Sakura asks Ikki if the new Stamp will be able to separate Aguilera from her demon like he was able to do with Julio. He believes so. But their top priority right now is dealing with Olteca who is killing people to create Giftarians.
Olteca is currently meeting with his acolytes, telling them that while Revice is their biggest hurdle, they should be focusing on Kadota Hiromi for now.
At the Fenix gym, Hiromi recalls Doctor Mikoshiba’s words about his 80-year-old-like body stemming from using the Demons Driver. Looking at the Driver, it suddenly lets out a sinister laugh.
Over at the lab, Director Akaishi asks George how the Demons Driver is doing. George says alright and also gives an update on “restoring” a mysterious Stamp related to the Gifu coffin.
Later, Hiromi visits Commander Wakabayashi’s grave where he meets with Yamagiri Chigusa, a Fenix officer working undercover amongst Olteca’s cultists. She gives Commander Kadota an update on her mission.
Hiromi says he is far from reaching Commander Wakabayashi’s level as a leader right now. But Chigusa says Hiromi was the top of their class. Just then, Captain Tabuchi Tatsuhiko approaches them and reminds her that Hiromi was actually the worst of their class.
That evening, Mama Igarashi, Ikki and Sakura are preparing for dinner when Papa Igarashi comes home from his check-up. They are worried when he tells them he has a severe case and asks Ikki to take care of Mama if something happens to him. His disease… a cavity.
Anyway, Vice asks Ikki to let him eat some curry. But Mama Igarashi will not allow it since she hasn’t forgiven him for trying to eat her yet.
Daiji comes home and asks to speak with Ikki about his concern for Hiromi. Coincidentally, Chigusa calls them, also wanting to talk about Hiromi.
Chigusa tells them about her undercover mission to infiltrate Olteca’s ranks. She tells them about what happened at Commander Wakabayashi’s grave earlier. Tatsuhiko, who was good friends with Hiromi and Chigusa, was upset at Hiromi being unable to protect their commander and said Hiromi was not fit to be commander, let alone a Kamen Rider. Tatsuhiko proposed that he’ll take over as Demons. But Hiromi suddenly collapsed.
Chigusa asks Daiji and Ikki to make sure Hiromi doesn’t push himself.
Next day, Julio approaches Sakura at the dojo. He tells her to call him “Tamaki” instead and assures her that he is not an enemy. Hikaru carefully watches them from afar.
After Tamaki asks her to, Sakura goes to speak with Aguilera to try and tell her that Ikki can help her live as a normal human being. Aguilera doesn’t take kindly to the suggestion. She transforms and attacks Sakura. But Sakura also henshins and a quick swipe forces Aguilera to revert back.
Sakura tells Aguilera to wake up. But Aguilera says all she wants is Gifu-sama’s return and nothing else. Aguilera tells Sakura to never look for her ever again and storms off.
Hikaru, again, watches from around the corner.
Over at Fenix, Ikki and Daiji find a weak Hiromi in the locker room. They tell him to stop pushing himself. Hiromi insists he’s okay, but then admits that he’s nearing his limit. He refuses to just give up because he has always dreamed of being a hero.
Hiromi remembers their training days and how he almost quit because he was the weakest of their class. But Commander Wakabayashi had some wise words for him. Being a hero involves the ability to understand one’s own strength. Those who persevere through failures and setbacks will become strong, genuine heroes. The decision to quit or keep fighting is the battle one must fight within yourself.
Those words encouraged Hiromi to train even harder and it paid off with him eventually becoming a Kamen Rider. That’s why he feels he must keep going.
Hiromi leaves. Daiji is surprised at Ikki’s lack of busybodiness in not stopping Hiromi.
Daiji chases after Hiromi who storms into George’s office and pins him to the wall. Hiromi demands to know what is the secret behind the Demons Driver. George says the Driver was never meant to be his in the first place.
Just then, Chigusa calls Hiromi to report that Olteca is planning to use the Gifu Stamp on a large group of people. Daiji stops Hiromi from heading out to the scene and insists that he stay and rest.
“You can’t save anyone when you’re dead.”
On their way out, Ikki runs into Tatsuhiko. He tells the captain about Chigusa telling them about the three friends as well as her undercover mission. Tatsuhiko is surprised she would do that, but Ikki says she was just worried about Hiromi’s health. Tatsuhiko says that is none of Ikki’s business.
Tatsuhiko finds Hiromi to say Chigusa called to ask to speak with them both.
Ikki, Daiji and Fenix forces arrive at the location Chigusa gave them. But it turns out to be a trap. Ikki realizes what’s going on and he quickly leaves.
Hiromi and Tatsuhiko arrive at the place they’re meeting Chigusa. But Hiromi points his gun at Tatsuhiko, suspecting him of being a traitor since Chigusa had just called him herself.
Suddenly, Chigusa pops up behind Hiromi and slaps him. She points a pair of guns at both Hiromi and Tatsuhiko. Turns out she is a full-fledged Olteca cultist and this was all a plan to draw Hiromi out into the open without Revice in the picture.
Olteca attacks Hiromi, demanding he hand over the Demons Driver. They battle inside the school, but Hiromi is far from being 100%. Tatsuhiko hurries in, but gets swatted aside.
Olteca grabs Hiromi and tosses him to the floor as he approaches Tatsuhiko to Stamp him. Thankfully, Ikki and Vice arrive just in time. Vice grabs Tatsuhiko away from Chigusa.
Ikki explains how he realized Chigusa deliberately earned the brothers’ trust in order to lure Hiromi away from them.
A distraught Hiromi asks Chigusa why she would betray them like this. But Chigusa says she decided after she learned the truth behind Fenix. Olteca is willing to explain who is really “on the side of justice,” but Ikki and Vice quickly henshin. They take their battle outside.
Chigusa leaves Hiromi and Tatsuhiko with a #GraciasDeadmans.
Hiromi apologizes to Tatsuhiko for suspecting him. Tatsuhiko says it is his fault for barreling forward without telling him. He only wanted to protect Hiromi by forcing the Demons Driver off him after learning how the Driver is hastening the decay of Hiromi’s body.
Outside, a new Deadman appears to help Olteca, taking Ikki and Vice by surprise. They go Volcano.
Hiromi runs outside and is about to henshin. But his Driver suddenly speaks, excited about being able to feast on Hiromi’s life.
This was definitely a better episode than last week. Probably more deserving of the no credits than the last one too. A full, exciting episode with a strong plot and actually consequential plot development.
First of all, we already know there’s plenty of shady things going on at Fenix. So Chigusa’s tease about “the truth” comes as no surprise. George’s suspicious smirking every week would be enough to suspect something’s going on. Then we get introduced to Director Akaishi who looks and acts more like a villain boss than any of the Deadman3 lol
Anyway, we’ll deal with them when whatever big bombshell is actually dropped.
But the best thing about this episode was it being a Hiromi focus. If you told me after the first few episodes that Hiromi would become an important character, I wouldn’t have believed you. I thought he’d be a recurring character at best. But the show has been able to establish and develop his character well. It’s one reason why him becoming a Rider (actually, the first secondary Rider debut of the season!) felt earned and deserved. It fit in the story and wasn’t just some out of nowhere plot twist/development that made no sense. (*cough*Saber*cough*)
So Hiromi getting a bit of a focus episode is great. I don’t expect next week is actually his “final battle” as the title suggests. At least, I hope not. Though with a Driver called “Demons,” you’re obviously going to run into some trouble. lol
But there’s pros and cons to whatever direction the show decides to go in. It’s a testament to the strong writing when that’s the case. And also, in comparison, the relatively weaker writing for the Deadmans so far. Especially leading up to the big realignment with their side the last couple of episodes.
Seeing Hiromi’s backstory, including getting to see the real Commander Wakabayashi, was really great. They introduced Chigusa and Tatsuhiko well. And again, it says a lot about the show when Chigusa’s betrayal and the apparent bromance between Hiromi and Tatsuhiko both land smoothly and are both impactful even having just been introduced in this same episode.
It was also nice to get another badass female in Chigusa. And I would love to see her become Olteca’s new right-hand. Especially as Aguilera seems to have been greatly tamed since getting yanked off her throne. Having a strong female villain alongside Olteca would be awesome. I may not be a fan of LuPat, but it was great to see Kazusa Okuyama.
Speaking of Aguilera, the show is definitely leaning into her womance with Sakura. (Is that the word for it? lol) Though the show has been less smooth establishing that sort of kindred spirits connection between them compared to other relationships in the season.
It’s a bit jarring to see the Julio-less Tamaki Gou just appear like that. Which adds to the kind of, I don’t know, passive feeling I have of last week’s episode. Still, I like the show continuing that interaction between JulioGou and Sakura. Which of course involves Hikaru’s lurking about as well. I feel like the show has done a good job of dropping just enough suspicious teasing about the Ushijimas to feel mysterious and exciting.
I also see what the show is doing with Papa Igarashi. Keeping his situation in the comic relief area until BOOM! The big shocking, dramatic reveal about whatever the truth is about his missing heart and all related storylines.
Thinking about it, Revice is definitely not short of potential climactic episodes. They are juggling so many plot threads right now. Yet it all feels seamless and relatively smooth. They’ve got things under control. And it’s resulted in a continually exciting and fun experience every week. Even the weakest episodes are stronger than Sa… well, you know.
Anyway, I liked this episode a lot more than last week’s. Big developments and great character moments.