This was the second Kamen Rider show that I watched, and it"s... It"s kind of interesting because of how utterly different Kamen Rider Build is. Alongside Gaim and Ex-Aid, I had considered for the longest time of doing an episode-by-episode review of this show on this blog, but I just never quite had the energy to vị so... Hence why their series đánh giá were so late compared lớn every other Heisei-era Kamen Rider series.
Build is perhaps a bit of an anomaly among the Kamen Rider shows at how strikingly serialized it feels. Throughout the Heisei era, every single one of the shows has a long-running plot of some kind, although some shows lượt thích Fourze, Wizard & especially Den-O didn"t focus too heavily on their major plots. With Build, it seems like things ratcheted up to lớn the opposite, where we don"t quite have the standard two-parter formula that was so common in that period of time.
I was admittedly very taken in with Build"s first episode, và since this was my second Kamen Rider show, it didn"t take until quite some time khổng lồ appreciate just how different it was. Unlike other Kamen Rider shows, Build doesn"t take place in "regular Japan, but with monsters & maybe a bit of magic". No, the world of Build is established lớn have a completely different backstory. Ten years prior to the events of Build, an expedition lớn the planet Mars ended up returning with an enigmatic cube-like artifact called the Pandora"s Box. The accidental activation of the relic ended up creating a gigantic wall called the "Skywall", splitting nhật bản into three sub-nations -- Seito, Hokuto and Touto. & that"s where we get to our present-day hero, the self-proclaimed genius physicist Kiryu Sento from Touto (the main "nation" we"re focusing at) who gets tapped by the government to lớn unlock the secrets of the box.
Kiryu Sento himself is an interesting protagonist. He"s not our first amnesiac protagonist -- in Heisei alone that honour goes khổng lồ Kamen Rider Agito, & that"s not counting various other secondary characters over the years. But the way the show would handle the amnesia is an interesting one. Kiryu Sento has vague memories of his past -- he was experimented upon by a mysterious organization called Faust; và that ended up giving him the ability to transform into Kamen Rider Build. Oh, and he"s also working as a vigilante in his Kamen Rider identity, giving us a rare Batman-esque Kamen Rider that"s hunted down by both the villains & the authorities.
I admit that the whole idea of a mix of "full bottles" that the hero has khổng lồ shake is a bit bizarre as far as gimmicks go, but I absolutely love how this gets incorporated into Build"s transformations và fighting scenes. I think Build still has my favourite slew of alternate forms shown khổng lồ the audience in the first act of the show, with so many bizarre và odd combinations of two "halves" of the Build suit. With each transformation involving an organic and an inorganic fullbottle, Kamen Rider Build"s basic red-and-blue form of "Rabbit Tank" is bizarre enough the first time I saw it... Let alone when he does his finishing kick, where he summons & traces a giant physics graph of motion. Later on we get even more ridiculous forms as our heroes collect more & more of the gimmicks. Among my favourites include "Rocket Panda", "Ninja Comic", "Tiger UFO", "Lion Vacuum" and "Wolf Smartphone". Additionally, Build"s belt has some of the most glorious sounds.
The series basically starts off with Kiryu Sento encountering fugitive & ex-boxer Banjou Ryuuga, the first lead that Sento has to lớn uncovering his past and unraveling the many conspiracies that the three nations of nhật bản has brewing under the surface. Rounding up the cast is the perpetually-tired & irritated Isurugi Misora, daughter of the cà phê owner Soichi where Kiryu Sento works in.
While its predecessor show Ex-Aid almostimmediately starts off by introducing many other Kamen Riders, Build is a bit more content to take it a bit slower. Yes, by the time the show has concluded the amount of Kamen Riders does rival Ex-Aid, but unlike the former they really did keep it to lớn mostly just Sento & Banjou in the beginning. The focus of the show"s early stages is mostly on the growing relationship between Sento, Banjou & Misora, as well as the running themes of trying to figure out what the government và Faust are hiding. The fact that this is an "alternate history" world means that the slow drip of exposition of the politics between Touto, Hokuto và Seito (and later on when we meet characters from there) ends up feeling earned.
The side cast that slowly grows into main cast status is also quite great. Early on the cast is rounded out by Kiryu Sento"s boss, the military-minded Himuro Gentoku; Misora"s kooky dad Isurugi Soichi and intrepid reporter Takigawa Sawa. There are also two mysterious Kamen-Rider-esque figures called Blood Stalk & Night Rogue serving as the "face" of Faust, and the first arc of Kamen Rider Build ends up revolving around the true identity of Night Rogue và Blood Stalk, the true identity of Kiryu Sento (and whether he"s actually a villain in his previous persona) and the truth of what happened ten years ago in Mars.
And this show does feel like a truly arc-driven show that sets it apart from every other Kamen Rider show in Heisei. Without spoiling too much, the revelations in the first act kết thúc up with the stage for the second act leading lớn what"s essentially an all-out war across the three Japanese nations, with the three đứng top politicians of the nations having their own agendas for Pandora"s Box và the collection of all the fullbottles. This leads us khổng lồ the introduction of Sawatari Kazumi, or Kamen Rider Grease, and his three sidekicks, the "Three Crows" of Hokuto. While it all devolves into a fight between Kamen Riders Build, Grease and Rogue, the fact that there are definitely parts of this show that involves a straight-up war & a fair amount of espionage and subterfuge does give Build a unique vibe that sets it apart from a lot of the other Rider shows.
One of the running themes that I felt was done the most well is the idea of Kiryu Sento being an inventor who constantly improves on his combat capabilities... But when said weaponry is turned upon fellow humans, it"s pretty damning for our poor protagonist. While earlier in the show Sento"s inventions just mostly focus on wacky things like making a comic-book sword for his nin-ja Comic form, things take a darker turn when Sento"s prior title of "Devil Scientist" leads to him creating his Build Hazard form. A "berserk" size is a bit of a tired trope in Kamen Rider, but perhaps I was so tired of it because my very first berserking Kamen Rider was Build"s Hazard form... Who straight-up kills one of the secondary cast members in his rage. This leads to lớn a fair amount of angst not only revolving around Kiryu"s status as a weapons inventor, but also the whole fact that, for a couple of episodes, the war escalated even more when the friends of the man Kiryu kills understandably seeks vengeance.
Again, explaining every single character"s motivations and character development would take a bit too much time, but while there are other side-characters that show up here lượt thích the (very flat và unmemorable) Hell Bros, the rather hilarious Utsumi "Kamen Rider Mad Rogue" Nariaki & one of my favourite recurring antagonists Juzaburou Namba, all the revelations and the eventual elevation of Gentoku, Sawa and Kazumi into main cast status kết thúc up with a whole slew of memorable characters. & it"s the handling of these secondary characters that I feel deserves praise -- they start off as recurring aspects of the show that slowly get more & more screentime, & when they over up finally joining the main cast, they over up feel utterly right at home. None of them feel wasted, & while neither one of the girls ended up as riders, I vì chưng really feel like both of them added something significant to lớn the show that many other Rider supporting cast members don"t quite do.
The final arc of Builddoes admittedly end up being mostly just tying up all the plot threads it had introduced, và as such I did feel like it"s perhaps the least interesting part of the show... But don"t let that statement fool you into thinking that Build didn"t stick the landing. A lot of Kamen Rider shows really bởi have trouble sticking the landing, but Build isn"t one of them -- after the true nature of Mars & Pandora"s Box is revealed, our main villain Kamen Rider Evol (or just "Evolt") serves as a great and consistent threat throughout the final parts of the show. The in-fighting between the three nations also works in this favour as Evolt merrily manipulates the politicians around. Evolt himself is quite fun as an utterly charismatic villain that strides the line between likable và deplorable very, very well -- & in a rather refreshing twist, despite being such a major character, there was no moment in the show"s run that Evolt was actually talked into becoming redeemable & an ally. (The New World spinoff is technically a different Evolt)
There are some revelations (which I am deliberately keeping vague) near the over that did make me raise my eyebrows, but it"s honestly par the course for a Kamen Rider show. What I felt was important was that the show itself didn"t feel lượt thích it forced any of these huge revelations. Hell, all this talking about Build really does get me somewhat interested to vị an episodic nhận xét at some point. Oh well, maybe in the future.
One thing that I vì have to lớn emphasize is that despite its seriousness and how dark it can get at times, Kamen Rider Build is still a Kamen Rider show, & for the most part it"s still happy khổng lồ have some moments of levity to lớn not make the entire show a serious sci-fi show. The show"s tongue-in-cheek and fourth-wall-breaking openings are one of the best features in a show I already really like, but Kiryu, Banjou and Misora all have their character quirks that make them lovable. Kiryu is arrogantly cocky, Banjou is a lovable dumb meathead, and while she does admittedly get a bit shafted in favour of the Kiryu/Banjou pair, the moments when Misora gets lớn say one of her funny lines are always memorable. When they join the main cast, both Kazumi và Gentoku also show that despite their super-serious first impression, they also vày have a fair amount of hilarity khổng lồ them. Admittedly somewhat forced in Gentoku"s case, but by the time the show ends you don"t really question it too much.
With all the praise I"m heaping on Build, I"d be remiss not lớn mention Build"s weaknesses as a show. As much as I did enjoy it, and as much as it did contribute to developing Kiryu and Banjou as characters, the first batch of episodes did feel particularly heavy in trying lớn aggressively market the many, many forms that Build"s base belt can access. For every well-done side character, there are ones like the Hell Bros or Vernage that feel under-baked và when their story are done all they elicited from me is a "huh". And not all the revelations are lớn everyone"s taste, particularly approaching the end. Và I definitely felt like the post-show "NEW WORLD" spinoffs kết thúc up diminishing the impact of the show instead of enhancing it likeGaim, Ex-AidorZero-One"s respective spinoffs did.
Still, that"s not enough lớn make me say that Build is anything but one of the better shows in the Kamen Rider franchise. I would wholeheartedly recommend this show to lớn anyone checking out the franchise. If nothing else, it"s a very solidly-paced show that"s extremely entertaining from start lớn finish, và I really did feel like the story was told the way the storytellers wanted it to.