Monday, May 22, 2017

Tokusatsu Review: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Uuchu Sentai Kyuuranger Spring Break Special Part 2: AAA show.(spoilers)

When you're done read, comment, spread the links, re-tweet and follow me on Twitter @OnDavidsBrain! and support me on Patreon.

 Yes I'm once again back from my month long Persona 5 break, long story short Persona 5 is so far my best game of 2017 and I'll be back to releasing content only once a week, I fell into the old quantity over quality trap and now I know better. Sorry for my break but now we can get back to business as usual. (Note as of writing this article I've only seen up until episode 27 so if there is new information that contradicts the actual series I apologize.)

 From the unholy and annoying mess that is Uuchu Sentai Kyuuranger to a show that is actually doing far better with far, far less resources, Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. The premise is that a computer virus that came into existence on Y2K has been infecting real people with a disease called Gamer Syndrome. This disease manifests as evil video game characters that emerge from the infected which try to absorb them to become perfect beings by weakening their immunity to the virus through stress. Specifically by destroying or killing places or people related to their current hang ups. ( For example say an infected person is trying to keep their job so they can feed their newborn baby, the Bugster in turn will be driven to either destroy the victim's place of work or kill the baby, the reason why they're sticking to that job in the first place.) Only those who have undergone a risky surgery to become injected with a concentrated amount of the Bugster virus can harness the power of the Gashats (game cartridge like devices created by the Gemn corporation) and their Gamer drivers to combat the Bugsters as Kamen Riders.

 Our protagonist is named Emu Hojo, a medical intern and gaming genius who works for the CR branch of the Ministry of health. He uses the Gamer Driver and the Mighty action X Gashat to become Kamen Rider Ex-aid. It was later revealed he is actually patient Zero of the Bugster virus and thus doesn't need the compatibility surgery to use the Gashats.

 Next is the skilled Surgeon Hiiro Kagami who uses the Tattle Quest Gashat to become Kamen Rider Brave. Unlike Emu; Kagami doesn't actually care about the patients themselves, only eliminating the Bugsters due to his girlfriend being infected and killed by her Bugster Graphite fully manifesting by nearly killing him. Since then he's developed a cold personality and sees Emu's concern for patents as a hinderance, even going so far as fighting Emu since he thinks his sentimentality is unnecessary. Basically Kagami has a major rod up his ass that seriously needs to be pulled out asap.

 Then there's the unlicensed doctor Taiga Hanaya, who uses the Bang Bang Shooting Gashat to become Kamen Rider Snipe. Taiga's damage is that five years ago he was the original tester for the Gamer Driver, he failed to save Hiiro's girlfriend so now he's jaded, disgraced from the medical community and blah blah blah you know the drill. His original goal was to acquire the Gashats from all of the other riders but ever since he picked up his own sidekick, Nico the girl who Emu beat in a Tekken tournament 6 years ago he's mostly just been concerned with protecting her. She's mostly been a source of comic relief in how she keeps pestering Taiga and being his hype girl. I mean the two sometimes bicker like an old married couple and she serves the exact function that Robin does for Batman, balance the grim gritty crap with some general levity.

 Now there was a fourth CR rider, Kira Kujo aka Kamen Rider Lazer who was killed off at episode 13. Now unlike the other riders his Bakusou Bike Gashat made his default rider form; a motorcycle. It was only when he acquired his level 3 Gashat, Giri Giri Chambara could he assume a combat form that could actually compete with the other riders and Bugsters. Kujo's hang up was that he was a perpetual liar due to the last time he told the truth it was to a friend who contracted Gamer Syndrome so he killed himself since at that time there was no way to counter Gamer Syndrome.

 However there's another force manipulating the Bugsters for his own ends, the president of the Genm gaming corporation Dan Kuroto who created the Gamer Drivers and the games the Bugsters originate from. He even has his own Gamer Driver and later the Buggle Driver to become Kamen Rider Genm. Because just like almost every evil CEO in Japanese fiction he's batshit crazy; his ultimate goal is to gather data on both the Kamen Riders and the 10 Bugsters from the games the initial Gashats are based on to create what he sees as the Perfect Game, Kamen Rider Chronicle which turns every human on earth into Kamen Riders and fight to the death. Now to quote a certain veteran Power Ranger "Why can't you just want to rule the world like all the other sickos?"

 To this end he's infected Emu with the original Bugster virus 16 years ago turning him into an obsessed expert Gamer until he collapsed from exhaustion; at which point the virus was extracted and Emu then decided to become a doctor as a way of honoring the doctor who saved his life when he was first infected as a kid. Kuroto then set out to gather the data of defeated Bugsters and even data of his own death. Once that data was compiled into the Level X Dangerous Zombie Gashat he tested its new power on Kujo which was easily able to overpower him and kill him, not only to test Genm's invincibility but also to keep quiet the fact that Kuroto framed his own father, the former CEO of Genm Corp to cover the fact that he infected Emu with the Bugster Virus until it cultivated into its current form.

 So since he's using the Bugsters and can create new Gashats, of course he'd make one into a Kamen Rider. To that end he gave the Bugster Parado the duel Gashats of Perfect Puzzle and Knock out Fighter which lets him become the level 50 Kamen Rider Paradox. Parado himself seems to be concerned with two things, games and his fellow Bugsters, so when Kuroto finally snapped and admitted that the Bugsters are just pawns in his game and killed a non aggressive Bugster Parado attacked Kuroto and whooped his ass like a drum. Parado was also the one to finally kill Kuroto after Ex-aid used the powers of his Super form to not only remove Genm's invincibility but also his Bugster Antibodies so that he could never use the Gamer Driver again. But Parado still continued with the Kamen Rider Chronicle project using the saved Bugsters including Graphite and the brainwashed Poppy Pipopopo (aka the Doreimefa Beat Bugster) to complete Kamen Rider Chronicle.

 Speaking of Poppy while yes she is a Bugster she's a game character that's non aggressive since the game she came from was a dancing game thus no enemies to defeat in the conventional sense. She can also switch from her bubbly J-pop to the max persona to that of a calm and collected Nurse. But as I said after Kuroto's death Parado's new second in command and new head of Genm corp Ren Amagasaki Aka the Loveica Bugster brainwashed her to complete Kamen Rider Chronicle. Now that that's done they gave her the Tokimeki Crisis Gashat (the game that Loveica came from thus maintaining the control) to become Kamen Rider Poppy. 

 Now I know what you're thinking, "she's now a Kamen Rider oh god she's so dead" that's exactly what I thought as well but hear me out. As demonstrated with Graphite coming back to life fully evolved Bugsters are able to come back to life with outside help. So since we never saw the person who was infected with Poppy she must be perfectly evolved as well. Which brings us to another question "who was the person she killed to become whole?" But as demonstrated with the Bugster born from the Juju Burger game Bugsters born from non combative games can achieve their freedom from the infected by clearing the win conditions of their game. 

 So since Poppy is not bound to anyone she is clearly a non violent Perfect Bugster so even if she does get killed she can just come back. Basically once a Bugster becomes free they gain infinite lives so she'll be in the clear. At least that's what I think will happen whether the writers will remember these facts when and if she does get killed we'll wait and see. But that's where we stand as of now Parado has sold Kamen Rider Chronicle to the masses who at first only saw it as just a new game but it's revealed that if you die in the game you die for real. But to keep the human genocide going Ren announced that if the final boss of Kamen Rider Chronicle was beaten all those who died in the game would come back to life. 

 So now it's only a matter of time until the Debut of Emu's final form and the debut of Kamen Rider Chronos. So this series has my attention and Kyuuranger can just go sit and spin, got it, good moving on. Next week we're going back to normal.

Kamen Rider is owned by Ishinomori Productions, Toei Productions, and Bandai.
My Cousin Vinny is owned by Johnathan Lynn and 20th Century Fox.