Kamen Rider Drive 1: Shin-Chan is a Kamen Rider?!

6 months ago, the world suffered from a phenomenon that is known as the ‘Global Freeze’, where disasters called the ‘Heaviness’ are slowing people down and enabling mysterious monsters to wreak havoc. But in the midst of the disaster, there is a lone warrior who can fight the threat. Who is he?

Drive 1 (1)

This series is written by Riku Sanjou, who did Kamen Rider Double and Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger. Double was one of the best Kamen Rider series ever but Kyoryuger was in my opinion one of the worst Sentai ever. So I am skeptical about Sanjou’s involvement in the show but since Double was really good, maybe Sanjou is better suit for writing Kamen Rider after all.

Speaking of Double, this show is obviously a Kamen Rider Double reboot. Or at least an homage. Or just simply similar. This is because The first few minutes of the show we got a flashback involving events that is set not too long ago and it’s what started the whole show. Unlike Double however the prologue in this episode is longer, giving us more information but still enough to leave it as mysterious.

Based on the prologue, here’s what we can understand about the plot of how the monsters attack. Apparently a disaster dubbed Global Freeze occurs throughout the world that slows down people called Heavy Acceleration or Heaviness, causing accidents. As if that wasn’t enough, there are monsters who wreak havoc in the process, adding more accidents! The villains attacking during the time where everything is slowed down makes it very unique because it makes the police felt even more powerless to combat it. I mean, the monsters attacked but the police force have no chance to make a move and by then the monsters are already gone. Kudos for making the monsters unique.

Also like Double, we get a glimpse of our main hero, only that it might not be our main hero. The mysterious Kamen Rider fights the monsters by using the Shift Cars, which are the gimmicks of the season. We’ll get into that later.

Drive 1 (2)

6 months later, the Global Freeze incident ended but the Heaviness still occurs randomly. We are introduced to our main character Shinnosuke Tomari, a police officer who during the Global Freeze accidentally injures his partner and as a result, he was demoted to the Special Investigation Unit/SIU. That department is described as the laughing stock of the police forces, mostly because the group tends to be bizarre and nerdy, which pisses Shinnosuke off.

Shinnosuke appears to have a habit of slacking off, which prompts his colleague Kiriko Shijima to keep him in check. Let’s talk about our two main characters for a while. Shinnosuke, whom I will call him Shin-chan from now on because of obvious reasons is actually the first primary Rider since Kotaro Minami who is short haired and the very first primary Rider who is a cop. As for his personality, Shin-chan is mostly a good cop that can be lazy at times but when he needs it, he can be very good at his job. As for his partner Kiriko, the main heroine of the series, it’s interesting that we get a stoic heroine. And man, Kiriko is really gorgeous, isn’t she? It’s been a while since we get a really attractive heroine since Hina Izumi from OOO (Rinko doesn’t count as Koyomi is the heroine from Wizard and Mai, she’s adorable but nowhere as attractive as Kiriko or Hina, at least in my opinion).

Later on Shinnosuke gets an assignment to track down a strange activity and we get to meet other SIU members. While I do remember their names, I would like to give them nicknames since it’s easier to remember it that way. First we got Jun Honganji aka The Chief, who is Shin-chan and Kiriko’s superior. Next is Kyu Saijo aka The Nerd, who is the researcher of the group and provides information to our heroes using his net surfing skills just like we do. Then there’s Rinna Sawagami aka The Milf, who is the technician of the unit and she got that name because well she’s attractive for 30-something woman. Lastly we got Genpachiro Otta aka The Arrogant. He’s not an official member of the department as he is more of their liaison, and is embarrassed by it.

As Shin-chan is about to begin his instruction, he is greeted by a voice inside his car Tridoron, which came from a belt that is in the car. Yes, we got a talking belt again. This is awesome because it is an homage of both Kamen Rider Double and Kiva and even OOO and Fourze! Having a talking belt, or rather a partner who advises you about your Rider system is awesome especially if he sounds like DecaDriver. It’s not the same guy though but I’m glad that they got a guy who is fluent in English.

Drive 1 (3)

During the investigation, the Heaviness occur and Shin-chan is attacked by  a monster called the Roimudes. Fortunately, the belt, called Drive Driver (HA!) but nicknamed Mr.Belt commands the Shift Cars to fight the Roimude. Now let’s talk about the Shift Cars. Hot Wheels is pretty popular so miniature cars is really good for collectable gimmick. But really, I wish they partnered with Hot Wheels for the Shift Car designs because some of them looks cool, but some of them don’t.

After the Roimude retreats, Shin-chan and Kiriko are trying to find a lead against the Roimude’s monster form. Thankfully because he is a cop and he can access the police database, do some facial compising and he can track the culprit. Kiriko realizes that when Shin-chan gets active in his job, which is described as entering his gear, when Shin-chan straightened his necktie.

Drive 1 (4)

Shin-chan encounters the Roimude again, this time aided by subordinates. Even with Shift Cars giving him the ability to surpass the Heaviness and fight in normal condition, it’s still not enough. Until Kiriko arrives with Tridoron and tells Shin-chan that he can fight by using Mr.Belt. This, along with a Shift Brace, Shin-chan is able to transform into our main hero: Kamen Rider Drive!

Let’s talk about the design:It’s what I love about Kamen Rider designs minus Fourze. They managed to infuse a motif into a suit and makes it look gorgeous. The body armors are basically modeled after a car and the helmet itself is basically the body of a car, with the mask being the front and the back being the back of a car complete with spoilers and lights! Also, while the design is different, Drive’s face is reminiscent of Kamen Rider Double. I don’t know if this is intentional or nor.

Drive Type Speed is also yet another red-colored Rider, which is pretty overused by I can’t think of other colors that can fit with that design, especially if it has black and white accents. What I don’t like about Drive is that the use of Shift Brace. It reminds me too much of ToQger and while he still has a belt, the Brace is the actual transformation device. Also, his red is not metallic but that’s more of a nitpick.

Drive 1 (5)

For Drive’s first fight, it was pretty impressive. The fact that Shin-chan is a cop meaning he has fighting experience helps adding a sense of realism in fighting. Also, for a form that is called Type Speed, it’s great that they show that Drive is fast.

And since this is the first episode, they have a lot of budget to show off some CGIs via gimmick. And thus we are introduced to the Tire Exchange, which allow Drive to swap the tire on his chest for a different ones, and giving him a range of abilities. What’s great is that this ability mirrors exchanging tires for a newer and better ones.

The first one is Max Flare, which gave Drive fire attacks. The second one is Funky Spike, which grants Drive the ability to shoot spikes from the tire and is deadly for very close combat. That last but not the least, because it’s my favorite Tire Exchange so far is the Midnight Shadow, grants Drive the ability to shoot energy shurikens and duplicate himself like a ninja!

Drive 1 (6)

Now time for the finisher. Since Drive fights care handed in this episode, the finisher is obviously a Rider Kick which is great because it’s a staple and Gaim barely utilizes its Rider Kicks.

Drive’s Rider Kick is called SpeeDrop and oh. My. God. It’s one of the most awesome and silliest Rider Kick ever! Here’s how it’s work: Tridoron spins around making him bounce off of it and kick the target. Drive then keeps bouncing off Tridoron and kicking the target in a pinball-like manner until he comes in with the final kick, skidding to a stop. It’s really awesome and it’s a good comeback for Rider Kick!

All three Roidmudes are destroyed, but unknown to Drive, a flying number numbred 029 is fleeing from the explosion. Since the Roimudes have numbers on them, could this mean one of them survived? Anyways, Drive realized an evidence piece and picks it.

Later, Kiriko brings Shin-chan to a secret lair, which is the base for Mr.Belt and a garage for Tridoron. Kiriko and Mr.Belt tells Shin-chan to keep Drive as a secret, and Shin-chan says that this case is not over, judging by the evidence he has. As this happens, the number 029 is approached by a man who offers him a second chance…….

Drive 1 (7)

Overall, a really good start. I gotta say I was a little meh of it at first, but watching it again I can say it is really enjoyable. My only gripe is the use of Tire Exchange because while I like the concept, that gimmick will inevitably be forgotten later in the series because of budgets and new weapons and stuff. Regardless, Riku Sanjou did a good job and I’m expecting him to make this series good. Not surpass Gaim but it’ll be sweet if it indeed surpass Gaim, since Gaim is one of the best Kamen Rider Series of all time, but do not ruin this series like Kyoryuger.

Is this show worth watching, well considering the gimmick in which the Kamen Rider does not Rider a bike but instead a car, and this is a cop show, plus the fact that that this is Kamen Rider meets Knight Rider, you should give it a watch, or maybe you already did because this review is very late. Too bad they couldn’t get The Hoff to guest star in the show, otherwise it’ll be DOPE!


2 thoughts on “Kamen Rider Drive 1: Shin-Chan is a Kamen Rider?!”

  1. Dude, I really enjoy all your review on the movies and series (especially Tokusatsu). I am a father of 2 kids and we all loves tokusatsu…to the annoying of my wife of course!
    Anyway, I grew up with Kamen Rider Black, Gavan, Flashman, Maskman & Power Rangers series (as it was really popular in 1990s in Malaysia)…and KR Black is one of the best ever (story, act, design, soundtrack)..along with KR Z0 movie. And I think Garo series (except the 3rd season) and KR Gaim are the best modern tokusatsu. (I wonder if u can do reviews on Garo’s new season when they release it.)
    BTW your review makes me want to gives KR Drive a chance, and Power Rangers Dino Charge. Keep up the great work and honest review.
    p/s: Sorry about the long nagging.

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