All hell has broken loose as Hokuto has invaded Touto and taken over 60% of the territory. Hokuto prime minister declares war, announcing that Touto is hoarding Pandora’s Box for nefarious purposes.
Touto tries to evacuate its people, but the city on fire.
Over at the lab, Sento locks something away before joining Ryuga, Misora and Sawa upstairs. As they are watching the news, Touto forces barge in and take Sento and Ryuga into custody upon orders from the government that Kamen Riders will be used military weapons against the Hokuto army.
They are brought to Gentoku who is at Touto command center. He tells them about Hokuto Smash appearing all over Touto and that Hokuto has a secret, uber-powerful weapon. That’s why they’re after Pandora’s Box.
Gentoku explains that Pandora’s Box had six panels, each with 10 FullBottles. So they will need those 60 FullBottles to open the Box. The 40 Bottles not in Touto were somehow purified with Hokuto and Seito each having the remaining panels and 20 FullBottles. So the three territories, in theory, must cooperate to open the Box. Instead Hokuto has chosen to use force and Gentoku says it’s only a matter of time before Seito makes their move as well.
Gentoku wants Sento and Ryuga to protect the Box. Sento refuses to be used as a weapon of war, but Gentoku reminds him that it was he who started all of this in the first place.
Gentoku offers to grant both Sento and Ryuga a pardon for all their crimes if they can drive Hokuto back to their side of the wall.
Sento refuses. Gentoku tells them they have no choice. He gives them both tracking bracelets they must wear that will also serve as a line of direct communication.
Hokuto’s PM meets with Seito’s PM to talk of an alliance against Touto. He agrees. But after he leaves, she admits to Blood Stark that she only wants to keep Seito in check until she defeats Touto. She anticipates being able to obtain Pandora’s Box for herself so she can have world domination.
She asks Soichi where “Grease” and the others are. Soichi says they should be retrieving the FullBottles now.
Later, Sento is able to remove his bracelet. But Ryuga does not. Just then, three guys appear and ask if they’ve been injected with Nebula Gas.
They introduce themselves as Hokuto’s Three Crows. After Ryuga calls them morons, the tall one morphs into a Smash. Sento and Ryuga are surprised that he retains awareness even as a Smash and the guy explains that they are Hard Smash.
After Ryuga henshins, the other two also morph into Smash. Sento quickly henshins and joins the fight. But the three Hard Smash are too much for both Sento and Ryuga. They are both forced to dehenshin.
The Three Crows demand they hand over the FullBottles, but as they argue about who will actually collect them, Sento and Ryuga manage to slip away.
Back at the lab, Sento and Ryuga realize those three are Hokuto’s secret weapons. Ryuga wonders what they should do, but Sento says it is none of their business.
Ryuga takes out the ultimate system Sento just finished. Sento says it is the Sclash Driver, changing the contents of FullBottles into jelly and able to draw the element’s maximum power. Dragon was the only element that reacted to the driver. But Sento says Ryuga cannot use it.
Sento regrets completing the driver since it will surely become a military weapon in the end. Sento says that’s why Katsuragi, he, didn’t originally finish it.
“War is wrong,” Sento says. But Ryuga thinks it’s only an excuse so Sento can just run away.
Ryuga says he is going to fight, especially if it means his name will be cleared. He promised that to Kasumi.
Sawa comes down to the lab, worried about Misora who has not yet returned after going out a while ago. Sento and Ryuga go out to look for her.
Misora walks through the rubble of a now-war torn city. Bodies all over the streets, children crying over their dead mothers. It’s hell.
Ryuga is at an evacuation center when a Smash suddenly appears. A strange man in a winter coat who had been mumbling strange things since Ryuga got here jumps down and finishes off the Smash with one punch. He has a FullBottle, but Ryuga does not see.
Just then, Gentoku calls Ryuga on his bracelet. Gentoku wants to know where Sento is, wanting to check up on the progress of the new Driver. Ryuga says Sento has it, but will not use it. Gentoku says only the new Driver can defeat the Hard Smash.
Ryuga says he doesn’t take orders from Gentoku and hangs up.
Meanwhile, Sento finds Misora as she looks across the city burning to the ground. She feels guilty for her part in creating this deadly military weapon and thus helping to start this war for the Box. She feels this is all her fault.
Misora tries to rip the bracelet from her wrist, but she cannot. She repeatedly slams her wrist on the ground. Sento stops her and pulls her into an embrace. He tells her this is not her fault, but his.
The Three Crows appear, applauding the emotional moment. They morph into Smash and demand the FullBottles.
Sento says Misora made him realize that he can’t just sit on his high horse. He must fight to protect her and the city and to stop this war. The Rider System isn’t a weapon and he will prove that it is meant for justice.
Sento henshins to Sparkling. The Three Crows knock him around, but Sento is resolved. He says he will rise up as many times as he needs to.
Ryuga arrives and he has the Sclash Driver. Sento says not to use it, but Ryuga activates it. A strong current surges through his body before he henshins to Cross-Z Charge.
Ryuga feels an immense new power. Sento suggests he uses Twin Breaker which unleashes a powerful weapon on his arm. Ryuga is able to deliver different attacks to the Three Crows and that provides an opening for him and Sento kick them out of Smash mode.
The Three Crows drop some of the FullBottles and Sento and Ryuga pick them up.
Just then, the strange man from earlier appears. The Three Crows acknowledge him as their Boss. And he has a Driver!
Wow! Now that was a very dramatic episode. I really enjoyed that. There was a sense of gravity to the situation at hand. Especially when they start the episode off with all those bullets and explosions and dead mothers. It reminded me of the last arc of Gaim and when everything really went to hell. Everyone evacuated, Zawame was in ruins, the country/world was in chaos. And we’re only on episode 17 here on Build!
It was definitely an episode that helped to kind of give a buffer to Sento after the big reveal of his identity. Or at least, his real identity for now. Him and Misora questioning their part in starting the war by way of fully developing the Rider system and the FullBottles was a good way to serve as this in between from the big twist/reveal and this next arc, I assume, as we get these new characters coming in.
Again, as I don’t follow toy catalogs and other kinds of spoilers, I didn’t know that the new Rider was coming up this episode. And I’m not sure if he’s here to stay, but I assume since he is a secondary Rider that he will be around for the rest of the season. Should be interesting to see how that develops. Especially with the Three Musketeers tagging along.
We got an explanation of how Pandora’s Box is supposed to work this episode. They need to fill all the panels with FullBottles so they can actually open the box and unleash the power. That should be good enough material for the next couple of episodes I assume.
But aside from the great chaotic war scenes, I was definitely more interested in the character beats in this episode. I really like the moment between Sento and Misora. That guilt they feel can be a nice foundation for some really great material if they choose to explore it. And seeing Ryuga’s little dilemma as well is also another great way to explore his own feelings. Well within his character as we know him. Also great to see Sawa course.
Interesting to see the prime minister of Hokuto just go full-on crazy. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Soichi Stark is just manipulating her to get to his own endgame. I have no doubts that she is not long for this season. Lol She also definitely took over the crazy quota for this episode away from Gentoku. Lol
Overall I really enjoyed this episode. It was very exciting and action packed. And again I definitely enjoyed seeing some nice character beats from Sento, Ryuga and Misora.