Recap: Kamen Rider Drive, Episode 1 – Why Has My Time Stopped?

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It was like any other normal evening in Japan until the Global Freeze hit the world. Roidmudes attacked by slowing down time and imposing the “heaviness” upon everything.

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On this same night, Tomari Shinnosuke, a police officer, and his partner Hayase are in the middle of catching a couple of perps. But the Global Freeze causes Shinnosuke to misfire, instead hitting a flammable generator causing an explosion and Hayase to get buried under falling pipes.

But on the other side of town, three small cars arrive and begin attacking the Roidmudes, using various different attacks to destroy what appears to be their physical bodies. Numbers emerge from each dead Roidmude and fly off into their air.

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This is when we see a mysterious hero, which Shinnosuke says he had no idea even existed at the time.

Six months after the Global Freeze, Shinnosuke explains how things have changed since, including an app citizens can use to report the arrival of “the Heaviness.”

Shinnosuke is laying on the grass at the park when he is suddenly handcuffed by Shijima Kiriko, a cop with the Special Cases Department which he is also a part of.

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Shinnosuke tries to run, but Kiriko throws a shoe at and chases after him. He asks how she would even know he was here. Kiriko has a whole journal of facts about Shinnosuke.

She takes him back to the station. Chief Honganji Jun is happy with Kiriko’s work.

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This is the Metropolitan Police Department – Department for Cases with Special Circumstances aka Special Cases Department.

Also part of the department are researcher and engineer Kyu and electro-physicist Rinna.

They fill Shinnosuke in on the real active investigation they will be part of today. A string of attempted murders in an area may be connected to the Gravity Shift (a term coined by Rinna), also known as the Heaviness.

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Lieutenant Otta of the First Investigation Division will be their liaison for this investigation. Shinnosuke is very familiar with Otta aka Gen-san.

Shinnosuke hops into his car and a voice begins talking to him out of nowhere. It appears this has been happening a lot lately. The voice asks when Shinnosuke will let out his inner warrior and reminds him that it was he to assigned Shinnosuke to the Special Cases Department and who gave him this car.

Just pick someone else, Shinnosuke says, “As you can see, I’m a lazy fool.”
But the voice insists Shinnosuke has just forgotten how to start his engine.

On the other side of town, the Heaviness arrives and an ominous looking man smiles as he approaches the people.

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Shinnosuke thinks he’s found where the voice in the car is coming from and it turns out it is a belt. The belt attaches to Shinnosuke’s waist just as Kiriko comes to tell him they need to go to the scene of another attempted murder.

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Let’s hurry, the voice says. But before Shinnosuke can even react, the belt takes over control of the car and drives it to the scene following Kiriko.

Gen-san is told the Special Cases Department has arrived and he turns to see Shinnosuke and Kiriko with funny looking contraptions on their heads. Shinnosuke says they are supposed to measure gravity shift particles. Gen-san doesn’t believe in the Heaviness.

They look at the victim’s body which is all red. Like the other victims of the last week, they are not dead.

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Shinnosuke picks up a scrap of paper near where the victim was found, but suddenly their contraptions sound the alarm signaling the arrival of the Heaviness. He looks up and sees the ominous-looking, green hoodie-wearing fit guy (from earlier) walking normally. It transforms into a Roidmude and attacks Shinnosuke.

Shinnosuke’s belt summons the Shift Cars and the three cars from the night of the Global Freeze appear, again doing what they can to attack this Roidmude.

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The Roidmude escapes.

Belt tells Shinnosuke these cars are his comrades.

Gen-san Otta returns to the Special Cases Department with Shinnosuke and Kiriko. Otta insists the Heaviness doesn’t exist, but Shinnosuke comes in with new information.

Shinnosuke has created a composite of the man from earlier and he is now determined to find him. He straightens his necktie and heads out, Gen-san running after him.

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Kiriko is surprised, but happy. It looks like Tomari-san has finally shifted into gear! Chief Jun is also very excited to see Tomari-chan like this.

Shinnosuke finds out the man is Masuda Nobuo who was a regular at a local gym. He stakes out the entrance and sees Nobuo follow a man who has just exited and is going for a run. The Heaviness arrives again and the man turns to recognize Nobuo. Where have you been? the man asks. Nobuo had not been at the gym lately.

“I’ve been hunting humans,” Nobuo replies.

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He turns into a Roidmude and grabs the man by the neck when Shinnosuke arrives.

Shinnosuke watches as the Roidmude starts doing something to the man resulting in that bright reddish color to fill his body.

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Belt calls out Max Flare which attaches to a holder on the belt itself. Shinnosuke finds he can move normally even with the presence of the Heaviness.

More Roudmudes arrive and they throw Shinnosuke around, susceptible again to the Heaviness. They start to shoot at him, but Shinnosuke’s car arrives. It is driven by Kiriko who comes out and fights the Roidmudes. She shoots at them and leaps over the car to Shinnosuke’s side. He sees she’s also got a holster with the two other Shift Cars.

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She tells him to fight with the belt, now that he’s got his engine started. The car, named Tridoron, helps in the fight against the Roidmudes.

Shinnosuke asks the belt, or more respectfully, Belt-san what to do now. Belt-san tells Shinnosuke to henshin. Another Shift Car arrives and Belt-san tells him to insert it into the Shift Brace.

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Kiriko switches Mr. Belt on, Shinnosuke inserts the Shift Speed Shift Car into the brace.

Shinnosuke may have lost something in the past, but not now. With his comrades with him, Shinnosuke can move faster than anyone, even during a Gravity Shift. He is the warrior, Drive!

Shinnosuke’s resolve is renewed and he henshins into Kamen Rider Drive. A tire pops out from Tridoron and attaches to him, Type Speed.

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He charges toward the Roidmudes and they fight. Belt-san tells Shinnosuke to use the Shift Lever to speed up. He is able to knock down two of the Roidmudes, but the third one takes him on and knocks him to the ground.

Kiriko takes Spike and Shadow Shift Cars and tells them to help. They park into Shinnosuke’s holster and Belt-san tells him he can use each Shift Car’s unique ability if he changes to them.

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Shinnosuke uses the Max Flare Shift Car and a new tire pops out of Tridoron to attach to him. He then uses the Funky Spike Shift Car to finish off one of the Roidmudes.

He uses the Midnight Shadow Shift Car to take care of the 2nd one and Belt-san tells him to change back to Speed Tire to finish this last Roidmude with an all-tire attack and a Full Throttle finisher.

While the first two Roidmudes’ numbers explode in the air, this last one’s number flies off.

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Shinnosuke de-henshins and runs over to the man from earlier to see the red color is disappearing. He is happy he was able to save someone.

But he again notices a little piece of evidence next to the victim.

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Later, Kiriko brings Shinnosuke to a basement garage command center, the Drive Pit. Kiriko tells Shinnosuke that their existence is a secret even from the Special Cases Department.

Belt-san says all the victims have recovered and it is thanks to Shinnosuke for solving this case. But Shinnosuke says it might not be solved just yet. He wonders if the Roidmude wasn’t actually trying to kill them.

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Elsewhere, the Roidmude Number 029 from earlier is suffering on a staircase when Roidmude commander Heart arrives and asks if it would like a new body.

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Episode Thoughts

And we finally say hello to a new Kamen Rider. After Gaim‘s roller coaster of a year, it seems like such a long time since we first said goodbye to Haruto and hello to Kota.

But it’s always great to start off a new season. And speaking of Haruto, I’m getting a very Wizard vibe after this first episode. Both heroes have emotional baggage, but are still slightly goofy in an endearing sort of way. And they both have a serious female sidekick (Sorry Shunpei!). The Global Freeze also mirrors the eclipse in Wizard, in a way.

I enjoyed Wizard, so if Drive is anything like it or even better, then Yay!

I wasn’t sure about the huge tire at first, but seeing it in action, I think Drive’s suit is fun. I can see the car theme’s perfect cohesion with Super Hero Time partner ToQger.

I think Mr. Belt will be awesome. The Knight Rider inspiration is definitely evident and that’ll certainly add a lot more fun.

I also love the idea of The Heaviness. What a truly terrifying thing to feel. I’ve had many a nightmare where I feel like my body weighs a ton and time slows down all around me as I’m in danger. Scary!

Overall a solid premiere which covered a lot of ground. Happy about it so far. And again, it is definitely exciting to be meeting a brand new Rider.

5 thoughts on “Recap: Kamen Rider Drive, Episode 1 – Why Has My Time Stopped?

  1. I was pretty ‘in gear’ for the first episode myself! I’m a big fan of police drama/mystery in general so I hope they’ll stick to that well as the series goes on. I also dig the slowdown effect. The way they ramp the speed around does a good job of making it really jarring to watch.

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