Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Final Review

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
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.

Screenshot_20180831-090306

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.

Screenshot_20180831-091940

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.

Screenshot_20180831-093422

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!

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 47 Review

What an emotional gut-punch this entire episode was. In 23 short minutes, many previously-understood aspects of the story are turned on their heads and we are taken for a ride in terms of action pieces and heartfelt moments of character development. Before we begin, though, we will be discussing spoilers for this episode, so if you have not seen episode 47 of Kamen Rider Build, I suggest you watch it before reading further.

 

F24F2A87-11AD-443E-AACA-25FB11DC7030

 

The moment we have all been expecting for a few weeks now has finally come to pass. Sawatari Kazumi, Kamen Rider Grease, falls in battle this week and joins his friends, the Hokuto Three. In his last moments, he regrets allowing himself to die and leave his friends behind. In addition, we learn that Kamen Rider Mad Rogue, Utsumi, has been secretly working against Evolt from the beginning, plotting his revenge on Evolt for the murder of Nanba Juusaburou at the beginning of the Evolt Phase 3 arc. As Utsumi puts it, “The basic Rider System is insufficient,” and so he decides to bide his time. This week, he strikes.

 

Screenshot_20180812-114446
Utsumi and Gentoku take on the cloned HellBros

 

This whole episode comes with an emotional weight and gravitas that, to me, is very reminiscent of the same point in Kamen Rider Gaim, though in that series, we were losing 2-3 major players in every single episode until only the title character remained. The contrasting fights this week are set up extremely well, with Kazumin taking on the clones of his deceased friends while Gentoku and Utsumi face off against Evolt and a reborn BiKaiser or HellBros, created from Evolt’s DNA. They are victorious in recovering a Lost Bottle after this battle, but Evolt himself appears and makes quick work of Utsumi, who is also killed this week.

 

 

Utsumi’s end adds a new level of depth to his character though, as we see that he is able to use the Evol Driver and upgraded Rider System due to his status as a cyborg. When he dies, though, he overloads and short circuits, giving Evolt the room he needs to land a killing blow. No one mourns for him the way they do for Grease, as Utsumi spent the majority of the series as a primary antagonist. For Grease, on the other hand, there is genuine grief shown on the part of his teammates. By the end of the episode, when they know he has fallen, they look defeated, exhausted, genuinely broken up over the loss of a friend as they should.

 

Screenshot_20180812-120116

 

This whole episode carries an air of finality, of the grief the characters hold for their lost friend and the desperation they feel knowing he likely will not be the last of them to fall to save their world. The preview for the next episode seems to indicate this as well, as we see a single shot of Gentoku glowing purple and seeming to fade away, in the style of Avengers: Infinity War.

 

Screenshot_20180812-120546

 

This episode left me reeling, and I’m sure many of you feel the same. Leave your thoughts below and let’s discuss!

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 46 Review

As we enter the final stretch for Kamen Rider Build, the endgame has finally begun. This episode begins with Evolt revealing his existence to the world, and only builds further from that jumping off point. Throughout this episode, tensions are high and there is a sense of finality, of ending to it all. Characters’ motivations and decisions are explored nicely, and without giving too much away, the show chooses to prove an ongoing fan theory correct in its final moments. The desperation these characters feel is palpable, fighting against what is easily the single most powerful enemy to ever grace a Kamen Rider series, or maybe even in all of Tokusatsu in general.

 

Screenshot_20180803-091652

 

Evolt’s challenge, issued to Team Build in the same broadcast in which he reveals himself, shows that he is still relaxed enough to think of their existential struggle as nothing more than a game. The fact that he caps off this performance by swallowing 20 square kilometres of the city in a black hole only reinforces Evolt as a cosmic-level threat. In all of Eastern superhero fiction, I can think of no character who even comes close to this level of destructive power. Team Build, for their part, put their desperation and determination on full display, as we see a glimpse of the Devil’s Scientist still living in Sento.

 

His solution to defeat Evolt is to erase a parallel Earth using Pandora’s box, and let Evolt’s energy fuel the fusion. The result would kill or erase billions of people on both sides of the fusion, and nearly every other character, rightly, questions this plan. Still, seeing no other way, they proceed, and play into Evolt’s game.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The game, as Evolt calls it, is for Team Build to enter the base of Pandora’s Tower and fight their way to the top. They don’t make it out of the first room before Grease is confronted by the ghosts of his past, in the form of Evolt-created clones of his dead friends. Despite seeing through the illusion and staying behind to fight, he is naturally hesitant to go all out. As the rest of the team moves forward, we are given contrasting shots of the action, and the multiple cinematic influences on the team behind the series become clear. The whole scenario seems to be drawn, in large part, from a classic action film from Indonesia called The Raid, known in the west as The Raid: Redemption, while Grease’s scenes parallel classic Westerns and Samurai films. It feels like a mix of The Magnificent Seven, Shane, and Rashomon.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Like any classic Samurai or Cowboy, Kazumin faces this challenge with the steel and grit of a man who knows what needs to be done for the greater good, and has resigned himself to being the one to do it. If this is where Sawatari Kazumi falls, then it is a good end. This is a man who began his time in the series as a primary enemy, and became one of the hero’s closest allies. It would be a fitting end to his arc, all things considered. We will find out in Episode 47, and given the episode title and preview, it looks grim.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

What did you think of this week’s episode? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 45 Review

Wow. All I can really say about this episode is wow. This is what the final arc of a Kamen Rider series should be like, boiled down into one episode. In the last several weeks, Build has been all over the place in terms of tone and scope, almost as if it was lost or using filler to drag out the plot to its full run time of 50 episodes. But episode 45 brings that all full circle, returning to the dramatic, high-stakes action and drama we have come to expect from a late-stage series like this. There is an air of finality to all of it, even knowing the series will go on for five more episodes after this point.

 

Many of the major pieces are falling into place now, including long-term plans coming to fruition in a big way. With a body count in a single episode higher than the rest of a 43-year long franchise, we see the source of Evolt’s power made real, and we see his flexibility as not only a fighter, but a tactician. Using people against each other, consuming entire worlds, and putting down former partners with all the hesitation one would use when swatting a fly, Evolt quickly re-established itself as the cosmic-level threat that it is in this episode.

 

Screenshot_20180724-084847

 

In a few short actions, Evolt manages to go from a gel in a container back to a near-unstoppable force of cosmic change, and simultaneously completes the Black Pandora Panel. This is done as he, without any hesitation or regret, makes an honest man of Katsuragi Shinobu and puts him down for good. This leaves a third Build Driver without an owner, at least for now, as it seems this Driver and the Blizzard Knuckle will both fall to Kazumin in the next episode. This will be Grease’s only form change up to this point in the series, and may be the only one he ever gets, depending on what the summer movie has in store.

 

Screenshot_20180724-084657

Before dying, Katsuragi Shinobu gives Sento some cards, with schematics for Build and Cross-Z base on them, but we do not learn what they are for until Sento begins to study them closely. These cards, it seems, may contain the final secret to defeating Evolt, though they do resemble Ganbarazing cards as used previously by Decade. Sento is nearly killed as well, though in this scene we learn that the Rider System can function as a space suit as well. During a finishing attack, Evolt carries Sento through a wormhole to a distant planet, which greatly resembles the Helheim forest seen in Kamen Rider Gaim, and proceeds to devour it in a black hole.

 

 

This hearkens back to Marvel villain Galactus, though it is not the only element of this episode seemingly inspired by Western superheroes. Even during the fight, the combat is explosive and levels a large chunk of the city, likely leaving hundreds dead in its wake on top of the planet Evolt has already devoured at this point in the episode. Overall, though, this episode is definitely a very welcome return to form for the series, and I am sure this will restore the lost faith a lot of people have in Build to not go completely off the rails at the end.

 

What did you think of this week’s episode? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 43 Review

Build vs Build continues this week as we learn more about the reasoning behind Katsuragi Shinobu’s decision to side with Evolt. Along the way, there is a lot of interpersonal drama, packed in between action pieces that show what Build’s basic forms could be capable of. According to Shinobu, the Build Driver was originally built for him, and as such he has a better understanding of the basic forms than Sento ever did. He demonstrates this by nearly defeating Sento, Banjou, Kazumin, and Gentoku in a 4-on-1 fight. Also important to note is that, in this encounter, Sento and Banjou are both using their ultimate forms. Shinobu only survives the encounter because Sento intervenes and nearly kills Banjou in the process.

 

Without Vernage’s healing powers, and with conflicting views on what to do about Shinobu, the group is more divided than ever this week. Banjou spends much of the episode comatose, while Gentoku and Kazumin scheme and plot on their own about what to do. The implication, at first, is that the two men would have simply let Banjou kill Shinobu, and erased a major player from the game. Sento, obviously, disagrees with this sentiment and insists there must be another way to get things done, even as he begins to truly doubt his faith in his mission for the first time.

 

Screenshot_20180708-100516

 

There is a certain degree of emotional intensity to the whole thing as Banjou lay in a bed, critically injured, and Misora reveals that she cannot heal him as she’d done in the past. In other words, no more mulligans. From here on, they are doing this for real, or not at all. There would be no second chances coming from Vernage’s powers, and Banjou could easily still lose control thanks to his newly-strengthened link to Evolt. Misora’s part in this episode is a large one, as she goes to her father with questions about Vernage’s power, only to become a Lost Smash using the CD Lost bottle.

 

 

Sento is unable to save her by conventional means, in this case, due to the complications from the Martian queen inside Misora’s body. He learns this during another encounter with Shinobu, in which the seeds of doubt being sown lead to basic RabbitTank Build overpowering Genius form. Sento is left literally crying on the ground, before Banjou’s perfect timing allows him to tag in, motivate Sento, and save the day. After another short battle, the team figures out what to do, and the plan is put into action.

 

A devastating finishing move leaves Shinobu thinking that Sento would simply kill two of his closest allies, if it meant keeping the bottle out of Evolt’s hands, only for Sento’s true plan to reveal itself when Banjou gets up and complains about the heat. Magma form does not make him immune to heat inside the armour, it seems, and as the flames fade, so do Banjou’s complaints, though Misora remains largely out of combat from here on. She is awake, she is herself, and Sento claims the bottle as an additional prize. At this point, he also reaches Hazard Level 7 and we see him take a gold Rabbit bottle.

 

Screenshot_20180708-101210

 

But with the new developments that result from this incident, including Vernage and Evolt now both being part of Banjou, what is to come next? The preview for next week’s episode indicates that Episode 44 will be the end of the Build vs Build subplot, and this combined with Gentoku and Kazumin’s capture, will make for an interesting episode to be sure.

 

Screenshot_20180708-101241

 

What did you think of this week’s Build? Leave your thoughts below and let’s discuss!

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 42 Review

A new Build appears! For all the focus in the PV at the end of last week’s episode, this new Build actually plays a fairly minor role in the episode. To the writers’ credit, though, they quickly dispatch with the mystery as to the new Build’s identity. For the ones who haven’t seen the episode, we will be discussing the identity of the new Build here, so a spoiler warning is in effect. This episode is very heavy on two things: action and introspection. Both of these are good and lend a lot to character development, but the dynamic that Kiryuu Sento and Katsuragi Takumi are separate people sharing a body is still awkward.

This is present especially during a particular sequence in which Sento and Katsuragi are talking in a dream-like hallway, in their shared subconscious, and Katsuragi admits to manipulating their memories to keep their days as Akuma no Kagaku-sha, The Devil’s Scientist, vague and blurry to Sento. In most split personality cases such as this, the way these two act would be considered a mental illness, akin to James McAvoy’s character in the 2016 film Split. Even if it does lend an interesting dynamic to the show at times, it can be a bit off-putting to think about how these scenes must be playing out to a neutral observer. The real highlight this week, though, is Evolt and how far he is willing to go to achieve his end goals.

Screenshot_20180702-132351

In a single fell swoop, Evolt manages to make the Kamen Riders a public menace, unite the three nations of Japan under him, and put the whole of his power behind a show of force that is intended to destroy a symbol of power. The act is something of an equivalent to the real-world nuclear deterrent theory, though the Riders keep fighting until the event is over and the capital building of Touto has been destroyed in a literal black hole. It’s during this sequence we hear the familiar sounds of early Build forms like NinninComic and RabbitTank, as the new Build swoops into the fight to defeat Banjou but not seriously injure him.

Screenshot_20180702-132424

The show is a bit heavy-handed as it sets up the reveal that ends the episode, but thankfully wastes little time in establishing the new dynamic for the final eight episodes. Build now plays for both sides, as Katsuragi Shinobu has managed to replicate not only his original designs for the Build Driver, but specific bottles. When he appears and reveals himself, he does so in the base RabbitTank form seen from the beginning of the series. This reveal is meant to leave Sento torn between his duty and the father he thought he’d lost. One thing is clear though. Katsuragi Shinobu is now firmly with Team Evolt.

Screenshot_20180702-132738

With all of these different plot elements coming together, Kamen Rider Build is shaping up to finish in spectacular fashion when it concludes next month. Characters are constantly evolving and the dynamics keep shifting, but it is never dull. Keep an eye on the plot as it develops and you are in for a wild ride! What did you think of this week’s episode? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 41 Review

In an interesting turn, Evolt opens this week’s episode by actually trying to recruit Build. This turn is somewhat unexpected, but what’s not is the response. Evol Phase 1 and Build Genius are evenly matched, and we get our first hint of what is to come from the final showdown. After a brief encounter, we begin to see the next part of Evolt’s plan take hold.

A call from Banjou does a good job of setting up the rest of the episode in fitting, dramatic fashion. Currently, we are less than ten episodes from the end of the series, and the endgame plot has begun to come together in recent weeks. The payoff is starting to become more clear with episode 41, though. Katsuragi Shinobu is alive, and this episode is where we begin to see the ripple effect that one narrative choice has on the rest of Build’s world.

After talking with the smuggler Reika, Team Build is given a USB Drive full of research data, passed on from Katsuragi Shinobu, and begin to try to decipher everything. Going through the research notes, we see a page written in English explaining the Lost Bottles.

Screenshot_20180628-095921

The gravitas of the scene is undercut by Gentoku and Kazumin goofing off like children, but fits well to ham up an otherwise serious scene. Misora, thankfully, is there to keep them on track and we get an exposition dump for those who need a refresher on the plot up to now.

This time, the plot summary includes the instance of Katsuragi Shinobu repairing the Evol Driver. Otherwise, none of this is anything fans of the show haven’t seen before. The most interesting part of this recap, easily, is hearing the various characters interject their own thoughts and opinions for each various plot point. There is a lot of comedy to be had from the way they all interact, including Kazumin and Misora having a yelling exchange over his Inner Voice. As the recap draws to a close, the music and shot composition take a decidedly more dramatic turn once again, and we see Evolt going over his plots and plans.

As Misora cares for Isurugi, who is in a hospital bed, she and Sento talk about the Best Matches. The idea for Best Matches, as we know them, was drawn from Isurugi Souichi’s memories with a much younger Misora.

Screenshot_20180628-100153

This was Evolt’s first experience with human emotion, and led to the formation of the animal-item format for Best Match bottles that has been the series’ staple. Another internal dialogue between Sento and Katsuragi Takumi leads to a new theory about why Best Matches follow the same conventions for Build that they do for Evol, fittingly turning human emotions against the alien threat.

This conversation happens while Build is waiting to make contact with an old colleague of Katsuragi Shinobu, who decides to attack on sight, saying that he needs to defeat Build or be killed by Evol.

Screenshot_20180628-100241

This new Smash is leaner than the others before him, and looks more like a new kind of Rider. Because Sento is using Genius form, the battle ends quickly and the man’s Smash essence is removed, leaving him as just a man. Then they talk briefly about Katsuragi Shinobu before the former lab assistant is killed by Evol.

As the battle continues, we see Evol begin to feel genuine rage for the first time. He overpowers Sento and gains two new Lost Bottles as a result, leading to the reveal that Katsuragi Shinobu is Evol’s lead researcher, the mysterious man in the gas mask who has been seen previously in the background of Evol’s plans.

Screenshot_20180628-100535

Overall, this episode is solid, if largely serving as a plot dump. There is a lot of exposition ham-fistedly handed to the viewer, but it may help to make sense of the plot thus far to those who missed the finer details in previous episodes.

What did you guys think of this week’s Build? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

 

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 40 Review

We open on the debut battle for Build’s final form, Genius, and he is fittingly able to decimate Utsumi with ease. Mad Rogue is defeated effortlessly and with devastating effect, before Evol enters the fight. Evol vows that he will be in control of humanity’s future. Leaving Kazumin in a near-catatonic state, he leaves with Mad Rogue and we are treated to a very different look at Gentoku, as well as a fourth-wall break intermission.

Screenshot_20180622-124641

Gone is the ronin seen previously, replaced by a 90s era punk rock image, long hair and unkempt beard and all.

Screenshot_20180622-124706

In a brief meeting, Kazumin receives the Dragon Jelly from Banjou, somehow, despite it being melted and destroyed in a previous episode to form the Magma bottle.

As Evol’s full plan is revealed, Kazumin laments the loss of his friends once again, as well as the ever-escalating conflict. Sento returns to Katsuragi Takumi’s childhood home, in hopes of retrieving his father’s research notes on Evol. The two men, sharing a body, have a brief exchange about a new idea called Lost Bottles, which are revealed to be the source of the Hokuto Trio’s Smash forms.

A few more big reveals come to light, as Kazumin tries and fails to retrieve the Lost Bottles, and becomes a subject of human experiments to become a Lost Smash. As Kazumin flees the facility, we learn that the first new Lost Smash, shown earlier to be a woman, is actually the former Prime Minister of Hokuto, and she takes of the form of Shokuchi’s Hard Smash.

Screenshot_20180622-125003

One thing about this episode that doesn’t seem to make sense is that, when rescuing Kazumin, Sento holds himself back and actually begins losing ground in the fight in his reluctance to use the Genius bottle. It’s only when Utsumi has him decidedly outmatched that he finally switches to Genius. As Kazumin lays seemingly dying, he sees Sento continuing to fight and manages to get up. An attempt to use the Dragon Jelly gives Kazumin a second Twin Breaker weapon, rather than a new form, but he is now able to charge each with the power of Robot and Dragon, and flies into a rage that allows him to seemingly ignore his earlier injuries.

Lost Smashes are rendered a near negligible threat nearly as fast as they are introduced when Sento finds a way to destroy the Smash cells without harming the human host, and manages to save the Prime Minister. This will end up being important in the episodes to come, as Evol continues to build the army he discussed in this episode.

The episode ends on the revelation that Katsuragi Shinobu is alive, and a preview gives us a glimpse of what is to come, as well as a trailer for Build’s summer movie, Be The One, featuring Kamen Rider Blood. The film will release in Japanese theatres on August 4th, 2018, shortly after the end of the series.

Screenshot_20180622-124839

After the reveal that Katsuragi Shinobu is alive, do you think Build will repeat Ex-Aid’s final character reveal, a la Dan Masamune/Kamen Rider Cronos? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 39 Review

As we begin to race towards the conclusion of Kamen Rider Build, the tension continues to mount. After the reveal in episode 38 that Utsumi is willing to side with Evolt to become Kamen Rider Mad Rogue, the fight continues and we see where the “Mad” in his new title comes from. Utsumi fights and acts like a rabid dog without a leash, and claims to do it so that he can explore his own scientific brilliance. To accentuate the danger here, and add to the tension, we see a great deal of what Utsumi can do as a front-line combatant, including a first-person view from the perspective of Gentoku as a devastating hit lands.

Screenshot_20180619-195829

Our heroes are ultimately defeated, and forced to retreat.

This episode, overall, is heavy on themes of friendship, trust, and what people can and will do to one another. This is shown in a few ways, the largest of which being a declaration that Banjou must be defeated alongside Evolt to keep the world safe. The words come from Kiryuu Sento, but are truly spoken by Katsuragi Takumi, with the cold, calculating logic of a man who has long since closed himself off to others. Katsuragi is arrogant and self-aggrandizing after completing the Genius Bottle, and all of these little moments build up to Kazumin tracking Banjou far away from the Build Cave, with a surprise attack.

Screenshot_20180619-200212

It’s only after the fight ends in a draw that we learn Kazumin is trying to help Banjou get stronger so they can all survive.

Screenshot_20180619-200253

 

On the other side of the coin, we see a more introspective look at Utsumi, staring out at the river over the bridge where he was shot by Gentoku early in the series. He regrets that he has had to come this far, but acknowledges, to himself and the world, that he believes his actions since that incident are justified. He screams this declaration, “I’m not wrong,” to the sky for all to hear. It’s an interesting look at a quiet character who, up to this point, has largely been a background player. Utsumi has come into his own since the Nanba arc began, much more so than he did as a member of Faust early on.

Screenshot_20180619-200144

There is a bonding moment between Kazumin and Banjou, following their training session, where Banjou turns a solemn vow into a joke, but the two don’t have much time to enjoy it before Utsumi leads a squad against the remaining government of Touto. After hearing of this, Gentoku comes to terms with his part in the conflict, and insists on joining the fight. This is made harder to watch as Gentoku can hardly stand, falling even as he declares to Katsuragi to trust him one more time.

When Build finally enters the fight, he and Utsumi debate the merits of what Evolt has to offer. It is a debate, at its heart, about ethics in science. Neither man has a good record here, but Katsuragi speaks of intent and contribution to mankind. Utsumi, rightly, puts the technology of the Rider System at the heart of the conflict.

Screenshot_20180619-200454

He illustrates this point in his speech well, and shows a clear difference between them. Katsuragi Takumi’s lack of experience in battle is made clear as Utsumi attacks and he can hardly fight back. When their talk concludes, he tries to use the Genius Bottle, only to find it unresponsive.

The intense pressure of the situation, as well as a hard hit to the head, lead to an introspective view of the split personalities that make up the man who is Build, and Kiryuu Sento is reborn, with both men’s memories intact. Only with Sento restored is the Genius Bottle able to work.

Screenshot_20180619-200623

The episode ends with the first transformation of Sento into Build’s final form, Genius, a white suit made up largely of bottles and tubes.

Screenshot_20180619-200750

What did you guys think of this week’s Build? How do you feel about Build’s final form? Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

Posted on

Kamen Rider Build Episode 38 Review

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!

F24F2A87-11AD-443E-AACA-25FB11DC7030

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.

Screenshot_2018-06-07-08-40-09

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.

Screenshot_2018-06-07-08-42-28

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.

Screenshot_2018-06-07-08-45-55Screenshot_2018-06-07-08-47-46Screenshot_2018-06-07-08-48-28

Screenshot_2018-06-07-08-47-57

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.

Screenshot_2018-06-07-08-49-41

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!