|Posted by Jordan The Childish on May 30, 2012 at 7:20 PM|
[Originally posted on http://obsessive-geek.blogspot.com/]
Hello and welcome to the first of what I hope are many reviews on episodes of the Kamen Rider franchise. As you can tell from this title of the blog, I have a tendency to obsess over a lot of thing, and one of them is well... everything Kamen Rider. As such, I'd be remiss in not doing a sort of hybrid recap/review of episodes from my favorites 40 year old karate bugman franchise.
OK, favorite karate bugman, lizard-thingie,dragon,demon,halloween pumkin, shark, mix and match and a pink guy franchise. With high school rocketmen.And Donald Pleas... no wait that's a peach.
Alright, let's go with the very first episode of the franchise we start with....
.... one of the most catchy and memorable themes ever recorded for television. Blending a mix of strang and heroic, this theme's has become one of my favorite song to listen to. (P.S. I know this isn't the one sung by Hiroshi Fujioka. If someone can find a clear recoding on YouTube, let me know).
The episode truly starts with our hero Takeshi Hongo practicing motorcycle racing with perennial Kamen Rider mentor/friend/father figure Tobei Tachibana. Hongo seems to be doing pretty well, being both a top notch motorcycle racer and prodigy of the biology department of Jonan University.After some small talk, Hongo continues practicing until he runs into Shocker's Biker Babes of Blood. He avoids them only to run into spiderwebs made out of plastic wrap.
Takeshi Hongo: man enough to wear a powder blue jumpsuit and a white scarf.
We transition to a sceen out of either a 1960's drug trip movie or a psychedelic horror film, Hongo has found himself chained to a table with strange men in doctor's outfits and face paint. This means either one of two things: Hongo had a extraordinary bar crawl and ended up at a hospital having a charity carnival, or Hongo's been kidnapped by a strange evil organization bent on world conquest through making people into man-in-suit monsters. Three guesses on which is more likely.
Shocker only wants to pet the world...or is it have the world as a pet. I get those confused.
Hongo (and the audience) learns Shocker's ways via exposition dump. Hongo also meets the... okay, confession time. I have no idea what Great Leader, the head honcho of Shocker, is actually human or not. given the forms he's taken over the years, I just going to say he's a male...something by the voice.
Following more exposition about how Hongo was the perfect candidate, The Great Blinking Light informs our hero he is now KAIZOU NINGEN, basically a cyborg. Shocker's scientist go on to prove this by electrocuting the ever-loving hell out of Hongo. Sadly, this only proves that Hongo's alterations are only mostly complete. They have one last thing to do: the mind control operation that will make Hongo a loyal member of Shocker! I'd question the alter first/mind control later method, but considering this worked over one hundred (counting the kaijin and Shocker Riders) times I let it pass.
But before that, something explodes! It's actually a distraction made by Professor Midorikawa, unwitting Shocker scientist and Hongo's mentor. With the help of Hongo's power and Midorikawa's knowledge of the base, they make their daring escape!
They've found cyclone off screen and are now heading towards freedom. Suddenly, they find themselves confronted by a plastic wrap web! Hongo falls off the bike, leavind Midorikawa to be confronted by Shocker's giggling women, the usual grunts and our monster fr the week, Spider Man!
"Great, I've got a villain named after me. I need this like I need a kick in the head."
No,no,no! Not that Spider Man!
Now that's better!(Okay, he's named Kumo Otoko, but that translates into Spider Man so I'm using it.)
So, Midorikawa is surrounded. His life (and the life of his daughter, Ruriko) are in danger. all hope seems lost and....wait a minute, where the hell's Hongo?
"That's our hero shot!"- Christof, The Truman Show
Oh he's just atop a hill staring down the goons. He jumps in and, to borrow a phrase, proceeds to lay the smackdown on their candy asses!
So yeah, first fight scene of the series, it's pretty exhilarating, Midorikawa is saved and Spider Man and the good curse Kamen Rider to the heavens.
And then...commercial break!
And... Commercial break over.
We cut to Ruriko and her friend walking from....somewhere, and are being followed by some men in suits. But no need to worry, Tachibana Tobei comes in to save the day! He tells Ruriko that her father's in a warehouse somewhere. He goes back to his first business, Snack Amigo, and lends Ruriko his car so she can meet the professor. Spider Man hears all this through the most obvious bug ever seen!
To paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, "STEVIE WONDER COULD SEE THAT!"
So we cut to the warehouse, where Midorikawa and Hongo are having a conversation. Midorikawa voices his regret of getting Hongo involved and having him made a cyborg and all, an while Hong tries to cheer his up at first but he goes of to brood a little bit and accidentally break off a faucet knob. Hiroshi Fujioka really nails Hongo's brooding demeanor without making the character seem annoying. He also comes off a immensely likable whenever he interacts with friends.
Anyway, it seems that Spider Man and Ruriko show up at the warehouse. Ruriko comes in just in time to see her father killed and mistake Hongo for the killer. Ruriko then fall into her natural role in the series and gets kidnapped by Spider Man. Hongo chases him, proceeding to transform his bike into Cyclone and transform himself into Kamen Rider. Yep, ladies and germs, Hongo doesn't start out with a henshin pose.
11 against 1? Bad odds... for Shocker, anyway.
Kamen Rider catches up with Spider Man. Spidey then summons some grunts and the fight is on again! It's a good fight scene, but I like to pint out one thing (look at the picture below closely)....
... the action mask.
Apparently this "action Mask" was used for fight scenes and the other mask was used for close ups. The action mask is going to get annoying when the action mask starts to look radically different from scene to scene.
So Hongo fights goon, fights Spider Man and finally finishes his first monster with his patented RIDER KICK!!!!!
Spider Man then proceeds to become bubblebath.
Zordon is right: too much pink energy is dangerous
So things wrap up, Tachibana picks up Ruriko and Hongo goes off, ready to have more adventures in the fight against Shocker.
All in all excellent episode. Sets up the main cast (for now), the acting is superb for a kids show and the action is exciting. So come back.... whenever. Still deciding on truly making this an ongoing series.