Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My thoughts on Kamen Rider Gaim so far

Well since Gaim is just about at the halfway point, I figured it was time to do this. Here are my thoughts on what I've seen from Gaim so far. There will be some spoilers here since its hard to talk about these characters and their motives without spoiling anything, especially in DJ Sagara's case.
The first seven episodes struck a small nerve with me because it felt like it was sort of pumping out riders just to introduce toys with some characterization for each new rider so I won't label these episodes as filler. It sort of gave me flashbacks of Wizard's Dragon Style arc given how quickly the new riders showed up. Those episodes lacked plot development but thinking back on them, the characterization more than made up for that. The show also had a habit of flip-flopping tones during these episodes but the show started picking a tone in episode 8 when we get Kaito's motivation. Urobochi has definitely hit his stride now as the last 16 episodes have been all plot and have done rather well in keeping my interest. Though I still say Urobochi could've kicked the plot into gear before episode 8.

The suits for the most part have been alright with their biggest problem being the shoulder pads as those look far too large and tended to flop around too much during the fight scenes early in the show with Pine Arms being the worst offender in that category. It seems they've fixed the floppy shoulder pad problem though as I haven't noticed it in a while. My favorite suit is Ryugen's as the shoulder pads strangely work in its favor. However, the worst suit design so far has to be Suika Arms because its physical suit is just a big green fist and a box for Gaim's head since its purely a CGI form. It is some of the worst CGI I've ever seen as at certain times it looks like someone just drew on the film.
No one should have okay-ed this...at all!
It is a form that definitely should've been slimmed down and made into a human-sized suit for the suit actor or made to act as an independent robot for a non-rider character like Powerdizer from Fourze. Can't speak much for its design, its just a big watermelon themed mech suit. Thought the weapon for it changes depending on the rider using it which is a nice touch. The Jinba forms are interesting because even though they have the same weapon, each Jinba form makes up for that by increasing a certain aspect of Gaim's natural abilities such as strength, speed, and hearing. I can only guess what Jinba Melon will increase. I like Kachidoki Arms' design as it looks like an upgraded version of Orange Arms. It looks nicely balanced and the helmet and chest-plate are nicely detailed. A really nice touch is that the flags on its back can double as weapons which makes the flags a great choice on the designer's part. The red, yellow, orange, and black goes really well with the silver bolts on the suit. Its weird to think that this isn't even his final form since it looks like it could be.
Originally, it looked like the suit actors were having trouble adjusting to their weapons but they've definitely gotten used to them now. Baron's suit actor still sort of uses Banana Arms' lance like a sword but that works rather well when he fights in a corridor or enclosed space. Gaim's suit actor has finally gotten used to Strawberry Arms' daggers and has begun using them in a reverse-grip style which flows more naturally in a fight than the way he was holding them before.

A cool thing about the show is how it handles the form changes. Certain forms are actively being used to counter specific types of Invess. Pine and Mango are used mostly to combat armored enemies. Strawberry Arms is mostly used on flying Invess and Suika Arms is used to counter larger than normal Invess. It really shows that the characters have gotten used to how their powers work and are actively applying strategy in terms of form changing. It also means they don't have to keep constantly spamming their newest form to win each fight. The characters have also grown more comfortable with their weapons and it shows they're growing as fighters. Though Kouta does still act like an amateur at times and ends up flailing his sword around. I'm not complaining there as it shows that they are still basically untrained kids' fighting each other.

There are a lot of characters to cover so I'll start with the seemingly neutral ones, specifically a character that struck a severe nerve with me early on. Thats right, its the seeming fan favorite Oren Pierre Alfonso aka Kamen Rider Bravo. His comedy aggravated me early on as he is a trained soldier yet his comedic antics originally made it hard for me to take him seriously. Thankfully, he has gotten a bit more tolerable now that he has a punching bag for his comedic antics, that being Jonouchi. He has also begun showing more of his professional fighting side and he has actually somewhat grown on my to the point where I don't find him annoying anymore. We haven't seen him since episode 18 so I can't help but wonder what he has been up to.
Speaking of Gridon, I can't help but think he'll end up being the more strategic of the riders as he seems more than willing to use others for his own goals and toss them aside once they are of no further use. Jonouchi has some decent potential and I'm really interested in what they'll do with him once he gets done using Oren. Hase was an alright character and I really felt bad for him near the end. His death was sad and it helped show the gravity of the situation. It also showed there was more to fear from Helheim than just the Invess.

One of the most intriguing things about Gaim so far is the various ideologies the characters subscribe to. I like Kouta because of his optimistic outlook on things and his drive to change the world without compromising his morals. Micchi's dilemma is interesting since he is now pretty much working for Yggdrasil but he clearly cares about his friends even if he knows he might have to stab them in the back in order to protect them. He has even semi-adopted his brother's way of lying to people so they can keep clinging to their happiness. It will be interesting to see how that works out for him since the secret will inevitably get out. Kaito's take on power is interesting given his background with Yggdrasil and even though he has semi-partnered with Ryoma, I can't help but think there is more to it than him simply seeking out the Overlord Invess to test his might. It will be interesting when all their various ideologies and motivations come to a boiling point.
The Yggdrasil riders are honestly some of the more threatening Kamen Rider villains I've seen. I'm actually hesitant to call Takakora a villain since he is legitimately doing what he thinks is right. He is a man who will do whatever needs to be done to protect humanity's future and he follows the ideology that nothing in the world comes without sacrifice. He is completely at odds with Kouta's ideology which has lead to some great fights between the two so far. I like Ryoma because you can easily tell that he is one of those smart, scheming, devious, villains from the first moment he appeared on-screen. Every time the man is on-screen, part of me hopes that he tips his hand while part of me hopes he doesn't because I like the suspense. The man is even able to make Takatora think he is on his side. As for Sid, the guy is clearly a cold, callous type of villain who is more than willing to dirty his hands to achieve his goals. He seemed to take some joy in using the Beat Riders and even had this deliciously evil smirk on his face when he killed Hase. Yoko/Marika is honestly the most terrifying of the Yggdrasil riders mostly due to her mannerisms when she moves and speaks. Even when she is smiling and talking calmly, you get the sense that she would strangle you if you turned your back on her. She legitimately sends a chill down my spine every time she speaks. Her being Marika's suit actress as well as her actual actress works pretty well and the fight scenes really get kicked up when she fights both in and out of suit. Unlike the main riders' suits, the shoulder pads for the Yggdrasil riders actually look quite nice and the single shoulder pad look works great for them.
Finally, I get to DJ Sagara. In all honesty, the guy kind of scares me because we don't exactly know what his goal is. He is more than willing to push Kouta deeper and deeper into the fight for some unknown reason and even told him to remake the world with his own hands. I'm actually wondering why he is so interested in Kouta. He seems to be more of a neutral party at present and he definitely isn't human given that he created the Kachidoki lockseed. He seems to have some connection to the Mai-lookalike and even wanted to know why she took such an interest in Kouta. I'm curious to see what Urobochi will do with him.

The show's take on heroes and villains is a rather interesting one as not everyone is straight-up good or outright evil. Most of the characters' motives can arguably be seen as right  and a justified solution to the problem, even if I happen to disagree with them. It really helps to show that under dire circumstances that what is right and what is wrong really only depends on your perspective. Anyway, those are my thoughts on Gaim so far and I'm curious to see where Urobochi will take the show now. It is just might end up taking my number 3 spot from Kamen Rider W.

1 comment:

  1. I like that Gaim started off kind of slow. The first 8 episodes really got me invested into the characters.