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Friday, 31 July 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E39: When Will the Tornado Kidnapper Strike?

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 39
When Will the Tornado Kidnapper Strike?

Have you ever had a review where, as you write it, it feels very much like you've already written it before? Kind of a review deja vu. Possibly because this episode has so many elements of previous episode - it brings back the toku canyon-field thing that showed up only last week, it has Gen and Rinna pretending to be a couple to lure in a Roimyude that attacks couples (which you'll remember from that whole Gou-going-evil arc), and it even brings back Gou's 'all Roimyudes must die' preoccupation, which we hadn't seen for a fair while.

In this week's episode, the Special Crimes Unit begins investigating a string of mysterious kidnappings by a Roimyude with power over wind. They quickly find that it's one of the single-digits from overseas, Tornado, whose host is an eccentric fashion designer. Meanwhile, Banno reveals himself to Krim and the rest of the unit, and Chase sets out to get his driver's licence.

The foreshadowing work regarding Banno this episode was actually quite good. Obviously, it's been clear pretty much from the get-go that Banno would turn out to be evil, but little things like the gang discovering him searching the internet for Tornado, but the computer screens showing schematics for the Drive Driver; Krim pointing out that Banno must have stolen his work in order to have uploaded his consciousness; and even all the film tie-in stuff with Evil Future Krim all tie into Banno's ultimate plan, which we can see from the preview involves getting himself a body and his own version of the Drive Driver.

(The preview also shows us a very injured looking scientist who appears to be Heart, so we may have our answer as to who Heart's host is. Maybe. It was a very brief shot, so I might be wrong about who it was.)

I could not for the life of me figure out if Shinnosuke's overreaction to Tornado's
jibe about being a dateless loser was meant to be comedy or not.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the villain spectrum, we have Tornado, who feels more like a monster-of-the-fortnight than he does a major villain. I'll be honest, I'll be surprised if he manages to achieve his ultimate evolution, and nearly as surprised if he survives beyond the next episode - he's just not very interesting, and there's not really anything to distinguish him from any other Roimyude. Plus, he's clearly the weak link here: Heart, Brain and Medic (who will almost certainly be achieving her golden form soon) are all villains who have been part of the show for a while; Banno has loomed large over the show for just as long and has personal connections to Krim, Gou, and Kiriko; and even Mobster-y Dude has set himself up as a more genuine threat than Tornado, having fought Gou several times now, usually while untransformed. 

Tornado, in contrast, feels very bland, more there to fill out numbers than anything else, so I don't think he's likely to end up being one of the four - at the moment, that looks liable to be Heart, Brain, Medic, and Banno - or possibly 004, although he may actually be Banno, not just one of his allies. Tornado's whole dealio of trying to find his 'perfect partner' in order to achieve his ultimate evolution also seems a bit forced and contrived - but, you know, he's clearly not the main villain of this arc. Just like how in the last arc, the main villains were Heart and Medic, with Cook really only serving as something to beat up, the main villain of this arc is Banno, and Tornado's just there to make up the numbers.

I really enjoyed the driving licence plot, too. It's nice to see that the whole Gou vs Chase plot is well and truly behind us now, and the comic relief from their interactions with each other was pretty well-pitched, I'd say. I actually thought I'd hate this subplot when I saw the previews, but it was a very small part of the episode, so even if I had I'm not sure it would have been a tremendous deal. I do hope they keep this dynamic between them, because Gou acting like Chase's bratty younger brother is a lot more fun to watch and, to be frank, a lot more interesting than 'Grrr, I'm going to kill you, Chase.'

Ah, double villain henshin, the best henshin.

One thing I don't like is the clumsy film tie-ins, because we all know that's not going anywhere. I prefer when the film and the series are kept relatively separate, or at least separate enough that you don't feel like there's a gaping gap in the series. Double, OOOs, Fourze and Wizard were all fairly good about this - while the first three of those all had some element of film tie-in in their series, they were always elements that fit into the series and didn't need the film to work. Gaim had its fun but also kind of terrible film tie-in episodes that were just kind of very clumsily shoved in, and Drive appears to be being only slight less hack-handed with its tie-ins.

(The worst offender for this, however, will always be Den-O.)

Gold Heart doesn't disappoint, though.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next episode, where we will apparently see Banno get himself a body, get a conclusion to this Tornado storyline, and find out more about Krim and Banno's backstory, so that should be fun. 

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