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Monday, 29 December 2014

Kamen Rider Drive E12: Where Did The White Kamen Rider Come From?

This is going to be another week where Tuesday's post goes up earlier than usual, due to work. Just a heads up.

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 12
Where Did The White Kamen Rider Come From?

Argh, I have some divided opinions on this episode. Before we get into those, let's look at last week's bingo, okay?

I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get that square on the far left filled. I may have to be a little more lax with how I fill it in.

This episode sees previously sceptical Gen becoming preoccupied with proving the presence of a monster in a brutal case in which a loanshark (landshark?) was beaten with a statue. Meanwhile, there's a cowboy-esque Roimyude on the loose, and Shinnosuke ends up in a competition with an acrobatic and kind of annoying photographer. 

Everyone knows this already, but just in case they don't: Said photographer is Gou, Kiriko's brother and our second rider, Kamen Rider Mach. Like a lot of people, I've been very annoyed at this development: The introduction of a previously unheard of brother for Kiriko feels both like terrible shoehorning and like a terrible missed opportunity, since Kiriko, Hayase, or even Chase seem like they'd be much better candidates for a second rider.

So, how does his debut work out? Well, I'll be honest, I wasn't blown away. There were some good moments: I thought the entire sequence with Gou knocking Shinnosuke's evidence thought screen things out of the air, and Shinnosuke scrambling to pick them up, was a wonderfully surreal moment, and I'd definitely be up for Drive having more moments like that, where the show kind of edges into surrealist metafiction. The fact that Mach's transformation and fight scene has several more moments like that, including producing a rope to perform acrobatic tricks on from nowhere, definitely went over well with me as well.

But in general, I felt like Mach's entrance lacked the drama that previous second rider debuts have had. When Accel, Birth, and Meteor debuted, their respective shows did much to hype their arrivals, in different ways. With Accel, we were introduced to the idea of a dangerous, maverick police officer before he became a rider, and his introduction was also our first proper introduction to Shroud; with Birth, he was hinted at for several episodes prior and debuted during one of the early major battles of the series, and much was made of his being a mercenary agent not aligned with Eiji and Ankh; Meteor also first appeared during a major battle, facing off against then-new villain Libra, and his entrance also brought with it Tachibana, who would turn out to be a major player in the story.

But we did get explosions, and posing, and that's always a plus.

Mach's entrance reminds me more of Beast's. He wasn't there, and then he was, and despite the literal fanfare with sparklers and confetti that the show provided, I felt like it was a fairly nondescript, bland debut that they didn't really play up as much as they could have. 

(If you're wondering why I'm not including Gaim in this round-up, it's because Gaim didn't really have a second rider. That said, almost all of its rider debuts were treated with some sense of drama.)

I don't really like Gou as a character, but I'm open to the entire of him growing on me. I didn't like Nitou, Ryu, or Date at first, either, and they all grew on me sooner or later. So, we'll see. Let's just say I'm not impressed by him for the moment.

I did, however, like our first proper look at Medic. She comes off as distinctly inhuman, in contrast to Heart, Brain and Chase. It's a combination of the strange way of talking and the delicately performing ballet on the battlefield. Also, she obviously makes Brain jealous, and this really only reinforces my idea that Brain and Heart are meant to be a couple.

I also liked that we're seeing some development for Gen, here. He's gone from a total sceptic in the first episode to actively pursuing monsters in this one, and it hasn't really been an abrupt change at all: In contrast, it feels totally natural, the result of his having numerous encounters with monsters, and nearly losing his life to them at least once.

Gou, why do you backflip everywhere?

(Speaking of, how does momentum work during the Slowdown? Because previous episodes have treated it as if the effects of momentum remain the same - a person falling will move slowly but hit the ground with the same force as if they moved fast; a bullet fired from a gun might move very slowly, but when it hits a similarly slowed down person, it will have the same effect as if it hit them during regular time - but this episode treats it as if momentum is suppressed, allowing people to fall safely from very tall heights. I'm a bit confused by that.)

So, I did enjoy this episode as a whole, but Mach's debut - not so much. It'll be interesting to see if I warm to him as time goes by.

Anyway, here's today's bingo:

I don't think there's an episode next week, so I'll take the opportunity to put up the masterpost for the series' first act then. The week after that, we're getting the conclusion of the Gunman arc, and a rider vs rider battle between Shinnosuke and Gou. Should be good. Or not. We'll see.

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