Olteca is upset when the demon inside the Demons (who introduces himself as Vail) decides to leave and “return home.” Olteca blames George for this. But Director Akaishi walks in to remind Olteca that Gifu’s revival is near and that he shouldn’t lose focus.
At Fenix, George is hard at work trying to find a way to separate Ikki and Vice again. He bangs his desk and an old book falls off; Uncovering Material Cultures with Archaeology. He flashes back to his childhood when he would do many “goddamn” experiments, always wanting to learn more. His father once told him that “The future is decided by what you can learn from the past.”
That gives George an idea and he begins researching Ikki’s and Happy Spa’s past.
Meanwhile, the Igarashis are struggling to attract customers because Vice has been scaring them off with his tail and they have trouble keeping him in check.
“I guess there’s no point in hiding it,” Daiji tells Sakura. She thinks that means he knows about her Weekend activities. But Daiji just tells her about Kagerou starting to act up again and asks if Lovekov has been the same.
Papa Igarashi laments that this is Happy Spa’s biggest predicament since the fire. Mama Igarashi says Papa Igarashi was a big hero that day. This is the first Sakura has heard about the spa burning in a fire because it happened before she was born. Daiji says he’d heard about it, but was too young when it happened.
Ikki seems to remember something, then doesn’t. Vice takes over and stops the conversation for now.
Just then, Papa Igarashi starts to feel some chest pain, so Mama Igarashi and Buu-san help him inside to rest.
Over at Weekend, Papa Karizaki is looking at a rock that George had tried studying when he was a child. Papa Ushijima ask if he’s missing his son, but Karizaki reminds him that a Weekend rule is to not mind other people’s business.
“I will have to challenge that boy someday,” Karizaki says.
Suddenly, Vail flies in and says hello to Karizaki. Papa Karizaki warns Vail not to touch his son. But Vail refuses to take orders from him since he has a one and only partner. Vail leaves to go to him.
Over at Mannequin HQ, a distraught Aguilera begs Olteca to stop creating Giftarians. Olteca says only if she promises to serve him. She agrees and they seal the deal.
On his way to Happy Spa, George senses Olteca, Aguilera and the Giftarians and finds them at a nearby plaza. Olteca says George is pretty slick trying to pull a fast one on him. George has no idea what he’s talking about.
The Igarashi Sibs and Vice also arrive. Aguilera transforms and the Igarashi Sibs henshin and they battle. Daiji, Ikki and Vice make quick work of the Giftarians and their energy gets sucked in by the Gifu coffin.
Suddenly, Ikki/Vice and Daiji are forced to dehenshin. Vice and Kagerou within Daiji feel an intense pain. Lovekov is also ejected from the Sakura’s fans and feels discomfort.
Aguilera shoots and forces Sakura to dehenshin, knocking her and her brothers down the steps.
Just as suddenly, a man wearing the Demons Driver arrives. That man is…
Papa Igarashi henshins to Kamen Rider Vail. One wave of his arm and he forces Aguilera to dehenshin. Olteca summons Giftarians, but Vail shows his immense power as he violently destroys both like it’s absolutely nothing.
Olteca and Aguilera run off.
Ikki, Daiji and Sakura are speechless. “I can finally kill them,” Vail says.
Ikki springs up and grabs onto Vail, trying to reach their father. “I see you’ve also become a Kamen Rider,” Vail says. He puts his hand on Ikki’s forehead and a rush of memories come flooding back to Ikki.
Ikki screams as he falls to his knees. Vice tries to get Ikki to stop remembering.
Vail raises his hand once again. But Daiji and Sakura quickly step up to shield their older brother.
“Is this that family you so desperately desired?” Vail says.
Daiji and Sakura plead to their father to stop this. Daiji and Sakura brace for an attack as Vail revs his hand up.
But Papa Igarashi seems to be able to regain control of his own body and stops Vail. They dehenshin. Papa Igarashi tells Vail to leave his family alone.
Vail seems to leave the Driver and Papa Igarashi regains consciousness for a second before passing out. Buu-san suddenly appears and says Papa Igarashi will be okay. He just reverted to his “old self” for a moment.
Buu-san carries Papa Igarashi home and says it’s not his place to tell them anything.
Ikki, however, says he has remembered everything.
Back at the spa, Ikki is resolved to tell his siblings all of it.
Ikki remembers the night of the fire. Their home and spa is burning to the ground. Mama Igarashi and Daiji are laying on the floor unconscious.
Vail (in Papa Igarashi’s body) laughs maniacally as he relishes in destroying everything that makes Papa Igarashi happy as a price for “betraying” him. Papa Igarashi begs Vail stop this.
But Vail turns to Ikki to say that this is his father’s true form. Vail never thought Igarashi Genta, his traitorous partner, would choose this kind of lame life over him.
Just then, Vice emerges from Ikki and tries to encourage him to be brave. Vice offers to help if Ikki agrees to a contract. In exchange, Ikki will have no memory of what’s happened. Ikki agrees and Vice puts him to sleep before he makes his move. “See you again someday!”
Daiji questions why Vice didn’t tell them sooner. But Vice says he never breaks a contract, including now since it was Vail who returned Ikki’s memories and not him.
The Siblings try to wrap their head around this revelation. But George has more. Papa Karizaki is also telling Papa Ushijima the same story.
George recalls a story from his father when he was younger.
The Gifu Stamp and Coffin were discovered in Latin America, 50 years ago. Research and studies were commissioned in the name of world peace. The discovery that the Gifu Stamp could turn human into demon was exploited for militaristic purposes.
Thirty years ago, Papa Karizaki became head of that research and that resulted in the creation of the Vistamps to weaponize the demons and a Driver capable of handling that power. However, it came with the side effect that the demon inside would eat away at your life. Which is what happened with Hiromi.
One solution was to inject the holder of the Driver with Gifu DNA.
One day, a young man was brought to Papa Karizaki in critical condition. “It was then that I sold my soul to the devil.”
Papa Karizaki injected Gifu cells into the young man’s heart and it was able to beat again. But he then became a guinea pig for their research. And that man was Igarashi Genta who used to fight as Kamen Rider Vail.
Ikki, Daiji and Sakura brace themselves as George directly tells them what this means. The reason the three of them can henshin is because they are direct descendants of Gifu.
I’m in tears. WTF. I am so happy that a toku show is able to produce MaGMCMs for me again. The tears started welling up and by the end, I was bawling. What an excellently executed episode. Breathtaking.
I think other shows could learn a little from this episode in how to deliver exposition in a way that works. We were obviously told a lot of information in this episode. But it worked because it involved fully-developed characters that we already care about. When you already have characters that are well-grounded and have well-established their relevance to the overall story and each other, you can give as much as exposition as you want without it feeling like a lecture.
In a smaller way, seeing those scenes of Little George were great. Pairing it with adult George being more normal and less sketchy was a way to make both moments impactful. We see George as his inquisitive self. This ambitious guy who doesn’t want to leave questions unanswered. If he can find a solution, he’ll find it. He’s a scientist, not yet mad (lol). And so this little bit of backstory paired with what we know about him over 25 episodes also helped with the revelations about Papa Karizaki as well.
In a bigger way were all the revelations with the Igarashis. Of course, we knew there was something about the Igarashis that made them special or different. We knew there was some connection between Papa Igarashi and the Gifu slab. But I was definitely shocked by, well, everything basically.
And again, the two biggest reasons are just how they were able to lay the pieces down in a way that led up to the final reveal and that this all involved characters we already care about.
If I didn’t care about the Igarashis already, why would I care when three children are shocked to see their father acting like a demon? Why would care if a demon burned down their spa 20 years ago? Why would I care if they have Gifu DNA?
(Even the reveal that Buu-san is Papa Igarashi’s handler of some sort hit the mark!)
But I do and I did.
When Papa Igarashi walked up with the Demons Driver, it was a surprise, but not yet a big shock. It only kept bubbling up from there. That moment Vail destroys the second Giftarian after smashing it into the building and the glass shards raining down was so good.
But the moment that made this episode for me was when Daiji and Sakura shielded Ikki from Vail who, at the time, they still believed was their father. That’s when the tears started for me. (I’m starting to tear up against just remembering it. lol)
I’ve mentioned how much I have loved how the family has been at the center of this season. And that focus and care they’ve put into developing the family as a unit and as separate characters paid off big time with this one moment. And that’s just this one moment too. Imagine how much more moving forward?
Anyway, that scene was perfect. And the show just kept that emotional momentum all the way to that final scene, my 2nd favorite of the episode. Maybe of the whole season. The shot of all three siblings bracing for impact was amazing. In case you missed it, there’s one moment where Sakura grabs on to Ikki’s shirt right before George drops the bomb as well. That’s when I absolutely lost it.
Just wonderful performances from the cast in those two moments.
With Papa Igarashi being a military tool, that’s definitely familiar Kamen Rider territory. But the family aspect and the demon aspect gives it a refreshing feeling. And paired with everything else, it still feels very exciting.
Vail possibly wanting revenge for Papa Igarashi abandoning him to start a family. That’s definitely ripe for some great story.
Vice and youngIkki’s contract is also a great other layer to their relationship too. And I hope they can draw from that in the coming weeks.
Now, I’d love Mama Igarashi to be a Rider too even if she’s only Gifuian(?lol) by marriage. But I also hope that she’s fully involved regardless. We don’t know how much she knows. So, whether it’s the family struggling to keep all this a secret from her as long as possible or her being a concerned, worried and caring mother while her family is going through a crisis; I hope to see her very much involved and engaged with the story.
Everything just came together this episode. I haven’t seen everything come together, from the acting to the directing to the writing, for such an emotionally satisfying Kamen Rider episode since Zero-One.
Like, I don’t even want to talk about whatever was going on with Olteca and Aguilera and the Director wanting to kiss Olteca or something. (lol) This episode was all about the Igarashis with a touch of Karizaki. And that’s absolutely enough to make this, I think, the strongest episode of the season so far. At least, it might be my favorite for now.
And just realizing this is Episode 25, I too should’ve braced myself for the big midseason climax of course. And for sure, it’s not over yet.
Oh! Just remembered. This is definitely an episode worthy of no credits. lol