Kamen Rider Wizard Episode 53

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Recap: All the Riders face off with Amadam in a final showdown to save their worlds…I think?

Aqua’s thoughts: I don’t want to write about this episode. I want to forget it ever happened. Kamen Rider Wizard was the very incarnation of not very good, but it never deserved a disaster like this one. Last week was only the tip of the iceberg, with its confusing, idiotic plot, eye-cancerous direction and overall laziness. This episode was the nec plus ultra of abysmal, a bloated cash grab lacking the most basic elements of sensible screenwriting. When at the very end, this nightmare even tries to tamper with the laws of the entire franchise, it quickly reveals itself to be an insult, not only to the Rider legacy, but to its target audience as well. Even kids can tell this episode is an ugly, heartless mess.

The list just goes on, from terrifyingly amateurish directing (check Beast’s transformation scene; the camera is so close to his face, it actually has to zoom out and in again to show his full transformation) straight out of a high school video project, over criminal abuse of other Riders (Decade has no reason to be here, Beast gets defeated in five seconds and Gaim pops up as a convenient deus ex machina twice in a row) and an atrocious villain, to numerous contradictions and continuity errors, resulting in a plot almost as over-saturated and incomprehensible as this sentence.

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Seriously, someone tell me how the hell everyone ended up on a bridge after the credits, Amadam suddenly changed clothes and Haruto somehow ‘betrayed’ the kids? Did Haruto even save the kids from becoming monsters? Is Amadam really responsible for the creation of Core Medals, Gaia Memories and the like? If the alternate world is an afterlife for monsters defeated by Kamen Riders, why do children turn into monsters? Why are there even children? Who is Amadam? How did he get here? Do the Rider rings summon the actual Riders, or alternate universe counterparts? Why did Tsukasa ally with Amadam, and then suddenly double cross him? When did Haruto learn to travel between dimensions? Why the hell did he give his Infinity ring, his most powerful weapon, to a kid? Who wrote this farce?

I… I can’t do this anymore. Wizard was not a good show, but this… thing makes it look like HBO in comparison. I hope whoever is responsible for this nonsense gets fired and is never, ever allowed to touch the franchise again. How shameful is it, for an episode that is all about what makes a Kamen Rider a Kamen Rider, and how true heroes will always show up wherever people are hurting, to be so insulting, so devoid of any kind of respect or passion for the heroes so many children (and adults) admire. Shame.

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Zigg’s Thoughts: This is the way the show ends, not with a bang but with a whimper. What an incredibly lame, lazy, slapdash way for Wizard to exit the stage. And what a comprehensive demonstration of how you can totally screw up a great concept through horrible execution.

If there’s one thing this episode teaches us, it’s that you can’t simply chuck out an idea and then make a show based entirely off of that – things like a script, some decent characterisation and a vague grasp of what the hell is going on are somewhat necessary to make the whole thing work. Instead we have a story that ping-pongs us backwards and forwards between scenes that seem to have almost no point. Decade shows up (Masahiro Inoue is criminally underused, but then it looks like they only bothered to pay him for a day of work), traps Wizard, steals the Fourze ring and then just goes back over to his side? What exactly does that accomplish? The two Riders don’t get to interact on any level, the audience is confused and you just get a twist for the sake of a twist. It’s lazy writing done for nothing other than to pad time and get a cameo in.

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The episode is also atrociously produced on every level. The editing is sub film-student level, with random cuts and silly angles that make it intensely uncomfortable to watch. The propensity for the camera to get RIGHT UP in the actors’ faces is especially annoying. Then there’s the rubbish fight choreography, terrible tracking and excessive shakycam use that renders all of the action nauseating. I will admit there was some joy to be found in the blizzard of CGI that was unleashed – it’s always cool to see DenLiner and Castle Doran take to the sky again – but it’s all so rushed there’s barely time to cheer. A more methodical pace could have let some of the individual moments shine – Decade breaking out his Final Form Ride cards for example. instead it’s all just lost in an avalanche of meaningless sound and fury.

It’s all just so lazy. This episode is what I imagine those who don’t watch toku think all toku is – a barely there plot shot by a bunch of amateurs and slathered in terrible straight-to-dvd stuntwork. It’s ugly, it’s insulting, it smacks of no effort and no respect for the viewers. Even children know crap when it’s put in front of them, and this is crap. Wizard may have had its problems, but it deserved a better sendoff than this.

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Random Observations/Annoying nitpicks

  • One thing I did like – Tsukasa snapping a picture of Haruto against the sky. Nice callback. In fact, Masahiro Inoue does well with the crap he’s given in general. His signoff was especially good.
  • Beast’s premature exit is particularly galling given how far his character had come. Why not just return him to his own timeline?
  • The Riders talk a lot during this episode, which is mad because with the exception of Den-O (who’s voiced by his original actor) they all sound nothing like the characters. Just let the belts do it.
  • Speaking of Den-O, there’s two major continuity errors here. Firstly, he uses his ‘Finishing Move Part 1’, which contradicts a long-running joke where he never ever uses the ‘Part 1’ version. Secondly, in the Ultimate form lineup he uses Liner Form, which this particular version of the character never used and is in fact incapable of using (it’s complicated). Den-O has a whole OTHER ultimate form which this character CAN use, but they clearly just hauled out the first suit they could. These are small things, but it’s indicative of how they just didn’t care.
  • Likewise, Double is seen using elastic limbs in Luna/Trigger from, a power that form doesn’t have.
  • We see All Dragon for only the second time in the entire show.
  • The competition is tough but Decade still has the stupidest Ultimate Form of all.
  • if Haruto can just leave this world at will, why doesn’t he take them with him?
  • I did like the idea behind the final shot, if only they’d had a director who can direct and kid actors who could act.

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Kamen Rider Wizard will return one more time next week, as Aqua and I lick our wounds and give our final thoughts on the series.

6 thoughts on “Kamen Rider Wizard Episode 53

  1. May I ask what exactly about the choreography ticked you guys off. I asking not because I disagree with you I’m just genuinely curious. As far as the actual episode goes I think it’s decent. Yes the replacement voices are atrocious and yeah decade really had no point of being brought back aside from fan service (then again the producers said there was no point in bringing any veteran rider actor back unless it was the original kuuga or fourze) but aside from some odd distractions and nitpicks I thought it was ok. I guess I just have come expect crossovers to always have plot holes. But again, if you guys hated it, fine with me. Btw what are your impressions for gaim and are you going to have a weekly impressions of it like you did wizard?

    • I thought the fight choreography was just kind of boring, and badly filmed. Half of the time, you couldn’t even see who was punching whom, especially when all the Riders dish out their super CGI moves. The fighting was never treated like anything “special”.

      I addressed the thing where the producers said only Kuuga or Fourze would have ‘a point’ a few weeks ago: it’s bull. The Rider legacy is stronger than that, and if they can have a Rider back, they should have him back if they have the money to do so. The fans love that kind of stuff and they are honestly not that blinded by nostalgia they only care about Kuuga, or have such a short term memory (not even the kids) that they only care about Fourze. Besides, if people would only “care” about the most recent Riders, why do they even keep bringing the old ones back?

      On Gaim, I’m interested in seeing how it turns out. It certainly looks good, with the multiple Rider set-up, Gen Urobuchi on writing duty and his promise of a more plot-oriented Rider show. On the other hand, I have no idea what to make of a show that is about dancing teams AND fruits AND warring states Riders AND collectible monsters at the same time. It seems a bit over-saturated on ideas.

      On the coverage, we have no idea. Regardless of what we thought about Wizard, blogging it weekly the year round was a very demanding job. We originally thought to blog every two episodes, since these form one and the same arc, but then the news hit that Gaim would be the first show since Hibiki not to use the two-episode-arc format, so we don’t even know anymore what we’ll do. There will definitely be first impressions, but for everything else, we’ll see.

      • I think the reason they said only the original kuuga or fourze would matter has more to do with series significance. Let’s face it the only reason this two parter was made was just to celebrate the fact that gaim was the 15th heisei rider series. As a result I guess they thought the only actor who would have any point in being brought back would be kuuga who pretty much revived kamen rider from such a long hiatus or fourze who was the 40th anniversary series. Admittedly yes it’s still kinda stupid that they thought only those two are worth bringing back as I would of liked to have seen someone like the original kabuto or den o back but take it as you will.

    • It is? The only I other time I can recall seeing it is when he uses it to kill Phoenix, if you don’t count it popping up in the credits.

      • The other time was in the arc involving the writer who had a history with koyomi (also the arc where we found out fueki is koyomi’s father)

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