“He Who Came In With A Bang!”
Emu tries to help a boy with a fear of doctors, but he’s hindered in his efforts by the sudden appearance of Taiga Hanaya, a former employee of CR who has now taken up the mantle of Kamen Rider Snipe.
I’ll say this for Ex-Aid – at least it’s playing to its strengths. In this case means fewer dumb chibi suits and more total assholes getting in Emu’s face. I’m pretty surprised that the show has introduced Taiga this fast, since he’s basically another version of the assholish rival who will probably come good in the end, something they already spent most of last episode establishing with Hiiro. Granted, Taiga is perhaps a bit more openly hostile and antagonistic than the cold, unfeeling Hiiro, but they fill basically the same niche, so I’d hope the show moves fast to distinguish them from each other or this could become pretty same-y pretty fast.
As for Snipe, he’s probably the most interesting of the Riders introduced so far, at least from a design standpoint. The various bits of armour cover up how basic the Ex-Aid designs are, and it’s always nice when the team revisit the iconic scarf. Also, he has a gun which transforms into other guns, which is undeniably cool. In fact the action is probably the high point of this episode overall. The actual martial arts fights are still not great, and they crank the shakeycam up to borderline intolerable levels, but as soon as they get into that one quarry and start unleashing pyrotechnics, it becomes pleasingly bonkers and probably the most flat-out fun the show has been so far. It’s definitely not something you can get away with every week but for the time being it’s a reminder that as much as we pretend otherwise a lot of the joy of Kamen Rider is in its simple, stupid bombast.
Elsewhere the show alternately streamlines and stumbles with its ongoing problems. There’s notably less of the chibi Level 1 forms this episode, and also notably less CGI poop, both of which are thankful improvements. I appreciate the core story idea of this episode but it’s hampered by Kamen Rider‘s complete inability to cast children who can actually act worth a damn, and the result is largely just indifference. There’s still some novelty value here but the show is going to have to put some meat on the bones as far as plot and characters go if it’s going to be anything less than a short term fix.
- The mooks straight up have guns this episode, which is perhaps understandable given the theme but still a little jarring.
- Taiga’s white hair streaks are an obvious shoutout to the most famous of rogue doctors, Tezuka’s Black Jack.
- The end of this episode has a trailer for the next of the annual Movie Wars crossover films, this one titled (deep breath) Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legendary Riders. No really. Ex-Aid and Ghost will team up with Drive, Gaim, and Wizard to battle the nefarious Dr Pacman. NO REALLY.