One of my favorite things about the Kamen Rider franchise, beyond the great characters and often campy fun, is the way it tackles in a very tangible way issues that, when you think about it, are very philosophical and/or existential in nature.
It’s really cool that what is first and foremost a Sunday morning kids’ show, whose purpose is largely to sell toys, is so good at tackling questions such as what is the true measure of being human; or to what extent our circumstances or fate determine who we are and what we do. I was going to say it’s a little amazing, but it’s really not, when you consider that at heart, this is exactly what the very first Kamen Rider was about, decades ago (full disclosure: I haven’t really seen any Showa yet, although Black in particular is definitely on my list of stuff to watch). Kamen Rider can be about the suits and the fights and about heroes of justice kicking ass; but if you let it, it will also make you think. It tends to sneak up on you, too, and that’s what happened with these two episodes.
Now, if one is identifying common tropes that Kobayashi likes to revisit, wouldn’t it be fair to say that Urataros is probably the closest Den-O has to one Kitaoka Shuichi? :D
Probably, and this would explain why I like Urataros so much. I mean they’re both full of it, they’re both smooth with the ladies (well, Kitaoka supposedly is, we don’t see it work in Ryuki because it’s always directed at Reiko), and they’re so much smoke and mirrors around their motivations that it’s very hard to tell just what there is underneath it all… except for the fact that one suspects they’re really not bad, underneath it all, just selfish, opportunistic and self-serving. But quite charming, really!
Especifically with Urataros, there’s the mystery of why exactly he’s doing what he’s doing, why he’s possessing Ryotaro knowing the limitations of possessing a singularity point (which at this point… haven’t exactly been explained).
So quick thoughts, because of the time:
→ First instance of Hana beating up Momo!
→ Again with Ryotaro’s ingrained kindness: wanting to give the keyholder back to the bully, because it was the right thing to do.
→ First glimpse of That Guy (spoiler!)
→ Momo saves a little boy, aww. Again, Momo was always decent, under the hooliganism.