Want to rant a bit.
A few years back I started thinking Kamen Rider lost its serious storytelling. It was becoming more and more kiddy and focused on bright-colored "toy-selling". It was basically becoming more and more like a one-man Super Sentai show.
- Den-O had a bunch of forms. They were cool, each with their own character (banter between Momotaros and the gang was always fun). And it had a cool time-travelling story.
- Kiva quality kept going up and down, but it did have style. The story also picked up near the end when we got the bad guys showing up. The past/present time storyline was also interesting in its own way.
- Decade was fanservice notched straight to 100%. It was an awesome nostalgia trip. Fathers went to movie theaters with their kids just as excited watching this new KR Decade fighting alongside the KR heroes from their own childhood. Its like the Star Wars Force Awakens of Japan! I hated some episodes like having kids turn into some Riders (WTF Don't mess with our childhood man. You don't have a kid henshin into Darth Vader, right?). But that weighed so little compared to all the awesome fun it brought. De De De Decade!
- I think it was around Kamen Rider W when the show became a 20min toy CM.
That stupid CG car that we saw for 3 episodes.
Those thumb drive transforming things.
Like how many 2-colored-form figures do you wanna make? 10? 30?
- Apparently not enough, cos OOO made the forms into 3-color combinations! Of course, with multi colored transformation coins too...
The weapons started getting sooooo sentai around here. An axe turning into a bazooka? A sword you enter coins to power up a finishing move...
The shows after it just continued down the toy CM trend more and more.With the current Ex-Aid totally embracing it.
A fat Level 1 form that nobody cares about. They're weak and stupid, fans like strong things. Am I watching KR or did Go-onger's BOMPER have kids?
Then Level 2... which actually looks like a Kamen Rider, barely. One of them turns into a bike and can't even fight.. lolz~
Level 3... sticking random stuff onto Level 2.
And Level 4 onwards... just challenging how much uglier they can make them.
Like do these even look like Kamen Riders to you?
The thing is, there are a lot to like about Ex-Aid.
- Hojo Emu, the main hero intern doctor. That simply wants to help and save people 2 episodes at a time (yeah. KR saved ppl back in the day).
- The 4 guys comraderie. At times in-fighting for their own goals, sometimes helping each other. Likeable with clear personality traits that are easy to relate to even for kids. Their KR forms are also very distinct with the game genre themes.
- Main enemies showing up with their evil plan early to build up the story, instead of waiting 30 episodes in to even give you a F'ing idea (you KR Drive/Ghost...).
- The story has been really good so far too. Giving backstory to explain each character's actions. Things about them we want to know more about. Just setting up a good base for the story to unravel.
- I'm totally ok with ikemen actors using this show as a springboard for their careers. They look cool. And so far they've all brought it. The more ikemen guys the merrier!!
- And of course the glue that keeps the 4 boys in check. Matsuda Ruka.
Karino Asuna the serious nurse avatar that does all the exposition.
Who doesn't like nurses, angel in a white dress that saves people. So positive!
Not into that? No problem she's actually Poppi Pipopapo your loopy 2D pink hair waifu born from a music game!
This character mix just hit every male target audience in existence. GG Poppi Pipopapo! GG!
Ex-Aid is fun. Maybe one of the better KRs in recent years.
I understand KR now is a morning kids show. Most kids still love watching it. And the basic goal is still to sell toys. I'm just a little disappointed and want them to be less blatant and lazy about it. Doing KR for an adult audience doesn't mean it has to go all KR Amazon either, with human eating monsters and sick emo characters in a bleak world. Like who wanted that show? Good stories can be made for all ages.
KR now is a different beast from the one I saw as a kid. It probably won't and shouldn't go back to the style of old. I just hope to see them put some actual effort into the storytelling and design of them. So people can actually watch Kamen Rider and honestly say "Cool!~~" again, instead of "did a 5 year-old design these?".
A little too riled up for a weekend kiddy breakfast TV show? Totally~
Anyways. I hope the show just continues on the KR legacy, and kids keep enjoying it!