While Touma gets thrown into the hole, Kento and Ren give their last breaths to defeat the last of the evil Sages. Yuuri stumbles in to resurrect them using his own last ounces of life light energy as well. Luna, herself, continues her trek to the penthouse floor of Storious’ tower.
Thinking Touma is dead, Storious laughs. But actually, Touma gets pulled out of the hole by the *checksnotes* previously-sad, now-happy dragon boy. Touma henshins to Primitive Dragon and resumes his battle with Storious.
Mei frantically continues writing her post asking people to share what stories they’re thinking of as they are all about to die.
Touma is forced to dehenshin. Storious gloats that the stories Touma loves so much are just about gone. But Luna arrives and she and Touma scream at each other before Rintaro and Kento jump in to take on Storious for a while because they are the two main secondary Riders of the season, if you’ve forgotten.
Touma takes Luna into his arms. She says she’s finally found him and that she wants to hear one of his stories again. She begs him to keep making new stories even after she disappears. She floats into the sky and a seal appears around her.
All the Seiken begin floating up to point at her to form another seal which then turns Luna into a ball of light. Touma reaches out to the ball and pulls out the Wonder Almighty Book.
This new Book carries everyone’s stories of hopes and dreams. Touma, Rintaro and Kento henshin and battle Storious for the last time. They use every single Book they’ve collected during the season.
Storious says stories have no power. Touma asks Storious why he started writing poetry in the first place, but Storious answers that he’s long forgotten such irrelevant things.
Touma insists Storious still remembers the stories of his dreams deep down in his heart.
As the trio force him to dehenshin, Storious weeps as he flashes back to a happier time of him sharing his poetry with children and locals. Storious realizes Touma’s got a brand new story on his waist. But it doesn’t matter, the end of the world is upon them.
Storious fades away as the tower begins to collapse, the Books encapsulating sections of the city close and the world begins to disappear.
Mei posts her message to the internets, saying that everyone’s stories can save the world.
Touma, Rintaro and Kento run outside of the tower before it collapses. But Touma collapses and also begins to disappear. Kento and Rintaro take Touma into their arms as he takes his last breaths.
Before getting engulfed by the void, a random couple in the city says they have a story. Mei sees someone reply to her post as well.
Touma finds himself in the darkness, but he begins to hear little children. Then children of all ages. They are all excitedly talking about their favorite stories. And it is these stories that will rebuild the world. Touma tells Luna, wherever she is, to listen.
The faces of the 71+ supporting characters of the season pop up and Touma thanks them.
Fast forward to one year later. Kento explains that Touma disappeared and the world was saved. The Books remained, but they couldn’t turn their pages. Yuuri’s gone and the people who disappeared are still missing.
But the good news is Touma’s final novel, Eternal Story has won the Hasegawa Keiichi award. Mei accepts the award on Touma’s behalf saying stories have the power to bring joy to the world and create their futures. That’s why she believes stories saved the world.
Mei says she believes Touma is still writing stories wherever he is. And she will get those manuscripts no matter what.
Touma emerges from his shop in a brand new Wonderworld that was born out of everyone’s hopes and dreams. He walks to a meadow and suddenly all the Wonder Ride Books at the Northern Base glow and fly away. Yuuri suddenly appears as does Editor Yuki and all the vanished people around the world.
Everyone runs to the magic tree where Kento is sitting and celebrate when Touma comes walking toward them.
Touma recounts how Luna, Viktor, Isaac, Storious, Legeiel, Zooous, Bacht/Bahato appeared to him at the nuWonderland meadow. They proclaimed that it was time for people to return home. Storious, Legeiel and Zooous say the power to change the world is within all of them: hopes, dreams and stories.
Storious said Touma really was his hero. Luna told Touma to share his stories with the world.
After Mei welcomes Touma home, Touma and Kento giggle that they and Luna will always be together.
Episode Thoughts/Season Wrap-Up
I don’t know if I’ve ever went into a Kamen Rider finale as apathetic and uninterested as I was going into this episode.
So the world gets reset and Touma takes a sabbatical to Nu Wonderworld before he reunites with everyone? HUWAAAAT?!
Free will? Keep your promises? That we can write our own stories? Encourage kids to read? Knowledge is power? Let me devote my life to finding the random girl that popped up while I was under a tree?
What was the point of this season? If we were to judge by that final scene, it was bringing Touma, Kento and Luna back together. The final shot of the season (not including next week’s “special” episode) is of a pop-up of the three characters that I guess are the most important, central figures of Saber.
I went back to my Season Wrap-up of Ghost (my previous least-favorite season) and what I said back then can apply to Saber as well:
The lack of really an overarching theme is what made the season unfocused. The villains had no clear objective. So that left Takeru needing to collect Eyecons and being granted a wish as the main premise of the season. But when he got his wish a couple of episodes into the season, that should’ve been a sign of things to come. That is, there wouldn’t be much focus or direction or story left to tell.
The season just ran in circles with random twists that either were supposed to give the impression that there actually were cohesive stories or “Let’s just throw a bunch of cool moments to the wall and see what sticks.”
Well apparently, everything stuck to the wall because it felt like they included every single idea they had into the season without actually crafting stories around them.
My main criticism of Saber essentially boils down to me not caring enough about the characters or the story. And a reason that I didn’t care being the show just didn’t execute whatever it was trying to do properly.
An easy criticism is to say the season had no vision. But actually, Saber did have a vision. Several visions, to be exact. And I think that’s the problem. Too much going on with too many characters. And with too much going on, it doesn’t allow for any of what’s happening to have a chance to land and marinate.
Keeping up with the food analogies, the season was undercooked. It might look nice on the surface. But when you stick that thermometer inside, you find it’s still very much frozen in the middle.
Saber‘s crowded field prevented any of the plot threads they introduced (of which there are many) to have time to develop. You need to create a strong foundation for any story to really be impactful. That includes the depth and details to actually set up and lay out the story in a way that is engaging and understandable. Then you need to establish a strong emotional connection to the story. You want to be interested in what happens next. You don’t want to reach the end of an episode and think “What the hell was that?”
The same feelings can be applied to the characters themselves. We want character growth. We want to see their motivations. We want to learn about where they’ve come from, where they are right now and where they want to go. For most of the characters (if not all), we did not get that.
I think a case can be made that this was very much a plot-driven season when you could easily swap out or even omit some characters and you’d still get the same story beats and plot points. In fact, less characters or combined characters or switching characters’ stories could’ve gone a long way to yield a better result than what we actually got.
Again, this finale put so much importance on Luna as if she was Touma’s first love or something and the linchpin to the entire story. I think that alone might be the biggest misstep of the season because they made the endgame revolve around a character who is absolutely irrelevant most of the year. And completely without depth or foundation the few times she is ever on-screen. Touma talking about how he has to find her every other week does not equal character development.
And then they go and make Luna an adult in these final episodes to bring her to an appropriate age for Touma. Really, only to allow for this vaguely romantic, star-crossed lovers dynamic that is completely absurd. But that just added to the disconnect with the character and story.
You remember Sophia is supposedly a copy of Luna, so you would assume Sophia is what Luna would look like fully grown. But to use Sophia as adultLuna would then contradict the way they’ve developed Sophia as her own character all season. (Which is not much to begin with.) That would just add a whole other mess that would be avoided if they didn’t include that detail of Sophia being a copy which ended up also being irrelevant to the story, anyway.
Do you follow? Because I’m even confusing myself. And that’s been another problem all year too.
Saber was just unfocused. Trying to juggle so many things at once harmed a season that started out with a promising theme and motif. Saber actually had a couple of good ideas and premises within the season. But none of them were ever fully cooked. Everything felt half-hearted or incomplete.
This final episode climax was really only the culmination of events from the last couple of episodes. This final arc, basically. You didn’t need to have even watched the first 35-40 episodes. It was almost like nothing that happened in those episodes had any impact on what ultimately happened this finale.
And you can’t even say those 40 episodes were just to introduce and develop the main characters in order to make this final arc and final episode more impactful and meaningful.
Because they did nothing of the sort. With the story being so all over the place, there were rarely any opportunities for the cast to truly lay a strong foundation for their characters. For final arc climaxes, you want to be able to relate to the main characters. You want to actually care about them and be invested in their 40+ episode journey. But I did not feel that way with Saber. I could care less about what happens to any of these people.
And for that, I think one of Saber‘s bigger crimes is not giving this cast a chance to truly shine. This was a good cast that I know would’ve absolutely hit it out of the park had they been given better material.
I think Robin Furuya as Storious especially was the most wasted member of the cast. These last few episodes with Storious going crazy and going full-dark side gave Robin Furuya a chance to just go all out and have the most fun with the character. I honestly think he would have delivered just as hard as Daisuke Nakagawa and Shuya Sunagawa did so amazingly as Jin and Horobi last year.
The most memorable scene for me in this finale was Storious thinking about the kids he used to tell stories or read his poems to. And I guess him remembering those happier times and regretting his descent into darkness. Or something.
That would’ve been a great story to tell. The final boss having originally been a nice, noble person before being corrupted by the darkness. And realizing his mistake as he dies. Maybe even getting redeemed. This is not a new story or theme. Heck, last season did it beautifully.
But Saber would’ve immediately been much better had they gone with a simpler story like that instead. No clear villain, no clear endgame. What’s there to root for or get excited about? This isn’t a slice of life series, after all.
I can’t even say that Saber was trying to do something new or different. Every possible story they introduced and either randomly dropped or waved off was something we’ve seen before. But again, the problem wasn’t the ideas themselves. It was the way they threw it all into the pot without any cohesion.
Maybe this is a matter of needing to focus more on quality instead of quantity. Because the season had no problem with the “quantity” of characters or plot threads. But they definitely had plenty of problems with “quality.”
Obviously, a thank you and appreciation to the entire cast and crew for their hard work all year. Especially during COVID. Even if we might not like or enjoy the season, being a fan of the franchise, we know the hard work that goes into producing close to 50 episodes plus all the other movies, web specials and other content that fills the year.
But ultimately, Saber was a wasted opportunity. A cool theme with interesting possibilities wasted in a mish-mash of unfinished ideas, lack of depth and misguided decisions.
I started watching Kamen Rider with OOO and Fourze and have watched every season (plus Decade) since then. And sadly, I do not hesitate to consider Saber my least favorite season of them all.