A story of a boy and his hand.
800 years ago, a man obsessed with desire thought that it would be a HUGELY brilliant idea to pay some dudes combine raw lust with all the best bits of every major animal in creation. Said dudes created 5 sets of medals, each themed after a different animal, called Core Medals. These cores were placed on piles of lesser desires (as you do) named Cell Medals. From this combination of Cell and Core arose 5 beings who were the physical embodiment of the word want. The guy behind their creation stole a single Core from each being, known as Greeed, and used them in a fancy belt buckle to become the triple animal themed warrior OOO. In the process the Greeed gained sentience, along with an unyielding need to be whole again. After a fierce battle OOO and the Greeed were sealed in a coffin formed from Cell Medals, and presumably had a do not disturb sign put on them.
What do you mean odd? Oh my friends, wait for Gaim.
Yes, on paper the plot for Kamen Rider OOO…is insane. I went into this show expecting madness and good-silly-fun. And I got my fair share of it. What I wasn’t expecting was to get the deconstruction of the Buddhist ideal, an in-depth look into the harsh side of altruism, debates on the nature of being and the sometimes deadly nature of the phrase “best intentions”. After 10 or so episodes gathering speed, OOO takes off into territory I don’t think anyone ever expected culminating in what is in my opinion one of the finest finales I’ve seen. So what is it I find so compelling about this frankly insane plot? It’s the characters, and the world that’s built on and the casting and the…look it’s a lot of things. We’ll start by looking at the shows concepts with some discussion of the villains, touch upon our side characters before culminating in what I am DYING to talk about.
Once you take out the character stuff, OOO is about one concept:
What is it? When does it drive us too far? What effect does it have on those around us? The concept of “Want” is central to everything. The original OOO was known as a man with the a desire so great it killed him, turning him into the coffin the Greeed would be sealed in for the better part of a millennium. The Greeed themselves are driven solely by desire. Each lacks their tenth core and each is driven by the need to fill the void its absences has left behind. The villains of the week are born from people’s wants and needs. The show spends a lot of time analysing how excessive need ruins lives. Yet at the same time it also looks into the importance needing things is to daily life. We’re shown (vividly) what happens when you DON’T want anything, or worse still want nothing. The concept of desire fueling evolution is central too much of the side-plot. OOO looks at the wants that drive us to succeed or surpass. I don’t think it’s unfair to call this show relatively high concept. I say this with the knowledge that this series includes a kick-boxing turkey and a man whose thinks sticking guys in a net is the path to friendship. It’s a superhero show at its core but the series has no qualms about using the genre as a way of examining a pretty big concept. Tonally this is reflected in both the colours and the almost bi-piolar soundtrack.
So what is the price of greed? In this case the literal end of the world. Not of humanity, the world. The Greeed are a huge threat. Missing their 9 remaining Cores they are incomplete, and still incredibly powerful. But that’s not what’s scary. What’s scary is WHAT they actually are.
There is however a villain introduced in episode 10 who is just…wonderful. And when we meet him, he has a doll riding round on his arm.
Maki is awesome.
So this is getting a bit wordy. I think we’re going to have to end this one prematurely. So I’ll break this topic into a few parts. Come back next time where we will definitely talk side characters, and boy there’s a few.