Kamen Rider Wizard
Magical creatures called Phantoms force humans into despair so that more of their number might be born. Protecting humanity from this fate is a survivor of their ritual, Haruto Sohma. Possessor of the Wizardriver, he transforms into the magic ring wielding Kamen Rider Wizard.
Following on from Fourze came this show, the current and ongoing incarnation of Kamen Rider. What it lacks in the sheer enthusiasm stakes compared to Fourze, it makes up in… Well, no, it hasn’t made up for the comparative lack of snowballing excitement, but it does have a few things going for it.
One thing is that it has a very Kamen Rider-esque element that Fourze and other shows kind of half-arsed, namely motorcycle stunts. Other Rider shows I’ve seen might do a courtesy nod towards the idea that a Kamen Rider rides a bike. Maybe they use it to get from A to B, ride through the occasional inexplicable explosion or have it part of some cheap CGI effect. Wizard though has had some sequences with some significant physical stunt work involved, giving the biker element of the character more weight.
The acting on the whole feels stronger than Fourze did, and while not as riotously funny as Fourze could be, the show has its own sense of humour, which is often surprising in its subtlety.
The big problem I have with the show so far is that each individual story (typically two episodes long) tends to feel really low stakes compared to Fourze and other Rider shows I’ve seen since. With the Phantoms trying to drive a single character to despair each time, there is rarely much in the way of collateral damage or sense of danger to mankind as a whole. Plus, as they have failed every single time in their attempts to create a new Phantom so far, there’s not much in the way of stakes being raised as the show progresses.
That is going away a little in recent episodes, as gradually it is becoming clear there’s possibly different reason for everything that’s happening that the Phantoms themselves are unaware of. Hopefully with the introduction of the secondary Rider, Kamen Rider Beast, next week we’ll see things escalate a little faster.
The one big speed bump early on was in sequences where Wizard would go into the mind of the victim to fight the emerging Phantom. Said Phantom would not be a man in a suit like the ones encountered in the real world, but instead a dreadfully cheap looking CG monster. Thankfully they don’t use them for every story, so it turns out to not be that big of a problem.
It was however enough to leave me feeling a little disappointed with Wizard early on, so I decided to check out what other Rider shows some of the Fourze writers had worked on, which led me to tomorrow’s Rider…