Recap: Kousuke bumps into an old friend who’s applying for a job that seems too good to be true.
Aquagaze’s thoughts: Surprise surprise, Kamen Rider Wizard follows up on an eventful, largely dramatic story arc with a breezy comedy filler episode. And who could possibly be a better choice for focus of this episode than Kousuke Nitoh? It is rather incredible just how little personality this guy has despite all of the focus episodes he gets and quite frankly, does not deserve. Heck, it’s Haruto who defeats this week’s Monster of the Week, as usual.
Nevertheless, this was a rather enjoyable episode, in a stupidly nonsensical kind of way. While it is rather silly that no one but Haruto sees that a job that ears you one million yen a day is an obvious scam, it is even sillier that this is literally the best plan Gremlin can come up to lure out more Gates. Is he just assuming all Gates are gullible idiots? How do you even plan on driving the Gates to despair if you give them a few millions before telling a Phantom to taunt them bit? Besides, won’t Wiseman’s evil cooperation go bankrupt in no time if Gremlin keeps spending millions of yens on a daily basis? I know, they are magic and all that, but won’t magically conjuring up millions of yens day after day wreck the global economy in no time? Or was that Gremlin’s plan all along? Give a bunch of Gates a lot of money, only for them to get accused of massive scale counterfeiting afterwards? Damn, that is pretty devious for a kids’ show.
Speaking of devious, it does fit Gremlin’s new sadistic demeanour. It is always the funny ones that turn into complete monsters once you put them in charge, and I am fairly certain Wiseman will come to regret his decision sooner or later. Medusa does not seem exactly keen on her new boss either. Will it come to a full-on Phantom civil war, or will Medusa just wait for Haruto to rip Gremlin a new one? The prospect of our villains taking up arms against each other looks very promising, though I am a bit haunted by the feeling all of it would be even more interesting had Phoenix still been around.
In the action department, this episode was admittedly rather wobbly. Although it was one of the rare occasions in which Wizard and Beast actually fight alongside each other, the choreography was rather cookie cutter and especially Hyper Style simply got demoted to a mere finisher. This made it all the more clearer where the focus of this episode lay. Some of the gags, like Haruto sneaking into a high security building by shrinking, or Kousuke dropping an oil bottle onto his barbeque and blowing up half of a forest, hit all the right buttons. It all resulted in a bit of a chaotic mess, mostly centred around people being very loud and very dumb, but it was surprisingly well executed for once and nicely suited for a single episode. Wizard has been suffering from the franchise’s dogmatic obligation to stretch out every single story over two episode a lot, so it is nice to see the team knows when to make a single episode an actual single episode.
…. Wait, what is that preview? Didn’t the Monster of the Week get destroyed? Didn’t Kousuke’s friend move away? Damnit, Wizard.
- The fact that Kousuke still sleeps in his tent like a degenerate hobo, in stead of staying at the antique shop, just proves to me that even in-universe no one likes this guy.
- Wizard’s regular form did better against the Phantom than Beast’s Hyper Form did. There’s the Worf Effect, and then there is that.
- Kousuke’s high school uniform looks rather outdated. Are there still schools that have a uniform like that?
Zigg’s Thoughts: This is pretty much a breather episode, which is normal and perfectly acceptable after the high stakes drama of the last arc. It also means we get an emphasis on goofy comedy, which I’m generally not too wild about but works sort of well here. Kousuke’s opening skit with the barbecue is pretty hilarious, especially the fact that apparently lighter fluid causes massive, monster destruction-style explosions, and the can flying across the screen comfortably falls into intentionally rubbish rather than Kamen Rider‘s usual unintentionally rubbish. It’s a good start.
In fact, the breezy comedy generally carries on throughout the episode, primarily due to the nice chemistry between Kousuke and his old school buddy. There’s no secret to the interaction here – it’s basically a competition to see how can mug longest and loudest – but it works well and keeps the energy up. Not all of the jokes hit home cleanly, and I think the sections in the antique shop with the rest of the cast are pretty lame. But there’s some nice jokes and vignettes to compensate, like Haruto and Kousuke’s asymmetrical infiltration of the office building, or the Phantom gliding everywhere like he’s on skates. There’s some passable action too, although it seems curiously slow and sluggish and as Aqua noted Kousuke is once again reduced to jobbing (he even loses his fancy Hyper transformation effect). While this appears to be a two-parter in actuality, the unusual structure means it’s paced like a single episode story and that definitely helps, keeping everything moving fast and not lingering too much on lame or redundant scenes. I’ve mentioned it before but I do wish Kamen Rider would sometimes deviate from its strict two-episode arcs and mix it up a bit with longer and shorter stories.
As it is, we do get this intriguing setup where the arc appears to end but the preview clearly shows all involved will be back next week, with the Phantom clearly ‘seeding’ some the Gates. This makes the final sendoff for Tsuchiya feel unnecessary and it’ll no doubt seem especially dumb when he just returns next week. We do get some nice little plot tidbits here – Gremlin’s douchebaggy treatment of Medusa and her subsequent glee in betraying his plans to Wizard and Beast are very noticeable - but mostly this is a silly, consequences free romp. Nothing wrong with that once in a while.
- What is this show’s fascination with people living like hobos?
- The Infinity Style transformation is considerably cooler this time, now that the belt has learned to shut up for a second. I still think that weapon is impossibly rubbish though.
- While Tsuchiya does not provide a full name for ‘Eric’, there’s only really one person he can be talking about
- The athletic guy Tsuchiya is ‘working’ with has shorts that came straight out of Vividred Operation.
- I’ve mentioned it before but ‘fear of death’ is an incredibly lame fallback for causing people to despair.
- Keen eyed viewers will recognise the house at the end as Dr Maki’s family home from Kamen Rider OOO.