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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E26: Where Will Chaser Proceed?

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 26
Where Will Chaser Proceed?

Oh lord, praise the heavens, the Chaser plotline is finally over. I think. At the very least, it's actually gone in a new direction, instead of rehashing the same tired storylines over and over again, episode after episode, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

Here's a bingo:

In this week's episode, Roimyude 007 goes on the search for its human host, intending to fuse with him once again to create the Sword Roimyude. Meanwhile, Shinnosuke learns about the leader of the Roimyudes, 001, and how he may have had a role in Shinnosuke's father's murder; and Kiriko attempts to convince Chase to become a Kamen Rider once again.

I did like this episode, but I do have some things to gripe about nevertheless. Firstly, remember how I talked about how there was potential for Krim to react in an interesting way to learning that Chase was alive? Well, turns out he already found out off-screen, and he's completely fine with that, so let's just throw that potential plot thread away. Gou, meanwhile, is not, and at this point, his hatred of Chase is getting to be a bit one-note - not irrational, because Chase has tried, however ineptly, to murder people, but a bit same-y and a bit old. It looks like we're going to be learning more about why that is next episode, though.

(As other people have pointed out, it's weird that even though there's clearly something wrong with Gou, even though several characters have acknowledged as much, nobody has tried to sit him down and ask what it is, not even his own sister.)

Why can 001 appear in mirrors?

By far my biggest bugbear, though, is that after twenty-four episodes of barely being mentioned (he did get some meaningful name-dropping last week), suddenly Shinnosuke's father is relevant to the plot. Which is something you really need to set up early and then follow through on, instead of just dropping it in halfway through the series and expecting the audience to have any kind of emotional response.

That's - that's not great.

But this was a fun episode. Sword was a slightly less effective villain in this one, largely because the more sinister part of him, the human, was mostly out of action, but he's still an interesting concept and one of the better designed Roimyudes. Not to mention, I like 001, who was the real villain of this episode. The idea of a secret mastermind behind the scenes who is also an important figure in politics is not a new one to Kamen Rider or fiction in general, but one of the reason it keeps cropping up is because it works well, combing supernatural authority with mundane authority - and it looks like next episode we're going to see him wield said mundane authority to its fullest effect.

We'll also see more of this guy.

Nira, meanwhile, has essentially become comic relief, and that's fine. There was never any suggestion that he was going to be a long-term villain anyway, so I'm not bothered that he is essentially just an underling (possibly an unwitting one, probably not) for 001, and I'm not bothered that he's a mostly comical character - it grates on me less than, say, Brain being rendered comic relief.

The action scenes were good too - Shinnosuke's injury was rendered very disturbingly, especially with all the screaming and wincing, and Heart and Sword both came off as genuine threats. It was nice to see Kiriko use her magic boots again, even if she did also get rendered a damsel-in-distress yet again, which I really hate. Chaser's debut - which I believed also had an entirely new OST track accompanying it - was very dramatic, especially with the fake rain and his old form exploding to reveal his new one. It was all very nice. I approve.


All of which leaves me without much to say. This was not the best episode of Drive, nor was it anywhere near the worst - it sits comfortably in the middle as an episode which will only really be memorable for having Kamen Rider Chaser's debut. That's not great for an episode which, with a new rider and a new villain, should have been amazing, but I'll take it.

Anyway, here's the bingo for this week:

I think I'm going to leave off doing bingos for this show for the moment, at least until we reach the start of Act 4, which should be around episode thirty-four or thirty-five. In the meantime, next week we apparently see the police force turning on Shinnosuke, and his brand new obsession with finding his father's killer mounting as he confronts Brain about 001's identity; and we'll find out what's up with Gou.

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