WARNING: Major Spoilers ahead for this week’s episode! If you haven’t seen this week’s episode of Build, do yourself a favour and watch before you read this review!
In the penultimate episode of Build so far, we see things play out in a way more akin to House of Cards or Game of Thrones than any Toku series. Political intrigue, conspiracies, alliances being formed and broken, and much more abound. By the end, a major player has been swept completely off the board, and a new one has risen up to take its place. But first, let’s get this out of the way right now: The popular fan theories dating back to the first scans of Mad Rogue are correct. Utsumi is Mad Rogue. What I was not expecting though: Utsumi uses the Evol Driver to transform, combined with the Bat and Engine Full Bottles.
This episode is masterfully crafted, set up on the reveal from last week that Sento now has reverted to Katsuragi Takumi, and has no memories of Kiryuu Sento at all. His struggle is shown through the lenses of his friends and allies as they all talk about him, and what he has become. As he tries to piece together why Banjou is there, why his face is different, and how his creation could have led to a war and the total ruin of his country, we see paranoia begin to bloom among not only Team Build, but the higher ups at Nanba Heavy Industry as well.
When Nanba himself is offered a choice, to be Evolt’s puppet or die, he struggles with the decision, and foolishly begins to believe that he can overwhelm Evolt with sheer numbers before being defeated. It’s here, facing Utsumi, the Washio Brothers, and a squad of Hard Smashes, that we see Evolt’s new transformation for the first time.
Once in his final form, he changes the area around them into the familiar beach hellscape of mirrors and clocks seen previously.
Through it all, this episode does a good job of setting up the Washio brothers as the sacrificial lambs, and when they are finally killed by Evol, the moment is tragic and feels like a punch in the gut. As the first of them falls, he tosses his Bottle to his brother, who picks up the fight in their fused form, only to fall as well as he tries to save a defeated Banjou.
Before anyone else can react, Evol is gone from the battlefield and appears in Nanba’s office, only to assassinate him as well. With these deaths, Nanba Heavy Industry is all but removed from the chessboard that is Build’s battle for domination.
The only remaining Nanba official is Utsumi, who after seeing Nanba killed, swears loyalty to Evol and becomes Kamen Rider Mad Rogue.
The interesting thing to note here, as Evol makes a grandiose show of how overwhelmingly powerful he is, is that he no longer has any interest in destroying Earth. He tells our heroes this, stating that humans are simply too entertaining to destroy. As we see Mad Rogue’s debut, the newly-born Rider turns on the others like him, and we get our setup for the next episode.
In the preview for the next episode, we see the debut of Build’s supposed final form, Genius form, which will be shown next week in Episode 39.
Kamen Rider Build continues to improve week over week, and this episode is certainly the grandest example of that, to date. This trend is likely to continue, as we have now officially crossed into the end phase of Build. With a projected run of 50 episodes, we have only 12 remaining, followed by the summer movie, and it will all be highly entertaining.
What are your thoughts on this week’s developments? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!