Just so you know, there will be spoilers.
I wasn’t going to review this beyond my “live impressions“, but after watching this awesome episode, it was disappointing to find a lack of reviews/impressions on Decade’s debut episode. Oh sure, there were forum comments, and there’s Igadevil’s blog, but otherwise, there have been few fully written impressions of this ep. So I figured I’d add to the pool.
The first 2 minutes of Kamen Rider Decade is what we in the biz call “fanwank”. It’s a highly technical piece of jargon that I’m not sure I can explain. Let’s say you are Michael Bay, and you enjoy explosions. Now, imagine that you (as Michael Bay) are presented with the Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen trailer. Furthermore, 5% of that trailer has been edited out (the 5% that doesn’t involve explosions or robots rolling around like Sonic the Hedgehog). Well, what you’re watching is called “fanwank”.
That’s what the first 2+ minutes of Kamen Rider Decade is. Utter and glorious Rider-gasm. A hella lot of Kamen Riders (slightly Darker and Edgier Power Rangers for the uninitiated) from previous series, both good and evil, from the TV shows to the movies to the specials appear in what at first seemed like a no holds barred battle royale, but it soon becomes evident that they’re fighting an unseen enemy. It then becomes even more evident that they’re getting slaughtered.
And by slaughtered, I mean killed. As in murdered. As in DYING… for REAL. Not only were they all dropping like flies, but by the end of the sequence, they were blown up and the only ones not blown up were the red shirts.
Here’s a clip that just finished uploading.
You see that sequence around the 1.30 mark? In Power Rangers, when there’s an explosion in the background, it’ll either be harmless or it’ll send the Rangers flying (but unharmed). Not here though. Here, the explosions KILLED the Kamen Riders.
I don’t mean to hang on to this topic in some lame attempt to justify Kamen Rider as anything more than a show for children (and their mothers and nerds). It’s not. But DEATH is cool. Especially gratuitous amounts of DEATH. And even better, they’re the DEATHs of childhood heroes and role models… in violent and painful ways. That, dear readers, is aaaaaawesome.
Even if you’re not a fan or have never seen any Kamen Rider before, all you need to know is that all those guys in the opening sequence are the heroes (and villains) of the last decade of this franchise, and they’re getting slaughtered. If you ARE a fan, then it’s just pure fanwank as you see all the heroes appear in what amounts to a gratuitous crossover fanfic made into an actual television episode.
In any case, the battle ends with Kamen Rider Decade (the unseen enemy) floating in the air, victorious.
But enough of the opening sequence. I felt it deserved an extended write up, but now, let’s get on with the show. Once the opening credits and music are done, we find out that the opening battle was all just a (prophetic) dream by a cute Japanese(?) chick named Natsumi. Natsumi works in a photo studio that specializes in using film (rather than just digitally printing out the pics), and after getting complaints by angry customers, she storms off to find the photographer responsible for the complaints.
That photographer is Tsukasa, an amnesiac guy whose photos always come out blurry or deformed. He is very obviously, Kamen Rider Decade. After a random bit of character development and comic relief, we’re thrust right back into the action as the entire world goes wonkers. It started innocently enough, as a barrier comes out of no where and separates Tsukasa and Natsumi.
While Tsukasa gets a pep talk from the 2008-2009 main character, Natsumi ends up with a bunch of confused bystanders. Their confusion is soon lifted however… by DEATH. Monsters from Kamen Rider Blade suddenly show up, and they round up some of the people. Natsumi and a handful manage to get away, but the world suddenly shifts, and Natsumi and the bystanders find themselves in the middle of a heavy downpour. Everyone then gets kill by the Fangires from Kamen Rider Kiva (who killed by sucking out your soul, so you don’t get to go to heaven either). Natsumi’s the only one to get away, but then the world shifts again and she’s in the world of Kamen Rider Den-O. Fortunately, the monsters there will only wipe your existence out from time itself, but are generally harmless (if creepy)… unless they decide to possess your body and torture you. But Natsumi reality shifted before that could happen.
She finds herself the decimated world of Kabuto, where she finds Decade’s belt and deck of cards. She also reunites with Tsukasa, only to be attacked by monsters known as Worms. This was a good scene. Worms have the ability to take on the appearance of anyone, and at first, I thought it was an alternate reality Natsumi we were confronted by. That is until she turned into her Worm form.
Anywho, Tsukasa gets his belt and deck of cards and instinctively knows how to transform into Kamen Rider Decade. His instincts further allowed him to use the power of his cards to become Kamen Rider Kabuto and use Kabuto’s powers to defeat the Worms.
The action continues as Decade and Natsumi head for home, only to see the corpses of the angry customers from before, strewn across the roads of a ruined city. The corpses collapse and some turn into monsters known as Orphenoch. Yaddi yaddi yadda, Decade beats them and other monsters. He and Natsumi also see various other monsters cannibalize each other buildings collapse and thermonuclear explosions rock the city. Innocents are engulfed by flame and just before a mother and her boy are also about to be crispified, time seems to stop around our heroes.
Decade then has a trippy daydream/hallucination where learns that parallel worlds were colliding into each other, and in order to save his world, he has to travel to those parallel worlds and MURDER the Kamen Riders (aka Allies of Justice) there.
And the first world he goes to, is that of Kuuga…
I didn’t mean to recap the entire ep, but oh well, already written. Basically, this was an action packed episode that even casual watchers should enjoy, but that casual and hardcore fans would totally flip out over. It’s an exciting episode, much like Final Fantasy: Advent Children. It’s almost pure action that doesn’t let up. Even if subsequent episodes don’t live up to expectations, this episode is worth picking up. I’d recommend it even if you don’t intend to follow with the entire series or have no idea what Kamen Rider are. It’s pure entertainment.
The only reason I wouldn’t give it a perfect 4.0 out of 4.0 is that it’s given me high hopes for this series, so I’m saving up in case later episodes exceed the pilot.
I believe you can find it at tvnihon.com