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Anniversary Review: Wizard And Beast

I’ll be your last Flashback…

A little over 10 years ago, we were given one of the first Kamen Rider anniversary series. Kamen Rider Decade gave us a look back through ten years worth of Riders, and how their stories evolved the franchise into what it is today.

With another anniversary series currently airing, it seems appropriate we take another look back over the years, but this time we look at the Drivers, how they’ve progressed in terms of technology and gimmick, and if they still hold as much charm today as they did back then.

Next up we have the Wizard Driver.

Well, we have the White Wizard Driver, as the Wizard Driver was unavailable for this review.

The bright side is, the mechanics of the Driver are the same, however the White Wizard Driver features an alternate voice, phrasing and updated sound chips. But they’re essentially the same.

Featuring a sleek black exterior, with silver paneling and red highlighting, the Driver really stands out from the crowd with style.

One of the highlights of this Driver, is that you essentially have to shake hands with it to perform any functions. With your left hand, you Henshin, and your right, attacks.

As to be expected, there is a mechanical component to work with, and that is a switch that changes the center piece from a left to a right hand, and indicates which hand should be placed in front of it.

After selecting the side you wish to use, a jingle will play, for Henshins you will here, “Shabadoobi Touch Henshin!”, and for attacks “Lupachi Magic Touch Go!”.

However if you scan an attack ring when the Driver is set to Henshin, you’ll hear the Driver say “Wrong Side”.

The Ring designs are relatively simple, silver mount with a cut out pattern on the face, and a two prong ring section to wear it. There are special Rings with different colouring however, these featured later in the show and often featured Gold mountings.

The centre of the Rings feature a Magic Stone, for the most part these were a translucent orange, but the assorted gashapon and candy toy versions were painted.

While the mechanics are the same as the Wizard Driver, the White Wizard Driver features an alternate voice and sound set when scanning Rings, for example, when scanning the Wizard Flame Ring, the Driver will instead call out Volcano.

Here are a small selection of some Rings which feature different names:

Wizard – White Wizard

Flame – Volcano
Water – Hydro
Hurricane – Tempest
Land – Horizon
Infinity – Almighty
Big – Giant
Bind – Chain
Copy – Dupe
Defend – Barrier
Dress Up – Costume
Light – Spark
Small – Micro

To go along with the customary loud voice when scanning Rings, you get a flashing light in the centre of the hand. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern to the flashing, meaning it doesn’t correspond to the Ring scanned, but it does dim during quieter moments in the associated jingle.

According to Will Kemp of TTS, this is how the Rings and the Driver communicate:

The Rings have a copper coil connected to a chip board with a low-power NFC chip and an LED connected to the receiver. Clever system, the Driver generates a static field when searching for the Rings. So it triggers the low power chip to turn on the LED..

It’s worth mentioning here, that an issue with the Wizard Driver was corrected for the White Wizard release, that being a “bleeding effect” from the light. On the original the light wasn’t in a solid circle, it would pass through the paint giving it a halo effect.

As an added bonus, I present… Beast!

With a simple aesthetic, and pin system operation, the Beast Driver doesn’t look like much. Featuring a black frame with silver “doors”, these open to reveal a gold chrome effect Lions face with a light in the forehead.

On either side of the door is a switch, the right side is used for Form Rings, the left the Henshin and Hyper Rings.

To use, simply insert the Ring, face down, the pegs do the rest.

When the Henshin Ring is inserted, and the button inside is pressed, a standby jingle will play. If it runs long enough, the Beast will complain, but after a second or three, turn the Ring to complete the Henshin, and open the doors.

With the Form Rings, it’s a little different, all you need to do with those is press them in so the buttons are pushed down, and the jingles will play.

How this works, is that on the side of the Rings are a series of tabs, at first glance they just appear to be continuation of the Rings design but each one has a separate design. Regardless of which way around the Rings are inserted, the same jingle will play when inserted.

Sadly, there is no scanner in the Beast Driver, this means that Wizard Rings will not trigger any additional sounds. But, the Beast Rings work just fine with the Wizard and White Wizard Driver. As with Wizard Rings, just pass them in front of the Driver and a jingle will play.

While I do believe the Beast Driver suffers from lack of compatibility with additional Rings, it’s still quite a fun little thing to have and rounds off a Wizard collection quite nicely.

Asthetically these have to be two of the best Drivers around, With colour selections that work beautifully together, and the door system of Beast being rather unique. The issue of compatibility aside, the scanning method is ingenius, though with the number of Rings available, it somewhat limited itself to what would actually trigger a voice line, there is only so much forward thinking that can go into something at the time of production after all.

Still, more than welcome additions to any collection!

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Anniversary Review: OOO’s and Birth

Reach out your hand! Grab hold of that Flashback!

A little over 10 years ago, we were given one of the first Kamen Rider anniversary series. Kamen Rider Decade gave us a look back through ten years worth of Riders, and how their stories evolved the franchise into what it is today.

With another anniversary series currently airing, it seems approprriate we take another look back over the years, but this time we look at the Drivers, how they’ve progressed in terms of technology and gimmick, and if they still hold as much charm today as they did back then.

 

Next up we have the OOO Driver.

Featuring a black Driver, with blue lining, and silver highlights, the Oz Driver is both stylish and functional in appearance. The Scanner has a black centre with gold edging, and 4 lights in the centre.

The OOO’s (from now on called Oz to make my typing go easier) Driver uses a 3 Medal system, consisting of a head, body/arm and leg. The set also features a Scanner, which is used in conjunction with the Driver and Medals to trigger all associated sounds.

To operate, turn on the scanner, with its easily located on/off switch on the side, then insert 3 Medals into the Driver. While it should matter which order they go in, the Scanner will recognize the appropriate Medals for the Combo and still play the right jingle. Once the Medals have been inserted, lift the Scanner from its bracket on the side of the belt, press the button inside the grip, and run it flush along the front of the Driver. You should hear a clang clang clang sound as it passes over. Once the Scanner passes the end of the Driver, the Scanner will call out the name of all 3 Medals, followed by the approriate song.

As each Medal is scanned, one light lights up on the Scanner, once all 3 Medals have been scanned, and the Henshin is in process, all four lights will be lit up, and flashing different colours.

Featuring 24 Core Medals, the combinations are almost limitless. The Medals are broken down into Combo’s, which feature 3 Medals, one from each position, and are always the same colour, for example, TaJaDor uses 3 red Medals, Taka (Head), Kujaku (Body/Arms) and Condor (Legs). The cheat way to tell which one goes where is to look at the back of the Medal, Head has one bar, Body/Arms two bars, and legs has 3, these indicate the position in the driver.

Each Combo features a unique call out when scanned, followed by a purpose written song. Well, all but one of the Combo’s do. The Movie exclusive “Kamen Rider Core” Combo doesn’t register as a full Combo, so doesn’t get a song.

When using 3 random Medals, for example Taka (Head), Gorilla (Body/Arms), Batta (Legs), the Scanner will call out their names, and then a generic sound, something like an explosion.

For reference, the Scanner will register any 3 Medals, so you could use 3 head Medals, or 3 leg Medals, and the Scanner will still act like a head/body/leg set has been scanned, and again play the generic combat sound.

After the initial Medal scan, and your Henshin is complete, run the Scanner over the same Medals to perform a “Scanning Charge”, the final attack of Oz. This can be repeated as many times as desired, without the Scanner resetting, this will only be done if the Medals change.

Moving along, now we have the Birth Driver, the secondary Driver in the series belonging to Akira Date.

Also using a Medal system, this Driver is quite different in its operation. After turning the Driver on, and hearing the initial start up sound, insert a Cell Medal into the slot on the left side. Once the Medal has been inserted, turn the crank on the right side. You should hear a twisting sound, like a dial turning, followed by a pop as the centre of the Driver springs open. Once the jingle finishes, you are now officially Kamen Rider Birth! (Or Birth Prototype if you prefer, though there isn’t a way to differentiate between the two in the Driver)

Repeating the process, inserting the Medal again and turning the crank, will trigger an attack mode. These include Drill Arm, Breast Canon, Crane Arm, Cutter Wing, Shovel Arm and Catepillar Leg, . These sounds all come out in one order, so in order to access Shovel Arm, you’ll need to cycle through the others first.

Once you’ve chosen the mode you want, insert two Medals into the Driver and turn the crank. This triggers “Cell Burst” and plays some nice action sounds.

Sadly “Birth: Day” isn’t accessable through the Driver, the combined weapon form of Birth.

 

Now, to round things up.

With plenty of combinations, many additional Medals and a solid mechanic, the Oz Driver is a beauty. The only downsides i’ve seen with it, are that the front of the Driver and the rear of the Scanner can get quite scuffed with the constant contact of scanning Medals, and a slight light bleed through on the front of the scanner where the battery compartment closes.

With the Scanner relying on chips inside the Medals to register what they are, the expansion possibility of the Oz Driver is somewhat limited, meaning that past the shows run period, the ability to create new medals is almost impossible.

That said, with the release of the CSM, the Scannner and Medals were updated with new sounds, updated Medal designs and additional Combo’s.

Unlike other Drivers, leaving Medals in the Driver has minimal impact on the longevity of its performance. This is because the spring clips that keep the Medals in place are above the Medals in the Driver, and do not remain pressed when in use.

The Birth Driver on the other hand, has minimal functions, and requires repetition to reach the desired form. The option to select the desired form would have been a bonus, comparably a similar function was later used in Ghosts “Mugen” Eyecon, when performing an Omega Drive, if the handle is held out, the Eyecon flashes different colours, pushing the handle in on a different colour gave a different attack.

As the Birth Drivers light flashes different colours while performing actions, it would be well suited to the same function as the Eyecon for its different modes. Though in it’s defence, the tech for the Eyecon came around several years after the Birth Drivers design and release, so expecting the same tech inside it is rather unreasonable. But should it be updated and re-released, or presented as a CSM, there is potential for upgrades.

In all, the Oz Driver holds up, but with a reliance on numerous gimmicks, it requires a somewhat expanded collection to use all of its functions.

The Birth Driver however, in my opinion, is lacking in functions, and is in dire need of updating… But is still a welcome addition to the collection.

*Disclaimer: The pictures for the OOO’s Driver were taken with the Complete Selection Modification version, as such some of the review text and the associated picture might not line up properly.

Be sure to check out or other reviews!

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Anniversary Review: W and Lost

Flash! Back! Now count up your sins!

A little over 10 years ago, we were given one of the first Kamen Rider anniversary series. Kamen Rider Decade gave us a look back through ten years worth of Riders, and how their stories evolved the franchise into what it is today.

With another anniversary series currently airing, it seems approprriate we take another look back over the years, but this time we look at the Drivers, how they’ve progressed in terms of technology and gimmick, and if they still hold as much charm today as they did back then.

Next up we have the W Driver.

Stylishly coloured in black and silver, and sporting red detailing, the W (Double) Driver serves as a perfect platform for a technological Driver.

Using oversized USB drives as gimmicks, the W Driver is simple to operate, and still oh so satisfying.

There are three kinds of “Gaia Memory”, Body, Soul, T2. Body is on the right, Soul on the left, and T2 operate independently, often used for Accel or the Lost Driver. They are identifiable by the colour of the USB port, Body has a golden colour, Soul is a silver, and T2 are a blue tinted silver.

The Memories operate on a button press system, press the button on the front to trigger the call out (IE: Joker! or Heat!). When inserted into the Driver, another system of pegs and buttons inside trigger the standby and full Henshin sounds, this is done by a peg inside the Driver pressing a button inside the USB connector part of the Memory.

To start, take two memories, for the left side you have Cyclone, Heat, Luna and Fang, and the right, Joker, Metal, Trigger. Ideally you want one from each side, though it does work with ones from the same, however the sounds will overlap and just give you a jumbled mess.

To be correct to the show, press the button on the front of the “Memory” and get a nice loud callout, then insert into the Driver. Once both Memories are in and the activation jingle sounds, pull each side of the Driver to the side and let the music fly.

Also featured with the Driver is a “Maximum Drive slot”, typically located on the right side of the belt. To use, close the Driver, remove the desired Memory, and insert directly into the slot. You’ll get another standby sound after hearing “Memory name here – Maximum Drive!”, press the button on the side and off you go, showing those Dopants who’s boss!

If you’re using Fang, it’s a little more involved than just pressing a button. Fang is quite unique, in that it is themed after a Dinosaur! Quite a snappy little Dinosaur as well!

Going from Dino mode, fold up the rear legs, spin the USB out and fold in the front legs, then press the button. After inserting into the Driver and opening it up, fold Fang over so it sits in the middle of the Driver, and fold down the mouth, just hidden in the back of the right leg (now positioned over the second memory). You’ll be presented with a skeletel, and very asthetically pleasing Dinosaur head, with a horn over the nose.

The horn isn’t for looks however, in this case it is used to trigger Fangs Maximum Drive feature. Press down on the horn 1, 2 or 3 times to trigger different attacks, in order you’ll get “Arm Fang”, “Shoulder Fang” and finally, “Fang, Maximum Drive”.

Now as far as the show is concerned, Fang can only be used in conjunction with the Joker memory, as this allows greater control over the wild nature of Fang. With the Driver however, any Body Memory will work with it, so the unseen combinations of Fang/Trigger or Fang/Metal can be used.

Moving along now, the Lost Driver!

While I could have done this part as a review of its own, the tech is identical to the W Driver, and for the most part I would just be repeating myself, and you would be bored beyond belief!

The Lost Driver, as said, operates the same as the W Driver, but it is quite literally half of the W Driver. Specifically the left side, as the Memories inserted into it are “complete”, serving as both “body” and “soul”.

Unlike the W Driver, the Memories used in the Lost Driver don’t have a delay between the call out and the music, so once you pull the Driver to one sie, rock away!

The Lost Driver features two Memories, Skull and Eternal, though is only supplied with Eternal. It also features a Maximum Drive Slot.

All Memories work in each Driver, but those for the W Driver will feature a delay between the initial call out and the jingle, this is because they feature a delay to allow the second memory to do its own call out before the music.

Overall, I personally think the tech holds up, the Drivers themselves feature a simple mechanic, there to trigger the electronic gimmick devices placed inside it. This feature would later be used again for Ex-Aid and its Gashats, but more on that in another review.

Word of caution however, if you are displaying a W Driver, or either of the Lost or Accel Drivers, do not leave a memory fully engaged in the Driver, as the constant pressure on the button switches will both drain the battery inside the Memory, and weaken the spring to a point where the Memory will no longer function.