Catching up on Kamen Rider Build, the show has now wrapped in spectacular fashion, paving the way for the future in the form of Kamen Rider Zi-O while ending on a satisfying point for the viewers. Before we dive too far into that, though, let’s take a look back at the previous episode, which sets up the conflict for the finale and delivers a devastating blow to the audience.
Episode 48 of Build begins where its predecessor left off. Sawatari Kazumi, Kamen Rider Grease, is dead. His friends are wounded but still fighting, and one of them critically so. As the desperation begins to mount, Evolt appears to be truly unstoppable. This time around, the shot composition, music, and special effects work together nearly flawlessly to create an air of futility for our heroes. They are battling against a force of nature and they know it. Punctuated by two major losses, it seems, the stakes have never been higher.
Pieces of the cities are being devoured, a black hole open in the sky pulling another reality in to merge with the prime world of Team Build. This, combined with a simple but devastating touch, the broken helmet, lead to an all-encompassing feeling that this time, maybe teamwork isn’t enough. Maybe they can’t do it, but they’ll have to find a way. They know they are fighting a losing battle, and it’s shown all that much more when Gentoku joins Kazumin and falls, the broken helmet and dramatic speech driving the point home so much more. In the end, the plan that cost Gentoku his life ends up proving to be a success, and Evolt is forced to temporarily scale back his power, freezing long enough for Banjou to take hold of him, and launch both of them straight at the energy surge that will fuse the worlds, creating Shinsekai: the new world.
The episode ends, seemingly, with the deaths of Banjou and Evolt, but we are quickly proven wrong as the finale takes center stage.
For this episode, the emphasis is on the very emotional response to the action pieces that, fittingly, take center stage and drive home the desperation our characters feel. All of it comes together to form something unique and tragic, but with a hint of the death leading to a rebirth of sorts. Masterfully crafted, all around.
Episode 49 (End)
Starting right up with the finale, we see the final battle take place, heroes coming together to battle Evolt as Banjou returns, at first in Evolt’s body. Having been absorbed, the most he can do for a time is talk to Sento, before eventually being kicked out of Evolt’s body in the form of a new, silver Dragon Full Bottle. This, combined with the new gold Rabbit Bottle, create Build’s true final form, Rabbit Dragon, but not before a spectacular fight where both Sento and Evolt are forced to downgrade to their base forms, each losing strength and speed visually as well as in the story’s context. Their movements become slower, attacks less powerful, and is all conveyed incredibly well before Sento realises the truth.
There is no defeating Evolt. The entity cannot be killed or contained. As was the original plan, the best they can do is erase it from existence by creating Shinsekai: the new world. The plan succeeds, using Evolt’s energy as the catalyst, and when our heroes awaken, Sento is alone. The world is familiar, yet very different, and we first find Sento at the sight of the Sky Wall disaster, with no Sky Wall in sight.
We learn more about the new world as Sento does, and a few last minute twists and turns not only lead to a satisfying conclusion, but also perfectly set up for the upcoming Kamen Rider Zi-O, which has been confirmed via trailers to share a setting with Build. Zi-O is Shinsekai’s Rider, the future Demon King, and it is easy to see how they can make this premise work in a new setting.
All in all, Kamen Rider Build ends on a fittingly meta conclusion, characters falling into new roles in a new setting and bringing everything full circle. Build was a wild ride from start to finish, presenting a dark and unique look at the realities of what a war on this scale would look like for those caught in the crossfire. Build seems set to go down in Rider history as one of the more well-liked series, and this leaves many of us, myself included, anxious for more. Look for Kamen Rider Zi-O to premiere this coming Saturday, September 1st in Japan. Subtitled broadcasts will be available to the rest of the world shortly after that.
What did you think of Kamen Rider Build? Was this one of your favourite series, or just the show of the year? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Let’s discuss in the comments below or on social media!