I forgot what I was doing.
I forgot what I was doing.
Everyone is apparently a dinosaur or something. Same old locations and same old dinosaurs as always.
I originally started writing this post about a month or so ago and only ended up getting little over a paragraph into it. There’s a number of reasons I decided to abandon continuing it, the first and foremost being my utter frustration and annoyance over this show. The other reason was more of my own neurosis getting the better of me as my friend Shukuen Shinobi was likely to write up a post of his own about this specific show and I hate being a bandwagoner. When I brought all of this up in conversation I got the ever aggravating “cool story bro” response which, as you can clearly see, made me want to get up and finally finish the damned thing. So here it is.
When I went into Zyuranger I wasn’t honestly expecting much and unfortunately ‘not much’ is what I ended up with. It isn’t that I went into this with a negative outlook, in fact I had really hoped that I would like it, but sadly Sentai on a whole tends to be a pretty mixed bag. You either really dig the series you’re watching or you find yourself aggravated or even worse bored by it. Zyuranger for me was a mixture of both of the latter. A lot of what we got from it was just dull and mockingly repetitive. Not mockingly in the fun sense either, this shit definitely isn’t Liveman levels of hilariously bad. Instead what Zyuranger actually was turned out to be a mundane use of a fairly decent idea. That squandering of what it could have been is what ends up annoying me most about Zyuranger.
Allow me to back up a bit. I am not what you would deem as being a fantasy enthusiast. For one reason or another there are a lot of fantasy type stories that just don’t really grab me. A lot of it’s due to a simple problem that a lot of fantasy stories don’t seem overly willing to do anything about. This problem in question is basically the mindset of “It’s fantasy/magic/a creepy shaman curse, you don’t need to explain it” and quite frankly that’s just frustrating to see within a story, but I digress. While there are not a lot of fantasy stories that catch my interest, those that do tend to be some of my utmost favorite series. Magiranger is all magic and happens to be one of, if not my most favorite Sentai series to watch. I’m not saying that Magiranger is perfect by any means, but you at least have some explanation going on there. It doesn’t always have a tendency of being completely grounded, but even a bullshit reasoning is better than no reasoning.
“Aresol get on with it” OK well, Zyuranger is undoubtedly a fantasy and is actually a fantasy that could have easily done so much with the setting, aesthetic and back story that it had set up, but it didn’t. We spent various story arcs learning of the legend behind DaiZyuJin, the Zyuranger’s mythical weapons, ancient civilizations that were cursed by dino-god into being monkey people, million year old revenge stories, fuckin’ mcguffin dino-eggs and yet all of it was tossed aside for the sake of trying to force in some semblance of importance onto random civilian children.
Why? No, really? Why? The best that I can think of to rationalize this is that they were attempting to garner the favor of their younger crowd by introducing an overabundance of younger cast members. I mean, Sentai has had episodes of various series in the past that have focused on children, but the amount to which Zyuranger does so is almost sickeningly detrimental. And don’t get me wrong, I get it. Sentai is a kids show and pandering to kids is what these kinds of shows do. That’s fine, but there is such a thing as over-pandering and there is a limit to how much even little kids will sit through if a story or events within said story are not entertaining.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the story that suffers because of this. The characters are awful. All of them. Even my favorite character within the show, Bandora, is still a crappy character for the position of importance that she’s put in within the story. I’m in full support of a villain being fun to watch, but some kind of balance has to be struck. A villain character can be funny, quirky and threatening all at once without losing their validity as the antagonist. Hell, the fact that Bandora was goofy could have easy worked towards making her slightly redeemable in the eyes of the viewer once her back story was revealed, but that just isn’t how it worked out. With a lack of thought put behind her plans, an overall mission that was extremely vague and flimsy to boot, and a lack of reasoning behind any of it before episode 48 just all amounted to a character that was fun, but ultimately not worth worrying over.
Then there were the Zyurangers themselves. While not lacking in personality necessarily, they still aren’t anything more than a collection of paper thin character traits that even a brain dead vegetable could’ve devised. I’m honestly not even going to waste my time with them all individually as my fellow Zyu-hater Shuki had. There’s nothing there and the few episodes that any of them actually got to themselves were either squandered by it being filler or just simply would have been something that was better off in a completely different show. And yes, this includes Burai. Throughout my entire watch through of this series I kept being told to just wait until Burai showed up because then it would get better, then it would be a good show. No. The episode that led to Burai’s showing up was my breaking point on this series and while the subsequent episodes did see an increase in quality it was ultimately squandered by the show’s complete misuse of the character. Any interesting aspect of Burai was confined to the spirit room along with him only to be let out for a meager number episodes. For it being the big first appearance of a sixth warrior and for it supposedly establishing this meaningful bond between him and Geki it was in the end just another waste of time.
It’s like I said at the beginning, though. What annoys me most isn’t the children and it isn’t even the thinly written characters. Those sure as hell didn’t help, but regardless the thing that gets me is just that this show could have been better. It could have shown me that at least something decent could have come from the blind love that this series garners. It really could’ve been more, but sadly what could have been just isn’t enough.
I decided to continue with my stupid idea.
Just a really stupid idea that I had.
Now, obviously everything I am about to write is completely of my own opinion, though I know I share such opinion with some. That said I’m gonna go on a bit of an apathetic rant for a minute so just hold tight.
When it first started I don’t think there was any secret that I was enjoying Kamen Rider Wizard. I even defended it a couple of times on Twitter and such. For the most part I liked the style that the show was in. I like the way things had kind of been set up and I was really just generally happy to be enjoying a Rider series again after the abysmal year that we had just suffered through. Nothing about the show was perfect by any means, and I can’t say that I was loving the series as much as I had others, but I was content.
Then the Dragons came out to play. Now, obviously Kamen Rider is a franchise built to sell toys. I completely accept this and I usually have no problem with the more toyetic side of the show. There’s always problems with that set up, sure, but it really is something you kind of have to take in stride with these kinds of series be it tokusatsu or even a typical shonen anime series. That said, there is a limit or at the very least a point were the blending of the toys into the show stops being just a slight bother and starts completely overriding the series. Toys can be integrated into a series well, not perfectly, but well enough so that it doesn’t become something that not only harms the story of the show, but almost harms its own cause.
With the Dragon episodes of Wizard the story pretty much ground to a halt with the only progression during this sixteen episode chunk of the series being the acquisition of the Dragon forms(and All Dragon), the introduction of Beast and the defeat of Phoenix. Yes, there’s been character moments and I’m not saying that those episodes were necessarily bad either, but for sixteen episodes the amount of actual content that’s relevant to the overall story is pretty meager. It’s largely due in part to the pushing of the intro of the four Dragon forms, Drago-Timer, All Dragon form and Beast together. Because of the need to sell so much you end up cramming things into a ridiculously tight schedule.
I’m almost certain I’ve either confused you or you’re saying that I’ve contradicted myself, but hear me out. Since the four Dragon forms were shoved so closely together we ended up with not only pretty mundane reveals, but also very little story to show for it. Look at all of the Dragon episodes, they’re filler. They’re filler, because not only was a decent build up and explanation for the forms not given, but they needed to be the focus of the episode. Meaning no other content was allowed to flow in.
Then when we finally had a brief intermission from the Dragons we had to shove Beast in. That’d be great if he had anything to do. Listen, I dig Beast. He’s a fun character, but he’s been given no story to work with. His only story is within his origin and even then the idea of him being an archaeologist doesn’t currently seem like it’s anything outside of an excuse for him to have found the Driver. That’d honestly be o.k. with me if he had much of a mission or a goal, but all he’s got going for him is “I’m hungry and I kind of don’t want to die.” The only purpose Beast really has is to be a secondary Rider. He is there, so far, solely to sell some toys because let’s be honest here, he hasn’t done anything. He’s pretty much been demoted to cameos since his premier and the first focus episode we’ve gotten for him since is the grandmother episode which, fun though it may be, doesn’t seem to be developing the character any.
After Beast’s intro we go straight back into more Dragons with the Land Dragon, Drago-Timer and All Dragon pretty much back to back to back. Now here’s were I get a little miffed, but only just a little. The Drago-Timer arc was fine, in fact I’d say it was pretty good because not only was the main plot interesting, but it had an unorthodox side plot that was actually leading to something big. Or at least it should have. What should have been a major plot change with the defeat of Phoenix turned into an hour long wait for the new All Dragon form. It’s one thing to not further plot during a form reveal, but to overshadow a significant plot change because of a form reveal is simply irritating. More so when you factor if the fact that the form reveal actually caused the series to not only push aside the blatantly obvious idea of using Beast to counter Phoenix’s abilities, but to actually acknowledge that they are indeed doing it on purpose. It isn’t a case were the smarter route just wasn’t thought of either, it was thought of and then discarded for pretty much no good reason. Why is it no good reason? Because it isn’t development for the characters involved. It’s a moment. It’s a moment focusing on them and their current trial. Had it been development then a lasting change would have been put into effect with the characters, but I see nothing to show that there actually was. In fact I’d almost say the characters got dumber just to make the bullshit excuse for a new form actually work.
So here’s where I get to what is hopefully some semblance of a point and I feel I probably need to given my earlier claims of the story being to thin, but the inclusion of the forms and beast and such being too crammed. Basically, everything I wanted to say on it is right there. The toyetic nature of the show needed to be so crammed within a certain amount of time that it forced several opportunities for story development out. Yes you can argue that the forms are story development, but how much does Wizard powering up again actually tell you in the grand scheme of things? All of the mystery that was built early on is still left open and unfortunately that’s not really a good thing. Yes, I liked the idea of the Phantoms’ goal being unknown and the mystery surrounding Koyomi and Wiseman and etc., but all of it’s just been left to sit by the wayside in lieu of Dragons and it’s unfortunately become stagnant. Everything I hoped to have seen get some development on by now just isn’t there.
I joked with Brian the other day by saying that the only hope that this show instills in me is the hope that it will eventually get better. While I was joking there’s still truth to that. Throughout the entirety of the series thus far I have only been hoping, but that has yet to yield any sort of result. In fact if anything my hope in the series has only been tested and is truthfully beginning to wane. The worst part of it all, though, is that Wizard is a series that continues to be just ‘good enough’. It’s not terrible, it’s not something that makes me rage or want to quit watching it, but it’s not something that I love either. It succeeds in entertaining me for the twenty or so minutes that I spend watching it each week, but at the same time it’s not something that I really sit here and anticipate. Sadly, I think that by the end of it Wizard will simply be a series that was just o.k. A series like Blade or Agito is something that I look back on fondly and a series like Fourze is something that I remember with with a lot of disgust, but really I think that once this show is finished and a year or so has passed I’ll probably just forget about Wizard.
This is, as you can probably guess, a chronicle of a recent D&D campaign that I’ve been DMing. I’ve decided to go ahead and write out the chapters of their adventure, though, I’m going to refrain from inserting the more blatant “This is a game” aspects. Everything written here is not of my imagination nor am I trying to present it as such. Everything you read is exactly as the in-game story had progressed during each session of play. I hope you find it entertaining and I hope to continue keeping up with these as the game progresses.
Welcome to D&D Milodon.
- – - – -
Our adventure starts as the young Eladrin man by the name of Arannsis comes across the town of Cordate. After journeying through the mortal realm for quite some time he finds himself a bit tired and proceeds to check the local houses for places to reside for a short rest. Having only recently exited the Feywild Arannsis finds himself unfamiliar with the mortal world or its customs. This leads him in a fruitless attempt to open several residences in search of a suitable rest area. As he attempts to enter one house in particular a child stops him and questions him on what he is doing there.
“I wish to use this house to rest.” Arannsis addresses the child with an air of self importance.
“But this is my house.” The child responds, clearly confused by the Eladrin’s demand.
“Yes, and I wish to use it briefly.”
“But you can’t just walk into my house.”
“You just can’t.” The child replies, growing increasingly taken aback at the situation before her.
“What law tells me that I cannot?”
Seeing Arannsis’ failure to grasp the reasoning behind not being let into her house the child runs inside to alert her parents. Having found entering a residence difficult Arannsis chooses to simply position himself within a local yard until he is fully rested.
We move to a Tiefling man sleeping on a boat that has just recently pulled into dock. Several of the crew members come down to the storage area in which Shagretor(the Tiefling) is residing and inform him that he’s come as far as they’ll take him. The men seem to take a bit of hostility towards Shagretor showing a great amount of disrespect towards his species, something the young man simply brushes off.
Shagretor steps out into the port of the village Cordate and surveys the small rustic town. As his eyes scan across the town he briefly glances at the bizarre sight of an elf sitting on the grass outside of a house staring off into space. Ignoring this, Shagretor’s attention is immediately drawn to the local tavern in which he finds very few people and a somewhat on edge bartender. The man behind the bar seems apprehensive toward the Tiefling, asking him his reasoning for entering his bar. Shagretor ignores the man’s question and simply orders a beer which he downs in one gulp.
After some time passing the Eladrin chooses to leave his resting spot and venture down the town to a local general store. Arannsis looks over the small store seeing only basic supplies lining its shelves. He eventually makes his way to the front counter where he addresses an elderly man waiting eagerly on his foreign customer.
“Oh hello, may I help you?” The old clerk asks.
“What are the laws of this area?”
“What? Oh, you aren’t here to take my shop are you? I like my shop. It’s my shop.” The clerk appears slightly afraid as he asks, clearly apprehensive towards talk of the law.
“No, I wish to know about the structure of your government.”
“Oh, I-I don’t know. I just don’t want them to take my shop.”
“Can you tell me what authority is in this town?”
“You mean the guards?”
“So the guards run the town?”
Having eventually noticed that the man is clearly senile Arannsis leaves without a word, cutting off the old man mid sentence. A faint “Ok, bye now.” follows as Arannsis makes his way out of the shop. The Eladrin ventures further north into the town until coming across an empty lot. He questions to himself as to why a lot such as this would exist. He proceeds to call over several children who had been playing within the lotted area and questions them on why it was empty. Before getting too far into his questioning he is approached by the alarmed parent of the previous child.
“What are you doing?” The man appears suspicious and slightly aggravated by the foreigner’s appearance in his town.
“I am questioning these children on this lot. It doesn’t make sense.”
“You’re scaring our children. My daughter claims that you tried to break into our house.”
“I was looking for a place to rest.” Arannsis replies in a very ‘matter of fact’ tone of voice.
“Then find an inn! You cannot just walk into someone’s house like that.”
“Because it’s against the law.”
“What law states this?”
“What? The law is the law, it just is what it is.”
“Well then who is in charge here?”
“We’re under the rule of the Paladin, someone I suspect you’ll know well if you don’t start minding your own business around here.”
As the argument continued other civilians began to gather around all taking notice to Arannsis’ bizarre social ineptitude. The noise of the crowd catches the attention of Shagretor within the bar who makes his way out to inspect the situation. As he approaches the crowd the low roar of annoyance suddenly shifts to a loud cry of terror. Most of the children that had been playing were now scattered off to various hiding places. Several of the adult residents began shouting and running towards their homes.
“The Tiefling! The Tiefling is here!” One resident yells in alarm before running off.
“Guards! Guards! The demon has come back!” Another exclaims.
Noticing the crowds reaction to Shagretor, Arannsis immediately draws his sword, holding up to the Tiefling’s throat. “These people call you a demon. What have you done?”
“How should I know I just got here.” Shagretor raises his hands as the sword presses against his skin.
“So are you a demon then or not?”
“Maybe, who knows?” Shagretor cocks his head displaying a playful smile.
“Answer me.” Arannsis’ voice begins to carry a slightly lower edge to its usual regal tone.
“I’m not, I just happen to be red and have horns.” Arannsis lowers his sword slightly at the Tiefling’s answer.
“That still doesn’t answer why these people are frightened of you.”
“No idea, maybe they’re racist.”
“Likely. What is your name?”
“Shagretor” He gave a proud smile as he stated his name.
“What’s wrong with my name?”
“It’s lovely.” There was an air of sarcasm accompanying Arannsis’ answer.
“Your’s any better?”
“I am Arannsis, an paladin of the fey.”
“That a fancy way of saying you’re an elf?”
“I am not an elf, I am an Eladrin.”
“You look like an elf.”
“You resemble a demon.”
As the two bicker back and forth several guards approach them. As they come upon Shagretor a look of alarm spreads across their faces and they take a more cautious stance.
“You two, what are you doing here?” One of the guards steps out from the group and addresses the two.
“Oh good, the guards. Tell me, who runs this town?” Arannsis asks.
“This town is under the protection of we guards and lies under the rule of our paladin.”
“I guess the paladin thing was true. Who is this paladin?”
“This is not the matter at hand. We have received complaints from the local residents that an elf was causing trouble. Further more it would seem that the Tiefling has returned.”
“I’m not an elf.”
“Regardless I must ask you to leave our village. Your presence here is disturbing the locals. Especially yours Tiefling.” The guard cocks his head disapprovingly at Shagretor.
“Alright.” Being slightly confused at the guards hostility towards him, though obviously noticing the potential for trouble, Shagretor makes his way past the guards and towards the town’s entrance without any protest.
“I see no reason for me to leave. There’s nothing here that I’ve done wrong.” Arannsis replies firmly.
“Look, I don’t know for sure what you’ve been doing, but seeing as how you’ve already one incident in the middle of town I feel that it’d be best if you left.” The guard places a hand on the hilt of his blade.
“I’d really prefer to not MAKE you leave elf. I’d like to not cause more of an mess.” A small clink resonates from the guards sheath.
“I have no reason to leave and there’s no reason for you to make me.”
With that the guards each prepare their weapons. Seeing that the guards had now become hostile Arannsis readies his own weapon and prepares for combat. One of the three guards moved in front of Arannsis with the other two lining his sides. The guards swipe at Arannsis with their spears and swords. Though me manages to dodge one of the attacks the other two land firmly causing several gashes across his arms and chest. Slowly losing blood Arannsis takes up his sword against the first guard but is unable to connect.
Shagretor had just reached the village entrance before noticing the scuffle that had started behind him. Taking an almost childlike interest in the fight he precedes to walk closer to the ensuing battle. As he stands on the outside of the fight he begins to remark on Arannsis’ efforts.
Arannsis meanwhile continues to take several more blows eventually dropping to a knee and bleeding profusely. Despite being on the brink of falling unconscious Arannsis takes one more swipe with his sword narrowly missing the guard in front of him.
“I guess I should help the idiot.” Shagretor breathes a heavy sigh, before unsheathing his blade.
Within a flash Shagretor shoots to Arannsis’ side bringing down a mighty sword onto the head guard. While the blow lands it only manages to knock the guard back. With the bought time Arannsis climbs to his feat albeit still heavily damaged.
The guards, being taken aback by the sudden reappearance of the Tiefling, grow increasingly hostile and begin to attack the two again. Shagretor, despite his earlier showing of speed, fails to evade any of the oncoming attacks and ends up dropping to the ground after the mass of blows. Arannsis reaches down to help the demon-esque creature to his feet and the two continue to unleash two final powerful blows with what little of their strength they had left to very little avail. The guards proceed to deal a final slew of blows and the two foreigners fall.
- – - – -
That brings a close to part one of the first session of D&D Milodon(A Tentative Title). Part two of session one will be released shortly. Till then let me know what you think and if you’d like to see more. I’m still experimenting with how I’m presenting the campaign’s story and events so if you find that something seems off or just not fleshed out enough let me know and I’ll take that into account for future parts.