Kamen Rider Wizard Episode 36

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 36 [15CBFE11].mkv_snapshot_15.07_[2013.05.22_00.46.05]

Recap: Rinko hunts down a potential arsonist, but Shunpei keeps getting in her way. Meanwhile, Haruto finally comes face-to-face with Wiseman.

Aquagaze‘s Thoughts: I should have known better than to get excited for this episode of Kamen Rider Wizard solely based on last week’s preview. Sure, this episode has Haruto fighting Wiseman… but it is completely uncalled for and is over in less than a minute. Sure, this episode addresses Koyomi’s true nature… But that is about it. What should have been a shift into overdrive for the last stretch of the show, as kick-started by last week’s dark twist, in the end turned out to be little more than a filler episode cursed with one of the worst Idiot Plots in the history of contemporary fiction.

If you are not familiar with the term, an Idiot Plot is basically exactly what it says on the tin: A plot that can only work because all of the characters involved act like idiots. Why don’t Shunpei and Rinko realize that their opposing views are not mutually exclusive, and that placing the Gate under guarded custody is the perfect way of protecting him against the Phantom? Why does Gremlin set a Phantom who can transform into a bird onto the Gate, while he could just make one with an actual human form turn him in, if that is enough to drive him to despair? Why does Haruto casually waltz into Wiseman’s base of operations entirely unprepared? Why does Wiseman use the mana he drained from Haruto to rebuild the barrier, instead of, you know, killing his powerless nemesis lying right in front of him? Adding insult to injury, this disaster of an episode ends with Shunpei stealing a police car in order to help a fugitive escape the police. Yeah. Our heroes, ladies and gentlemen.

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Of course, it will turn out the Gate is not an arsonist at all, but that just makes this whole disaster even more confusing. If he is innocent, then why can he not turn himself in, answer some questions, prove his innocence and get away scot-free? Why would the idea of being taken in for questioning alone drive him to despair? If he runs away from arrest for a crime he didn’t commit, he is committing an actual crime, therefore only making his situation worse.

The only person to be above this madness seems to be Haruto, and as evidenced by the header image, Shunya Shiraishi once again shines when he can do subtle comedy at the expense of his infinitely less competent supporting cast. Speaking of supporting cast, Kousuke literally only shows up to get his ass handed to him by the monster of the week. While his Buffa mant finisher was pretty sweet, it can hardly save an episode that brought the excitement caused by its predecessor to a screeching halt and sent Kamen Rider Wizard all the way back to square one.

Well, at least the side characters got to do something for a change.

Random Observations

  • Haruto, do you really have to whip out the Drago Timer to defeat a bunch of foot soldiers? Really?
  • Gremlin’s giggling and total disregard for personal space have changed from harmless to insanely creepy, all thanks to last week’s episode.
  • Speaking of Gremlin, the recap of last week at the beginning of the episode, as well as Haruto explicitly calling him “Sora” seem to imply that he is indeed still human, and not just a Phantom pretending to be human because his personality didn’t change like with other Phantoms, like we deduced last week. I am confused.
  • Zigg and I have both started suspecting Wajima of being Wiseman and/or The White Wizard. With the whole mystery behind Wiseman’s human form, he has to be someone we know, and Wajima is the only named character whose Phantom has never even been brought up. That, or he’s Haruto from the future. Or Koyomi.
  • I want to eat those friendship donuts.

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Zigg’s Thoughts: Wax on, wax off. That’s what the pattern has become with Wizard as good episodes follow bad ones in perfectly staggered order. Normally this is because the payoffs are much better than the filler heavy setups, but in this case I doubt any sort of conclusion could neuter the abject horribleness of this episode. It’s not so much than any single aspect is bad, more that the combination of tired tropes and played out character traits makes it an utter drag to watch.

There was a good bit though, and that’s Haruto’s confrontation with Wiseman. It’s well shot, well scripted and decently ominous, and acts as an effective demonstration of Wiseman’s power. The enigmatic boss character remains one of Wizard‘s more compelling mysteries, with the constant obscuring of his true identity and intriguing tease. Whether this pays off or not is one of the big remaining questions. As Aqua points out, anything other than the reveal he’s an existing character will be seens as a disappointment, so I hope that the showrunners have simply been playing the long game rather than debating over who this guy actually is.

Otherwise, this was wretched. I’m not inherently against slaptick comedy in toku – the medium practically lives on it half the time – but to do it you either need likable characters to put into scrapes or scrapes that are funny enough of their own volition. Here we get neither. Rinko and Shunpei haven’t been given nearly enough screen time to establish any characterisation beyond their defining traits (straight man, kid surrogate) and their chemistry together is horrible. The fights are OK I guess, but at this point they’re sort of just water under the bridge, and more and more I regret the inclusion of mooks in the series, which takes focus away from the one on one monster battles.

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Right when Wizard needs to be ramping to some big reveals, it’s instead taking comedy holidays, and I’m not particularly down with that. The bit of this episode that focussed on the ongoing plot was by far and away its strongest aspect and everything else was so transparently fluff it reenders it all rather empty feeling. More focus next time please.

Random Observations

  • There’s a powerful story to be told about the isolation of the otaku lifestyle and the despair born from loneliness. This is absolutely not the show to tell it. 
  • Kyousuke pretty much just shows up for the fight in this one. His Buffa Sabre Strike finisher is cool though.
  • I trust I don’t need to establish just how bugfuck stupid Shunpei acts in this episode. I understand the idea of due process might be a little hard for kids to understand, but he steals a police car!
  • Wizard looks especially exposed back-to-back with this week’s delightfully silly Kyoryuger.
  • Please Toei, just stop shilling Super Hero WarZ already.

4 thoughts on “Kamen Rider Wizard Episode 36

  1. Highly disagree with the point about mooks though. The franchise is better off without just having the battles be unnesecarrily dragged out one-on-one monster battles. Mooks bring out variety atleast.

    • I feel that mooks are a decent equaliser in Sentai, but in Kamen Rider I want that one on one battle between the monster and the Rider. Mooks just feel a little like a stalling tactic here, and it doesn’t help that they beat up Beast so regularly.

  2. Shupei stole a police to save someone’s life. He saw that being arrested was going to bring him to despair.

    And Wiseman clearly doesn’t care about Haruto. The few times they’ve mentioned him in his presence he’s waved him off.

    • Yeah, I suppose Shunpei’s actions make sense in that context but it’s still something that only works in hilariously silly toku logic. I guess I just wanted a bit more nuance than ‘any involvement with the police will end your life!’

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