Tuesday, 8 October 2013

First Impressions: Kamen Rider Gaim

Kamen Rider Gaim Toei Tokusatsu

Well, where do I start when talking about anticipation for Kamen Rider Gaim? Whether it's the bizarre combination of fruits and padlocks for the gimmick, the Sengoku period motif, the return of the multi-Rider battle format or that Puella Magi Madoka Magica creator Gen Urobuchi penning it, the successor to Kamen Rider Wizard has certainly got people talking. With the show having just started its year-long run in Japan, has the first episode lived up to the hype?

As with most (but not all) first episodes of a Kamen Rider series, a significant portion of this was dedicated to building up the world of Gaim - the bustling city of Zawame. It quite a short time frame we get a good sense of what's going on - the city has pretty much become the hub of a huge company known as the Yggdrasil Corportation, with them having a hand in pretty much everything that keeps the city running on a day to day basis. Young people have grouped up in various street dancing troupes, and also take part in various battles using lockseeds to summon creatures known as Invess from another dimension (which come via a zip in space, and that's awesome). We meet Team Gaim and their rivals Team Baron, as well as former Gaim member Kota Kazuraba who seems to have given up his place in the team to become an adult.

Kota doesn't stay away from Gaim for too long though, and it's not long before he's presented with the Sengoku Driver to become Kamen Rider Gaim (note: he hasn't actually taken that name yet). Kota seems like he's going to be a really good protagonist - he has a job and deals with real life problems, naturally helps people (the episode opens on him helping a small child) and quickly grasps his new Kamen Rider abilities without someone having to guide him through them. As silly as a orange samurai might sound, the Gaim suit itself is really nicely detailed while being different yet similar enough to retain the usual Kamen Rider charm.

But amongst the flashy colours, break dancing and Yu-Gi-Oh! style monster battles, there's an underlying feeling that the show isn't going to be all sparkles and rainbows - and of course this isn't surprising given the man behind it. We've already seen shady Lockseed dealers, dangerous monsters from another dimension and even foreshadowing of a Ryuki/Decade style Rider War. But with armies in fruit formations and horses which makes it a million times better.

Of course this is only one episode out of around 50, so there's plenty of time for it to take a nosedive. But while I felt Kamen Rider Wizard's début brought the flash and very little else, Gaim's has got me actively speculating what's to come. Are we going to see a fan favourite get brutally decapitated three episodes in? Probably not, but I'm certainly pumped for a year of fruit puns!


Tôm said...

I thought it was Pokémon battles :(

Alex said...

Pokemon battles also works! :)