Saturday, October 8, 2011

Super Hero Time: Kamen Rider Fourze EP 01 (TEXT REVIEW)

Kamen Rider Fourze 01

To celebrate Kamen Rider’s 40th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of space flight in Japan, TOEI created Kamen Rider Fourze, which for a show that’s supposed to be honoring the older series, goes places that no one would expect Kamen Rider to go. Where? High School. So let’s grab hold of the cosmic power and watch Kamen Rider Fourze, episodes 1 and 2.

Okay, so after a cool scene of Kamen Rider 1, we get a facility on the moon blowing up. Well, at least those space colonies got 1 set of buildings up. We then see a man running towards a lunar module with a briefcase, another in hot pursuit. After a brief tussle, the first man get’s the briefcase and gets on the module, with his eyes glowing red. Just get some Clear Eyes dude. He leaves to other man on the moon, with just a device in his hand and the word, “Kengo.”
Cut to 17 years later and we see a young man named Kengo walking to school with a Switch in his hands. A girl gives him a letter, which he promptly throws into a creek. However, this does not sit well with random-eccentric-guy-wearing-leather-jacket, who promptly jumps off the bridge into the creek to retrieve the letter, with Kengo calling him an idiot. Which is true.
Now we cut to the opening which I like, especially in the opening, with a voice saying “Space if full of cosmic energy” or as some translators put it, “Space is full of the power cosmic.” I’ll just let all my fellow comic book fans figure that out. Anyways the opening is really cool, especially with the logo, it being both a hand grabbing Astro Switch 1 and a rocket at the same time. Also, I can’t help but think that “Come on, Switch on!” was meant to be “Kamen Switch on!” But it’s the opening, so I’ll leave it at that for now.
We cut back to school and into a classroom, where Kengo let’s one of the “Helper Robots” of the series, the Foodroids, in through the window.
Now, let’s talk about the Foodroids and let’s compare them to other Helper Robots of the past 2 series. First, we have Memory Gadgets; pieces of technology that could each do a different job after putting a Gadget Memory in them. The Stagphone and Beetlephone can go from cell phones to mechanical bugs that can fly around, spy on, and even attack the enemy. The Batshot, can do the same thing, but with a camera. The Spider Shock can from watch to grappling hook. The Frog Pod can go from an MP3 player into a frog that can sneak around and record voices. The DenDen Sensor can go from a pair of night vision goggles into a snail that can tell Shotaro and Philip where an invisible enemy is. All right, let’s move on to Candroids; soda cans that turn into animals when popped open. Now, you might be wondering why I like Candroids when they’re soda cans. Simple. IT FITS THE MOTIF! Think about it. Kamen Rider OOO’s gimmick was the Medals, the little coins that they used to power everything. Now how does Kougami decide to hide OOO’s bike? Making them turn into vending machines, hiding in plain site and able to store Candroids until someone comes and puts in a Cell Medal. Now, let’s move on to the Candroids themselves. The Taka and Ptera droids can be used to fly around and look for people or Yummies, and can sent information back to whomever sent them. The Tako droids can combine to form different structures and can spray ink at an attacker. The Batta Candroids can be used to communicate between 2 people or to project someone’s voice, as well as receive transmissions from the Taka and Ptera droids. The Tora Candroid, which could be called the best Candroid ever, can grow to giant size, combining with the Ridevendor to form the Toridevendor. The Denki Unagi droids gather Medals and shock enemies. The Kujaku Candroid can deliver Medals, create small cyclones and be used as a tiny buzzsaw. Then we have Birth’s Candroids; the Gorilla Candroid detects Yummies and throws Cell Medals to Birth or to his milk jug. The Tricera Candroid can do toss Cells to and can also ram through large objects. Now we have Foodroids, which just look BIZARE! What were they thinking doing a Big Mac Wall-E; and even if the Foodroids have practical uses, why food? How does that fit in with space? Couldn’t they use something like Video Cameras that Astronauts use, or maybe something like a mini fan to represent the original Kamen Rider belt? Seriously! Let’s get back to Fourze.
Big Mac Wall-E displays a screen on Kengo’s desk, and he and another girl discuss something called “The Hole” and that it may be time to use Fourze. The teacher comes in and tells them that a new student has joined their class. Of course, a new student, who just so happens to join a new school in the middle of the year. I feel like I’ve seen this a million times before. And in walks random-eccentric-guy-wearing-leather-jacket, still wet from the river as he writes his name on the chalkboard. This is Kisaragi Gentarou, whose greatest dream is to be friends with everyone at the school. All right, time to put up the counter of how long before the football jocks beat him to a pulp. He greets his classmates enthusiastically, and recognizes the girl talking to Kengo. It turns out Gen-chan and this girl, Yuuki, were elementary school friends. Before taking his seat, Gentarou gives Kengo the recovered letter, saying that they’re friends, but Kengo says that they will never be friends. Kengo walks out the door, using the old going-to-the-nurse trick, which always works in television, but never in real life. I should know. He gives Yuuki a sign to do something, and walks out. We then cut to the teachers’ lounge where the teacher from before, and some other faculty member who has the hots for see a message on their computer saying that the high school is a “Den of Devils that will be destroyed.”
Next we cut to 3 random monsters posing on a rooftop, but it looks more like I’m on an acid trip.
Back at school, Gentarou searches for Kengo, but fails to find him and sits down at an empty table in the cafeteria. Yuuki tells him not to sit there because, just like very other high school television stereotype, the cafeteria tables are divided up into cliques. As such, there are tables for the delinquents, the school nerds, the goof-offs, the otaku, and the bodybuilders. Yuuki tries to move him, but not before the most evil, vile, disgusting, putrid, monsters ever in Kamen Rider history attack him. That’s right. I’m talking about CHEERLEADERS! AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! And it’s right here I notice something. A lot of these kids know English, but Gentarou doesn’t. Why? Is he just an idiot or something? Do they have an English class at this school and his old school didn’t? Why? Suddenly a hand grabs Gentarou and throws him across the cafeteria. And that makes 4 minutes and 50 seconds until the jocks attack him. Better than I lasted on my first day. So they have a decent fight and… Y’know what, let’s just fast forward through this, it’s another TB high school tradition. All right, so suddenly they are attacked by one of the monsters for this series, the Zodiarts. Gentarou tries to fight the monster off with a pipe. Okay, extra points for that. However, he get’s tossed aside and the monster prepares to attack Yuuki, but Kengo saves her, piloting a mech, known as the Powerdizer. She tells him that the Zodiart’s body is based on the constellation Orion. Wait, if the monsters are all based on constellations, wouldn’t we run out of them towards the middle of the series? I mean, there aren’t THAT many constellations. Kengo just says okay, and proceeds to beat up the Orion Zodiart with the Powerdizer. That is cool. Kengo and Yuuki hide the Powerdizer in a shed at the school and go into a small room in a warehouse, where there just so happens to be a locker with a teleportation system TO THE MOON! Kengo says he’s going to use Fourze, but Yuuki protests, saying he’s not fit to wear the belt, just as You-know-who pops in. It turns out he followed them, and he takes the Driver from Kengo, volunteering to use it instead due to Kengo’s unfit body. Yuuki follows Gentarou and tells himhow to operate the Driver. Suddenly, Gentarou becomes imbued with the infinite cosmic power. He has become… FOURZE! He tries to fight mano-e-mano, but can hardly dent him. Yuuki tells him to use the Rocket Switch and the fight is taken outside. Fourze tries out the 2nd switch, the Launcher Switch, and proceeds to destroy a bunch of public property due to not knowing how to aim. He gets a call on the Radar Module, and Kengo tells him to use the Radar to Aim the Launcher. It works, and Kengo tells him to change the Launcher Switch, to Switch 8, the Chainsaw. Why they decided to put the chainsaw on the leg and not the arm is anyone’s guess but I guess they felt that being “groovy” was overrated and wanted to be “cool.” However, the chainsaw just angers the Zodiart, making Fourze have to take to the skies for the finisher. He uses the Rocket and Drill Switch but just as Kengo is about to tell him something, he turns the Radar off and uses the Rocket-Drill Limit Break, this year’s Rider Kick, which is up there for Coolest Rider Kick EVER! However, the monster leaves behind a Switch, similar to Fourze’s.
We then cut to a man holding the Switch saying that Fourze is at his academy, as his eyes glow red and the 3 monsters from before watch him.
But as Fourze and Yuuki are busy celebrating their victory, Kengo comes in the Powerdizer and attacks Fourze, ending the episode.

Overall, Fourze’s first episode is a bit of a rocky start, but a very enjoyable rocky start. I found that I really enjoyed the high school setting and the space motif. The way they play up all the clichés of high school was entertaining, especially to a high school student like myself. I also found Fourze’s design really cool, and very reminiscent of Kamen Rider Super 1. The different switches were very cool, as they all have different uses that can give Fourze the edge against different Zodiarts. That, and what Rider before has had a base on the moon? But the old Rider fans might not like the new direction. Overall, I HIGHLY recommend Fourze to anyone that loved old-school Power Rangers or who want to see something new in Kamen Rider.


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