The story for Kamen Rider is pretty simple; an evil organization, Shocker, is turning people into cyborgs, based on animals, in a plot for world domination. Kamen Rider is an escaped victim of this plot who is transformed into a cyborg, but with his mind intact. Using his new powers, he swears to destroy Shocker and bring peace back to the world. I’m a fan of the Kamen Rider television series, so I was quite excited when I picked up the manga. The story is more condensed than the show, as there’s fewer monsters Kamen Rider fights, but I had a lot of fun reading it. The manga does take its time with the action scenes and the author isn’t afraid to focus one scene into a double-page panel. The villains had a lot of personality and brought different challenges to Kamen Rider that were fun to see hit work through. My biggest critique of the story is the disappearance of a few characters half way through due to the change of the character who takes on the mantle of Kamen Rider. When that happened, the characters central to the first Rider (aka Kamen Rider Ichigo) completely disappeared unless needed for plot devices. I would have liked to see more development about those tertiary characters, but this is a manga targets for kids, so the focus on the hero is understandable. If you’re a fan of Kamen Rider, I would recommend picking up this great complete collection of the manga series that started it all. You won’t regret it!
Kamen Rider - the Classic Manga Collection
Books | Shotaro Ishinomori
This was a great science fiction that uses the slow burn quite effectively. In it, the film asks questions of faith and religion in the wake of the discovery of intelligent life, which takes different approaches through the movie, which is a good, balance take about a sensitive subject. Like all good science fiction, the movie simply asks the questions and explores those questions without giving any definitive answers, which is something I really appreciate. The story through most of the movie is very consistent with its world-building, however I find the bias against the main character Ellie (Jodie Foster) for her not believing in God along with what is obviously sexism, to be a bit annoying, but it was the late-90s, so it keeps track with the cultural climate that I can’t fault for maintaining accuracy. But I think that overcoming those biases and persevering in spite of that showed a lot of strength of character for Ellie is a great female character in science fiction. I would recommend this film for any science fiction fan or anyone who is philosophically inclined as it stays with you well after the credits roll.
Movies | Drama
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The series as a whole was really good, with compelling characters in a fantastical setting. The first two seasons (based on the novels) were great with their world building and slow burn throughout to the end. The third season, sadly, lost me, mainly due to the idea that the “serpent” (tempter of Eve) was actually good and trying to free humanity from the control of the Authority. The Christian allegories are really obvious here, and it’s ideas that many people think the Illuminati believes. I personally didn’t care for those allegories, nor the ideas presented, and I think it detracted from what was an otherwise great story, and that’s just my opinion about that. The ending was heart-wrenching and left me heartbroken for Will and Lyra, which is a testament to how wonderfully they were written. Overall, this was a fun series, but the third season left me wanting more from the story than a twist of the Judeo-Christian creation story.
His Dark Materials
Shows | Drama
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