Why so serious?
Suffice it to say, for various reasons, I’m gonna have to compress my series review of Kamen Rider Faiz into an overall review rather than ep by ep. But before we get to wrapping up on Faiz, there’s a character from the show I’d like to take a moment to talk about. Yup, it’s character review time. And who from Faiz deserves a spotlight more than Naoya Kaido? But since Kusaka’s a bastard, he’s stealing Kaido-san’s well deserved recognition… because he’s an asshole like that.
Being the impatient spoiler sport that I am, I actually saw Kusaka in the Faiz movie; Paradise Lost: Director’s Cut, before seeing him on TV. As a result, that’s the version that stuck to my mind throughout the series. I’d probably look at Kusaka differently if I watched his TV version first, but first impressions stick.
To sum it up already, Kusaka is the 2nd Rider in Kamen Rider Faiz; Kamen Rider Kaixa. The Kamen Rider franchise tend to have multiple people taking up the Rider-mantle, and it ain’t no different here. Much like Faiz has a phi/stopsign gimmick going on, Kaixa has a X gimmick. The shapes don’t really mean a gosh darn thang except for thematic reasons.
There have actually been a whole bunch of other peeps who’ve become Kaixa before Kusaka got his greasy/”hydraulic fluid”-y hands on the transformation belt, but he’s the one who sticks with it the most, since (spoiler alert) out of all the humans who could transform with the belt, he was the one who was most raped by decaying animalistic monsters (Orphenoch) as a kid. To be more precise on the matter, only Orphenoch or humans with Orphenoch DNA can transform with the Kaixa belt. Kusaka and his fellow orphans (no direct relation to Orphenoch) were KTFO a couple years ago and implanted with “The hope of the Orphenochs”… so yeah, they were raped in a monstrous orgy.
As a result of the child rape, Kusaka’s become pretty f****ed up. All his friends are f****ed up too, but having been the one “implanted with the most Orphenoch DNA”, he’s clearly the most f***ed up of the bunch (should I even be bothering to censor the fucking f-word? Considering I’m already fucking writing of fucking rape and fudging naughty tentacles…). On the bright side, due to the sper-DNA, he can transform into Kaixa. His other traumatized childhood friends could do the same, but they all die after a single transformation, due to their relative lack of Ophenochiness.
Onto the character himself, which is the real objective of this post…
Movie Kusaka is a creepy dude whom nobody likes. He’s constantly raping Mari with his eyes and the only reason why anybody tolerates him is because the other members of La Resistance are either suicidally incompetent or even bigger jerkasses than him. He’s not that much of a jerkass in the movie as compared to his TV version either, since he’s too busy being a creepy stalker no one wants to be alone with. He goes down like a ponce in the movie.
TV Kusaka is less distilled creep than the movie version, and is almost kinda sorta sympathetic… if he wasn’t such an asshole. Like the movie version, this Kusaka is in love with Mari as well. In fact, it’s a very sweet and dare I say, even cute love. Why, I’d even go so far as to say it has the intense yet innocent quality of a first love. If this wasn’t an action oriented testosterony boy’s show, Kusaka X Mari would definitely be everyone’s fave pairing… if he wasn’t a murderous lying manipulative bastardly grade-A asshole.
Suffice it to say, Kusaka would have been one of my all time favorite characters had I not seen the movie first, because the impression that stuck with me was that he’s a creepy stalker. Had I seen the tv version first, where he was a total son of a bitch, he’d probably be in front of even Kaido as far as my fave 555 characters are concerned. Since despite what’s been written so far, I like evil murdering lying manipulative son-of-a-bitch characters like Kusaka. I’m actually a softy for romantic stuff, so Kusaka’s only saving grace being his pure love for Mari, coupled with his otherwise irredeemably malicious personality, would have been the perfect character combination for me.
His death would have been sad or perhaps satisfying (for his h8ers), were it not so fuckin’ funny in a schadenfreude sort of way.
**** out of 5.