Summary: Despite his business being ruined, the shop owner refuses to give in to despair, causing Medusa and Valkyrie to try a new tactic.
Dragonzigg’s Thoughts: This is a pretty predictable wrapup to the Manju affair, but one which is also pretty good and generally executes well on its ideas. I like the fact that the store owner doesn’t immediately sink into despair – instead, he’s practical in a way many TV characters aren’t, keeping a cool head and being realistic about the situation. It’s a nice touch that he places his hope in his apprentice, something which helps connect the two more strongly and spins a nice little parable about passing things on to the next generation. As far as one-shot characters go, these two are pretty great.
For an arc supposedly designed to develop him though, Shunpei is sure left out here. He spends most of the episode grovelling in what I’d imagine to the Japanese is a show of respect and dedication but to me just comes off as a little desperate. He then crops up at the very end to make a diving save of the precious manju, but overall this wasn’t a particularly impressive story for him, and if we were meant to get more insight into his personality I’d mark that as a resounding failure. There is a nice moment at the end though where Haruto acknowledges him as his wizard’s apprentice. It’s a decent payoff, I just wish we’d had a bit more to work with.
The major action setpiece of this episode, Haruto’s first confrontation with Medusa is pretty decent as well. I’m increasingly a fan of Erina Nakayama’s aloof, arrogant portrayal and she cuts a striking, instantly distinctive figure. Medusa has mostly been a side character so far, but she seems by far and away the more clever and conniving of the two chief Phantoms and she and Phoenix make for a very strong brains/brawn partnership. Here she pretty effortlessly stomps Wizard before succumbing to classic ‘You’re at my mercy so I’m going to leave you alone’ syndrome, but hey, nobody’s perfect. Their fight is decent, marked by the return of the LIQUID power that would make Haruto unstoppable if he used it every fight. There’s also some dodgy CGI hair in observance of the grand old toku ritual of terrible snake special effects, although there’s also a way cool ground level tracking shot that continues WIzard‘s tendency to dabble in some interesting cinematogrophy.
Next arc looks to bring some pretty major plot points up. It looks as if Koyomi will be stumbling across the elusive Wiseman, and there’s also a shot of a previously unseen purple and white Phantom, although whether this is Wiseman himself is unclear. It also sounds like Medusa has some sort of plan up her sleeve. With Movie Wars Ultimatum releasing on the 8th, I also suspect this next story will be the last major arc before Kamen Rider *REDACTED* shows up, so expect a little setup for that too. Exciting times!
- Shunpei’s clothing is extra horrible this week
- Hurricane Dragon‘s wings would be a lot cooler if Wizard wasn’t already capable of flying in basic Hurricane form.
- Haruto says “You’re…from before..!” in the preview but it’s unclear who or what he’s referring to. Possibly he recognises Wiseman?
- As fun as this episode was, nothing could really beat the movie trailer. ‘WITNESS MOTORCYCLES VS. AN ARMOURED BULLDOZER! BRING IT ON YOU DAMNED MONSTERS!’