Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Zodiarts in Kamen Rider Fourze : a very interesting villain group in the Rider franchise

The Horoscopes: the most powerful ones
(highest line: Libra, Sagittarius, Leo
second highest: Virgo, Scorpion, Cancer, Aries
second lowest: Capricorn, Aquarius, Taurus
Lowest: Gemini, Pisces)

1) Introduction

Kamen Rider Fourze narrates the fight of a group of young high school students , led by a young boy named Gentaro Kisaragi, who is able to change into the titular hero, Kamen Rider Fourze, against the Zodiarts, strange constellation themed monsters which terrorize their High School , the Amanogawa (literaly, the river of the sky) High School. 
When Gentaro Kirasagi started his school year in Amanogawa High School, the Zodiarts were already spreading terror there. Another young boy, Kengo Utahoshi was aware of the situation, and had in his possession a belt and Switches that he received from his father that would be able to bring the power to become a powerful suited warrior, Kamen Rider Fourze, thanks to a mysterious energy souce coming from space, the Cosmic Energy. However, his body was too weak to withstand those powers. 
Soon after starting his school life, Gentaro ended up involved with a rampaging Zodiarts, and, despite Kengo's objections ( Gentaro isn't a very bright student, and Kengo felt he wasn't responsible enough), ended up taking the Fourze belt and fight the Zodiarts, and, eventually defeat it. Gentaro used Switches in his fight against the Zodiarts, and regularly became able to use 40 of them in his fight.
At last, Gentaro, Kengo and Gentaro's childhood friend, Yuki Joujima, a young girl who dreams to become an astronaut, ended up joining in order to protect their school from the Zodiarts, and Gentaro named that group the "Kamen Rider Club". Soon afterwards, other students joined the Club, after becoming friends with Gentaro. They were Miu, a high school "queen", Shun, a talented American football player with a crush on Miu, JK, a boy with a cool attitude who knows everything about the school, and Tomoko, a goth girl. In most cases, those students had a jerkish behaviour, often despising Gentaro's naive friendship feelings. However, in a lot of cases, they had been attacked by Zodiarts because of their bad behaviour, and after being saved and helped by Gentaro, imporved themselves and became Gentaro's friends.  A few months later, a transfer student, Ryusei Sakuta, became a valuable ally (even if at the beginning, it was very begrudgingly) in the fight against the Zodiarts, being able to transform into another Rider, Kamen Rider Meteor. Meteor was led by a mysterious masked mentor named Tachibana, who has given him his Meteor Powers, and was leading him in the fight against the Zodiarts. 
But who are the Zodiarts? 
2) Zodiarts; actually normal human beings which are using the Power of Switches 
It's revealed very quickly that the Zodiarts are none other than fellow students who were given Switches by mysterious high ranked Zodiarts, the Horoscopes, which gave them the ability to get great powers and become monsters. The Switches were  also using Cosmic Energy. However, the Cosmic Energy of those Switches also had a corruptive powers, and those using Switches were soon becoming violent, with no consideration for human life or human suffering. Indeed, the Switches users were usually unable to resist their corruptive effect, and they needed to be stopped by Kamen Rider Fourze or/and Meteor , to be freed from the Switch's evil influence.
A very interesting aspect of Kamen Rider Fourze is how important the human side of the Zodiarts is shown. Indeed, a lot of those students have become Zodiarts for various reasons: in a lot of cases, they had been wronged by a fellow student (notably, those who would become members of the Kamen Rider Club) and used the Switch to have revenge : for example, Toshiya Miura, a fellow team member of Shun, who became Orion Zodiarts because he wanted revenge on Shun who didn't respect him, or Tamae Sakuma, a friend of Miu who was jealous of Miu's successes and wanted to become the prom Queen by attacking her former friend as Chameleon Zodiarts; other examples include Unicorn Zodiarts, who had a grudge against JK, and Hound Zodiarts, who had one against his strict father. Sometimes, the corruptive powers of the Switched could transform those students into mass murderers, like Altar Zodiarts who wanted to burn the school, or Pixys Zodiarts who wanted to kill every girl he felt wronged at. 
Some were driven by the power of the Switch, like Dragon Zodiarts and Lynx Zodiarts. Others were driven by personal issues, like Coma Zodiarts. 
Other Switchers were well intentioned people who were more misguided than evil: Perseus Zodiarts merely wanted to do a nice painting for kindergarteners, but ended up turning into stone everyone who was bothering him, or Musca Zodiarts, who was a young man who merely wanted to be strong to become the one to protect his childhood friend, instead of having her protecting him. In those cases, Gentaro was even able to make them understand their errors even before breaking the Switch. There were even cases where the Switch was controlling the Switcher without his knowledge, like in the case of Cygnus Zodiarts.
However, most of those students are shown as humans rather than monsters. Indeed, their evilness came mostly from the Switch, which were amplifying the negative feelings in their heart. Once freed from the Switch influence, they usually turned back into ordinary people, who usually were grateful to Gentaro for freeing them. Sometimes, recovering from the Switch Powers was very difficult, as seen with Miura/ Orion, but thanks to Gentaro's very friendly attitude,  recovery was reached, and even brutal Zodiarts like Chameleon, Dragon and Altar showed their gratitude to their former enemy. Even Pixys (a student named Makise), who was one of the most monstrous Zodiarts, wanted to improve himself after being defeated, as seen in episode 37. 

3) The Horoscopes: leaders of the Zodiarts

However, some Zodiarts were able to evolve into even more powerful Zodiarts : the Horoscopes. 
Those Horoscopes were the most powerful Zodiarts, and the ones involved in giving the Switches to the students. Horoscopes could even gain greater powers thanks to the "Supernova" (choushinsei) process.  The  aim of the Horoscopes is to have students become Zodiarts and then, evolve into Horoscopes, to increase their ranks and gather the twelve Horoscopes Switches.The leader of the Horoscopes was a mysterious man whose eyes could turn red. The Red eyed man was none other than Mitsuaki Gamou, the Amanogawa High School Chairman and founder.

a) Scorpion
Scorpion is the first Horoscope seen in the show, and during the 12 first episodes, was the one who was giving the Switches to the students. Scorpion was often frustrated by Fourze's interference, but at first, was ordered by the red eyed man not to directly fight Fourze. Scorpion gave Switches to  students who were driven by revenge against others (see above; the revenge driven students had received their Switch from Scorpion). It's been revealed in episode 13 that Scorpion Zodiarts was none other than Sarina Sonoda, Gentaro's very popular and beautiful homeschool teacher, who hid her female identity by using a masculine voice as Scorpion. However, behind her beautiful appearance was hidden a woman eager to corrupt students by seeking their weaknesses in order to make them become Zodiarts and then become Horoscopes. She even tried to have a very weak Miura become again a Zodiarts, and when he refuses, was even ready to kill him. Sonoda was into intense pressure because despite giving many switched, she hasn't been able to find a single Horoscope.  Moreover, she also tried to kill Gentaro by poisoning him, because she was frustrated at him for thwarting her attempts to create Horoscopes. However, despite evolving into a giant scorpion monster, she failed in killing Fourze, and the red eyed man confiscated her Switch, which frustrated her to no end. She was forced to undergo an humiliating  tutoring from a fellow Zodiarts, Libra. After asking her boss for a last chance, she was able to get back her Switch, but after being defeated by Kamen Rider Meteor, she was sent to the Dark Nebula by the Virgo Zodiarts, never to be seen again. 
b) Libra
Kouhei Hayami was the principal of Amanogawa High School. He's a man who is pretty full of himself, and liked to think himself as a mentor figure. He's soon revealed to be the Libra Zodiarts, and pretty much became Scorpion's successor into finding new Switch users, and therefore, potential new Horoscopes. His special power is to take the appearance of other people or even make people look like they're someone different. While most of the students he gave Switched were stopped by Gentaro, one of his Switches was discovered by a student, Natsuji Kijima, who, despite Gentaro's efforts, became Cancer Zodiarts. However, after Kijima became Cancer, he wasn't able to find a new Horoscope during weeks. However, as he was about to be sent to the Dark Nebula by Gamou, he managed to develop his Supernova Powers (the Eye of Laplace) out of fear. Thanks to them, he was able to detect the students who were the most likely to become Horoscopes, and, after being spared by his boss, became much more efficient into creating Horoscopes, and soon managed to help gather all the remaining Horoscopes Switches. 
It's important to notice that while Libra thinks highly of himself, he's pretty despised by most of his fellow Zodiarts, especially other Horoscopes, who, a best, didn't care for him, like Capricorn, or treated him with contempt, as seen with Leo, Cancer, Aries and Aquarius. Indeed, behing his attitude, Libra was likely a very mediocre individual who was pretty lured by his admiration for Gamou. As a mediocre, he didn't care for the well being of others, and had no problem corrupting innocent students, even brainwashing a reluctant Perseus into fighting Fourze,  forcing Yuki into becoming the Gemini Zodiarts or pretending to switch sides, lying to the Kamen Rider Club in order to make appear the last Horoscope Switch, Pisces. He ended up dying protecting Gamou from an attack by Fourze, destroyed by the whirlwind that Gamou (as Sagittarius) was creating to go into space. A she died, he hoped that he had gained Gamou's consideration by his sacrifice. However, Gamou pretty much only saw him as a tool. 

c) Leo
Kou Tatsugami was a brutal and likely ignorant man that Gamou has found while he was brawling with another man. Impressed by his strength, Gamou hired him as his bodyguard, and gave him a Switch, which would allow him to become a Zodiarts, and then evolve into the Leo Zodiarts. Leo had an undying loyalty to Gamou, whom he immensely admired, and would do anything to help and protect him. As Leo, he's a very powerful Horoscope, who would attack and even kill (as seen with Virgo) anyone who would be an obstacle or even disrespect Gamou. He was a dangerous opponent, able to use other Horoscopes Switches. He fought for Gamou until the end, eventually dying and dissolving into Cosmic energy, after a last fight against Meteor. 

d) Virgo
Virgo is probably the most mysterious of all the Zodiarts, and her identity was long secret. Virgo was the Horoscope who was the closest to Gamou, and he was the one charged into punishing inefficient or rebellious Horoscopes, as she's the one who sent Sonoda/ Scorpion and Sugiura/ Taurus into the Dark Nebula, a mysterious dimension from where noone ever returns. Every Horoscope, save Gamou, fear her, because of her power. She's the one who helped Kijima evolve into Cancer Zodiarts. He also sent Kijima to the Dark Nebula, after Libra made him look like a meddling detective. Virgo is always ready to send any Horoscope into the Dark Nebula, and in a lot of cases, is only stopped by the fact that Gamou has other options. He's so dangerous that he's even ready to send an innocent girl (Tomoko) to the Dark Nebula for merely discovering her identity, and even terrorized the members of the Kamen Rider Club to have them leave the Club. However, in some cases Virgo seemed to help the Kamen Rider Club, especially Ryusei/Meteor, as seen when he indirectly tells him Kijima's Zodiarts nature or by stopping Taurus from attacking him. 
Indeed, it's later revealed that Virgo is none other than Tachibana, Ryusei/Meteor's mentor, who was secretly helping the Kamen Rider Club, first, by helping Kengo find the Fourze belt and Switches, as well as the Club's secret headquarters in the moon, and by giving Ryusei his Meteor Powers and guiding him. Besides, while he seemed to "execute" people, he was merely sending them to his secret base, the M-Bus, where he kept them asleep for their safety. Besides, he was forcing the Kamen Rider club members to leave only to have the ones who are essential to the fight, and protect the others from the dangers linked to it, as well as trying to make Gentaro get stronger by developing a ruthless side, which was impossible if his friends were with him. Fearing that Fourze wasn't powerful enough, he decided to have him undergo a very harsh training, as Tachibana, helped by Meteor, to make him use his most powerful form (Cosmic state) without the help of his friends. While at first, Gentaro was shocked to discover that Tachibana was Virgo Zodiarts, who quickly sent a furious Meteor into the Dark Nebula. Gentaro quickly realized that Virgo didn't kill Meteor and was indeed his ally, and soon, trained again with Tachibana, who used that time his Virgo powers, and soon, Fourze was able to succeed in getting alone his Cosmic form.
Despite his female appearance, Virgo was in fact a man, Kuniteru Emoto, a friend of Gamou and Kengo's dad, Rokuro Utahoshi, who had been in the moon with them when the three of them were astronauts, long ago, and discovered the Switches with the Cosmic Energy. After Gamou and Rokuro clashed about how Cosmic Energy would be used, Emoto was ordered to kill Rokuro by Gamou's orders, which he did. However, he felt great remorse after his crime, and decided to protect Kengo, who was revealed to be a being created by Cosmic energy, and as such, only an adoptive child. Because of his remorse, he decided to do everything he could to stop Gamou's plans, despite pretending to be his most trusted friend and ally. He was deeply scarred by his betrayal, and as a result, didn't believe anymore in friendship, convinced that friendship could be destroyed by the lust for powers. Because he himself let his lust for power overcome friendship, he has deep feelings of self-loathing, and Gentaro himself notices that Virgo feels a lot of sadness when he uses his powers  However, after confronting Gentaro, he was amazed by his faith for his friends, and by the fact that despite having threatened them, those friends were coming back to help him. Shocked, but at the same time, deeply touched, he gladly accepted Gentaro's friendship. However at that time, Gamou discovered his betrayal, and killed him, with the help of Leo and Libra. Emoto managed to protect the Kamen Rider Club from the fury of the others Horoscopes, and died at peace, happy to have felt again the feelings of friendship. 

e) Cancer
Natsuji Kijima was a arrogant student who was the president of a rakugo (a Japanese verbal entertainement) who has found a Switch which has been lost by Libra. He soon used the Switch to become Pegasus Zodiarts, and used it to get revenge on anyone who was in his way, notably a young teacher who had confiscated her rakugo fan, and whom he framed as a Zodiarts. However, he's been soon identified as Pegasus Zodiarts, and then was almost defeated by Fourze, but managed, thanls to Virog, to evolve into Cancer Zodiarts. As Cancer, he became a Zodiarts commander, and has a lot of fun being one, surprised to discover that the chairman and the principal were Zodiarts. He gave Zodiarts to students in order to have fun, and loved mocking Libra, who ended up hating him. He was a sadistic Zodiarts, even using his powers to remove the life force of fellow students and place them in comas. He loved using his pwoers and was even able to be able to have his Supernova form by himself and discover Meteor's identity. However, despite that, he was finally defeated by Meteor. After his defeat, Libra had his revenge against him, and made him look like a medling detective to have Virgo send him to the Dark Nebula, which she (he) did. (However, it's likely that Virgo sent Kijima to the Dark Nebula to conceal his protege (Meteor)'s identity)

f) Minor Horoscopes
While the most important horoscopes were Gamou's close associates or school staff, a lot of Horoscopes were merely students who managed to become Horoscopes. Those Horoscopes usually cared much more for their own stuff than Gamou's big project. 
Aries was Tatsumori Yamada, a student who transferred to Ryusei's former school and was terrorizing his school by forcing students and teachers to do whatever he wanted, by threatening them to mke them become unconscious or even kill them. He didn't care about the  Aries was the reason Ryusei wanted to become Meteor, because one of his friends has been into a coma because of the Aries Switch. Aries cruelly used Meteor's wish to help his friend to make him kill Gentaro. Furious, Tachibana revealed to the Kamen Rider Club Meteor's identity. Aries then decided to have the remaining Kamen Rider Club members executed by fellow students, but they were saved by a remorseful Ryusei, and then by a resurrected Gentaro (thanks to the Cosmic Switch) who managed to defeat Aries. After his defeat, Yamada ended up in a coma.
Capricorn was Tojiro Goto, a friend of JK, and a great fan of Rock N Roll. He used his Capricorn powers to make his guitar sound in an awesome way and as such, become a great rock musician. Still feeling frinedship feelings for JK, he wanted him to join him in order to become a great rock duo, even making JK's voice sound great. The only downside was that because of his music, Capricorn was causing students to become crazy and very weak, and, because of the corrupting power of the Switch, Capricorn didn't care. At first JK was tempted to join his friend, but soon, Gentaro made him understand how misguided he was, and he refused. Furious, Capricorn tried to defeat Fourze, only to fail. After collecting his Switch, Gamou had Virgo make Goto lose his memory about his time as Capricorn, and soon Goto became again JK's friend.
Aquarius was Erin Suda, a transfer student from America, who had some trouble speaking Japanese (a foreign language for her). She wanted to become an astronaut, and as such, decided to join a contest in Amanogawa High School, because she would receive astronaut training if she won. She soon developed friendly feelings for both Gentaro and Kengo, whom she respected a lot, but didn't like Yuki, because of her silly behaviour. She was one of the most benevolent Horoscopes, revealing herself as Aquarius to help Kengo recover from his pain. Her motivation for becoming an Horoscope was her will to have a powerful body for space exploration. As Aquarius, Erin had healing powers, thanks to the water contained in the jugs in her shoulders. While fighting Aquarius, Gentaro realized she was Erin because of her approximative Japanese. However, Gentaro didn't want to fight her, especially since she didn't want to use her Zodiarts powers to win  and because he wanted her to aknowledge Yuki's merits.  At first, Erin became even more and more frustrated with Yuki, whom she suspected to sabotage her efforts, and even began attacking her as Aquarius. However, even as Aquarius, her respect for Gentaro was enough to make her stop rampaging. At last, during the last contest, she used her Aquarius powers to injure Yuki in order to prevent her from winning. However, as soon as Gentaro showed her that Yuki never tried to sabotage her efforts and even helped her, Erin, full of remorse, went to Yuki and used her powers to heal her injury. At last, she won with Yuki, Kengo and Sugiura (the future Taurus Zodiarts)  the contest. However, because of her loyalty for Gamou, she couldn't become Gentaro's friend, and decided to confront Fourze/Gentaro in a final fight, which she lost after Fourze prevented her to use her healing powers by breaking her jugs. After her defeat, Virgo made her lose her memory, and, soon afterwards, ignorant of her past as Aquarius, she soon became friends with Gentaro and Yuki. 
Yuta Sugiura was first seen as a fellow contestant at the Space contest, and was found to be the potential Taurus Zodiarts by Libra during that time. He was the president of the student body, and at first was a proponent of a very lenient policy where students were doig whatever they want. However, when his fellow student body member, Sayaka, who was in favor of a more strict policy, was severly injured by rebellious students, Yuta was deeply upset, and at that time, became the Taurus Zodiarts. At that time, convinced that students should follow very strict rules, he used his Taurus Zodiarts to snatch the soul of any rebellious student, transforming him into a mindless robot like being which would do everything he said. He became so obsessed with controlling the school that he ended up making almost everyone become his puppet, even the people who were the closest to him, convinced that he was doing the right thing. He even managed to steal Meteor's soul. However, Gentaro understood quickly that he was motivated by his deep feelings for Sayaka, and was trying to make the school be like she wanted. When Sayaka deliberately broke the rules, and volunteered to be punished by Taurus, Sugiura realized he couldn't steal her soul because of his feeling for her, and, just afterwards, freed everyone who was into his control, realizing the errors of his ways. At that time, he didn't want any more to be associated with the other Zodiarts, and even tried to attack Virgo who was reminding him of his duties, only to be sent into the Dark Nebula. 
Gemini was none other than Yuki Joujima, one of the creators of the Kamen Rider Club and Gentaro and Kengo's best friend. Because Gamou heard Yuki talking about hearing voices from space when she was little, he suspected that she had Zodiarts potential, and had Libra check her. Libra realized that she was the one who could become Gemini Zodiarts, and, with the help of Leo, made her become Gemini by forcing her to use the Switch. Soon, an evil alter ego of Yuki appeared (Dark Yuki) who became to make violent pranks, and framed good Yuki for her misdeeds. Dark Yuki then, started to steal little by little Yuki's life, her friends, her family, and, while she was faceless at the beginning, began to take Yuki's face while having the real Yuki become faceless. Her aim was to  become the real Yuki and make good Yuki disappear. However, thanks to Gentaro's friendship, Yuki managed to dominate her evil alter ego, which was soon defeated by Fourze. 
Pisces was Ran Kuroki, the best friend of  Haru, the former Musca Zodiarts. Unlike the other Horoscopes, she hated the Zodiarts and would do everything to protect Haru and the people she cared for aginst them. However, Libra and Leo manipulated her into wanting to become a Zodiarts by attacking Haru (Libra even pretended to help Ran and the Kamen Rider Club, and trigger even more Ran's protective feelings by being attacked ), and she decided to use the Switch and become Pisces in order to fight the Horoscopes. However, Ran had been deceived by Libra, and once her Switch had become mature, the Horoscopes took it from her, Gamou having at last the Twelve Horoscopes Switches.

g) Mitsuaki Gamou : leader of the Horoscopes and Sagittarius Zodiarts

Gamou was a former astronaut, who, with Rokuro Utahoshi and Emoto, had been to the moon and discovered the Astro Switch and the Cosmic energy. Fascinated by them, Gamou wanted to use the Cosmic Energy to go into space himself. Indeed, when he was a little boy, he heard voices from spaces coming from very wise creatures calling themselves "the Presenters", and his big dream was to meet them at last. However, because Rokuro didn't approve of that, and wanted to use more carefully the power of the Cosmic energy, even if it meant not using it himself to go to space, Gamou had him killed by Emoto, and then decided to create the Zodiarts Switches. His aim was to have those Switch become Horoscopes Switches, and use the twelve Horoscopes Switches to gather enough Cosmic energy to travel into space and meet the Presenters. To Achieve his aim, he created the Amanogawa High School, and used the students of his school as guina pigs by giving them Zodiarts Switches, hoping to have some students become Horoscopes, and collect their Switches. His feelings about the Riders were mixed, since while they often prevented many Zodiarts to become Horoscopes, they also helped the Switched evolve by fighting the Zodiarts. Besides, even when the Riders defeated an Horoscope, he was still able to get the Switches, which were the only thing he really cared. 
Gamou usually showed a pretty benevolent attitude, only punishing Horoscopes when necessary, in some cases, had only former Horoscopes lose their memories. He also cooked a new soup for the High school cafeteria, full of healthy nutrients, and at that time, had talked in a friendly way to the Kamen Rider Club members, despite knowing they were his enemies. However, he also showed a ruthless side, like when he punished Scorpion, because of his repeated failures, or when he killed Emoto because of his betrayal. Besides, Gamou didn't believe in true friendship, and only saw the people following him as pawns who were fascinated by his great charisma. While he felt he had found a companion in Yuki, because he believed that she had heard the Presenters, like him, his failure into having her stay as Gemini Zodiarts made him even more convinced that he had to explore space alone. His selfishness was finally made even more obvious when, after learning that his ascension to space using the Twelve Horoscopes Switches would destroy Japan, he showed he didn't care, only wanting to meet the Presenters. When Kengo told him that he wasn't the one chosen to meet the Presenters, Gamou was furious. Kengo having been revealed to be a being made of Cosmic energy depending on a Switch found in the moon, Gamou killed Kengo by breaking the Switch. Struck with grief, the Kamen Rider Club received a last letter from Kengo, asking him to stop Gamou, but, despite everything, also forgive him. After a last attempt to reach Space thanks to the Switch, Gamou was attacked by Gentaro and fought him in a last fight, which he eventually lost. Stunned by his defeat, Gamou however accepted Gentaro's friendship. However, because of hs excessive use of Cosmic Energy, Gamou's life force was disappearing, and, after asking Gentaro to meet the Presenters for him, as he wouldn't be able to do so, he spent his last moments alone in the park where he heard the Presenters as a child. Before dissolving into nothingness, he had the time to use the Aquarius Switch to repair the Switch that was making Kengo be alive, resurrecting him, and ask the Presenters to aknowledge the Kamen Rider Club as worthy Earth representatives, recognizing at last their worth. 

4) A few comments

As described before, the Zodiarts and Horoscopes are often people who are very well fleshed and are able to show a lot of character development. Kamen Rider Fourze was pretty unique ( the only comparable case is likely Kamen Rider W) by showing the antagonists as real human beings with feelings, and showing that in a lot of cases, these people were more misguided than evil. For example, as described above, Virgo/Emoto is an incredibly complex character. Those people were also very similar to the heroes, as most of them were fellow school students. While Fourze showed some characters which were truly malevolent people (Kijima/ Cancer, Yamada/Aries, Hayami/Libra and Sonoda/ Scorpion), most of the Zodiarts are shown as pretty sympathetic people, who are corrupted by the powers of the Switches, but are in most case, decent humans being who show their good side, once freed from the Switch, or even before getting the Switch. There are even several cases where the Zodiarts could show a good side, even while still being Zodiarts, as seen with Perseus and Musca, in a way Cygnus, and even some Horoscopes like Taurus, or, even more obviously Aquarius. There were even cases where the Zodiarts were in fact the heroes's allies, like Virgo/ Tachibana or Ran/ Pisces. The fact that one of the Zodiarts was a key member of the Kamen Rider Club (Yuki), is also another element showing how much Kamen Rider Fourze wanted to humanize the monstrous antagonists.  It's also very significant that the Big Bad of the show, Gamou, was also shown as someone who didn't want to get the powers of the Switches to conquer the world, but only because he wanted to meet the Presenters whom he heard as a child, and was merely following his childhood dream. While he had been corrupted by his lust for power, at the end, humbled by his defeat, a kind heart seemed to appear from within Gamou, and he died with dignity, touched by Gentaro's kind heart,  even bringing back Kengo to life during his last moments.
That portrayal of the antagonists is very fitting, given one of the main themes of the show is forgiveness. Gentaro is a very sweet young man who wants to be friends with everyone, even people behaving like jerks. As such, he was the more appropriate adversary for the Zodiarts, since he wanted to free the misguided students from the corrupting powers of the Switches. However, he knew that, afterwards, he would want to become his former enemies's friends, because it was at that time that those people would need the most a friend. It is very significant that, in the Fourze movie, when Gentaro needed friends to activate a bunch of Switched that were necessary to win a difficult battle where Earth was at stake, almost all former Zodiarts, including some Horoscopes, would agree to help (heck, even Gamou helped). Another key element, the fact that Gentaro forgave Gamou and asked for his friendship, despite having every reason to deeply hate him. Gentaro's ultimate victory wasn't Gamou's defeat, but Gamou accepting his friendship, because it meant that Gentaro's friendship value was the real winner of the fight. 
Fourze is probably, of all Kamen Rider shows, one of those where the antagonists, and all ot them, from the Monsters of the Fortnight to the Big Bad are shown as the most complex and three dimensional characters.  Because of that, Fourze is one of the most interesting Rider shows even done, despite a lot of silly moments. 
Last word: this post has been done at the request of Fantasy Leader, and I hope he's gonna enjoy it.
It's appropriate that a post about a series where friendship is a key theme has been written, because of my deep feelings of friendship for Fantasy Leader, who wished a lot to read a post about Fourze written by me.   

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post. That is why I've been saying Fourze has some of the most human villains I've ever seen. I can relate to quite a few of them.