Hopping aboard the Decade train for these Den-O episodes is my fellow collaborator from the TN Let's Play project, Enchilada645!



ENCHILADA645: Hey there

KAMEN RIDER DIE: So, first off, thanks for agreeing to participate in this project. You and I are talking a few weeks (months?) before the episodes we'll be talking about, and I hope the experience is going smoothly for future Kamen Rider Die and future Enchilada645. Let's assume they're both loving life.
Here and now, though, I wanted to hear more about what brought you to this project. To start with, tell me a little bit about how you came to tokusatsu. What got you into this genre?

ENCHILADA645: Well, the easy answer to that is well... Power Rangers. As admittedly predictable as that sounds, there was just something more interesting about Power Rangers alongside other Saban Brand shows and clones that drew them to me. Drawing me even more than cartoons and the occasionally localized anime. There's just something about people in real life, in colorful outfits fighting monsters, that resonated with me more than the standard action show.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: That definitely sounds familiar, the physicality of the genre as a hook. What was your first Power Rangers series?

ENCHILADA645: It's hard to really recall off the top of my head, given how young I was. But I do remember a lot of MMPR from my childhood as the like defining Power Rangers show that I remember watching first. Admittedly that might have been the reruns that they'd do all the time in the day of the old PR Shows. But I'd follow along pretty heavily with the last season I stopped watching along with being SPD.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: So, Power Rangers was your gateway drug. How long did it take before you went to the harder stuff, the pure uncut Japanese tokusatsu?

ENCHILADA645: That took quite a while admittedly, as I had fallen off of PR for a while. I had mostly been getting into anime, but also the one thing that was a major roadblock to my access of the internet was always the dial-up. Getting actual wi-fi in 2011 was what opened me up to the internet at large aside from the minor stuff I'd been doing. I did a lot of video surfing from 2011 to 2012 and eventually settled into one of my hyperfixations, which was Live Action Yugioh. To the point where I followed the Facebook page of one.
Now what I didn't know was the main lead of the show's page was into Kamen Rider. He shared a simple clip, it was the transformation sequence of Kamen Rider Skull. It enamored me and hooked me almost immediately, I felt that rush again when I had first started watching PR. When I asked where it was from he mentioned Kamen Rider but specifically W, so I did some digging. I read some wikipedia articles to get a better grasp on the franchise, and thankfully because this was the early days of the 2010's that meant Youtube had full Toku Series up with ease of access because it wasn't a Copyright Claim and DMCA wasteland at that point.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Whoa! I didn't realize that you could just watch Kamen Rider episodes on YouTube back then! Was this subbed stuff, or just raw episodes?

ENCHILADA645: It depended, but there was surprisingly a lot of people uploading subbed episodes to Youtube. It was basically how I ended up watching a good chunk of Kamen Rider back when I first got into it.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Man, that sounds unreal. Most of my early days for Kamen Rider were spent trying to figure out how/where to watch it. YouTube! That would have been delightful.
W is a great series to start with, incidentally. Probably in my Top 3 for series I'd use to introduce people to the franchise. How did it work for you? Did you find it entertaining? Were you as won over by the way Terui said "Henshin" - like he was giving himself a hernia via his desire for vengeance - as I was?

ENCHILADA645: As a first series it's simplistic enough to sort of settle into, and given it helped start up the second phase of the Heisei Era it definitely succeeds at setting a precedent. It was when watching it that I noticed that I definitely connected to the characters and story's more than I had previously. Was it because I wasn't watching them early in the morning while eating waffles like with PR? Maybe. But it was definitely the duo of Shotaro and Philip, their boss Akiko and the cold but eventually warmed up Terui that made my stay worth it.
So much so that I knew I had found the show to get me off of just watching cooking shows during the week and Adult Swim on Saturdays. Plus given it was starting to be Summer at the time, I commenced a gigantic Rider Binge Watch that I've barely replicated ever again.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: As someone who has also been known to enjoy the occasional waffle for breakfast, I can see how a good waffle could make it difficult to invest emotionally in a show. That is a high bar for any show to clear.
I think I had a similar response to W as you did, where right after that show I just devoured Phase 2 shows. I think I did all of OOO in three days?
So, by this point, you're a full-on tokusatsu addict. What led you to TokuNation? How did you first become aware of it as a place to share your thoughts on toku?

ENCHILADA645: I think it started as I finished my Rider binging, I was catching up with Wizard. Gaim was starting to be next, and aside from the occasional video creator... I wanted to see more opinions. So I scoured around for like any kind of website talking about Kamen Rider. There had been a few but I generally didn't really try and plant my feet anywhere as a user. I was mostly content in just watching as a guest.
I'd admittedly like to say what drew me was... well, I'll be honest I'm genuinely not sure as to why I joined TokuNation in the first place. It just sort of... happened. But even then I didn't really talk as much as I do nowadays.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: You were lurking for a while?

ENCHILADA645: Quite a while, honestly the only times I'd genuinely do minor interactions was at the figure galleries whenever a Toku Toy Box event happened. But eventually I started to get more semi-active but I never did really try and get too heavily deep into discussions honestly. I'd just post every now and again whenever scan's would come out, or a new episode released. But not much more than that, at least until this year.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: What changed? What made you want to get more active on the boards? To put it in W terms, were you a Phillip (just trying to gain a greater understanding of people's motivations), a Shotaro (looking for a good time while also trying to be of service), or a Terui (vengeance; NO, YOU LISTEN; grudging acknowledgement of other viewpoints)?

ENCHILADA645: ... you know if Cyclone Accel Extreme was a representation of just all three of them, which it technically is if we're going by photo editing/kitbashing laws... I'd say I'm a Cyclone Accel Xtreme.
Like, I suppose it started from me interacting more with people thanks to Discord and just the lack of Toku Discords I'm in that I figured. Yes I wanted to know more, I want to have fun with others while also just saying "Hey I think this is cool" even if people think it sucks, but I want to know why they feel that way to acknowledge that yes, not everyone is me.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Character growth! Definitely a big part of the toku community. We're all just trying to reach our final forms through teamwork and friendship, man.
How have you been finding TN since you've been more active on the boards? Fun experiences?

ENCHILADA645: While there are some rough patches, it's honestly been rather enjoyable interacting with more people. Just seeing more people's thoughts on things, the extensive thought threads, the excitements when rumors abound, etc. Compared to other boards I see nowadays, Tokunation is definitely the most friendly to get into I feel.

KAMEN RIDER DIE:They're good people. I usually feel like it's truthful to say that to new members.
So! Kamen Rider Den-O!
That was on your list of shows from Phase 1 that you had feelings about. Tell me a little bit about your Den-O history. When did you watch it relative to your other toku shows? What about that clicked with you?

ENCHILADA645: Well the way I went about how I watched was simple... I went W, then OOO, then skipped all the way back to Decade. Now Decade was a bit of a buffet and I decided that I'd pick the three shows that interested me the most out of all the tributes. Among those were Den-O which I proceeded to binge for the most part and then occasionally watch his slew of cameos and extra movies after I finished the other two shows I set out to binge as I continued forward through Fourze and onward.
There was definitely something different about Den-O to me, it might've been the fact that the cast was comprised of a hefty amount of suited characters (probably why I enjoy Zenkaiger so much). While I can hardly remember much about the actual plot, it was the characters relationship's, these four distinct and unique humanoid monsters and this sort of weak shy kid that drew me in. Cause well, I see a lot of Ryotaro in me and I remember his growth resonating with me a lot. Also just anything character related that was emotional, that gut punches me. Give me some distinct and fun characters, add in a hefty amount of angst or just emotional drama into it, and you have me wrapped around your fingers.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I think about Please Get Along With Yuuto, like, nightly, so I definitely hear you on Den-O landing its emotional punches. It's a show that... like, I think I hate the plot of Den-O? A lot? I just watched the Farewell movie, and there's this Edo Period version of Sakurai near the end of the film. It's a cute moment, but seeing even a version of Sakurai instantly set my teeth a-grinding. That dude is everything I dislike about Den-O under one oversized hat.
All of which is to say: Den-O's puzzle-like plot structure. Were you into it at all?

ENCHILADA645: To be honest... I feel like, and what I feel like Toei feels like nowadays. Is that really the magic and charm to Den-O is it's characters or at least the ones that aren't big enough that they can get back. Even if you know we've been going quite a long time with the Den-O appearing at least once a year since their last main series appearance. There's still a charm to them showing up again.
And while the plot was okay from what I recall, I don't remember really enjoying it specifically. I think I was mostly neutral on it to be honest. What I enjoyed was whenever it pushed the characters into having meaningful moments.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: My absolute favorite plot moment for the entire series was the Big Bad shrugging at the heroes when they tried to interrogate him. I like how sort of self-aware the show was about the planned-for endgame maybe not being what folks were going to care a ton about.
But now Den-O's done, and we'll get to see how Decade pays tribute to a show of memorable characters, fun costumes, and iffy arc-plotting. Enchilada645! Let's board this train and watch some Decade!


Team Decade arrives in the World of Den-O, and, naturally, cannot take literally four steps outside their front door without being possessed by Imagins and caught up in an ill-defined adventure. Momotaros is lost and alone, while the rest of the Den-Liner crew thinks Decade is responsible. It's possessions aplenty and cliffhangers galore as Team Decade squares off against Team Den-O!

Much like the tantrum-throwing child he is, it takes all of our other heroes (well, not Diend) to track down our wayward peach. It's Tsukasa, though, who helps Momo understand that he's going to have to be responsible for his own sense of self going forward, just in time to defeat the laziest villain this series has had yet. Luckily, it's also the funniest climax this series has had yet, thanks to Momo and the Den-Liner crew. Hopefully, everyone enjoyed this Decade adventure enough to go see the currently-in-theaters Cho Den-O movie! Totally a coincidence!


KAMEN RIDER DIE: Look at him! Look at our... shiny new Den-O?
This two-parter is, for better or worse, entirely a story that centers Momotaros as the once and future face of the Den-O franchise.
How did that sit with you? Was it inevitable, with Ryotaro moving on, that the franchise would just throw its hands up and say Momotaros Forever?

ENCHILADA645: I do feel like it was an inevitability, especially given how easier it is to get a voice actor back than it is an actor. With Momotaros well, he managed to win me over enough in his own series that I didn't really mind this change going forward when watching Den-O stuff.
But yeah these two episodes right here definitely are the main shifting point into a new era of Den-O.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And I think it's successful at that goal, maybe more in the second half than the first half. There's all the normal Momotaros bluster and idiocy (this story is twice as long as it needed to be, thanks to Momo), but there's a sense of him needing to step out of Ryotaro's shadow and become, like, a real boy. He's always been the most fleshed-out and nuanced Imagin on the show, but we're starting to get him in a full-on Legend Rider mode. The arc of it, that evolution, I think it worked well here.

ENCHILADA645: Yeah I can agree on that point, there's definitely a lot more clarity in the second half in regards to the goal of this two-parter. Because this is such a different world that we've stopped at.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I mean, I'm not sure it was for me!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: The absolute weirdest thing about this story was how it was just 100% a continuation of Den-O The Series. Just, zero changes.

ENCHILADA645: Oh yeah definitely, and that's what I mean by it's so different. Like, this world from the get go is absolutely trying to tell you that it isn't like the usual AR Worlds we've visited.
It's different but familiar in a sense, and I feel like only Den-O would be able to pull this off to be honest.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Maybe? It really detracted for me, honestly. Coming off of the Agito story, where this show picked and chose what it needed to tell a story about both Tsukasa and Agito The Series, here it's just Decade Meets Den-O. There's no sense of variation or interpretation, which this series has spent thirteen episodes dedicating itself to. Instead, it's just all your old Den-O friends, doing a lot of the Den-O things you used to like watching them do.

ENCHILADA645: It's definitely very jarring, I'll say that for sure.
I suppose it was the fact that it was Decade Meets Den-O that helped contribute into making Den-O one of the three Riders I watched after Decade. There's definitely a sense of it being the full genuine thing that made me get a stronger feel for Den-O than the other past Riders.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Oh, yeah, this is in so many ways a Greatest Hits Of Den-O two-parter. If I'd never watched Den-O, I'd've jumped to it next. It ends up making for a story where the Decade cast gleefully takes a backseat to the Den-O cast, to a degree that I was... maybe not that enamored of. Like, I feel like a Decade viewer could skip these two and not really feel like they missed any crucial plot or character developments.

ENCHILADA645: Oh there's no denying that.
Tsukasa, Natsumi and Onodera are very much along for the ride, and I don't think we even see Kivala here at all either? There's definitely not much deep substance here for them. They just sort of... roll along with everything going on.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I mean, they each have very important jobs here: showing off all of the various looks when an Imagin possesses them!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's... the entire first episode of this story is just folks getting possessed. It's cute, but it's pretty much all you get for 22 minutes.

ENCHILADA645: Yeah very much so, the first episode was pretty much the costuming department having a bunch of fun playing dress up with Tsukasa and Natsumi.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And it's, again, cute. (Everyone Ura possesses looks stupid hot.) But it's indicative of this set of episodes being more about showing off how cool Den-O stuff is (Natsumi manages to show off Ax, Rod, and Gun Forms in about two minutes), rather than telling a solid story. There's some interesting emotional stuff in the second half, and a few killer gags, but the plot of this story is, like, Episode 1 Den-O stuff. An Imagin is going back in time to destroy stuff, and the heroes need to stop him. It's boilerplate, and that made me pretty impatient for the first part of this story. I love the characters, but there's almost nothing interesting for them to do here.

ENCHILADA645: Yeah I can see how you'd feel like that given Den-O wasn't that long ago for you. Even less time given how you've been tackling it.
For me it sorta felt like a nice nostalgic wave since I haven't revisited older Den-O Content until this point. Admittedly I was mostly trying to figure out if the ending of the first part feeling weird and confusing to me was just a "Me as a first time viewer thing" or not. And I'll still say I never really got what they were going for with the end of the first part.(edited)

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's a very weird set of cliffhangers! There's Momo getting rocketed off of a building by Diend, and Owner giving us a portentous speech about upcoming danger. The thing is, the story ends up blowing both of those things off? Momo falling off the building ends up as some Looney Tunes-esque gag, and the end of this two-parter is Owner going No Wait, The Real Danger Is In Our New Movie. In a story that is not at all concerned with making the stakes seem larger than Momo's struggle for identity, it's a couple choices that are in line with this story's ambivalence about its narrative.
But, yeah, to your other point, it has not been a year or two since I watched Den-O, so maybe this celebration just needed a different audience.

ENCHILADA645: Oh I was less talking about the cliffhangers and more the way the Decade and Den-O fight progressed with the weird time stuff.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Oh, yeah, I don't understand that at all.

ENCHILADA645: Glad I'm not alone on that.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: If I'm guessing, I'd say it's related to the overall Decade arc, where the big Rider War isn't supposed to happen yet.

Though much like the rest of the arc past that point, I sort of just push it off since I'd rather not think of timey wimey stuff too hard with Den-O.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Ha ha, me neither! Definitely not the parts of Den-O I most keyed into. Den-O was, at its non-Kai best, a fun hangout show. And, as much as this two-parter wasn't that enjoyable for me (the first episode drags), I think they completely nailed the tone by the end. The final fight is so whimsical and chaotic that I sort of forgive everything that came before it.

ENCHILADA645: That entire final fight is a magical experience to witness again after all these years.


ENCHILADA645: The fact that he even hangs in the air for a good several seconds too, still in kicking position really helps too!

It's maybe the best gag this series has done to date, and it's maybe no surprise it comes in the Den-O episode. The runner-up, of course, is the forced perspective shot used to convince the audience that Den-O's Final Form Ride is a MASSIVE Momotaros, instead of the regular-sized one.

ENCHILADA645: Oh yeah definitely.
There's a lot of great stuff to see in this final fight. And probably one of the most absurd finishing attacks Rider has done in its history.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I kind of love that, after probably a dozen episodes of folks getting frustrated that Onodera doesn't contribute to the fights, this is how the show decided to get him involved. Him Rider Kicking the wrong guy, getting forcibly Final Form Rided into a flying metal beetle, and then getting a giant sword launched right up the ol' Arclehole. After this, I will definitely not be asking why Onodera forgets to Henshin.

ENCHILADA645: Dude at the very least deserves a bit of a break given everything he was forced to endure these past two episodes, both while aware and unaware of everything going on.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: That was something I did want to bring up from this story. I want to say this is the first time we've seen what the possessed people are going through when an Imagin hijacks them? We've always heard disembodied voices and stuff, but actually seeing the terror on Natsumi's face as her body moves without her control, it was a little dark?

ENCHILADA645: Yeah there was definitely a bit of dark undertones with that.
And I'll be honest, just skimming through my future Den-O knowledge I think this is the only time we see this sorta inner suit view at least for Den-O. It's an interesting quirk they decided to add.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I assume it was done to bring Decade viewers up to speed on the Imagin possessions.

ENCHILADA645: That would make sense

KAMEN RIDER DIE: So, yeah. This two-parter.
I don't think we really touched on it, but how did you feel about this show's attempt to tie Tsukasa's amnesia with Momo's need to define himself? I appreciated the way it got Momo and Decade on the same page, but did it feel a little thin to you? There's really only one Tsukasa moment of brooding - which I liked! - and the eventual Tsukasaffirmation. It didn't feel like much of a throughline, to me.

ENCHILADA645: I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting to connect as hard to this plot as I did? I guess it's just current circumstances. But Tsukasa's line about losing one's self and wanting to return to normal even if they can't, ended up resonating with me a lot.
And then I sort of looked at Momo and how frustrated he was feeling. It's like, not the exact same thing but I know why he feels like that. And I suppose that's why I ended up enjoying this little emotional beat that they chose to focus on.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's a fun parallel, Tsukasa and Momo. Tsukasa's a guy desperate to find the world where he makes sense, but is slowly learning to appreciate the life he's built for himself. Momo's a character defined by his relationships to others, who literally can't exist without someone defining him. Having Tsukasa be the one to tell Momo that it's better to find some comfort in your current circumstances than to be frustrated at what you don't have... like, I did not see that moral coming!
And, just, I love morals about self-actualization, and about brushing aside outside views in favor of being true to yourself. Very happy when that's the point of a story.

ENCHILADA645: Of course.
It's an interesting combination that managed to work out well for the two even if getting there was a tad rough.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's always rough with Momotaros! He's not easy to teach!
Anything else from this two-parter you want to call out or discuss?

ENCHILADA645: Well there is one thing I am curious about.
And that's your reaction to Tsukasa's outfit when he first steps out into this world.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Oh, his Sakurai cosplay? Is that what it was supposed to be?

ENCHILADA645: Yes, pretty much.
Since I can't really think of any actual detective work Den-O did, even if some movies will try and tell you otherwise.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Well, they definitely kept an Internal Affairs division busy during one movie, I remember that much.
As for the Sakurai cosplay... not a fan? Not a fan! I appreciated the gag of Natsumi and Onodera trying to figure out just what the hell Tsukasa-as-Sakurai was supposed to be dressed as (A detective? An undertaker?), but I don't generally enjoy being reminded of Sakurai.

ENCHILADA645: Yeah I figured.

KAMEN RIDER DIE: You figured right!
And with that, we leave the World of Den-O for... the World of Den-O Movie! Enchilada645 and I will be back in just a couple days to see how Team Decade deals with giant warships, teenage Ryotaros, and an unpredictable amount of Movie Forms in (deep breath) "Cho Kamen Rider Den-O & Decade Neo Generations: The Onigashima Warship". We might not be going anywhere, but the Journey through Decade continues!