Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tokusatsu Review: Kamen Rider Drive & Gaim Taisen Full Trottle Part 1: Don't piss off the God of Love! (Spoilers)

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 Time for us to talk about my current favorite Rider series again. Now let me make this absolutely clear, this will obviously take place after the events of Gaim so if you really don't want spoilers for this show and another show that Urobuchi wrote ( both of which I highly recommend by the way) which I will be making a major reference to; watch the show because there's no going back after this.
 We open on, uuuuumm Planet Heaven I guess?
I mean it's a tranquil spherical dwarf planet that has lush vegetation, beautiful surroundings and has two gods living on it so what else can I call it? 
 I say that since we can see Kouta as the man of the beginning standing among the flora and fauna of his and Mai's planet. It's just a typical day for him when a giant metal structure falls out of the sky and starts anchoring itself to the planet, launching out robotic spores which are causing major damage around their impact points as well as assimilating anything that comes in contact with its technological type of field projected from the spores which is how it manages to revert The Woman of the Beginning back to Mai and capture her. So not even five minutes in to the movie and we now know that our enemy is capable of powering down and capturing gods eh?
 Especially when we see our movie exclusive big bad; Megahex.
I believe that translates to "U mad Bro?"
 Kouta is of course pissed off that this guy essentially broke into his house, used his Grandma's ash jar as a chamber pot, broke his TV then told him to pay him for the privilege of being graced by his presence so the two start fighting. However Megahex grabs Kouta's head and starts to absorb data from him, including his language so now he can speak fluent Japanese. If only that were so simple in real life am I right? Kouta then transforms into Kiwami Arms and begins to lay the smack-down on this fool.

 However during their DBZ style fight Megahex asks why Gaim is so concerned over a single individual when all should be fused with Megahex. Gaim of course refuses to listen and keeps attacking Megahex. Megahex however manages to overpower Gaim and accesses more of his memories such as the Lockseeds, his friends and more importantly; Earth and thus makes it his new target. Gaim tries to stop him as we cut to the Gaim portion's title card.

 Back on Earth we see how Zawame City has been rebuilt after the Helheim invasion. After some catching up scenes with the rest of the Armored Riders they notice the portal over Earth and Gaim trying to keep Megahex back and now I have no choice but to address this little tidbit about Megahex. He's basically an amalgamation of four different villains. The first is obvious, not only with how he goes on about how all life should be part of Megahex, rejecting the individual for the collective, not to mention the whole assimilation and robot thing; but the clincher is this line,
he's the Borg from Star Trek. Now I won't tell what the other quarters are just yet, I'll save it for when those parts come up.
 Anyway Megaborg keeps pushing his energy attack forcing Gaim to collide with Zawame causing a massive explosion whose after shocks cause destruction across the entire city. Gaim barely managed to survive the blast when Megahex comes down to finish him off. Gaim holds Megahex with the Helheim vines and hits him with not only his DJ Gun but also with his Kiwami Squash Rider Kick destroying him, but not really as another one shows up and sneak attacks Gaim and as the others watch in horror as Kouta is killed after Megahex rips out the Kiwami Arms Lockseed.

 Yep Kouta was killed and he was ripped apart from his godly power. Hang on a second, a god ripped from their power, created by Gen Urobutchi, happens in a movie that takes place after their series concluded? Oh no, oh god no!
Oh crap-baskets!
 Game over man game over! Yeah it's superficial but it's there, Megahex pulled a Homura and split a god in half, sure the context and motivations are astoundingly different (and somewhat complicated in Homura's case) but aside from those the only difference is when Homura split a god she kept the human half while Megahex took the God half. Speaking of that's one half of my references down, two more to go.

 Once it got what it wanted from Kouta, the God of Love then starts to recreate the planet in it's own image by absorbing people, the surrounding area and sending down the robo plant thing to spread its spores to absorb more. Takatora confronts Megahex who just gives its Borg shtick again and flies off. The assimilation wave continues to spread absorbing everything in its path until Micchi confronts Megahex near the robo flower. But before he can transform Megahex analyzes the Sengoku driver and recreates two Kurokage troopers to attack Micchi who transforms into Kamen Rider Ryugen to fight them off. He manages to destroy them with no problems but it was just because they helped give Megahex more data on his fighting capabilities.

 For its next trick Megahex recreates a Genesis Driver and to Micchi's horror; Ryoma Sengoku.
Hello, sunshine, miss me?
 Yeah apparently Megahex recreated Ryoma based off of Kouta's memories of him, so Ryoma didn't exactly come back to life per say this is just a robot recreated based off Kouta's memories of Ryoma, though that notion is rather inconsistent with how Hex-Ryoma as I like to call him interacts with the other Riders, acting like he was brought back to life instead of just being based off of Kouta's memories of the real Ryoma. Anyway Megahex leaves Hex-Ryoma to gather more data and teleports away as Hex-Ryoma pulls out a Megahex recreation of the Dragon Fruits Energy Lockseed.
Becoming Kamen Rider Duke Dragon Energy Arms.
 Now I know that those who read my review of Gaim Gaiden Baron are going to call fowl on this but remember how I said that he used a Megahex recreation of the Dragon Energy Arms? So something like Megahex could easily make his version of the Dragon Fruit Energy Lockseed able to transform someone into an alternate form of Duke instead of Tyrant. The problem however comes from how Megahex knew to recreate the Lockseed since Kouta never encountered the Dragon Fruit Lockseed. Wait what? It's never explained, okay never mind then.

 Duke then attacks Ryugen who gets tossed around like a rag-doll. Ryugen asks what exactly Megahex is and Duke says that it's the same as the Overlords, beings that were invaded by Helheim. The way that Megahex survived is by transforming their entire species and planet into a single conscious and entity. Hang on, transforming their entire species into a singe intelligence to head off an evolution based enemy.
For a single entity you do seem to be rather astute.
 Oh this just keeps getting better by the second. So Ryugen gets sent flying by the messenger but manages to grab a Sengoku Driver from the wreckage of the Robo Kurokages before he runs off. Later that night at the Gaim Garage our heroes are recovering from the attack but still devastated after seeing Kouta get killed. Oren brings up the point that Micchi is the only one who can fight since he has a Sengoku Driver. Takatora flashes back to when Kouta visited him in his coma and says that if he were here he wouldn't give up.

 In his dream Micchi is contacted by Mai who apologizes that she and Kouta couldn't stop Megahex, that she's inside of the robo flower and to destroy it no matter what. All she can do is give them one last chance, Micchi then wakes up and discovers a single Helheim Fruit which matures into a Melon Lockseed and since Micchi managed to steal a Sengoku Driver that means that Takatora is back in the game.

 The next morning the two brothers head over to the weapon where Hex-Ryoma is waiting for them. Hex-Ryoma starts to go on how the collective is like the best est thing ever for reals. But Takatora is having none of it so Hex-Ryoma transforms into Duke to kill the two. The brothers then transform into Ryugen and Zangetsu with Zangetsu holding Duke off so Ryugen can get inside the weapon and free Mai.

 Ryugen gets closer to the weapon but is ambushed by Megahex's reproduction Roidmudes. Foul, flag on the field! How did Megahex get the data on the Roidmudes to recreate them? I mean yeah those spore he sent out could have reached Kuruma where the Roidmudes are hiding out but yeah no idea how this happened and I think these guys should have shown up when Drive got involved in these events but then again that would be the smart thing to do and we clearly can't have that. Bad movie, bad, no biscuit!

 Ryugen switches to Kiwi arms and manages to destroy some of the Roidmudes before riding away in Budou arms where we see more of the fight between Zangetsu and Duke. Duke starts to kick Zangetsu's ass saying that with his research he could have been a god. Zangetsu can only laugh saying that those "gods" are nothing but a load of empty, hollow crap just like Duke is now that he's a part of Megahex. This of course sets Duke off and the two have one final stand-off. Both using their squash attacks which then jump cuts to Ryugen riding into the facility. Boooo bad cut do I have to get the newspaper and smack you across the nose movie?!

 Anyway Ryugen manages to power his way inside and finds Mai but is cut off by Neon Blue Cables before he can get to her.
I know exactly where this is going dude, nothing much you can do now except lie back and think of England.
 Thankfully before this can be turned into an Evil Dead Homage Rygen flashes back to parts of the series with him and Mai, how he started to obsess over her, finding her corpse after Ryoma cut the golden fruit out of her, the good times. But yeah this gives him his second wind. We then jump back to the conclusion of the fight between Duke and Zangetsu and Zangetsu managed to kill Duke with Hex-Ryoma sincerely congratulating him and blowing up leaving behind his Genesis Driver and a pile of scrap.

 Ryugen in the meantime manages to overpower the cables and manages to fire off his Budou Sparking finisher to free Mai. Zangetsu however is ambushed by Megahex and gets his ass kicked. To make matters worse, thanks to the data on the Sengoku Drivers Megahex manages to absorb the Kiwami Lockseed and becomes even stronger as demonstrated by knocking Zangetsu around like a sack of Potatoes forcing him to power down. Just as Megahex is about to kill him Ryugen tosses Takatora the Melon Energy Lockseed which he grabs along with the Genesis driver to become Zangetsu-Shin again. The brothers team up to fight Megahex but are barely able to keep up with it thanks to it absorbing the Kiwami Lockseed.

 Zangetsu-Shin manages to power though Megahex's attacks and manages to get Megahex into a headlock.
Come on not this again.
 Yep, they're going for the Raditz maneuver. Which is ironic considering that near the end of the series Micchi thought he killed Takatora and was so wracked with guilt that he was seeing a hallucination of Takatora constantly mocking him until it was revealed he didn't kill him. Way to rip open those wounds and drown it in salty lemon juice Mr rich smart fancy pants. But yeah we all know how this goes, Ryugen finally musters the minerals to fire at Megahex's core but all it does is force Zangetsu-Shin to power down and doesn't so much as scratch Megahex.

Or did it?! Takatora did manage to get the Kiwami Lockseed back from Megahex. Megahex stats to go nuts and fires on Takatora; Ryugen manages to block the blast but is forced to power down. Megahex however starts to get pissed off at how these shaved monkeys could defy it in such a scale.
Exterminate! Exterminate!
Now that Megahex has rediscovered anger, it no longer cares about absorbing humanity, it's just going to slaughter them all. As it prepares to kill the three a literal case of Deus Ex Machina occurs as Kouta revives himself from the Kiwami Lockseed in a appropriately badass and grandiose re-entrance. I honestly don't mind this since hey Kouta literally is a god now and gods typically don't get offed so easily unless the one trying to kill him is named Kratos. Kouta, and the Kureshima brothers transform and combine their finishing moves to finally destroy Megahex. However it's still not over.

That's right, we are legion. For we are
a pain in my ass!
Thus we come to the final piece of the puzzle that is Megahex. Just like Cooler and the Big Gete Star and that Megahex is both the name of the enemy as well as it's planet. So like Cooler Megahex has just been sending out duplicates of its humanoid form to carry out its will. So Megahex sends out more spores while the bodies fly off ending Gaim's part of the movie. Stay tuned for part two where we see how Drive fits into all of this.

Kamen Rider is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
Dragon Ball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT is owned by Funnimation, Toei animation, Fuji TV and Akira Toriyama.
Dragonball Z abridged is owned by Team Four Star. 
Futurama is owned by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, 20th Century Fox Television and The Curiosity Company.
Gurren Lagann is owned by Studio Gainax, Hiroyuki Imaishi, Kazuki Nakashima and Aniplex. 
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Rebellion is owned by Gen Urobutchi, Akiyuki Shinbo Studio Shaft, and Aniplex.