Recap: Kamen Rider Wizard, Episode 1 – The Ringed Wizard

We first meet our hero, Haruto Sohma, as he sits on top of a lamppost taking a bite out of a doughnut. A bird, Garuda, arrives. Haruto uses a ring to “Connect” some kind of portal from which he pulls a motorcycle out of.

Rookie detective Rinko Daimon assures her more experienced partner Amino that she is ready and that protecting people is a cop’s duty. They and a squad of police rush into a warehouse, but none of them were ready to see a group of strange creatures attacking the workers. Their bullets don’t work on them and are pretty much doomed… until Haruto arrives on his bike.

He uses his Connect Ring again to pull out his weapon and fires at the apparent leader of the zombie-ish creatures who has Rinko by the neck. He breaks one of the guy’s horns before he henshins to finish off the foot soldiers.

“It’s showtime.”

Haruto calls his assistant Koyomi who tells him he needs to summon more familiars to help Garuda, so he calls on Unicorn and Kraken and sends them off.

Rinko approaches him, “Are you really a mage?” “I suppose,” Haruto replies. She introduces herself and asks Haruto about the monsters. He begins to explain.

Humans with high levels of magic are known as Gates. When those humans are killed, a large mass of magic is released to become a Phantom, which is what the horned thing was from earlier.

The explanation continues courtesy of two Phantoms, Phoenix and Medusa whom Minotauros, the Phantom from earlier, goes to report to. They remind Minotauros that their mission is to drive Gates to despair to allow the Phantom within to be released, all so Wiseman “can open a Sabbath.”

Back to Haruto and Rinko, she asks how is it he can use magic. Haruto says it’s because he’s keeping a Phantom inside his body. And that prompts Rinko to slap handcuffs on him and throw him in a cell.

Rinko says he has the smell of danger about him. Haruto takes that as a compliment.

She continues to ask him about Phantoms, but Haruto says it’s no use; only Mages can fight them. She can’t take that, she doesn’t want to feel the despair (ding!) of just sitting around doing nothing when other people are in danger.

Rinko says she envies Mages since with all their power, they probably never feel despair. That makes Haruto flashback to the night of an eclipse. Phantoms are busting out of people all around him and it appears one is about to be born out of him too. Back in the present, he tells Rinko that it is because he was able to resist falling into despair that he now has magic.

That doesn’t make sense, she says. But no matter, because she doesn’t need magic to handle this case. She resolves not to give in to despair. That’s good, Haruto says, but “if you ever do give in to despair… then I’ll be your hope.”

Partly flattered, partly creeped out, Rinko and her partner Amino are called to the Chief’s office to find out they will be dropping the investigation. It isn’t a case the police can handle.

Koyomi arrives at the station just as an upset Rinko runs out, followed by Amino whom Koyomi senses bad vibes from.

In the cell, Haruto’s stomach growls and remembers. He opens up a Connect portal to grab his bag of doughnuts from earlier. But just as he’s about to take a bite, Unicord comes up through the floor with a message for Haruto.

At the park, Amino says they can’t do anything about the monsters. He asks Rinko why she wants to be a detective. Rinko says she joined the force to help people. Clutching her locket, she tells him the story of her father being a cop in the country. He protected the town and touched everyone’s lives. Rinko wants to be just like her father.

But Amino suddenly pulls the necklace from her neck, slaps her to the ground and steps on locket. Haruto reads the message from Koyomi, Detective Amino is the Phantom. He realizes Rinko is a Gate. Haruto uses one of his rings to shrink himself, hops onto Unicorn and they escape the cell.

Rinko’s despair starts to take over her body, but Haruto arrives with Koyomi. He starts up the Driver (“Driver On… Please!”), it starts singing (“Shabadobe Touch Henshin.”) and he henshins into Kamen Rider Wizard.

Haruto and Minotauros fight.

Haruto uses different rings to use Land and Hurricane Styles before changing back to the base Flame Style to use his Very Nice Kick Strike finisher.

Yokomi calls Haruto over and says a Phantom will be born any minute now.

“I’ll never let that happen before my eyes again,” he says.

Haruto kneels down and takes out his Engage Ring. Rinko remembers him promising to be her hope earlier at the station.

“You’re a strange mage aren’t you?”
“I promise you. I’ll be your final hope.”

She lets her hand out and he puts the ring on it on her finger just as she collapses. A portal opens up above her and he enters into her body.

Haruto finds himself in the scene Rinko related earlier about her father. This is the world of mind, Haruto says, called the Underworld. Suddenly, a large mass of magic in the form of a dragon bursts through and begins rampaging, trying to break out of the Underworld.

He puts on the Dragorise Ring and summons his own dragon. He pulls his bike out of the Connect portal and drives after the dragon to get it under control. He hops onto the dragon’s back and fights off Rinko’s dragon before it breaks through.

After defeating it, he exits her Underworld. She’s safe now and is no longer a Gate, he says.

Rinko wakes up on the park bench, still wearing the ring.

“Hope, eh?”

Haruto and Yokomi head home.

Episode Thoughts
A brand new Kamen Rider series. I’ll be writing my First Impression Review after a few more first impressions, maybe after episode 5 or something. But I can already tell this is a different kind of season than Fourze. Having seen maybe the first 12 episodes of OOO (I really need to finish watching that season!), I will assume Fourze was the exception. Kind of like Go-Busters is breaking the Sentai mold, Fourze tried something a little different.

And indeed, Wizard definitely feels a lot like how OOO started. With Fourze, the action was kind of limited or I guess, contained within Amonagawa High (and the moon). With OOO and now Wizard, action will be taking place all over the city and wherever a Gate’s Underworld take place in.

But the comparisons can wait for the full Review. As for the premiere episode, it was everything you needed to know while also holding back on stuff that can saved for future episodes. That’s the opposite of what Saban and Nickelodeon did for Samurai. They plopped you right into the middle of the action without any explanation for anything.

Wizard meanwhile gave the basic mechanics of what’s going on and you were able to easily jump right in without using too much exposition.

The visual style seems a lot more traditional than Fourze and it seems like this season is back to basics. Definitely enjoyed the episode and I’m looking forward to a fresh new Kamen Rider season to watch.

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