Friday 28 September 2012

Anime REVIEW: Accel World

Accel World Anime Cast Haruyuki Arita Silver Crow Kuroyukihime Black Lotus Chiyuri Kurashima Lime Bell Takumu Mayuzumi Cyan Pile Yuniko Kōzuki Scarlet Rain

Ever wanted a bit more realism to your video games? Well Sunrise's (Gundam, Cowboy Bebop and more) latest anime adaptation not only gives you an insight into what this might be like, but also perhaps provides an eerie look into the way technology will be in the not-too-distant future. Based on a light novel series of the same name, Accel World is a 24-episode series which aired between April and September 2012. Just to bring the franchise full circle, it will also be adapted into two games - one for the Playstation 3 and one for the Playstation Portable.

In the year 2046, Neuro-synchronization, a technology system that allows humans to manipulate their five senses, has become widespread to the point where people can access the Internet and enter virtual worlds through a device known as a Neuro-Linker. Haruyika "Haru" Arita is your typical stereotype - a small, overweight boy with self-esteem issues due to constant bullying. To escape the torment of real life, he logs in to the school's virtual world network where he plays squash alone and always gets the highest score.

Accel World Anime Kuroyukihime Pig Haru Haruyuki Arita
Kuroyukihime meets Haru in the virtual world

This all changes one day when he meets the mysterious "Kuroyukihime", his school's Student Council Vice President and all around popular girl. She offers Haru a programme known as "Brain Burst" - a secret program which allows a person to make time appear to stand still by "accelerating" their brainwaves in the real world. Unfortunately, there is a limit to how many times a person can accelerate since each acceleration costs "Burst Points" and the primary way to get more points is to fight and defeat other users in the program's massive online fighting game. However if a user is defeated in battle and loses all of their points, the program uninstalls itself, block all future reinstallation attempts and wipe the user's memory of it.

Accel World Anime Silver Crow Haru Haruyuki Arita Avatar Brain Burst
Silver Crow, Accel World's first flying avatar

Under the guise of the avatar "Silver Crow", Haruyuki fights with Kuroyukihime (known in-game as Black Lotus, the Black King) to reach the highest attainable level of the game (level 10). To do this, they must defeat the other level 9 users, the remaining five "Kings of Pure Colour".

Right from the beginning Accel World presents a very interesting setting - computers are obsolete, and people are able to bring up their emails or surf the web at a flick of their wrist. Its a believable future, and the idea of being able to seemingly physically engage in online virtual games through the use of an avatar is an integral theme. This is shown on two different levels, with the network avatars being either cutesy animals (Haru as a pig) or animal-human hybrids of themselves (Hime's "iconic" butterfly appearance). On this level it all seems like a bunch of Facebook flash games brought to life, but as Haru delves deeper into Brain Burst the visuals take a very different form. Avatars are robotic in appearance (sometimes without any facial features), and the world itself can be anything from a wasteland of burning buildings to lush field or ocean. From an animation standpoint Sunrise are on top of their game at capturing the three different worlds the anime has to offer, even if the middle one is almost entirely forgotten as time goes on.

Accel World Anime Black Lotus Kuroyukihime Avatar King Brain Burst
Black Lotus, the Black King

Unfortunately, the story isn't quite as crisp as the art. Its an ambitious tale with much planned out right at the beginning, but nothing ever seems to really go anywhere. Episodes repeatedly consist of an extensive info dump to begin with, following with a decent bit of build up and then a fairly impressive cliffhanger. But then when you come to the next episode, the cliffhanger has either been all but forgotten or fizzles out within the first five minutes. The story is constantly advancing, but lacks any real punch. Instead it just plods a long when it should be coupled with as much flashiness as possible. After all it is a fighting game they're playing.

Accel World Anime Scarlet Rain Yuniko Kōzuki Red King Brain Burst Avatar
Despite her small stature, the Red King Scarlet Rain is armed to the teeth

But as serious as the plot may seem, the fact remains the whole show is about a video game. Upon discovering Brain Burst, Haru's friend Chiyuri is quick to respond that its "only a game" and that they shouldn't treat it like real life, but even she eventually falls into the trap of everything seeming like a life or death situation. When characters respond to real-life blackmail threats by devising a plan to beat the blackmailer online, it really does spoil any illusion the show has. If I took anything away from this show, it wasn't the importance of friendship and trust - it was the cast of Accel World take video games far too seriously.

Accel World Anime Dusk Taker Seiji Noumi Villain Avatar Brain Burst
Dusk Taker, the "bad guy" of the show.

With a conclusion that explained nothing the series seemed to set out to do there's every possibility that a second season is on its way. In some ways I welcome that - there's still a huge story to be told and many questions left unanswered. But on the other hand, despite its good looks, this season had very little to be praised about. If Accel World is to truly climb out of the realms of mediocrity, it isn't just the characters than need to level up...

Monday 17 September 2012

Anime REVIEW: Martian Successor Nadesico

Martian Success Nadeisco

'Classic' is a word that can have various meanings. Sometimes it can refer to something old, while others it refers to a film/television series/whatever that is perfectly crafted no matter what its age may be. But less often does it mean both things. Xebec's (Dai Guard, Love Hina) Martian Successor Nadesico is a 1996 anime series considered by some to be among classics. The series ran for 26 episodes, with a sequel film "The Prince of Darkness" released in 1998.

In the year 2196, Earth is at war with an alien race known as the "Jovian Lizards". A privately owned company named Nergal build their own space battleship, the ND-001 Nadesico, the aid in the struggle. The crew is made up of top civilian experts in their fields, most of them not quite what you would expect from a crew manning the most powerful battleship on Earth.

The ND-001 Nadesico

The primary protagonist is Akito Tenkawa, a resident of Mars' former Utopia colony (which was destroyed in an attack) who has no memory of how he escaped its destruction. An avid fan of the super robot anime Gekiganger III, on board the Nadesico he just wants to be a cook but is constantly called into action as a pilot of the ship's robot fighting force - the Aestivalis. Not only that, but he has to also fend of the advances of several female members of the crew, including his childhood friend and ditzy captain Yurika Misumaru.

Martian Successor Nadesico Akito Tenkawa
Poor Akito just wants to be a cook

Martian Successor Nadesico is a series which has two very distinct sides - one serious and one comedic. The tone shifts between the two in the course of one episode, but rarely do the two actually meld together at once. The serious side of Nadesico is filled with all the things you'd expect from a space drama, from the horrors of war (which are accentuated by a surprise twist mid-series) and complicated scientific terms like "boson jumping". As the series progresses the overall plot becomes more dependant on these themes, throwing issues like time travelling and various degrees of double-crossing into the mix. As a result it becomes more and more difficult to follow toward the end (especially when its still playing off against the comedy side), finishing on a pretty unsatisfying and inconclusive note.

Martian Successor Nadesico Yurika & Crew
Captain Yurika among the crew of the Nadesico

The comedy element is varied, but crutches heavily on the relationship drama between Akito and Yurika. Or Akito and various other members of the crew. The love-triangle aspect of the show plays an important part in adding more depth to the characters involved, but is often unnecessary and comes at the expense of less screen time for other crew members who perhaps could have done with more. There's also an element of parody to other space-faring series such as Yamato and Macross, the most obvious moment being an episode where the female members of the crew participate in an all-singing, all-dancing idol competition to become the new captain of the Nadesico.

However Nadesico shines in the range of characters it has on show, even if many of them don't get a chance to develop out of their initial roles. The crew is essentially made up of otakus and misfits - including a ditzy captain, a perveted model-making mechanic, a doujinshi-drawing robot pilot and a hulking businessman. Early episodes are brought to life by Jiro Yamada (soul name: Gai Daigoji), a Gekiganger III fanboy who took the job as a pilot because he would out he would be commanding robots similar to the ones in his beloved anime. A scarily accurate depiction of what many of us would probably be like in control of a giant robot and an extremely fun character to boot, Gai is one of the main driving forces behind the progression of the Nadesico crew, particularly Akito. The rest of the show is arguably Ruri Hoshino's - a child genius girl in control of the ship's main computer. Injecting smart-mouthed comments about the adult situations happening around her rather that involving herself in them, Ruri is not only the sanest character in Nadesico but acts as the perfect bridge between the cast and the audience.

Martian Successor Nadeisco Gai Daigoji
Gai Daigoji - a hero for otaku everywhere

But perhaps what's most memorable about Nadesico is the way that it uses show-within-a-show Gekiganger III. This over the top parody of super robot shows such as Mazinger Z and Getter Robo is quite literally the bible to some of the characters in the show, and affects the way almost everyone thinks and fights. Akito tries to fight by the show's teachings of bravery, honour and justice but slowly comes to realise that its near impossible to live by such black and white ideals in the real world. Clips of Gekiganger mirror the events occurring in Nadesico, and the lengths the show's creators take the level of meta commentary is something arguably unique to the series.

Martian Successor Nadesico Gekiganger
The rather familiar looking Gekiganger III

While the series may have left things incredibly open-ended, this is nothing compared to the following movie. Rather that provide an adequate explanation for what happened after the 26th episode, the action moves several years forward with very little explanation for what happens in between. Most of the characters have resumed normal life, while other key ones are missing/presumed dead. Ruri becomes the star of the show, with the rest of the cast serving little more than a background role. Many of them, Akito in particular, seem to have taken a massive U-turn in personality, and the story itself is essentially 70 minutes of build up for a 10 minute resolution (which is just as open ended). The animation may benefit from a movie budget, but even those that loved the series will be left in the cold by this unfitting sequel.

Martian Succesor Nadesico Ruri
Ruri (centre) is a star of the series, and the main focus of the movie

Martian Successor Nadesico may be fondly remembered by some, but a classic it is not. It manages to (for the most part) tell a semi-serious story alongside otaku-centric comedy, but it never really excels at either and in the end the story just becomes more and more convoluted. A series full of great ideas and a level of meta you probably won't find in many other anime, but one that falls short of success due too shorter running time to prevent it being crushed under the weight of its own ideas.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Mega Bloks Power Rangers Super Samurai Training mode Yellow Ranger & Flying Mooger

I must have got lucky with the case these two figures were included in too, because these are the first ones I don't seem to have any QC complaints about.

Finally making an appearance in the blind bag ranger is the Yellow Ranger, even if it is in the lacklustre training mode variety. The yellow strips on the costume blur with the green outlining of the sashes/detailing, but the little details (such as the kanji on the hood) are all present and correct and Emily also comes with a different weapon to her wave one counterparts. In the place of the standard spin sword is a staff - a repaint of the one included with the Bulk mini figure.

The flying Mooger (what makes it a "flying" one I don't know) is a surprise success. Rather that a simple re-release of the wave one Mooger with a new weapon (which is some sort of two-pronged staff thing), this Mooger has a different body colour with more intricate pattern detailing. As there are different types of Mooger in the show, this offers a nice variety for those planning to army build the little guys. Personally I'm hoping for a purple Mooger in the third wave.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Mega Bloks Power Rangers Super Samurai Super Green Ranger & Translucent Mega Mode Red Ranger

The next two figures I've gotten from the Power Rangers Samurai Mega Bloks blindbags are the "rare" Super mode Green Ranger and translucent Mega mode Red ranger. Much like the three figures I've already showcased, these two are really nice figures with tons of detail - but are let down a bit by some shoddy QC. Both have some poor white paintwork (particularly on Green's left arm) and sprue marks on the bodies. Usually I wouldn't moan about such cheap figures, but when I've already seen the top notch job on the first wave I'm just sad that it didn't continue.

On the plus side, unlike wave one's Mega Mode Pink, Red comes with a Mega Blade! The detailing is pretty simple, but the fact its jointed is a great touch for such a small figure.

Monday 10 September 2012

Portal LED Talking Sentry Turret

LED Portal Turret 01

Ever since getting into the Portal games (which came a lot later than most), I've been looking for a Turret toy. So when Forbidden Planet put up preorders for a talking LED flashlight turret I didn't think twice before I jumped on it. Unfortunately getting him proved more tedious than I expected - there were delays after delays and my first delivery went missing. However nearly six months after originally placing the order, I finally have my own Turret buddy!

LED Portal Turret 02

Made by the webstore ThinkGeek, this 3.5" tall Turret is packaged in a special box just like the one seen in the Valve "Aperture Investment Opportunity #3: Turrets" video.

LED Portal Turret Box 01

LED Portal Turret Box 02LED Portal Turret Box 03

I was planning to do a proper review on this little guy, but once it was in my hands I realised there's no really a lot to say about it. It has no articulation whatsoever - the legs don't move at all and there's no fold out guns. The antennae on the top are bendable to avoid any easy breakage, and similarly the legs are on flexible wires which give them a suspension-like feel. The switch to turn on the LED eye is on the back of the body, while the voice switch is a thin rectangular button on the side. Check out the video below for a demonstration of the voice clips.

There are a variety of blind-packed turrets coming out soon, but if you're looking for a nice desk/display piece and willing to sacrifice guns for a light-up eye and voice clips this is definitely worth the purchase. Of course the price is a little higher due to the electronics, but if you're a Portal fan its quite easily justifiable as a one-off purchase. Hopefully you won't have as much trouble getting one as I did.

LED Portal Turret 03LED Portal Turret 04

LED Portal Turret 05LED Portal Turret 06

LED Portal Turret vs Dalek

Sunday 2 September 2012

A Dalek fan's disappointment...

With Doctor Who back on the air for a seventh season since the relaunch, I had toyed with the idea of reviewing each episode on a weekly basis, but ultimately decided against since I wasn't sure how fast I'd be able to get reviews up due to other commitments and such. I expect I'll post a half season thoughts post at the end of the year, but for now I couldn't wait to discuss my thoughts on the season opener "Asylum of the Daleks". Well, more my thoughts on how disappointing I found this episode. Not necessarily because the story was lacking because as a concept I found it brilliant. I even enjoyed (to an extent) the seemingly never ending Amy/Rory drama and Jenna Louise Coleman's "look at my I'm a smarmy female companion" introduction. What I didn't enjoy were the Daleks. The things I've loved since I can remember and without a shadow of a doubt my favourite things from Who, and perhaps all of science-fiction in general.

I don't write this post as a review of why the episode was bad, but simply a list of six reasons why as a Dalek fan I felt nothing but disappointment from it. Doctor Who staff have constantly written since the series' relaunch that the Daleks aren't scary any more, but what effort has been made to try and make them scary? Every appearance they've made since 2005's "Dalek" (which is by far and large the best New-Who Dalek story) has only served to degrade them in one way or another.

1) Humanising the Daleks
Since Moffat has taken the helm of Doctor Who, Daleks now have (abstract) concepts of beauty and fear, and are capable of pleading for mercy. Besides the iconic design of the creatures, what makes them the perfect antagonist for the Doctor is their complete lack of emotion. While the Doctor is capable of and constantly expresses his emotions, the Daleks are only capable of hate. They fail, they continue. They're a force that can't be reckoned with, and a force that can't be stopped either. Having them acknowledge fear of both themselves and the Doctor takes all of that away.

2) The return of the RTD era Daleks
When we last met the Daleks in season five's "Victory of the Daleks", the last of the bronze Daleks were destroyed to make way for the technicolour New Dalek Paradigm, and given the amount of publicity and merchandising thrown into the change I was under the impression that it was here to stay. So, after spending a few years getting used to the new Daleks I was pretty surprised to see this episode featuring more bronze RTD Daleks than New Paradigm ones!  This felt like something that really needed explanation given the old ones were destroyed for being "impure", even if it has been as simple as a throwaway line. Were they nostalgic for the old look? Are bronze Daleks specifically Parliament members? Who knows?

3) The Dalek Parliament
We've had Supreme Daleks, we've had Emperor Daleks and in some forms of fiction we've even had Dalek Primes and Dalek Time Controllers. But a Dalek Parliament with a Dalek Prime Minister is a new one. Prime  Minister of what exactly? Why would Daleks even have a Parliament? The Dalek chain of command has always been pretty clear cut, and that reflects the tyrannical nature of the race. The heads are the ones who make the commands, and the drones obey without question. The very nature of a Parliament and Prime Minister go against everything the Daleks stand for, even if it was meant as some sort of twisted representation (which it never felt like, so I'm led to assume it just involved some big important words being thrown in as titles). Unless of course all it meant to be was some sort of clever piece of commentary - a Dalek Parliament made up of two completely different types of Dalek? A coalition perhaps? Its a stretch, but its the only logical explanation coming to my mind right now.

On that note, I wish the new series would drop the "dalek mutant in a jar" look for leaders. We get it, they're purple blobs with one eye. You don't need to keep reminding us how non-threatening they are without transport.

4) The absence of the classic Daleks
For months beforehand this episode was advertised as featuring "every type of Dalek". This episode didn't even have every type of new Dalek in it. As far as the classics were concerned I saw an 80s grey Dalek, an "Evil of the Daleks" emperor guard Dalek, the special weapons Dalek from "Remembrance of the Daleks" and possibly one originals 60s variant. All four were blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos. Instead these were all sidelined for even more RTD bronze Daleks, who felt just as out of place down there was they did in the Parliament. It's not like there wasn't plenty of opportunity to give fans a real treat either - referencing previous Dalek stories like Spiridon, Aridius, Kembel, Vulcan and Exxilon was great. Like the Doctor said, those are Daleks that survived him. So why not go the one step further and have that actually be represented in the Daleks that were actually in intensive care? Usually I'm not one to scoff at the reference to some of my favourite Doctor Who stories, but this episode repeatedly failed to deliver what it originally promised in that regard.

And the Special Weapons Dalek was down there. The original insane Dalek, one capable of vaporising entire squads in one shot. And the place was still in one piece? Right.

5) What was the point of the asylum?
Daleks have never had any problems in killing their own kind before, they do it all the damn time. From executing drones for failing orders to sending bomb strapped ones to destroy enemy saucers, they aren't exactly a race known for preserving their troops. So why is exterminating ones that have gone insane such a difficult task?

And even ignoring that, what was so threatening about them? The Daleks were too scared to send a team in to do the job themselves but the insane Daleks never posed any kind of threat to anyone. Half of them didn't have working guns, and the other half couldn't even shoot Rory at point blank range. They could barely talk, so them being able to infiltrate and pilot a crashed spaceship seems like a bit of a stretch.

6) The ending
"Doctor Who?"
So the Daleks don't remember the Doctor anymore. Fine, I don't like this but I can get over it - after all its not something that's going to last forever. But what I don't understand is how this is supposedly a good thing because it means they'll go back to conquering and not obsessing over the Doctor. Out of their seven appearances in the new series, three of them have actively involved seeking out the Doctor. And one of them seemed to be more of Davros' plan. Dalek, Parting of the Ways, Doomsday and Daleks in Manhatten had nothing to do with them looking for him, he found them by accident. Nothing has really changed.

I'm still eagerly looking forward to the rest of the season, but it seems my wait for another great modern Dalek story continues. While I accept audios probably have much more leeway that a prime time television slot, the recent Lucie Miller/To The Death audio adventure saw the Doctor defeat a Dalek invasion of Earth but lose two companions and a great grandson in the process. He won, but he won a broken man. That's the sort of drama that makes the Daleks scary - they will lose because they're the villains, but when they lose they'll take everything the Doctor loves and cherishes with it. If I have one request for the new series, it's that they let Nicholas Briggs come from behind that Dalek mic and let him try his hand at writing a story for the television screen because if his audio work is anything to go by, that should be something really special.

Series REVIEW: Kamen Rider W

Kamen Rider W Title Card

In terms of spectacle, following an anniversary series is always going to be a difficult thing. Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters is currently struggling to make a name for itself following the 199 hero extravaganza that was Gokaiger, and back in 2009 Kamen Rider W faced a similar problem following Decade. But while Go-Busters has taken the look and feel of Super Sentai a step forward, W is a more back to basics approach but with a few new things thrown into the mix. The show ran for a total of 49 episodes, with a number of feature length films and the usual variety of tokusatsu specials such as DVD mini episodes and net movies.

Kamen Rider W CycloneJoker
"Count up your sins."

In the windy city of Fuuto, there is underground distribution of devices known as Gaia Memories - small USB-like drives that turn the users into super powered monsters known as Dopants. Following the death of his boss, self-proclaimed "hard-boiled" detective Shotaro Hidari works with his partner Philip to solve various cases in Fuuto, usually involving Dopants in some way. Using their own Gaia Memories in a double driver, the two are able to become a single Kamen Rider - Kamen Rider Double, to battle the Dopants. They are soon aided by Ryu Terui, given the power to become Kamen Rider Accel by the mysterious Shroud. The Kamen Riders follow the Gaia Memory circulation to its source - the organisation Museum. What link do both Philip and Shroud have to Museum at its powerful heads, the Sonozaki family?

Kamen Rider W Philip Shotaro Henshin
Two detectives, one Kamen Rider: Philip and Shotaro

Our two heroes are very much the opposite of each other - Shotaro is has a heart of gold but not too bright, while Philip may have access to all the world's knowledge, he keeps himself to himself and seems to have little interest in the outside world. As these two characters work together, they both take on a little bit of each other's way of thinking and grow into more rounded characters. They're often serious, but not to the point they can't work with comedic settings. Shotaro's naivety often gets him into trouble (particularly with women) and Philip is like a child at Christmas when he discovers something new - obsessed one minute but quickly throws it away when something shiner comes along. 

Their boss, Akiko Narumi, is the series' comedic centrepiece with her loud outbursts and seemingly never ending collection of captioned slippers. Her character starts off as annoying, but becomes much more bearable once the more serious Ryu comes onto the scene. In fact, Akiko and Ryu rub off on each other just as much as Shotaro and Philip do.

Kamen Rider W Kamen Rider Accel
Kamen Rider Accel - vroom vroom!

The show's formula takes the format of two-part episodes (with a "one year later" epilogue to round things off at the very end), giving the detective elements a chance to properly come into play. It's filled with plot twists abound, but if you're anything like me you'll have them figured out way before they come into play. Thankfully, even figuring it out 20 odd episodes beforehand doesn't spoil the satisfaction of seeing the events you've predicted unfold on screen, and even then there's bound to be at least one thing that catches you unaware.

Earlier I mentioned a "back to basics" approach with the show, and this is something best shown in the Kamen Rider Double suit itself. Its a very basic yet effective design, with the two person motif only really reflected in the half and half colouring. Different power ups are reflected by alternate colours and tiny aesthetic changes (for example, Cyclone is the only one with a muffler, Trigger has the gun, Metal the staff etc). Sometimes its mixed up a little, such as FangJoker having Philip as the base body rather than Shotaro, but the iconic base design isn't compromised. Accel on the other hand has a busier design, but a solid colour. Plus he can turn into his own bike, which is damn cool even with the shaky level of CGI involved.

Kamen Rider W Sonozaki Family
One for the photograph album: The Sonozaki family

With each Gaia Memory embodying something different, there's no set aesthetic for the Dopants - something which works both as a blessing and a curse. While they might not be limited to a single look, a lack of uniformity means that some look drastically better than others. It doesn't help that the show opens with lacklustre designs like T-Rex and Money, but even higher tier ones like Terror, Claydoll and Smilodon may divide opinion. But if anything, the weaker designs only make the great ones more eye-catching - Weather, Nazca and Taboo do not disappoint. But as with other Kamen Rider series, it's not always the look that makes the monster - it's the person. The Sonozaki family, made up of Ryubee (Terror Dopant) and his daughters Saeko (Taboo) and Wakana (Claydoll) are the perfect villains because they are human. Their twisted view of Fuuto and mission in life is what makes the characters threatening, and evolve just as much throughout the show as the protagonists do. The other key antagonists that come and go, Kirikho (Nazca) and Shinkuro (Weather), are opposite ends of the spectrum - with one honourable and the other power mad. Even among the one-off Dopants the sheer variety of motives and personalities is staggering, and often paints them as villains before they've even touched a memory.

Kamen Rider W also introduces us to a potentially bigger threat, one that has played a hand in the franchise since: Foundation X. We don't see much of them, but they certainly make themselves known as something with much bigger things in mind. The seeds were sown in W and carried on into OOO and Fourze, so hopefully something bigger will come to light one day.

Kamen Rider W Kamen Rider Skull
Kamen Rider Skull

Double and Accel aren't the only Kamen Riders featured in the overall W universe though. With the movies playing a large part in the overall narrative (repeatedly referenced following where they take place in the series timeline), the total canon riders appearing in the show is bumped up to four. Movie War segment "Begins Night" not only explains the origins of Double but also introduces Sokichi Narumi - not only Shotaro's boss and Akiko's father, but also Kamen Rider Skull. Though his appearances are fleeting, Skull plays a huge part in W. Sokichi is everything Shotaro aspires to be, while also rescuing Philip from Museum and putting the two on the path to becoming Double. Shotaro's initial guilt over his death also reflects his amatuerish nature in earlier episodes, as well as his inability to tell Akiko the truth about her father. 

Kamen Rider W Kamen Rider Eternal
Kamen Rider Eternal

Meanwhile W's full length feature film "A to Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate" introduces us to NEVER - a rival project to Museum's Gaia Memories which uses undead soliders as trained mercenaries. After losing project funding from Foundation X to their rivals, NEVER return to Fuuto to take revenge using the memories themselves to take the city down. Among their ranks is Kasumi Daido - Kamen Rider Eternal. While Eternal has much less of an impact on the overall narrative than Skull, that doesn't make his presence any less worthwhile. Both Skull and Eternal would also see prequel films after the series' completion - the former within Kamen Rider OOO's Movie War Core, and Eternal one half of the "Kamen Rider W Returns" direct to DVD releases - the other half continuing the story of Accel.

Kamen Rider W isn't a flawless series, but those flaws it has are either things down to personal preference or so minute that they don't hamper the end product. What it is is a show with engaging plot lines that stick to its motif, brilliant characters, great action and themes that often veer into territory that Western children's TV probably wouldn't dream off. W comes highly recommended as a show that won't just please die hard toku fans, but one that could probably sell newcomers on it too.