In Zawame City, a company named Yggdrasil Corporation are setting up shops, making the citizens feel like they’re living in a castle town. To escape the feeling, the youths of the city forms dance crews in order to bring joy to the city.Along with this is a popular game that uses the mysterious Lockseeds that contain animals called Inves that are said to come from another dimension. As the game becomes more popular, tears in reality begin to open that bring the Invase from their home dimension to Earth. Kota Kazuraba, a young man who recently quit his dance crew, Team Gaim to help his sister, finds a special Lockseed and a mysterious belt that will change his life forever….
Being the first episode, it’s unusual if this episode fails at all, because first episode is usually one of the best because it’s the one that attracts people top watch the show. That being said, this is probably one of the best premiere episodes ever, mostly because it gives us a very refreshing feel after watching Kamen Rider Wizard. I mean the tone is different, and it breaks off the Neo-Heisei mold which involves a Rider and his partner who was the key figure in the plot. So after 4 years of similar mold, it’s really refreshing to see something new, even though it’s kinda old.
What makes me gets really attracted to this series is that the show were set in a fictional city. One of the reasons why I liked Kamen Rider W is that it was set in a fictional city, and the writer Gen Urobuchi is right about having a fictional city allows him to be more creative towards his creations. Speaking of Urobuchi, this is actually my first time seeing his work, so I would like to see if he’s going to Urobutcher this season up (I did some reading, and if he did, by the final arc half of the cast will be dead 😛 ). Either way he really gives off a strong episode.
I don’t really want to talk about the opening scene, since it’s just a teaser so talking about it would be pretty pointless. As for the opening theme, I really dig on it quickly. Again, it gives us a refreshing theme. It’s better than Life is Showtime, probably the third place after WBX & Switch On in my opinion.
Let’s talk about the characters. First off is the main protagonist himself, Kota. Funny, Kota in Malay is district/street. Anyways the main protagonist has to be likeable right? So Kota really pulls it off. Like what I said on Kamen Rider Wizard specials, Kota has these youthful energy within him, and here it’s revealed that he’s at least 18 years old, due to the fact that he was trying to grow up as an adult in the episode. Since this is a kids show, he must be appealing to kids. I just love it that he just happened to help a lost kid in a middle of a food delivery! Even though it’s cliche, it really shows that Kota is a really good person.
Next is the dance team Gaim. They are called Team Gaim, which I would’ve preferred if they used ‘Crew’ instead because it’s more fitting to the dance crews but whatever. Most of the team members are only minor cast, the only one noticeable is the girl Mai, and Mitch, who was already spoiled as one of the main Riders in the show. To be honest I’m not really a fan of Gaim’s dancing style. I love dancing but I’m not really the expert of the terms, but I’m not a big fan of the hip-hop style dance or whatever.
What’s interesting about these dance teams is that when they battled with other teams, they didn’t do a dance battle. Instead, they played a game involving Inves and the Lockseeds, since it’s the show’s gimmick. The battle scenes makes me think briefly that we are not watching Kamen Rider, but rather a live-action Digimon or Pokemon! It did look a little childish but hey, it’s to show the show’s gimmick and plus, this was set in a fictional city, so it was meant to be unique.
About the main kaijins of the series, Inves, they look like a Salis Worm mated with a Ghoul. I’m taking about the Inves Warriors, the little monsters that was used in the Lockseed battles. I didn’t really like the battles though, mostly because they are using the same type of Inveses, with only color differences. The Inves came from a mysterious dimension that is summoned through zippers, which I’m actually having a hard time trying to accept.
I wouldn’t talk much about the other dance team, Team Baron, but they obviously look like a bunch of jerks who think they are strong and cool because they actually are. Judging by their Inves Battles with Team Gaim, it’s shown that they like to cheat during battle, at least some of the members are. As for their leader, Kaito (He’s not Kamen Rider DiEnd LOL) he only makes a cameo in this episode but I already like the guy. Also, he looks like Captain Marvelous a bit. Guess I’m gonna call him Discount Captain Marvelous huh?
As for the other notable characters, there are the Team Gaim’s leader Yuuya, and a Lock Dealer called Sid, who sells Lockseeds. And then there’s DJ Sagara, a radio personality who pretty much enlightens the joyful mood of the show. I really liked the guy simply because of his job as a radio host, who needs to be entertaining. Other than that, there’s Kota’s older sister, Akira. I was surprised that she’s his OLDER sister, since in promotional materials they seem to refer her as his sister, leading me to originally believe that she’s his younger sister. Her role is basically the older sister role, and I hope she has more screen time than RedBuster’s sister was. Also, she is hot, like VERY HOT.
Through his sister we learn more about Kota. Turns out that he’s yet another orphaned main character, and since his HOT sister has been taken care of him, he feels that he owed her and decided to be an adult as quickly as possible so that he will repay her and bear the lessen her burden, which explains why he quit Team Gaim and went to part time jobs. Another trait of Kota that I saw here is that he is somewhat impatient, due to how he wanted to grow up quickly. Well, he still got his youth in him, so it’s natural for him to be a lil’ impatient.
Enough with the introductions, let’s talk about the plot of the first episode. Due to their defeat against the Team Baron, Team Gaim’s leader Yuuya is approached by Cid who offers him a strange thing that would help him win in Inves Games. Speaking of the Inves Games, it really becomes popular to the point that it would be the number 1 entertainment after the dance crews. Kota happened to dislike the Inves Games, due to not knowing about the nature of the Lockseeds and the Inveses.
So how did the Inveses are introduced through this world? Right after Kota wondered, a short commercial about Yggdrasil Corporation is shown, obviously showing that they are related somehow to the Inves. Speaking of the company, they are pretty much the Smart Brain or the Kogami Foundation of the season, which of course will be explored throughout the show.
So back to the plot, Yuuya calls Kota and Mai to meet him, only to found the zipper portal that leads to a mysterious forest that’s inhabited by the Inveses. I just love the Helheim Forest. They really put a lot of work to make it look really bizarre, and the moment they show you the forest, you know that you’re in another dimension, not just a random forest with ominous aura.
Since this is the home of the monsters, it would be pretty natural for Kota and Mai to be attacked by the monsters. To be really honest, I have no idea what the Inves are based on. I mean, Worm monsters are based on insects and Phantoms are based on mythological creatures. Yeah, they were based on animals, and I was like WTF?! I don’t know, using animals seemed to be a little bit off, considering that this is a fruit themed Rider.
Kota found the belt that Yuuya showed him but Yuuya is nowhere to be found. Since they are attacked by a kaijin, they have no choice but to run. This is where the action starts. All I gotta say is that for the first action scene of the pilot episode, this has got to be THE BEST first time fight scene ever. Why? Because they showed that Kota had to learn to operate the Rider system! First is that he realized that the belt has these octagon-shaped hole, and the Lockseeds are octagon-shaped. From there he knew that the belt was meant to be incorporated with the Lockseeds.
As for his transformation, Gaim Orange Arms (I honestly preferred “Toppings” rather than “Arms”) this is the first time, at least in the Neo-Heisei era, where the main Rider transforms for the first time without saying “Henshin”. The transformation sequence is really silly, but when the orange starts to form into Gaim’s armor, it actually looks cool. Remember the original rumors about Fourze being like Kamen Rider Den-O Plat Form accessing previous armors? I think they were actually referring to this, which makes sense since they probably started sketching Gaim’s design during OOO’s late run (Because Double sketches was complete when Kiva started airing, meaning that as of know, Bandai/TOEI are probably sketching the designs of the 2015/2016 Rideralready!). I already talked about the suit design before, and I’m gonna say it again. I just love at how the Orange armor doesn’t really look like the fruit. I mean he looked like a samurai wearing an orange colored spiked armor, newcomers will have no idea that it was an orange fruit! And I just love the helmet design, they did a wonderful job at making the compound eyes look like an orange slice, and it looks beautiful.
As for his first fight, I really, really love it. In terms of kicking ass, it’s pretty weak. But what makes the fight scene AWESOME is that they showed that Kota really has no experience in fighting. He merely used the swords to defend himself, and you can see that he really had to learn to block, to jump and to strike.
One of the things that I always complained during the first Rider fights is that they already knew what to do with their weapons (except Decade, mostly because he lost his memories and when he transformed for the first time after losing his memories, it felt like deja vu to him. Also Agito was unaware of his actions during his first fight, and Ryuki also had to learn how to access the weapons on his first time). But for Gaim here, he realized that he can alter his dual-wielding style to a naginata-style thanks to him recognizing that there’s a hole on Daidaimaru that pegs into the Mosou Saber to assume Naginata Mode.
After gaining an upper hand, a mysterious girl in white dress appears in front of him, whom Gaim was thinks is Mai. Other than her rather confusing speech, she’s only there to show Gaim how to initiate the finisher, by removing the Orange Lockseed and puts it into the Mosou Saber. Damn I just like the learning stuff! As for the finisher, Naginata Mosou Slicer, it was pretty normal for me.
Ohh, I forgot to talk a bit about the Lockseeds. First is that I love how Signalman/Deneb voiced the equipment, and I was surprised that he could pronounce the English words correctly! Either he tried hard enough, or he just simply an AWESOME seiyuu. Also, I loved that in order to de-transforms, the user had to closed the Lockseeds, making it look like there is a specific button to cancel the transformation. I mean, look at Decade, Double and OOO. They detransforms by opening their belt into the standby position, which is the exact same thing when they need to do form changes! This is just a minor nitpick for past Riders, but wouldn’t it be a troublesome when you wanted to do a form change, but accidentally cancels the transformation because they used the same ‘buttons’ as form changing?
Anyways, after the fight, Kota meets the real Mai and instead of questioning why she had gone cosplaying as a blonde girl with heterochromia (It’s unknown if the two are the same person at this point, but on Gaim’s perspective he thinks so), he realized that having the Sengoku Driver might be what he needs to be an adult……… and there ya go, the first episode ended like that.
So, like I said, this is probably one of the best first episode ever. The writer did a great job at attracting people to watch the show, because it has a lot of promise. I don’t really want to get my hopes up, but I do hope that Gaim has the balls to be better than Fourze and Wizard, perhaps even better than the both combined! Either way, this episode is a must watch to all Kamen Rider fans and newcomers.