Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: Madan Senki Ryukendo

Hello! this comes from the laptop of The Extremist! I am here to review a Non-Kamen Rider/Super Sentai Toku show about a young boy who shows up in a small town and befriends and unusual mystic tool... For purposes of time, I'll shorten the plot down to the first episode for today.
First, some history; Madan Senki Ryukendo is the first attempt at a Toku show by toy company Takara and film studio We've Inc.

The plot starts out as a young kid by the name of Kenji Narukami coming into our setting, Akebono City. Akebono for me seems VERY out of place, coming out of yet another Kamen Rider set in a large Japanese city by the coast. It seems almost like a hidden village, as Narukami seems to be walking through what looks like farmland and fields through much of the first third of the episode. We're also introduced to some of the minor characters as Kenji first enters the city limits, with a Police barracade waiting for him...

Yikes, no wonder they need guys in dragon suits.
Narukami, understandably confused, has no idea why three cowardly police chiefs are blocking him from what probably is relative safety, then...we get our grunts.
...What the flying fuck. I could show you the rest of this thing's body, but why bother? All you're going to remember about this thing is that it's VERY clear from the start that the little fucker is just a grunt, and the writers and designers knew it. LOOK AT IT! A Purple demon thing with a massive eye as it's face with bat wing ears! Who on earth would take this stupid little thing seriously!? It's bad enough that while Narukami's saving a puppy (TOKU RITE OF PASSAGE FOR HEROES: SAVE A PUPPY), he's backhanding these guys like a prison bitch. He literally plows through these guys until we meet our first JuuOh (beast king), RyuGunOu.
Holy hell. FINALLY someone badass! I should also point out that the Gun itself is the morpher in this situation. RyuGun is very much like his partner, Juushirou Fudou, Buisnesslike, experienced, and takes shit from nobody. I like that in a supporting Beast King. He wipes the floor with the grunts, and brings us our first standoff with the main characters. RyuGuno exposits his name and purpose to Narukami, and thats about he needs to know. All the townsfolk come out and begin cleaning up everything, as if this has happened before, which as the shopkeepers who own the dog exposit, yes. yes it has. As a matter of fact, the demon army, known as Jamanga, pretty much kept to petty pranks until going full out apeshit on everything. They only appear within the city limits, and information about them is VERY scarce, perhaps to the point of suppression. It's clear that the police, who got wiped out by the purple people eaters...yes, the police force, armed with sticks and GUNS, were beaten shitless by these things, the implication being that while they are weak, they are fast(I still call bullshit to that.), are completely useless to this information, and the townsfolk don't really pay too much attention to them, as they try to make a big noise about HOW THEY GOT IT DOWN and what not. Our next scene is with our three main bad guys for the time being, Jack Moon (Kamen Rider Knight and Batman literally fused together), Doctor Worm (who serves the purpose as head summoner and camera mugger, and repeating the phrase "BEREKE" over and over.) and the Demon King, who was beaten by Ryukendo before, and needs Minus Energy, or the energy of the fearing citizens, to restore his former glory.

It's fun when the subbing guys admit it's moonspeak.
So Doctor Worm summons a giant Cricket thing that can eat pretty much everything. Narukami goes by the shopkeepers he met when he arrived, but find that the Cricket has eaten their van and taken minus energy from them. He is stopped by SHOT, the organization that houses RyuGun-O (and eventually Ryukendo), They work outside the police, and try to contain the situation, but Narukami won't see them just sit there and watch it throw a shitfit, so he picks up a stick and decides it's time to kick some metal bug ass.
Sticks: The weapon of champions.
While he does get one good shot in, the stick of course, breaks. and yet he still goes on. When the beast tries to turn tail, he grabs on and gets pulled for the ride of his life, stunning Juushirou and his female consort, Rin with the sheer balls required to even stand up to such a beast. Narukami and the beast decide to go building hopping, with the beast trying everything other than scraping up the side of a wall to get him off, with Narumaki holding on desperately to keep fighting. We suddenly cut to what looks like an arrow head with a dragon on it that begins spinning like a top, with an elderly fellow saying that GekiRyuKen has chosen the brave individual playing horsey with a metal cricket, with a much younger guy in glasses saying he probably won't survive, but the old fellow has faith in him. GekiRyuken is sent to Narukami, by way of being shot like a bullet at him, blasting him off the cricket and he begins a nice, gradual plummet to his inevitable demise. which he meets with a resounding smash through a temple roof and onto the ground floor.
"Hope he has insurance for that."
He's puzzled as to why he shot 6 thousand feet down and yet survived. He's greeted by GekiRyuKen, and told to be ready. Since he's not exactly used to talking medallions, he assumes he's lost his mind and hit his head so hard his brain fried. Our friend the Cricket returns, and GekiRyuKen asks Narukami to do as he asks or he's dead. After dodging a near fatal blow, and not exactly doing as he instructed, GekiRyuKen decides it's better to do things his way. His way meaning "Brainjack Narukami and Transform for him."
Narukami puts the key in the medallion and clicks it down, turning it into a sword..

GekiRyuKen's spirit flies into the air and roars...
GekiRyuKen enters our intrepid hero...

Now THAT'S a hero. The biggest focus of course is more on the sword than anything else, so Ryukendo looks alot lighter than RyuGunOu, but I guess people with Guns need better protection than say...a massive gun. So we begin our curbstomp fight, with Ryukendo easily fending off the Cricket, and activating his finishing move (Final Vent, in this series), and slicing him in half.
HEROIC POSE #697: Sword on shoulder right after hacking monster in half like a tomato
So we de-henshin, and our first MaDan key is found (I forgot to mention that Madan keys are found in a monster once every so often, it's what gives them power, and what allows the Beast Kings access to their true abilities.), and Narukami collapses in exhaustion. Like any good end, the other protagonists finally catch up and bring him to SHOT headquarters, where he can get some beauty sleep. The SHOT commander remarks that Ryukendo will end the mess the Jamanga have made for themselves.

Like any good Toku series, the ending is absolutely crazy. Ryukendo and RyuGunOu face several Jamanga in a soccer match. That's all you need to envision.

PLOT: First Episode? not too bad, the setting's nice, rural, not huge like other toku, and the characters, quirky as some are, are very well fleshed out in the small time slot given, but they also have a whole series to introduce new ones and flesh out our main characters to their fullest.
SFX: This can be the make or breaker for some Toku fans, and it's mostly CGI. The CGI is sort of dated now, but it's nothing offensive. They do a good job of making it seem somewhat realistic, what with Narukami holding on to a CGI bug for several minutes.
COSTUMES: The Ryukendo and RyuGunOu suits are fucking badass. RyuGunOu's suit is based a little more off a dog, with more defined ears, a snout that looks vaguely like his gun's barrel, and jagged "teeth" patterns around the red visor. Ryukendo is more dragon based, with a winged creature on the facemask of Ryukendo, with more diamond shaped than the prisms.
ENEMIES: The initial Jamanga are absolutely retarded looking, this will throw alot of people off the series if you give it a try. Jack Moon looks suspiciously like Kamen Rider Knight, and by default of that, Batman, though more like if Kamen Rider Knight became a monster. Doctor Worm is of course, just a guy in makeup, but they do a good job of making his mugging look creepy.
OVERALL: A good start, but not one for those looking for the most serious of stories.

Stay tuned for more.

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