Recap: Kamen Rider Saber, Episode 29: At That Moment, the Swordsman Made His Move.
Rintaro and Mei are on the rooftop. He recalls the last time they were here when Touma vowed to save the sad boy. Rintaro thought that was ridiculous. But Touma did indeed save him and overcame Primitive Dragon’s berserkess.
Rintaro admires Touma’s resilience and he says it is now his turn. He has decided he will fight alongside Touma and the others. But he has something to take care of with the SoL first.
Mei says alright and promises she will have eclairs waiting for him when he gets back.
Rintaro takes Mei’s hands in his own and thanks her before leaving.
Meanwhile down south, Master Logos tells Reika that after Elemental Dragon was tamed, it’s time to do the same for the Book of the north. She asks him about Calibur. But Reika’s brother Ryoga walks in and says he’s not a problem. Master Logos says their only concern is the Seiken. All the Riders are easily expendable.
Up north, Mei gives everyone the good news about Rintaro rejoining them. But when she mentions that he had things to settle before he returns, they are worried that Rintaro must have gone south to try and expose the SoL snake on his own.
Touma wants to go to south, but none of them have Book Gates that will allow them to enter. Yuuri says an old friend of his (Tassel) visited the southern base and that should have left a path of light allowing them to pass the barrier by following it. Humans aren’t able to go on their own, but thanks to Yuuri’s power, one person can accompany him. Touma says he will go and Yuuri tells him to hang on as they go flying.
Meanwhile down south, Rintaro stumbles upon Reika entering a room where she is keeping Sophia. He listens as Reika demands Sophia tell them the location of the Book containing the secret art of creating humans. Sophia refuses to tell her and Reika says this is her last warning.
Rintaro goes to see Master Logos to report that Reika is a traitor. But Master Logos says Reika is one of the most loyal to their cause. Master Logos explains that the Book of All Knowledge will be restored once they have all the Seiken and Books. And when that happens, all its power will belong to him.
Rintaro says that is not within the principles the SoL stands for. But Master Logos says that is all nonsense and laughs. He says he has the right to rule the world and admits that he’s already eliminated the Sages.
Rintaro cannot believe it. He henshins and prepares to have Master Logos pay for his traitorous behavior. But Ryoga pops in and introduces himself as Kamen Rider Durandal, the closest swordsman to their master.
Ryoga henshins and they battle. Ryoga has the power of teleportation and Rintaro is unable to properly counter any of his attacks.
Meanwhile, Touma and Yuuri arrive at the southern base. They split up and Touma finds Rintaro just as he is forced to dehenshin by Ryoga. Touma quickly henshins to Elemental Dragon.
Touma also struggles with trying to counter Ryoga’s power. He feels Ryoga slashing at him and cutting him.
Ryoga makes Rintaro appear. Rintaro regains consciousness and Ryoga demands Touma hand over the Seiken and Books. Touma dehenshins and Ryoga throws Rintaro to the ground.
Rintaro asks what Touma is doing here and Touma says he came to help. He reminds Rintaro about their promise they made as brothers and friends to always be there for each other.
Rintaro expresses his shock and sadness at seeing the organization that he considered his family be so rotten and corrupt. The SoL that he held in such high regard was all an illusion.
“What the hell have I even been fighting for all this time?!” Rintaro cries. He tells Touma that he doesn’t want to be a burden and asks Touma to leave him and go ahead and destroy the SoL.
“Do you really mean that?!” Touma asks. A distraught Rintaro answers that he does not. He is just frustrated at the situation and sincerely wants to fix the organization and make things right. Touma says they can do that together.
Ryoga says time is up and is about to cut Rintaro down for good. But Touma places his toys on the ground and tells Rintaro that he still wants to fight alongside him.
Touma reminds Rintaro that he is strong. He likes that Rintaro’s conviction and pride is the strongest of any swordsman. That’s why he wants to bring Rintaro back home to their friends.
Touma sees Yuuri around the corner, ready to strike. Touma places the rest of his books on the ground and asks Rintaro to believe in him.
Ryoga swipes the Books and Seiken and then motions to kill Rintaro for good. But Yuuri pops in just in time. Touma and Rintaro grab all the Books off the floor.
Yuuri tells Rintaro to use his Book Gate to have them escape through. But before they can walk through, Ryoga teleports behind Touma and slashes his back. Rintaro catches Touma as he collapses.
Sophia prays that everyone stays safe. Suddenly, Calibur appears in front of her and she is shocked when he reveals himself to be Kento.
Yuuri uphenshins to Episode One and battles Ryoga. Rintaro also henshins, but Touma hands him Elemental Dragon for him to use too.
Rintaro uphenshins and that allows him and Yuuri to whisk Touma back to base. Mei, Ogami-san and Tetsuo hurry over as Yuuri tries to heal Touma’s injury.
Just then, Sophia appears and says that the barrier has been raised and no one will be able to breach the base any longer.
Not gonna lie, I’m kinda disappointed by this episode. After the preview last week, I had very high expectations for this one. Not just for the prospect of Rintaro-Mei romance (or as romantic as Toei gets with its toku lol), but really for what I thought would be a big, emotional moment for Rintaro as he finally fully comes to terms with the truth that his beloved SoL is not what he originally thought it was.
On this uneven season of Kamen Rider, Rintaro has been one of the few well-written characters. And also as close to being fully developed as one can get this season. So the foundation is there for a big moment or even big episode where all we’ve learned and all we know about Rintaro comes together to help a major plot point land. All while also being a good showcase for him as his own character as well.
As someone who’s been the most loyal to the SoL, and unwaveringly so, I feel like the moment of realization should’ve been a heavier and more dramatic moment than it was.
I think the biggest reason why the emotional punches didn’t land as well as they should have this episode was the focus on Shindai Ryoga. That’s been one of Saber‘s problems of course. The fact that they’ve introduced so many supporting characters, but have no idea what to actually do with them. Having Ryoga pop up now means absolutely nothing to us. So him taking up basically 1/3 of this episode sort of diluted the impact of everything else that happened.
Him facing off against Rintaro. Then him slashing at Touma had no weight or depth. I just didn’t care about him or for him. I basically was like “You’re just ruining everything. Please leave and give other people your screentime!”
One of the reasons why I was looking forward to the Rintaro-Mei possibilities was that Rintaro having to save Mei could be another catalyst to him finally acknowledging the SoL is corrupt. Of course, the SoL probably wouldn’t have anything to do with Mei becoming a Megido though. But still.
Rintaro and Mei also have the most well-established non-Touma relationship as well.
I guess Rintaro finding out the South SoL has Sophia (another character we barely care about) was the trigger for him to confront Master Logos. But a lot of those scenes played out like any other exposition scene we might have gotten this season. And the fact that Reika’s been suspicious since they first met her also kind of lessens the impact for Rintaro since he really should’ve been less dense regarding her.
Rintaro and Touma’s scene as well felt too repetitive since this is the kind of emotion and drama we should’ve seen a few weeks ago. Either instead of the bromance roof scene or as a compliment to it. Spreading Rintaro’s epiphany out like this over a few disconnected episodes really lessens that impact it could’ve had.
Aside from Master Logos and the Shindai Sibs, we got that moment of Kento seemingly saving Sophia. All this extra stuff we don’t really care too much about. At least, not at this moment.
So this episode really focused less on Rintaro and more on plot stuff we don’t really care about or has not been well-established. That’s what was disappointing and underwhelming for me.
Rintaro is obviously the season’s main second Rider. Of all the 53 different supporting characters, other than Mei, we’ve known him the longest. And like I mentioned earlier, he’s one of the few characters that’s been well-developed and well-written. He deserves a strong, impactful focus ep. Especially at the end of this defector arc.
Overall, it was an okay episode this week. But I feel underwhelmed and let down. The preview for Episode 30 seems to have what I was expecting for this week. The MegidoMei story has lots of potential. So I will raise my expectations high (perhaps unreasonably so lol) once again.