd be looking on it more favourably each week. So let's try for a fresh start here, with a little bit more positivity.

In that spirit, here's the rather shoddily put together Kamen Rider bingo:

So I'll be crossing off squares on that as we pass through the series. I tried to keep it as general to Heisei Kamen Rider as possible. 

As you might remember, at the end of the last episode, a rather portly fellow had said that he would be taking down Drive, much to Heart's delight and Brain's distaste, while in the Special Unit, Rinna was up to suspicious activity.

We return after a week's hiatus (what was the hiatus for? Was it golf?) to an episode that starts with the aforementioned portly fellow attacking a delivery (or possibly transport) truck with his two mates, only to be stopped by Shinnosuke. Shinnosuke seems oddly - sassy, this week. It's all very Peter Parker as he wisecracks here and there while fighting the Roimyude.

(We also have Rinna watching from afar through stylish pink binoculars.)

We've seen that kind of thing before, obviously. He's wisecracked at Chase and a few other Roimyude's before, so this definitely isn't coming out of the blue, it just seems more pronounced here. I like it.

Also, flirting with the truck driver.

Not pictured here: Him brushing down the driver's thighs.
Also, his tone of voice.

We get in narration some exposition about the Public Security Bureau tipping the Special Unit off, which both could have been done in dialogue and also begs the question of why a) No police officers were at this heist that they had apparently been tipped off to, and b) Why nobody is questioning why Drive has access to police intel. Remember, nobody knows he's a police detective. He has a secret identity to needlessly complicate the story.

The secret identity comes up a moment later, as the Superintendent (who looks familiar to me) asks if the Special Unit has any information on Kamen Rider, only to be told that they don't. But he doesn't think to ask how said rider seems to have constant access to police intel?

Or why one of the Special Unit's police detectives drives Kamen Rider's very recognisable car? 

This would be like if Bruce Wayne habitually took the Batmobile to his board meetings.

Be more competent.

We also get Chase trying to execute our portly fellow, Crush, for reasons that are entirely unclear. Brain stops him, and Heart tells him that he wants Chase to protect Crush instead, which for some reason prompts Chase to - angrily shoot some orange juice. I have no idea why.

Immediately after this, we get Shinnosuke asking Mr. Belt the question on all of our minds - why not just tell the Special Unit and Public Security that Shinnosuke is the Kamen Rider? He gets the very vague answer of 'well, our enemies are powerful', even though we've not seen anything to suggest they have any degree of pull or influence in wider society, their power instead being of the hard kind where they slow down time and then fire lasers at people. Which, really, Shinnosuke will be in exactly the same situation with as he is now if he just told the police about his superheroing.

The owner of the attacked truck is a health food manufacturer, apparently, who bursts into tears halfway through the interview because he's worried he's putting his employees in danger. What a sweet dude. I don't trust him.

After a fight scene with Chase in which we get more foreshadowing that he's actually Proto-Drive, along with a villainous monologue, Shinnosuke and Kiriko discover that he was just buying time for another truck to be attacked. Chase also gets some new weapons from Heart, who refers to them as being from 'Brain and I', because people who aren't evil power couples totally give gifts as units, r-right? I mean, that happens. Between friends. And/or co-workers. Y-yeah.

Heart is just a great boss, okay.

Gen and Shinnosuke decide to stake out the trucks, not that they really need to, since the Superintendent (who seems to have an eerily exact knowledge of when these attacks are going to happen, I don't trust him either) notifies them to an attack. It's actually the same driver that we saw before, the poor guy who keeps getting attacked by monsters and hit on by police detectives in plastic bodysuits.

It's during this attack that we see one of the more minor problems with Drive in action: Gen gets a bullet redirected at him, a great opportunity for tension, only for the show to immediately give us a close-up of his face forming a comical look of alarm as he hams out the line 'I'm going to die.' This is - kind of a massive dissonance in mood. Are we scared for his life, or amused at his overblown reaction to the likelihood of his brains flying in exquisite slow motion over the pavement? I just don't know.

Either way, Shinnosuke rescues him - the fact that he has time for a standing transformation with appropriate arm movements says much of how tense this scene wasn't - and heads into battle, although Crush still breaks into the truck and retrieves a safe, which has vials of a mysterious red liquid inside.

Chase also attacks again, and this time he has a special spider-based weapon for spider-based people. It's actually a pretty cool battle, if a short one, eventually culminating in the always fun flashy-collision-of-finishing-attacks. This has the side effect of making the red liquid, now revealed to be an explosive, explode, leaving everyone in-show wondering why a health food company is transporting that least healthy of ingestible items, liquid explosives. The answer, it turns out, is 'smuggling', as Chase rather smugly informs Shinnosuke.

Told you crying dude wasn't trustworthy.

On the other hand, spider weapon.

Bizarrely, the explosive seems to have a berserker effect on Crush when he drinks it, and he proceeds to take down Shinnosuke with relative ease - and while Shinnosuke attempts to activate a new form, he can't, due to not being 'fired up enough', because - well, it's that kind of series.

(Rinna's still watching, by the way. Watching and taking notes.)

While Shinnosuke is incapacitated, Brain approaches to give him some of his deadly neurotoxin (someone needs to attach a core to him while he's releasing that deadly neurotoxin, clearly, to make him stop releasing that deadly neurotoxin), and the episode ends on Shinnosuke writhing in pain.

Next episode we have more interference by the Public Safety Bureau, a crisis on confidence for Shinnosuke, and a new form. I did enjoy this episode, but it also highlighted one of the issues with this series and its attempted use of the W format: W, OOO, and Fourze were all oriented around an innocent or victim who gets caught up in the monsters mess - a normal person who the protagonist must somehow assist. Drive, so far, mostly has its episodes revolve around a monster who must be figured out and then defeated, and there's no human element to keep the audience's interest, especially as there isn't a large ensemble cast to receive focus and development (ala Sentai or Fourze) either.

Anyway, let's look at the bingo:

Okay, a few squares crossed off there. Definitely less than when I first did Moffat Bingo, though.

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