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Monday, 12 January 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E13: Why Won't My Little Brother Put On The Brakes?

Hey, guys. I have an anniversary thank-you post up, and since I'll be reccing things from the archives this week, today's archival rec is Why Fifty Shades of Grey is Really Skeevy.

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 13
Why Won't My Little Brother Put On The Brakes?

Ironically, after two weeks of not writing anything about Drive, I'm having trouble getting my mind in gear for it. I didn't really miss it much when it didn't air last week, and in fact if I wasn't writing these reviews, it's entirely possible that I just wouldn't have noticed at all.

Ah, well. Here's the bingo as of two weeks ago:

This week's episode picks up roughly where the last one left off, with Kiriko's brother Gou - who is also Kamen Rider Mach - having arrived in Japan, and a vaguely diabolical Roimyude plot to sell Slowdown devices on the black market. As Shinnosuke and Gou start butting heads in their pursuit of the Roimyudes, Chase is filled with unease over learning his number.

I'm going to be straight with you all, I really enjoyed this episode. I've been griping about Drive for about twelve weeks now, but I don't have that many complaints about this episode. It wasn't perfect, not at all, but it was a very good showing. 

Gou is an interesting character. I didn't like him much last week, but he's grown on me this week: His interactions with the rest of the team were the source of some actually pretty good comedy in the opening scene (with the highlight being Krim's dry urging for Shinnosuke and Kiriko to pay attention to him), and his ends-justify-the-means-daredevil approach made for some interesting antics through the episode, especially when he flat out told Shinnosuke he didn't think they were any better than the Roimyude.

One question, though: Is Gou dying? It seems like an entirely too dark direction for this show to go in (although both Shinnosuke and Kiriko do seem to be suffering from trauma-related mental health issues, and the idea wouldn't be new to Kamen Rider - it was only a few years ago that we had Date slowly dying of a bullet in his brain, and even more recent than that that we had Koyomi slowly decaying), but his relative disregard for his own health, his apparent abrupt return to Japan, and his various remarks over the course of the episode make it seem like he's attempting to do something in a very strict time limit. The juxtaposition of his arrival with finding out that his and Kiriko's parents are both dead seems fairly ominous too.

The conclusion of the Gou-and-Shinnosuke-don't-like-each-other arc at the end of the episode was also surprisingly nicely done. Homoerotic as all get out (yes, Shinnosuke, you just shuffle your chair very close and delicately brush your hands over Gou's clothes while talking about how you can keep up with him), but it's Kamen Rider, what's new there, really. 

"You can call me 'big brother'," Shinnosuke purrs, getting very close and
initiating physical contact with his partner's brother.

Surprisingly, the villain side wasn't on form today. Probably because they didn't really show up much, and our Roimyudes-of-the-fortnight aren't the most interesting ones. Also, while I like Chase, I'm rapidly getting vexed by his story arc. Just have him find out his identity already, seriously. Dragging this out is just getting dull, and I'm sick of Chase vs Shinnosuke fights. 

(Also, when did Chase evolve again? Did I miss that? Because last I remember, he had regressed into his base form.)

The fight scenes in this episode were also okay, too. Not amazing, and in general I don't think Drive's fight scenes are its strongest feature, being as they tend to have poor pacing and last far too long. This episode only really had one fight scene, and while I think it was poorly paced (the sequence with the terrible CGI cartoon shark was entertaining, but slowed the scene right down), it definitely wasn't too long, and it was nice to see some more of Mach's abilities. I do wish they had been slightly more concrete with how long he can stay transformed, though. It would give his fights a little more sense of stakes. 

Oh, right, evil DJs are in this episode too. Forgot to say.

But overall, I did really like this episode, and I think it might be the best of the series so far. If Drive continues in the same vein as this episode, it - well, it still won't be among the best Kamen Rider series, but it will be a perfectly enjoyable romp, and I'm absolutely fine with that. Only time will tell whether that'll be the case, but it's looking promising, with the next episode purportedly being the one where Chase finally learns his true identity. Who will it be? Just kidding, we all know already.

So, I'm looking forward to that.

In the meantime, though, here's this week's bingo:

Just one more square to fill in! I may have to lower my standards for that one, since Brain is the only major villain left who hasn't been seen in his human form. Also, I'm counting Mach's strain on a person's body as 'an upgrade turns out to be evil'. 

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