Friday, September 16, 2016

My Updated Kamen Rider Rankings

Since I did an updated list for Sentai, I figured its time to do an updated one for Kamen Rider. Keep in mind that I've been more into Sentai than rider. So there probably isn't gonna be as many new series on this list. With that being said, there has been a slight shift since last time so I guess a new list is warranted. Since the last one, I've finished Gaim and Amazons. Drive and Ghost will not be talked about because I dropped both of them before the 25 episode mark. Den-O will not be mentioned even though I saw half of it since I haven't seen any more of it since the last list. With that out of the way, lets get right down to it.

7. Kamen Rider Amazons:
It took a while but I finally found a series I dislike more than Faiz. Yes, that is a big statement to make since only season one is done and its only 13 episodes. It tries so hard to be dark, edgy, and serious that it ends up being overly angst-y. I don't tend to like the "Life sucks, deal with it!" mentality in superhero shows unless its done really well. It got to the point where I was only watching it to riff it with a friend. Pretty much the main positive I have for this series so far is Alpha's suit. Omega's bike is the most irritating bike I've seen so far. It will not stop roaring whenever its on screen. After a while, my friend and I were constantly telling it to shut up whenever it showed up. Its also this extremely generic lion roar even though the bike is lizard themed. The fight scenes were outright boring and lacked any sense of brutality which is pretty bad for a modern take on Amazon. It doesn't really feel like the show has any weight to it. I legitimately don't expect Mamoru to survive season two and I'm honestly a bit surprised he survived season one given how bleak the tone was.

6. Kamen Rider Faiz, Decade, and Kiva:
Yeah, all three share the same spot but I'll start with Faiz. I've actually softened up a bit on it this series since the last list. It does have some good ideas but the execution makes some of them frustrating. The drama built around misunderstandings or mis-communications still annoys me because it can be solved so easily. I still love the rider suit and monster designs. I love all the little gadgets that the belts have. I get what they were trying to do with Kiba's heel-turn near the end but it really could've been handled better. It comes off as a bit annoying and its placed at a bit of a bad spot for me given everything that happens near the end. I like the Orphenocs in concept but the execution was kind of lacking. I also kind of wish they had a little more variety in their color scheme.
I still don't like Decade and my thoughts on it haven't changed much from last time. I still think it gets lost in all the world hopping to the point where it forgets the driving force of the show. It also doesn't help that the show doesn't have a concrete ending. Due to that, it left so many questions unanswered. In a way, thats good because it means an infinite number of stories to tell and its a way to always bring Tsukasa back for cameos. However, the downside is that those stories can be kinda tainted because well its Decade. Any questions that the Decade movie and the crossover with W answer vary between the two. So we really don't get to know a lot regarding Decade. I still have no idea what Narutaki is.
I'm about 2/3 of the way through Kiva. So why is it being ranked? Its because I don't think the last third is going to be able to change my opinion of the show all that much, especially given what I've heard happens near the end. It falls into a lot of the same pitfalls as Faiz. So much so that an entire love triangle is built on miscommunication. I can't stand Otoya and he is probably going to end up on my least favorite rider character list whenever I redo it. Pretty much the only things I like about it at this point are the suits and the music. With that being said, Kiva's default suit should've been sent back to the drawing board. I like its design but its the weight thats the problem. It apparently caused the suit actor to have back problems because most of the weight is in the chest. I absolutely love the stained glass look for the Fangires.

5. Kamen Rider Wizard:
I'm still very mixed on this series. I liked the aesthetics, particularly the designs for most of Wizard's forms, and some of the background music. The battle music sounds, for lack of a better phrase, like a magical symphony. The main form I don't like design-wise is Infinity due to it looking too plastic-y. There are some nice ideas in the show but the execution is questionable. Its one of the few shows I've seen where a villain reveal has shattered one of the fundamental rules of its universe and nearly made the plot collapse in on itself. I don't really remember much action-wise outside of some sword-play. Also if you notice, Wizard never actually throws a punch in his fight scenes. I'm guessing its because they didn't want to break the rings on his hands.

4. Kamen Rider Gaim:
I like this show, not as much as I did when I first finished it but I enjoyed it for what was. I'm indifferent on the suits with the exception of Pineapple Arms. The flopping shoulder pads can get distracting. Other suits have that problem as well but it is a lot more noticeable on pineapple arms. At one point, Pineapple Arms shoulder pads swung and bounced off the chest-plate of the suit. With that being said, I think the shoulder pads for Ryugen Grape Arms look good. The dueling philosophies are a nice touch but unfortunately, some don't get touched on much. The other downside is that due to the number of riders, some get shoved to the side. I'm actually one of the people in the fandom who is glad Micchi didn't die. In my opinion, it would've been him getting off too easy. He has to live with what he has done and with his friends no longer trusting him. The show flat out admits that he burned a few bridges that he might never be able to repair.

3. Kamen Rider W:
I enjoyed this show a lot and my opinions of it haven't actually changed much from the last list. I love the detective style it has to it. The Dopant designs are great and they are able to capture some of the more abstract concepts will in their designs. Some of them have a nice of nightmare fuel to them. The action is absolutely fantastic. I still love the mix and match ability for the form changes. Luna Trigger is still my favorite out of all W's forms. Museum is probably one of my favorite villain organizations. Weather Dopant is probably my favorite villain in the show. The dude manages to hit Long levels of creepy for me. Shotarou and Philip play off of each other rather well and I liked Accel's subplot. Philip's search pose has actually become my thinking pose. The rider suits for the show look great, especially all of W's forms. They really made sure the colors for all W's forms worked regardless of combination.

2. Kamen Rider Ryuki:
One of the more divisive early heisei series but I like it. I will admit its a heavily flawed show and I don't really defend its flaws that much. So why is it ranked this high for me despite being so flawed? Honestly, I can't put my finger on why I like it that much. Something about the show just speaks to me. I just can't help but look back on it fondly even knowing all its problems. I like the mirror beasts designs. I like that it shows what happens when people the wrong people get a hold of this kind of power which is honestly an interesting idea even if it likely wasn't the show's goal. I still like how each episode ends on a cliff hanger and leads directly into the next episode. Granted it does making marathon-ing it rather difficult since there really isn't a clear point to take a break from it. I'm still indifferent to the ending. I like all the rider suits except for Zolda's which is hilarious because he is actually my favorite rider in Ryuki.

1. Kamen Rider Fourze:
Yeah this one has over-taken Ryuki since last time. This show just hits that sweet spot for me and it really makes me happy. I know a lot of people in the fandom will say that it lays on the friendship stuff too thick. At its core however, I see it as a show about how one person can help people through their problems. I think the high school setting works well with that as well. The Kamen Rider Club is probably my favorite group of characters out of all the rider series I've seen so far. I love the designs for the Zodiarts with Sagittarius being my favorite of them. I like the rider suits in the show with Meteor Storm being the main exception. The helmet looks so weird to me that while watching the show I began referring to Meteor Storm as "Pikachu States". Cosmic States is still my favorite rider final form because I like how it ties all the switches together and sums up Gentaro's personality.