KAMEN RIDER DIE: I, uh, I feel like I owe you an apology! I asked you to pitch in on this movie, because it was billed as a Decade thing. IT IS DEFINITELY NOT A DECADE THING!

ENCHILADA645: It's as much Decade as Kiva's romp with Den-O was Kiva pretty much.
That's not to say I didn't enjoy my time here regardless.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I'd give it a slight edge over the Den-O/Kiva flick, but not by much. (Actually, I think THIS movie has more Kiva stuff than that one, since the Arms Monsters get an extended, funny cameo.) Decade is, y'know, around for a couple scenes, but he has basically no bearing on the plot. He doesn?€™t inform or contribute. He basically shows up for two-thirds of the final fight, and then leaves while the Den-Liner crew are fighting for their lives. Both Decade and Diend come off as callous to the point of villainous. How did Tsukasa's bailing and Kaitou's shit-stirring work for you?

ENCHILADA645: Eh I'd say less callous, and more... they're sorta just there in regards to things. Or at least like, Tsukasa is mostly apathetic to the whole situation. And I don't really blame him given his journey to the next world got interrupted by Sieg and he got possessed for like the fifth time or so. So he just wants to deal with Den-O for good, even if that does just mean making a small cameo here.
Daiki is very... he's there? And he has this weird purple effect for his dimensional walls that we never see before or after this. I'm honestly not sure what his purpose was here or what he was trying to do. Was he trying to spite Momo for him not becoming a train? Us for forgetting about him near entirely in the last recap? Or was his whole "special service" because he knew his clones would get body jacked? I'm honestly not sure.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: That's the weird part: Diend is arguably more useful to the movie's plot than Decade! Kaitou drops off those color-coded clones, perfect spare bodies for the Imagin to use. Decade... I mean, he brings Sieg, but it's not like it'd've broken our suspension of disbelief if Sieg had just wandered into frame during the third act, like he was in the neighborhood and thought he'd say hi to Hana. You don't have to work very hard to contrive a reason for Sieg to show up! That's basically his one move!

ENCHILADA645: That is a fair argument yeah, there was nothing stopping Sieg from just, showing up. But well, we had to push Decade in somehow since this was seemingly the set of years when they wanted to start pushing these Riders crossing over. Even if we wouldn't really get a proper crossover for a while.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And, man, speaking of shoehorning in characters: WHY WAS RYOTARO IN THIS! The last non-Decade Den-O project was about saying goodbye to Ryotaro's actor, and introducing a new Den-O to carry the narrative weight. So, hey, here's Kotaro as Den-O, teaming up with Hana and the Den-Liner crew... including a youthened Ryotaro, who is the original Ryotaro that the series literally just said goodbye to, and he's still getting possessed by the Imagin so Sword Form can save the day.
Why the last movie? Why Kotaro? WHY.

ENCHILADA645: Yeah this movie is very odd in that regard. You've got the big goodbye for Ryotaro, and you've also got them setting Momotaros as a solo deal in the episodes that advertise this movie. But then you've also got this movie setting up like the new status quo going forward for a bit here.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I genuinely can't figure out why the movie does this convoluted nonsense to keep Ryotaro in the narrative, when a) he doesn't have any emotional stake in this story, and b) it's not like he's got some huge scene with the other Imagin. There's, like, one good Ryotaro/Momo scene, and it's not a huge part of the plot.
And, since Real Den-O is so front and center in this movie, it makes Cho Den-O seem like a random hanger-on. I half expected him to bail on the final fight, too!

ENCHILADA645: Yeah definitely, Ryotaro is very much there, and his explanation for being a kid is very much there. Like I didn't mind Kotaro just being there since well, that was sorta the whole setup with the last movie I feel? Been a while since I watched any old Den-O content outside the stuff for Decade.
But yeah, Ryotaro is by far not what the movie considers the big emotional focus. So he definitely feels weird and off here.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: The real emotional focus was Yuuto (the movie treats it like this is some gigantic, game-changing shock, which it definitely was not for me), and... man, I really want to Get Along With Yuuto, but this kid's story just didn't do it for me. Did his story about parental loss and geographic dissatisfaction connect with you?

ENCHILADA645: Having seen this movie once before, I picked up on what was going on after Yuuto got a lot of focus and Deneb possessed him. So like, the twist clearly had no effect on me. And I'll be real I completely forgot about this being the main emotional plot of the movie because the most I remembered of the movie is like, the last 20 or so minutes.
That being said, while his like core motivations didn't really do much for me in the beginning, I kind of warmed up to him once he got involved with the Den-Liner crew and had those moments in the past with the archer girl. It was enough for me to have like a big stupid smile on my face in the ending where we see regular Yuuto and Deneb paling around.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And that's what was so weird for me: I love Yuuto and Deneb. LOVE. Absolutely my favorite relationship on Den-O, and one of my all-time favorite pairings across the entire Kamen Rider franchise. I should be super in the bag for the Secret Origin of Yuuto and Deneb. But, wow, I was really not.
Pretty much as soon as the grandmother calls him Yuu-chan, I'm like Oh It's The Kid Version Of Yuuto. After that point, I kept looking for some version of Yuuto's pride or snottiness or temper or something in Yuu. I never really found it? He's just some random kid, and his dilemma is really dull to me (I sort of expect more nuance from Den-O at this point than We Can't Lose Ourselves In The Past.) He's so thinly sketched, and there's none of Yuuto's nostalgia for me to fill in the blanks. I don't know. He didn't click with me at all, and I was trying.
But, yeah, that ending with Yuuto and Deneb wrestling in the park is fantastic.
Why they didn't just turn this series over to those two, I will never understand.

ENCHILADA645: It is honestly odd too, given like you've got the perfect cast set in stone. The four main Imagin being able to turn into Den-O whenever they want. You've got Yuuto as the human face alongside Deneb and he's clearly a popular character.
Not to mention the fact that you can get back the Den Liner crew pretty easily, and you've got a solid cast of people to carry Den-O for a while without making things too complicated.
I guess they just wanted a lot of backups.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And, like, Yuuto didn't quit! He showed up for this one! Incredibly frustrating for me as a fan of both Yuuto and Den-O The Series.

ENCHILADA645: Yeah I can definitely see why. And I can see why this movie didn't really stick with me on a more emotional level than it did an entertainment level. Because I think the only reason I remembered the last big act of this movie for years was for a good reason.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Was it Climax Form But With Wings?
Or was it Team Den-O's absolutely brilliant plan to trick an immortal oni?

ENCHILADA645: Oh it was absolutely Team Den-O's incredible plan to trick an immortal oni. The minute that scene popped up I started getting deja vu and was grinning like crazy.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It is, for sure, the best part of this movie. I found a lot of this film sort of interminably dull (all of the stuff with Yuu and Toki was creepy and unaffecting), but when the entire very large team basically does a Let's Put On A Show to trick an immortal oni into thinking he's traveled through time, I was ecstatic. It's the sort of bonkers plot development that Den-O does maybe better than any other Kamen Rider series, and it alone is worth sitting through poorly-motivated guest stars and movie-only actors who just did not make a single positive impression on me.
To wit: I did not like our villains! They were very boring to me!

ENCHILADA645: Yeah they aren't much there at all are they? I think the most I remembered them for were their weird Rider-Oni looking suits. So it felt weird when they were having this big emotional moment in the end after reuniting for like 3 minutes.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: The suits were nice to look at, but their plan/scheme/whatever is... man, I thought Gaoh was a villain with a simplistic plan of attack and a vague endgame, but these two make Gaoh look like Evolt from Build. What do they even want, other than to be evil? Is that it?

ENCHILADA645: Pillage and conquer I guess? Yeah they aren't exactly the most in depth when it comes to motivations. Which is why the most I remember from them is their suits and them having weird Ryuki monster minions that are considered oni I guess.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: They do pretty much look like unused Alternative designs. Kept waiting for the movie to address this, what with the time travel excuse just sitting there, but... nope! 16th-century monsters looked like 21st-century scientific extrapolations of monsters, that's this movie's aesthetic choice, got it.

ENCHILADA645: Yeah, it's definitely weird.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Anything else from this movie that you partially enjoyed and I clearly did not? I'd hate for you to have some happy feelings from this movie that I didn't cruelly stamp out.
I... Man, I really didn't like this movie. If you've got stuff from it you want to praise, I will do my best to not rain on your parade.

ENCHILADA645: Um... honestly this movie was an interesting experience going back to. But rewatching it, now I'm remembering exactly why I only remember the last big act of the movie starting with the literal ruse cruise. Also there is something I noticed about a lot of Den-O Movies post series, and it's that the big fight at the end has like a huge bar fight energy to it. And I feel like you can say that about a lot of like the post series Den-O Movies in terms of climaxes.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Yeah, it really does. It's the storytellers making sure that all of the Imagin and humans are in one place for the fight, so it's going to have ten heroes (or more!) and about a dozen monsters. Most other shows don't really work that hard to get everyone in one place at one time, to my memory. Like, the Ghost/Ex-Aid movie had five Riders in its finale, but they were all spread out. Den-O wants to get everyone playing off each other, since that's what folks love about the cast.

ENCHILADA645: Definitely
And I suppose these movies do continue to prove that well, what we love about Den-O is the characters really.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: They are still great. I wish there were maybe less of them, but I guess that's not the worst problem to have.
With that wish, we are done with the World of Den-O! How appropriate! Next up in the Decade thread is the World of Kabuto, and later this fall I'll be back in the Den-O thread for the Cho Den-O trilogy! Who knows how many more non-Ryotaro replacement heroes will be joining a not-replaced Ryotaro aboard the Den-Liner?! I'm anxious to find out!