Ren makes an announcement that “dying” in Chronicle is only temporary until someone defeats every Bugster, collects all game clear tokens and defeats the big bad. This is all just to make the game more exciting.
Ren’s assurance seems to reenergize the public into resuming Chronicle play to become heroes, no matter your background or status in life.
Emu and Hiiro get an emergency call when a player is facing off against (and losing to) Revol Bugster. Emu and Hiiro henshin, but Nico appears with a Chronicle Driver and Gashat. She says she will take care of Revol.
Nico henshins to Ride Player Nico and proceeds to absolutely own the basic Bugsters before quickly finishing off Revol.
Emu and Hiiro dehenshin as a Bang Bang Shooting Gashat appears in front of Nico. Poppy pops in to explain that it is proof she defeated a Bugster and cleared this face-off. And Nico is the first in the country to accomplish that.
Emu and Hiiro talk to the female player from earlier who admits that she defied the Ministry ban to play Chronicle in order to save her boyfriend who got a game over. Emu doesn’t have the heart to tell her that her boyfriend might be really, truly dead.
Hiiro confronts Nico, but she suddenly comes down with Game Syndrome. They bring her to the CR where Taiga rushes over to once he learns of the news.
Nico has contracted the Vernier strain of Game Syndrome. Taiga is upset at Nico, but Nico says it’s her turn to shine and be a hero. Until now, all she’s done was stand by and watch. But she’s got a chance now, especially since she’s such a genius gamer. Taiga appears worried she might die and demands her Gashat, but she refuses.
Obviously, being unable to play games stresses Nico the most. She brings up the fact that Taiga has repeatedly stated how he wants all the Gashats and wants to be the only Kamen Rider needed in the world. Nico shoves Taiga to the ground, saying he’s supposed to be her doctor but can’t even handle M. Taiga pushes back and says it was her to pushed herself into his life.
Nico says Taiga can remain alone then and conversely, he can stay out of her business as well. She hops back on the hospital bed as Hiiro drags Taiga out into the hallway.
Hiiro says they will cure her, but Taiga know she’ll just continue playing Chronicle. “Why did you take your eyes off her?” Hiiro asks. He tells Taiga that he likely ignored her and what she was feeling, thus causing Nico to lose patience.
Poppy happily tells Parado that his plan is working as more players join Chronicle. Parado knows how much humans value life, so making people think they could bring someone back to life would only encourage them to play more.
Over at GENM, two developers raise concerns over Ren’s decision to push such a dangerous game. He refuses their resignations.
Taiga storms in to confront Ren and says he knows of their plan to lure people into Chronicle with the false promise of resurrections. Ren knows Taiga is concerned about Saiba Nico and reveals himself to be a Bugster.
Ren does not appreciate Taiga’s unsophisticated nature and decides to seduce Nico to stick it to him.
Nico gets out of bed and wants to know all about the Vernier virus she has so she can cure herself. Emu tries to get her to understand Taiga’s feelings, but she wants Taiga to understand her feelings as well.
They get an emergency call and rush out. But it was Ren who made the call, luring them all to a trap, but mostly to capture Nico’s heart.
Ren henshins to his Lovrica Bugster form and summons some Bugster maids with Poppy. Emu, Hiiro and Nico henshin.
Nico takes on Vernier while Emu and Hiiro somehow cannot get any attacks on Lovrica or the Bugsters. Taiga arrives, but he too gets swatted around.
Lovrica easily takes on Emu, Hiiro and Taiga sending them pink hearts and freezing them with a pink X. Lovrica explains that he is from Tokimeki Crisis, a game where you use your personal charm to appeal to the opposite gender to win their hearts.
Lovrica sends Emu, Hiiro and Taiga more hearts which forces them to dehenshin while getting thrown into the fountain. Nico turns to Taiga and that opens up Vernier to attack her. She too gets thrown in the water and forced to dehenshin.
Taiga tries to help Nico, but she just kicks him away. Lovrica mocks Taiga as a conceited ruffian.
Taiga says he does not fight because he wants to. He fights because he has nothing left to lose and regardless of if others resent him for fighting alone. But Nico saying he was her doctor despite him not having his license made him happy.
Taiga says he won’t stop Nico from playing games if that keeps her from being stressed, as long as she doesn’t leave his side. He henshins and vows to protect her.
Taiga takes care of Vernier with a Bang Bang Critical Fire. The maid Bugsters fall in love with Taiga, much to Lovrica’s confusion. Nico pushes Emu into the water so she can compliment her doctor as well.
“Thank goodness,” Poppy says. Emu sees and hears her.
Nico hits Ren with a big diss and he vows to make her fall for him in the future. The Bugsters disappear.
Emu approaches Taiga and Nico, looking forward to fighting together with them against the Bugsters. But the new couple has no interest in doing that.
Later that night at the CR, Emu wonders what that little tease with Poppy was earlier.
This was an interesting episode. It felt like a climax to a story and character arc that doesn’t exist. Almost.
I appreciate and even like the premise of this episode, but again, I kinda wish there were more build up other than Nico clinging to Taiga all this time. Also Taiga’s been written all over the place, so I personally haven’t gotten a good feel for where his head’s at. There are those few random times when we are to believe Taiga wants to carry all the weight on his shoulders alone and then other times when he appears be a competitive gamer. I guess both those can be true. I’d argue though that the only clear aspect of Taiga’s personality is that he appears annoyed by Nico on the outside, but deep down, he likes the companionship which has apparently developed into romantic feelings. Or something.
Anyway, this also felt like the end of the gamer aspect of Nico’s character. I mentioned earlier how Nico basically being the #2 best gamer in the country after M was ripe for a story in making her Rider compatible or something.
So it was kind of a letdown how she merely just bought a Chronicle set herself. Even though she showed off some excellent skills when henshined, I think there was more story to tell and a way to make her more important to the story other than to merely prop up Taiga.
Also kind of tired how at the end, Nico and Taiga reverted back to their dynamic and personalities from before this episode. Almost like nothing happened to change their outlook or characters.
I’m not sure how to feel about the idea of anyone disappearing/vanishing/dying? from anything Bugster/Game Syndrome related possibly being resurrected after the entire game is cleared and won. Balancing that idea with the medical/doctor theme would be interesting. But at the same time, undoing deaths kind of takes away and diminishes the impact of the story. (Hello Ghost!)
I see that Poppy tease. I wouldn’t mind seeing her actually working undercover and eventually returning to the CR. But it’s a good start having Emu notice it here. Now this is something that can slowly develop into an exciting arc. But I won’t keep my hopes up.
Still, I liked the episode even if there was a missed opportunity to make it something more.