Thursday, August 9, 2012

Toku 101: Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue

Hello and welcome to another edition of Toku 101 with me your columnist, Wheelchair21. On today's Toku 101, we'll not be continuing on the topic of Samurai × Shinkenger! It'll however be on Kamen Rider Shin, who's one of the my all time favorites. Shin is the eleventh production in the franchise, but was the 13th Kamen Rider, sadly he truly was unlike as his number tells. The reason behind this was it strayed from its roots, for the fact it was an anniversary the 20th to be exact and its creator Shotaro Ishinomori wanted it to draw back in its adult fans. So as a result the plot became more violent, realistic and modern based in a retelling of the story of Kamen Rider, Shin Ichigo. The result ending horribly for Shotaro as it flopped and Shin wouldn't go on to getting his actual series! Anyways let's get onto to the movie synopsis....

The movie opens up with a mysterious creature attacking citizens. Police stumble upon the creature and attack it. The creature is revealed to be an incestiode-like monster, that manages to kill/injure several officers before fleeing. Where then Shin our protagonist, awakes knowing believing the murders to be nightmares as the nurse rushes in to check on him. That's then followed by the opening credits, where a group of high officials go into a government research building. They all stop to admire and overview a surgery where the director, Iwao Himuro explains that the facility is working on overcoming diseases by changing the cellular levels. The process has 3 Levels, Level 1: improve cell immunity, Level 2: reinforce the cells, and Level 3 is restoration of cells with particle surgery. The development team medics are lead by Damon Kazamatsuri and Giichi Onizuka, begin to argue on the process of Level 3 where one of the officials plants a wire-tap, 'bug'.

Damon, argues with Giichi about the use of Level 3 at this current step is too dangerous. Giichi, then complains that Damon's seniority and hesitation is stopping their progress and that his choice of test subject may have been the problem. That's when the subject, Shin sits up to protest his father's choices. Later on the bodyguard, Goushima shows the facility director all the 'bugs' planted, by the enemy. Shin is then shown, exercising alongside the head nurse at some gym. His friend Yuuki appears to try and get Shin to quit the experiments  and go back to his motocross dream. Yuuki, then even mentions the fact of the relationship Shin and his nurse, Ai. While they're all relaxing at the bar, Shin reads the paper learning of the accidents that occurred realizing his dreams were real, as a random woman listens in on them.

That following night, Shin follows Giichi Onizuka to his hidden lab. Where Onizuka begins to experiment on himself using the Level 3 process. As the process begins to effect Onizuka, Shin also feels odd symptoms and passes out, as special forces break in and attack Onizuka. The team is lead by the woman spying on Shin, as Onizuka turns into the monster! Shin, awakes witnessing the dead bodies around him forcing him to believe he is the cause of it all. Shin then heads off to confront Onizuka about the "monster" he has become. Onizuka admits he used grasshopper DNA into the evolution process; believing incests are the greatest form of life and that they'll surpass man and god. Damon, then enters the room telling Onizuka to follow his leadership or leave when Onizuka replies the 'organization' runs the show.

Shin is soon confrontation with the special forces woman, who turn's out to be Sarah Fukamachi of the CIA. She here in Japan to defeat the 'organization' as they're shot at by Goushima. Shin flees, Sarah guns down Goushima and races off from the area. Goushima some how revives from the shots and alerts Himuro. At the gym now closed, Shin relaxes before running into Yuuki and Ai who appeared to cheer him up. Shin proceeds to tell him he's the monster killing people, but they don't believe it's him. Shin is crazed by fear, wishes for those close to him to leave his side. This eventually leads to Yuuki leaving Shin to Ai, who proceeds to confess her love to him and they well screw around in the gym's pool.

Onizuka is soon hospitalized, and Shin questions Ai during that time on whose side is she on. While Shin questions Ai, Damon pleas with Himuro to let his son quit the testing. Himuro says it's too later to quit now, this proceeds to Ai then going to Himuro's office to plea for Shin's safety. While Shin works on trying to escape the facility later that night, he notices Goushima lead a convoy from the lab. Shin follows and sees a battle between the 'organization' and the CIA. During the battle, Shin tries to stop the CIA from opening the convoy. As he tries to stop them, Onizuka as the monster tries breaking out as they blast the container with rocket fire. Shin, beings feeling odd symptoms again forcing him to under go his own transformation into a similar grasshopper hybrid. Thus Kamen Rider Shin was born!

The CIA, lock onto Shin in an standoff as Goushima attacks them transforming into a cyborg creature. Shin comes to the team's defense and does battle with the Cyborg. Sarah, appears during the battle and blasts Goushima and allows Shin to escape. Shin eventually then runs into Ai, while still stuck in his 'Rider'-form. Ai rushes to Shin and pleas for forgiveness, while the Sarah calls the CIA about Shin's ability to control himself in his 'Rider'-form. Soon Ai explains everything to Shin about the CIA and the 'organization'. Shin even questions like the viewers, 'What the hell is the organization?!' Damon also is confronted by Himuro he goes on to tell him about the organization, crossing between the two explanations. Ai explains the 'organization' is a Chronos rip-off from the Guyver, and they're making Zoanoids,...I mean cyborg soldiers. Goushima was a Level 2 and Shin's a Level 3. Then they all seem to mention Level 3 is to go against God!

Ai then decides to head back to the lab to get them to revert Shin back to his normal, but she's caught by security and imprisioned with Damon. Himuro then tells Ai after recent tests she's pregnant with Shin's child and they're going to use her to capture Shin. While at the docks Shin is called to by the fetus inside Ai's womb, calling its father to rescue it! The child's connection to its father is strong that it weakens Ai greatly. Shin rushes off to the 'organization's' lab, as Damon uses Ai's pain as a method to escape with the fetus' power aiding them. Damon and Ai frantically try to escape, as they run into Shin who has come arrive just in time as the CIA assaults facility. Himuro cuts off the escaping family, saying they'll all die before he will, gunning down Ai. An enraged Shin, upon her dying words saying even thou she'll die now her love for Shin is real and the child will still manage to be born from her dead body, he transforms. What proceeds next is utter horror and beauty of the power of Kamen Rider Shin!

In his 'Rider'-form he stalks down the Himuro and advances on him forcing him to fear for his life as he proceeds to gouge his chest and beat him senseless. Upon Himuro's death, the surviving Goushima breaks in and attacks Shin. The battle is short lived, but very violent and Shin defeats him by decapitation before his head opens up to reveal a bomb and self-destructs. Soon afterwards, Shin carrying Ai's dead along with his father advance in their escape as the CIA pursues them. Sarah, says she wishes she could've let him live but can't when they finally surround Shin as an organization helicopter zooms in; Gunning down the CIA and trying to recapture Shin. They catch his father and Shin proceeds to try to rescue him, the lead spy shoots down the helicopter as it crashes into the exploding lab building.

The final scene shows, Shin managed to survive carrying Ai in the sewers and unfortunately his father didn't. While shin advances in the sewers the child, messages him and aid him through the tunnels. While a flashback shows recorded segments of Shin explaining Operation: Masked Rider as the credits role.

Review & Final Thoughts:
Well to start off, this movie has a lot given to you to want an actual TV series or sequels in general. The movie, is mostly plot development for the looming 'series' and the building of Shin's character. When the action appears, it appears in very short bursts that aid the telling of the story. The majority of the cast barely gets characterization, but just enough to continue to support the plot since most of the characters introduced in the film are killed off. Along with that certain subs I've seen Sarah, Himuro and Goushima aren't called out by name or written in the subtitles, the only time the characters' name are mentioned in the credits. I personally find that to be weird, even thou Himuro and Goushima were kill by the end of the film while Sarah's existence is left unknown.

As for Shin the movie well is practically centered around him, just he doesn't realize it at first, since everything was a complete conspiracy. He was left confused and questioning his sanity as he for most of the film believed himself to be the monster terrorizing the city, only to discover it was a friend/mentor Onizuka. Then to discover this medical help group he chose to be the test subject of was actually some secret unnamed 'organization' that mimicked the manga 'The Guyver's' Chronos in several ways. Along with the fact how the woman he loved, was flipping between sides and withheld the proper information to possibly saving all their lives.

Other facts about Shin, character and film is the fact that he as Rider managed to quickly take control of his new powers or how his brain managed to endure the primal impulses for so long. It's thou one of the several plot holes overlooked when seeing the film for the first time. Along with that the Rider-form is better to seen in darker scene for when its in the light of day you can tell it's just a 'rubber'-suit. The night attacks, battles and final duel in the facility proved the points as in the final few scenes when Shin appeared during the day the suit looked horrible. Even when the character returned in the Heisei Era films the suits colors clashed with the day light a lot.

Issues I do have with the film is the fact it never got to continue, the 'organization' was never named, the action was short even thou it fit the plot, and  how the suit didn't adjust well with proper daylight. Since the movie never succeeded we couldn't get the series, and left off with a horrible cliffhanger. It would've been great if the show could've gotten up and running or actually get a future reboot. The reboot could work now if the series was toned down to a the ratings of Garo, and the basis of the plot modified to be more modern to keep up with the changes. The 'organization' not being name well is just like wow this is truly the plot, for the fact it seem Shotaro was just getting it going. The action being short fit, just didn't meet my liking we could've have gotten at least 5 more minutes!! With the suit as my final subject, I love it! It's a great suit, but the colors used could've or should've been made a little bit darker.

To end this all I recommend for anyone to watch go watch this movie, even if you know nothing about Kamen Rider! It's a realistic telling of the original series, and is well fitting to give some ideal examples of what the Showa Era series was originally about. I find this movie to be a great way to introduce people into becoming fans of the series, and if you're a Guyver fan you'll notice how much was drawn from that series. So in general I was overly amazing by it and still by it as of today, if I had to rate it out of 5 Stars it'd be a good 4.5! If you see like wise or differently write to me on Twitter: @Wheelchair21

Images from:
Kamen Rider Wikia
Several blogs across the net

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