Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tokusatsu review: Kamen Rider Drive episode 1: Start your Engines!

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Alright, my first review of the first episode of a brand new Kamen Rider series. Now this show, Kamen Rider Drive has quite a bit to live up too. Not only is this the show that allows the Heisei era of Kamen Rider to surpass the Shōwa era, but it is the 16th series of said era; which is following Gaim. The series that many fans of the Toku genre claim to not only be the best written series since Kamen Rider Black; but the best of the Heisei era in general. No pressure right?
                              
Oh suck it up. We open on a rainy night as the narration tells us about how the end of the world can occur in the blink of an eye. When all of a sudden the world starts to slow down as monsters appear out of nowhere. By slow down I mean, it's almost as if the world is lagging, you could still talk but your body can't keep up. The monsters on the other hand can move through the lag with no problem, going at normal speed.
I'm siiiiiiinging in the raiiiiin, just siiiiinging in the raiiiin.
These are the monsters of the series, the Roidmudes. There are three basic models of these guys. The Spider Roidmudes, the Bat Roidmudes and the Cobra Roidmudes. Why those three animals? As an homage to the first three monsters from the original series, Spider Man, Bat Man and Cobra Man. As monsters are want to do they start killing as many people as they can, who have no way to defend themselves, especially since they can barely move. No joke, these things are not playing around, throwing fireballs at shops filled with people, throwing giant ceramic bowling pins ( from a nearby bowling alley) at large, immovable crowds and throwing giant bowling balls, (again from a display from a nearby bowling alley) at buildings and just killing as many people as they can.With enough explosions to make Michael Bay grin like the Joker.
Yes, the Global Freeze which is why it's mostly focused around Japan and the easternmost parts of China judging by this shot, okay.
We then cut to a fight where the Narrator says that that was the day that his time stopped. We see some Detectives fighting some criminals near the docks or an industrial area who I assume are gun runners since we see them firing handguns and shotguns at the Detectives. I say they're gunrunners because Japan's gun control laws are actually worth a shit. The weapons law begins by stating that "No-one shall possess a fire-arm or fire-arms or a sword or swords", and very few exceptions are allowed. However, citizens are permitted to possess firearms for hunting and sport shooting, but only after submitting to a lengthy licensing procedure. And this gun registration and licensing is strict as hell. Of course law officials are allowed to carry firearms so there's that. Anyway the two detectives seem to be holding their own when they start to glitch out. One of the detectives calls out for his partner Hayase as he provides covering fire, however due to the lag he misses and hits a nearby tank of flammable substances which of course explodes sending Hayase falling down a floor. The cop tries to run to Hayase but Hayase gets crushed by some over hanging girders and the detective couldn't make it in time due to the lag.
Red: Do ya think we should help? Green: After they made all those "Need for Speed" movies? I say we get some Marshmallows. Purple: But I want Hotdogs. Red & Green: Shut up!
 We cut to what looks like some Hot Wheels over looking the destruction of the city. They summon a small road so they can attack the Roidmudes. These little boogers are actually pretty strong, the red one can turn into a fireball, the green one can cover itself in razor sharp spikes that can drill right through a Roidmudes torso, and the Purple one can create clones of itself which throw energy Shurikens. The three destroyed Roidmudes turn into giant floating numbers who then retreat. We then cut to what looks like Drive as we cut to our opening sequence. We then cut to half a year later as we see our hero driving a car that looks so sleek it would make Jeremy Clarkson envious.
Some say that he once made a exact scale replica of the Tokyo tower in five minutes, using only chopsticks. Others say that he was once known as a Superhero known as Kamen Rider Drive, all we do know is; he's called The Stig.
Now I have some concerns right away about this series. See, there's this little thing about Japan and particularly it's media that rubs me the wrong way. (Aside from fan service in some anime series, but that's a discussion for another time.) See, some Japanese writers typically love to depict their law enforcement officers in one of three ways, corrupt, incompetent or dogshit useless, usually all three. And from what little we've seen so far of this series and from the opening it looks like it will focus on a cop and members of the MPD to fill out the side-cast. Now this rubs me the wrong way because, its not the best thing in the world to insult the people who are trying to keep your city safe from thieves, rapists, arsonists and murderers, just saying. Now of course I'm not some naive putz that thinks that everyone who puts on a badge is doing it for all the right reasons.
Hell this SOB is one of my favorite examples of that.
The point is, I don't make fun of cops. And for any viewers of mine that does think this way about the majority of cops, go ahead, insult an officer, spit in their face while you're at it, see what happens. Especially when someone breaks into your house and starts killing your family right in front of you, I double dog dare you! My bet is that once they find out your name the phone line might suddenly be disconnected. To balance my fears we did have previous Kamen Riders who were involved in Law-enforcement, G3 and Accel immediately spring to mind. (I don't count W since he's a PI, not a uniformed officer.) Hell the majority of the Metal Heroes are law-enforcement officers, the Space Sheriffs, Winspector, Jiban and Janperson spring to mind. And do I even need to remind you of the Dekarangers A.K.A Power Rangers S.P.D? Maybe this won't be so bad, but just to be sure I'll look for the appropriate clips. Shinnosuke goes on to explain that after the Global Freeze people are paranoid and have special apps to report to the Police if they feel or see the glitching which they call "The Heaviness". Called so due to the lag causing feeling of heaviness on every-point on a humans body which limits their movement.
Well, at least it's not Ebola!
After that no doubt dated and offensive joke we cut to Shinnosuke lazing about on the grass.
Our hero everyone, a frigging laid back sloth.
I think I may have spoke too soon. Thankfully some else on the force has the same attitude that I have about Shinnosuke's lazing about.
The voice of reason on the show, ladies and gentlemen.
Kiriko handcuffs the putz, Shinnosuke tries to run away but Kiriko throws her shoe at his head.
She then shows him how she knew where he was.
She's apparently less his partner and more of his babysitter.
What kills me is the little manga drawings of Shinnosuke in her notes about his schedule. Who drew those? Honestly? And like his babysitter, she drags Shinnosuke back to their precinct the Kuruma Department of Motor-vehicles to do his actual work. Now for us to get established here.

a.a.k.a the crank case room.
This is our team briefing room and general conference area. Now we have a good look time to meet the side cast.
Oh my god scary face!
Aside from having a smile that will haunt my nightmares, Jun here is also a goofy mook who obsesses over his fortune telling lucky colors.
You can just tell this guy was bully chow as a kid.
Kyuu is mostly there to do my job, surf around the net looking for articles and clues on chat rooms, social networks and whatnot that may give information to the SCD and their current cases.
Hello, Nurse.
Rinna is their R&D department who creates various devices to help with Heaviness related cases, who acts like she's a few tacos short of a fiesta. Basically think of her as a live action Zoë Hange from Attack on Titan and you'll get the picture. Now that basic introductions are out of the way Jun explains that they're finally getting put on a real case. Apparently there have been several attempted murders in the last few weeks in a specific area that has been reporting several occurrences of the Heaviness. However apparently someone named Otta will be their go-between, Shinnosuke isn't too thrilled by this since apparently if Otta is their go-between, more people are going to give the SCD the cold shoulder then they do now. Shinnosuke sits in his car and thinks to himself, flashing back to when Hayase was killed.
Apparently Shinnosuke has been driving around in a remodeled KIT from Night Rider
No it's not KIT but close enough, Shinnosuke does know the voice though he doesn't know whose it is. Apparently NOTKIT here was the one who arranged Shinnosuke to be transferred to SCD for easy deployment and was the one who gave him the car. Shinnosuke tells him that he should have picked someone else since he's a lazy fool, no kidding. But at least he's aware of his problem. NOTKIT says that's that he's a superman and that he's just forgotten how to "start his engine" as he puts it. We cut to a skate-park/ basketball court where the Heaviness is occurring. A couple check their Heaviness detection app and confirms it, where a man in a green hood shows up. Shinnosuke checks the car to find the source of the voice and finds it, A belt attached to the dash board of the car. The belt then attaches himself to Shinnosuke.
Dude, stop being so happy that you're near his crotch, you've just met and he might not swing that way!
Kiriko shows up and tells Shinnosuke that there's been another attempted murder attempt. She's already transferred the coordinates to the Car's GPS. The Belt knowing that Shinnosuke doesn't have two brain cells to rub together, decides to drive the car their remotely and straps Shinnosuke to his seat. We cut to the skate-park where we meet the last of our supporting cast.
Does Shinnosuke listen to Rock and Roll? He does?! Arrest him, take his badge and tar and feather him!
We then get a good example of why the SCD team isn't taken seriously.
What? Don't your cops show up at crime scenes wearing props that would have been laughed off the set of Clones of Bruce Lee?
You have some weird cops then. Pft. Otta clearly as embarrassed as I am asks what is up with the Dr Seuss gizmos. Shinnosuke says that they're apparently supposed to detect gravity surge particles. Shinnosuke asks Otta what happened to the corpse, Otta says that he isn't dead but that there have been four other victims with the same condition since last week. Otta also says something so stupid that I'm not even going to comment on it.
Krusty if you don't mind?
And then the smug prick just walks off. You see what I mean about Japan portraying their police officers as incompetent assholes? Shinnosuke then notices something near one of the Evidence markers.
Hang on, I'm pretty sure you don't tamper with a crime scene. Call me crazy.
Judge Doom would not be happy let me tell you. The makeshift P.K.E meter goes off with the belt telling Shinnosuke that the culprit might be near and sure enough the world starts lagging again. Shinnosuke sees the man with the green hood from before and notices that he's walking through the Heaviness just fine. He then transforms into a Roidmude.
029? Is that his assembly number or something?
He then picks up Shinnosuke, commenting on how lively he is. The belt then summons what he calls "Shift Cars" which turn out to be the Hot Wheels from before. They manage to hold him off before he retreats. Back at the ranch, Rinna starts interviewing Otta about his first experience with the Heaviness, Otta still doesn't believe in the Heaviness; even though he experienced it first hand.
Kyuu says that everyone on the Net knows that Gravity Surges are a portent of the Roidmudes' rampages. Otta continues his outright stupidity by saying that unless he sees something he doesn't believe it. Normally I'd agree but you have several witnesses saying the exact same thing, including your colleagues who were standing right next to you, looking behind you that saw the whole thing! Also there was that little rampage six months ago, who do you think caused that, Goblins? Shinnosuke decides to bring the gift of logic and brings a composite of the man in the green hood. He then adjusts his tie, Kiriko comments that Shinnosuke has shifted into gear. Specifically his brain's gear.
I seriously want to know who drew this! They just look adorable.
Apparently Shinnosuke was an Elite in the Special Investigations Department before he transferred to the S.C.D. I'll get into my theories on this later, right now Tomari (I'm calling him that for now since everyone else seems too) is sprinting all over town looking for people who know the person from the composite shot. The man is identified as Masuda Nobuo, who was a regular at a local sports club. The Belt comments that the face is the same but the hair is different. As well as having a completely different Physique from the attack. Masuda follows someone coming out of the sports club to a park where he attacks after transforming into 029. Tomari tries to stop him but 029 causes the heaviness to stop him where he starts turning the man red.
Now we really know what made the Red man red.
Stupid fucking white man
Anyways the belt summons the Red Shift car; Max Flare which lands into a car slot on Tomari's belt which allows him to move through the Heaviness normally. He tries to fight 029 but a Spider and Bat Roidmude show up to back 029 up. Apparently there are various levels of Heaviness since even with one Shift Car Tomari still can't move when the two new Roidmudes activate the Heaviness. The Bat and Spider nearly kill Tomari when the Car shows up to block their laser blasts. Kiriko gets out and starts kicking the Roidmudes asses when Tomari notices she has the green and purple Shift cars on her with the same clip that's on Tomari's belt. She tells him to quit screwing around and fight. Tomari asks why she knows about the belt but she tells him that there's no time to explain. The belt sends the car, called Tridoron to fire at the Roidmudes. Tomari asks Belt (yes that is what he calls the belt) what he should do, Belt says to transform, he then summons a red Shift Car and Tomari's Henshin device called the Shift Brace and instructs him on how to transform. Belt says that Tomari lost something precious in the past, but he can save it now. As long as he has his comrades he can move faster then anyone, even in a gravity surge, as the warrior Drive. Tomari then Transforms and we finally get our first look at Drive.
Kamen Rider Drive Type Speed.
He then proceeds to fight the three Roidmudes. He seems to be holding his own until 029 gets in on the action; Kiriko sends out the other two Shift Cars called Spike and Shadow over to Drive. Thanks to the Shift Cars Drive can change the abilities of the tire on his torso. Drive then swaps Shift Cars to Max Flare, giving him a tire with flame shaped protrusions and fire powers. He uses the Shift Bracer to summon a flaming wheel to launch at 029 creating a flaming vortex when it hits. Of course Bat and Spider aren't done and attack again, Drive changes again to Funky Spike which can launch energy spike projectiles and while he's holding an opponent can spin at super speeds which throws the Spider Roidmude into the air and destroys it leaving behind a floating set of numbers, 042. The Bat Roidmude, 088 and 029 are not amused. Drive changes again to Midnight Shadow which creates giant energy shurikens. He destroys 088 and throws more shurikens to destroy the floating numbers which really gets 029 angry. Belt tells Drive to change back to Speed Tire to finish him. He does so and finishes off 029 with his Rider Kick. The energy number retreats while Drive goes to check on the victim. He's safe but Tomari notices a foil strip next to the victim and takes it. Later that night Kiriko takes Tomari to a secret location underneath the Kuruma station.
OMG Bruce Wayne is Batman!
No this is the Drive Pit, which will act as their base. Kiriko says that nobody knows about this place, not even the S.C.D. Belt congratulates Tomari on his success on his first case. Tomari however thinks that it's not over yet, he questions whether 029 was trying to kill his victims and looks at the two scraps from the crime scenes. We cut to the number of 029 gasping for breath when this guy shows up.
We end the first episode with 029 entering the car Heart is holding, transforming into a ball of light with Heart grinning. So for a first episode it's not too bad. It does exactly what it has to do, set the tone for the series, a general layout of how these episodes will play out, the characters and how they work off each other and establishing our villains. We also get some intrigue about Belt, Tomari and Kiriko. Why is Tomari Drive, what is the connection to Drive and the Roidmudes, what exactly are the Roidmudes up too and so on. Time for me to go into theories on Tomari, based on Kiriko's observations and what we saw during the Global Freeze; Tomari probably used to be a very serious, intelligent officer, but after the incident with Hayase he seems to have mental trauma and survivors guilt, which manifests as this new laid back attitude as a coping mechanism and mental repression. And when he adjusts his tie that could be a temporary break from the trauma. He may have actually been Drive but that knowledge and previous relationship between Kiriko and Belt could have also been repressed. Kiriko does seem to know more about the Drive powers here since she was the one to show Tomari how to use Belt and showed him where the Drive Pit is. Hopefully we will get some answers in the upcoming episodes. Now for the rest of these episode recaps I will switch to V-Logs. If I keep doing every episode like this I'll never be able to get them out in a timely manner. Keep an ear to the ground people.

Please be sure to read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

Kamen Rider is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
Saturday Night live is  owned by Lorine Michaels, NBC Studios and Broadway Video.
Silent Hill Downpour is owned by Vatra games and Konami Computer Entertainment.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is owned by Capella International, KC Medien, Moving Pictures, Eric's Boy, New Line Cinema, and Alliance Communications.
The Simpsons are owned by Matt Groening, Gracie Films, and 20th Century Fox Television.
Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 is owned by EA (Electronic Arts)
Peter Pan (1953) is owned by Walt Disney Productions, RKO Radio Pictures, J.M. Barrie and Walt Disney.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tokusatsu Review: Toquger episode 31: Follow the Ice Cream Bunny!

Please be sure to read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

This episode is going to be hard for me. Mostly because of the statements I made during my Kamen Rider Taisen Review, where I said Ressha Sentai Toquger is one of the worst Super Sentai I've seen so far. Then again the only other ones I've seen to completion so far are Liveman, Dairanger, Go-Onger, Gokaiger, Go-Busters, and Kyoryuger (and both seasons of Akibaranger if you count those). The ones that I haven't finished are Kakuranger, Ohranger, Carranger and Megaranger. Even then it's because I haven't made time to finish those shows or the subs aren't finished yet on some of the series. The point is that I don't exactly have a large knowledge of Sentai having only seen ten out of thirty eight series so far, HOWEVER! Even from my limited experience I still say that Toquger is one of the worst I've seen so far. Most of the heroes are moronic, annoying dill-weeds, the majority of the mech designs are the laziest I've seen yet, and whenever the show touches on the subject of "Imagination" I just, ugh my mind just goes to dark, terrible, evil places. Kinda like Lordkat when he played Super Mario Brothers 2 Japan. Get this, this show, is trying to teach kids, that children, are the only people who have imagination, and that they lose said imagination when they grow up. 
I'm not putting words in peoples mouths or anything, watch for yourself, they say it in at least the first three episodes. As someone who wants to be a game designer/writer, carriers that primarily rely on using ones imagination, this made me despise this show almost immediately. Also for the Sentai series that loves to spout out its "Imagination" pig crap for it to have some of the laziest designs for the heroes, mechs and their equipment, that is pretty indefensible. However there are some saving graces, I like the villain faction, the Shadow Line. From their designs to their personalities to how much smarter they are then the heroes most of the time. Them; combined with the very, very, very few good episodes in this show is what's keeping me from saying that it is completely irredeemable. What I mean by good episodes are the ones that either focus on advancing the plot or have nothing to do with Right. Everything else tends to lead to various flavors and amounts of pain. Now for a very quick summary of this series so that we can get on to talking about the episode. Ressha Sentai Toquger is about five people who have been recruited by an organization called the Rainbow Line to protect their stations from the Shadow Line who not only seek to capture these stations for themselves but to gather darkness from the people who live there which all goes into making the human world habitable not only for themselves but their Emperor, Zett. The core five consist of Kagura as Toq 5, an airhead who can delude herself into gaining super strength. Hikari as Toq 4, he is the smartest member of the team and my personal favorite. Mio as Toq 3, she's the tomboy of the team and shes kind of starting a relationship with Tokatchi who is Toq 2, he's a bookworm who has about as much common sense as a garden-hose. And finally there's Right as Toq 1, he's a dumb-ass with Bieber hair who through his thoughtlessness, carelessness and outright stupidity often makes situations worse and often times make the personal crises of his teammates even worse, sometimes with only his mere presence. He is a cancer to the team, the worst Red Senshi I've seen on either side of the Ocean so far (including Nick from Mystic Force, Jaden from Samurai, Troy from Megaforce and Alata from Goseiger) and no matter how much I want him to, he will never go away. The five are guided by the conductor named, Conductor, and his Monkey Hand puppet, Ticket; kill me! Their Alpha is a horribly perverted Gynoid named Wagon who seems to only have three jobs, bring the Toqugers food, take selfies of herself, and be horribly annoying. She's almost as bad as Jar-Jar in my book. The five are later joined by Zalam, a former member of the Shadow Line who joins them to make amends for the evil he caused while working for the Shadow Line (yeah his power is to make it rain, truly there is no greater evil in this world) basically his shtick is that he's an over the top parody of the brooding loner hero with his main joke being that every time he goes into battle he says that this will be where he dies. At first I didn't like this at all because it seems like the show is making fun of people who are contemplating suicide, but what saves this is that he does it in increasingly over the top ways and the jokes that are made about this trope is what saves it. I think that its like when someone keeps doing something stupid you eventually have to laugh, like this for example.
So yeah, Zalam joined the Toqugers as Toq 6 and his name was changed by the Toqugers to Akira Nijino which literally means "the brightness of the rainbow" (Niji no Akira) GET IT!? Anyway the plot so far, the Shadow Lines leader Zett is trying to gain the power of the light because he hates the darkness and wants to live in said light. However being in the human world is toxic to the guy, so he figures that by gathering light, whether literal or figurative he could live in both worlds. To that end he absorbed Gritta; the daughter of one of his Generals, Madame Noir to gain her inner sparkle. General Schwartz, the guy I mentioned in the Taisen review does not take this well and he attacked Zett only to be blown away for his trouble. And on top of this Marchioness Morc the General who raised Zett has shown up since the Toqugers are liberating their Shadow Towns, the stations that the Shadow Line have already taken over that is under Morc's jurisdiction. The Toqugers are doing this in the hopes that one of these Shadow Towns is their home town, which is the reason why they became the Toqugers in the first place. However the mech that the Toqugers use to access the Shadow Towns, the Drill Ressha, is in Schwartz' possession.
Good
If not, too bad there's a quiz later. So with episode 31 we open on two kids jogging through some fog training for Baseball judging by their uniforms when they notice the sound of a train whistle and see a giant train shrouded in fog. We then cut to the Toqugers on their trains when Ticket announced that instead of traveling to the next station they are instead heading for the Hyper Ressha Terminal. Apparently it can't be normally accessed by the Rainbow Line and can only show up when someone is summoned. I want to say that sounds familiar, but I can't put my finger on why. I'm being serious, someone help me.
Not going to lie, I like this shot and sequence.
It reminds me of Thomas the Tank Engine but in a good way. After the opening theme Ticket and Conductor say that the Terminal is the most important part of the Rainbow Line. Mostly because it's the control hub for the entire line, like the Shadow Line's Castle Terminal, so like it, the Terminal only shows up for when it is absolutely necessary, like when the President needs to talk to someone. Which is the case here since a voice (who we later find out is the President) tells Conductor over the intercom to meet him in his office. Right asks who that was.
Apparently President in Japanese is Sousai
 
(-‸ლ)


 
You've been with him this long and you've only realized this now?!
Once again we've learned something today.
Okay Ticket, you're redeemed. This is why you're my favorite character in this thing.
 After Right once again proving that his mother drank while he was in the womb. The Prez chimes in again saying that they need to evacuate so that the trains can get cleaned. Apparently this is to clean the trains of any residual Darkness left behind from fighting the Shadows since it's corrosive to them. And the Diesel Ressha is proof of that. While the trains are getting the evil scrubbed off, the dummies decide to take in the wonders of the Hyper Terminal, which apparently is the Mega Mall since it has a movie theater, a gym, a library, several restaurants and almost any facility you could want, minus an S&M dungeon. While the team heads off to get food Wagon decides to go polish her body at the Salon.
This is them normally.

This is them a few seconds later.

Notice something off?
We cut to the Shadow Line Castle. Zett is informed that the Hyper Ressha Terminal has appeared and Morc is more then ready to take advantage of this. She tells Nero to lure the Toqugers away from the Terminal while she attacks the Terminal directly. Zett decides to tag along since he's attracted to the Sparkles.
They're not even real Vampires!
Ugh Lady, this is a kid's show remember?!
Noir notices that Gritta hasn't been fully absorbed by Zett and she plans on saving her. Why? Last time I checked all you were concerned with was having her marry Zett so she could absorb him and take over with you pulling the strings. So now you're concerned about your daughter? Well at least you're the villain so I'm supposed to hate you. Once Zett left Schwartz starts to move himself with the Drill Ressha and his personal Kurainer. We then cut to the Rainbow President's office where he and Conductor are talking. This is big, we can finally see the head of the Rainbow line, the one that set this all up, the source of the Toqugers and the Rainbow line and; it's an escaped prisoner from Deadman Wonderland?!
I quit.
 I give up. Is this the Ice Cream Bunny? Are we going to see Tom Sawyer and Huck Fin watching a Gorilla pulling Santa's sleigh on a beach in Miami next? This is my head cannon, the Ice Cream Bunny convinced Santa to help him set up the Rainbow line if he would finally give him some damn Ice Cream and the first train was the Fire Ressha. It makes perfect sense I mean what else would they do with the Fire Truck they drove away on? At least you could take the Station Master from Den-O somewhat seriously, Jesus Christ. President Ice Cream Bunny tells Conductor that there's a problem with the Toqugers. I know, four of them are as dumb as hell, chuck the rest and make Hikari Red. He says that they've been exposed to the darkness too much and even if that wasn't the case they're changing by themselves anyway. How? We'll figure that out later. We cut to some people who finished eating at a restaurant but can't get out of their chairs. Not because they're morbidly obese but because a Shadow Kaijin has used his magic to seal them on to the chairs.
This is Chair Shadow
 While Chair Shadow does this his big brother then uses his magic to flip the tables and chairs several feet into the air simultaneously while the people are still stuck to them.
This is Table Shadow, is it just me or does their design remind you of rams?
Thankfully nobody landed on their head, that would have killed them instantly.
That's kind of what I would expect to happen when people's heads meet the floor with that amount of terminal velocity. But there goes me and my logic again. The Toqugers get there before there were any fatalities (on screen anyway.)
Two things, #1 Nero, quit breaking the 4th wall we've got a guy that can blow your ass out of the water. #2 Because this show loves to make our heroes look dumber every chance it can. :)
Anyway they show up, transform and fight the brothers. Table Shadow starts off by flipping the bus they rode in on with so much kinetic force it made it explode! Now imagine if he did that to a normal person oh wait yes he did! Honestly there should be several piles of chunky salsa everywhere.
BWAHAHAHAHA you see why I've changed on Akira? He's mourning a bus for god's sake how is this not funny?
I mean come on this is actually funny. While that's going on Zett and Morc head to the Hyper Terminal to tear the place apart. One wonders why they didn't bring every single Monster, Kurliner and Kuro under their command with them, but we need to save all of that for the finale. Tradition and all that. Schwartz then rams Zett and Morc's train with the Drill Kurainer and forces them to land in an office building. Schwartz fights against Morc which draws the attention of Right. Noir shows up to back up Morc to make sure that Schwartz doesn't kill Zett. Zett however finds this to be annoying and sends out shock-waves of Darkness to punish them, but Right shows up to save a little girl who was cowering in a corner, no doubt scared. Right then decides to fight the Shadow Emperor for sacrificing others to obtain what he wants. Also for scaring the little girl.
After a really good cutaway Zett transforms into his monster form to meet Right's challenge. But then Morc, Noir and Schwartz then get in on the fight and it quickly turns into an uneven five way brawl. Back to the rest of the core four Toqugers, the fight against the dining set brothers is not going well, when Hikari tells the others to retreat. Akira on the other hand still has his hands full with Nero. Back to Right; Zett is starting to lose it and is attacking everyone that gets in his way. Thankfully there were no civilians in the area otherwise, they'd be dead. Right then decides to try and match Zett with the Hyper Ressha armor.
Which is still one of the worst Battlizers I've ever seen! It's just stupid gold shoulder pads for god's sake!
Ugh this does give Right the power to repel Zett's strikes and forces him back. Schwartz then takes the chance to strike a fatal blow against Zett but sees that Gritta is inside of him and hesitates giving Zett a chance to repel him. Zett starts to feel pain in his chest forcing him and Morc to retreat. Noir confirms for Schwartz that Gritta is really alive inside of Zett and that's why she can't let Zett be destroyed just yet. Meanwhile back to the Dining bros they're looking for the Toqugers when they notice a Kotatsu right in the middle of the walkway.
This totally doesn't look suspicious at all does it?
Of course for a monster that's all about flipping people and tables; this is like the old shave and a haircut trick and he absolutely can't resist. So he flips the thing revealing the Toqugers who use their blasters to shoot the Demon Duo. Table uses Chair as a living shield letting him be destroyed. Of course in Toquger when a monster is destroyed it just causes him to grow. For no explained reason! He just grows, not even a throw away line to explain why. Hell I'll even take torpedoes being fired at them to make them grow, just give me something! Of course the Trains are finished being cleaned up at this point. Welcome to the plot convenience playhouse kids. So yeah, the Toqugers form their terribly constructed mech, beat the giant Chair Shadow and all's well that ends well. Except for when they get back to the trains where Conductor gives the Toqugers bad news, but good news for me. The Toqugers are disbanded! YAY! But of course we still have at least 18 more episodes of this show left to go so not really. Next time we'll find out what President Ice Cream Bunny told Conductor. And we reveal a new twist!
                          

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Super Sentai is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
History of the World Part 1 is owned by Mel Brooks and 20th Century Fox
Spaceballs is owned by  Mel Brooks, Brooksfilms and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Good Burger is Owned by Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and Tollin/ Robbins Productions
Naked Gun 331/3: The Final Insult is owned by Jim Abrahams Jerry and David Zucker, and Paramount Pictures
Wayne's World is owned by Lorine Michaels, NBC Films and Paramount Pictures
Scanners is owned by David Cronenberg, Avco-Embassy Films, and Manson International
The Langoliers TV Mini series is owned by Stephen King, Tom Holland and ABC Network
Drawn Together is owned by Comedy Central, Dave Jeser, Matt Silverstein, Double Hemn, and Rough Draft Studios.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Video Game Review: Persona Retrospective: Persona (PSP) Part 1: Welcome to the Velvet Room

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One of my personal favorite series of games is the Mega-ten franchise, more specifically the Persona series. This sub series of games focus on themes of Jungian philosophy, self-discovery and realization, the strength of bonds gained from those close to you, and that every person has the power to change themselves. Of course when you just look at the series in a mechanics sense Mega-Ten games are basically Pokemon only with an actual plot, only instead of Pikachu you can summon the Devil!
Pika, Pika mortals!
Instead of what can be considered legalized cock fights you instead control demons and various mythological figures to fight against creatures of pure darkness and negativity. Sounds like fun right? Well it sounds better then anything Square Enix crapped out in recent years regarding Final Fantasy. Now for us to start off at the beginning. Now I won't be covering the original American release of Persona 1 known as Revolations Persona since, well A: I didn't play it when I was younger and B and this is the important one; B: the original localization team took a chainsaw to everything! They pretty much went out of their way to make this as "American" as possible, name changes, dialogue, the whole nine yards. They even resorted to putting one character in black-face, I'm not going to show it for obvious reasons but look up Masao Inaba and see for yourself. Basically they Lolcolized the ever loving crap out of this game, and I refuse to give that version the time of day.
Unclean heathen, you dare to refuse the generosity of American publishers sparing your pure American mind from foreign influence? That's it, I want you out of my country right now, In America! Now if you'll excuse me I'm going back to the most American place on earth, In Columbia!
Wow, I was wondering what happened to that guy, anyway I'm going to be talking about the PSP re-release that came out in 2009. And because it was on PSP it's now on the Vita! Now for the game itself, we open on a classroom in St. Hermelin High School in the town of Mikage-cho where seven friends are discussing whether they believe in a rumor called the Persona game which apparently would allow people who participated in the ritual to be able to see their futures or other similar phenomena. Now for me to introduce seven out of our nine heroes in the order of their introduction. The first is Masao Inaba nicknamed Mark.
Oh hai Mark.
Yeah I'll just be using the characters nicknames for this recap in order to make it easier for me. Markey Mark here is the lighthearted class clown of the group. The person who instigated this event is Hidehiko Uesugi aka Brown.
He could be this universe's Kamen Rider Blade judging by that shirt.
He's also more of a joker then Mark and a bit more smug but he does have a good heart. Next is Yuka Ayase.
I don't like her.
Why? I'll get to why later, she's an air headed Kogal who can get more then a little annoying. For those of you wondering what exactly a Kogal is. Well, think of them as Japan's answer to valley girls and you'll be close enough. Next is Eriko Kirishima aka Elly.
Coming down the isle showing our new school fall lineup!
Elly is a rich girl who returned from studying over seas in America for most of her life. She has a calm, lady like grace and elegance to her, along with an interest in the occult, and she's one of the most popular girls in St. Hermelin High. Next is Kei Nanjo.
Screw the meme I have a Persona!
Nanjo is the heir to the Nanjo group, a group of various corporations. Due to him being a bit of a rich brat he tends to be more of a cold, logical thinker, have some of an heir of arrogance to him, and tends to be the stick in the mud of the group. Next is Yukino Mayuzumi.
If you need help, just call me.
She's a former yankī who is trying to reform with help from the groups teacher, Saeko Takumi. Yukino is often seen as a big sister to most of the student body.
No, but that would make her even more awesome.
She still does her best to look out for people and help where she can in her own way. And finally there's our main hero. Like most main heroes in the franchise he's a silent protagonist and you can give him whatever name you want. But for the purpose of this retrospective I will be using the name given to him in the Manga. This is Naoya Tōdō aka Naorin.
Anything you want to say to the audience? Nope? Okie dokie then.
As we go through the game we get to see this guy develop by his interaction with the rest of the cast and certain choices he makes during the journey. As for the other two heroes, we'll get to them later. Our heroes are attempting the Persona game ritual with Nanjo and Yukino choosing to stay out of the proceedings as they find it to be just bunk. Mark thinks it's bunk too but decides to participate due to a bet between him and Brown. Ayase and Elly side with Brown while you can choose to side with Brown thinking the Persona game is real; or you could side with Mark thinking this is a joke. For this we'll go with Brown since we know what'll happen next. The ritual goes like this, four participants in each of the four corners of a room facing inward, with the rest of the participants standing inside the room. One of the people in the corners will shout out something along the lines of "Persona, Persona, Please come here." (The come here part varies with each speaker). Then the first person walks to the right, till they're standing by the second person in a corner. Then that person repeats that action, ending up near the third and so on. The game ends when the fourth person reaches the spot the first was positioned at the start of the game.At first the group think that the game was a hoax, but they turn to see a small girl that wasn't there before.
No, not that one.
This one actually doesn't want to kill you instead she cries asking for help when all of a sudden lightining fills the room and hits Yukino, Nanjo, Mark and Naorin, knocking them unconscious. They're then transported through a tunnel of gears and whatnot where the eventually meet this guy.
    
After you answer his question Philemon grants you with the power of Persona, he explains that Persona is the power to access the various other "Selfs" that reside within them, the selfs suffused with divine love, the selfs that are capable of demonic cruelty. All of these various forms of the self can be accessed through the power of Persona. For this and the next two installments of the franchise Philemon mostly acts the role of the mentor, guiding the heroes to their next objectives, teaching them about the enemies they face, and how to access greater power. For now he says that they will need the power soon and that they should return to their proper place and time. Good advice, I'll get back to you next time where we discuss the last two members of the party, the setting, the enemies and the annoyance that is the EXP system.

Please be sure to read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

Shin Megami Tensai Persona is owned by Atlus and Sega.
Yugioh is owned by Konami, Kazuki Takahashi, Toei Animation, Shonen Jump and Viz Media.
The Ring is owned by Dreamworks Pictures, Benderspink and Parkes/MacDonald Productions
Bioshock 2 is owned by Take2 interactive, 2K Marin, and 2K Australia