Mini reviews of Television seasons old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional bunnies.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Imagin Sentai Kamen Rider Den-O (2007-08)


I tend to hold the more philosophical pieces of media I love as my favorites. However, there are some straight-forward, heartfelt, and often ostensibly goofy efforts that I consider to be the truest litmus test of one’s character when it comes to finding like-minded individuals with which to associate. Den-O is undeniably one of the most important of this number. While there is absolutely no denying that the series as a whole is full of incredibly silly characters and situations, the truth is that they simply overlay one of the most sincere and moving narratives I’ve personally experienced, acting as a deterrent to those who are not willing to peer deeply (or simply long) enough into a work to ascertain and appreciate its true purpose.

Similarly, the nomenclature I choose to use when referring to this series is not as frivolous as it may seem at the outset. Den-O centers around two human Riders who have allied themselves with an entire troop of wish-granting beings known as Imagin. While most Imagin provide this service in return for a chance to travel back in time and wreak havoc, those who have chosen to possess Nogami Ryoutarou and Sakurai Yuuto instead fight their own kind to protect both the present and the future. Also, for the chance to continuously drink Noami’s colorful coffee. Each of them provide Den-O and Zeronos with new forms and abilities, as well as trains. Having written both Shinkenger and Go-Busters, Kobayashi Yasuko IS Sentai to me and she imbued Den-O and its associated films with exactly the same spirit. Consequently, I feel that this series straddles the bounds between the franchises perfectly and I will always refer to it as I have above.

As the story involves time travel, it was inevitable that there would be inconsistencies and while I can effortlessly think of a few off the top of my head I simply do not care. I believe that errors are unavoidable when entering this realm because of its very nature and therefore the only thing I tend to concern myself with is whether or not the thing in question succeeds in what it sets out to do in terms of story, character, and emotion. Does it? Absolutely.

Den-O embodies and exemplifies themes and touchstones of both Rider and Sentai while also bringing a number of unique ideas to the table that I haven’t personally seen in either of them. 

It’s a siamese iceberg that paradoxically warms my heart and lifts my soul.

49 episodes, approx. 23 minutes each.
Their supplemental materials are covered below the cut.

5 Identical Finishers, 4 Well-Intentioned Lies, 3 Honorable Beasts, 2 Yay-yays, and a Swan in a Swank Train-car out of 5

Their first movie, Ore Tanjou! has been covered here. As alluded to in that review, it should be viewed between Episodes 27 and 28.

The rest of Den-O's movies take place post-series and should be viewed in the following order (if at all):

Climax Deka
Saraba
Onigashima Warship
The Colors Trilogy (Red, Blue, Yellow)

I've made it clear elsewhere how I feel about Decade, but the Super Climax scene in ...Warship is perfection.

I've flicked through Episodes Blue and Yellow, and they seem to utilize a back-to-basics approach, which in my eyes goes against the team's arc, as depicted in the series and completed in Saraba. I can't handle the thought of seeing them screw up Yuuto and Airi. View Episode Red at your own discretion (read: risk).

Their Hyper Battle Video has been discussed here.

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