Kamen Rider Gaim – Episode 44 Review
This is a really weird episode. Throughout its entirety, there’s a subtle feeling that something is off. And I don’t just mean that the world of Gaim is disintegrating into chaos once again – it is – but that the episode itself seems to come from a parallel universe, with things being just slightly distorted from the reality that, over the past 44 episodes, we’ve been taught to expect.
Perhaps this episode dropped into our hands from a Crack that connects to the world of possibilities, which Mai now finds herself trapped in. After having spent a bit too much time meandering about the flow of time, she finds herself in the world that we are given a glimpse of in the first episode; a potential outcome that did not come to pass.
I cannot fathom why, at this point, they felt the need to give such a convoluted explanation to that; I think most viewers had decided to write it off as a metaphor for the road that the series would take. So while I appreciate the effort to make everything come together, I would have to say that it’s fundamentally misguided, and serves to cheapen the episode.
But more problematic than any of this is that Mai cannot return to her own world until the “future is a bit clearer,” which, in this case, means that a winner for the fruit be decided. This decision ultimately robs Mai of the one bit of agency she had remaining – the ability to choose who will receive the golden fruit – and hands it to the men of the story, to settle it based on their strength alone, rather than their merits. The gymnastics required to explain this twist of fate make it clear that the entire plot event serves to keep Mai out of things while the men settle the score.
Meanwhile, Mitsuzane – decidedly out of the running for the quest for the golden fruit – laments Mai’s fate, saying that if she’s no longer human, she may as well be dead. There’s something really unsettling about Mitsuzane essentially saying if he cannot have Mai in the flesh, as a person, then he no longer cares about her existence. Just as the kid makes you start caring about him, you kind of wish he was dead again.

Sadly, Mai is not the only female character getting the short end of the stick. Yoko’s interest in Kaito has reached new, barely comprehensible levels of obsession. She reiterates that she wants to raise the King to the throne, but what could she possibly have to offer Kaito that would help him achieve his ends? But just before that, she simply says, “I want the King.” This is probably more telling; it’s impossible to not read sexual tension into this scene, and it’s unfortunate that we’ve lost yet another female character to the annals of Supporting the Men. There’s still some hope that Yoko is being more pragmatic than doting, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Credit where credit is due, though: Kaito, at least, appears to be suspicious of Yoko’s desires. I waffle back and forth on how I feel about Kaito’s turn to villainy; on one hand, it’s completely in line with the character, but it also flies in the face of the undeniably sympathetic way he’s been portrayed over the past ten episodes. But what is surprising is the way he talks about Mai; how he will “claim her”, and that “the world can burn if it brings me Mai,” are creepily similar to the language that Mitsuzane uses to speak of her. Whatever happened to Kaito chastising Mitsuzane for trying to “protect” her?

“She’s strong! She doesn’t need you to save her!” is what Kaito said to Mitsuzane in episode 41. It’s likely that rescuing Mai just happens to align with his goal of claiming the fruit and building a new world where he can belong, but it’s still an uncomfortable contradiction of his previous stance. Kaito was always one of the few characters who recognized Mai’s agency even when he was being an asshole to her; it’s unfortunate to see this attitude arise now.
This isn’t the only case where he’s seemingly shifted his stance. He begrudged the Overlords for their brutality, but is now on the path of doing exactly what they were willing to do. It’s totally possible that Kaito’s about-face is a red-herring, and this will all be resolved in the next episode, but I don’t think it makes the dissonance any less alarming.
This episode, while being ultimately enjoyable and thrilling, shines a light on some of Gaim’s most problematic elements. Despite having a female Rider, its treatment of its female characters has fallen below even the standard set by the misogynistic tokusatsu genre. In its quest for ambiguity, Gaim’s characters often act in ways that are incredibly difficult to understand.

And it doesn’t know what to do with its huge cast. Pierre’s immediate assessment of Kaito’s treachery is one of the high points of the episode, a callback to a rich history that we know the character has, but is rarely utilized in the narrative. Of course, he’s quickly removed from the action, his belt destroyed. Zack’s secret agent routine is at least interesting, but would have felt more organic had he maintained a steady role in the plot up until now. (Jounouchi is still completely irrelevant.)

If there’s any credit to be given, it’s to Gaku Sano, who does a pitch-perfect job at portraying Kouta’s drowning in a veritable tidal wave of betrayal. It’s worth noting that he’s not yet recovered from being impaled by his former best friend’s hellspear and is now facing the fact that someone he thought was his ally is trying to destroy the world. Meanwhile, Mai has transcended to another plane of existence and is trapped in spacetime’s equivalent of a dumpster. All he has left are his sister and a band of relatively useless acquaintances.
While Kouta and Kaito’s showdown at the tail-end of the episode is ultimately satisfying, the episode as a whole falls short. After a string of incredible episodes, this is immensely disappointing. How Gaim handles the mess it’s set up for itself in the next episode will be a defining moment in its legacy.
* * *
Other stuff:
Sorry for the late review. I’ve been ill for the past week.
Chucky’s actress is really, really terrible. I guess she’s supposed to be wincing, but she looks positively overjoyed to find Kouta’s lifeless body.
Lord Baron’s theme music is awesome, and Kaito getting up from the smoking ground as it plays is definitely the coolest moment of the episode.
I love that in the clip they reuse from Episode 1, Kouta and Kaito each have huge armies with them, and then in the new footage it’s just them fighting in a barren wasteland.
I realized how acclimated I’ve become to the motif of Gaim when I didn’t even bat an eyelash at giant bananas bursting forth from the earth.
The fight between Kouta and Kaito is really good, though I think they overused the motion-blur effect that they seemingly discovered in Episode 37.
"Sorry. He got away." HE’S INJURED AND HE RAN LIKE TWENTY FEET AWAY COME ON
Kaito’s new hair is stupid. Kouta’s hair is lovely.
Next on Kamen Rider Gaim: Oh, it’s already out.

Kamen Rider Gaim – Episode 44 Review

This is a really weird episode. Throughout its entirety, there’s a subtle feeling that something is off. And I don’t just mean that the world of Gaim is disintegrating into chaos once again – it is – but that the episode itself seems to come from a parallel universe, with things being just slightly distorted from the reality that, over the past 44 episodes, we’ve been taught to expect.

Perhaps this episode dropped into our hands from a Crack that connects to the world of possibilities, which Mai now finds herself trapped in. After having spent a bit too much time meandering about the flow of time, she finds herself in the world that we are given a glimpse of in the first episode; a potential outcome that did not come to pass.

I cannot fathom why, at this point, they felt the need to give such a convoluted explanation to that; I think most viewers had decided to write it off as a metaphor for the road that the series would take. So while I appreciate the effort to make everything come together, I would have to say that it’s fundamentally misguided, and serves to cheapen the episode.

But more problematic than any of this is that Mai cannot return to her own world until the “future is a bit clearer,” which, in this case, means that a winner for the fruit be decided. This decision ultimately robs Mai of the one bit of agency she had remaining – the ability to choose who will receive the golden fruit – and hands it to the men of the story, to settle it based on their strength alone, rather than their merits. The gymnastics required to explain this twist of fate make it clear that the entire plot event serves to keep Mai out of things while the men settle the score.

Meanwhile, Mitsuzane – decidedly out of the running for the quest for the golden fruit – laments Mai’s fate, saying that if she’s no longer human, she may as well be dead. There’s something really unsettling about Mitsuzane essentially saying if he cannot have Mai in the flesh, as a person, then he no longer cares about her existence. Just as the kid makes you start caring about him, you kind of wish he was dead again.

Sadly, Mai is not the only female character getting the short end of the stick. Yoko’s interest in Kaito has reached new, barely comprehensible levels of obsession. She reiterates that she wants to raise the King to the throne, but what could she possibly have to offer Kaito that would help him achieve his ends? But just before that, she simply says, “I want the King.” This is probably more telling; it’s impossible to not read sexual tension into this scene, and it’s unfortunate that we’ve lost yet another female character to the annals of Supporting the Men. There’s still some hope that Yoko is being more pragmatic than doting, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Credit where credit is due, though: Kaito, at least, appears to be suspicious of Yoko’s desires. I waffle back and forth on how I feel about Kaito’s turn to villainy; on one hand, it’s completely in line with the character, but it also flies in the face of the undeniably sympathetic way he’s been portrayed over the past ten episodes. But what is surprising is the way he talks about Mai; how he will “claim her”, and that “the world can burn if it brings me Mai,” are creepily similar to the language that Mitsuzane uses to speak of her. Whatever happened to Kaito chastising Mitsuzane for trying to “protect” her?

“She’s strong! She doesn’t need you to save her!” is what Kaito said to Mitsuzane in episode 41. It’s likely that rescuing Mai just happens to align with his goal of claiming the fruit and building a new world where he can belong, but it’s still an uncomfortable contradiction of his previous stance. Kaito was always one of the few characters who recognized Mai’s agency even when he was being an asshole to her; it’s unfortunate to see this attitude arise now.

This isn’t the only case where he’s seemingly shifted his stance. He begrudged the Overlords for their brutality, but is now on the path of doing exactly what they were willing to do. It’s totally possible that Kaito’s about-face is a red-herring, and this will all be resolved in the next episode, but I don’t think it makes the dissonance any less alarming.

This episode, while being ultimately enjoyable and thrilling, shines a light on some of Gaim’s most problematic elements. Despite having a female Rider, its treatment of its female characters has fallen below even the standard set by the misogynistic tokusatsu genre. In its quest for ambiguity, Gaim’s characters often act in ways that are incredibly difficult to understand.

And it doesn’t know what to do with its huge cast. Pierre’s immediate assessment of Kaito’s treachery is one of the high points of the episode, a callback to a rich history that we know the character has, but is rarely utilized in the narrative. Of course, he’s quickly removed from the action, his belt destroyed. Zack’s secret agent routine is at least interesting, but would have felt more organic had he maintained a steady role in the plot up until now. (Jounouchi is still completely irrelevant.)

If there’s any credit to be given, it’s to Gaku Sano, who does a pitch-perfect job at portraying Kouta’s drowning in a veritable tidal wave of betrayal. It’s worth noting that he’s not yet recovered from being impaled by his former best friend’s hellspear and is now facing the fact that someone he thought was his ally is trying to destroy the world. Meanwhile, Mai has transcended to another plane of existence and is trapped in spacetime’s equivalent of a dumpster. All he has left are his sister and a band of relatively useless acquaintances.

While Kouta and Kaito’s showdown at the tail-end of the episode is ultimately satisfying, the episode as a whole falls short. After a string of incredible episodes, this is immensely disappointing. How Gaim handles the mess it’s set up for itself in the next episode will be a defining moment in its legacy.

* * *

Other stuff:

  • Sorry for the late review. I’ve been ill for the past week.
  • Chucky’s actress is really, really terrible. I guess she’s supposed to be wincing, but she looks positively overjoyed to find Kouta’s lifeless body.
  • Lord Baron’s theme music is awesome, and Kaito getting up from the smoking ground as it plays is definitely the coolest moment of the episode.
  • I love that in the clip they reuse from Episode 1, Kouta and Kaito each have huge armies with them, and then in the new footage it’s just them fighting in a barren wasteland.
  • I realized how acclimated I’ve become to the motif of Gaim when I didn’t even bat an eyelash at giant bananas bursting forth from the earth.
  • The fight between Kouta and Kaito is really good, though I think they overused the motion-blur effect that they seemingly discovered in Episode 37.
  • "Sorry. He got away." HE’S INJURED AND HE RAN LIKE TWENTY FEET AWAY COME ON
  • Kaito’s new hair is stupid. Kouta’s hair is lovely.
  • Next on Kamen Rider Gaim: Oh, it’s already out.
kajimotomiya
kajimotomiya:

magicalgirlfanproblems:

Madoka fans who view all crit of the show as people “missing the point”.

Funny, I came across an article by kamenradar calling out someone for the same thing, except with Kamen Rider Gaim, who is, unsurprisingly, written by the same writer as Madoka.
And reading it was all 2 liters of glorious.
God bless you, kamenradar. God bless you, Urobuchi.

Haha! I’ve tried to be even-handed in my critique of Gaim, to be fair. It has problems. We should totally talk about those problems. I’m sure Madoka has problems too, though I’ve never tried to analyze it in any serious context. And I’m not against critiquing Urobuchi in general, either (I didn’t really like Psycho-Pass.)
So while I’m glad you liked my piece – really! – I don’t want it to seem like I think Gaim is perfect, or that it shouldn’t be critiqued. There are a handful of people out there who both dislike Gaim and critique it quite well, but they’re few and far between. Mostly it’s just vitriol.

kajimotomiya:

magicalgirlfanproblems:

Madoka fans who view all crit of the show as people “missing the point”.

Funny, I came across an article by kamenradar calling out someone for the same thing, except with Kamen Rider Gaim, who is, unsurprisingly, written by the same writer as Madoka.

And reading it was all 2 liters of glorious.

God bless you, kamenradar. God bless you, Urobuchi.

Haha! I’ve tried to be even-handed in my critique of Gaim, to be fair. It has problems. We should totally talk about those problems. I’m sure Madoka has problems too, though I’ve never tried to analyze it in any serious context. And I’m not against critiquing Urobuchi in general, either (I didn’t really like Psycho-Pass.)

So while I’m glad you liked my piece – really! – I don’t want it to seem like I think Gaim is perfect, or that it shouldn’t be critiqued. There are a handful of people out there who both dislike Gaim and critique it quite well, but they’re few and far between. Mostly it’s just vitriol.

Welcome to all my new followers.

Really glad to have you here. If you’re looking for some more articles about Gaim to read, may I suggest:

  • Reviews! I’ve been reviewing Gaim weekly since Episode 34. (My favourite reviews are the ones I’ve written for 36, 41, and 43.)
  • The Beat Riders are a weird part of Gaim, right? I wrote a piece explaining how the dancing aspect of the show is crucial in juxtaposing innocence and adulthood, and the search for identity. The Beat Riders are important, even though they can’t dance.
  • Will Mai save Kaito’s life? I’m not 100% sure, but it is the thesis of my piece on the interwoven elements of Kaito and Mai’s narratives, which is titled, somewhat too assuredly, Mai Will Save Kaito’s Life.
  • Not written by me, but The Glorio Blog has been reviewing Gaim weekly since episode 1. I don’t always agree, but it’s always fascinating analysis.

If any of you have thoughts, questions, or ideas you’d like to see explored here, I’d really love to hear from you.

Gaim and Madoka aren’t the same show.

OK, we knew this would happen, inevitably. Someone would come along and say that Kamen Rider Gaim and Puella Magi Madoka Magica are literally the same show, and provide some really weak evidence to make that case.

So, thank you, scuttlemouse, for getting it out of the way.

I am just saying that its just funny how still people are denying the obvious, the fact. Facts are facts. Hase was Mami-san, spoken from the director’s mouth.

We’re off to a great start. Apparently you can get into college without even knowing what constitutes a fact.

Firstly, no one should be surprised that Urobuchi (who is a screenwriter, not a director) would compare his writing on Gaim to his writing on Madoka – his most popular work. It should, again, be no surprise that Urobuchi would revisit similar themes across his works.

But hey, that’s pretty damning, right? Hase is literally Mami, according to Urobuchi. Facts are facts.

Except when they’re, uh, not. The actor of Ryoji Hase, Atsushi Shiramata, quoted Urobuchi as saying:

Hase-chan is in the same position as Mami-san from MadoMagi, because they both create the turning point of the story.

Hase and Mami have absolutely nothing in common as characters, other than their deaths dictating a turning point in the story, and a tonal shift.

Certainly, this sudden tonal shift was popularized by Madoka, but in Gaim it isn’t the same at all. While it’s the most dramatic part of the story at that point, it’s not a bait-and-switch in the way Madoka was. By the time Hase dies, we already know about Yggdrasil’s cover-up, Takatora has engaged several of the kids in battle, and we’ve discovered that eating the fruit of Helheim will turn you into a monster. We even find out, simultaneously, that Gaim killed Yuuya as an Inves.

Hase’s death represents a turning point in Gaim’s narrative, and the tone becomes somewhat more severe; in that sense, there are similarities between Hase and Mami. But to say that they’re the “same” is off-base.

God, we’re only at the first sentence.

If people would just admit that Gaim is Madoka in live action form and accept it then that would be great because just brushing it off and evading the truth is ignorant.

Yeah, that’s ignorant.

If people say “who cares?” well I do and so does half of the damn fandom because Kamen Rider Gaim should not be anything close to an Anime that ends in tragedy.

Madoka doesn’t have a tragic ending; I’d say the ending is bittersweet, at best. Madoka herself manages to go through time and retroactively prevent every Magical Girl from turning into a Witch, preventing the complete despair of thousands – if not millions – of young girls. She facilitates the creation of a universe where Kyubey can continue to harvest energy to prevent the heat death of the universe (important to remember that Kyubey’s goal is ultimately good) without transforming Magical Girls into Witches. Of course, there are still sad elements; Magical Girls who exhaust their power ultimately vanish from this world, presumably joining Madoka in floating around in the cosmos. And Homura doesn’t get what she wants, which is Madoka herself.

(All of this ignores the existence of Rebellion, as all good Madoka fans should.)

By the way, lots of Kamen Rider series have tragic or bittersweet endings. OOO, Faiz and Blade come to mind. And we don’t even know how Gaim will end yet. I get that you’re not drawing parallels between the endings of each show, but saying that one show that has a sad ending should have nothing in common with Kamen Rider, ever.

Which, I mean, yeah, you’re totally entitled to think that. That’s weird, though.

Kamen Rider’s theme is about masked heroes overcoming the odds and doing the right thing. Madoka is about doing the wrong thing, and it being set in stone no matter what.

Did you … watch Madoka? I don’t think anyone would accuse Homura of doing the wrong thing. The fates of Madoka’s cast aren’t necessarily written in stone; it’s simply that they are part of a system that makes the same endings incredibly likely. We actually do see that fate changes quite a bit throughout the timelines that Homura visits. If your definition of fate is death though, then yeah, all of our fates are written in stone.

Kamen Rider is about masked heroes overcoming the odds, that’s true. But Riders make the wrong decisions all the time; anti-hero Riders are a staple of the franchise going back to Shadow Moon in Black (update: kipshades says this dates back to even the original series). Even the main characters frequently make bad decisions. It’s worth remembering that one of the primary conceits of Kamen Rider is that the protagonists are using the powers of evil to fight evil; this concept requires moral ambiguity from time-to-time.

You’ve actually missed the opportunity to identify one of the key thematic similarities of both Gaim and Madoka: that well-intentioned decisions often bring unintended consequences.

Like, they only get as much character development as is decided by what their fates will be. Isn’t that sad? …

… Its been done and live action and anime don’t mix well because the pacing is off. The character development is not a steady, or balanced, so we see characters fade into the darkness. Then die. Take into consideration what is happening.

I’m mixing sentences from multiple paragraphs, here, but it’s at least worth mentioning that yes, Urobuchi does have problems with character pacing and development and that, yes, his characters exist entirely in-service to the story. This is something that’s well documented, and I think people are justified in being annoyed by it. Gaim has problems with a few characters in particular.

But I think calling GaimMadoka rip-off because the writing in it retains the writing tendencies – and arguably, deficiencies – of its screenwriter is shaky logic. That’s like saying every Michael Bay movie is the same movie because they all have explosions. You stumbled into a sound argument, and then immediately left it for dead.

Much like Takatora huehuehuehuehue

Doesn’t anyone have a problem with the fact that we didn’t sign up for another season of Madoka Magica and Kamen Rider is not supposed to be equivalent to a Dark Magical Girl anime? No one has a problem yet they wonder why its so different and “original”. It “revolutionizes” the Kamen rider series and that is a joke. 

I don’t think anyone has ever made the argument that that Gaim is an incredibly original show – competently plotted and paced, yes, but largely composed of various tropes like most mainstream media and the genres of anime and tokusatsu in particular.

That said, Urobuchi does have a tendency to turn tropes on their head or corrupt them into something new, and he continues that tradition in Gaim (again, a writer maintaining his core tendencies from project to project is not ripping his own projects off). Gaim doesn’t revolutionize Kamen Rider, but inarguably, it has revitalized the franchise for many of us. In the wake of Fourze and Wizard, it feels revolutionary. It takes risks and treads a path that’s new for the franchise, which is one of the reasons it’s both so beloved and reviled.

Take into consideration what is happening. Do you want kids, little kids ((who is the majority fanbase to kamen rider, not us)) watching that?

Japanese kids watch Attack on Titan. They’ll fucking manage.

Madoka was gonna air in America on WBZ kids next to Pokemon like last year and they fucking changed their mind because it was “too dark” for the general audience. They couldn’t do it. 

This isn’t true. And if it were (it’s not), it would be entirely the fault of whoever came up with that idea (no one did), because Madoka isn’t a children’s show (which is why nobody ever wanted to air it on WBZ Kids).

Madoka is a much darker show than Gaim. Like, considerably darker. That said, I wouldn’t consider either show totally out-of-bounds for kids, except that Madoka would probably be really confusing for a younger audience. Gaim isn’t confusing, and characters dying doesn’t necessarily make it inappropriate for children. Lest we forget that one of the best childrens’ series of all time, Avatar: The Last Airbender, featured genocide as a major plot point. A father burned his son’s face over pretty much nothing. There was a huge political conspiracy to convince one of the largest cities in the world that there was no war. People died with some regularity, much like they do in life.

I hate using the word dark to discuss children’s television; it’s both a reductionist way of criticizing a show, and a lame attempt by adult viewers to justify their juvenile viewing habits. What do we mean when we say dark?

Is it violent? Yes, like all Kamen Rider is. The franchise necessitates solving problems through violence.

Is it tragic? Yes, like much of Kamen Rider is.

Is it ambiguous? Often. This is nothing new for Kamen Rider, either. In Kiva, Wataru is forced to kill monsters who are trying their hardest to not be bad.

So the main problem I have is that it is not a show meant for the general audience of Kamen Rider to watch. 

Sorry, but you’re not the morality police and plenty of children in Japan are watching and enjoying Gaim. You don’t seriously think that the record toy sales are coming only from adult collectors, do you?

Our age group is not the main ones who watch this. So our opinions/views/ how the show influences us will be significantly different from the kids that watch and wonder why all their “heroes” are suffering and dying. BUT STILL NO ONE CARES?

Man, everyone suffers in Kamen Rider. You can’t have much conflict without some kind of suffering. That said, how many heroes have died in Gaim? Even if I give you Hase – not really a hero, but whatever – the only other person I can think of is Takatora, who died fighting a monster that he created. Other than that, we have Ryouma and Sid – definitely not heroes, but humans – and Roshuo, who was kinda ambiguous, and a host of monsters like Redue and Demushu. Mai has like, transcended to another form of existence (LOL WHOA SHE’S TOTALLY MADOKA). Maybe we’ll see more deaths by the end of the series, but Gaim having slightly more death than a typical Kamen Rider series doesn’t strike me as worth denigrating it for.

Do you think these kids are stupid? Do you think that they cannot fathom that sometimes, good people die in the service of doing good? (See: Jet from ATLA). The Japanese have different standards for children’s television, and death is much less taboo. Seriously, try watching Naruto sometime. Like half the cast is dead.

Well they should because the whole point of Kamen Rider is null in void It may not matter to you but it does to the real main audience watching this show..but no Urobuchi can have his second rise to fame with his second adaption of Madoka and everyone can keep denying that Gaim is Madoka is premise, plot, characterization, theme, and the overall concept down to the music.

Urobuchi does not need Gaim's help with his career. I understand that Madoka and Gaim are the only works of his that most Gaim-haters acknowledge the existence of, but he’s written a host of popular shows and doesn’t seem to be having trouble finding new work. Gaim is his eighth television series in seven years.

What commonalities do Gaim and Madoka have other than being nebulously “dark”? You’ve failed to point out any of them, whereas I’ve at least managed to highlight a few. Here’s a few more:

  • There’s a higher power urging those beneath him on, telling half-truths to further his own ends
  • There is some loopy time travel stuff
  • The heroes’ powers come with undesirable consequences
  • Aliens
  • "This world isn’t worth saving."

Douglas Murphy also has a few more, and shockingly shows that Gaim is just a rehash of Yu-Gi-Oh Arc V!

The comparison of Sagara to Kyubey is probably the most obvious one, but they actually play totally different roles. Sagara has nothing to gain by the Riders using their powers; in that sense, Yggdrasil has more in common with Kyubey than Sagara.

Kyubey was an otherworldy force looking to harness life energy in order to prevent the universe from dying. He harnessed these energies by granting superpowers to the girls.

Sagara, meanwhile, is actually an invasive alien species that seeks to rewrite entire worlds for the sake of enabling evolution – and not social evolution, in the sense that Kyubey did, but actual for-real evolution. There is no real purpose to this process. He grants power, but only to one, and only at the tail-end of the process.

Both Kyubey and Sagara tell half-truths to further their goals.

Nobody claims that Gaim and Madoka have nothing in common. But why shouldn’t they have commonalities? Why shouldn’t a writer revisit the same ideas in different ways, in different works, in completely different mediums aimed at completely different audiences? This doesn’t make one a rehash or repeat of the other. It’s a writer doing what a writer does.

As for the music, Urobuchi’s not a composer, and the songs you referenced sound nothing alike.

This isn’t my opinion. This is fact. There is proof and by shrugging it off, is just a matter of not caring that Urobuchi is a one-trick pony that made the saddest Kamen Rider series based off one of his most popular successes. If you don’t care fine, but why can’t you accept it?

Ridiculous. 

There are no facts here. Just the lashing-out of someone who’s upset that Gaim isn’t the Kamen Rider that they love. That’s fine. I had to deal with Fourze and Wizard back-to-back, both of which I disliked. 

I’ve even seen complaints that Gaim fans are elitists. Of course, these complaints are generally lodged by tokusatsu elitists themselves, who can’t accept that some filthy weebs have infiltrated the secret ore sanjou-tachi clan. 

Gaim has opened up the genre to people who never would have discovered it otherwise, including some of my closest friends. Some of these people will never watch another show, or they will watch more but not really get into it. Others still will go on to watch other Kamen Rider series and love them for their own merits. I got into Kamen Rider because of Gackt, of all fucking things. Does that make me a less legitimate fan? To which council should I submit my application for true fanhood?

At any rate, there’s less than a month left of Gaimadoka, and then we get Drive, which will presumably contain all of the goofiness that your heart can contain. And being a detective-themed Kamen Rider series written by Riku Sanjo, it’s sure to be totally fresh and original!

Wait, seriously?

ohnoyousquidnt

ohnoyousquidnt:

There were definitely people who believed Mai and Alternate Mai were two separate entities, with separate theories going aroung, such as Alternate Mai being the ghost of the overlord queen, or the will of the forest, or even just Mai’s parallel from helheim (like other characters had parallel overlords).

The reason Mai addressed Alt-Mai with a “Me?” is because they look exactly alike, so she was startled to see someone who looked just like her.

Given the reveal of their relationship, it’s a no-brainer why they look the same, but saying that no one didn’t see it coming is false

If there are honestly people who thought that Alternate Mai looking like Mai was going to amount to being a complete coincidence, I don’t know what to say to them.

magentagalaxica

magentagalaxica:

kamenradar:

Kamen Rider Gaim – Episode 43 Review

This post is on the whole excellent, but something that personally gets me is:

  • Next week on Kamen Rider Gaim: Take a shot every time someone says the word “resolve.”

Because jesus christ translating this show is a fuck with this. It’s such a fucking buzzword that you’re basically forced to translate kakugo the same way every time, and the few times we’ve not done that are just because the script would read in the most stupid goddamn fucking way if we used it. Kouta facing down Mitsuzane at the end of 42 being the most blatant example - he uses it twice in two lines in a way that’d sound abhorrently unnatural if we kept it in English

It’s still bad, mind you, but balancing the “sounds really bad” and “the script clearly wants this word in there constantly” aspects of it is an interesting dilemma, I feel.

I’d always wondered if the word resolve was being used that much in the script or if it was Aesir picking up on the thematic importance of resolve in Gaim – seems like it was the former, and then some. I remember seeing “mettle” a few times earlier in the show, too; was this another translation for “kakugo”?

(Also, I’m really flattered you liked my review.)

Kamen Rider Gaim – Episode 43 Review
We typically do not use justice as a means of rehabilitating a criminal, in order to promise a better world both for them and for the society in which they reside. We use it to inflict punishment, judged as proportional to the crime, and to ineffectually discourage others from following in their stead.
We apply justice not pragmatically, but emotionally and irrationally. We often apply “an eye for an eye,” because hey, it only seems fair. Justice is barbaric, because we are barbarians.
I don’t want justice for Mitsuzane. I’m over it. And frankly, seeing calls for his death from fans is starting to make me seriously uncomfortable, particularly since we’ve seen just how mentally unwell he is in the past few episodes.
Mitsuzane has done innumerable horrible things, including being willing to assist in the eradication of the entire human species – but without Redue, there’s no threat of him facilitating that any longer. When he enters battle with Kouta, armed with a kamikaze weapon and the knowledge of Mai’s dire circumstances, he is truly there as a protector, albeit a broken one. The facade of righteousness has faded away, along with the desire for power and control.

Kouta, who unlike us, has only seen glimpses of Mitsuzane’s descent, can plainly see the desperation in his death wish. And he does what he’s been attempting to do this entire time: save Mitsuzane.
It doesn’t matter what Mitsuzane has done in the past, only what he will do on the long road ahead. Mitsuzane has become so detached from reality that he even tries to deny that he and Kouta were ever friends; let alone the immense respect that he had for Kouta.
Can Mitsuzane step out of the shadow of the man who turned them against each other in the first place? As he leaves Kouta’s lifeless body, he prescribes his own conditions for accepting Kouta-san’s – and crucially, not Kazuraba Kouta’s – forgiveness: saving Mai.
Those hopes are dashed almost immediately, as in his absence, Ryouma ripped out Mai’s still-beating heart, which had fused with the Golden Fruit, and left her corpse for Mitsuzane to find on his return. (To be fair, he wasn’t expecting Mitsuzane to return at all – he could never predict Kouta’s selfless act.) And as we see Ryouma strangling the life from Mitsuzane, the juxtaposition could not be laid more bare: an adult, who coolly murdered an innocent girl just hours before, relishing in the pain of others; and a child, who has repeatedly made the wrong choices, who has stared into the abyss of the apocalypse and has been used by a pawn by almost everyone in his life.

Ryouma’s true villainous nature finally surfaces in this episode. Tsunenori plays the mad scientist with the rhythm and energy we’ve come to expect from him, but the more sinister lines are delivered with a ferocity we had not seen surface in the character. I think Ryouma will be remembered as one of the most frustrating aspects of Gaim; his character was built up a lot, only to vanish during one of the show’s most climactic moments, then return later and seem to be plotting something that never goes anywhere, and finally to hand Mitsuzane a new power that he loses in roughly ten minutes. The scenes we get with him are always a fun ride, but they are few and far between, and often lacking in impact. To see him earn his evil stripes by murdering Mai and pummelling Mitsuzane feels like it was a long time coming.
But Mai is “dead” only in the most technical sense, as she has already broken free from her mortal coil, becoming the Golden Fruit incarnate. Sagara tells her that Kaito, Mitsuzane, and Kouta are all fighting to claim her and the Golden Fruit, which is only kind of true; neither Kaito or Kouta know that she has it, and Kouta isn’t so much interested in the fruit as he is in the future of humanity. Mitsuzane doesn’t care about the fruit at all; he only wants to protect Mai from what he perceives as a threat. As always, Sagara is speaking in half-truths.

Being assured that accepting the power of the Golden Fruit will give her the power to do anything, Mai accepts it – not that she really had a choice, since her soul had already become one with it – and immediately attempts to alter time in the hopes of changing this outcome. This is one of the craziest scenes in the series, and is as bewildering as time paradoxes typically are. Of course, it’s an ultimately futile effort; the point that we are already at in the show has taken Mai’s meddling into account. She’s unable to communicate clearly, offering vague-at-best warnings to her friends. Ultimately, she ends up helping Sagara, as we finally see the conclusion of their conversation in episode 23: Mai’s intervention tells Sagara exactly where to look. As spoken in that episode,

Mai: “Why did you drive Kouta Kazuraba back into battle?”
Sagara: “Because you’re so obsessed with the boy, Woman of the Beginning.”

And as Kaito arrives to face Ryouma and serve justice for Mai’s murder, yet another line from episode 23 becomes relevant again. As Sagara said,

“[Kaito]’s given up everything in his quest for power. There’s only two ways an idiot like him can finish, though: either he’ll fall in disgrace, or he’ll get his hands on some really dangerous power.”

As it turns out, this was less of an either-or proposition and more of a prediction of a sequence of events. After having been utterly disgraced in his battle against Roshuo, Kaito finds his thirst for power renewed.

It seems clear now more than ever that, in addition to loneliness, Kaito’s obsession with strength is rooted in self-loathing – he even says that his life “isn’t worth much.” Despite believing strength is the only virtue that matters, he has never actually been that powerful. Kaito has consistently lost almost every major fight he’s been in, and much like Mitsuzane, has achieved little of note. After confessing that he’s known the pain of being weak ever since he was a child, we can conclude that he believes strength, of all things, will make him whole.
But he can think this only because he has never actually experienced strength as he defines it. This is also what allows him to bluster about only the strong deserving to survive, particularly in the previous episode, and earlier in the series when he agreed to join Yggdrasil. He is desperate to prove that he himself deserves to live in this world.
But what Kaito lacks has never been strength, but the power to exercise that strength – the strength of will. With the Genesis Driver he’d been using to stave off Helheim’s infection now destroyed, he is likely mere moments from death. The two people he respected most in this world, including his most powerful rival, are dead. Unable to grasp the Golden Fruit, he bites into another forbidden fruit – that of Helheim itself – and at last gains the power to exercise his strength. The power of Kouta’s he envied so much. The power of an Overlord.

With this power, justice is served to Ryouma, who could not tolerate the existence of a being that defied his knowledge. But justice cannot undo the crimes already committed. Mitsuzane is still under Mai’s now lifeless body; likewise, delivering “justice” to Mitsuzane would not bring back Takatora nor Kouta. At the end of all of this, I am left wondering about Mitsuzane more than everyone.
It’s a testament to just how superlative Mitsuzane’s character arc has been that despite everything that happens to everyone else in this episode, I can’t stop thinking about his fate. Having lost everything worth protecting, and having no one left to take revenge on for Mai’s death – other than himself – it’s entirely unpredictable what Mitsuzane will do next. And against the godlike powers of Kaito and Kouta, with both his Hell Fruit Lock Seed and Genesis Driver destroyed, it’s impossible to imagine what he can do.
* * *
Other stuff:
I know I wrote in this review that Kouta is dead, but come on, let’s be real. He’s coming back. From the dead. Having absolved the sinner of his sins. Hm.
I’m not crazy about Lord Baron’s design, particularly the face, which is reminiscent of a gorilla.
One thing I actually guessed correctly: Mai’s close-up scene with Kouta in 38 was a death flag, as it signals the last time they ever saw each other, her new form notwithstanding. Not that it was a big surprise.
Very convenient that Mitsuzane and Kouta had their showdown in an abandoned duvet factory. Some more questionable direction choices this week.
I’ve been interchangeably using Fruit of Knowledge, Golden Fruit and Forbidden Fruit because the show won’t settle on a damn term.
Very sad that we’ve only seen a handful of short fights from Duke, usually with him completely overwhelming his opponents. His fighting style was really cool, and I feel like he never got his moment to shine as a combatant.
Some serious anime logic this week, with Mai not being able to speak clearly and Kaito having built a resistance to Helheim’s toxin, allowing him to become an Overlord. Of course, the token efforts at explanation are appreciated.
No phantom Takatora this week, which is almost definitely for the best; it would’ve lessened the feeling of isolation surrounding Mitsuzane. I had a feeling last week that when he told Takatora to shut up, it was him finally abandoning his self-effacing alter-ego; we’ll see if that holds out.
Another interesting thing: phantom Takatora’s prediction that Mai would end up becoming an obstacle that needed to be eliminated never really came true. Consequently, we can read that scene not as foreshadowing, but as Mitsuzane beginning to realize – however subconsciously – how far off the deep end he has gone, and how large his capacity for violence and betrayal is.
There are like three episodes worth of climaxes in this episode. Considering Kamen Rider has a bad habit of completely bungling the home stretch of each series, I’m thoroughly impressed with how well-paced and how comprehensible this is shaping up to be.
Next week on Kamen Rider Gaim: Take a shot every time someone says the word “resolve.”

Kamen Rider Gaim – Episode 43 Review

We typically do not use justice as a means of rehabilitating a criminal, in order to promise a better world both for them and for the society in which they reside. We use it to inflict punishment, judged as proportional to the crime, and to ineffectually discourage others from following in their stead.

We apply justice not pragmatically, but emotionally and irrationally. We often apply “an eye for an eye,” because hey, it only seems fair. Justice is barbaric, because we are barbarians.

I don’t want justice for Mitsuzane. I’m over it. And frankly, seeing calls for his death from fans is starting to make me seriously uncomfortable, particularly since we’ve seen just how mentally unwell he is in the past few episodes.

Mitsuzane has done innumerable horrible things, including being willing to assist in the eradication of the entire human species – but without Redue, there’s no threat of him facilitating that any longer. When he enters battle with Kouta, armed with a kamikaze weapon and the knowledge of Mai’s dire circumstances, he is truly there as a protector, albeit a broken one. The facade of righteousness has faded away, along with the desire for power and control.

Kouta, who unlike us, has only seen glimpses of Mitsuzane’s descent, can plainly see the desperation in his death wish. And he does what he’s been attempting to do this entire time: save Mitsuzane.

It doesn’t matter what Mitsuzane has done in the past, only what he will do on the long road ahead. Mitsuzane has become so detached from reality that he even tries to deny that he and Kouta were ever friends; let alone the immense respect that he had for Kouta.

Can Mitsuzane step out of the shadow of the man who turned them against each other in the first place? As he leaves Kouta’s lifeless body, he prescribes his own conditions for accepting Kouta-san’s – and crucially, not Kazuraba Kouta’s – forgiveness: saving Mai.

Those hopes are dashed almost immediately, as in his absence, Ryouma ripped out Mai’s still-beating heart, which had fused with the Golden Fruit, and left her corpse for Mitsuzane to find on his return. (To be fair, he wasn’t expecting Mitsuzane to return at all – he could never predict Kouta’s selfless act.) And as we see Ryouma strangling the life from Mitsuzane, the juxtaposition could not be laid more bare: an adult, who coolly murdered an innocent girl just hours before, relishing in the pain of others; and a child, who has repeatedly made the wrong choices, who has stared into the abyss of the apocalypse and has been used by a pawn by almost everyone in his life.

Ryouma’s true villainous nature finally surfaces in this episode. Tsunenori plays the mad scientist with the rhythm and energy we’ve come to expect from him, but the more sinister lines are delivered with a ferocity we had not seen surface in the character. I think Ryouma will be remembered as one of the most frustrating aspects of Gaim; his character was built up a lot, only to vanish during one of the show’s most climactic moments, then return later and seem to be plotting something that never goes anywhere, and finally to hand Mitsuzane a new power that he loses in roughly ten minutes. The scenes we get with him are always a fun ride, but they are few and far between, and often lacking in impact. To see him earn his evil stripes by murdering Mai and pummelling Mitsuzane feels like it was a long time coming.

But Mai is “dead” only in the most technical sense, as she has already broken free from her mortal coil, becoming the Golden Fruit incarnate. Sagara tells her that Kaito, Mitsuzane, and Kouta are all fighting to claim her and the Golden Fruit, which is only kind of true; neither Kaito or Kouta know that she has it, and Kouta isn’t so much interested in the fruit as he is in the future of humanity. Mitsuzane doesn’t care about the fruit at all; he only wants to protect Mai from what he perceives as a threat. As always, Sagara is speaking in half-truths.

Being assured that accepting the power of the Golden Fruit will give her the power to do anything, Mai accepts it – not that she really had a choice, since her soul had already become one with it – and immediately attempts to alter time in the hopes of changing this outcome. This is one of the craziest scenes in the series, and is as bewildering as time paradoxes typically are. Of course, it’s an ultimately futile effort; the point that we are already at in the show has taken Mai’s meddling into account. She’s unable to communicate clearly, offering vague-at-best warnings to her friends. Ultimately, she ends up helping Sagara, as we finally see the conclusion of their conversation in episode 23: Mai’s intervention tells Sagara exactly where to look. As spoken in that episode,

Mai: “Why did you drive Kouta Kazuraba back into battle?”

Sagara: “Because you’re so obsessed with the boy, Woman of the Beginning.”

And as Kaito arrives to face Ryouma and serve justice for Mai’s murder, yet another line from episode 23 becomes relevant again. As Sagara said,

“[Kaito]’s given up everything in his quest for power. There’s only two ways an idiot like him can finish, though: either he’ll fall in disgrace, or he’ll get his hands on some really dangerous power.”

As it turns out, this was less of an either-or proposition and more of a prediction of a sequence of events. After having been utterly disgraced in his battle against Roshuo, Kaito finds his thirst for power renewed.

It seems clear now more than ever that, in addition to loneliness, Kaito’s obsession with strength is rooted in self-loathing – he even says that his life “isn’t worth much.” Despite believing strength is the only virtue that matters, he has never actually been that powerful. Kaito has consistently lost almost every major fight he’s been in, and much like Mitsuzane, has achieved little of note. After confessing that he’s known the pain of being weak ever since he was a child, we can conclude that he believes strength, of all things, will make him whole.

But he can think this only because he has never actually experienced strength as he defines it. This is also what allows him to bluster about only the strong deserving to survive, particularly in the previous episode, and earlier in the series when he agreed to join Yggdrasil. He is desperate to prove that he himself deserves to live in this world.

But what Kaito lacks has never been strength, but the power to exercise that strength – the strength of will. With the Genesis Driver he’d been using to stave off Helheim’s infection now destroyed, he is likely mere moments from death. The two people he respected most in this world, including his most powerful rival, are dead. Unable to grasp the Golden Fruit, he bites into another forbidden fruit – that of Helheim itself – and at last gains the power to exercise his strength. The power of Kouta’s he envied so much. The power of an Overlord.

With this power, justice is served to Ryouma, who could not tolerate the existence of a being that defied his knowledge. But justice cannot undo the crimes already committed. Mitsuzane is still under Mai’s now lifeless body; likewise, delivering “justice” to Mitsuzane would not bring back Takatora nor Kouta. At the end of all of this, I am left wondering about Mitsuzane more than everyone.

It’s a testament to just how superlative Mitsuzane’s character arc has been that despite everything that happens to everyone else in this episode, I can’t stop thinking about his fate. Having lost everything worth protecting, and having no one left to take revenge on for Mai’s death – other than himself – it’s entirely unpredictable what Mitsuzane will do next. And against the godlike powers of Kaito and Kouta, with both his Hell Fruit Lock Seed and Genesis Driver destroyed, it’s impossible to imagine what he can do.

* * *

Other stuff:

  • I know I wrote in this review that Kouta is dead, but come on, let’s be real. He’s coming back. From the dead. Having absolved the sinner of his sins. Hm.

  • I’m not crazy about Lord Baron’s design, particularly the face, which is reminiscent of a gorilla.

  • One thing I actually guessed correctly: Mai’s close-up scene with Kouta in 38 was a death flag, as it signals the last time they ever saw each other, her new form notwithstanding. Not that it was a big surprise.

  • Very convenient that Mitsuzane and Kouta had their showdown in an abandoned duvet factory. Some more questionable direction choices this week.

  • I’ve been interchangeably using Fruit of Knowledge, Golden Fruit and Forbidden Fruit because the show won’t settle on a damn term.

  • Very sad that we’ve only seen a handful of short fights from Duke, usually with him completely overwhelming his opponents. His fighting style was really cool, and I feel like he never got his moment to shine as a combatant.

  • Some serious anime logic this week, with Mai not being able to speak clearly and Kaito having built a resistance to Helheim’s toxin, allowing him to become an Overlord. Of course, the token efforts at explanation are appreciated.

  • No phantom Takatora this week, which is almost definitely for the best; it would’ve lessened the feeling of isolation surrounding Mitsuzane. I had a feeling last week that when he told Takatora to shut up, it was him finally abandoning his self-effacing alter-ego; we’ll see if that holds out.

  • Another interesting thing: phantom Takatora’s prediction that Mai would end up becoming an obstacle that needed to be eliminated never really came true. Consequently, we can read that scene not as foreshadowing, but as Mitsuzane beginning to realize – however subconsciously – how far off the deep end he has gone, and how large his capacity for violence and betrayal is.

  • There are like three episodes worth of climaxes in this episode. Considering Kamen Rider has a bad habit of completely bungling the home stretch of each series, I’m thoroughly impressed with how well-paced and how comprehensible this is shaping up to be.

  • Next week on Kamen Rider Gaim: Take a shot every time someone says the word “resolve.”
flametajadoru

flametajadoru:

I’m confused with the logic behind Genesis Driver’s usability.

Unlike the Sengoku Driver, it is mever explicitly said that the Genesis Driver is made for a single user. But since they gave Kaito a new one based on his Sengoku Driver’s data, we can assume that a Genesis Driver can only be used by one person they’re made for.

But then Mitsuzane took Takatora’s Genesis Driver and became Zangetsu Shin. (Spoiler) He became Zangetsu Shin and not Ryugen because the Driver is based of Takatora’s data. How can he use it then?

This one might slide, because they’re brothers. Their DNAs are similiar enough, I think.

But Minato’s coming back as Malika next episode, even though her Genesis Driver is busted. We can only assume that she’s using Ryoma’s Driver. (Spoiler) But how? They’re not related as far as we know. And since it’s Ryoma’s Driver, it must have more security measures than the others.

See? It’s confusing

You’re confused largely based on assumptions you yourself have made on the Genesis Driver’s functionality. It’s never stated in the show that the Genesis Driver has any security features. The only belts that were locked to their users were the prototype Sengoku Drivers.

thevacuuminator

SPOILER: I like how everyone bitched about wiseman being the white wizard was obvious, yet no one wants to bring it up with Mai and other Mai.

thevacuuminator:

douglasmurphy:

thevacuuminator:

douglasmurphy:

… I’m not sure you can call something ‘obvious’ when the show went out of its way to draw your attention to them being the same person in the first episode. 

True, it does still bother me though.

I’m not - really sure why, to be honest. 

Wiseman and the White Wizard was meant to be a plot twist that surprises you, so it was a problem when it was obvious from pretty much the WW’s first appearance.

Mai and Other Mai being the same person isn’t a plot twist, and audiences were meant to puzzle over what chain of events would lead to one becoming the other. So why would people be bothered about it being obvious that they’re the same person? That would be like people getting angry over it being obvious that Takatora’s a member of Yggdrassil.

It’s just that, during the lead up to the reveal I saw a lot of people saying who they thought other Mai actually was, which had me under the impression it was meant as a plot twist since I hadn’t seen the first couple episodes in a while.

Did you actually see people wondering who Alternate Mai was, or simply people wondering how this would come to be? I’ve never seen anyone wonder if Alternate Mai wasn’t Mai. Mai even acknowledges that its obviously herself when they meet.