Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vote for Apollo Z. Hack. For Change/Henshin!

Hey there guys and gals. As most of you know the Mashable Awards are up and since no one nominated me (not that I'd have a snowball's chance in hell of winning anyway), I decided to nominate Apollo Z. Hack since he is A) Better than me and then some when it comes to Tokusatsu, B) He's the best of all of us who, shall we say, have been shunned by the big boys at that Channel thing I don't feel like mentioning.

Anyway, I encourage you Toku Faithful one and all to cast your vote for my good friend Apollo for Best Web Video and Must Follow Personality because he deserves it more than anyone and while you're at it make sure to cast a vote for The Geek Fighters for Best Website User Experience because that is mine, and many other critics, home sweet home and we want it to get some respect.

Well, that's all I've got to say. Go out and vote. You can use Facebook or Twitter and you can find a link to the vote site on the Geek Fighters front page or on the link provided. Remember, In Hack We Trust.


Toku Time: Magiranger (Part 2)

Toku Time: Magiranger

First Impressions of Kamen Rider OOO (Part 2)

Hey guys. Sorry about the delay on the second part but I’ve been extra busy with the Magiranger video review. It should be uploaded by the time you read this. Go to and check it out. Where were we? Oh yea.

So, what did we learn about the new series last time? We learned that the big bad oni are made of coins/medallions, a drifter with an affinity for boxer shorts is being followed by a disembodied hand, Ankh, and that now our drifter friend Eiji is now a Kamen Rider by circumstance. Kamen Rider OOO did all right for his first fight but what new challenges await our hero? Let’s find out.

(SPOILER ALERT for Episode 2)

Green Peace is really going out of their way
to clean up the Earth.

So our Thing wannabe Ankh has possessed the body of a dying detective and even ripped off Long from Gekiranger’s haircut so yea. And before you make the connection it is NOT the guy who played Long. Everyone (including Yours Truly) has made that mistake but hey, nobody’s perfect. Eiji asks if the detective is okay but Ankh is distracted when a hundred of robotic birds steal the medals from him. Ankh is furious and our mysterious biker friend from before looks on. It seems our friend in the red suit has a stockpile of medals, much like Gaia Memory. A little more foreboding…please.

That reminds me, I forgot to say anything about the song last time. It’s not so bad. It kind of reminds me of my ska days from long ago but I’m not used to a Rider theme being so upbeat. I’m sure it’ll be better when I’ve heard the whole thing. So when Ankh, when not stealing a tasty treat, is expositing about the Core Medals to Eiji and telling him the detective will die if he’s not attached to him after awhile. Seems the Yummy are made of Cell Medals which aren’t as valuable or stable as Core Medals. Yea I don’t get it either.

Meanwhile our Bulk and Skull wannabes from earlier are visited by the Greeed and a new Yummy is released from one of them, I hope these guys don’t become recurring characters, and the rest of the Greeed exposit stuff too. Bored now!! Eiji gets another call on the cell phone he swiped from the detective Ankh possessed. Eiji realizes its Hina, the girl with the freak strength from earlier after getting a pic text from her. Hina is applying for work at some coffee shop/restaurant that will likely become the established meeting place for all characters eventually. Her new boss is um…a cosplayer. Yea, I’m not making this up. We’ve officially descended into madness here folks when the fans are seeping into the media they watch!!

Welcome to Hell. Don't do drugs, kids.

Anyway, Hina gets a call that her brother is missing but never mind that, the Yummy is on the attack, eating money to take on a full form. Ankh hears the Yummy (somehow) and knows it’s attacking. When they finally track it down, Ankh refuses to let Eiji become OOO until the Yummy takes a full form and that way he can obtain medals that way. No full form = no medals. Seems the source of medals is human greed and the more it eats the stronger it gets. That is going to wreck Japan’s economy if that keeps up.

Meanwhile, Mr. Kougami (the guy in red) is going nuts with cake frosting and making an evil speech. Man, what a nut bar. Anyway the Yummy becomes a giant bug (it happens) and Ankh is still refusing to cough up the OOO Driver since he wants it to get bigger and kill more people. Man, this guy makes Momotaros look like a Red Cross worker. Rager would love this guy.

"Yep, I'm a dick-weed. Get used to it."

Eiji AGAIN gets a call from Hina, hoping her brother will pick up as he is still missing. Eiji of course feels bad for Hina and gets a flashback to something bad happening with I’m assuming him crying as a kid. (I hate ominous foreshadowing). Eiji decides to save people on his own, henshined or not. He of course falls off the side of the building but luckily Ankh hand saves him. He decides to stop being a prick and hands over the OOO Driver but Eiji makes him promise to let him transform whenever he wants. So he agrees and Eiji henshins just in time to avoid becoming a red stain on the pavement. Oh but we have a visitor, the mystery biker from before. He gives him a “birthday present”. A cool new sword and a vending machine bike just like his. Wow, the man in red must be bipolar or something. First he’s against him now he’s giving him presents. This is a strange show…

Somewhere, a metrosexual protagonist from a
Final Fantasy game is missing his sword...

So our mystery friend uses a bunch of soda cans that turn into octobots which make a bridge for OOO to drive up and slay the oni while Ankh gobbles up the medals. Our hero puts in the medals into his new sword and uses a cool cutting attack to finish off the giant bug. After that impressive battle, Eiji decides to fake a text to Hina’s cell phone saying that her brother is on a covert mission and sends a pic of his new look (with Ankh possessing him). Seems Eiji dodged a bullet right? Wrong!! Ankh bumps into someone, while wondering why the humans want Cell Medals, and wouldn’t you know it. It’s HINA!!! What are the odds??? Eiji sees this and knows his plan went balls up while Ankh goes in for the kill.

Don't Hug the Reaper!!!

So that was the second episode of Kamen Rider OOO. I’ve got to say it’s not as epic as W but it’s not very impressive on it’s own. I haven’t totally given up on it…yet. Besides, I’m the Toku guy. I don’t just give up on a show just because I hate it (since I can and will review this one day). I am kind of interested to see what new medals OOO will obtain and if the Greeed will ever reclaim their Core Medals. The Ankh possessing a human thing has got me intrigued the most. It’s kind of a throwback to Den-O but the difference is the oni isn’t possessing the main character but rather a random stranger who has family and a life, how will Ankh affect all this?? Time will tell.

Well, that’s my thoughts on Kamen Rider OOO, and until the next big event in Tokusatsu this is your friendly neighborhood EZ Rider. Later.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Toku Takeover: Kamen Rider W (COMMENTARY)

I felt like I had to post this here since I'm mentioned a LOT in this commentary. Funny story. Maybe next year Shades.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Impressions of Kamen Rider OOO (Part 1)

Well guys, it’s that time again. You know that feeling when you go into a show and you have no idea how it’s going to work out? Well that’s my job in a nutshell. I’m not going to lie and say I’m a walking encyclopedia of Tokusatsu and that I’ve seen every shred of it known to man, because if you do that then there’s nothing left to surprise you. Kamen Rider OOO is a show that will surprise you. May not be good surprises but that’s the fun part.

Now before I begin this review I’m recommending you suspend your disbelief a little without totally spacing out. Some people who may see this will never take it seriously. I can name one critic (who will remain nameless). He took one look at this and just gave up on it. So go in with an open mind and let’s get it over with.

(MASSIVE SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.)

Hasn't Amazon sued this guy for
likeness infringement yet?

The first episode begins with coins/medals raining down from on high and then it cuts to a museum where two guards are sneaking around. Seems this Abbot and Costello-like pair are sneaking into this museum to loot it and they won’t get caught since the other guard on duty has been drugged. Suddenly those medals from before gain a life of their own and open the Ark of the Covenant- I mean some ancient relic. Isn’t that how all good Kamen Rider series start? (Kuuga, Agito etc)

Anyway that relic turns into thousands of medals which take forms of evil oni but it’s okay since some SWAT team member riding in on a bike that was once a vending machine (no I’m not kidding) and starts shooting it. Oh wait, here’s a shocker. The bullets don’t work. He contacts the boss and informs them of what happened and this man in the red suit (which I’m sure doesn’t imply any evil intentions) tells him to eliminate them….even though his gun had no effect on them. So what to do you ask? Simple, blow up the building!!! But no big surprise, the oni turn back into their medal form and flee the falling building.

Bulk and Skull were more dignified than these two.

The boss is too busy to help since he’s um…making a birthday cake. Yea… Seems he is celebrating the birth of the so-called Greeed (and no that isn’t a typo, it’s what their called). He even sings Happy Birthday. Wow, even I thought that was out of place. Anyway we finally see our hero awaken when one of the medals hits him in the head, which he thinks is his salary. When he tries to change clothes and go home the walls fall around him and he has no idea what is going on.

We’re introduced to our protagonist during an interview with two detectives. Hino Eiji. He’s a drifter that just started working at the museum. Hmm, a main character with no past, sounds foreboding. While all this is going on we see a disembodied hand crawl out of the wreckage. I would make a Thing joke but, meh, too easy. Cut back to the man in the red suit (I should just call him Lew Siffer) who’s enjoying the cake with his um…I don’t know. Secretary? Wife? Call Girl? They never explain. Anyway it seems he predicted all this happening, yea because that makes all the sense in the world.

Our hero, Ladies and Gentleman.....

The four Greeed oni seem to be incomplete without their Core Medals. Apparently someone named Ankh took them. We later see our hero Eiji wanting to use that red coin he found at a vending machine but it rolls under the machine. A girl named Hina happens along and appears to be able to defy physics by PICKING UP the machine for Eiji but she quickly runs away after seeing that moving hand from before. He takes the medal back or tries to, but Eiji runs in terror.

Meanwhile we see how our monster of the week is created. Try and follow me here. A greeed finds a “greedy “ person (get it?), puts one of those medal coins in them like a vending machine and out comes a mummy-like oni which according to the Greeed was “born from the persons greed”…how subtle. Anyway, after consuming enough jewelry, the mummy turns into a Yummy (and no I have no idea how to pronounce it. I’m assuming it’s like Yami but I could be wrong.)

Poor guy. He must REALLY be craving Mt. Dew Code Red.

Now we cut back to our hero running from the glove of death. Seems this thing came from that relic as well and is revealed to be Ankh, what’s left of him anyway. This mantis-based Yummy is laying waste to everything and even wounds the two detectives from before (one of which will become important later). Ankh decides that Eiji can be of use to him and gives him the seal from the relic, which turns into a henshin belt. Eiji reluctantly agrees and takes the three Core Medals Ankh provides. He uses the O scanner to become Kamen Rider OOO and gains the powers of a Hawk, Tiger, and Grasshopper.

Ankh later gives him a light green Core Medal which swaps out the Tiger power for Mantis power. OOO uses those cool Mantis arm blades to finish off this Yummy with I gotta admit an attack that screams Fang/Joker, but that’s just what hit me when I first saw it. After Eiji beats the Yummy we see Ankh latch on to the passed out detective from before, possessing his body and taking on a new look, and while all this is going on his cell phone is ringing.

I feel bad for the production crew that has
to pick up all those coins off the set.

Are you ready for a twist? Hina, the girl with freakish super strength, is the detective’s sister. If that wasn’t creepy enough, the man in red is doing the birthday thing again. This time, it’s for OOO. Seems he knew about him too somehow. How? Why? We may never know (but I give it 25 episodes, maybe 35, give or take).

So that was the first episode of Kamen Rider OOO. Was it weird? Undeniably! Was it bad? Well it is only the first episode and I am interested to see where it goes. It has that “new to this world” feel of Den-O. Make sure to check out Part 2. This time Ankh really REALLY doesn’t care and Eiji gets a present from an unlikely source.

Until then, Later.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Rising Sun is Back!!

Hey Toku Faithful. If you haven't heard already The Rising Sun is back on the air and this time we switch things up a little. This time The Shades, Hybrid Rain, yamiangie, and Yours Truly talk about the late great Satoshi Kon. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

End of Kamen Rider W Review (Part 2)

Hey everyone. It’s that time again, the end of another Kamen Rider series. In the 8+ years I’ve been watching Tokusatsu it has never gotten easier to see a show you love end. On the other hand at least THESE shows get a proper send-off unlike, well, every good show NBC has cancelled and I’ll leave it at that.

Anyway, time to take that grain of salt and say a sound goodbye to Kamen Rider W. And before I go any further, please STOP trying to convince me it’s Double!! I agree with what Shades said in his Decade video. If you pronounce it Double, that’s fine. You’re entitled to your opinion. Just don’t be a total douche and try to shove what you think is right down our throats. It can be both W and Double as there is no wrong answer among the two. I call it W and I’ll continue to call it W for the rest of my days. Get used to it!!

Okay, I’m done griping. Let’s do this.

(SPOILERS for Episode 49)

One year has passed since Phillip faded away like leaves in the wind and it’s back to business as usual for our favorite detective Shoutarou. He actually runs into Santa-chan at a cat shop. I guess Mikku (Ryubee’s cat, who they adopted last episode) only eats Fancy Feast and the high quality stuff. I hope my girlfriend isn’t that picky when she comes to cat food (she loves her cat more than me!)

Shoutarou also pays a visit to Wakana at the hospital who has awoken after all this time. She is unaware Phillip/Raito is no longer around. Of course she still acts like bit of a bitch but hey, that’s character development for you. A young boy follows Shoutarou back to his office. The child, Akira, asks our hero for help finding his sister. Shoutarou of course takes the case and begins hitting up his informants for clues.

I'm gonna miss you llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllladies....

We learn from the lead singer of Counting Crows- I mean Watcherman, and the lovely Queen and Elizabeth that she was last seen talking to a street gang know as EXE. (Is that anything like Rockman EXE?) Anyway this rabble of punks is selling Gaia Memories on the street and of their own accord. Since Museum is no more, they decided to gather all the remaining memories and start a business. That’s so evil!....and yet…a very smart business ploy.

Sadly Shoutarou goes to call Phillip but he forgot Phillip is no longer with us. Even Queen and Elizabeth don’t know he’s gone as they think he’s studying abroad because…yea…Phillip really needed to go to school when he has the entire knowledge of the world in his HEAD!!! But I’m getting off track. Akira takes Shoutarou to EXE’s hideout, an abandoned warehouse (how original). The punks have his sister Yui hostage and she exposits that she tried to sell them a memory but hasn’t revealed where it is. One of them uses the Anomalocaris memory…even though that one was destroyed in episode 6..…YOU figure out how THAT works out. (I call it lazy writing.)

The student has become the teacher.

Luckily Shoutarou is ready for these hooligans with his Lost Driver and becomes Kamen Rider Joker and deals with this Dopant while the gang escapes with Yui. Joker wastes no time with this rehashed Dopant and sends him flying with a Maximum Drive Rider PUNCH! You read my right, a Rider Punch. That is awesome.

Once that cool exhibition of kickass-ary is done we see Wakana has escaped from the hospital and still has her Clay Doll power even though she is no longer a Dopant. Jinno and Makura cower in fear while Ryu finally shows up to ask what is going on. They try to bring her out of it. Ryu even admits the city isn’t filthy anymore (wow, he’s pulled a 180) and becomes Accel to stop her. Shoutarou stands in the way, saying Phillip’s death would be in vain if they killed his sister. Wakana overhears and of course, she is devastated.

Then the show tries to play a cruel prank on us the viewers with the Frog Pod toy, which still has Phillip’s voice recorded on it. Shoutarou, as well as us the fans, are not happy. That’s like on WWE RAW where they play someone’s music and you think the wrestler is gonna come out but it was just a trick. Seriously, not cool guys. Akira thinks Shoutarou overreacted but Akiko tells him that Phillip is really dead and Shoutarou is just putting up a brave front. Again, when did the show validate this little pricks opinion?? Get lost, Short Round.

Wakana goes to Shroud’s woodland clearing (where I assume she lives *shrug*) and asks her if she can make one more Gaia Impact. Shroud explains how to her daughter before dying…for some reason. Apparently she had a terminal illness that they never told us about. How about a little explanation next time, writers of the show?

Yes. The death of Carmen Sandiego was a sad occasion...

Later on, the kid gets a text to come alone to EXE’s warehouse hangout- I mean secret headquarters. It’s here Yui reveals she hid the memory inside his backpack and the gang take it for themselves. Once they get what they wanted, another member of EXE becomes the Cockroach Dopant. (Seriously, another broken memory being used!! WTF??) Luckily Shoutarou put a tracer on Akira so they could track him down.He becomes Joker once more and owns Cockroach with a Maximum Drive Rider Kick!! (Again, awesome!) Ryu shows up and takes out the other thugs before they can use their memories. After the fight Ryu cuffs them and Shoutarou breaks the Energy memory (or so he thought).

"I WILL turn that into a catchphrase!!!"

After a little pre-mature celebrating, it’s revealed that the pet shop owner from before is the leader of the gang. (Seriously, Scooby Doo had better suspense than this!) So he becomes the Energy Dopant by sticking the real Gaia Memory in his teeth! (Ouch!) It seems our hero is done for when Shoutarou is hit with a lightning blast from Energy but low and behold. The Xtreme Memory is back and guess who appears!! Phillip!!! He’s alive!!! *Record Scratch* Now wait a minute you say. How is that possible? Well it seems our dear Healing Princess Wakana lives up to her moniker and sacrifices herself to give Phillip new life with the Gaia Impact and so she redeems herself with this final act.

Farewell sweet Wakana-hime. And a flight of winged
toaster Gif's sing thee to thy rest.

Shoutarou is of course overjoyed to see his best friend again. It was awfully nice for the Dopant to wait around while everyone hugged and celebrated Phillip’s resurrection. Seriously though, now that our heroes are reunited it’s back to business as usual as they once again become Kamen Rider W and put the Energy Dopant out of his misery with Joker Extreme. Perfect end to a perfect show.

Final Thoughts: I LOVE this show. It’s right up there with Den-O for me. As finales go, I’m glad this one didn’t have a real nail-biter end to it like Kiva did. Granted those are fun but I think it works better when you’re hopes aren’t too high for a finale. Personally I wished I could have gone for more Kamen Rider Joker. He was just the simplicity of a rider. Rider Punch and Rider Kick with no fancy weapons just to drive up toy sales and become ridiculously overpowered *cough* Decade *cough*.

At first I thought they were pulling a Deus Ex Machina with the way they brought back Phillip but then I realized what Wakana sacrificed and I guess that makes sense. One thing bothers me though. I’m not trying to be morbid here or anything but I’m amazed Ryu survived this whole ordeal. I mean he was banged up pretty good last time (he was on FIRE! Literally!) But I guess happy endings are all anyone wants today. Whatever happened to the hero that goes down fighting? Oh well.

I’m sure my friend Shades will agree with me that this show is a good start for anyone who wants to get in to Kamen Rider. I will have fun reviewing this show one day on Toku Time and I look forward to it. Until then at least we have the W movie and W and OOO’s Movie Wars 2011 to look forward to so we have not seen the last of Kamen Rider W by any means.

It's been a hell of a ride guys. See you again sometime.

Id like to thank Toei for making this great show, the whole cast for amazing acting (Tomomi sisters, call me!), the artists for the great music through this series, #TV-Nihon for subbing this series (support them, not stream sites), and the fans for reading/watching my reviews. You guys and gals all make it worthwhile. Farewell to W. It’s OOO’s time to shine now.

Watch this space for my First Impressions of OOO’s review which I’ll write eventually. Thanks for reading.