Disclaimer: this is probably not my last post about W. I'm going to be rewatching it and flailing about it even the second time around. xD
Oh Kamen Rider W. Like a surprisingly large amount of people, W was the first Kamen Rider series I watched week-by-week with Japan from start to finish. It wasn't my first Kamen Rider - Den-O takes that honor. It wasn't even the first Kamen Rider I was watching parts of along with Japan - I caught the latter half of Decade week by week. But W was the first I watched over the entire 50-week run (I know there were only 49 episodes, they skipped a week due to the World Cup iirc) as it was airing.
It is definitely my favorite Kamen Rider by far, beating out Den-O by a landslide for the position of #1 in my book. Other KR series will come and go, but I really don't think any of the others will be my favorite after this one. It's definitely one of my favorite fandoms, and will always hold a special place in my heart. And even though this may not always be true, for the moment my #1 OTP forever also comes from this series. To say that W is special to me is kind of an understatement!
My favorite character is...well, asking me to pick a favorite is impossible. By the end of the series, all four of the main characters (Shotaro, Philip, Akiko and Terui) are all my favorites and all for different reasons. My favorite two episode arcs have to be the L on the Lips episodes for their sheer crack (trap!Philip wut) and the Nobody's Perfect episodes just because of the BROMAAAAANCE.
And if I had to name one single aspect of this series that I loved the most, it was definitely the bromance. </shame> Of course I watched it for other things - a lot of the fights were really cool (especially KR Joker in the finale...omgwut he was badass), the storyline was very compelling, overall the series was fun to watch week-by-week, and it was tons of fun coming up with conspiracy theories with my roomies and various others who were watching it as well...though looking back, it's interesting to see some of them were spot-on and others were waaaaay off. ^^; Looking back through my LJ entries and seeing how my opinions of characters changed was also very interesting.
Writing fics for this series was also a ton of fun. Other than Den-O (which just practically begs for tons of
Anyway, I figure it's not a proper fangirling post if I don't talk about the individual characters and other things, so here goes:
If I absolutely had to pick a favorite character, it would be Shotaro, if only because I ended up sympathizing with him the most (which is probably why most of my fics are written from his perspective). Strangely enough, I didn't like him all that much at first - at least not as much as Philip. It took me a while to get used to his half-boiledness, and realize that it was super moé. He was an adorable, soft-hearted idiot but I love him for it. :3 He's also my fandom bicycle - I can pair him with the most characters in the series with no real qualms. I also worried about him the most out of every character in the series. He put himself in dangerous situations a lot in order to save his friends (and even complete strangers). He ended up injured in bed trying to save Terui from Weather, nearly drowned after trying to confront the Zone dopant, charged at the incredibly powerful final boss bare-handed not once but twice and nearly got choked to death once because of it...etc. And he wasn't very good at dealing with loss either - Oya-san's death took a huge toll on him, the idea of not being able to be partners with Philip during the Nobody's Perfect arc made him super emo for a huge chunk of two episodes, and, well, then there was the finale. I cried more for Shotaro than I did because Philip was disappearing! xD I've never felt so sad for a character as I did for Shotaro in 49 every time he tried to call Philip as a force of habit, or when he searched the agency because he heard Philip's voice from the Frog Pod, or when he was moping around in Philip's old research area...
In the beginning, he was my favorite character. I mean, he was mysterious and quirky and had really strange but really cool outfits. Of course I was more interested in him as a character than Shotaro, who was kind of bland in comparison. And then...I found out his actor was only sixteen at the start of Double and spent the rest of the series going "DDD: I'm not a pedophile I swear b-but he's really cute". Funnily enough he's the completely opposite of Shotaro in the sense that I can't pair him with anyone else except Shotaro, it just doesn't work in my brain. I worried for him, too, just not quite as much as I did for Shotaro even though Philip was the one that was finding out about his family, or the fact that he was nothing but data, or vanishing at the end of 48.
I found her annoying... for about half of the first episode, and from then I just found her awesome, and she only got more awesome as the series progressed. She surprised me with how strong as a character she was - she was able to take stuff like learning about her father's death, nearly being responsible for letting Shotaro die, and Philip's impending disappearance at the end all with stride and be her usual genki self, and damn that's impressive to someone like me who would have been sobbing in a corner for days in all three situations. Plus she was goofy and adorable and actually useful as the standard girl sidekick, and she was a great foil to both Wakana and Saeko. :D
Like most of the fandom, I disliked him when he first showed up. But it was a like-dislike thing, because on the one hand he was a douche and his rider form was clunky and ugly-looking (it grew on me, though), on the other hand he ran around in a lot of leather and had a very distracting bulge. xD But anyway, he was a douche when he first showed up, but I had this suspicion that like other secondary Riders from series past, he would eventually come around and end up being a really awesome character, and lo and behold did he ever. I think the first time I found myself truly liking him as a character was during the Nobody's Perfect arc, when he refused Philip's request to partner with him. Plus he got some incredibly moé moments (when he smiled during the Quetzalcoatl arc), some complete crack moments (scarecrow...need I say more?), and then there were all the adorable little Teriyaki moments throughout the late series. ♥
I didn't really have a strong opinion of her until after the Cockroach arc, when she started having the weird but cute little long-distance crush thing with Philip, then I started to find her adorable. And I definitely liked her more than Saeko. And then she randomly pulled a 180 personality switch and started calling him "Raito", and I started to hate her. I only hated her more the closer it got to the end of the series, because she was really acting like a bitch - and with no explanation, at that! She did redeem herself at the end and I did forgive her for being a complete bitch for a good chunk of the series, but I don't really like her character any more. At least not as much as Saeko!
Of the two Sonozaki sisters I never expected to like Saeko the most, not even nearly as much as I do. She was sort of "meh" for me at the beginning, the standard evil chick character (even though secretly I liked Taboo's design). And then she killed Kirihiko, and I hated her for the longest time. She killed Kirihiko and then hooked up with Isaka, and I didn't think she'd ever be able to redeem herself as a character. It took her a while - I felt a bit more respect for her after Isaka bit it, she lost Taboo and was nearly killed, got the red Nazca form and was quite kickass with it, but I still didn't like her. And then I felt bad for her when she was actually showing remorse after Ryubee died. It wasn't until the finale when she saved Shotaro and the others from Utopia and then died trying to save Wakana that I realized that I really did like her in the end as a character - she and Wakana basically switched places in my book.
What can I say about him? He was an amazing bad guy. ♥ Always just sorta chilling in the background being Terror, and laughing evilly like a boss. >3 The only point at which I disliked him was when he threw Philip into the Extreme...well...thingy, but then we got to see that he was just a sad old man who had been slowly losing his sanity at the loss of his family. Complete and utter respect for him as a villain the entire show, though.
KIRIHIKO. ♥ I always thought he was cool, and then he actually showed that he had morals by wanting to stop the kids with the Bird memory, and was all like "I Love Fuuto" and I (along with most of the fandom) went "D'AWWWWW THIS GUY IS AWESOME". And then Saeko killed him, and I was sad. All I can really say about him is that he had a nice ass. xD
I couldn't even love to hate him, I just hated him. -__- He was genuinely creepy and I was so glad when Terui got to kill him and avenge his family. Probably the only character in W I genuinely hated, not counting some of the minor characters.
Oh how I hated her. She was...interesting, to say the least, when she first showed up. And then she started being all like "Hidari Shotaro, I rage at you for no apparent reason" and throwing darts at his chair, and as this was around the time I really started to like Shotaro as a character, I was all like "bitchplz" and disliked her, probably more than she deserved. My dislike for her peaked when she revealed that she was the one who gave Isaka his Weather Memory and was therefore responsible for the death of Terui's entire family along with quite a few others (Toei are master trolls at manipulating emotions, btw). But the next week she then went on to say that she never expected him to go so kill-crazy with the memory, and that she was doing it all for Raito - and I had to (begrudgingly at first) forgive her. Like Ryubee, we were shown that for how crazy and formidable she seemed, she was really just a parent who was grieving for their child. From then on she climbed onto my list of characters I like. I was a little sad when she died, but seeing her reunite with the rest of the Sonozakis and actually look happy (well, as happy as she could considering she was all bandages and everything) made up for it.
While he made a shockingly good final boss, other than that I didn't actually have an opinion of him. I'm still sort of neutral on him - can't really like or dislike him much on any accounts.
I liked them all. ♥ They were quirky and awesome, and I felt a little terrified when Utopia went after all of them in 48. I'm neutral on all of them - I don't love them, and I certainly don't hate them, though it took me a while to get used to all of their individual...weirdnesses.
Makki and Jin:
Though they annoyed me more on average than the Fuuto Irregulars ever did, I couldn't hate them, either. Makki was annoying at points and kind of adorable at others, and while Jin got a lot of character development in my least favorite arc of the series, I still like him.
Oh man, Oya-san. ♥ I love how even though he was dead for the entire series he still had such a presence throughout the entire thing. Shotaro spent the entire series trying to be hardboiled like him, he gave Philip his name and a lot of his purpose, and a mere two words left behind by him were what made Extreme Form fully possible. He was an awesome boss and the few parts of the series and movies he w in were completely awesome.
I also feel it necessary to talk about what was (sort of shamefully) my favorite part of W: the pairings. xD
This is my OTP to end all OTPs. The fact that it ends up scarily close to being canon is a big reason, of course. I mean, you'd have to be blind not to at least notice the extreme levels of bromance in this series. Even if you don't think they're exactly gay for each other you can't deny that they love each other on some level. And that's why I love this pairing so much - I still love it even on a friendship/bros/partnership level. I could probably write just as much adorably brotastic friendshippy fluff as I could romantic fluff or smut if I felt inclined. I also think this is possibly both the cutest and hottest pairing I've ever supported. It's also one of the rare pairings that I was behind from the very, very beginning and never once did I change my mind. Though... I'll admit I felt a little silly pairing them up in the first episode based on absolutely nothing but a little bit of subtext and "well they look cute/hot together, shutup". At least I know I wasn't the only one. I wasn't even the only one writing smut for them by episode three (the first fic I wrote for W was actually "Learning" and not "Take Your Medicine", I just didn't post it at first because I wanted to rewrite it, as the original version was crap). What else can I say about this pairing? Other than, of course, ♥♥♥.
By the end this was the only other pairing I supported. It took me a while to get into it, though - I was laughing/scoffing a little at the shippers when Terui first showed up, since there was nothing to support the pairing, other than possibly "well obviously Shotaro and Philip are together so..."
And then the episodes with the creepy doll happened, and I started thinking the pairing was cute. And Toei slipped little tiny moments between the two into the episodes, moments that were almost easy to miss - before they started becoming more and more apparent. They weren't overly obtrusive with the pairing, though - it wasn't the main focus of an episode or anything. They'd just take a moment out of the show to slip in a cute little moment between them here and there, and that actually made me like the pairing a lot more. More than that, though, is that the two of them actually really work together, something that can't actually be said about a lot of canon pairings in general. They aren't complete opposites, more like compliments really. Akiko's zany antics and cheerful personality balance out Terui's more serious nature, but of course then you have Akiko's just unbelievable strength of character and Terui's completely adorable soft side. Gah, I don't know, they're just really cute together and I am so, so glad they got a happy ending. <3
I paired Shotaro/Akiko for a while, as sort of a secondary pairing to Shotaro/Philip, but I dropped the pairing when Terui/Akiko started looking more apparent. They had a few good moments throughout the series, but I see them in more of a brother-sister relationship now than a romantic one. That being said, this was my runner-up pairing in case Philip and/or Terui didn't live to the end of the series.
Terui/Shotaro I find pretty to look at, but honestly I can't seriously pair them. xD Not just them anyway (OT3, kekeke).
Kirihiko/Shotaro, I have to admit, is my "I'm ashamed I like this" pairing. >> It's the same as with Terui/Shotaro, it's pretty to look at, but doesn't make any sort of sense in my head otherwise.
For about fifteen seconds of episode 49 I paired Shotaro/Wakana. I could see it in some sort of weird alternate universe where Philip didn't come back and the two of them went out drinking and reminiscing about their memories of Philip...or something. xD
As I mentioned, no other Philip pairings work in my head, if he's with anybody but Shotaro in a romantic way. The only other pairing I ever liked was Philip/Wakana in a cute friendshippy or brother-sister way, but I couldn't ever really get behind them as a romantic pairing. Especially after they were confirmed to be siblings - incest isn't exactly a squick for me, but it makes me drop pairings that I wasn't hugely attached to.
So overall, it's been nearly a year of watching this awesome show, getting attached to the characters, speculating about what plot twists Toei was gonna throw at us, wondering how long the series was gonna end up being, fangirling with friends both irl and online, stalking Pixiv obsessively, waiting impatiently for TV-Nihon to just sub the damn next episode already before finding out about W-time, and writing lots and lots of fics. It's been a great fifty weeks! And now that it's over, I totally and completely recommend this series to anyone on my f-list who hasn't already watched it. Even if you don't like Kamen Rider/Live-action...especially if you don't, actually.