Hey, so, can I tell you a secret? I don't want the TokuNation board to know about this, so we're in a total "this stays between you and me" situation. Cool? Okay.

I don't think I care about Sentai. Like, at all.

I'm not really sure how it works on these boards. Is everyone into everything, Rider and Sentai alike? Are there Rider-only fans and Sentai-only fans? I honestly have no idea. Going on a Toku board and saying "I don't think I care about Sentai" may be like saying "I don't like vowels". Like, nonsenseInsanity.

I mean, I never grew up with Power Rangers, so maybe that's part of it? I assume most North American Sentai fans got into the franchise as kids through Power Rangers, then transitioned to the pure, uncut, medical-grade Japanese Sentai programs. Is that right? 'Cause, yeah, for me, I never had that introductory stage. Power Rangers and Sentai, I just never got into.

And it feels like, after getting hooked on Kamen Rider, that I shouldn't have a huge problem getting into Super Sentai. They're so similar in so many fundamental ways. They're like dialects of the same language. But, for real, I'm just never that interested in them.

Some of it is, and I don't want to get reported to the mods for this, that it feels like the Sentai parts I've seen (crossover episodes, spring movies) are just really, really childish. Like, the casts seem like they got body-swapped with precocious theater kids. Everything is very Big and Broad and Shouted Out To The Back Rows. The problems and drama seem very goofy and wacky, geared around a child's conception of the world. And, I came in to Kamen Rider through Ex-Aid, the show about a bright pink motorcycle man who fights video game disease monsters. I'm not looking for verisimilitude here. But these various colorful teenagers seem like they are one commercial break away from telling me that drugs aren't cool, but studying is. Am I missing some key way to view Sentai? Am I just watching the worst introductions to the franchise possible? Help me out here. Someday, I'm going to run out of Heisei Rider shows to watch for the first time (I ain't doing Showa, too corny for me), and 40-whatever years of Sentai might fill that void in my life. I'm not saying that me and Sentai are enemies forever. There may come a day when I want to love Sentai. (Like, 2021. Not soon.) If every other Rider fan is a Sentai fan, I don't want to be, like, persona non tokusatsu. I want to figure this shit out.

All of that is a long-winded way of saying that a) I don't generally love the yearly-ish Rider/Sentai crossover movies, and b) I don't really love this one in particular.

First, Rider/Sentai movies are so weirdly constructed, at least the bunch I've seen. Rather than the Rider fall movies that feature two main Riders at least, and possibly two full casts, the crossover movies seem to be built around Who From The Last Few Years Is Available and Who Can We Spare From The Current Shows. Like, the Fourze/Go-Busters one? The main Rider characters are Hina from OOO and Diend from Decade! There's some fun to the randomness of the cast, but it's to the detriment of a cohesive story. I never get the feeling that a story was constructed, with a clear thematic goal, and then a cast was hired to support that goal. Instead, it's like 75% of the asks came back No, so they cobbled together something for the 25% who said Yes. It's not that you can't tell a story like that, but it's very difficult to tell a good story. The most you can do is distract people with a lot of costumes.

And there are so many costumes in this movie. Not the most, but what feels like the most often. Every few minutes (of a ninety-minute movie) there's another batch of colorful suits, kicking and punching and exploding. The action is, it's not great. There are some interesting uses of the expanded movie budget in the camerawork, specifically in the increased verticality of the fights and the longer chase shots. But the fights themselves mostly don't seem choreographed to tell a story, they're just there to fill time. It's like watching someone play Street Fighter for a while. That can be fun to watch, but it's not a story.

Maybe I'd care more about those costumes if I knew all the franchises? Maybe. It doesn't help that, not only do I not really know Sentai (although I recognized Amu from the Ghost/Animal Teens Super-Hero Dance Program crossover), but the Rider appearances were from shows I haven't watched yet, like Den-O and (I had to look this up) Ryuki. For the flashy, nostalgia guest appearances, there's nothing in there for me. I've only got the story to enjoy, and it felt real thin. It's mostly a pile of superhero fights until Shocker shows up, then a heartfelt speech, and it all wraps up at Kamen Rider Quarry. There aren't a lot of moves in it, and the Shocker stuff just feels like it's there to have a villain to punch. Making the story driver/endangered victim a child who sort-of didn't care if the world ended was, uh, a way to go? Hard to muster sympathy for a sick child who would rather just destroy the world because he's bored. I mean, it's a sick kid, and maybe he's on the spectrum, but he was also the character in the story I cared the least about. It definitely made parts of the story drag.

There was some stuff I enjoyed, though. I didn't hate it, I just thought it was only okay. The core of the story was, surprisingly, about Brave. He's a tough character to focus on, because he is basically a dick. And that's his most interesting attribute! Hiiro doesn't hugely change or grow in this movie, but his dedication to being the best doctor evolves a bit with his grudging acceptance that Emu is only mostly a failure as a doctor, and maybe viewing his patients as more than a sack of organs he can show his dominance on is a valid choice on rare occasions. Progress! Also, I'm loving the movie trend (2 for 2) of Taiga being introduced walking into frame and just humiliating a group of enemies. It is canon that he spends a lot of time following around Emu, and while we're meant to think it's so he can collect Gashats, I'm choosing to believe it's so he can get sick burns in on foes. Like, he's behind a pillar, waiting for the best moment when he can walk in and drop some comeback on a Bugster or Sentai or whatever. He's up all night dreaming about it. That is my headcanon, and now you are welcome to it.