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Old September 15th, 2013, 03:32 PM   #36
Destroyer of Particles
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 8,452
In a late celebration of Kaixa Day... Faiz 1-5:

The ones you love the most can be the ones you hate the most. Yuji and Yuka had their precarious lives torn from them in a series of tragedies precipitated by rejections from the ones whom they cared about. Mari, resolved to fight the Orphenochs, is clueless to her father's or Smart Brain's roles in their creation. Takumi, annoyed at Mari's and Keitarou's intrusions into his life, goes out of his way to protect them. Keitarou and Yuka have had an online relationship, but circumstances are aligning them on opposite sides of the fight. The exposition of these relationships is a nice setup for potential drama.

In many ways, Takumi's story parallels Yuji's and Yuka's. They've all been forcibly thrown into a battle and given orders, but all are having trouble accepting their roles. Takumi is so far the only one who can wear the Faiz belt heroically, yet he refused to take responsibility for it, even to the point of letting it fall into enemy hands. Even after he took on his assignment, he didn't bother keeping the belt with him. Yuji and Yuka are Originals, implied to be a rare variety, but haven't totally aligned themselves with the Orphenochs. They may have killed out of instinctual hatred, but they've refused to hate humanity and did not use their Orphenoch powers to attack strangers. (Given their refusal to accept their fates, there's some false symbolism in Yuji killing his ex-girlfriend portrayed by TimePink's actress.) Everyone's a little lost in their lives, but they're all finding their directions.

Speaking of a mismatch in roles, there's Keitarou and Mari. He has the hero mentality but little heroic ability. It's fitting that he works in the laundry business, as he has to clean up everyone's mess. Also, Mari's father sent her the Faiz belt, even though she's unable to use it. She has plenty of trouble in protecting it, thanks to Orphenochs constantly trying to steal it. Just what is the belt's true purpose, and why did Smart Brain cancel the retrieval?

Smart Brain... just what are they up to? Even after their brief explanations, there are plenty of mysteries surrounding them. They're evolving humans into Orphenochs, and the name "Smart Brain" implies there's some greater intelligence involved. On the other hand, the name "Orphenoch" implies some kind of abandonment, causing them to act on their primal urges - even the shadows of shirtless guys gives them a savage aura. (And that's one telltale Inoue sign.)

For the time, the action looked fairly good, and they have made good use of the fact that a phi resembles a sign for cancelling/eliminating. Even Autovajin was somewhat decent. The Orphenochs have plenty of special effects, in contrast to their (appropriately) lifeless gray color scheme. There's the puzzle of why Smart Lady's/Naomi's actress is always wearing leather, but it's interesting to note that it was nearly a decade between her first and last appearances on Kamen Rider.
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