HA! I lied about the hiatus! Well actually I did have some problems, but now I’ve downloaded the newest version of Photoshop (albeit TRIAL) and now I can continue my reviews. Thank God for giving me the opportunity to continue my work. Anyways moving on, Team Gaim decides to enter Helheim Forest to learn more about the Cracks, but with Zangetsu around, they seek help from other Armored Riders to play a game of collecting Lockseeds in the forest, while their actual job is to keep Zangetsu busy while Gaim finds some answers.
I’ve never enjoyed this much of an episode for a Kamen Rider series in a while! This is mostly because this episode features a theme that’s really fresh and not recycled. I’m talking about the whole tournament thing. Sure, it may be similar to some anime, but I think this is the very first time they do things like this. Good job Urobuchi!
At first I thought the idea was kinda silly, and I expected other Riders to turn them down, but instead all of them agreed for personal reasons. Kaito sees this as a perfect opportunity to reclaim his throne while the Nut Bros seeks new Lockseeds so that they can become stronger. Also what I like about this tournament is that all of the Riders treats each other as competitors, it’s great to see them rival each other.
The true motif of the tournament is that Kota will search for answers at one of Yggdrasil’s base in the forest, while Mitch and other Riders act as bait for Zangetsu, although the other Riders are obviously oblivious to this objective. Also I liked that Kota worries having Mitch to act as a bait even if the other Riders are with him, because he knows that Zangetsu is far stronger than all of them. Oh and since he saw Zangetsu’s faceplate on Takatora’s briefcase, Mitch’s starting to think that his brother is Zangetsu.
When the day comes, Kota hides because he wasn’t participating, to make the whole tournament thing fair since having double Riders on Team Gaim means higher chance of winning. Then all of a sudden, Oren decides to join the Beat Riders as well. You know, it’s been only 2 episodes, but seeing Oren’s back is like seeing an important guest that returns after a long absence. Anyways Oren knew about the tournament because of DJ Sagara, who knew it because Sid reports it to him and Professor Ryoma, while keeping Takatora oblivious so that he can deliver the Lock Vehicles to the Nut Bros.
I just love Mitch’s reaction when Oren decides to join them. He’s clueless about what to do so he allows Oren to join anyways. On the bright side, they might have a chance against Zangetsu, since Bravo is one hell of a powerhouse.
Just as the tournament starts, a horde of Inves Warriors attacks the Riders, keeping them busy. Baron decides to use this opportunity to escape to Helheim Forest followed by the other Riders, leaving Ryugen to handle the Inveses himself. I just love the rivalry between the Riders, seeing them sabotaging Ryugen is just fun to watch.
Speaking of sabotaging, Gridon decides to evolve the Inves so that Ryugen will have a hard time to fight the monster, while he and the rest of the Armored Riders get a headstart.
However as soon as the Nut Bros take their leave, Ryugen decides to use his new Lockseed to transform into Kiwi Arms. Yes this show is promoted as Kiwi Arms’ debut as well as Zangetsu’s first transformation. I’ll talk about the design. The form is actually a brown and green form, and I honestly liked the design, especially the headsculpt. Although I feel that the chakram weapon is too big and somewhat heavy for Ryugen. I guess this form is a heavy-based form.
However Kiwi Arms’ debut is my only disappointment in this episode. Ryugen uses it but it doesn’t really show much of an upgrade or an alternate form, because he didn’t execute the finisher, and overall this is the first time a form doesn’t pwn the enemy on its debut.
Since all of the other Riders entered the forest already, Gaim decides to take care of the Inves while Ryugen joins the tournament. And since Kiwi Arms is not the one who destroy the Inves, it was Gaim, using Watermelon Lockseed!! Holy shit, I didn’t expect that to be used in this episode at all! At least not this early. Well at least we get to enjoy it again before it will be forgotten soon.
I find that Watermelon Arms’ CGI is getting better here, it kinda looks real, and somewhat similar to the way they CGI-ed Machine Itashaa. After Watermelon Arms destroys the Inves, Gaim heads to the forest as well, and the tournament begins.
Meanwhile, Takatora is alerted to the Armored Riders’ presence in the forest, and decides to stop them. For now it seems that he takes the bait, and this before he transforms we get to see his team possess a Crack that’s kept open by using some sort of energy. Takatora transforms into Zangetsu on-screen for the first time, and since he’s a palette swap of Gaim, his Sengoku Driver also has the same rhythm as Gaim’s. Man the next episode will be so damn interesting!