Despite the skepticism that most folks had in regards to Kamen Rider Fourze, the series actually turned out to be quite fun and entertaining. Gentaro's lively personality makes me wish that I have met someone as dedicated as he is. However, that does not mean that my high school life was a terrible experience.
Like any good show that lifts the heart and soul, there has to come a time when we have to say farewell. Join me after the jump as we say goodbye to the brave people of the Kamen Rider Club.
Last time we kept tabs on Gentaro and his friends, an important ally was lost during Gamou's assault on the Rabbit Hatch. Long story short, the entire club was stuck in a no-win situation while Gamou returns to reopening the Dark Nebula. At the same time, there was a chance that Fourze's finale might suffer from getting a rushed ending, since Kamen Rider OOO went through a similar situation. However, OOO still did a great job in wrapping up its story, except that there were still a few elements that could have been fleshed out.
Even though Fourze's last episode was also number 48, the series manages to succeed where OOO failed. In other words, Fourze manages to deliver the proper finale that wraps up Gentaro's quest in seeking out true friendship. Never did I expect Fourze to hit me with this level of emotion back when people thought that the show was going to be a Rider series that was making fun of an American high school life. Instead, Fourze transformed into a show about breaking the exteriors that hold people back and accept them for who they really are.
In a way, Fourze covered the different levels of friendship throughout each key point in the series. For example: the first segment focused on the challenges of making friends, the later segments took those ties and messed with them to test each character's bonds, and the final segment takes everything that they learned and creates the final obstacle. Part of this formula was what brought about these different emotions that we felt during each key arc, which was hard to predict, since the show was mostly silly and over-the-top. But then again, since one of the writers behind Fourze worked on Gurren Lagann, it's no surprise to see this sort of style take form in Kamen Rider Fourze.
What was probably a big surprise out of the series was that they somehow avoided the plot element that would cause the main cast to break down and question their ideals. Actually, these story tropes were tossed around from time to time, except that the Kamen Rider Club stood strong and knocked them down as they continue to protect the people of Amanogawa High School. Without spoiling too much, the last battle was no exception either. This alone is one of the many reasons that Fourze deserves some respect. Though there was a slightly important element that was kind of forgotten (*cough, Dark Nebula victims), but it's nothing powerful enough to ruin an entire series.
Unlike last year's Gokaiger, Fourze kept the anniversary references to a minimum, since the main cast have names that are a shout out to the original Showa Riders. Other than that, there was also the whole thing about their being 40 Astro Switches, which corresponds with the age of the franchise. While there were a few Switches that seemed a bit too ridiculous for combat, it was entertaining to see Gentaro's attempt to master each Switch.
With any well developed cast, there has to be a driving force that improves their potential. As we all know, going to school comes with its stress and troubles, such as resorting to dangerous drugs, joining the wrong crowd, or doing something that is just straight out stupid. In the realm of Fourze, they take all of these elements and throw them into the Zodiart Switches that are being handed out to students attending the school. You could say that they act as the opposite factor to those that wield the Astro Swtiches, which gets played out with a surprising origin story.
Under all of action, drama, and comedy that went on, Fourze revealed itself to be a series that tests the real values of friendship. In the end, you have manage to earn the right of passage to become buddies with the best Riders out there. Your acts of kindness won't be forgotten, Fourze, and may your true feelings reach out to those in space.
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