Recap: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Episode 23 – Extreme Dead or Alive!

Ex-Aid 23

Facing increased pressure from the public and the higher-ups, Kyoutarou-sensei gives the CR an ultimatum. If they don’t take care of Kuroto within the next few days, they will all be stripped of their Kamen Rider abilities and be kicked out of the CR.

Kuroto, who has taken over the GENM building, emerges to face off against the police and SWAT barricading the property.

Ex-Aid 23

Taiga and Hiiro reveal the new Gashat to Hiiro and Poppy and explain the information Kiriya had found. Emu understands the idea of reprogramming. But their discussion is interrupted by an emergency call. Hiiro says he will stay behind to continue working on the Gashat while giving Taiga the Level 50 one to use.

Ex-Aid 23

Emu and Taiga hurry over to GENM. Using Kiriya’s Driver, Emu henshins along with Taiga and they take on Kuroto and the basic Bugsters. Nico gets people to safety, but the basic Bugsters are unbeatable zombies and it’s not looking good.

Hiiro arrives with the Gashat and tells Emu to use it. As Emu was able to create the Mighty Brothers XX Gashat on his own, so too can he activate this new Gashat himself. Emu suddenly remembers that he used to love coming up with video games as a kid and that’s where he’s been drawing, literally, inspiration.

Emu gives it a try, but he is forced to dehenshin. Hiiro doesn’t understand why it’s not working. He tells Emu all about Kiriya’s hard work in collecting all the information he could about the Bugster virus. And thanks to that info, Hiiro knows that Emu has what he needs to get this Gashat to work.

Ex-Aid 23

Emu tries again. And again. And again. But nothing happens. Asuna is sure Emu will get it as Hiiro protects Emu from Kuroto’s attacks. Kuroto forces Hiiro to dehenshin.

On the ground, Hiiro tells Emu that he has the power to change his fate, just like Kiriya said. Emu takes that memory and says he will not let Kiriya’s hopes and dreams go to waste.

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The red eyes appear and the virus-induced gamer side of Emu emerges. Something happens in his DNA and it finally activates the new Gashat. Kuroto is livid.

Ex-Aid 23

Emu locks the Mighty Maximum X Gashat into his driver and henshins to Level 99.

Ex-Aid 23

Emu changes the stage and Kuroto combines all his basic Bugsters into a big one. But Emu easily takes care of it with a Maximum Mighty Critical Finish. Kuroto can’t believe it. But he is shocked to see his gauge back and working again. Emu says he has reprogrammed Kuroto’s immortality.

Taiga delivers a Bang Bang Critical Fire at Kuroto and tees him up for Emu to just ravage him. The gauge on Kuroto is at critical level, but Emu dehenshins.

“Let’s end this,” Emu says.

Ex-Aid 23

Taiga grabs Emu, shocked that he isn’t finishing Kuroto off. But Emu says he is a doctor before he is a Kamen Rider and he can’t just easily take Kuroto’s life.

Kuroto dehenshins. Emu tells him to atone for his sins and change his ways. But Kuroto is defiant and manages to escape.

Having watched the whole show, Parado is disappointed in the outcome just now. Taiga grabs Emu by the collar again, upset at what he just did. But Hiiro comes to Emu’s defense and says as doctors, they do not take lives. They save them.

Nico and Taiga both point out that it’s either Kuroto’s one life or the lives ofa great number of people who could die from what Kuroto is doing. Emu says there is no prioritizing when it comes to lives.

Kuroto is desperate to find the patients with the Drago Knight Hunter Z and DoReMiFa Beat Bugsters. He decides to just infect everyone in sight.

Ex-Aid 23

Emu goes looking for him, but is himself found by Parado instead. Parado tries to persuade Emu to finish the job by whispering in his ear. He says that Kuroto’s mind and body is as good dead. He is just a crazy person now with the delusion that he is God. And besides, can Emu forgive Kuroto for Kiriya’s death?

Taiga and Nico find Kuroto first. Taiga and Kuroto both henshin and battle. Asuna and Hiiro also arrive and Hiiro quickly henshins to stop them. Hiiro tries to tell Taiga that they just need to retrieve Kuroto’s Gashat.

While they argue, Kuroto blasts Hiiro away and knocks Taiga over. Taiga and Kuroto deliver dueling Critical Finishes at each other.

Ex-Aid 23

Emu appears and max henshins, vowing to change Kuroto’s destiny.

Emu changes the stage and fights off the zombie copies Kuroto summons. Hiiro and Taiga help out as Parado watches. Emu swats away Kuroto’s GiriGiri Critical Finish as Taiga and Hiiro finish off the other two copies.

Big explosion as Kuroto is forced to dehenshin. They all dehenshin.

Kuroto is defiant, but he finds his Gashat no longer works. Turns out Emu actually reprogrammed the Bugster virus inside Kuroto, making him no longer a compatible user.

Emu says Kuroto wasn’t a bad person, he was just a game creator who loved games. Emu wants to retrieve Kuroto-san’s smile.

Ex-Aid 23

“Don’t be so boring,” Parado says when pops up. He picks Kuroto up and says the game cannot end this way.

Parado suddenly punches Kuroto in the stomach and takes his Driver and Gashat. He then uses it on Kuroto. The others cannot stop him as Kuroto cries in pain, not wanting to die this way.

Ex-Aid 23

Parado commends Kuroto on a good job, but that Kamen Rider Chronicle will now be Parado’s.

Kuroto’s body twists in pain, but he is still defiant with his god complex right until the end. Kuroto disappears into the air.

Everyone is shook shocked.

Taiga tells Nico that the fight is not over yet.

Ex-Aid 23

Parado sits in Kuroto’s office and says he will fully realize Kuroto’s dream.

Back at the CR, Kyoutarou-sensei commends the team on a job well done.

But Emu does not take what has happened to Kuroto very easily. Hiiro says how you deal with lives lost is also part of being a doctor.

Ex-Aid 23

Episode Thoughts

I thought it was a solid episode. I do almost feel like there’s something missing between last week and this week’s episode. Maybe like half an episode of story missing to bridge the two. I dunno. I guess this is supposed to be comparable to Kiriya’s Christmas murder episode, but I don’t think this episode carried the same weight. Definitely not the same shock value of course.

And that’s even when I did not expect Kuroto to die this ep. I thought he had a few more to go at least. I did however fully expect Parado to take over big bad duties eventually. So Parado being the one to finish Kuroto off wasn’t a surprise. The small teases of him growing annoyed with Kuroto or responding negatively to Kuroto’s god complex and treating Bugsters like him as mere pawns should’ve been focused on more.

And if Parado really is the next (final?) big bad, I do hope they flesh out his motivation and background a little better than they did with Kuroto. I feel like they rushed through it the last few episodes even though we’ve gotten hints and glimpses of Kuroto’s psycho maniacal tendencies from the beginning.

I never really thought about Emu ever not finishing Kuroto off. But it’s definitely within his character, even Hiiro’s. Emu’s plan to save Kuroto’s humanity was not bad at all. Very logical and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they did end up saving him and Kuroto spent the rest of the season in jail. But as we saw, Kuroto seemed beyond saving. Parado pointing that out was very interesting.

Much kudos again to Hiroki Iijima again. He’s been able to sell the different sides of Emu very well.

Elsewhere, thinking about what to do with Nico other than following Taiga around, since she’s supposed to be 2nd only to M as the best gamer in Japan(?), it’s a missed opportunity to not have her be a Rider as well. It would certainly add a darker element thinking about either infecting a kid (right after the tournament) with the virus or giving her the Rider Compatibility surgery as a kid, reasoning that as a master gamer, she’d be a perfect Rider.

Plus, it never hurts to have a female Rider around.

Overall, it was a solid episode. Though I did kind of expect more.

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