We may be a couple of months late, but we felt that it was imperative that the world know of our picks for the past year! But seriously, here are our collective picks for the Best in Tokusatsu for 2013.
[ベルトの力] Beruto no Chikara
The Belt’s Power
After losing a few pounds of weight thanks to Yuji ridding him of his heart, Chie’s main squeeze comes back to life and zombie walks his way to Chie’s apartment. He then does the sensible thing and turns to dust. Chie also does the sensible thing and freaks the eff out.
Meanwhile, Mari is trying his best to understand why this guy who just transformed into an armored warrior doesn’t care to find out more about the belt or the monster that he fought. He seems to just want to find his bag and has no time to worry about anything else. Other than his name, which Mari finds out when he writes his name, Inui Takumi, on a release form for his now recovered bag, and the fact that he doesn’t like hot food, we know nothing about this guy. I think this is what I found really intriguing the first time I saw it. Mysterious heroes are a dime a dozen in a lot of cases. But a character who is mysterious and also doesn’t give a crap about what’s going on is something you don’t see as often. He really cannot be bothered with anything that has to do with Mari unless it directly effects him. You could say he’s an asshole, which he probably is, but I find it amusing at times.
Well, Takumi gets his bag back and after a small argument, throws Mari’s bag into a nearby bush. Out of guilt, he helps her find it but when he goes back to his bike, his bag is gone. Mari is smug at first, but then checks her bag and finds his brightly colored boxers, which means her bag, which contains the Faiz belt, has been stolen. Takumi helps her look for it, once again out of guilt, and they spot it at a pawn shop. The owner won’t give it to them for cheap, so Mari uses her beautician skills to give kids haircuts at an amusement park while Takumi rounds up customers. After buying the belt back, they get some food and Takumi ditches her to go off on his own. Mari tries to find him, I guess because the belt only works for him, but runs into another Orphenoch who is after her bag. She checks the bag and….once again….he has Takumi’s boxer-filled bag.
This is one of the many issues people have with this show and I tend to agree. Quite a few of the plot points in the show are surrounded by constant misunderstandings. It’s like the Three’s Company of the Kamen Rider franchise (If I’m the only one that got that reference, I feel sorry for the world. XD). You’d think that after mixing up the bags twice, they wouldn’t set them down right next to each other again. It’s okay the first time, even the second time. But three times? That’s a bit much.
Takumi rides in to save Mari and transforms, on his own accord this time, to Kamen Rider Faiz. He starts to wreck shop and tries his standing kick move again, which barely phases the monster this time. Mari installs the Faiz Pointer to his leg and he uses it to do his Rider Kick: the Crimson Smash, to defeat the Elephant Orphenoch.
On the flip side, Yuji is very depressed and overwhelmed by what’s happened to him recently. He wonders why this is happening and that he should have stayed dead. Deciding to take matters into his own hands, he swan dives off of a building and attempts suicide, only to wake up in a swank-looking condo. He’s approached by the woman from the Smart Brain ads who informs him that he is now an Orphenoch, a being that surpasses human beings and who’s task is to wipe out the human population to make room for the Orphenoch rule. Of course, he can’t process all of this so he goes back to sleep. Well done. He goes to meet up with Chie, who calls him to talk. She freaks out when she sees a couple of investigators who came to check out the crime scene at her apartment earlier and out of fear, points at Yuji and claims that he killed her boyfriend. Yuji runs away, but is again depressed as to why she would do that to him. Angered, he finds her and kills her, despite her attempts to shift the blame off of herself. We then see him walk over to the Smart Brain lady, giving us the indication that he has now accepted his fate.
So, still a lot that isn’t known about what is going on in this show, but this is only the second episode so we can’t expect much. We are first introduced to the idea of the Orphenochs and a bit about how they operate. We also find out that Mari got the belt and bike from her father in Tokyo and that she’s trying to find him to figure out what is going on. Its a really good set up for a show since nothing is known about the belt or the enemies just yet.
I’m glad we saw more action in this episode since we only got a bit of Faiz action in the first one. And, being that this is one of my favorite Riders and Rider kicks, the first time you see it can see how badass it is with all of the effects and slow motion. Faiz may not have the finesse that Kamen Rider Wizard has in fighting, but he makes it look awesome nonetheless.
What will be interesting to see in upcoming episodes is how Yuji and Takumi’s story-line cross since you know it’s bound to happen. Right now the show is pretty much split between the two, so you have two parallel plots running together. The longer they keep that up, the more interesting it will be once they do finally meet. Will they get along? Will they try to kill each other. We’ll have to wait and see.
Oh, and we got to see the Opening song for Kamen Rider 555, “Justiφ’s”, sung by ISSA of DA PUMP. When I first heard this song, I had no idea who the singer was and I still really liked the song. A few years later, I started getting into DA PUMP’s music and became a big fan. Once I made the connection, it brought a whole new level of enjoyment to the song. ISSA seems like he’s a Kamen Rider fan since he also sang the song for Kamen Rider: The Next, “Chosen Soldier”. I may be biased, but its one of the more memorable theme songs from the Heisei Rider series for me.