Recap: Rinko and Shunpei work to protect the Gate, breaking about a billion other laws along the way.
Aquagaze‘s Thoughts: The idiot plot continues as Riko and Shunpei, now on the run for the police in a stolen car, commit several crimes in order to clear the name of a man who did not commit any crimes. Are you starting to see the problem here? It is sad to see such an insubstantial bit of filler this late into Kamen Rider Wizard‘s run. While some character development and lightheartedness right before the grand finale are always welcome, this idiotic arc contributed nothing to our perception of the supporting cast. Rinko yelling at Nemoto to take matters in his own hands was too forced and too preachy, especially since it contradicts everything Shunpei and her have been doing for the past two episodes. After trespassing, resisting arrest and actively trying to kill two officers by dropping a car on them, our dynamic duo in the end does what they always should have done and turns Nemoto in to prove his innocence.
Luckily for Rinko and Shunpei, their incompetence does not particularly stand out amongst everyone else. Haruto and Kousuke sit around on their bums all day while there is a Phantom on the loose, Koyomi doesn’t even consider using her crystal ball to track down her friends, and the police are an infantile bunch of rednecks who want to throw a bloke in prison because he happens to be on a picture showing a fire, alongside five other people. I know that Kamen Rider is a kids’ show and all, and the heroes outwitting the somewhat dim-witted police is a superhero trope as classic as the tights, but this episode took the whole “police are idiots” trope to an all-new level. Whatever happened to “Everyone is innocent until proven guilty”? Maybe Nemoto was not that stupid to refuse to just go down to the precinct and answer some questions after all…
I do not exactly blame the police for not buying Rinko accusing a bird of being the arsonist instead, however. All they needed was some (stolen) security footage the officers were of course too lazy to actually watch. Good thing for our heroes, the bird is actually stupid enough to transform into its Phantom form right in front of the officers, therefore shooting itself in the foot. Had you just remained in your case, bird, everyone would have declared Rinko nuts, Nemoto would have been arrested and driven to despair, and you would actually have succeeded in your assignment, for once. Congratulations.
Even the Riders seem to be running on autopilot lately. Sure, the little animated part with Kousuke and the birds was a giggle, and a very creative way to make up for the obvious fact they couldn’t afford an actual bird assault. Sadly enough, their actual being the hero was reduced to a dull action sequence, where Kousuke got once again reduced to a distraction for the henchmen, while Haruto drops that whole pesky wizard thing and just flails around his stupid axe sword monstrosity. Derailment and lazy faffing about indeed perfectly summarized this useless story arc, with a completely uncalled for cliffhanger serving as the final nail in the coffin. Thank the rubber suit Gods next episode will in fact make quick work of this cheap excuse for shock, and start a new arc that seems to actually focus on our hero for once. Hallelujah.
Zigg’s Thoughts: It’s just so by-the-numbers. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact I had Aqua with me watching this episode I probably would have slept through it, which is pretty much exactly what the scriptwriters and the cast seem to be doing. I’ve emphasised before how I don’t find the Wzard team’s attempts at goofy humour funny because the characters aren’t likable enough to be effective pratfallers and the actors aren’t given enough to really sell the scene. Shunpei and Rinko are nowhere near strong enough to carry an episode, as they are made to do here, and the result is less than entertaining.
It doesn’t help that the plot resolution is so transparently silly and not at all clever, or that it forces our characters to jump through very obvious hoops just to fill time. We’ve known all along that the Gate isn’t actually guilty, but the resolution they offer (it was actually the Phantom!) is about the laziest, most route 1 plot you could possibly come up with. The fact that they take so long to get there, and we have to endure so many dumb sequences (that flooding part really takes the SFX budget way beyond where it should be) is frustrating and feels like sheer laziness.
We’ve been accused of giving Wizard a hard time in recent weeks but the truth is there are very few excuses left for the show to fall back on. As it enters the final quarter of its run this should really be the point where the plot goes into overdrive and we finally start pulling the big picture together. We’ve seen tantalising glimpses of that – the Sora reveal, Wiseman’s interest in the Philosophers stone – but episodes like this really derail the momentum that’s been built up. With the characters not clicking a strong story is Wizard‘s best hope to finish on a high note. As it is, I’m not holding my breath.
- The manga sequence was a damn good laugh and a great example of how to creatively work around budget restrictions.
- Rinko almost crushing the two officers with the scrap car is the biggest WTF moment in an episode full of them.
- The cliffhanger should be dramatic but since the previews show an entirely different story it seems pretty obvious it’s just being done for some cheap anticipation.