One of my favorite things about Saber are the swords. On paper, they’re a unique transformation method, the different elements mean interesting suit designs, and it allowed for different henshin poses such as Saber creating and X or Slash thrusting. Now, this review will be limited to the swords of this arc since we’ll get more swords later on. My favorites are Gekido and Kurayami. Buster’s blade is fucking massive in the show, the largest weapon in the franchise, and has to be wielded by the heftiest man alive (which the show loves to not be consistent of). The grey, or silver in some shots, meant to represent its iron ore motif of the rider has this realistic look to it. I love the outside detail that this sword was made by a STAR. It’s the sword I would see being in this world. The orange blade looks good and breaks up the grey, though I wish it looked more heated like it’s magma. Kurayami is the “dark” version of the Swordriver swords. The emblem looks as good as the helmet the rider wears, the blade has this nice yellow (or gold?) to it, and the purple looks really nice. While it’s powe set is a little too much, the show allows the sword to have the most attention and adds this mystery to it.
The rest range from good to eh. Suzune is interesting since it’s both a sword and a gun, both we’ve seen so many of this weapon in other series that it loses interest with me. The pink is nice and the inside of the gun, based on the sound meter, shines with its rainbow color. Hayate is fine. I like that it splits into two swords, giving the user two weapons at the same time. However, the shuriken mode looks really stupid. Why would anyone throw their sword? It’s not like a boomerang. Plus, the inside blade looks really bad because of the gimmick, with the middle sticking out a lot like a piston.
Finally, the Seiken Swordriver swords. These are my least favorite because the concept is barely used, and they stick out like sore thumbs compared to all of the other swords. The gimmick is very much like the V-Buckle from Ryuki or the Sengoku Driver from Gaim. A sword with switchable emblems, allowing for so much customization for every Rider in the show and for fans in the real world. Since I barely get the toys, I’ll focus on it in the show. They’re simple swords, but the emblem gives enough distinct flavor for them to stand out. I also think the gimmick of it being able to use 3 books at once is more usable than the rest of the swords only able to use one. If I had to choose between each of the riders having their own distinct sword vs them having a Seiken Swordriver sword, I would have chosen the latter because of uniform. However, because only our primary 3 riders get these kinds of swords, they end up standing out in the worst way. Why do their swords look unified while the rest have their own designs? This was originally going to get answered in the original draft, but they kept it out for some reason. These swords end up clashing with the others, becoming basic and plain.
The suit designs are very good, although some are better than others. Out of all the Seiken driver users, Saber has the worse base suit. Blades and Espada’s look solid in own way, especially the heavenly angel like vibe I get from Espada’s, but Saber’s base design just feels incomplete. The size of the Dragon head and skirt are so large that it takes all attention away from the other side. Once you see the other side, it looks round, plain, and boring. Espada’s other side has enough detail, such as the spikes and the white instead of black, that it compliments the more simple nature of Alangina. Since Blades’ lion head is in the middle of his chest, there’s more balance to the overall design.
These are the characters who weren’t that great, but not too bad. An in-between for me, where they have room for their character in the next arcs.
Desast: The Chimera Megid
Desast is a very fun villain. I hope my praise for these last few characters indicate how I feel about Zoous and, ugh, Legeiel. Anyway, Desast is your typical “I do what I want whenever I want” kind of villain. Desast could care less about rewriting the world, getting the book, or any of that high society bull. He wants a fight that’ll satisfy him. Admittedly, his arc couldn’t really focus in on whether he had a rivalry with Touma, or with Ren, or with Ryo. However, him attacking any of the knights really fits his profile as a Megid who’s managed to kill his fair share of them. There is no rhyme or reason for who he fights, he just wants one. It’s not a lot, but it is consistent at least. I will say, like Storious, there was a lot of mystery to him and his motives. Storious is a shady kind of unpredictable while Desast is the blunt kind. There’s a real Evolto vibe from Desast because his cheery, sadistic, yet unclear character that can lead to any kind of end. When he kills Daichi, though I question how he got there without flying or whatever, I knew Desast had some kind of plan in mind. He’s free to do what he wants, and everyone just has to wait to see. Then again, I’m not a big fan of the results. Other than that, I think Desast was set up well here and is one the third best villain in this chapter.
Ren Akamichi: Kamen Rider Kenzan aka the fan punching bag
Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy. From what I’ve seen in the community, Ren is a heatly debated character. Some like him, some despise him. But, what about me? For now, contained in this chapter, my opinion is this: Ren’s fine. He isn’t as bad in this chapter as he will be in later chapters. Yes, he’s an annoying man child and his whole character conflicts with his ninja status, but he never does anything irredeemable here. Okay, yes, he bullies Touma for no reason and does what he wants with a dumb little grin. He’s just kind of there most of the time. The only issue I have is his relationship with Kento, because it’s more tell than show. We never get much of a scene between them being actual friends. If anything, he’s a simp for Kento. In my opinion, it would have been better if him and Kento were stationed at the Southern Base before being transferred to the Northern one. His attachment with him would make sense since he feels uncomfortable in this new home, so he sticks close to the only person who knows. It would have been a simple backstory that explains it and makes him more than a baby asshole. Just a thought. For now, I think Ren is a fine character who’s more of a reluctant helper to the others. If there is anything else I will say that’s good, it’s his fight scenes. You cannot deny that Ren gets the best fights in this show.
Daishinji Tetsuo: Kamen Rider Slash
Daishinji is an interesting character and does have really good interactions with everyone else. I love how Bremen turns him from a socially anxious man into the lead singer of ACDC. He’s competent as both the blacksmith and as a rider, with a unique fighting style of both slashes and firing, Other than that, he’s just kind of there. He only really shines during the Avalon arc, where his tough exterior but soft interior leads to funny moments with Touma. Outside that, he never becomes the focus in any episode, even the one where he becomes Slash again. But, at least he does get one in the next chapter.