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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E35: Why Did The Besiege Incident Happen?

I am actually quite exhausted right now, but here are some new Let's Plays! Valkyria Chronicles [P20] Ninja Tank and Heroes of the Storm.

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 35
Why Did The Besiege Incident Happen?

Given how heavy my workload was last week, what with several new releases and at least one series ending, Drive's hiatus served me quite well. That said, I am glad it's back: The last episode was, I thought, very strong, and I was interested to see how they would continue the Brain-Nira plotline into this episode.

In this week's episode, Brain and Nira accuse Shinnosuke and the Special Crimes Unit of being involved in a power struggle for the Roimyude leadership, prompting a manhunt. Meanwhile, Gou is confronted by Heart, seeking the return of the Professor Banno AI.

I have to say, the part of this episode that impressed me most was Brain and Nira's press conference. Not because it was particularly dramatic - in fact, I think that in general this entire episode was suffering from a critical lack of drama, with none of the characters really reacting believably (or at all) to their colleagues turning on them and the media framing them as terrorists - but because it made good use of minor plot points from previous episodes, essentially using the characters' focus episodes, which often put them in close proximity with Roimyudes, as evidence for their secret agenda.


More could have been made of that, I think. For instance, Brain brings up that Kyu was in cahoots with a Roimyude: But that Roimyude looked like him, so why not accuse Kyu of being a Roimyude, forcing him to flee rather than be taken to jail because the police will be out to kill him? Much is made of Gen having taken orders from a Roimyude host, but why not have Brain twist the truth to say that Gen's mentor is a Roimyude and was when he was mentoring Gen, thus framing him as someone whose entire career was predicated on being an inside man for a cabal of monsters? And so on.

I wouldn't call it wasted potential as such, because I recognise that there are time constraints at play here, but there were a lot of directions this storyline could go in, I think, that would be more interesting than what we got: A slightly hack-handed plan by Brain and Nira to shove Shinnosuke into a position where he looks like he's holding Nira hostage.

That said, I did like this episode. The plot was relatively well-paced, there were some nice character interactions between Honganji and Shinnosuke among others, and the action scenes were - well, to be honest, I could have done without the fight scenes between Thief!Nira and the Riders, but the ones with Brain, now having assumed his golden form, were all very fun and didn't last so long that they tried my patience any. 

You know, you could just talk to each other like normal people instead of from
down a hallway.

Nira makes a good villain, to be honest: His over-the-topness works in his favour, because it's clowning that masks a sinister nature. That was one of the best things about the previous episode - seeing him drop the clown act for a short while - and we get it again towards the end of this episode, when he threatens Shinnosuke with a gun. In a franchise where violence is so very often fantastical stuff, with flashing lights and explosions, it's always a bit jarring and disconcerting when that violence crosses very firmly out of the fantastical and into the realistic, and that works in this episode's favour.

That said, he's a villain without, I think, more than one more episode left in him. Brain I'm not sure about anymore - he could die next episode or stick around long enough to see Medic inevitably achieve her ultimate evolution, and I think it would work towards his character arc either way. One thing is for sure, though: He's essentially sealed his death, and narratively speaking, Medic is liable to play a part in it, whether it's by helping the heroes or by pulling the old 'villain escapes heroes but is wounded, only to encounter another villain who finishes them off' trick that Kamen Rider villains are so very fond of. 

Finding good pictures of Nira with his gun was surprisingly difficult.

So, while this wasn't one of my favourite episodes of this series, I am interested to see how this three-parter ends up: Next week's episode will seemingly see Shinnosuke struggle with whether to shoot Nira in the face, which I completely foresee as being the least interesting part of that episode, as we all know full well that he won't - it'd be a complete travesty if he did. But we'll probably see some kind of resolution on the Nira plot, and some kind of resolution on Brain's subplot, and I can't say I'm not looking forward to that. 

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