mmanalysis asked: What little changes would you make to Gaim to make it a more enjoyable show? Same question but with Den-O as well.
Den-O first because that is easier since not many are needed:
1: Hope that Hana’s actress doesn’t jump the ship. I am still wondering how many rewrites towards the end were because of Hana/Kohana, and whether her de-aging spurred the idea that she might be a certain person’s daughter.
2: Take the consequences of your own lore. If Ryotaro can become Den-O because he is a Singularity point from an aborted reality, then the same would go for Hana since she also is one. And since she is clearly the more driven and better fighter, why doesn’t she have a belt? She should have been a rider as well. This is never dealt with and my biggest annoyance of them all.
3: Yuuto’s story is perfect, but it also takes the place of the main plot. They have a good villain, with cool ideas in Kai (another Singularity point) but he is not introduced until ep 37! This makes the whole resolution/ending of the series feel very rushed, and this is a waste of a main villain. It feels like Kobayashi felt that Sakurai/Airi/Yuuto’s story was the heart of the plot, but had to include a traditional bad guy because that is part of the Kamen Rider franchise.
Gaim however… has bigger issues, and a lot of them technical because it is hard to judge the plot until it is done;
1: Focus the structure. A TV show, being so long, needs to be written like a comic book, every episode having a start, a middle and an end. Gaim, however, is written like a movie or a book. There are no focus to the episodes, and you can’t really go back and say ‘oh, this is the episode when…’ and have favourite ones or ones you hate like with the other shows. Orobuchi can start fight at the beginning of one episode, do a lot of unrelated things, then finish it in the next and it’s not climactic or exciting, you just forgot there was a fight in the first place.
2: Focus characters. In a show with many Riders, you need early on give each one an episode that is mostly about them. Why should we care otherwise? Take all the tiny character developments that are spread out and forgotten and make them into a single story. Take the last episode for example, that one would have been much better if it had really focused on Yoko. Then the snippet about her having an interest in Kaito might have meant character development, we could have learned why she is doing this, what her deal with Ryoma is, and might actually have cared about the fact that she is an awesome Rider. Where is the Micchy episode? Kaito almost had one early on when we learned about his background, but that was it.
3: Focus themes. This story has so many themes it doesn’t know what to do with them. Is it an allegory on global warming, with big companies trying to supress information that could threaten the planet because it would hurt their bottom line? Is it a story about growing up and how to become an adult and take responsibility? Is it a story about rebellious youth against the stale system and stealing fire/eating the apple/ setting information free? Is it a mythological story about repeated themes in mankind’s history? Is it a story about how some men do evil for good causes? There’s nothing wrong with having many themes for a show (it makes it interesting), but you need to pick a main one, and then build the others around it.
You need to drive home the point! If this is a coming of age tale, which it seems to be right now, why aren’t they using Kouta’s sister Akira, who also works for Yggdrasil? Contrasting Micchy, Kouta and Kaito and their various ways of growing up would only work if they all had strong parental figures. They don’t. As a consequence, Micchy is the only character on the show I love and get. I can see where he gets his twisted ideas of what it means to be a responsible adult from looking at Takatora, and what happens when you filter those through Micchy’s brilliant but sad little mind. You need to have Akira there, because at the start she seemed to be the reason why Kouta wanted to grow up in the first place, and now she’s just… gone. A giant, theme-sized, hole. You also need to push Kaito’s relationship with Yoko/Ryoma stronger. They have become his twisted adoptive parents of a sort, and for that to work they need to be fleshed out. Hell, even Jonouchi has had more of a story about growing up than the main characters, with Oren being his involuntary father figure!
4: Let the actors do their job and interact! You have some wonderful actors there, and when they are let loose and allowed to interact with each other, the results are usually fun. HOWEVER, most of the time they do not. They are each cut and chopped into frustratedly short scenes and we just get to see the climax ones. No build up. The story tells us that there are friendships and rivalries, they do not SHOW them. This is a HUGE weakness of the show, and a similar one to the middle of Blade. You have characters off to the side, each doing their own story and plotline, not really interacting and as a consequence you find it hard to care because there’s no time for anything but the broadest beats for any of them.
5: USE THE BLOODY FIGHTS! Yes, I use the caps lock here, because this is a Kamen Rider show with some of the most boring fights ever. Compare with Ryuki, which also had nearly mindless mirror monster cannon fodder, but which had people do their character building while fighting! It as important to them as people! You need to fit in a certain amount of battle minutes per show, so then use them. Don’t make me go and put on a pot of tea because nothing will happen because it is just another boring inves fight to show off the toys they are selling. Wizard, for example, also had HUGE structure problems, but the fights were always super fun, and one of the best parts of the show for me!
6: Where’s the women? That goes for many Kamen Rider shows though, but I will keep asking it all the same. This is worse than most even, because it keeps teasing us with Yoko, ignores Akira and gives Mai the most bland and horrible role ever of prized possession to be protected and useless plot point.