Kamen Rider W
The forward thinking ecological city Futo is facing corruption at the hands of the wealthy Sonozaki Family and the Gaia Memories they distribute to turn men into monsters known as Dopants. Protecting the city is the superhero, Kamen Rider Double and its dual secret identities of detective Shotaro Hidari and his amnesiac partner Philip.
The main secondary writer on Fourze had been Riku Sanjo (Beet The Vandel Buster), and he’d been the head writer on the 2009 Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider W. In addtion it had been W that Fourze‘s Kazuki Nakashima had first written for Kamen Rider. So that was enough to get me to check out this part of the franchise next.
Now while Fourze was airing, I definitely noticed that some fans of the franchise didn’t like that this children’s show was being aimed at children. The first two episodes of W kind of gave me an idea of why that might have been, featuring as it does a murderer and the death of the Dopant at the end. This sort of bleak outlook was lacking in Fourze at first, and even at it’s darkest felt more optimistic than this.
Not that W is unremittingly bleak, there are still plenty of gags, mainly from the interactions with the new landlord of Shotaro’s detective agency, Akiko Narumi (the daughter of Shotaro’s dead partner), the various wacky informers Shotaro has around town, and the two police detectives (one of whom is comedian Takeshi Nadagi).
The main things I’ve liked in the series so far have been the Rider design and the Sonozaki Family.
The Rider design is my favourite of the shows I’ve seen so far. It doesn’t feel over designed and the gimmick of two people controlling one body is reflected well in the design and suit acting. Its Rider Kick is kind of weird, but overall the look and concept feels very elegant.
I like the Sonozaki Family in part because they remind me more of Fourze‘s Horoscopes than they do Wizard‘s Phantoms. They are humans who are deliberately creating/turning into monsters rather than creatures from beyond preying on humanity. That in turn makes them easier to relate to as villains, plus you get the opportunity to have them move among the heroes more easily. Plus even the family cat turns into a monster!
The main things that made me move onto a different series were the monster suits and the fact it’s not all that funny.
For some reason, the monsters don’t feel like they are all coming from the same place. It makes sense with in the story in that each is based on an exhibit in the Sonozaki’s museum, but I wish there was a bit more visual unity.
The humour in the show gets pretty tired, as it resorts far too often to Akiko bonking Shotaro on the head with a shoe, Philip hiding in his room or Philip becoming obsessed with whatever the clue in the story. I suspect if I watched it weekly that might not be so obvious, but as it was it was enough to sent me in search of a funnier Kamen Rider show…