Finally watched Den-O 10 (with subs, thanks to TV-Nihon) a month late, mostly because Nine didn't leave much favorable impressions on me other than the appearance of Kenta Uchino (Ultraman Mebius' Teppei Kuze). I definitely appreciated ep 10 more (it helps that Uchino is also in this episode, of course). It made me cry, but in a good way, I think.
Den-O so far follows a two episode story arc format. The first episode will set up the main players and introduce the bad guy imagin. Sometimes viewers will find out the nature of contract the imagin has made with his chosen human, sometimes the contract will remain a mystery until next episode. Then in the second episode the viewers will learn more of the lives of the human under the contract ("contract holder") and the people he or she is close to or connected to in some way. The bad imagin will also be finished off by Den-O in this episode. (Note that almost always, the bad imagin would prefer not to fight with Den-O and will contrive to disappear if confronted in the first (or sometimes even the second) episode of any story arc. Which leads to much of Momo's frustration and his venting it by trying to pound on Ura, who usually cleverly sidesteps him. ^^;)
I don't have a problem with the format, provided that the writers can come up with something fresh for each story. The repetitiveness of Den-O's story telling format doesn't bother me as much it bothers some people, apparently. That said, I really do like this series. The stories are uplifting most of the time. They deal with normal people who have no super power and their problems, and the effects their deals with the bad imagins have on most of the time innocent bystanders; these are real human elements I believe are missing from most of Kamen Rider Kabuto (not that I don't like that show). The good natured and kind hearted Ryotaro has really grown on me. (Will check out Takeru Sato's other works.) And with another imagin in the mix, things promise to get even wackier.
Kintaros is one of the good imagins, who doesn't seem to have a self-serving goal. He forms a contract with Masaru Honjou (played by Uchino), simply because he wishes to help Honjou regain his strength. Honjou was supposed to compete in a tournament with another karate guy, Shinji Kikuchi (apparently played by a tenimyu actor, Hiroshi Yazaki), last year, but couldn't due to his collasping because of his illness just before the competition was to begin. He had to quit karate afterward. While in bedrest in the hospital, Honjou wants to become strong again and to finish the fight with Kikuchi, so Kintaros grants his wish.
Meanwhile, Kikuchi forms a contract with another imagin, who is the bad guy in this story arc. The rhino imagin attacks all the other guys who are supposedly very skilled in karate, sending them straight to hospital. Turns out that Kikuchi actually just wants that one last fight with Honjou. The rhino imagin couldn't care less and simply goes back to Kikuchi's past, where the competition was about to begin. Kintaros, being the selfless imagin he is, also goes back to the past to protect Honjou. Ryotaro remarks that Kintaros is different from other imagins, but Hana just brushes it off, saying something like Kintaros will be in trouble if his contract holder dies.
(Random long side note: I didn't want Honjou to die, not simply because Uchino portrayed him. Although, to be honest, it bugs me a little that in all discussions I've seen, no one really says anything about Honjou himself. It's always Kintaros breaks the bench, Kintaros pulls out the door, when in fact it is Honjou possessed by Kintaros who does the things mentioned. Not that Kintaros is not a great character, but it is Honjou who is Kintaros for most of episode 9. I think Uchino did a really good job as Honjou and as Kintaros possessed Honjou. I liked Uchino in Mebius, and I liked him in Den-O. I realize that most people who watch Den-O probably have never watched Mebius, but still...)
Ryotaro and Hana follow the rhino imagin to the past. But they arrive almost too late. Kintaros uses his body as a shield to protect Honjou (and by extention, Kikuchi) from fallen pieces off the buildings. Eh, I mean using his strength to free them of the huge piece of concrete that trap their bodies and then gets attacked from behind by rhino imagin (the coward). Ryotaro, seeing Kintaros fade away, invites Kintaros to possess his body. At first Momotaros protests that arrangement (Urataros protests too, but I think he does it in the Den-O train afterward, complaining that there are too many imagins possessing Ryotaro as it is), but Hana keeps punching the fading form of Kintaros, so Momo grudgingly agrees. Kintaros fights as Den-O and destroys the rhino imagin. I found it a little funny that Kintaros said his attack name after the rhino imagin was blown up (Ryotaro remarked upon that, by the way).
As a wrap up to their story, Honjou and Kikuchi are in the fitness room together, where Honjou is doing push-ups to (presumably) regain his strength, so that he can eventually settle things with Kikuchi regarding who is the best in karate.
As an ending scene, Kintaros possessed Ryotaro is walking alone and suddenly falls off. It just seems randomly thrown in just to show how clumsy Kintaros is.
Since I'm not very good when describing most things, I let the screencaps do the job for me. I'm posting only a few. The rest (way too many Teppei caps, a few are probably duplicates) are in my galleries here. They are not capped in order either, sorry about that.
KinHonjou (Honjou possessed by Kintaros) with Hana and MomoRyotaro (Ryotaro possessed by Momotaros):
UraRyotaro (Ryotaro possessed by Uratatos) works his wiles on Kikuchi:
KinHonjou demonstrates to Hana what he knows of karate:
KinHonjou's face after two kids laugh at him for doing weird sumo stances instead of karate:
Put my actors' blog entry in memories and updated the Den-O section with Hiroshi Yazaki's blog. And somewhat old news, but Hiro Mizushima's blog is currently no where to be found. Also, I would love to add some entries from other LJs (mostly from friends list) to memories, but not sure if I should ask first. (I read the FAQ on memories, but it doesn't seem to address my concerns.)