It’s Wednesday, which means the Toku Tuesday feature was yesterday. Or was it…?
Ok, you caught me. I’m late with the TT feature, but fret not as things work in our favor: 1) I get to catch up on my schedule and 2) you get a short preview of the newest Kamen Rider!
Kamen Rider W
Kamen Rider W (pronounced “double”) recently premiered in Japan, taking up the vacated Super Hero Time slot once held by Kamen Rider Decade earlier this year. As you can see, W has a sexy, sleek design to his armored get-up similar to Showa era Rider(s) Black/RX, the classic scarf makes its return (and its so epic, it isn’t even real most of the time – it blows in the wind so mightily, only CGI can do it justice), and his helmet reminds me of Casshern with the treatment of the W-antenna.
I won’t get into the premise of the show too much, but the super simple, ultra dumbed down synopses is this: A tag team duo of detectives (one of which can download himself into a virtual mainframe library a la Ghost in the Shell) must use their deductive skills to unravel cases involving the GaiaMemories – USB flash drives that contain data capable of mutating people and other powerful stuff. The two detectives, utilizing a special USB type belt/Rider System, they can combine (by inserting their respective USB drive into their side of the belt) to form Kamen Rider W. In case you are wondering, yes, their henshin device is a USB flash drive, and yes, those drives are also GaiaMemories.
Between the two “co-Riders,” their are six drives at their disposal up front: Cyclone and Joker are the default green and black halves, Heat (red), Luna (Yellow), Metal (silver), and Trigger (blue). Each offers a different set of abilities and can be mixed and matched to suit the situation. We get to see a bit of that in the first episode. If the combinations are done in a manner that they make sense for the task at hand, I think this mechanic will be quite interesting to watch each week as it is certainly unique (not that I mind card motifs and deck-based fighting, but Decade really didn’t do anything with the concept that Ryuki and Blade hadn’t already).
Having seen the first episode myself, I must say that I’m interested. I’m not sold on it yet, however. I see this trend in the Kamen Rider series, once known for its mature storylines, action, and drama, that now is trying to appeal more directly with the younger children that have their parents buy the toys. In 10 years of renewed Kamen Rider, the last four seem to be dumbing the formula down to reach those petty middle-schoolers and below while trying to uphold the more mature face for the tweens and teens the show is meant for (Kiva and Decade both started out less about the comedy and all about the story, then kinda lost steam mid season as the focus reverted back to comedy and teaching the values of good to the kids… this left the endings of both kinda fuzzy with plot holes and forced connections). W seems to be following in the footsteps of Den-O, outright embracing its charm and foolishness, while at the same time staying grounded in its narrative.
That is, in the first episode. If the show remains the way it is, I think Kamen Rider W could make a run at Den-O’s popularity title.
I’ll be keeping my eye on this series, you should too. Until next time, children…