Recap: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Episode 28 – Beyond Identity

Ex-Aid 28

Graphite is eager to get his chance to play, but Parado says to leave this to him for now. Poppy is not her usually peppy self.

Emu tells Hiiro about seeing Poppy’s reaction to Taiga and Nico admitting their feelings to each other and thinks Poppy may not be a bad Bugster. But Hiiro is not convinced.

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They get an emergency call and hurry downtown where Ride Player Samejima is getting tossed around by Parado. As soon as the doctors arrive, Parado excitedly asks Emu to play with him. Emu obliges as Hiiro tries to take care of the player. Poppy pops in to enforce the rules again. She henshins and shoots at Hiiro, forcing him to dehenshin.

Emu tries to reach out to Poppy, but she turns her attention to attacking Samejima and forcing him to dehenshin as well. She even cuts his Leg open.

Hiiro asks why Poppy is attacking players. She reminds them that she’s the DoReMiFa Bugster, so they should watch out. Emu insists Poppy is not like that. Parado tries refocusing Emu’s attention on him, but Emu continues trying to snap Poppy out of it. He shoves Parado aside and proceeds to reprogram Poppy with a Maximum Mighty Critical Finish.

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Emu approaches a dehenshined Poppy who appears to be back to normal, just as Emu hoped by reprogramming her.

Parado tells Emu to wake up to the fact that Chronicle is all about humans and Bugsters putting their lives on the line for the game. Emu is sure Poppy is just a happy character who enjoys music together with the player.

Parado says Poppy is just a mere Bugster and the more important thing Emu should concern himself with is to fight him seriously.

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“There is no point in anything except playing with you!”

Emu says he has no time to play with Parado. Parado grabs Poppy and they head back to their lair.

Back at the CR, Emu confirms that Samejima is infected with Poppy’s virus. Samejima thinks he’ll be fine as long as Emu defeats Poppy, but Emu says she isn’t a bad Bugster.

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While Hiiro thinks Parado’s obsession about playing with Emu is odd, Emu comes to tell him about the patient having Poppy’s virus. Hiiro says Poppy is their enemy now anyway, so it should be easy to cure the patient. He reminds Emu not to let his personal feelings for Poppy get in the way.

Emu says he wants to save Poppy as well as the patient. But Hiiro reminds Emu that Poppy too was born out of a human patient once.

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Poppy suddenly has a flashback of what appears to be her birth from a sick woman in the hospital. Parado says it’s because of Emu’s reprogramming. Graphite adds that what she remembers is from her host’s save data. He conveniently explains that when Bugsters take over human bodies, their save data is transferred to them. He even has memories of Hiiro’s girlfriend.

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Poppy runs out to the roof. Parado follows her.

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She expresses regret in someone losing their life for her to be born. Parado says that’s why the humans hate her, so she should go out and beat them.

Poppy asks why that is, why must they fight. Parado says that’s the rule of Kamen Rider Chronicle. Being able to fight humans as much as they want is the greatest thing to happen to the Bugsters, he says. Poppy tries to protest, but Parado grabs her by the neck and holds her over the side of the rooftop ledge.

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“You need to enjoy the game more!” Parado says as he pulls her back up and shoves her to the ground.

Taiga and Nico are out collecting any Gashats they can. Nico tracks Twitter for any Bugster sightings and it just so happens Poppy has been spotted. Hiiro calls Emu to tell him and remind him that they have no choice but to kill Poppy.

Poppy is by the water watching some people dancing for fun. Two players see her and charge at her, calling her a monster. Poppy has no choice but to henshin and defend herself against the players. Parado is happy to see it.

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Taiga and Nico arrive and Nico angrily charges right at Poppy. Taiga drives the players away before he tag teams with Nico against Poppy.

Emu and Hiiro arrive. Hiiro tells Emu to prepare himself for what they have to do. Parado wants Emu to play with him. Everyone henshins.

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As Emu fends off an eagerly playful Parado, Hiiro joins Taiga and Nico in absolutely wrecking Poppy to the point that she dehenshins as she rolls down the riverside amphitheater. The three Riders approach her, ready to kill her for good.

But Emu ejects himself from Maximum (which continues to hold Parado) and protects Poppy. Taiga and Nico tell him to get the hell out of the way. Hiiro again reminds Emu this is to cure the patients, there is nother way.

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Thinking about all the patients she’s infected, a distraught Poppy says to just go ahead and kill her. She doesn’t want to be responsible for any more deaths. Emu tries to remind her that she was on their team not too long ago. Poppy is resigned to the fact that humans hate Bugsters and that they are enemies.

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“I understand,” Emu says as he dehenshins. “In that case, fight me.” He grabs her Driver, puts it in her hand and points it at his chest, telling her to shoot. Poppy cannot bring herself to do it. She does not want to fight nor does she want to make anyone sad or hurt.

Poppy says she just wants to happily play DoReMiFa Beat with everyone.

“Let’s play it with everyone,” Emu says as he smiles at Poppy. Poppy smiles and nods while crying.

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A Game Clear is sounded, much to the surprise of everyone else. Parado is not happy.

Poppy happily hugs Emu and thanks him. Taiga explains to Nico that Emu brought back Poppy’s smile. Hiiro compliments Emu and apologizes to Poppy. Poppy says she should be the one apologizing.

Nico threatens Poppy who says Nico is scary. Nico chases her around.

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But suddenly Parado jumps down to ask Poppy if she is sure about what she’s done. Emu says Parado will never lay a hand on Poppy again.

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Parado asks why Emu likes playing with Poppy but not with him. Parado really wants Emu to play with him.

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Emu says Poppy is different since Parado actively chooses to kill people. “But aren’t we friends?” Parado asks Emu. “We are fated to fight. M… you are… me.”

Hiiro realizes what’s happening as Parado’s eyes glow red. He yells for Emu to get out of the way, but it’s too late. Parado inserts himself into Emu.

Poppy runs over to Emu to make sure he’s okay. But Emu slaps the sh-t out of her.

The new Emu laughs and invites them to play “the most thrilling game.”

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Episode Thoughts

Well, f—k! Okay.

So, Poppy was just completely assaulted this episode. Physically, emotionally, mentally. Everyally. It was actually kind of hard to watch. From Emu’s first reprorgamming Critical Finish at her to her questioning the meaning of life all episode to Parado grabbing her by the neck and almost launching her off the side of the building to Taiga, Nico and Hiiro just laying into her and finally ParadEmu slapping the absolute shit out of her at the end. Like WTF?!

That slap. My immediate reaction was: That had to be the most violent 3 seconds I’ve ever seen on a toku. Chase getting his chest sliced open in Kamen Rider Chaser and bleeding all over the place was less violent than this. And that was a V-cinema. Like seriously. Hiroki Iijima sold that slap so hard, it was chilling. And especially since it came after an entire episode of Poppy being so kawawa and sad. And right after the sweet moments of Emu believing in his friend.

Man, so brutal.

Anyway… the show seems to be playing around with “evil” gamer Emu/M again. But this time, it appears the popular theory that Parado is indeed the Bugster that emerged from Emu is the correct theory. We’ll see next week I guess. But it’ll be interesting to see how they square that with the Emu/M split personality we’ve been seeing off and on, if that’s actually a thing. I don’t even know. I guess it has to do with Emu being Patient Zero and him not dying for some reason even as his Bugster lives?

This development certainly explains reminding the audience about how Bugsters come to be by using Poppy as the example in this episode. Though we were promised that we’d find out Poppy’s true origins, we got nothing except a dark scene of some woman in a hospital bed. That certainly answers the question, doesn’t it? Not.

Thinking about Poppy though and how Bugsters pop out of Game Syndrome patients reminds me of the Roidmude popping out of sick humans as well and taking over their bodies. Though the Bugsters don’t take the host human’s physical traits, I guess, they do absorb the memories. I wonder if that will play a part in the story moving forward.

It was actually amusing seeing Maximum Emu just shoving Parado around. Parado has been very powerful against everyone else, including Minimum Emu. So it was fun to see Emu just pushing him around.

Seeing Parado get more screentime this episode though, I have a sinking feeling Parado is not long for the Ex-Aid world. I hope that’s not the case, but anything can happen.

This was an insane episode all around. But hopefully it set up the next episode well and that we actually get at least one or two questions answered in it.

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4 thoughts on “Recap: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, Episode 28 – Beyond Identity

  1. The physical violence against Poppy was just so cringeworthy! Like Damn!

    Also Parado reminded me of a little kid who wanted to play with the older kid and kept getting brushed off. I found that very amusing. Not to mention how jealous he was that Emu wouldn’t play with him./

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    • Right? I was cringing the whole ep not knowing they saved the best (WORST) for last!

      And that’s a fun point about Parado! Especially the way Emu literally kept brushing him off. lol

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  2. I wish they had explored Poppy’s character a bit more earlier just to give this ep more solid ground to stand on. For one, they didn’t clarify why Poppy doesn’t want to fight: is she going against her own nature as a Bugster or it her actual programming as the avatar of a non-violent game, or is it the memory of the woman she was born from? Like I said before, the Burgermon ep could have been used for this purpose.

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    • That’s a good point. That’s why I hoped they would have Poppy with the Bugsters for at least a couple of episodes before returning to Emu and the “good side.”

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