Recap: Kamen Rider Build, Episode 1 – The Ones With the Best Match

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Ten years ago, Japan successfully landed a manned space probe on Mars. And there, they found Pandora’s Box.

Advisor to the Prime Minister of Touto, Himuro Gentoku, is explaining why this was the start of their nightmare to journalist Takigawa Sawa.

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A ceremony was held the day the probe “Kiwami” returned to Earth. A man suddenly forced his way to the Pandora’s Box, touched it and all hell breaks loose. A huge wall, the Skywall, emerged from the ground and split Japan into three, each with its own capital. The Northern Capital of Hokuto focused on social welfare, the Western Capital of Seito focused on economic recovery and the Eastern Capital of Touto promoted pacifism.

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Tension has divided the three regions even more and Gentoku says they must solve the mystery of Pandora’s Box before they are separated for good.

Gentoku’s secretary, Nariaki, tells him about a young man, Kiryu Sento, who is interested in a job at the Institute. He aced their very difficult test. They watch as Sento excitedly gets a close-up look at the Pandora’s Box. So excited that a part of his hair stands up.

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Sawa interrupts with a final question. She asks Gentoku what he thinks of the Kamen Rider. Touto residents have been attacked by strange lifeforms called Smash. But a hero called Kamen Rider has been saving the people. Gentoku says that’s very interesting and wonders if maybe they can continue this discussion in the hotel next door… all night long.

Later that evening, Sawa runs into a Smash after calling her editor. She tries to take video of it, but the Smash slaps her to the ground. The Kamen Rider appears and fights it off. He then sucks up the Smash using a Full Bottle and it reveals a man, freeing him from the Smash.

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Sento wakes up from a nightmare of him and gas masks and a strange bat man. He finds his face has been written on.

But it’s his first day as a researcher at the Touto Institute of Advanced Matter Physics. He eats his toast, but his hair stands up when he sees Isurugi Misora has been able to convert the Smash material from last night into a new hedgehog-powered Full Bottle.

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Sento loves his amazing inventions and that he can use them as Build.

Sento and Misora live in the basement of Café Nascita, owned by Misora’s father Soichi.

Sento shows Soichi the new Full Bottle. Soichi is very proud of his daughter, but more importantly, he has some exposition to present. Sento has amnesia and does not remember 20 years of his life. Sento only remembers human testing, gas masks and the bat man.

Sento created Build to search for the bat man, but even when he changes the people turned into Smash back to normal, he doesn’t remember anything new.

Anyway, Soichi tells Sento that he’s racked up a year’s worth of rent. That’s why Soichi encouraged Sento to get a job at the Institute.

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Sento checks the time and sees that he has to hurry. He shows Soichi his new phone invention which can turn into a bike.

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As Sento rides to his first day on the job, a shirtless man is running through the sewers, seemingly trying to escape. He finds a dirty shirt, but the strange Guardian robots find him.

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Gentoku and Nariaki are showing Sento around the Institute. Gentoku wants Sento to help analyze the Pandora’s Box. Sento’s hair pops up, excited at the idea of a civilization more advanced than Earth existing somewhere.

Recapping how the Skywall rose when Pandora’s Box lit up, Gentoku adds that people exposed to that light began acting strangely, exposing their aggressive impulses and helping to further the split of Japan as the they fight over the powerful Pandora’s Box.

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BREAKING NEWS! The not-shirtless man from earlier is 23-year old Banjyo Ryuga, a martial artist who broke out of the Touto Central Penitentiary. He was sentenced to ten years for murdering Tatsuragi Takumi, a former researcher at the Institute.

Footage shows the robot Guardians from earlier completely ripped apart.

Sento gets a AOL message from Soichi saying Ryuga is giving off Smash readings, but no monster has appeared. Perhaps Ryuga has not turned into a Smash yet.

Ryuga hurries onto his bike and is able to find and stop Ryuga. Ryuga gets thrown off his bike and insists that he is not a murderer. Sento isn’t believing him and says he will bring Ryuga back to jail.

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Ryuga says if he is brought back, “they” will capture him again.

Ryuga charges at Sento and uses his martial arts skill. Sento takes out a Full Bottle and shakes it, allowing him to get the upper hand on Ryuga. Ryuga asks if the gas mask men also messed with his body or if he is one of them. Sento doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

“You used me for human experimentation!”

Ryuga explains that a bald man attacked him in jail, drugged him and brought him to the gas mask people where he was one of many human guinea pigs.

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Sento asks if he saw a bat man as well. But before they can discuss any more, a Smash appears and knocks Sento into a car. Sento explains what Smash are to Ryuga who tries to take it on himself, only to get whisked away to beside the Skywall.

Ryuga tries to continue and fight, but the Smash just knocks him around. Sento arrives and says while brave of Ryuga to do so, he can take care of this.

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Sento whips on his Driver and shakes two Full Bottles; one Rabbit, one Tank.

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Sento mixes the two Full Bottles together and he henshins into a Kamen Rider.

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Sento has much more power now to take on the Smash. He takes out his new hedgehog Harinezumi Bottle and mixes it in, giving him a new power-up that helps to wear down the Smash.

Back in Rabbit Tank form, Sento initiates a Voltec Finish to neutralize the Smash. He takes an empty Full Bottle and sucks the Smash in, revealing another human.

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Ryuga recognizes the man from the gas mask room.

Sento flashes back to his own memories of gas masks and first being found by Soichi.

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Ryuga repeats to Sento that he and the guy really have been messed around with by gas mask people. Sento starts putting the pieces together. But the police arrive, led by Gentoku. The newly released man jumps into the bushes to escape.

Gentoku wants the Kamen Rider to hand over Ryuga. Ryuga again insists that while he may be an idiot piece of trash, he is not a murderer.

The Guardians approach Ryuga. But Sento summons his bike and tells Ryuga to hop on. They speed away, but Gentoku tells the Guardians to capture them dead or alive.

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Sento counters the Guardians’ attacks as the chase brings them to the Skywall which is charged with a force field. Sento drives down the side of the wall, but uses his Drill Crusher to keep him and Ryuga from falling all the way to the ground. The last Guardian isn’t so lucky.

Sento and Ryuga are able to escape. Ryuga asks why Sento saved him. Sento says he believes in Ryuga, is all. An idiot never calls himself one and Sento doesn’t think he is a liar.

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Sento points out that Ryuga fly is open though.

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The bat man appears, watching them drive away saying “The war has begun.”

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Episode Thoughts

It’s always hard to judge the first episode of a Toei toku show since they more often than not are filled with straight exposition that lays the groundwork for the season. Some do it a little better than others.

For Build, I felt like it was alright. When I first watched the trailer thing a few weeks ago, I felt overwhelmed. It was a whole mish-mash of information with a seemingly large group of characters. But this premiere episode felt less overwhelming and I think things were introduced as best they could.

Some repetitive exposition though during the episode. But it was okay. Very interesting premise. It’s almost like a mix of a bunch of different shows and stories I’ve watched in the past. And that’s okay. There’s a lot of different threads and moving parts, it seems. But there’s some nice potential for a big, epic story if they choose to go that route.

The episode definitely had a pretty dark vibe all around. From the Skywall and its initial rise to the premise of what a Smash might be to the human experiments to Gentoku coming off more as a sexual predator than a smooth operator… all very dark and grim and almost twisted. It was a little refreshing?! lol

The chase scene at the end was pretty amazing though. I enjoyed the insanity of it all, including Ryuga’s hilarious reactions to everything Sento was doing.

I hated when Sento showed his BuildPhone though. I know (assume?) the toy won’t have an actual working screen, but the least they could do is make it seem like it’s not just a plastic toy in-show. I cringed at the close-up of the phone. lol It was just so obviously a static printed out picture. I guess it would just be extra work. Though they did do some simple CGI for the e-mail/message.

Every main Rider has their quirk I guess. For Sento it’s the hair thing. Which interestingly enough fits with being a rabbit Rider. It’s almost like a rabbit ear. Who knows.

Sento seems very personable and likeable. And that’s always important to make a good first impression.

Overall, a solid, though typical expository premiere.

2 thoughts on “Recap: Kamen Rider Build, Episode 1 – The Ones With the Best Match

  1. Honestly, it’s tough to come from a season that I really liked into a new one. There is always this concern whether this will be as good as the previous one.

    But I do like this initial episode and the large scale feel of it. Also loved that sense of mystery. As for the humor, luckily, it isn’t as loud as the previous seasons )Ex-Aid initially included, but they managed to tone it down). Im a bit surprised that they actually pulled off that rather risque dialog from Gentoku in a kids show. But that might be a foreboding of what this series could possibly go into.

    Definitely a good start.

    • Re: Pervy Gentoku, they even went further with the Editor basically telling Sawa to go for it and What’s the big deal lol

      And I definitely like the large scale feel of it. I certainly thought Ex-Aid could’ve done the pandemic and global threat a little better, but Build starting right off with this being a Japan-wide problem/incident is good. I like it.

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