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Thursday, 10 September 2015

Kamen Rider Drive E45: What is a Roimyude's Last Dream?

Kamen Rider Drive
Episode 45: 
What is a Roimyude's Last Dream?

This is possibly the corniest Kamen Rider Drive episode we have ever had. I approve, I really do - the first ten minutes especially are impossibly cheesy, and I would take cheesy fun over Drive trying to be serious and dark and gritty - which it has tried before and which has always just been cringeworthily awful - any day of the week.

In this week's episode, the Riders return from the lake to find that Banno has gone to his real promised land, the Drive Pit has been destroyed, and those massive spikes from the opening have started appearing, presumably because the writers realised that they put that shot in the opening and haven't had it be remotely related to anything happening in the actual show yet. As Gou suffers from injuries obtained during the last battle, the team sets out to take down Banno and stop his plan to start the second Global Freeze.

This is actually, overall, a pretty effective episode. The arrival of the Riders in the opening is delightfully, charmingly cheesy and over the top, as is their drive towards the building that Banno's set up shop in. In fact, the first half of this episode is just pure, heartwarming cheese - even the quieter moments, like the group finding a new garage, apparently run by Hayase, is like something about of a bad dime novel or that absolutely corniest Power Rangers series to ever be devised. Which is good: Drive does corniness and ham far better than it does dark and serious and solemn.

It was great to see Hayase again, incidentally. He's not been in the show for ages, and I don't begrudge it for that - he's never been part of the main cast, after all - but it would have been a shame if he hadn't turned up again before the finale, and the reveal that he's been secretly working to help Shinnosuke was a good reveal, I think. What wasn't as great was that Kiriko did functionally nothing in this episode, and will presumably do nothing in the next one.

Calm down there, Tendou.

Someone on tumblr (I think) mentioned that the opening frames Kiriko as Shinnosuke's partner in an equal partnership, and that the series doesn't really follow through on that, instead relegating Kiriko more and more to a background character or an object to be fought over, and they're absolutely right. It vexes me, because there's potential for Kiriko to have been a great character, and it was just wasted. 

The second half of the episode is pretty much sheer action. We get a dramatic cavalry moment from Heart and Medic (annoyingly, one of Medic's only lines in this episode is talking about how she'll do anything for Heart, because Riku Sanjo will break out in a rash if he gives a major female character too many lines which aren't about a dude), and we get Gou-and-Chase vs Banno battle, one that ends in Chase's death. Or 'death', should I say.

I say that because while we saw his core shatter, we've seen that before from him. The show never explained how he survived that, instead leaving it as one massive gaping plot hole, but it means that I don't trust that he won't be back at the end of the next episode. I hope he isn't, because it completely cheapens a death scene if your demised hero then returns approximately twenty minutes later, but I am ninety percent certain that he will.

Sweet cinnamon roll, too good, too pure.

(I did think that the show had gotten its calculations wrong as to how many Roimyudes were left, incidentally, when one more Reaper Unit than I was expecting appeared in this episode - it hadn't, I'd gotten my calculations wrong by one. 

We also know now that Banno is not being counted as 006 - we see him crossed out on the big board.)

To be honest, I'm starting to fall out of love with Banno as a villain. He's settled into a somewhat repetitive pattern lately - he spends a lot of time ranting about godhood and laughing evilly, and I just want him to change the record. I want to see more of his pettiness, more of his spite, more of all of the things that make him a pathetic, unlikable villain, and less of the long-winded ranting.

Also, his plans keep getting more and more convoluted, and I'm not entirely sure I'm here for that.

Poor Chase.

So, that's Drive. Next week we have our finale (assuming that the last two episodes are the crossover ones), which will apparently include the Sigma Circular as the final villain, Banno versus Gou in the ugliest and laziest suit ever, and terrible things happening to Medic and possibly Kiriko, because god forbid that this finale comes and goes without Shinnosuke and Heart suffering from Terrible Manpain, good gosh.

Drive has had a fairly good fourth act so far, so hopefully it can finish it on a high. But we'll see. Finales are difficult.

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