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Kamen Rider Drive

September 14, 2015

race

So, I just saw episode 46 of Kamen Rider Drive. Episode 47 will wrap everything up while episode 48’ll presumably be a crossover/early debut of the next Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Ghost. I’m fairly certain I could have reviewed the whole of Kamen Rider Drive several episodes ago, so yeah, let’s talk about the whole show before it even fully ends.

Okay, now here’s the groove thang. I would NOT recommend Kamen Rider Drive to someone new to Kamen Rider as a first show. Not because it’s bad but because it starts off quite lamely.

It starts off in an extremely kids showy sort of way and the characters never really drop their silliness to the very end. And I’m talking silly; painfully so. It’s just that the story toward the end just doesn’t give them the opportunity to be silly as much. But that silliness helps to alleviate the heaviness of the plot/story toward the end. It’s just painful to watch early on, is all. The acting’s just so damn Power Rangery, but you know, in Japanese.

The villains of the week are kinda lame too. It doesn’t help that the early villains had these elaborately designed suits that are way oversize. They totally look like rejects from Super Sentai/Power Rangers. In my view, this seemed to have made it so the suits were too cumbersome to actually be used in fights. So they introduced a new villain named Chaser pretty early on. His design’s mui cool and it allowed for some pretty cool fights with the hero. And so they fought, again… and again… and again… and aaaaaaaaaaaagain. It got to the point where the villain of the week seemed to only show up to get the plot started and then get killed. All the fighting’s done between Drive and Chaser and eventually, that got old. The villains do eventually get a new type of monster design that’s sleeker and allowed them to actually participate though.

So yeah, Drive starts off okay for a kids show, though quite groan worthy if you’re an adult viewer. It sort of gets in its groove but was far from must-watch TV until maybe around the 20s. That’s when they start a chain of events/stories that resolve a long standing issue with the hero and put us on the road toward greatness.

If I had to say, I think the turning point was when they really invested in the villains. The long standing villains have been around since the start and they’ve been involved in some stories but it wasn’t until the arrival of a villain named 001 when things finally started to get cool. 001 himself wasn’t that great but he got the ball rolling. The villain we got after him was highly comedic, but was also a huge annoying asshole, and he’s unrepentantly asshole-ish till the bitter end. And ultimately, THAT was what made him cool.

Eventually they introduced the real final big bad and he’s an even bigger dickweed. Not as annoying and in fact, he’s awesome in what a scum sucking sleezemeister he is. Meanwhile, our long standing antagonists are also getting more of a spotlight. The main villain there is a guy named Heart and he seemed like a nice guy from the very start. Of course, we don’t expect him to be a nice guy. We think he’s just faking it and that’s sort of confirmed somewhere in the early-middle of the series, but now, toward the end, we see that he IS a nice guy… who still wants to enslave humanity.

As for the good guys… eh, who cares?

Drive’s a good series with the last third or so being very good. But being a 48 episode series, it takes way too long for it to become compelling TV. It’s a good 3rd or 4th series to watch, after you’ve built up some “immunity” to Tokusatsu tropes.

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