Vice helps to recap what happened after the cliffhanger two weeks ago. As Ikki is about to deliver a Stamping Finish, Kagerou dehenshins and pretends to be Daiji begging his brother to stop. Ikki hesitates and falls to the ground. Vice calls Kagerou a coward.
Kagerou henshins back to Evil and delivers a Darkness Finish that forces Ikki to dehenshin.
Kagerou laughs and says this is exactly what he wanted to show Daiji. Ikki crawls over and grabs Kagerou’s legs, trying to call out to Daiji. Kagerou says Daiji is long gone.
Hiromi, meanwhile, takes care of the three Deadmans and rushes over to whisk Ikki away before Kagerou can finish him for good.
Vice welcomes us back to the present. Hiromi has brought Ikki home to the spa and after bandaging him up, Sakura suggests Ikki go to the hospital. He says no. She asks Hiromi to say something.
Vice is curious about what’s inside Hiromicchi’s head, so he sneaks in and finds Hiromi crying “like a baby”.
Hiromi speaks up and says Kagerou has endangered so many people that they need to consider Daiji gone. Sakura asks if Fenix is really trying to do the right thing by having Kamen Riders exist. Hiromi answers that they are needed to achieve peace.
But Sakura doesn’t think so if it means sacrificing Daiji and throwing Ikki’s life in to chaos.
Ikki says he agreed to become a Kamen Rider in order to protect people and their families. But Sakura asks what use is that when their own family is being torn apart. She gets up and leaves.
Vice pats Ikki’s head to help the pain go away. But Ikki says that’s not where the pain is right now.
Meanwhile, Julio is annoyed that Kagerou isn’t helping gather sacrifices. But Olteca says they can get rid of him once he eliminates Revice. Aguilera says that’s what they get for relying on a liar, but they just have to go with the flow for now. She leaves to go out and “play.”
Up at Fenix HQ, George tells Commander Wakabayashi that he is feeling pretty miserable since he had high hopes when he gave Daiji the Two SiDriver. But now it is being wasted. Commander Wakabayashi points out that everything is an experiment to George. But George says he’s just indulging in his love for Kamen Riders.
Sakura is taking a walk to clear her head when she is approached by a taunting Aguilera under the bridge. Sakura tries to fight her, but Aguilera is much too quick.
Aguilera offers Sakura come become a child of Gifu-sama and perhaps she will be able to find the answers she is looking for. Sakura does not understand.
Hikaru, who looks like he’s out for a jog, calls over to Sakura. When she turns back, Aguilera is gone.
Back at the spa, Ikki is taking a dip. He says he never imagined losing Daiji. Vice says Daiji isn’t dead yet, but Ikki points out that the guy they’re fighting is just a demon with Daiji’s face.
Vice says Ikki is turning out to be a bigger liar than he is. He points out Ikki saying he believes in Daiji when he actually doesn’t. Ikki protests, but can’t help but think Daiji’s gone.
Vice repeats that Daiji is not dead yet and is actually fighting very hard to escape. Vice explains how he was able to sneak inside Kagerou when Ikki had grabbed on to his legs earlier. Inside, he found Daiji with eyes that showed he hasn’t yet given up.
Ikki asks why Vice didn’t say that sooner. Vice says aside from Ikki not giving him the chance, he didn’t think it was something that needed to be said.
Ikki remembers Mama Igarashi telling him that he knows Daiji better than anyone. That makes him realize that perhaps he never did put his faith in his brother. Ikki admits that by saying he would save Daiji, he may have only thinking of himself.
Vice encourages Ikki and says to make sure to apologize to Daiji after this is all over.
Ikki compliments Vice by telling him he does say something worthwhile from time to time.
Just then, George calls to say they’ve found Kagerou’s hideout and asks if Ikki can do this. Ikki gets up out of the water and is ready.
Hiromi and Fenix forces arrive at Kagerou’s hideout first. Kagerou Stamps the three scammers to release the three Deadmans again. Fenix forces get the three scammers to safety as Hiromi henshins.
Ikki arrives and Kagerou is pleased to hear Ikki finally say his name.
Ikki & Vice and Kagerou henshin. Ikki tells Vice to help Hiromi while he takes care of Kagerou himself. The three Deadmans combine and it gives Vice and Hiromicchi a bigger challenge.
Ikki and Kagerou battle. Kagerou says he appreciates Ikki being overprotective and Daiji being weak as that is what gave birth to him. He repeats that it is Daiji that resents Ikki and that hatred and resentment is what feeds Kagerou’s power.
With a Darkness Finish, Kagerou forces Ikki to dehenshin. That also returns Vice into Ikki’s body and leaves Hiromi alone and forced to dehenshin. Fenix forces help get Hiromi to safety.
Kagerou repeats that Daiji is weak. But Ikki says Daiji is way stronger than he could ever be. Ikki flashes back to when he was able to find lost Daiji. Daiji had remained calm and knocked on some steel debris in order to lead Ikki to him.
Daiji said he knew Ikki would be able to find him. Ikki said he believed in Daiji as well since he is strong.
Ikki apologizes to Daiji, realizing he had indeed been fighting this whole time too. Ikki admits to being selfish and overprotective, never genuinely putting his faith in Daiji or considering his feelings.
Ikki asks Daiji to forgive him. The message reaches Daiji loud and clear. Daiji punches the walls of Kagerou and that releases the Brachio Stamp.
Ikki henshins and quickly swipes the Stamp which he uses to uphenshin.
Ikki and Vice take on Kagerou with the new power and are able to easily finish him off with a Stamping Finish. Ikki and Vice are forced to dehenshin from the attack. Amidst the flames of the huge explosion, Ikki sees his younger brother emerge and hurries over.
Daiji says he knew Ikki would come for him. Ikki says he believed in Daiji and his strength as well.
As the Brachio Deadman pops up out of the rubble, Daiji tells a weaker, injured Ikki to leave this to him.
Daiji slaps on the Two SiDriver and flips it over.
Commander Wakabayashi and an excited George watch as Daiji henshins to Kamen Rider Live.
Vice is also excited and asks if that’s really Daiji they’re seeing. Ikki says of course it’s his beloved little brother.
Delivering a Justice Finish, Daiji finishes off the Deadman for good.
With this, George says he has completed his collection of ten Vistamps. Commander Wakabayashi points out that this was all according to George’s plan. George says Evil’s growth in strength simply doubled Live’s in return.
Back home, Sakura is pondering the meaning of “true strength” when she sees her two brothers stumbling home together, all smiles.
The Igarashis share a happy dinner as a complete family for the first time in a while.
Vice comments that it certainly is a struggle to be able to achieve happiness. He turns to a photo of the siblings and notices Ikki disappearing from it.
What an awesome feeling. In the last year, I would be begging for golf on Japanese TV if only to get a break from a certain Kamen Rider series. That’s definitely not the case now. These last two weeks have felt very long in the world of Kamen Rider. And finally getting a brand-new episode (after just two weeks, mind you) is such a welcome event.
Let me tell you, it’s really a great feeling to feel this way about Kamen Rider again.
And this was definitely a great episode to get back into the thick of it. I think it was a wonderful conclusion to the brotherly angst and of course, an awesome debut for Kamen Rider Live.
When it comes to toku (both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai), I try to avoid spoilers. That includes any toy spoilers as well. All those magazine scans and toy silhouettes. Though I’ll certainly buy a nice keepsake from a season I might particularly love, I’m more of a TV fan rather than a toy-following fan.
So I was definitely surprised to see the debut for Kamen Rider Live. It was such an exciting moment that I know would’ve been completely ruined for me had I known such a Rider was on its way. I don’t even know if it was actually spoiled or anything, but regardless, I’ve certainly experienced such situations over the years and many times it would hurt my viewing experience.
Not today though!
Would I have liked them to drag this brotherly angst out a bit more? Sure. Do I hope Kagerou is still lurking about somewhere? Definitely. But the clever Evil-to-Live climax was wonderfully executed. And it truly was an exciting and fun moment.
What’s great was this episode was really more of an Ikki focus rather than Daiji, even though it was Live’s debut. That is, we got much more development for Ikki’s character. And that in turn merely revealed a bit about Daiji’s character that perhaps we already knew.
Ikki coming to the realization that maybe his well-meaning care for his brother can come across as self-serving is a kind of story you don’t normally see. Understanding that subconsciously, maybe he doubted his brother or at the very least, did not recognize how much his brother can handle or has grown.
Being overprotective of a sibling, especially younger sibling, is a common and understandable feeling. And we know Ikki is a good guy.
But such doubt can definitely affect a person. And as we’ve seen, it has caused Daiji to be insecure and feel inadequate. Even if we could see that he is more than up to the challenge of fighting for what’s right. It’s actually quite a typical story amongst siblings, but not often seen on either toku franchise. At least, not in the way Revice has told the story over these ten episodes. The FIRST ten episodes at that.
It was great to see Vice be the voice of reason and provide the wise advice to get Ikki to come to his realization. #NiceVice indeed!
And the use of that childhood memory was very good. Ikki remembering that Daiji was actually very brave already back then. It’s okay to be protective of one another, but it’s also okay to believe and trust in one another as well. Last episode, I commented on how relatively calm Mama and Papa Igarashi were after what happened at the onsen. But now we can see that they probably just trusted and believed in their children. It’s a very nice sentiment to see it in that way.
Now obviously, it’s time for Sakura to step into the spotlight and get corrupted! hehe I’m looking forward to seeing a different story for her. And it seems to be centered around strength and power. And also a little bit about the greater good vs. being selfish? Though not in a negative way. I can’t think of a better word right now. But Sakura talked about wanting to protect their family first over anything else. That’s another common and understanding feeling to have.
But whatever Sakura’s story will be, I have high hopes the show will be able to land it smoothly. They’ve done just that these first ten episodes so far.
I’m interested to see if Hikaru and maybe his family will play a part as well. Could they actually be #TeamIgarashi after all? Maybe in a guardian angel-type of way. (Hey, we’re talking about fighting demons after all!)
Overall, an exciting and wonderful climax to what has been an amazing start to the season. I can’t say this enough, but I am just so happy to be so excited about Kamen Rider once again.