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Monday, 16 March 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E22: How Do I Fight With The F1 Body?

I'm really out of it today for some reason, so I apologise in advance for any massive errors here.

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 22: How Do I Fight With The F1 Body?

So, I really made no secret of the fact that I hated episode twenty-one. I thought it was dire, and while definitely nowhere near the worst episode of the series, it was definitely far below the quality I'd expect from anything, really. 

I wasn't holding out any particular hope of this episode being an improvement on that. I did, however, prepare a new bingo. I was short on new ideas when I made it, so I decided to make it a slightly smaller bingo than the usual, and when it's filled up I'll put together one which is slightly less rehashed, but here it is:

So, this episode, the conclusion of both this arc and this act of the show. 

Let's start by hammering in one particular point: We are twenty-two episodes into the show, and a major plotline has had the kind of movement on it that I'd expect from ten. Chase's storyline has been static, because every time it seems like it's getting development, it either out-and-out resets, or it's forgotten about.

Worse, the main plotline has had almost no movement on it: We don't really know anything about the Roimyudes' plan that we didn't know by the time the first few episodes were over. We don't know how close they are to achieving their plans, we've not seen them make any particular moves towards it, they may as well not even have a plot. 

Oh look, a plot thread that won't go anywhere.

If you want to do a very episodic show, that's fine: Plenty of Rider and Sentai series have done that with great success before. But in almost all those cases, the overarching plotline is geared to facilitate smaller, episodic plots. W was a highly episodic Kamen Rider series, because the monsters of the fortnight were symptomatic of a larger issue, but not part of any unified cause. On the other side of the coin, Shinkenger was extremely episodic, and its villains were all part of a single, unified faction - but their plan was a nebulous 'cause distress to raise the waters of our evil river', a very simple plan that only required occasional references to make it seem like it was progressing.

The Roimyudes' plan isn't like that: They're trying to assemble a specific number of evolved Roimyudes for a single purpose, and that requires constant action - both to evolve new Roimyudes, and to preserve ones they have - and we've not actually seen that kind of action. In fact, we barely ever hear about that plan. Compare and contrast the Greeed from OOOs, who had decidedly episodic-oriented goals, and yet still innovated, schemed and reacted to the actions of the heroes.

I could forgive that if this was a well-written, enjoyable show, and sometimes it is - but this episode isn't. This episode is a mess.

I'm not sure where to begin. 

Yeah, same.

The start, possibly, where the form debut from last week is reduced to a short flashback after seeing Shinnosuke wandering around with a neck brace, the 'great danger' that Krim talked about apparently having been whiplash. I realise that whiplash is a dangerous thing, but all their attempts to push 'he could be seriously injured by whiplash and g-forces' in this episode just come off as forced, partly because he's literally fighting monsters and that kind of forces an adjustment in your idea of danger, and mostly because the show never tries to play it up as a particular danger. Shinnosuke has a neck brace but seems otherwise completely fine, and it comes off as soon as he needs to get involved in the action again. That doesn't scream 'terrible danger' to me.

Or perhaps I should have started with the introduction and hasty dismissal of plot elements, like the 'Medic can make copies of humans' idea, which is introduced, leads into Kiriko being kidnapped (sigh) and then is promptly forgotten about, as Kiriko remains kidnapped for all of about twelve seconds before all the human-copies are destroyed and never mentioned again. It's meant to be a way to get around the 'oh no, people were murdered' plotline they introduced and then barely touched upon in the last episode, and it comes off as sloppy and rushed and just lazy. 

Oh, and Formula's design is awful, but it's hardly the first rider to have a terrible design.

I could talk about how the episode seems to go out of its way to make sure that none of the villains are credible threats, from having Chase remain totally unable to do anything to having Brain become comic relief to having Medic's most diabolical act be burning a handkerchief, because that's also not great.

I could definitely talk about how the action scenes bored me. I could also talk about how the show dangles the idea of the Chase storyline finally, finally being over before pulling a 'Surprise! He's still alive!' plot twist, which will either lead to him suddenly being good now or, worse, to another complete reset of this storyline back to the start. 

Ugh, this was a depressingly bad episode. Let's look at the bingo.

Next week, we apparently have more Chase stuff and a Roimyude of the fortnight who's committing serial bombings. Also, Gou is getting more death flags, I guess.

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