“Beauty & Beast 2012”
Geiz travels back to 2012, hoping to acquire the Wizard Ridewatches from the mysterious figure he bumped into. Sougo stays in the present to try to hunt down Another Wizard.
Just a quick one from me this week, as it’s a bit of a hectic time out here. This is probably a better episode than least week, but it’s still not great, mostly because of problems with the overall plot of this arc, but also just because of issues Zi-O has been battling for a while now.
The reason it’s better is largely due to the presence of Tasuku Nagase as Kamen Rider Beast, which is not something I ever thought I’d say at one point. Beast spent a lot of his tenure in Kamen Rider Wizard as a lame, unfunny ham, but Nagase shone towards the end of the show when he was asked to dial it back and portray a more human, laid-back side to the character. He brings that same panache to his appearance here, and lends his character an effortless charm which everyone else in this show is so lacking. The fact he actually gets to transform and fight adds a huge amount too, and definitely makes the whole thing feel like more of an actual tribute to Wizard than simply using it as set dressing. This is definitely a good template to use for future Rider appearances – a few neat personality bits, some fun joke callbacks (that mayo is still gross as hell) and a brief chance to kick ass. He makes his mark without making it all about him.
Unfortunately, I kind of wish it was all about Beast to be honest, because we get more lame Sougo and Geiz interplay here, and it’s just very very bad. I appreciate they’re trying hard to give screentime to character-based stories, but the writing and especially the acting just can’t hold up their end of the bargain. What’s more, a decent chunk of time is used just for Woz to dump exposition on us. It’s necessary exposition, and helps clear up what actually happens over the course of the episode, but it’s inelegantly presented. While I liked Woz at first, they’re kind of not going anywhere with the character fast, and mostly using him to explain their way out of the complex time travel bullshit the show is bogged down by.
Thee Zi-O time travel stuff is weird. I know I’ve harped on a lot about it already, so forgive me, but it’s stuck in this bizarre place between ‘too complex’ and ‘not complex enough’. The ‘too complex’ part comes from all the excessive shenanigans regarding Another Riders stealing the powers and memories of the real Riders, but time somehow being able to ‘snap back’ temporarily if they’re killed. Why not just have the Riders lose their powers without the weird memory loss stuff? Why do we have to jump through hoops to see the characters we actually remember? It just seems an excessively convoluted way to get to the point of having cameos. On the flipside, ‘not complex enough’ comes from the way the show gleefully ignores causality at pretty much every other opportunity. Sure, it’s cool that we see Geiz fighting the monster in 2012 while Zi-O fights it in 2018, but even the kids can work out that if you kill the monster in 2012, he won’t be around to fight in 2018, or even to kick off the events that led to the episode in the first place. You can probably handwave this away in regard to the Riders by saying they’re immune to timeline changes or whatever, but it’s real tough to swallow theatre dude talking to his past self over a magic phone when he shouldn’t even really exist in his current state.
Am I being a little nitpicky with the time-travel stuff? Probably, but it’s not like the show offers compelling alternative high spots to make me overlook it, and the longer you leave these issues unchecked the more shaky the foundations become. At the moment Zi-O isn’t really much fun to watch, and that’s not just because of some niggling continuity problems, but because the lack of care in that department is mirrored in all other aspects of the show. I’ll stop picking at problems when the show gives me some solid drama or clever story to talk about. Right now, it’s just slowly plodding along.
- Nagase looks…very different than he did back when he was a Wizard regular. Aqua cracked it looks like he’s just kicked a powerful heroin habit. The contrast is so great the flashback scenes of him are actually rather jarring.
- Woz’s expodump is basically repeating what he laid out in episode 2.5. I’m glad they finally saw fit to include it in the actual show I guess?
- Our flashback to Wizard shows Haruto in the middle of a pitched battle with Phoenix. When the Another Rider is created Haruto’s powers vanish…and so does Phoenix, seemingly with no explanation. Maybe the Another Rider also erases the original source of a Rider’s powers?
- Next week’s episode should be a good one, with the focus turning to my beloved Kamen Rider OOO, headlined by…Ex-Aid‘s Dan Kuroto??? Wait, what?