Kamen Rider Wizard Episode 41

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 41 [13ADA3F8].mkv_snapshot_20.29_[2013.07.10_00.21.30]

Recap: Mayu offers Yuzuru the chance to become a wizard, as Kizaki investigates the origins of the mysterious ‘Fueki’.

Aqua’s Thoughts: Wizard continues its surprise surge in quality with another episode full of steady twists and decent bits of characterization. Yuzuru being able to suppress his birthing Phantom  served as a neat bridge between the two concurrent plot lines, and it was a nice way to bring Mayu back into the plot, with a callback to how she became a magician. Mayu’s overall role in this episode is a bit underwhelming, especially when compared to her surprise appearance last week, but she did serve as a nice means to tie all the loose ends together and significantly raise the stakes. Let’s hope she does not get shafted once again, and her contribution to the story will be of the utmost importance in this final stretch of Wizard‘s often dubious run.

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Another minor disappointment for me was how the writers skirted around Yuzuru’s refusal of the call a bit too easily. For an episode that quite nicely conveyed the message that it is perfectly okay for a young child to pass on something that is obviously much bigger than them, his motives to do so would have been a lot less confusing if he had simply admitted fighting Phantoms is too darn dangerous. Nevertheless, it served as a nice little contrast to Mayu’s story, and Kousuke taking up arms against his superior to protect his surrogate little brother’s decision revealed some more of the caring, mature side that fits both the character and his actor much better.

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Besides, the White Wizard actually forcing a little boy to join his army of magicians was a neat way to show that he is getting all the more radical in his ways. His well-intentioned extremism serves as a nice contrast with the rather flat and stereotypically evil Phantoms, but it remains to be seen if these two factions are actually opposing each other. With the White Wizard’s Cerberus familiar spying on Wiseman, I am starting to doubt my steadfast belief in the two being the very same person, but the possibility is still there. His need for six magicians to hold some sort of ritual to eradicate all Phantoms sounds suspiciously similar to the Sabbath that started all this, and with that consideration we have not even touched the subject of whether Wizard and ‘prototype’ Beast are part of his scheme.

All of this was neatly framed in an enjoyable episode trademarked by some impressive stunt work, clever fighting sequences and acting a noticeable level above the usual coordinated boredom. Credit where credit is due, the stakes have finally been properly raised. For the first time in a long while, I am having some actual expectations for Kamen Rider Wizard, and it had better darn well live up to them.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 41 [13ADA3F8].mkv_snapshot_21.51_[2013.07.10_00.22.25]

Random Observations:

  • The staff must really hate Takasu Nagase. Not only does he have to eat mayonnaise on everything, he also has to wear that ridiculous fur jacket even when it’s summer.
  • It is rather hilarious that Mayu is a far better fighter than Haruto and Kousuke are. Too bad it will probably still be her who dies.
  • Whatever happened to the obnoxious movie ads in the credits? Kyouryuger has been having them for a few weeks now, and both movies are released simultaneously. Then again, said release is on the 10th of August. You can never start spoiling those movies early enough, can’t you?
  • Speaking of upcoming things, several news websites have mentioned that Kamen Rider Gaimu, the show to succeed Wizard will only start airing in October, one moth later than the usual premiere date. This means that either Wizard will go on for a bit longer than the usual 49 episodes, or that the Kamen Rider timeslot will be filled up with something else throughout September.

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Zigg’s Thoughts: A strong finish to a two-parter which started equally strongly. It’s a climax episode so character work is pushed aside a little in favour of action, but what we do get is pretty great. The interplay between Mayu and Yuzuru is well written and to be honest I would have liked to have seen a little more. As it is though, his final decision to refuse wizardhood rings true and is well thought out, while Mayu proves she’s more than two dimensional by defying the rage-fuelled stereotype that you might have expected her to return as.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 41 [13ADA3F8].mkv_snapshot_22.14_[2013.07.10_00.22.47]

Of course, the big news this episode is the White Wizard outing himself as a proper bastard, and it’s really well done. Kousuke actually attempts to tie up a loose end I hadn’t even thought of and by kidnapping Yuzuru the White Wizard once more is made to look powerful and important by interfering with the regular cycle of the show with long term plot ramifications. His (presumed) attack on Kizaki does the same thing – it establishes he operates outside of the rules and the well shot and structured story lends it a creepy vibe that perfectly matches the increasingly sinister air surrounding him. His beatdown of Kousuke merely serves to confirm his heel turn and makes him look very powerful in the process. The show has done an excellent job of building up the mystery and ambiguity surrounding the character – now is the time it pays off.

Random Observations

  • What with his weird weapon, the identity of the White Wizard is obvious now…

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