1477536195-tacad14As a men Rider series draws to a close and another begins, one thing is always for certain – the two will be meeting up in a few months time for an annual Movie War crossover film. Kamen Rider Wizard and Kamen Rider Gaim are of course no exception, even if Toei have decided to slightly mix things up when it comes to the naming. Gone is the tiresome “Movie Wars…” monicker, replaced with Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Gaim & Wizard: The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle – which is probably just in time as I’m not sure how many more random words could be added on the end of the “Movie Wars” titles.Kamen Rider Sengoku Movie Battle Bujin GaimUnlike the previous Movie Wars Ultimatum, this movie doesn’t feature a prologue setting everything up (nor does it feature any rebooted tokusatsu veterans), instead jumping straight into Kamen Rider Wizard’s grand finale . Following the end of the series, Haruto is now travelling the world alone along with the Hope Ring left after Koyomi’s death. During his journey he is attacked by the Ogre phantom, which seeks to become the ultimate Phantom by consuming all of the others and taking their power – and now Haruto’s dragon is on the menu. After returning home and meeting up with Nitoh, Rinko and the others, the Ogre Phantom attempts to bring Haruto to despair by resurrecting Koyomi using the Hope Ring. Only this time the magically-infused Koyomi (taking her father’s guise of the White Wizard) aims to help bring Haruto to despair by destroying everything around him.Kamen Rider Sengoku Movie Battle Bujin WWizard’s ending  was a fairly satisfying one – very much a “the story is over but the journey continues” kind of affair. So even though this epilogue to Wizard isn’t entirely necessary, it does to a good job of wrapping everything up neatly. Matoko Okunaka gives her strongest performance as Koyomi.  Her appearance here is more important than ever as helps bring out the emotional side of Haruto. Wizard’s swan song hits all the right emotional notes and succeeds at being the Kamen Rider Wizard finale we didn’t even know we wanted.Kamen Rider Sengoku Movie Battle KoyomiMoving into the Kamen Rider Gaim portion, the Armoured Riders (Gaim, Ryugen, Baron, Gridon and Kurokage) are in the midst of a battle royale tournament when a mysterious monster appears from a crack and attempts to capture Mai. When Gaim, Baron and Ryugen give chase they find themselves in a parallel universe where a warring states period is taking place – and the battles are between the previous 14 Kamen Riders. They soon learn that the balance of power has been shifted in favour of the mysterious Bujin Gaim, who has been consuming the Riders one by one. As Armoured Rider Zangetsu and Mai also join the group in this strange world, Kouta must not only help defeat his evil counterpart – he must also affirm what it is he’s fighting for. With so much going on in the world of Kamen Rider Gaim each week, it seems strange to step back an take a look a (canonically-debatable) side story when the characters were a lot less troubled. Sengoku Battle Royale takes the warring states motif of Gaim at its most literal, not only reimagining each Heisei-era Rider but also bringing back side characters as their reimagined versions of historical war lords. It’s a very cool concept that could have easily made its own film.vlcsnap-2013-10-26-00h42m04s164Bujin Gaim is a ridiculously cool villain, evoking a “Dark Rider” feel while at the same time doing enough to keep himself from being lumped in with the rest of them. But not nearly enough is revealed about him – we never find out who he is and his motivations are typical paper thin villain stuff.  Finally we come to the main event, which isn’t as neatly placed in its own section like previous Movie Wars so just flows straight from the Gaim section (let’s just say it begins as soon as the two stories have caught up with each other). As Bujin Gaim uses the powers of the 14 Bujin Riders to merge with the God Tree and gain the ultimate power, the six Kamen Riders – Wizard, Beast, Gaim, Baron, Ryugen and Zangetsu (who enters the alternate world later in the Gaim part) team up to defeat him, bring order to this alternate world and find a way to return home.Kamen Rider Sengoku Movie Battle Haruto's UnderworldThe conclusion of the Gaim section sets things up for a really explosive finale, but Sengoku Movie Battle never really delivers. It certainly has its moments and manages to impress while onscreen, but as the credits roll you soon realise there it actually had very little substance to it. Bujin Gaim’s “Lotus Position” form is both dumb-looking and underwhelming, making the climactic fight into an all-CGI fare where lots of shots are fired, details are blurred and explosions happen. Just about the norm for a Movie War finale then.






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