REVIEW: Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Ghost & Drive: Super Movie Wars Genesis

 

Starring

Shun Nishime (Kamen Rider Ghost)
Hikaru Ohsawa (Tokyo Slaves)
Ryosuke Yamamoto (The Travelling Chronicles)
Takayuki Yanagi (Amanogawa)
Naoto Takenaka (Hideoyoshi)
Takuya Mizoguchi (Kamen Rider Decade)
Reo Kanshuji (Blue Demon ver.2.0)
Kazuhiko Nishimura (Choujuu Sentai Liveman)
Aoi Yuki (Kamen Rider 555)
Yoshiyuki Morishita (The Grudge)
Hayato Isomura (Hiyokko)
Ryoma Takeuchi (Detective Pikachu)
Rio Uchida (Chimamire Sukeban Chainsaw)
Taiko Katono (Gaki Rock)
Yu Inaba (Clone Baby)
Tsurutaro Kataoka (Sharaku)
Chris Peppler (Tokyo Eye)
Rei Yoshii (Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger)
Kenta Hamano (Segodon)
Taira Imata (Super Hero Taisen GP: Kamen Rider 3)
Tomoya Warabino (First Kiss)
Shōta Matsushima (Godhand Teru)
Fumika Baba (Code Blue)

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Just as the latest Kamen Rider is beginning to find his footing, his predecessor returns for one last goodbye as part of a Movie Wars crossover which has been a franchise staple for the past seven years. This time it’s the turn of Kamen Rider Ghost, reuniting once more with Kamen Rider Drive in the time-travelling Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Ghost & Drive: Super Movie Wars Genesis. Other than boasting a “super” along with the typically lengthy title, Movie Wars Genesis throws one big format change into the works – making it a particularly notable entry in this popular series of crossovers.

When first division police officer Shinnosuke Tomari is asked to investigate mysterious going ons that cannot be explained by science, he encounters Takeru Tenkuji and Mysterious Paranormal Insitute during a fight against a Ganma thief. Following a brief misunderstanding between Kamen Riders Drive, Mach, Ghost and Specter, the two groups settle and begin to learn more about each other. All of a sudden a space/time portal appears, sucking in both Takeru and Shinnosuke and transporting them back to 2005. Here the two find themselves in the care of Takeru’s father Ryu – mere days before his untimely death.

However what they also discover is a Ganma plot to awaken a Leonardo da Vinci Eyecon, and a young Akari is right at the centre of it. Meanwhile in 2015 Specter and Mach have their own problems, as the space/time rift causes the resurrection of Roidmudes Heart, Brain and Medic – led by  none other than the Da Vinci Ganma himself. What unfolds is a battle across two time periods, as Ghost and Drive battle in the past to defeat the Ganma and fix the present.

Regular viewers of the Movie Wars series will notice that the biggest change when it comes to Movie Wars Genesis is that the Rider 1 segment/Rider 2 segment/Crossover format has finally been done away with in favor of a feature-length story that features the casts of both series’. While it still may have two stories running parallel, the film happily jumps between the past and present where appropriate to keep the story flowing. This new approach highly benefits the crossover aspect of the film, tying the two Riders together early on whereas previous movies kept them strictly apart until the last half an hour or so.


This revamped format definitely works just as well in execution as it does in theory, with the casts of both Drive and Ghost almost immediately showing excellent camaraderie that develops beautifully. The cast of Kamen Rider Ghost have constantly proven themselves to be a welcoming bunch and welcome the cast of Drive with open arms. This doesn’t just apply to the five Riders either  the extended casts also work wonderfully together. Villains are also handled well too, with the idea of a Da Vinci Eyecon/Ganma tying nicely into Ghost’s overall themes. The presentation of the three Renaissance Ganma is good enough to portray them as a threat more notable than the usual Ganma, but without having to rely on the gimmick of a poorly placed movie Rider to up the ante.


Movie Wars Genesis is a film that raises several questions and inconsistencies, but definitely has its heart in the right place. The altered format not only improves the crossover element of the film considerably, it offers a less predictable and more unique viewing experience that will hopefully carry forward into future Movie Wars instalments. As a farewell to Kamen Rider Drive it could have perhaps done better, but it manages to perfectly capture the excitement of Kamen Rider Ghost’s early episodes and provide a satisfying crossover that brings out the best in both casts.