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Monday, 26 January 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E15: When Will These Feelings Reach You?

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 15
When Will These Feelings Reach You?

Since we finished the last bingo last week, I have taken the liberty of creating the Kamen Rider Drive Bingo Mk. 2. This time I used a premade bingo grid. It looks nicer, don't pretend it doesn't. 

I should also clarify before I show this that I hadn't seen this episode yet when I made this. That - is a relevant factor, I think.

Anyway, with that out of the way, let's talk about Episode 15. The second half of a story following both an actress' multiple Roimyude stalkers (including one who leaves tarot cards with his victims) and Chase's discovery that he is actually Proto-Drive (what a twist), this episode sees us discover the truth behind the black-cloaked Roimyude, and continues the Chase storyline. 

I actually really liked this episode. That's, what, three episodes in a row now that I've enjoyed? We're doing pretty well here. Since this episode had two simultaneous plot threads, I'll look at them one by one.

First, the Roimyude-of-the-fortnight storyline. I'll be honest, while I liked this storyline a lot, and I thought it had a lot of impact and a lot of emotional weight, and tied in well with the other plotline of this episode, it was far from flawless. The question of 'Could this Roimyude really be this important dude?' came across to me as a ridiculous question for the characters to ask, since Roimyude aren't Orphenochs, who used to be human, or even Phantoms, who were born from humans and retain some of their personality traits: They copy humans, but they aren't the same people, and it was odd to see nobody pointing this out (not even Gou, who had much motivation to) when in the previous episode this feature of Roimyudes was an important plot element.

These reflections are physically impossible.

The other big problem was the plot twist towards the end. While I did like the plot twist, and I thought it was a pretty strong twist, it had pretty much no foreshadowing. There was no way an audience could figure out that this was what was going on, no hint that they could work with. It would have been very simple to hint at it, too: Have Lira's agent urge the police to stop investigating her missing boyfriend, claim that it's for Lira's sake, but refuse to say anything else, maybe. Have Lira display flashes of violent emotion that quickly pass. Have the landlady remark that Lira seemed a bit strange. You could have had all the foreshadowing you needed in less than two minutes spread out over two episodes.

(Also, why did her agent demand that Lira's boyfriend break up with her? 'Oh, she's going to become a big star soon, it's best if you break up with her.' What, is her attractive, famous boyfriend going to drag her down?)

Nevertheless, I did like this plotline, and in many ways it served as the Oh-Hey-Maybe-Yugo-Is-A-Good-Guy-Oh-God-I've-Made-A-Terrible-Mistake plotline (from Wizard) of Drive, although I'd argue that Wizard handled it a bit better. 

What a pair of dorks.

Which leaves the Chase plot - and you could probably make the argument that that's the main plotline of these two episodes, seeing as how neither of the Roimyudes of the fortnight got evolved forms. To be honest, I'm a bit divided on this plotline: On the one hand, Medic brainwashing Chase with 'a more dangerous method' is both very sinister and reeks of something that will come back to haunt everyone later (hopefully not too much later). But I also wonder if this was the most interesting route they could have gone down? After fourteen episodes of seemingly constant Chase-Shinnosuke fights, interspersed with Chase being stoic and grim, we finally get a development that looks like it's going to take the storyline in a different direction - only for Chase to be immediately reset, putting us back in 'fighting with Shinnosuke, being stoic and grim' territory. 

So, I'm divided. It also seemed oddly out of character for Heart to allow this. He's been shown to be someone who cares very deeply for all of his subordinates, so I wonder if it would have been more in-character for him to decide that Chase should be mercy-killed, or even decide to let him go, rather than to permit a dangerous form of brainwashing. 

Wait, how is this card intact? It's been underwater for months.

Kiriko, Shinnosuke, and Gou's reactions to this development all suited them well, though. Kiriko has a personal stake in Chase turning out okay, so it follows that she'd believe that he could be saved (a viewpoint that is, currently, supported by evidence); Shinnosuke has long seen Chase as a frenemy of sorts, so it'd follow that he'd be reluctant to fight a fully brainwashed Chase, who isn't really the person he's formed this weird rivalry-friendship with; and Gou set himself up very early as a scorch-the-earth-ends-justify-the-means kind of guy, so his position of 'Nah, he needs to die' makes sense as well.

I'll be interested to see where this storyline goes, but at the moment I'm very torn about it. As was the case with this episode's other storyline, though, I did enjoy watching it.

Anyway, let's look at the bingo, updated after this episode.


Next week, we seem to be getting a more comedic episode, and one that focuses on Rinna, so that'll be interesting, I think.

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