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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E38: Why is the Devil Seeking Evolution?

Hey, everyone. I've not had a chance to update the list above yet, but there are new LPs in the form of Dishonored [P7] Squeaky-voiced Loyalists and Valkyria Chronicles [P26] The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. 

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 38
Why is the Devil Seeking Evolution?

Apparently the French chef Roimyude is called 'Cook', not 'Chef'. Not the name I would have gone with personally, but then, I'm not writing the show: If I was, the entire 001 arc would never have happened, Medic would have shone bright as an Act 3 villain and then died by now, Kiriko would be a Rider, that whole Gou arc would have never happened, and one of the Special Crimes Unit would have turned out to be a Roimyude. 

I won't say it would be a better series, but it would be one with approximately 100% more Kiriko, so there is that.

In this week's offering, Heart spares an injured Shinnosuke, assuring him that he he has no desire to destroy humanity. Going after Cook and the perfected Honfleur Sunset, the team clash with Medic, who is desperate to help Heart achieve his ultimate evolution. Meanwhile, unknown to both of them, a future version of Krim Steinbelt (ostensibly, at least) has arrived in their time.

Full disclosure, I actually really liked this episode. I've been enjoying the past few weeks' worth of episodes, but I've also been hyper-aware that they haven't been good, as such - they've been enjoyable, and a massive improvement over Drive's usual fare, but they have at best been about on par with a middling Wizard episode, and that is not a sterling recommendation on their quality.

Anyway, here's Heart, still being a fashion disaster.

This episode I thought was actually good. It was well-paced, tense, and it had a clear theme that it kept running throughout the episode, along with a clear character arc, so that when Shinnosuke made an otherwise bizarre decision to protect a de-transformed Medic from Gou, it made at least some sense. The action scenes were pretty well-pitched and didn't outstay their welcome, and had some genuinely awesome to watch moments, like Chase and Gou teaming up against some Reaper Units, and a triple transformation (of sorts - Gou is just going into his berserk mode and Chase is just picking up his axe) scene.

I liked this episode, which rather nicely leaves me in a position where I can speculate on plot developments instead of railing at all the things the episode did wrong.

For starters, we learned that the 'Promised Number' talked about since the beginning of the series is four ultimate evolved Roimyudes - that's a bit anticlimactic, if I'm being honest, but it does have the upside that we're very close to seeing what happens when that number is gathered, since we have Brain and Heart both super-evolved now, and Medic is liable to follow suite soon, leaving the fourth spot to be filled by either Angry Cowboy Man or Slightly Vexed Mobster Man. I can appreciate that, because it means we're going to get an uptick in pacing, since I can't imagine that Medic's going to wait around long before evolving.

(Of course, there's always the possibility that either Heart or Brain will die before that number can be reached - Heart seems like the most likely candidate there, as his actor is apparently already done filming - but I hope not. That would feel like a bit of a step backwards.)

Medic would never work with Brain without Heart around anyway.

The other big development this episode is that Banno has to stick his proverbial neck out for the team, protecting them from an explosion. While this is a pretty benevolent action, it still makes me even more certain that Banno is a villain, and possibly the show's final villain - he clearly has enormous power (he was able to counter Heart, after all, despite just being a tablet), and he's become something very much like a Roimyude, in that he's an energy/data being who isn't necessarily bound to a physical form. I wonder what would happen if he was given a Viral Core - and I suspect the answer would be that he'd construct a body for himself, just as the Roimyudes do.

Apparently the next episode will see him revealing himself to the rest of the Special Crimes Unit, so that will be interesting. If the writers take the 'immensely disappointing to Murphy' route, that will all go over without a hitch and Krim will welcome him back with open arms. What I'm expecting will actually happen is that either we'll find out that Banno is truly a terrible person, or we'll have a two episode arc where Krim learns to forgive Banno - only for it to be revealed later in the series that he's pure dark nasty evil.

(Which would kind of parallel the Nira plotline, and I'm fine with that, I thought Nira's plotline was the only salvageable thing from the third act.)

Chase, please mention something to Shinnosuke or Kiriko. I beg you.

I'm a little surprised we didn't see either of the new single-digit Roimyudes in this episode, actually, but I can understand why.

In conclusion, a pretty fun and enjoyable episode, and I hope to see more of its like in the future. I'm not holding my breath, but I'll be very happy if they keep up this level of quality until the end of the show. 

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