Kamen Rider Wizard Episode 43

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 43 [5DD39577]_20-jul.-2013 15.54.29

Recap: Koyomi finds out a bit more about her past while Kousuke, Rinko and Mayu travel to the woods to confront Wiseman.

Aqua’s thoughts: I figured out the twist behind Koyomi’s past the second her father was mentioned. Luckily, unlike the whole “White Wizard is evil” twist, Kamen Rider Wizard does not beat around the bush with this one, revealing it right at the end of the episode. Hallelujah. Nevertheless, I think it would have had a lot more impact had Shunya Shiraishi been capable of acting out an emotion that is not mild-mannered boredom. I never really bought Haruto’s supposed care for Koyomi and aside from that one adorable scene in which they go shopping for clothes, our main character had about as much chemistry with her as he had with anyone else: none whatsoever.

It has been such a very long time since Koyomi has been relevant to the plot in any way that I never really even noticed how completely nonsensical the whole “being human” conflict she had going on in this episode was. Was Koyomi not a homunculus all along, an empty, barely living body left behind after her Phantom absorbed most of her soul? How does the fact that she was alive before the Sabbath change any of that? Why is the revelation that she used to be human considered a grave twist? Did she not always try to be human or did I miss that memo? It is much, much too late to start giving Koyomi and her interesting struggles with humanity some attention only now. Why does this show keep giving its characters interesting dark sides only to completely toss those out of the window whenever they are not related to its already meagre plot? Let me tell you when was the last time Koyomi was part of the narrative. It was in episode five. Five.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 43 [5DD39577]_20-jul.-2013 15.56.52

Speaking of things that suddenly pop up after twenty bloody episodes, Haruto finally bothered to use All Dragon Style again. I know all that CGI is really expensive, but our hero just conveniently forgetting to use a form that is arguably superior to his actual Ultimate form is just a lazy plot hole. Kamen Rider OOO had a perfect justification for OOO often being unable to use his equally CGI-heavy GataKiriBa combo, so where is your excuse, Wizard? Seriously, a “I don’t have enough mana to use the Drago Timer right now” would be enough! Nevertheless, the fight against the cool-looking unborn Phantom was actually pretty sweet, with a nice finisher and all. Besides, it did allow the New Best Character In This Show, Kousuke Nitoh (… that still sounds extremely wrong) to fight the actual Phantom for once.

Though in the end, I really just want Wizard to end already. It is sad to say that despite its occasional high points, I really do not care about these characters enough to wonder how all their problems will eventually be resolved. The show has some interesting plot threads left to resolve, that is for sure, but given its track record I am not hoping for anything we could call satisfying. Kamen Rider Wizard is not exciting, poignant, or even funny. It is just there. It has characters. It has fights. It has toys. It has all it needs to have to fulfill its purpose, but very little of the charm that is the reason why most fans our age still watch these shows about men in rubber suits beating up other men in rubber suits while everything behind them explodes. It does not exactly help that we still have eight episodes left to go.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 43 [5DD39577]_20-jul.-2013 15.51.57

Wait, eight?

Yeah, apparently Kamen Rider Wizard is 51 episodes long, in stead of the usual 48.


Random observations:

  • Makoto Okunaka is pretty good at making adorable pouty faces. I am surprised they do not exploit that talent for all it is worth.
  • Fansub group Over-Time included an advertisement for the Kamen Rider Wizard web movies, which tease a bunch of events that all seem a lot funnier than all the jokes in the entire series combined, including Shunpei getting married to a Kousuke in drag, Rinko joining the secret service and unsurprisingly, Koyomi in a bikini.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 43 [5DD39577].mkv_snapshot_12.08_[2013.07.20_22.04.13]

Zigg’s thoughts: I wasn’t really too into this episode for a lot of the reasons Aqua states above. It’s difficult to feel emotionally invested in a character who has been shoved into the background for as long as Koyomi has, and asking us to buy a very earnest ‘meaning of humanity’ subplot as part of that simply doesn’t work. It has always seemed to me that Wizard has had a rather sprawling cast for what it sets out to do, and Koyomi has clearly been a victim of that. There’s no reason she couldn’t have been a composite character with, say, Shunpei, allowing her more screen time and a closer rapport with Haruto. As it is she’s just sort of a plot coupon dusted off and thrown out there to drive the story along.

On the other hand, the angle with the White Wizard being her father is super intriguing to me, because of the backstory possibilities it opens up. Is his crusade against the Phantoms some sort of twisted revenge, or a scheme to recover the ‘real’ Koyomi? White Wizard has been a pretty unambiguous asshat for a while now, but if they can establish a credible motivation it could change him to ‘fallen hero’ really fast, a move which would provide a super strong way to close out that character arc. It’ll need to be done carefully though, so we’ll have to see how that plays out. It certainly adds a interesting wrinkle to the run-in, though I still worry with eight more episodes this may drag a little too long.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Wizard - 43 [5DD39577].mkv_snapshot_19.48_[2013.07.20_22.04.41]

Random observations:

  • ‘Wiseman is White Wizard’ has been so obvious for so long that at this point I’m wondering if the creative team will swerve and go in another direction entirely. Certainly they’d have to come up with a damn good explanation at this point.
  • All Dragon still looks rubbish. Never rely on forms that are all CGI, the suits are part of the reason we watch this thing.

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