Shinnosuke delivers COOL JUSTICE to a creepy arsonist.
This episode mostly served as a segue to provide the enemy leaders with a motive to go after Drive themselves — as often tends to happen around this point in a Kamen Rider show. As a result, however, the mystery of the week is trimmed down to a single episode, doing away with a lot of the filler content the show could’ve done without these last few weeks. Chase didn’t show up to distract Shinnosuke, for starters, and a lot of the action in this episode was chaotic, spectacular and surprisingly well-choreographed. On the other hand, less time for its episode plots gives the already noticeably superficial and all-over-the-place-y Drive even less meat on its bones, as the mystery of the week is barely even a mystery at all. Luckily, the Monster of the Week’s over-the-top performance and the rather childishly awesome introduction of Type Technic gave the episode more than enough value to clear the way for bigger and better things to come.
Disappointingly, however, the show’s directing doesn’t seem to be learning from its mistakes. This episode more than ever heavily features the extremely annoying use of ‘quirky’ editing effects like skipped frames or comical repetitions, making many jokes about as awkward as they’d be with canned laughter, or rather a big neon sign that says ‘Hey kids! It’s a joke!’. It’s not inappropriate, it’s just completely unprecedented, and with good reason. Drive has proven it can be funny without rubbing it your face, so what’s with all these desperate pleas for attention? Anyway, with Heart joining the fray next week, things are looking up for Drive as its setting and enemies might finally get the identity that can make or break a Kamen Rider show. This show needs to learn how to spend its time sooner rather than later, lest it becomes an inconsistent mess of decent moments and enjoyable quirks. Or, as Shinnosuke would put it, it’s time to shift gears.
- I can appreciate a good un-morphed brawl, especially if it involves a badass female character who can whoop some monster ass without even needing a tacky belt. Have I mentioned that Kiriko is great already?
- I never thought we’d get a Kamen Rider based on a garbage truck, but Drive Type Technic totally made it happen.
I was disappointed a few weeks back when episode 7 was set up as a single but then awkwardly stretched to a two parter. This week however Drive proved it arguably works best in the fast-paced one-shot format, as this was a largely entertaining episode which whizzed along agreeably and featured plenty of stupid goofs and decent action to make up for the threadbare story The flipside of that though is that there’s really barely any time to build up a mystery. The by-now expected swerve regarding the monsters identity never happens and though the actors do a good job of riffing off the creepy mad doctor stereotype, in the end he’s disappointingly insubstantial.
I was pleased however that this episode leant a little more into knowing self-parody than previous ones did. Kamen Rider can be a great drama but sometimes you just want some of that bizarre Japanese weirdness and the obssession with ‘coolness’ definitely delivered that here. As with Shunya Shiraishi/Haruto before him, I’m beginning to suspect y Ryoma Takeuchi may be a better comedy actor than dramatic one. His scenes of striving to achieve coolness are played with a deftly light touch and solid comic timing. All through the show I’ve felt closer to Shinnosuke when he’s been portrayed as a slightly offbeat loser rather than the badass cop he morphs into when the plot demands it. The spirit of fun is helped by the arrival of Type Technic, which both looks appealingly silly and has a range of abilities that actually break out of the standard Rider mold. Seeing Shinnosuke display his 1337 hacking skillz while simultaneously fighting off the baddies was a great visual and overall the episode balanced comedy and action well. More like this please.
- Though we have the obligatory ‘child in danger’ episode, it’s handled well and is made about as tolerable as possible.
- The fights this episode are probably the best they’ve been yet, but still find myself shouting ‘just hold the damn camera still!’ at the screen too much.
- That pile of wires masquerading as a doomsday device was maybe another example of ‘Alright, not THIS cheap’.