Sento henshins to Black Hazard and takes on the Three Crows. Ryuga tries to stop Sento, but something suddenly snaps. The words of Soichi and Kisaragi echo through Sento’s head. He has now lost control of all rational thought.
Sento charges at Ryuga and attacks, forcing him to dehenshin. Sento takes on the Three Crows and one punch forces Akaba and Kiba to dehenshin. Kazumi arrives as Sento turns his attention to Aoba.
Sento activates a Max Hazard. Kazumi yells for Aoba to run as he hurries and henshins himself. But it’s too late. Sento delivers a Hazard Finish kick at Aoba who immediately falls to the ground.
Sento turns back to Akaba and Kiba, but Ryuga runs over and tries to stop him. Sento knocks Ryuga away. Kazumi chains Sento up and punches him out of his henshin.
Sento regains rational consciousness just as Kazumi runs over to a dying Aoba. Aoba says he is worried of what will become of Kazumi when he’s gone. Aoba gives Kazumi one of his dogtags so even a little part of him can stay behind.
A horrified Sento turns to Ryuga, unable to process what has just transpired. A distraught and angry Akaba and Kiba get up to charge at Sento, but Kazumi stops them.
It is now one week later. The streets of Touto are empty and quiet. A news report talks about Touto having stopped all use of Kamen Rider as military weapons. The citizens of Touto are unsure of what’s going on or if Hokuto’s invasion is over. The truth is Papa Prime Minister is struggling to handle the ongoing crisis as Hokuto has already broken into all but two of the FullBottle secret locations.
Over at the café, Sawa wonders if Sento will ever henshin again. Ryuga says even if he did, he already gave all his FullBottles to the government. And besides, he is no condition to fight.
Sento sits silent and frozen downstairs.
Ryuga blames himself. If he had kept himself under control, Sento wouldn’t have needed to find a way to control him.
Misora gets an alert of Grease and Friends approaching one of the last two secret locations. Ryuga hurries over. Kazumi asks where Build is, but Ryuga says he is enough to take care of them.
Ryuga henshins to Cross-Z Charge. Akaba and Kiba want to avenge the death of their friend. They battle. But Ryuga hesitates, thinking about Sento. That allows Akaba and Kiba to force him to dehenshin. They want to deal a finishing blow, but Kazumi tells them to stop so they can leave.
Ryuga apologizes and says the death of their friend is his fault. Kazumi approaches him and kicks him in the face.
“Don’t come to the battlefield if you can’t handle the consequences.”
Papa Prime Minister meets with the Hokuto Prime Minister via hologram to offer to settle the war with a one-on-one battle between the two Kamen Riders. The Hokuto Prime Minister laughs and bites her finger.
Papa Prime Minister goes to Café Nascita to ask if Sento will accept the challenge. He gives Sento the FullBottle he had surrendered. He understands Sento no longer wants to fight and what he has gone through, but this is for the safety and future of Touto. He asks for Sento to help.
Papa PM puts his hand on Sento’s arm, but Sento gently takes it off and says he does not want to fight.
Sento gets up and slowly walks out the door.
Shaking and beside himself, Sento lays flowers at the site of Aoba’s death. He gets on his knees, hands folded. Suddenly, a “Yo!” from out of nowhere. Sento looks up and it’s Aoba. Or not.
Sento vomits. He bows his head and tries to apologize.
Just then Kazumi appears and he lays some flowers down for his friend too. Sento crawls over to him and begs Kazumi to hit him until it makes him feel better.
Kazumi says he’ll just punch the hell out of Sento at the big fight night. Sento screams that he won’t do it.
Kazumi pulls out Aoba’s dogtag. He tells Sento that his real name was Aikawa Syuuya. Kazumi remarks that Sento didn’t even know that, yet he is here crying over him.
“You did nothing wrong,” Kazumi says. And Sento must be joking if he thinks he can stop his friends from dying. This is a war. People will die. Syuuya was ready to die.
“He was weak and he lost. That’s it. It’s not your fault.”
But even so, Kazumi says, he was a comrade and friend. So he will still kill Sento for it.
Later, Soichi has called Sento who comes to meet him. Sento asks why Soichi is laughing.
Soichi says the moment Nebula gas is injected, the recipient is no longer human, but a mere weapon. So all Sento did was destroy a weapon. And it was inevitable once war broke out.
Soichi asks Sento if he really thought he could go through this without hurting anyone. Even the most optimistic person can get hurt.
Soichi says Sento is free to refuse the proxy PPV fight night, but then that would mean Ryuga would offer to fight. Soichi mentions how Ryuga blames himself for what happened, so of course he will volunteer himself. But he is in no condition to defeat Grease. And when that happens, Touto will turn on him.
“You have to fight,” Soichi says. “You know that. That’s why you came here looking for help.”
Sento yells for Soichi to shut up and moves to hit him, but Soichi punches him in the gut instead.
Sento falls to the ground, crying and unsure of what he must do. Soichi says he must defeat Grease. Simple.
Soichi says there is a way for Sento to win without losing himself. He says Build Driver has a hidden power that can’t be measured in Hazard Levels. He shows Sento his suitcase of FullBottles and Pandora panel and says Sento can borrow them.
Soichi tells Sento to take the next week to learn how to use them before the proxy fight night. He says Sento can raise his Hazard Level and practice while fighting him.
“Why are you hesitating?! Don’t you have something to protect?! Weren’t you going to fight for the justice you believe in? Or was it all a lie?!”
“This sucks. It hurts so much. It is so painful.” But Sento accepts that he has no other choice.
Sento grabs the Phoenix and Soujiki FullBottles and after some hesitation, he henshins. He and Soichi battle. Sento doesn’t have enough, so he decides to go Rose and Helicopter for a Best Match.
This time, Sento is able to overpower Soichi. Soichi marvels at the power of a Best Match, but he is more than willing to continue sparring with Sento.
Fast forward one week. It’s time for the big fight night.
Wow! That definitely escalated quickly! I was definitely not expecting this kind of episode this week. So this was a pretty huge shock. But I enjoyed it a lot!
I mean, look no further than the look of horror on Sento’s face when he first turns to look at Ryuga. Like “OMGIJUSTKILLEDSOMEONE!” It was truly devastating. And the look on Sento’s face just hit me like a Hazard punch to the gut.
Atsuhiro Inukai was just amazing this episode. A really pitch perfect performance. Not too much or over the top, but not lacking either. It was just right and very effective.
What’s interesting is that obviously Kamen Riders kill monsters every week. Even human-turned-monsters. What makes this a little bit different is that Aoba leaves behind at least three friends and comrades who obviously, and as we saw this episode, will feel angry and grief-stricken by the sudden loss of their friend. And this comes after a few episodes of the show really establishing that these guys aren’t just mere Smash, but once humans who have grounded backstories.
Soichi talking about how Aoba wasn’t human anymore almost felt like a way to ease anyone’s concern about our main Rider having killed someone. While also at the same time trying to reassure Sento himself to keep fighting and further whatever endgame Soichi has.
At the same time though there must be a reason why the Three Crows would have had to give up their human names once they were injected with the gas. Maybe there’s a little more there about what happens to these people once they turn into Smash or even Sento, Ryuga and Kazumi becoming Riders. Plus, they really were willing to sacrifice themselves and ready to die (though maybe goaded on by Soichi) for their boss.
But it’s definitely a dark cloud hanging over Sento’s head. It’s such a heavy development and twist that I really hope the show doesn’t undo it in some easy way. This will certainly open up some great story possibilities. But sometimes having dire consequences like that need to stick and not have a convenient way out in order to have a great story. The way the show’s been moving forward though, I’m optimistic that they’ve got something pretty good coming up.
Still the best part about this episode that I enjoyed the most has to be Sento being distraught and Ryuga, Misora and Sawa just at a loss for what they can do. It’s been a pretty rough, to put it lightly, couple of weeks for Sento. With all the revelations about his life, it’s not unreasonable that he would feel the way he did this episode.
Sento and Ryuga’s great relationship is also put to good use again in this episode with Ryuga feeling guilty about what happened to Sento. They’ve really been using that relationship to the fullest in terms of plot. And I appreciate that. It’s really a great way to add some depth to the overall story when you’ve got full characters with strong relationships.
Not sure what to make of this Face Off. It’s such a government thing to do to lay all the burden on just one or two people. But the Hokuto prime minister just turning full on madwoman is very fascinating to see. The way she’s acting I assume she’s not long for the show. Lol
But again the episode was just very well done and really was very emotional. It was executed very well with Atsuhiro Inukai and the rest of the cast really delivering. Definitely very unexpected and I think maybe that’s why I enjoyed it that much more. Looking forward to what’s next.