I figured the best way to kick off Gaim week was to give a little review of the show. What’s that? You’ve never seen it on your listings. Well, if you don’t live in Japan you will need to find an alternate method to find it.
Which leads to the question, of how I found it. The boys over at the Superhero Time podcast do a weekly recap. So after listening to all this talk of lockseeds, fruit and guys named Sid, I had to check it out. And I was hooked.
The basic premise is there is a city in Japan that is essentially being run by a large corporation. It’s fairly peaceful. To work out their angst, the local teens have formed dance teams of “Beat Riders” that compete in West Side Story type dance offs. At the start of the series, a new competition is added with the Inves game where the teens use lockseeds to control them and battle.
One of the teens, Kota, comes across a fancy belt (called a driver) that causes the wearer to become an armored warrior when a lockseed is placed in it. Each of these lockseeds is based on a different fruit. Change the lockseed, you get different armor and weapons based on the fruit. Kota becomes Team Gaim’s champion, Armored Rider Gaim. In the early episode Kota mainly uses an orange lockseed and has orange based armor and a sword that looks like an orange slice.
(E.N. Note: The word “henshin” means “transform” in Japanese. It’s uttered by almost all the characters when using a lockseed. This actually made sense of a lot of toy names from over the years.)
I will say some folks, including Mrs. Nerd, find the transformation sequence a tad goofy. It is, but I say roll with it. It’s all in good fun. Essentially, a zipper opens to a strange forrest and a the selected fruit comes out and unfolds into armor around the character.
Gaim’s main Beat Rider competition is Team Baron. Their leader Kaito gets his hands on a driver and becomes Armored Rider Baron, of course. His fruit is the banana and his weapon is a banana spear.
I don’t want to say much more than that. It all starts there. After that point, there are internal and external struggles. A good portion of the story becomes about the folks controlling the corporation running the town and the mysterious forest where the lockseeds come from.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to like this. However, the story is pretty well told. Yeah, some of the monsters are a bit goofy, but I’m really willing to overlook it because the story is that good.
Start at the beginning, but watch a couple of episodes before you decided it if is for you or not.