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View Poll Results: If I were to bring back a weekend watch (as a marathon method), what would you want?
Finish "Chouseishin Justirisers" 10 19.61%
Finish "Chouseishin Justirisers"
10 19.61%
Finish "Kamen Rider V3" 5 9.80%
Finish "Kamen Rider V3"
5 9.80%
Kamen Rider Fourze 14 27.45%
Kamen Rider Fourze
14 27.45%
Avatar: The Last Airbender 13 25.49%
Avatar: The Last Airbender
13 25.49%
Sailor Moon ('92-'97) 8 15.69%
Sailor Moon ('92-'97)
8 15.69%
Other (Say what in the thread) 1 1.96%
Other (Say what in the thread)
1 1.96%
Votes: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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Old February 28th, 2015, 04:55 AM #1
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Ataruman Reviews - A Crystalized Pretender Won't Hide

Osu! This is Ataruman, long-time review of Sentai (and the occasional Rider) here. With the evolution of the board, it was time I just left the "of the past" pages behind and finally make my own review thread. My reviews aren't just "as I watch" because, admittedly, I need to fully concentrate for anything that I watch. But for the most part its going to be the same stuff I've been doing pretty much since I started this back in 2011.

As it currently stands, this will mostly just be starting off with Kamen Rider Blade, which I will be starting on 3/1/15. While I am still doing a Kousoku Sentai Turboranger watch, I'm seeing that through to the end in the "SS of the Past" thread due to being used to it. The good news, happily, is that all the Sentai I want to watch will be in order from here on out. I'm also doing a personal watch of the Metal Heroes series Blue SWAT, but don't think I'll be reviewing that here...on the other hand, once I get to August and finish two "certain series", a certain space sherriff may be entering here. Beyond that, I am open to anything: Power Rangers, Pretty Cure, Digimon, a rewatch of Sailor Moon (which I've wanted to do to finally see Stars)...who knows!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Super Sentai:
-Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: Current
-Chouriki Sentai Ohranger: Coming March, 2016
-Seijuu Sentai Gingaman: Coming May/June 2016
-Mirai Sentai Timeranger: Coming August, 2016
-Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger: Coming October, 2016

Still to Watch:
-Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger
-Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger
-Engine Sentai Go-Onger
-Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
-Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters
-Zyuden Sentai Kyouryuger
-Ressha Sentai ToQger
-Shuriken Sentai Ninninger
-Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger

Kamen Rider:
-Kamen Rider Decade: Current
-Kamen Rider V3: Current(weekends)
-Kamen Rider X: Coming soon?
-Kamen Rider Fourze: Coming soon?

Still to Watch:
-Kamen Rider (1971)
-Kamen Rider Stronger
-Kamen Rider Super-1
-Kamen Rider Wizard
-Kamen Rider Gaim
-Kamen Rider Drive
-Kamen Rider Ghost

Metal Heroes:
-On Hiatus

Chouseishin Series:
-Currently Watching: Genseishin Justiriser
-Sazer-X: July, 2016 (weekends)

Pretty Cure:
-Currently Watching: HeartCatch PreCure
-Presumed Schedule:
--April, 2016: Futari wa Pretty Cure!
--July, 2016: Futari wa Pretty Cure Max Heart
--October, 2016: Fresh PreCure

The Future:
-Power Rangers
-Sailor Moon (rewatch)
-Digimon (I hope, perhaps)
-Tomica Heroes
-Who knows; anime is a possibility as are other things...

Oh and this is important too: from http://www.RangerBoard.com/showpost....postcount=1022

Ataruman wrote: View Post

I guess I have to give a full explanation regarding why I 'stretch things' compared to all the other reviewers on here (including a 31 episode series like KR Decade):

First of all, I like pacing myself. I like having a reason to get back to things day after day. If I watch everything all at once or in a marathon, then that's it. I like making sure that I have something to watch and then get back to it later since its fun doing it that way.

Second: I like analyzing things episodes by episode. If I watch multiple episodes, I can get things fully, but sometimes there are smaller things going on. With a lot of the stuff I watch, things can be repetitive if you just watch it all at once, so its easier to just embrace things.

Third: I don't have the time to just watch stuff. I have things I have to do otherwise with my life and a limit to how much free time I have per day anyway. So one episode per day of a few franchises is fine.

Finally, and most importantly: I don't like binging new things after some of my experiences doing it. It may be the latest hot thing now that everybody's doing it with Netflix and "instantaneous gratification" but it takes away the lingering effect of things and just makes everything a blur. I still binge on occasion but try to make it worthwhile on something short or something that I don't want to spend a ton of time on. (a few years ago I did "Space Runaway Ideon" in two weeks; depressed the heck out of me and I didn't review it on here since I didn't have my own thread yet...not sure I'd do it again but wouldn't mind dissecting it again if offered the chance) When I did it with Sentai/toku, it was with J.A.K.Q....and I still had to rewatch it a couple years ago to remember everything and get a better impression of it whereas the evidence of how insane the collapse was just felt way more sudden watching it too quick.

That's why I'm taking my time with my watches. I'm not someone who just watches a ton of stuff and can make MST3K-like comments like nearly everyone else on here; I like making me reviews actually matter even if I'm not the greatest reviewer in the world and won't be making some major blog or video show. And with Decade, the series is already split into the mini-arcs based on the 9 Worlds so it is just easier for me to do two arcs a week. (well the first week only had the opening episode and the Kuuga arc so I threw in the "Kamen Rider G" special)

Last edited by Ataruman; July 1st, 2019 at 03:09 AM. Reason: New title for the next set
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Old March 1st, 2015, 03:12 PM #2
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And now for some cards that hopefully aren't associated with Big One...its time to...Turn-Up!

Blade 1: Sorry, you're not getting an opening this season; you're getting a cool song put to a model show of a bunch of guys and Riders. (and sadly this is probably one of the first images I ever had to Heisei KR, and thus why I wasn't interested at first in it)

I know there are a lot of shows which just sort of prefers to skip the formalities and jump right into the action, making it feel more like episode 1 is actually episode 2 or 3 or goes in a direction where you just see the team in action with suits and whatnot. This actually felt like it was going to be that...at first, until it turns out that episode 1 of Blade...is actually more like episode 13; the point where usually the status quo is drastically shifted all of a sudden and everything you thought you knew was a lie and its now up to the main character to figure out what the heck is going on...oh and a mysterious new character shows up to change things around.

Lets just get started with the beginning of the episode...er, series: it was neat seeing Blade and Garren (er, Kenzaki and Tachibana) start the series already in the middle of a mission if only to introduce the idea of the Blade Riders and how they work. I really like the battle structure this season, using the card system but not only capturing the MotW but also using them in tandem to give the heroes the power. While it isn't "Pokemon"-like, it is unique to have the monsters literally be the source of the power for once in a literal sense aside from the typical Rider structure of "the enemy is the source for the hero's power". With that out of the way, we do seem to have BOARD as what appears to be a very SGS-esque organization: a group that has developed the Rider system this time to fight the Undead and to take them down for...mysterious reasons of course but what do you expect. The mere fact that the Riders are so public and public knowledge from the beginning is extremely shocking, with nearly every other Rider series making the Riders typically urban legends or "monsters of society" at first, but here with them as more or less true civil servants. But of course it isn't like the good name of the Riders is kept considering the series needs a plot: in this case we have Tachibana/Garren, who appears to be the stronger/most loyal of the BOARD duo, suddenly turning on his superiors and begin an attack where he seems to release a grasshopper Undead (reminds me a bit of the Marvel villain Swarm but with grasshoppers instead of bees) beneath in order to attack BOARD and try to get something. Its hard to say what he wants yet but it is a bit surprising they would pull that "the loyal Rider is a traitor" bit so soon as early as ep. 1. Kenzaki, the other major Rider at this point, just feels like another of the long line that started from Yuusuke Godai and was probably still going by this point: good natured, a bit dim-witted with trials but typically there when you need him. Of course he's the weaker of the duo and now with Tachibana turned against BOARD, it is probably going to be up to him to clear things up. And then we get our mysterious third Rider, the photographer Aikawa, who seems normal but doesn't seem to know about the Riders...yet has a Rouse card and has very Ryo-esque problems of trying to control a Rider-like form of his own. It isn't a bad opener...but seriously I would have expected this way later than we got it. I have heard of "jumping right in"...but this is ridiculous.
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Old March 1st, 2015, 07:18 PM #3
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About the nicest thing that I can say about the beginning episodes of Blade is that the people behind the scenes are clearly really excited about the show and they have all these ideas and stories and plotlines that they just can't wait to show you...but yeah, there's a reason why most stories open with exposition and build-up and easing the audience into things. Otherwise you get this sort of thing where all this stuff is going down and you know its important because the characters are acting like its important but you haven't even had the chance to establish empathy with them and so you have a hard time feeling with them.

That all said, the show does find its feet before too long and from then on it's (mostly) smooth sailing. It's my favorite Kamen Rider series thus far, so here's hoping you like it half as much as I do.
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Old March 1st, 2015, 07:59 PM #4
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I think one reason they probably skipped the introductory matters with Blade is, for the most part, it really is similar in many ways to the previous seasons. People tend to talk about how repetitive Rider gets in some ways, particularly with the structure of the series from Den-O on (well some would say Kabuto on). But at the same time, that doesn't make the earlier Heisei series immune to said repetition: Kuuga-Faiz all seem to have the same storyline of "naive young man who enters into world beyond his control" with various factions and potential allies/enemies out there from humanity and Riders. There are slight tweaks to each one, but it is similar in each sort of way, particularly with the leads (Shouichi having amnesia, Shinji literally taking someone else's power, Inui being an Orphonoch all along but hiding it from day 1) and the set-up. My guess with Blade is that they just want to say "you know the story by now, here it is...so let's just get going". Kenzaki does seem like another Yuusuke/Shouichi/Shinji/Inui, with Tachibana more or less the "friend or foe" Rider (Hikawa/Ren/Kusaka), so they believe that they can just show a few things and say "here it is, lets get the story going" without really doing any key world-building that is needed to make a world endearing from the start. It probably is why this structure is more or less done way less beyond here and why many consider Hibiki the "clean break" leading to late Heisei...but I'll get to that hopefully later in how.

There are some elements of the early Heisei series later on, but it is probably more an intentional homage at least by Neo-Heisei. (the Eiji/Goto relationship in OOO is sort of like this with Ankh as a "wild card" with it; likewise I hear they do the same in Gaim)
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Old March 1st, 2015, 08:06 PM #5
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Was already disappointing that the beginning of the first episode promises BOARD as this awesome organization and with the viewer (with me at least) imagining the possibilities of a big organization like it backing up the Rider in their endeavors...

...aaaand then we end on BOARD being completely destroyed with only a handful of survivors left. Big let down to me.

And, well, the weird "in media res" stuff for the first couple of episodes also makes things annoying especially with how we're expected to give a crap about these characters and their personal troubles and dramas...and yet we barely know a thing about them.

Well, at least things take a turn for the better with a turn of good Luck in a certain Clover...no, not THAT Lucky Clover.
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Old March 1st, 2015, 08:31 PM #6
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I'm sort of used to the "powerful organization that is gone an episode or two in" situation. I've been watching "Blue SWAT" and the same thing was done with the opening episodes of that: an organization built to fight a massive alien threat is suddenly wiped out like nothing leaving us with the three leads, a science kid and the ditz they just hire off the street in episode 2. (I think the same writer did the same thing with Hurricaneger I hear) By comparison, BOARD's current scenario is pretty much nothing that I haven't seen before and somehow I am not that surprised that something this important that would handle the Undead threat would suddenly be attacked/defeated from the get-go. (though not from within by one of the BOARD riders)
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 08:32 PM #7
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Blade 2: So if your neck is strangled during a transformation...can't you just get out of the "Henshin" bit and just change?

Just like ep. 1 was basically more or less ep. 11, this really doesn't go any further other than pushing us into...um, episode 12. Kenzaki for the moment is really just going through his whole doubts that everything he knew is a lie and that Tachibana really isn't an ally after all they've done together...which sort of really would be great if we had more to go on prior to now. Its not a bad beginning, I just wish we had more to set it up before Tachibana did his move to blow up BOARD to force the doubts that Kenzaki has, probably in association to the death of his family and whatever ultimately lead him to the organization in the first place. On the other hand, we have Hajime Aikawa, who really is our Ryo with his mysteries and peculiarities. He really seems like he has a bit of a split personality: he's a quiet young man who does seem unassuming, but when he becomes the "Heart Rider", he literally becomes a monster, merciless, spilling green blood and even speaking in the same language as the Undead themselves! (Yuusuke probably wished he would be able to do that) It does seem like has a kind heart in some manners, but at the same time he also sees Riders as his enemy...which for Kenzaki isn't a good thing considering he's probably supposed to be a neutral party; if Tachibana is behind why Aikawa isn't into Riders, that's understanding but Kenzaki is really not in the mood for any of this right now with his own situation.

Two things I do have to really admit to loving this season so far is the action and the music. The fighting really is the best I've seen in a long time in a Rider season (outside neo-Heisei) and the music, from "Round Zero" to the "ending" song "Kakusei", just really rock my socks off!
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 08:52 PM #8
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I can't put into words what it is, but the way Blade as a whole is filmed and shot and framed just really speaks to me, and the same goes for the fight scenes; unlike just about all the previous Heisei riders, Kenzaki and Tachibana have had actual formal training and it shows.
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 11:58 PM #9
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Which Precure you gonna start at, I recommend HeartCatch.
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 07:03 PM #10
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tavis15 wrote: View Post

Which Precure you gonna start at, I recommend HeartCatch.
If I do get to it, I have three series I'm thinking about: Futari (just to start from the beginning and go straight through); HeartCatch (due to its notability) and Smile (due to its Sentainess...and Yayoi). Dunno when I will get to it but I hope to...when I find time.

-----

Blade 3: Double Joker...it just doesn't feel right without "Cyclone" somewhere.

What exactly is BOARD and what exactly were they doing in the first place that lead to the Undead being released in our world? Who was truly behind the release of these monsters...and why would they just re-release them just to re-seal them? The mysteries continues to add up as the focus more or less this time is on Tachibana and we finally get a bit more backstory regarding what happened as we get another Undead fight in the meantime. It is apparant there are 53 cards that were originally sealed in the first Battle Royale, making it sound like the 13 cards of each suite as well as a Joker...I don't quite get if they knew about playing cards back then but it does allow for a neat usage of the situation.

It is interesting how nebulous they're trying to make Garren at this point: in the first two episodes he more or less appeared like the villain after appearing like the "golden boy", but now it seems more apparant that he has hatred of BOARD and what they did and that somehow he's trying to get something out of them, possibly in order to save himself considering he's a guinea pig to the original Rider system developed by them. He still isn't acting rational with what he's doing but there does seem to be more sense regarding why he's acting the way he is, with the possibility he can potentially save his own life if he can decipher the mysteries of what he's become. At the same time, Aikawa is more or less trapped in a weird position between the humans and the Undead with his own situation: he isn't on the side of the BOARD Riders but he wants to embrace the humanity he gained, possibly due to the encounter that allowed for him to move in and protect the family he now lives with. Yet at the same time he still has a connection with the Undead that they tend to exploit in a way that is not beneficial to him. The Undead do not like Aikawa getting close to humans and are willing to do anything to stop it, even destroy his hopes of being a photographer in the hope of maybe drawing him back to them in the cliffhanger. And in the midst of all this...Kenzaki is more or less just reacting to everything around him, from Aikawa and Tachibana's moves to the Undead attacks to figuring out what exactly BOARD has and what they need to know to deal with the consistant crisis. He just seems to get pissed about everything but its all just getting way too overwhelming that he just won't stop whining about every little thing that keeps happening simultaneously and it just gets tough to bare.
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 07:19 PM #11
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Personally, I would recommend either Fresh Precure (my current favorite) or Splash Star (Currently watching, will either be second or first favorite by the time I'm done.) Futari wa was kind of dull and I couldn't make it through it all the way, but Heartcatch is good. Can't say anything on Smile as I haven't watched that one yet.
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Old March 4th, 2015, 06:56 PM #12
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cypsiman2 wrote: View Post

Personally, I would recommend either Fresh Precure (my current favorite) or Splash Star (Currently watching, will either be second or first favorite by the time I'm done.) Futari wa was kind of dull and I couldn't make it through it all the way, but Heartcatch is good. Can't say anything on Smile as I haven't watched that one yet.
It will be a while until I get to the Cures due to how much other stuff I have to do. Could take a poll but right now the only thing i see as maybe possible in moving is the two series I do after Denziman and Sun Vulcan (which could be another combo of Sentai or could be Cures...maybe I should poll it but right now my ideas are possibly Bioman and Fiveman so I can at least finish the "pre Power Rangers" series.

-----

Blade 4:

This episode sort of makes me scratch my head in a similar sort of way as what Ryuki made me do during that watch: what part of "releasing an army of monsters for the sake of something important" is a good idea? In some ways, the Mirror Monsters and the Undead represent different schemes with a goal for the one behind it: for the Mirror Monsters, it is just an incidental associated with the Rider Fight to be controlled and as part of the whole "making a wish" facet for the winner; here, there seems to be this belief by BOARD that somehow the key to eternal life may be found within the Undead and thus the reason to release them in modern times. Unfortunately, releasing monsters for the sake of something believed to be good is always a bad idea, and obviously that pretty much is the case with the way the Undead have been rampaging about, even with the crazy idea of the development of this Rider system in hopes of trying to control the monsters in some manners. Obviously the idea that eternal life can be brought about through the Undead is a temptation considering what we have, from Karasuma's wife being unconscious to the fact that Tachibana is dying due to the effects of the Rider system and Kenzaki with the potential he may be going next. But again: if releasing an army of monsters on the world is for the sake of something as elusive as eternal life, then why take the temptation? Its understandable for so many who want it but it just feels like its something that is more or less built in for the hopes of those who think they can do something good with it...except when it comes to that sort of temptation, it always leads to bad people ending up with that desire and just screwing others over with it. Its really unknown how "bad" Karasuma and BOARD were but the factor that the Undead were released and continue to cause one torment after another just continues to show this idea that this wasn't necessarily a good idea and not very well thought out by whoever came up with it, even with the Rider System set up to "possibly" control this.

I do like that Hirose is starting to come around to Tachibana's ideas in the factor that he isn't as guilty as he claimed regarding what happened with the Undead's release and what happened to Karasuma, but the lay of guilt isn't completely gone on Garren. He still did abduct Karasuma who is unconscious and until/unless he comes to (and based on the cliffhanger, its doubtful now), we'll never know the true story right now regarding what BOARD wanted to accomplish with this project, merely that Kenzaki and Tachibana are stuck completing it now. Meanwhile, Aikawa continues to show his mystery with his feelings of not being on the side of Kenzaki while still hunting down the Undead and taking them down, even using Blade for his hunting methods to discover a weakness while the other Rider fights. As for Kenzaki, somehow he seemed to have a lot of trust issues after what Tachibana has put him through, but with the idea that others are willing to be there and don't want him to die even if he foolishly thinks he will end up the same as Garren with the Rider system, maybe he does have allies after all.
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Old March 4th, 2015, 07:12 PM #13
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A point of correction I would like to make; that was not Karasuma's wife, but rather Hirose's mother who was on her death bed, and her father swearing to do whatever it took to save her; it's a rather important part of Hirose's character her arc over the course of the show.
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Old March 5th, 2015, 05:23 PM #14
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Yeah sometimes when a series starts, I tend to end up screwing up names a lot. You'll get used to that with me.

-----
Blade 5: Sad to say, little kids just don't read signs.

What does it mean to have a cure to the disease one holds: does it require everything or just a part of the whole story? In some ways, this episode more or less parallels this idea with the concepts between Tachibana's plight and what happens to Kotarou's cousin (and Aikawa's "friend) Amane, both of whom show plight but of different sorts with different cures. In this episode, Amane becomes "infected" by a Centipede Undead residing within a cave by which she shouldn't have entered...well more like Kotaro and Kenzaki should have done a better job to prevent her from entering but she won't take no for an answer and ends up becoming infected as a result. In order to save her, the antibody within the Undead must be found, particularly by Aikawa who ends up using his Undead connections to find it, making it all the worse for him because of his possible connection to the Undead who see him as a traitor when he really isn't the best ally to the humans in the first place. On the other hand, Tachibana's malady regarding the Rider System's manipulation he thinks can only be cured by another manner: end the battle by capturing all of the Undead and thus get the cure to what's killing him. In his case, Centipede Undead is merely just one of many Undead he needs to complete this goal and it doesn't matter what it does other than to just have him capture it and thus complete the mission. But unfortunately the short and long term implications merely clash: if Aikawa wants to save Amane, he has to get what's needed from Centipede Undead before its sealed; while if Tachibana wants to cure himself, he needs to capture Centipede Undead. It really shows the morality of the situation and while Tachibana isn't wrong in what he wants, the short term is what Kenzaki sees is the right way to deal with this and thus why he's fighting alongside Chalice, even without knowing that Chalice and Aikawa are one and the same.

We also get a bit more regarding Kenzaki's origin, which is a tad generic involving "wanting to save the day after his parents die" but it is something suitable for his character just to drive at his good nature. And meanwhile, Karasuma has snuck away from Tachibana, showing that whatever BOARD really wants, he doesn't want the Riders to know about it that easily...or someone else has him that may want something regarding what he knows.
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Old March 5th, 2015, 05:38 PM #15
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While generic in premise, I think the execution with Kenzaki's past sets it apart a little; Kenzaki's parents have no parting words of wisdom, no exhortations for him to go out and do good in the world, and their deaths are not quick and clean; it is slow, horrific, and we see their terror as they are trapped with no way out. It really gets the weight of that kind of tragedy across in a way that is usually glossed over in this sort of scenario, at least that's what I think.

And I do like the way Tachibana and Aikawa naturally come into conflict with one another and Kenzaki's stuck in the middle trying to get Tachibana to listen, but Tachibana just doesn't have any reason to give Kenzaki that time at all. It feels natural to me.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 06:32 PM #16
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Kenzaki's ways are simplistic but I think its a bit too much so in a manner. It works (as you'll see with this review) but it just seems a bit too easy that he would suddenly say as a child "I can't save them but I'll save everyone else" when you don't have the means as a child. Its more or less trying to paint Kenzaki a bit like a "good person" version of Batman without the psychological turmoil Bruce Wayne went through and the whole "erasing my humanity" part so many tend to make of Bruce in many versions of his character.

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Blade 6: Its a simple diagnosis on what you're suffering from, Tachibana: it's called "stress".

Hirose is the one who seems to be the most interested in solving the mysteries of BOARD because she has the most to gain and lose from the knowledge that she can gain from it due to her mother's condition and because of her connection prior to Karasuma. Unfortunately with the guilt that maybe her father was the one who started the Undead battle in order to save her mother (even if she has zero proof that he has anything to do with it), it just makes her fly off the deep end thinking that if she runs away or finds Karasuma, she'll get some real answers...and if not, then she can just get away from her problems due to an assumption she came up with because of what she knows with little idea of what the truth is. In a way, it is Kenzaki's simplistic concepts, of just doing good for the sake of others who can't do it for themselves, that ends up saving her: if she can't save herself, then he'll do it for her. In some ways, Kenzaki's ways may be rather simple-minded but they are effective in not being bound by anything other than just wanting to do good due to his own nightmares from the past.

Meanwhile, some other mysterious people are on the move regarding the Rider tech and it isn't really beneficial to any of the members involved. With Aikawa, "they" seem to have a link to him and see him as merely "pretending" to be human instead of being a human. Whether or not he is pretending, things like how he cares about Amane and saved her life last time proves that he has some connection he wants to look out for, whether or not he's a real or fake human being in the end. This seems to be trying to drive out whatever connection he has to the Undead in order to bring him closer to them, but we don't really know too much about who is making the connection. Likewise, the government is making its move alongside this mysterious Matrix-like man, capturing Kenzaki and even attacking Tachibana as if they don't see any of the Blade/BOARD Riders of any use to them except for either study or destruction. It is intriguing that the Japanese goverment or some para-military organization would be interested in them...but considering the Blade Riders are the first true out-and-out in public Riders I've seen (and probably the only if future seasons have anything to say about it), then obviously others probably have their own ideas on what to do with them for their own purposes.

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One last thing: my last Turboranger reviews will be in the SS of the Past thread after I finish the series tonight. I will ease into Sentai in my own thread next week; starting with some rewatches of Battle Fever J in prep for my next series.
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Old March 6th, 2015, 06:38 PM #17
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You know, I would never have thought to compare Kenzaki to Batman but now it feels like a very apt point of comparison. Though there are some things you said about Kenzaki here that are going to prove very interesting in retrospect. Won't say more than that; I managed to watch Blade with practically no spoilers and I want to try and make sure you have that same chance.

The issue of Tachibana's condition makes me think of a line from Harry Potter; "Yes, this is all just in your head, but why should that make it any less real?" As much as Tachibana's condition is self-inflicted and psychological, it remains a real condition that will destroy him if he can't resolve it.
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Old March 7th, 2015, 04:50 PM #18
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Its tough to say considering that Tachibana does have his malady ripping him apart but most of it is more the potential of what will happen instead of it actually happening. He is possibly dying and it may happen, but its probably the gripping of fear combined with the physiological that is just ruining his resolve and making it all the worse for him.

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Blade 7: Anger is what makes them stronger? No wonder Tachibana fears turning green...

It really hadn't been apparant until now but for the most part this episode confirms some new information about the Undead, the seals and what exactly is being used for the Rider System and a bit more in how they work. First and foremost, we have confirmation that Aikawa (as well as the mystery man from last time) are actually Undead, but not quite typical Undead like the monsters we've seen up to now, actually being higher in the rankings similar to many other monster-types we've seen in this franchise where somehow the higher ones are stronger but also smarter and more cunning. In this case, the higher Undead are able to take human form and speak human language as the leader of the new organzation demonstrates. However his anger regarding Aikawa's situation is that somehow Chalice doesn't just have the appearance or the intellect of a human but the emotions as well, whether or not due to the situation that has placed him with the family or some other factor that has made him closer to human than instead of a mere Undead with a human disguise. This isn't something that the other Undead really want around and are willing to do anything to force Aikawa back on their side, including blow up the family he's staying with in hopes that it will bring him back on their side.

At the same time, we can confirm that the Ace "Level" is actually the ones used for the Rider System: Ace as a card is both the lowest and highest of the deck, usually demonstrating the power to be the weakest (being 1) and the strongest (typically seen in many games as more valuable than a King), thus the appropriateness that the Rider Systems would draw on this "weak but strong" power as the basis. However at the same time the new Undead villain has confirmed that he is studying the Riders, starting with Kenzaki's capture and Aikawa's "barganing" (and ultimately including Tachibana being forced after them even with his doubts) to try and work the information regarding how the Rider System works in hopes of creating their own "Ultimate Rider". As we've seen up to now, the suites of Spade, Diamond and Heart have all appeared...which mean somehow the Undead probably may be making (or trying to work out if BOARD already made it for them) a "Club" Rider; and if they are (or something else with the Club Rider appearing later by another measure), then they want to know how the Rider system works so that they can use it for their own purposes. Of course Kenzaki is trapped and has no choice but to be part of this, but it isn't any easier that Aikawa is standing there, both hating Kenzaki for getting in his way and his own turmoil that his "family" is under threat again and that he wants to save them, making him conflicted by his priorities and who he belongs with at this point. Meanwhile, Tachibana may be their only savior, but he isn't in the best of conditions either considering that it is his fear that is driving his apart and weakening him, not only making him scared of his own mortality but even making Garren much less effective than before! And all this time the "master Undead" is currently collecting data...with the possibility that anything he gets here will eventually be used against everyone, including Aikawa if he keeps turning their back on his true nature as an Undead!
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Old March 7th, 2015, 05:59 PM #19
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I really like the way Blade handles its higher level vs. lower level monsters, the whole playing card motif creates a very natural logic for why some monsters are brute animals and others are more clever than that, and as you point out, Ace is both highest and lowest at the same time, which would certainly create something interesting if we encounter an unsealed Ace-Undead.
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Old March 8th, 2015, 12:15 PM #20
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Blade 8: The greatest fear isn't if the apes won the last Battle Royal...its the horses.

One thing I have to admire about Blade is it doesn't mess around in revealing what it needs to when it needs to. This time around, we finally get some straight answers about the Undead and the reasons behind the battle...mostly. As their name actually suggests, the Undead pretty much are immortal, beings that fight, become sealed and then await until it is time to fight again, as if by cycle. The factor of the Undead being immortal is probably the reason why Karasuma's group behind BOARD decided to access the cards immediately, regardless of the situation that lead to their sealing (or if the unsealing was bound to happen regardless of what the real situation was), but with them released and fighting in their "tournament", it really is up to humanity to reseal them if only to just prevent any more chaos from happening, thus the purpose of the Rider Systems. Of course the factor that the Rider System does exist is rather intriguing to the smarter, higher Undead like Isaka, who are trying to develop their own but without any real explanation other than to probably one-up humanity. With the knowledge that Aikawa is an Undead with his own pseudo-Rider System, there probably is more to why this happened and what the "higher Undead" really want with it, but unfortunately they're going to be a menace regardless now that have to be dealt with along with all the normal "beastial" Undead.

Meanwhile, the mere revelation/realization that Aikawa is an Undead is more than enough of an excuse for Kenzaki to continue to pursue him and to just let out his own grievances with the mystery man regardless of what he really wants. Likewise, Aikawa really is getting rather sick of Kenzaki and wants to live in peace, thus he is rather happy to fight him, even if it probably leads to him getting a bit more time to spend with Kotarou's family (who nearly got blown away by Isaka's attack earlier) And meanwhile, Tachibana is trying to calm himself down regarding his own situation, wanting to perhaps get away from the whole fear he has that is weakening him and causing his problems in becoming Garren...but when you have 53 monsters running around (and we really need a running tally on how many of them are captured already), one of them is bound to show up to get him, which means it isn't that easy to get away from his "responsibility" even if he wants to!
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