Kamen Rider Drive Episode 47

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Drive - 47 [8ECB02FE].mkv_snapshot_15.46_[2015.09.25_21.03.29]
Recap

After defeating Sigma Circular, Shinnosuke and Heart face off in a final battle to determine the ultimate fate of the world.

Zigg’s Thoughts

My big fear leading up to this finale was that they wouldn’t be able to pull together enough of the disparate plot threads to make it satisfying. Actually, that’s not too much of a problem, since most of that stuff was dealt with in previous episodes. Unfortunately, this episode suffers from another important issue – it’s just not very good. Poor writing and terrible staging conspire to make this something of a damp squib, although there are some good ideas that suffer from poor implementation.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Drive - 47 [8ECB02FE].mkv_snapshot_12.03_[2015.09.25_21.02.43]

I get what they’re trying for in this finale, and in that sense the actual fight matters less than the message that they’re trying to get across. What they’re clearly attempting is the classic Blade Runner finale, where the villain lets go of his ambition and instead realises how much living actually meant to him. But the dialogue here is clunky and ineffective, and while we’ve continually praised Tomoya Warabino for his nuanced performance, he finally loses it here and flies completely off the handle. The relentless crying and mugging only distracts from the actual tragedy of what’s going on, rather than enhancing it.

It feels like a betrayal of Heart’s character, which has been stoic and dignified in the face of adversity up to this point. There are ways to make a dramatic emotional breakdown from a formerly strong character work, but it doesn’t here. The script is also way too on the nose about the moral, with Shinnosuke outright blurting out ‘humanity was the real evil all along!’. Let’s leave aside that it’s a well-worn cliche of a moral to pull out – it can still be very effective if utilised correctly. The problem is that morals feel tired and preachy if you just come out and say them. It’s much more powerful to hint and imply, to (all together now) show rather than tell. It’s very likely this is the young target audience being considered, but I like to think that there was a more elegant solution.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Drive - 47 [8ECB02FE].mkv_snapshot_17.47_[2015.09.25_21.03.52]

It’s very rare I’ll criticise the production values in Kamen Rider, since they’re pretty much always bad by traditional standards and something that you inherently have to get over and accept before watching. Man though, whoever made the decision that this climatic final battle should take place in what looks like the service road for an office building should be fired post-haste. It’s such an incredibly unfitting location that any sort of drama is immediately sucked out and replaced by ‘this looks cheap as hell’. Same goes for the use of the rain machine, which is slightly more understandable (it both adds drama and hearkens back to the first episode) but still just looks utterly naff, especially since we see many shots of a high, bright sky. Was this staging a last-minute rush reschedule? It’s the only reason I can think of that you’d use somewhere so mundane and unremarkable. They don’t even need to be outside, because there’s no major pyro used. Why not have this showdown in the cool room Sigma Circular was in? So many questions.

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There’s also a bunch of questions around Mr Belt’s decision to take his Shift Cars and bury them and himself deep in the earth under a highly accessible hatch which would take five minutes to bust open with the right equipment. Again, it seems the show is trying to ape many other stories, by having a character sacrifice himself for the continued good of the world. Except this literally makes no sense – OK, Krim helped develop the Roidmudes, but the Shift Cars have been used for nothing but good, and the technology is still out there with Professor Harley and Gou. Once more, it’s a noble attempt at an emotional scene which falls apart them moment you look at it with anything more than a glancing eye.

Fortunately, the episode does its best to atone for these sins with a very sweet and charming final third, full of fan pleasing moments. Kiriko and Shinnosuke’s final ride in the car is a delight of subtle character interaction and exactly the kind of ‘less is more’ writing I enjoy heaping praise on. The appearance of not-Chase is delightful, a great way of bringing the story full circle and providing the character a little moment in the finale without undoing his sacrifice. And those final few lines? Sheer perfection. This wasn’t the triumphant climax I’d hoped for but that one moment alone made this feel like a special send-off for our crew.

[Over-Time] Kamen Rider Drive - 47 [8ECB02FE].mkv_snapshot_22.30_[2015.09.25_21.04.11]

Random observations

  • This is of course not technically ‘the end’ as like Gaim before it, there will be a special bonus episode after the finale, this time teaming up the Drive crew with the star of the new series, Kamen Rider Ghost.
  • Speaking of Ghost, his appearance here is utterly bizarre and totally pointless. Do we really need to set up a one episode promotional crossover?
  • Gou doesn’t get much screentime in this episode but he’s good when he appears, amusingly snapping at Gen and Rinna and then setting off on a vision quest to save Chase (in an ending completely wholesale lifted from Kamen Rider OOO). It’s wonderful to see Professor Harley again too.
  • I guess the bonus for saving the world is pretty hefty if you can afford to get a GT-R as your new wheels.
  • The Animal House style end credits are wonderful, though I’m disappointed we got no confirmation on a Gen/Rinna hookup.
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8 thoughts on “Kamen Rider Drive Episode 47

  1. The Ghost cameo actually kind of makes sense. Shinnosuke fell off of a building and was having a near-death experience. What better rider to point him in the right direction than the one who’s dead? (and besides it’s also setting up Movie War 2015)

    I do agree that the writing was a little heavy-handed but then again, what toku finale isn’t? It actually, to me, felt like the last few episodes of Gaim, where it seemed that the writers forgot that the series was ending soon, so they tied up most of the loose ends, well, loosely. It may also seem very heavy handed due to the translation, as well. Over-Time has done a wonderful job in subbing, but even the best translators can sub something dramatic into something entirely cheesy and unsubtle. (Not to mention, even Over-Time has had some mistranslations here and there). I think the purpose of the sealing of the Drive and Mach equipment was this: The equipment were designed for one thing and one thing only: To fight Roimudes. Since the Roimudes are all extinct, there’s no reason for Shinnosuke and Gou to have access to them, so Krim has decided to put them in storage until they are needed in the future (and of course sealing himself in there too, so that in the event that someone other than Shinnosuke or SCU finds the chamber, he can explain what they are). Perhaps it would have been better if the line “I’m sealing them away until humanity can be trusted with my inventions” was replaced by something else, but the point still remains. Shinnosuke and Gou no longer need to have access to the Shift Cars and Signal Bikes, and Shinnosuke no longer needs Krim’s guidance, so for that reason alone would have sufficed for explaining why Krim was sealing everything underground.

    • Yeah, it’s always tricky trying to extract the nuance of a translated work. We can only really judge on what the translators deliver and how well it matches up to what’s happening on screen, but yes I accept there’s considerable room for doubt.

  2. Eh, the Belt Vault will be opened by the next episode or by the time Movie Wars rolls around. After all, depowered Gaim characters were back to being powered in the Gaiden and the movie. Why not Drive?

    And I’m sure Chase will be revived somehow, though I would appreciate if he was revived Kaito-style like the previous movie wars and not a permanent revival; back to the game for a while, still leaves in the end. Not the first time something like this was done either. And Ankh says hello to Chase.

    • I think it’s pretty much a given that everyone will get repowered in some bullshit way for the movies, but I personally tend to consider those questionably canon, so as a ‘true’ ending for the show this just rung a little false to me. It all depends on how seriously you take it I guess.

  3. I think that the staging of Heart and Shinnosuke’s final fight was entirely deliberate at least in terms of the random rain. As well as the whole “rainy redemption” thing you mention, man on man, knock-down, drag out, exhausted fights either between partners or enemies in the rain have happened a fair bit in the cop/detective movie genre that Drive has often been referencing (Lethal Weapon springs to mind). Hot Fuzz recently sent it up using sprinklers. The choice of setting could have been a bit more dramatic than that damned service road, though maybe the use of the copious rain machine restricted their options. I didn’t mind the acting in this scene but agree that a bit more stoicism from Heart was expected, but I’ll make allowances for possible lost in translation/culture subtleties.

    Loved the final third though and agree that the whole not-Chase thing was a spot-on way to bring him back without negating his death. And I wondered if the Krim going into hiding thing was a clumsy set up for the recent movie? I haven’t seen it but I gather it involves future use of the Drive tech for evil?

    • If I remember it correctly, it was simply Krim’s programming going absolutely bonkers after he was kidnapped by 004 and had that chip implanted on him. A few days after that accident, the movie’s plotline kicked in and sparked a temporal ‘bad future’ timeline. Kinda like playing a visual novel then getting a bad ending in the good ending path because we didn’t solve certain flags. If anything, him going into hiding might sparked the next Movie Wars.

      • Ah right! I deliberately avoided most of the movie articles I saw as I didn’t want to spoil myself too badly way in advance. That makes sense though and yeah, maybe Krim will get dug up against his will for the NEXT movie! 🙂

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