BEYOND THE BUGMEN: A KAMEN RIDER ANALYSIS SERIES
Part VI: The Detective Moving at Top Speed, Drive
I will preface today's article about Kamen Rider Drive (October 5, 2014-September 27, 2015) by saying that it is CURRENTLY my number one favorite Kamen Rider series. It was also the first one that I watched as it came out, week by week (when Charles was in Japan, he actually saw one of the last episodes live, and accidentally spoiled part of the fight by describing it!). I'm not really sure what makes me love it so much, but I do. Tomari Shinnosuke is our main hero, a detective whose partner was injured after the Global Freeze Incident, where monsters known as the Roidmude slowed down the entire world. This caused a shot that Shinnosuke took at one of the monsters to hit a gas tank near his partner. We find him six months after, lazy and unwilling to do much of anything. But, when strange things start to occur, his brain shifts into top gear, and he takes on the case.
Our hero, mid-henshin pose.
I think what really solidified Drive as my current favorite series is the detective aspect - anyone who knows me well enough knows my all-time favorite game series is Phoenix Wright. Yes, W was a detective story as well, but we saw far less actual detective work in that one. In Drive, Shinnosuke spends most of his non-costumed time following clues, questioning witnesses and bystanders near a crime scene, all to determine the motives of the Roidmude. And just what are the Roidmude, anyway?
Here's a few, as an example.
The Roidmude are mechanical lifeforms, who are able to slow time in their vicinity, steal the likenesses of human beings, and generally wreak havoc. There is a major question that gets brought up later in the series, however - when do the Roidmude stop being Roidmude, and are considered human? Some events occur that bring this sort of thing into question, which mirrors many conversations happening in our world right now. Where is the line between human and machine, if the machine looks, acts, and feels like a human? Being one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world, Japan will have to address these questions sooner than many of us.
For now, we have Kamen Rider Drive to give us plenty of food for thought, as well as a fantastic detective story to wrap it all up in.