The meta plot of Build is now officially in full swing as we enter the 30th episode. We pick up after finding out that Misora is possessed by Vernage, the queen of Mars. Stalk does not seem surprised to hear this, other than to hear that Vernage is alive. Her power is demonstrated in how easily she undoes his transformation.
Stalk launches an attack at Ryuga, deactivating his transformation and destroying his Sclash Driver in the process. This will be the lead-in to the birth of Kamen Rider Cross-Z Magma, for those who follow the toy catalogues and magazine scans.
This is certainly an interesting way to introduce a new character, but not at all unwelcome. For me, it calls to mind the end of Gaim, when Kouta first gains his godhood. The same air of mystique and mystery is present in Misora now, lending her a very pointed weight that wasn’t there previously. In one scene, she has blown past all four Riders and Stalk to become the single most powerful character on the show, even if that power comes by way of possession. Even once they return to Cafe Narascia, Misora’s whole demeanour has changed, completely taken over by Vernage.
We are treated to a lighthearted moment of comedy as the three Riders debate Vernage’s godhood, and Vernage eventually gets up, standing before them in an imposing fashion as she names Ryuga a new entity, Evolt.
After Misora and Vernage collapse into a heap again, the remaining group begins to theorise what could be happening. The discussion eventually turns to Ryuga, and his role in all this.
It is an odd coincidence, says Sento, that the one who was framed for murder in the early days would be the one whose power and Hazard Level would increase the fastest. We are treated to Ryuga’s origin, and a new bottle is born from a chunk of meteorite burning Ryuga’s hand.
For the antagonistic angle, Stalk and his group do not appear worried.
The power is temporary, as both sides acknowledge, and Sento begins planning while the group at Nanba Heavy Industries fortifies the security at Pandora’s Tower.
Seemingly out of nowhere following this, Sento is accused of treason and stripped of his rank publicly as a cover so he can invade Seito to retrieve Pandora’s Box.
There is a moment of poorer-quality CGI as he approaches the border, interwoven with shots clearly done using stunt actors in suits. The differences, to me, are immediately apparent. But for the overall quality of this show, it can be forgiven for a few scenes of subpar animation mixed with live action.
Par for the course up to now, Sento is joined by Kazumi and Ryuga, who have orders from Touto PM Himuro to retrieve Pandora’s Box and that Dollark Sento borrowed in the last episode. Without a Sclash Driver, we see Ryuga revert to Cross-Z Base, using the Cross Dragon and Build Driver instead of the Sclash Driver and Dragon Jelly. It has been 12 episode since this form has made an appearance, but the return is very much a welcome one.
After a brief cut we see Stalk battling an unknown entity. Presumably, he is the real host of Evolt, but only time will tell. This would line up with the running theories about who will use the Evol Driver, as well as the true identity of the incoming Kamen Rider Evol. It would fit well, given the treatment Gentoku has been given up to this point as well, and could redeem Isurugi slightly if it comes out that he is being controlled as well.
We get our first glimpse inside Pandora’s Tower in the fight, showing that the Tower can be used as a puzzle trap. The floor changes several times into cubes of sandstone and marble before anyone emerges to challenge the riders from Touto and Hokuto, and the room changes several more times into tricky objects to trap our heroes.
Stalk is controlling the tower itself, according to his will, and in this way is easily able to overpower them in his trap.
In the final moments of the episode, we are given a single line of dialogue that will likely push the overall narrative forward greatly in the next few episodes. Keep watching to see where it goes!
What did you guys think of this week’s episode? Does this episode change your opinion of Stalk? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!