The Current State of Wizard.

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.

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