Kamen Rider x Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen

So the big film that both Super Sentai and Kamen Rider shows have been leading too after the first cross over with Decade and Shinkenger almost 4 years ago. Clashing anniversary series for each show; the Gokaiger’s and Kamen Rider Decade at the fore front of the biggest super hero on screen clash of all time.

But was it worthy of all the hype and at the end of the day is it worth your time?

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So previous reviews summoned up.. I though Kamen Rider Decade was a generally bad show and Kaizou Sentai Gokaiger was a good show. The difference of 2 years between the two shows airing gave time to reflect on Decade’s mistakes and make a show that melds well with constantly introducing older characters but knows how to use character suits in narrative when original actors can’t be brought back to reprise their roles. This is important as in a film as big as this there was no way that all the important character’s actors would be able to return but going the way of recasting already proved unpopular which reduces the majority of characters to dubbed screaming only… but that can’t be held against the film given its scope, it’s how they incorporate who they do have.

Let’s look at the film’s strong points first, then we’ll tackle the films flaws. First off the big easily noticeable things about this film is that it’s fan service at the highest level, in the same way that Avengers Assemble is with the plot being the simplest reason to have all these characters together. Every main character from the complete history of Super Sentai and Kamen Rider appear with a noticeable lacking of secondary riders saving Fourze’s Meteor and OOO’s twin Births which leads to the Rider numbers lacking in the film despite no 6th or extra Sentai members appearing save for Gokai Silver.

No here’s where there might have easily been a problem as characters get brought in so fast your expected to already know who they are which isn’t always the cast for some people who’s not watched everything but the film quickly writes them out to focus of the main core cast for the film which is actually only 6 characters. (I’m excluding the Fourze and Gokaiger cast that have important plot presence but still have limited screen time until the final fight where their abilities help with the twist final battle)

So our main cast for the film consists of 3 Sentai and 3 Riders, with one of each acting more of the anti-hero/ Antagonist role. Captain Marvellous and Tsukasa Kadoya (Gokai Red and Kamen Rider Decade), Kaito Daiki (Kamen Rider Diend), Hina (lead female in OOO), with Joe and Doc (Gokai Blue and Green) representing the Sentai side.

So the cast is an odd mix but I actually like that. This seems like a step to revive Decade and end his story properly (maybe in the future we’ll get an actual explanation on Narutaki as well) but the character each work well together. Both Marvellous and Tsukasa oppose each other trying to kill off either the Sentai or Riders, they shun closest friends Joe and Kaito, causing them to question their friendships. Though their roles are quite emotionless due to their roles and leading the villains of the movie.

I won’t avoid spoilers any more so stop reading is you care but it’s obvious it’s all a ruse and Marvellous and Tsukasa were just trapping the Sentai and Riders in another dimension for when the true war would begin. Naturally this means they have lied to everyone, friends included which leads to the best part of the film for me and that’s the more dramatic scenes between Joe and Kaito. With both being betrayed by their friends they question what they should do and with the war there’s the question of should they be helping or fighting each other. The two of them both have a great contrast to each other with each character being the second in command (the one in blue) but also reacting to each situation that they are both put in differently. It’s this reaction to the final revelation that the whole thing was lie that leads into the final twist and while it’s not a twist as such its very well handled.

Joe, while not happy, is able to forgive marvellous for lying to him as it came at the expense of the greater good which is something he understands. However Kaito responds differently to this and actually gets so angry at the betrayal that he uses the Giant Robot formed by merging the Crisis fortress and the Zangyack flagship and attacks the combined forces of the Sentai and Riders. Its a nice little twist and actually delivers on some character development finally in a way that Kaito rarely did in the series and it echoes what happened when his brother betrayed him during the show in his home universe.

Hina and Doc are paired with Kaito and Joe for most of the film, dealing with their tragedies in their own was but giving Kaito and Joe someone to counter their arguments and talk to and give discussion and thoughts on the situations. They don’t do much more but choosing Hina seem nice given there really aren’t any other prominent female characters in the film with Yellow Buster perhaps being second.

Finally lets look at the guest stars, most noticeable of all to get out the way is the necessary inclusion of the Den-O characters though giving their place in the franchise history now they had to be included and thankfully they actually use their short role on-screen to great effect. Also we see the return of the high quality Den Liner from the first Den-O film. Fourze and Go busters open the film but the narrative is cleverly moved onto the Gokaigers as they appear in story and they are left behind after that until the finale… it is actually a clever use of the available actors.

Oh yeah and lastly there’s the fan service… naturally riders are matched up against similar Sentai powers and themes in both the final battle as well as the main Gokai and Decade scenes in the film and I want to make special mention of the Decade and Go-Buster fight that is very well done and fun to watch.

So with all this let’s look at the flaws of the film, though I feel like I seem to like this film more than most people. The plot; it’s basic… not in itself a bad thing but it tries to do too much. Too many characters are shoehorned in but given little to do. The film could have seriously used a few scenes showing what led up to the movie in how Decade and Gokai Red came to learn about the war and set their plan in motion. Characters also act out of character in a lot of scenes especially on the Rider side in fact one of the common problems with the film seems to be the glorification of Sentai characters while Riders get left out of the focus when they should be shown equally.

This also leads me to the big discussion of all.. who’s more powerful; Riders or Sentai? How does it scale when you have a team vs a lone hero. Is one Kamen Rider equal to a 5 man Sentai team? Or are Sentai members each the same as a rider and the villains of Sentai more powerful requiring a team to combat? Let’s not get too much into that but in relevance to the film certain riders get the harsh treatment their chronological story seems to suggest they don’t deserve… for the purpose of this I’ll use Kamen Rider W as an example. He’s been suggested to be the new leader of the New decade of Heisei Riders, and generally is a power house at this point so why can Gokaiger take him down with a line of Riders but have trouble with the rookie Fourze? (It might just be a case of without the returning actors to play or voice W like the other suit only superheroes is cast into the background)

At the end of the day there’s so much history between the two franchises that you just have to suspend disbelief to get your enjoyment out of it which makes it a hard sell to die-hard fans, especially Rider fans as it does certainly seem Sentai biased. But there are some nice 4th wall jokes made, especially Owners take about how Sentai took the space left by the big Rider broadcast gap between RX and Kuuga.

Take the film as you want and love it or hate it you’ll be glad you watched it and if the ending is anything to go by I’d say we have another Decade film coming and probably another Superhero Taisen. But maybe for a second film not everyone has to appear.. focus on characters you can get actors to return to play. But its the kind of film that needs to be does in moderation.. every 5-10 years maybe but that probably won’t be the case… but it seems like we’ve had nostalgia overload over the past 4 years since Kamen Rider Decade first started airing and I don’t want to get sick of team ups.

David ‘Ryatta’ Wyatt
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About Ryatta

So about me... Well when I'm not reviewing things I'm a technical animator working in one of the UKs biggest game studios!

Posted on 11/02/2012, in Other, Text Reviews/Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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