Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tokusatsu Review: Top 16 Main Kamen Rider Final Forms Part 2 (Spoilers)

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 Now it's been a while since the first part of this list. Coincidentally I started this list on the one year anniversary of this very blog! So yeah, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
Yep I somehow managed to keep this thing going for more then a year now so yay me! Now on to the list; but first to recap the Final Forms that just didn't work for me then to the ones that start to get decent.
16 Hibiki Armed
15 Ryuki Survive
14 Agito Shining
13 Decade Complete
12 Stronger Charge Up
11 Fourze Cosmic States
10 Faiz Blaster
9 Wizard Infinity Style

 Caught up? Good moving on.
#8 Kabuto Hyper Form
When I was watching this series I had heard that many people consider this to be one of the best Rider series in the Heisei era, but I just thought it was at least B+ instead of A+. Mostly because I found the main Rider Souji Tendou to be even more of a pretentious jackass then Tsukasa and even more of a Gary Stu. I mean for at least the first half of the series the guy was always right, was a master chief, a Kamen Rider and always has a quote from his "grandma" that always fit the situation. For me at least I'm thankful the other Riders and the occasional guest characters showed up to put Tendou in his place from time to time.

However I have to give all the praise to his Hyper Form. Normally any of the ZECT Riders have the ability to go into super sonic speeds to match the Worms who can also access the same speeds, not faster then a bullet fired from a handgun but still faster then normal humans can perceive. However Hyper Form lets Kabuto go twice as fast; even allowing him to travel through time! So move over Superman, Flash and Sonic there's a new speedster in town. Not only can Kabuto kill about 50 Worms in the time it takes me to fart but he also gets an awesome weapon, the Perfect Zecter.

Not only is it a badass sword,
but it can also turn into a giant gun!
Though there is a catch, to use this little toy Kabuto needs to not only utilize his Zecter but also the Drake, TheBee and Sasword Zecters to make it work, so in theory in a large group battle three Riders need to get one super powered Rider. Also how this form comes around is more then a little convoluted. So apparently ZECT designed the thing but didn't want Souji to get his hands on it since he didn't work for them even though the guy has been kicking the asses of the Worms far better then their chosen Riders who in turn have basically gone nuts due to their personalities not accepting failures. So yeah they destroy the Hyper Zecter but apparently another one shows up from an alternate time line; something that surprised ZECT even though they built the damn thing and should know it's capabilities which was apparently brought into the past by a future Tendou even if it shouldn't exist in the future since it was just destroyed and, and.
Oh surprise surprise the episodes where Hyper From was introduced was written by Toshiki Inoue, that's why it doesn't make any sense. Moving on; I really do like the designs of the Riders in Kabuto, with a return to the insect motif with the appropriate mix of the high tech design which makes sense since they were created with advanced technology. The Masked and Rider forms were also a nice touch, the preliminary Masked form acting as a technological cocoon and as extra armor until the Rider decides to use Cast off to molt into their Rider Forms. Hyper form seems to be the best mix with more armor to protect Kabuto but at the cost of running speed with all of the extra armor on him. Speaking of there are more patches of Red in Hyper form's extra armor to give more contrast to the black under suit which does make this form more distinct. So yeah Hyper Form is a clear finish to a faster then light Rider.
#7 Blade King Form
I think that Blade is a pretty good series, though not because of the main character Kenzaki. I honestly thought the guy was one of the most generic, boring main Riders I've seen. He pretty much filled the checklist for the stereotypical stock standard Japanese protagonist. Dead Parents, check, willing to fight to save others, check, having no other defining personality traits then saving people, check. The guy just came off as bland and the show itself is only propelled by the other Riders.

That being said I do love me some King Form, aesthetically this form does live up to its name as it does resemble a suit of armor that a warrior King might wear into battle, also.

Yeah I really do love the contrast of blue, black and gold, each of these colors and their placement helps make the individual parts of the suit look distinct. King From also frees Blade of having to consciously pull Rouze cards out of a deck to utilize them as King Form allows Blade to access any of the Spade suit cards which are merged into his armor, giving Blade more time to concentrate on his opponent. His weapon; the King Rouzer is an awesome broadsword which just like King Form itself gives Blade more power at the cost of speed. Though in the case of the King Form armor it gives Blade much higher defenses at the cost of speed and maneuverability.

 King Form also has a much more serious drawback aside from combat and performance. See in order for the Riders in Blade to become Riders they have to merge with the DNA of the Category Ace Undead card to transform. Normally transforming into their standard Ace form presents very little problems aside from the safety of utilizing the Form being dependent on ones mental state. However the DNA fusion between Rider and Undead increases with every form that's accessed.

 In Jack form the fusion is between not only the Category Ace but also that of the Jack and Queen since the Queen is the Rouze card that triggers the fusion. Then we have King Form which requires the merging of all 13 cards of that suit to utilize and if one stays in King Form for too long the user is transformed into a Joker.
No not that Joker.

Nor this Joker ( though I will cover him later).

Thankfully not this Joker either.
But this Joker.
 Now I won't go into much detail as to why becoming the evil green bug monster is a bad thing I'll save that for when I talk about the true protagonist of Blade when I decide to talk about favorite Secondary Rider Final Forms. So for now King Form may give some King sized problems but I still love it.
#6 Ultimate Kuuga
Kuuga is unfortunately one of those series that I haven't seen yet. I really do want to see it however but I just want to wait until TV Nihon finishes doing the Subs. I know that Midnight Crew has finished their subs but I want to see it with the TV Nihon quality without having the spoilers that come with the Grongi (the monsters of Kuuga) translations. Now I have seen reviews of this show
and from what I've seen I can definitely tell why this show was the one that revived the franchise after years of dormancy and in fact six years before Dr Who came back on the small screen. Huh, odd coincidence. I might have to get on that topic sometime in the future.

 Sadly since Ultimate Form only shows up in the very last fight in the series I don't have a lot to talk about in terms of powers and skills, just that apparently Ultimate Form is the most physically powerful form in the franchise at the time of this review. Also since I actually want people to take a look at Kuuga I'm not going to talk about the storyline relevance of this form either because yeah it's a big one. That just leaves the design and it's beauty lies in its simplicity. No overly detailed armor, no ridiculous flourishes or anything like that, just a black suit with spiked shoulder pads and gold lining around the suit that sort of resemble blood veins. Ultimate Form is a form worthy of the greatest warrior.
#5 W/Double Cyclone Joker Xtreme
W is the first Rider of the Neo-Heisei era. I honestly have to admit this show is really good and the chemistry of Shotaro and Philip not only sell it but is the direct basis and stability of W and Cyclone Joker Xtreme form definitely helps to drive the character development that these two sleuths go through. This form taps into the power of the true Gaia Memory which as the name implies is essentially the brain of the planet itself; all the events and concepts that have been witnessed and conceived by those who live on Earth are stored inside of the true Gaia Memory; thus the greatest strength of Xtreme isn't in power but knowledge.

Since these two are tapping directly into the True Gaia Memory and Philip (who in this form has perfectly fused with Shotaro) was essentially reborn by the True Gaia Memory W can perfectly analyze the composition of any Dopant and destroy their Gaia Memory with their Prism Break Maximum Drive. As for this form design I love the symmetrical color balance with the colors of Cyclone and Joker with a nice addition of Silver right down the middle and the X's on both of the ankles, the helmet and half X's split between the shoulder to act as shoulder pads. As for the story line significance I feel that's something that needs to be seen rather then told. What else can be said about this form rather then
yeah that works.
#4 OOO Putotyra Combo
OOO is a fun series, with the right amount of comedy to help draw viewers in, great action scenes to keep butts glued to their seats waiting to see what combo OOO's will use and darkness to keep the stakes poignant. That underlying darkness is exemplified in OOO's unwilling Final Form, the Putotyra combo which draws power from the antithesis of desire and seek the destruction of everything, oblivion. Like the rest of the Core Metals the purple cores draws power from animals and just like how the purple metals seek oblivion the animals that the purple core medals are based on are extinct. Which were mostly dinosaurs and mythological animals since one time Dr Maki, the main bad who also had half of the purple cores in him created a Unicorn monster; but really they only did the mythological monster thing only once so I personally think they should have just stuck to Dinosaurs for the purple cores and made mythological animals another set but that's just me.

Anyway these cores forcefully entering Eiji finally allowed us to get more into his back story about how he was helping a village in Africa when the village got destroyed by a local militia; everyone in the village was slaughtered, he got held hostage by the enemy militia and the only reason his family paid the ransom was to use Eiji's tragedy to gain support for his father's political platform. Now if I were in Eiji's position I would have beat my parents until they were a pile of raw hamburger meat for using me like that but in Eiji's case it caused him to lose any trace of selfish desire, which while it allowed him to use the power of OOO without going nuts it's also what caused the Purple Medals to go into him in the first place. Aside from forcefully tuning into this form whenever they feel like it the purple medals can also cause Eiji to go completely berserk causing him to attack friend and foe alike. When these demonic Plinko chips aren't doing that they're also slowly turning Eiji into a Greeed that is essentially a demonic version of Barney.
Pants to be darkened!
Aside from turning Eiji into a demonic purple Apocalymon let's discus what good things he gets with this form. As formed by a lack of desire the Purple Medals are anathema to the normal core medals and can thus destroy them and thus can kill the other Greeed. The three pieces of the combo itself gives Eiji powers in each of the three pieces of his armor. The Pteranodon head not only lets him fly but also allows him to generate freezing winds like Superman's ice breath, his Triceratops torso shoulder tusks can also extend and contract according to Eiji's will allowing him to impale enemies at a great distance.

Finally the Tyrannosaurus legs not only give Eiji incredible kicking power but he can also form a giant tail to smack around enemies. He also gets the Metagabryu a bazooka/axe modeled after a T-Rex head that eats Cell Medals to blow enemies to pieces either by chopping it in half or by blasting it until it's a pile of medals or chunky salsa depending on who he's fighting. Just remember kids, mess with Putotyra combo and you'll be the one ending up extinct.
#3 Den-O Liner Form
 There's an old saying; you never forget your first. You never forget your first kiss, whovians never forget their first doctor and Rider Fans never forget their first Rider, and Den-O is the very first Rider whose series I watched from start to finish. Yeah yeah yeah people either love this series the way it is or despise it due to Toei taking its success and stretching it out even longer then the Clone Saga. But I still have a soft spot for this series, Ryotaro and the arc of his character development culminated in this form.

See up until the point this was introduced Ryotaro was a wimp who constantly needed help from his friends the four Imagins ( the monsters of the series) known as the Taros to possess him to become the various forms of Den-O to help fight the evil Imagins. However due to the plot point known as the Junction point (which is the person who's existence determines whether the current future or the future that was lost thus creating the Imagins is the true future) begins to manifest he loses the ability to be in sync with the Taros while in the past thus the four create for Ryotaro the DenKamen sword which allows him to fight on his own in Liner Form. Before he would need the help of the Imagins to save the day and now he has to train even harder to make up for his own timid nature to insure the safety of his friends, family and his time line. This form is the culmination of Ryotaro's development from a wimp to a true noble warrior who can stand on equal ground alongside the Taros to protect those dear to him.

Enough mushy stuff time to discuss Liner Forms powers, while he is the fastest of Den-O's forms it is unfortunately the weakest due to Ryotaro's timid nature and without the direct support of the Taros. However the DenKamen more then makes up for it as it allows him to access the fighting styles of the other Taros such as Kintaro's power backed attacks, Ryutaro's projectiles and Urataro's long range capabilities. When he uses the power of one of the four forms he's covered in a Aura shaped like the respective Taro's personal Train called the Aura Liner to further protect him and enhance his attacks. He finally then rushes his opponent with his signature finisher the Train slash which combines the Aura Liners of all four Taro's to create the Den Liner Aura Liner and finish off his opponent with one fast and powerful slash.

Design wise Liner Form is modeled after the King Liner and is one of the more symmetrical Final Forms in the franchise and I love it. I love the head lights on the chest plate that resemble large yellow eyes and the nice balance of red, black and white on the suit. The helmet may have the default red eyes of Sword Form but is flourished with the blue, yellow and purple spikes along the side of the helmet to allude to Den-Os other forms. Although the thing on top of the helmet looks kind of silly but it still adds to the train theme of Den-O so it works. So while Den-O is my first Final form ever it is unfortunately a few minutes late so I can't make it #1 since there are two better forms from far better Riders.

#2 Gaim Kiwami Arms
Yes despite Gaim being my current favorite Kamen Rider Series; Kiwami Arms only gets the #2 spot.  Now don't worry I'll explain why. This form might not have won hearts at first because it came after the far better looking Kachidoki arms form, yet this is apparently the true form of that awesomeness so it's cool. Unlike other forms which gain their own weapons this form's true strength lies in its versatility as it can not only use the weapons of all of the other Armored Riders, the Sonic Arrow of the New Genesis Riders, and the absolute beauty that is the DJ gun from Kachidoki arms but also use more then one while using the Kiwami Lockseed. So if he needed to block attacks while attacking from long range, just two flips of the Kiwami seed and boom Melon Defender in one hand and the Budou Ryuhou in the other. Or he can summon the Mango Punisher and the Donkachi for two different types of blunt force on his enemies heads when he uses their heads like a drum set.

However like Blade's King form using this Form for too long and too often transforms the user into an Overlord leaving behind someone who only looks human. However Kouta doesn't care what becomes of him so long as he gains the power to save his town, the world and stop the cycle of the Helheim Forrest. But unlike King Form which turns the user into a monster being an Overlord comes with great benefits, you gain control over the plants of Helheim, regeneration and can summon cracks in reality creating access points to the real world and Helheim. So aside from only being able to gain sustenance from helheim fruit which would normally turn people into Inves and losing your humanity that sounds like a sweet deal.

As for the design I still love it I'm a big sucker for capes and the addition of one on Kiwami arms helps build this form into one of the coolest looking Final forms. Unlike previous Final Forms which had a mixture of other colors Kiwami has a primarily white color scheme with various black spots to prevent the suit from just looking like a big white blob, this especially helps the shoulder pads; which with the black stripes make it look like half's of a sunflower seed. The Shogun design really looks good especially with the Gaim Logo emblazoned on his helmet, the bits of armor held over from Kachidoki arms recolored white and that the visor is a rainbow combined with the breastplate decorated with several of the fruits the lockseeds are based on really help to highlight the versatility that Kiwami arms is capable of. So instead of having only one weapon Kiwami arms has many different ways it can make its enemies into a bloody fruit salad.
#1 Kiva Emperor Form
My flat out favorite final form. Yet ironically from a series helmed by Inoue, maybe by this point Inoue finally figured out that his BS was getting people angry and finally stopped, or maybe I should give this series a second look to make sure my love for Kiva still holds up. But for right now I love Emperor Form! See this, among all the other Final Forms on this list is the one I want to turn into the most, this form made vampires cool again after several years of living in the glitter filed horror unleashed by Stephenie Meyer and her horrible Twilight franchise.

This for me is the perfect culmination of what a final form should be. This design looks absolutely badass. Like I said with Gaim, I love capes on these forms, but what make Emperor Forms cape better then Kiwami Arms is that this cape is long enough to give Kiva a royal, regal look but short enough so that it's not impractical in combat. The colors work perfectly; as a form called Emperor the mixture of Red and Gold could not have been better. In various cultures around the world Red and Gold are considered if not royal then noble and important colors, from Christianity attributing Red to the blood of Christ and a color often worn by Cardinals and Popes wearing Red shoes, Egypt where their Pharaohs were buried in a golden sarcophagus, to China where one of the creatures associated with the four directions Zhu Que is the Vermilion Bird but I could go on.

Anyway; story wise this form shows when Wataru becomes consumed with rage after his girlfriend Mio was nearly killed by a Fangire (the monsters in Kiva's series) this awakened Tatsulot a small dragon like creature sealed in Castle Doran who was drawn to Wataru's Fangire blood thus awakening Wataru's full power as Emperor Form. After that point as Wataru begins fighting his half brother Tiaga the current leader of the Fangires; he starts to use Emperor Form more as his default form as the two and their ideologies conflict, as for the rest I don't want to spoil so check out Kiva to see the final arc of Wataru's character development and how he starts as a shut in to a warrior worthy of being called a true king.

 As for the capabilities of the form itself Kiva's strength in this form is insane, his final attack the Full Moon break can kick with the force of 150 tons! He also gets the sword that was once wielded by the first King of the Fangires, the Zanvat sword a golden broadsword that while powerful is unfortunately too powerful as the sword has the potential to fully awaken Wataru's Fangire blood causing him to go completely nuts just like the Putotyra Combo. That (without too much spoilers) is Kiva Emperor, currently my #1 Favorite Final Form, hail to the King Baby!

I've told you all what I think of the Final Forms, now I want to know what yours are. Let me know in the comments if you agree with this list or if you think that your favorite form got gibed. Let me know, share the links and I'll see you next time. Trust me, I'll be back.

Kamen Rider is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
Face to Face is Owned by Weird Al Yankovic and Nerdist.
Wayne's World is owned by NBC films, Paramount Studios, Lorine Michaels and Penelope Spheeris.
Austin Powers: Goldmember is owned by Gratitude International, Team Todd, Moving Pictures, and New Line Cinema. 
Mass Effect 2 is owned by Bioware and Electronic Arts.
Persona 2 Innocent Sin is owned by Atlus and Sega.
Joker is owned by Jerry Robinson, Bob Kane, Bill Finger and DC Comics. 
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