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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Kamen Rider Drive Special Mission - Type Zero.

This might end up being a shorter review than usual. There's only so much that can be said about a sixteen minute special.

Kamen Rider Drive
Special Mission: Type Zero.

I'd make a 'two Drive reviews in one week? Say it's not so' joke, but I'm pretty sure this will come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, given that we did get almost an entire extra episode. Almost: The special mission episode is sixteen minutes long instead of twenty-two, but it also doesn't have the opening credits or any previews.

First thing's first, I am counting this episode in the bingo, so here it is as it stood at the end of Episode 10:

Showing the twelve hours before the Global Freeze event that preceded the series, the episode covers Shinnosuke's attempt to take down a criminal organisation calling themselves Neo-Shade, the beginning of Heart and Brain's revolution, and the activities of Proto-Drive, Shinnosuke's predecessor.

I wasn't expecting a great deal, so I only went and looked up this special when I was bored, short on things to review, and full of whimsy: Which is probably the best way to do it. It is, after all, an optional extra, something fun for fans who bought a DVD. As one might expect, it is pretty rough and hastily put together, and relatively unpolished.

In spite of that, though, I did quite like it. Proto-Drive (whose identity is painfully obvious the moment you hear him speak, as if it wasn't extremely obvious before), on whom it was marketed, appears rarely, but his appearances are always very striking. He comes across almost as a Batman figure: Mysterious, shadowy, and just skirting the edge of being an antihero (and it's odd that I should say that, come to think of it, because he behaves in a completely unambiguously heroic fashion throughout this episode. Something about his manner, one supposes), in contrast to our more brightly coloured and affable regular-flavour Drive. 

(One thing that did make me tilt my head a little was the presence of Mr. Belt. I was under the impression that we established last episode that he died during the Global Freeze, so why is his consciousness inside a belt before it? Is he just communicating through it like a commlink?)

I demand answers, son.

The Shinnosuke plotline, focusing mostly on his relationship with Hayase. I'm still in the 'I love Hayase but he should have died' camp, and this plotline would have had a lot more emotional punch to it if Shinnosuke was responsible for the dude's death, instead of just injuring him. That said, it was good to see their interactions and teamwork, especially in a sequence where Hayase distracts someone while Shinnosuke sneaks up behind them.

That plotline also answered a question that I think all of us have pondered at some point: Whether regular crime in the world of Kamen Rider is as ludicrous as monster crime. The answer is yes, as this special episode brings us two police officers looking at an enhanced photograph and uttering the sentence "It's not Neo-Shade at all, it's a copycat ... In fact, it's the Copycat Pirate." When we see the man, he's dressed up like a pirate in a mask, ranting about being the king of crime. So, that's - good. That question has been answered, then.

(The Copycat Pirate does, in fact, eventually get copied by a monster, thus proving the writers have some sense of irony.)

The last plotline is Heart's, and it's definitely the least meaty of the three, mostly involving him rallying his fellow Roimyude and being generally cheerful and affable and murderous. It's definitely the worst of the three, but it's good fun anyway. 

So, let's take a look at the bingo, updated for this episode:

Great. This is a fun special, so I recommend checking it out when you have time and inclination, and Drive proper has its next episode airing on Monday, I think.

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