The Riders and Roidmudes come together to try and stop Banno from unleashing the Global Freeze, but not all of them will survive the coming battle…
It’s when the characters start dying that we know we’ve really entered the final phase of any Kamen Rider journey and boy it looks like our body count is going to be high here. With that said, this pair of episodes continues Drive’s already rich legacy of being a bit disjointed. There are great moments here, but the way they’ve been assembled can be a little bit questionable.
I think the oddest decision here is to keep going with the goofy comedy bits, especially in the first of these two episodes. Don’t get me wrong, they’re absolutely hilarious and I would have been deeply upset if we hadn’t got priceless bits like Kiriko’s cake-eating panic or the Chief’s spectacular transformation into Kamen Rider Jun. But they seem increasingly at odds with the overall grimness of the storyline. I think having some jokes to lighten up what’s meant to be a kids show is totally valid, but it’s the way the pratfalling continues unabated which is a bit odd. Perhaps the worst victim of this is Brain, he goes from gurning idiot to cold-blooded betrayer to dying hero all in the course of one episode. It’s a little harder to handle than I would have liked.
The other issue here I think is just how carelessly Drive has arrived at this destination. Individually the flailing plotlines haven’t been too much of an issue up to this point because the show has kept pressing forward so intently, but now it’s effectively reached its destination then the cracks are beginning to show. What exactly is Banno’s motivation, besides ‘I’m evil!’. Why did you go to all that effort to establish 004 as a clone of Mr Belt if he was just going to die a few episodes later. Is Medic good or evil now, and was she ever actually evil to begin with?.Individually none of these are big issues and it’d be churlish to say they’re damaging my enjoyment of the show that much, but it’s definitely a little disconcerting that there are so many loose ends, especially compared to something like Gaim which meticulously ensured all of its moving parts came together at the right point.
With all that said, it’s difficult to deny how fun these two episodes are. It’s a fine send-off for Brain too. His entire character has been centered around his utter cowardice and his flip-flopping form side to side, so seeing him finally take a stand was a fitting end to his character arc. It was also great callback to the early days of the show when it was just he and Heart, and a good wrap-up to the ongoing rivalry with Medic. Episode 45 is also slammed full of feel good moments, from Hayase’s sudden re-appearance to the epic joint salute from all of the team as the Rider head out to battle an abundance of bad CGI.
Then of course there’s Chase’s death, which I am extremely sceptical will stick because damn, he’s just too good a character for that to happen to. It also feels very anticlimactic, considering that we’ve haven’t yet reached the climax of the story and Shinnosuke is not involved at all. Now granted, Chase sacrificing himself to save Gou makes more sense since they’ve had their constant bromance/rivalry going on and the scene itself is pretty well done. But it feels very understated by Kamen Rider standards and I would be very surprised if we didn’t see him again in some form.
- Hey Bandai, if you want to make a Kamen Rider Jun Figuarts I would be incredibly into that.
- I’ve been wondering for ages what’s with those giant spikes in the opening and we finally get to see them in this episode.
- Masakazu Morita is chewing the scenery and picking it out of his teeth as Banno and it’s pretty great.