Reviews: Kamen Rider OOO

Omae no Yokubou Kaihou Shirou

I can only have limited objectivity when talking about OOO because... I freakin' love OOO. It is my favourite Kamen Rider series to date, after seeing Ryuuki, Faiz, Blade, Kabuto, Den-O, Kiva, Decade and W. If you like toku you should watch OOO. Here's why;

OOO is very strong thematically. Right from the start we know that it's about a struggle with elemental forces of greed and desire. But this isn't an 80s cartoon where we learn about how greed is bad. Across the breadth of OOO we meet a lot of people, see their dreams and desires, how they drive them and make them want to progress, and how the lack of desire is caustic. Every character in the cast gives us a different angle on this theme, from Kougami who's *SUBARASHI* and waxes lyrical about the power of Greed to Gotou who has to swallow his pride to achieve his desires.

The two main characters neatly sum up the conflict that it's all about; Ankh, a demonic Greed who desires power to restore his broken body, and Eiji, a humble man who becomes OOO with the help of Ankh, trying to use his power to save lives. I really enjoyed Ankh as a character, as he had a very powerful, interesting character arc, starting off as a monster and gradually revealing more of himself to the cast and the viewer. Eiji is well played but a little more wooden, and I've heard big complaints about his character. I enjoyed him, however, especially when all the elements of his backstory are revealed. Unlike other series, the conflict between them doesn't get shelved and forgotten about, and Ankh is never turned into 'the woobie' as I sometimes feared. The final henshin in OOO calls back to the final henshin in the second last episode of W, but I found it to have WAY more impact in OOO.

The bad guys are where most toku shows sink or swim to me; are they totally non threatening joke villains who toss out M.o.t.W.s and achieve nothing? Or are they constantly progressing, growing more bold and dangerous? OOO presents us with an excellent cast of villains with many plans and machinations, and there's a lot of back and forth as they fight with OOO for the medals that grant both sides power. I also really enjoyed the characterization of the series' final villain.

Overall OOO is just packed with all things awesome. Check it out, watch it, enjoy! But skip the movie, it's utter dross.

Much to be Desired

There's a lot of theory as to the make of a good story, but generally people agree that you need at least two things: An interesting plot, and compelling characters. The makeup of either can vary. You can have a vast and expansive plot, or you can have something small. You can have fifty thousand characters each with their own time in the limelight, or you can have five. Either way, once you've got plot and characters, the rest is just gravy.

Kamen Rider OOO fulfills about half of this.

The tone of OOO is suitable for an epic right from the start. Eiji is a homeless man with simple desires who wanders the world. One day, however, he's drug into a conflict against ancient sealed monsters called Greeed that feed off people's strongest desires. The man that drug him into the conflict, and now who Eiji is forced to work with, is a barely-pieced-together Greeed named Ankh that couldn't care less about the collateral damage of the conflict as long as he gets his way, dammit.

A theme about people's desires and a conflict that has lasted from ages ago is a glorious beginning, and leaves you hanging for more. Unfortunately, the majority of the plot is crammed into the first and final chunk of episodes, and everything in between is...well, it's there, but it's bare-string at best. It consistently feels like that there were things that the writing team genuinely wanted to do, but they kept putting it off.

Does that mean it's all dull? Not at all. The plot is only half of things, after all. Every single major character, sans perhaps the glassy-eyed has-super-strength-for-no-explained-reason-at-all Hina, have a myriad of complexities and interesting quirks about them. The strongest parts of the show are not when it's trying to stumble about the plot, but rather when the characters are bouncing back and forth off of each other. Even after so long of watching the characters sulk, fight, and snark with each other, though, sometimes you just want them to do something story-related to get back to the plot—and OOO just barely provides on that end.

It's funny that Kamen Rider OOO is a series that deals with desire. Ever since the beginning, it tried to reach high...but unfortunately never quite made it. While it has enough character-based shenanigans to entertain for a good while, such things can only go so far.

Count the medals, 1, 2, and 3! Life goes on, anything goes, coming up OOO!!!

That freaking theme song. It needs to stop being so catchy.

Oh, also OOO is cool so far.

The plot is really intriguing, and I really want to see where they go with it. Hino Eiji meets a mysterious floating arm that gives him three medals and a belt, allowing him to transform into Kamen Rider OOO, to fight the Yummy (yes, the yummy) that are created by Greeed, who want to devour the world. While the concept is simple, I love how they play off the relations between all the characters, and the plotline so far has been filled with twists and turns that keep me engaged.

The characters are cool so far. Eiji seems like a normal, oblivious guy, but he has some hidden depths as to why he's such a nice guy. Ankh is an incredibly complex character in his relationship with the good guys and the bad guys, as well as his own personality. I like the greeed, and they're entertaining and complex villains in their own right. (Anyone else drawing comparisons with the imagin, here?) Also Kougami. KOUGAMI IS AWESOME. He is such a giant ham and completely into his role and it's just beautiful to watch. HAPPY BIRTHDAY indeed.

The designs, in my opinion, is where OOO falters. The best design in the show is, in my opinion, Ta Ja Dol OOO, and even then he's not one of the best designs ever. I don't know, it might just be just me, but I don't particularly like the OOO designs. It might be the black, it just feels like there's too much of it. Also seriously, has anyone seen the rumored dinosaur form? That just looks SILLY. Also Birth is a weird design normally, but once he goes into Day mode, he just looks like a huge clusterfuck, I'm sorry. (The music is awesome, though.)

I can't really give any major opinions on OOO considering it isn't finished, but so far, it's a fun as hell ride and you should totally keep up with it, because it looks to be going in an interesting direction.

9 episodes and 3 O's and lot's of medals.

This is my first Kamen Rider series, but it's pretty fun so far.

It helps tremendously that I like all the characters. Eiji Hino is delightfully bumbling. It's very funny watching him stumble around in the Rider suit. Lot's of laughs with him. But he's also a lot smarter than he appears. He tends to be the voice of reason, bizarrely enough. He's generally all around nice guy. It's also interesting to note, as I've seen mentioned in several places, that Eiji is apparently devoid of any sort of ambition beyond helping the people in front of him (and getting tomorrow's underwear). Rather apt for a hero who fights the physical manifestations of greed.

Even Ankh is fun. He's a smug bastard, but has enough bad stuff happen to him that he comes across a rather ineffectual guy. It'll be interesting to see where he goes. His hair is pretty laughable too.

Everyone else is similarly a mix of funny, interesting, and many times awesome. We're still in the early episodes, so, as with Ankh, we'll have to see where they go with Hina's strength, Shintaro's background, and Kosei's... everything.

Despite the rather Anvil Exploitable premise (seriously, monsters formed from human greed?), the morals so far have been fairly tame with it. While it takes a dim view of excessive greed, Eiji is there to point out that desiring something is perfectly natural and not always a bad thing. The interplay between him and Ankh on the subject of human ambition and arrogance seems to be shaping up as a focal point in their relationship.

Oh, and it has awesome music.

Frankly, definitely worth a look.

Kamen Rider OOO Episode 1; Medal, Underwear, and a Mysterious Arm

When I first saw pics of OOO, I wasn't sure about it, but I gave it a chance, and I was glad I did. The episode begins with a pair of guards robbing a musuem, after drugging the new guard, Eiji Hino, so he can't interfer. However, during their robbery, a mass of medals forms togather and unlocks a stone coffin, releasing the Greeed from their 800 years in hibernation. The Kougami Foundation deploys its Ride Vendors to face them, only for the army to be obliterated as Kosei Kougami makes a birthday cake for the monsters while singing happybirthday to them.

Eiji finds himself waking up with a mysterious red coin in his hand, and as he goes to change into his street clothes, the wall collapses, leaving him in his underwear facing the rescue squad and police. Afterwards, he discovers his only other pair of underwear have been burned, forcing him to find a new job to buy new ones. However, as this happens, he encounters Ankh, a flying forearm that wants its medal back, but when one of the Greeed, Uva, sends a mantis monster to get his own Medals back from Ankh, Eiji will need to become Kamen Rider OOO to survive.

Overall, the episode was great, I loved the storyline and the Greeed are all wonderfully designed, and even in the first episode, they each show a unique personality. Uva is hotheaded and fierce, Kazari is childish to the point he didn't think to bring up seeing Ankh making off with their missing medals until after the others realized it, Gamaru is a brute who and slow but still is the first to realize something is missing from the Greeed, and Mezuru is clearly more thoughtful than her fellows and somewhat more compassionate. Their designs are all pretty cool, though the opening shows their 'true' forms, which seem to be even better. Another nice design is the Yummy, which are very creepy overall.

Eiji, on the other hand, is a comical hero, but I love his Lets Get Dangerous moments, the actor is great at showing that Eiji isn't as dumb as the others believe him to be without seeming out of character. Ankh, on the otherhand, is just an awesome prop that shows his bird nature but can still show emotion wonderfully. OOO's himself, now that we actually see his suit in action, works much better than the still pics can display.

Overall, Kamen Rider OOO is shaping up to be another great entry in the Kamen Rider series, don't miss it