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Monday, 24 November 2014

Kamen Rider Drive E7: How Was That Decisive Moment Captured?

Why is this on Monday instead of Tuesday? Well, there's no Doctor Who anymore, so I may as well.

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 7
How Was That Decisive Moment Captured?

First things first, I totally made a mistake on last week's bingo. There was a slot I left unfilled when it should have been filled. So here's the correct-as-of-Episode-6 bingo card:

I really liked the last episode, so I went into this one hoping for good things. It can (a bit ironically, in the case of this series) take a while for a series to kick into gear, after all, especially when you're dealing with a series as long as a Kamen Rider series, and you may want to hold things back for later episodes. One thing Gaim did really well was keeping the pace pretty consistently fast throughout, and it did that mostly by playing all of its hand early and then dragging in decks from other card games (like Uno or Cards Against Humanity) so that it could get new hands to play. If that makes sense.

In this episode, Shinnosuke and Kiriko (who appear to be having some strife. It's being framed to make you think it's because Kiriko's in love with Shinnosuke, but I think literally everyone watching has probably figured out it's because Kiriko wants Shinnosuke to accept her as his police partner) investigate several collapsed buildings, and Shinnosuke finds himself stalked by a reporter. It quickly turns out that these two things are related, as the reporter's old friend, Kusaka (oh god no) has been taking eerily perfectly timed shots of the destruction.

It was a bit of a disappointing episode, all told. Granted, it's the first of an arc, and traditionally they're always the slower ones in a pair (and that was true in the last arc, as well, which I ended up quite liking), but still, it struggled to keep my attention. 

Shinnosuke and Kiriko are fun, but Shinnosuke seemed to lack any of the snark that made him fun to watch in the last few episodes - although we did get a great moment where he dramatically announces that he shall be the one driving the car, and in the next shot is sulking in the car while Kiriko drives. It's a very Shotaro moment - never let it be said that Sanjo doesn't have a type - but it was also probably the funniest part of the episode. Kiriko, too, seemed to lack much verve here. She was there, she was severe, and that was that. I like Kiriko, but I really want to see more from her. 

Heh. Sulking.

(On the villain side, Heart, Brain and Chase were great to watch, even though they only showed up about twice. This episode took to giving them the slightly abstract 'we're all standing too far away from each other to really be talking and none of us are looking at each other, but we're having a conversation anyway' thing Kamen Rider sometimes does with its villains - OOOs in particular was extremely fond of this trope - and while that makes absolutely no sense, it always makes for some very dramatic scenes.)

Chase is involved in this conversation, by the way.
I mean, if it was just Heart and Brain it'd be a little less silly,
but Chase is absolutely a participant in this discussion.

Where the episode really fell down was the plot, though. I never felt the urgency of stopping these buildings from collapsing, even though I know it's a bad thing, because it's so impersonal - that impersonal nature of large scale disasters is a big part of why Den-O, Double, Fourze, Wizard and so on all used a 'victim or involved individual of the week' format, wherein you would meet and get to know a character who had a personal stake in the situation. Gaim didn't need to do that because it had an entirely different structure that revolved less around monster attacks and more on politicking and subterfuge amongst a large ensemble cast, but Drive does if it's going to make me care about what its monsters of the week are doing.

There is a vague attempt to introduce somebody like that, in the form of news reporter Takasugi, but I never really felt like he was that involved in the situation. He never feels like he's at risk, either emotionally or physically, he just feels like he's there, vaguely knowledgeable about what's going on but not really invested. We get some guff about how Shinnosuke likes him and is reminded of himself, but we never really see anything that suggests that they're that similar.

(I feel bad writing this, because I'm trying to be more positive about Drive. Maybe it'll pick up next episode, guys?)

In the meantime, fashion.

As for the fight scenes, they're - not bad? They're perfectly serviceable. Chase is immediately back to fight Shinnosuke again, though, and although he brings with him a cool new electrified whip weapon, I'm getting a bit weary of seeing these two fight. I had thought and hoped they were done after last episode, at least for a while, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It's not that the fights between them aren't good - in fact, the Chase vs Shinnosuke fights are some of the best in the series so far, with the exception of their very first one several weeks ago - but too much of a good thing does get a bit wearisome after a while. 

So, I wasn't all that impressed. But, you know, that's fine. There are always episodes that don't really impress me, it's nothing new. Next week, it looks like we're getting more about how Chase is actually totally just Proto-Drive, along with the probably quite predictable conclusion to the Kiriko-Shinnosuke strife.

Anyway, here's the bingo.

Huh, filling up nicely.

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