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Monday, 23 February 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E19: What Can Judge The Police?

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 19: What Can Judge The Police?

Last week, we had the makings of an interesting arc looking at the difference between justice and revenge, and exploring Gen's character as more than just the out-of-touch-bumbling-comic-relief-guy (as opposed to the geeky-comic-relief-guy, the kooky-comic-relief-guy, et cetera). Before we look at this week's episode, which concludes that arc, let's glance at last week's bingo:

It's very satisfying to me to see so many squares filled. Deeply, oddly satisfying.

Having just discovered that the Roimyude of the week, Judge, looks like Gen's superior Tachibana, the crew immediately go to - demand answers from Tachibana, thus immediately falling right into one of my bugbears with this arc and several Drive arcs in general. I ranted about this last week, so I'll try to avoid doing so too much this week, but Roimyudes copy people, and we've seen them do so without consent. 

In fairness to the writers of this episode, this time the characters aren't acting like Tachibana is the Roimyude, but they do automatically assume that he's allied with it, which doesn't match up at all with their experiences or what the audience has seen. Sometimes Roimyude hosts are allied with their Roimyudes, but just as often they're unwilling participants, or absent-and-presumably-dead. 

(In this case, they're right, and Tachibana is in league with Judge, which just makes me more annoyed.)

Oh, and the Chief is back.

My second big 'have you forgotten your own plot' irritation with this episode is the joke of Gou staying in his Mach suit indefinitely so as to not be mobbed with people tricked into thinking that he's Judge, after his embarrassing video rant was poorly dubbed over. This is a joke, so I don't want to be too stingy about it - nothing irritates me more than when people take jokes and pick them apart like that - but Gou can only stay in that suit for a limited amount of time. The joke could have arguably been made more funny by having someone point this out, even. I'd be less of a stickler for this, but the suit's time limit is almost certainly going to end up being an important part of Gou's character arc. 

But those are my two only real problems with this episode, which wasn't massively remarkable but was a perfectly fun twenty minutes. The mystery plot was set up well, even if at times the pace slowed to a crawl (the Deco Traveler-Gen scene was the worst offender for this), and it had an nice conclusion that wrapped everything up neatly, even if I do rather disagree with Shinnosuke's 'your only crime was giving in to your torment' spiel at Tachibana, who has literally aided and abetted a monster in committing assault. It probably would have made more sense to have Tachibana be arrested, especially since the theme of the arc is 'justice', but I can see why they didn't, since Tachibana has been framed throughout as a sympathetic character working for the benefit of a vulnerable young woman, and also since the last arc ended with a close associate of the supporting-character-of-the-fortnight being taken away in handcuffs. 

(The villain idol group was more or less absent in this episode, bar Chase, which is a bit of a shame, but was also barely noticeable. They don't need to be in every episode, after all.)

Also, there's this delightful but bizarre scene.

The action sequences were also quite fun. We had a terrible CGI fight between Tridoron and the Ride Crosser at the beginning, which was gratifyingly short, and in a nice twist, this episode was fairly restrained in how much action it included from then on - keeping in mind that at its worst, Drive has sometimes devoted half an episode at a time to action scenes, it was good to see the writers scale that back slightly, limiting it to one short fight between Judge and Gou, and then the arc's final battle, pitting Shinnosuke against Judge and Gou against Chase (which is, at least, a welcome change from having Shinnosuke vs Chase every episode). They even managed to work a nice joke into the latter, with Gou dramatically exclaiming that this time, Chase won't be able to form the Ride Crosser, because Gou hadn't brought his bike with him.


Overall, a pretty solid episode in what's shaping up to be a fairly solid series, despite having gotten off to a slow start.

This episode didn't tick any bingo boxes, so we'll skip that and look straight ahead to next week, where we have another supporting-character-focus-arc, this one looking at Kyu, the aforementioned geeky-comic-relief-guy. I quite like Kyu, so that might be pretty fun. This upcoming arc also seems to be shifting focus a little bit more onto Medic, too, with the preview having her cheerfully remark that she'd quite like to dispose of everyone except her and Heart. We might even get to see her Roimyude form.

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