First Look: Kamen Rider Build

Tokusatsu original by Toei
Simulcast pending


Japan has been split into three separate nations by Pandora’s Box, a mysterious artifact brought back from Mars. In the Eastern region of Touto, attacks by mysterious beings known as the Smash are escalating. The only one who can battle them is the amnesiac genius Sentou Kiryuu, who both fights the monsters and quests for his lost memories as Kamen Rider Build!

Zigg’s verdict: From The Ground Up

It’s safe to say that it’s been a tough few years to be a Kamen Rider fan. The one-two punch of the anaemic Ghost and the garish Ex-Aid have turned many away from the franchise, myself included, and it hasn’t helped that sister series Super Sentai has meanwhile been putting out some of it’s best product in years. So Build comes in with a lot to prove, and it seems like the production crew know it, since this first episode gets the proverbial kitchen sink thrown at it. It’s a bit of a mess, but by and large a successful one. There’s a compelling mystery at the heart of the story that’s well set up, with lots of interesting branches to explore further down the road and some classic Kamen Rider tropes played with in the ‘human experimentation’ angle. The action is solid, if perhaps a little laden with bad CGI, and the supporting cast is diverse and seems intriguing. Most importantly of all, out lead character Sentou appears likable and the show itself demonstrates the balance between campy comedy and actual plot that’s at the heart of all good toku productions. Not everything is rosy – I’m not very sold on the belt or powers (the gimmick being essentially a reskinned Double doesn’t help) but I feel a lot more optimistic about Kamen Rider than I have in a while, and that’s nice to write.

Iro’s verdict: Hopefully This Can Build a Good Story

My Kamen Rider experience is limited, seeing as the only one I’ve watched to completion is Gaim, while I dropped Ghost and Ex-Aid when my attention waned. I’m glad to say that I enjoyed Build’s premiere, with a cool-looking main Rider and some intriguing plot hooks already being thrown into the pot. It’s tough to set things up in a mere 20 minutes, but we got it: here’s why the world is weird, here’s our main character, and here’s his base motivation. I just worry that it’ll have trouble keeping me intrigued as it continues, and it’s far too early to really be able to tell. Still, I’m more interested in Kamen Rider now than I have been in years, so I guess that’s a good thing.

Euri’s verdict: Seeing W

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this show without parroting surprise at it being pretty good, but what I will say is that in my limited experience of the Kamen Rider franchise, this episode reminded me of when I was watching through OOOs and Fourze. Perhaps this is because it’s so similar to which preceded these two shows, but if it’s aiming to emulate that era of Kamen Rider, I’m in. I enjoyed Ghost for a few episodes before falling off and Ex-Aid was a dud from the start, so if this show is looking at the older series’ for inspiration, I’m totally on board.

8 thoughts on “First Look: Kamen Rider Build

  1. I’m really surprised by how fast you guys dropped Ex-Aid considering that everywhere else, I consistently see it being called one of the best shows in Kamen Rider, or at least the best show since Gaim. I myself found it okay, good but not spectacular. Build has definitely hooked me more that Ex-Aid did so here’s hoping that it keeps that up for the next few episodes

    • I heard similar things, but we gave it 8 episodes and if a show can’t hook me after that long then I simply don’t have time for it, no matter how good it allegedly gets.I also loathed the aesthetic and most of the cast and that’s not something I tend to get over easily. Perhaps one day I’ll go back and try again but toku shows are such a huge commitment that there’s no point slogging through 20 odd episodes to get to ‘the good stuff’.

  2. The general consensus has been Ex-Aid being the best Rider series since Gaim, a show where the suits can also be seen as garish, but I digress Build has a pretty nice start and tons of setup. However I do feel like I see some potential problems that they can run into later on in the series, akin to Kamen Rider Wizard that had a strong start but becomes so bland that it makes Ghost feel alive.

    • It’s not really the suits that are my main problem with Ex-Aid (although I’m not a huge fan), more the overall look and feel of the show. You guys have definitely piqued my interest to go back and slog it out though, but it’ll have to be at a time where I’m less busy.

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