Reviews: Kamen Rider Double
Starts Strong, Meanders
Kamen Rider W starts off extremely well, and moves from strength to strength through the first half of the series. Following a format of mini detective story 2-parters which are generally quite good, we see villains rise and develop in the shadows, with the villainous Sonozaki Family pulling the strings and Kirihiko Sudo marrying into the family and beginning to work his way up. The backstory of our heroes is gradually unfolded, and while Philip's is a little obvious it's compelling nonetheless. As the series moves on Kirihiko is ousted and the mysterious holder of the Weather memory whose sinister experiments set him up to become the most powerful villain of them all. And then... Well, then in my opinion Seasonal Rot sets in. The greatest flaw of W is its mishandling of characters. Hidari Shoutarou, a young detective with a heart of gold, striving to be badass and live up to the memory of his Hard Boiled predecessor is more often an object of fun than awesome as the series goes on, which is a criminal misuse of talent. Meanwhile, the effeminate and overall boring character of Philip is emphasized as being the real power behind W in a totally mind boggling development. The arc leading up to their biggest powerup is literally all about how Shoutarou is weak and Philip just has to accept that- despite the fact that Shoutarou is the more dedicated, compelling character, while Philip is a bit of a flighty asshole who repeatedly thinks of dumping Shoutarou in favour of someone who can give him better stats. The latter third of the series also sees the tension that's been building for a while gradually subside. Weather works for most of the series to become a serious threat, only to be beaten by Terui's rather unconvincing upgrade, and then the true villain- the one that's been around from the start- finally gets slowly to work and reveals that basically nothing that's happened for the past 40 episodes mattered. And then in the very last two episodes another villain appears totally out of nowhere, almost as if they accidentally ended the series 2 episodes early and needed to fill time. The first 30 episodes of W are gold and any self respecting Toku fan should look them out. But as the series winds down the standards drop, and it's a crying shame.
This clinches it! Now, count up your sins! Kamen Rider W is two detectives in one!!!
When I first heard of double, I thought it would be a silly, forgettable series that was mostly focused on selling toys. While it was rather focused on selling toys (11 SH figuarts just for all the double forms + accel yellow form lolwhut?) it was also an absolutely amazing show from start to finish, and a very welcome surprise. The plot for Double starts out rather simply: Hidari Shoutaro and Phillip are two detectives who use the double driver and a variety of Gaiamemories to transform into Kamen Rider Double, who protects the city of Fuuto from dopants, people who buy Gaiamemories to cause chaos. The plot, and the plots of the individual two episode arcs, are, I have to admit, rather predictable. Being predictable does not stop them from being engrossing and interesting. I liked the plot of Double, and it kept me interested. Also this series is one of those series where I flipping teared up near the end. *DON'T WORRY, THEY WERE MANLY TEARS, MY MASCULINITY IS INTACT* The characters are a huge, huge improvement from the crappy characters of the series prior. There's a lot of development for everyone: Shoutaro and his constant attempts to be hardboiled, Phillip and his growing love for the city of Fuuto and the people in it, Terui Ryuu's loss of his jerkass nature. Really, I couldn't tell you a character that I DIDN'T like in this show. Even the villains were complex. Also, Akiko. I liked her, personality, and no, it's not because lolshehasbreasts. (She was pretty damn flat anyway) I liked some moments, like when she HIT A DOPANT WITH A CHAIR or SMACKED A MAJOR VILLAIN WITH A SLIPPER WHILE DE CONSTRUCTING THEIR MOTIVES and she was pretty alright after the first few episodes. The base double forms were well designed, and Fang Joker was awesome. While some people might say XTREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME was kind of silly looking, I liked the form itself and its capabilities. Accel had some great designs all around. The music was awesome, and it was also well placed. Double felt like a 'back to basics' series, at least in spirit, the form change thing aside. It just had two main riders and a character based story, and it showed why the basics of a rider series were so awesome. Whether you translate it as W or Double, the 11th Heisei series is one of the best. Now, count up your sins!