When Lovekov accidentally shows her foot from around the corner, Ikki begins to put the pieces together. Seeing Vice beginning to disappear, Ikki remembers Vice promising to ensure he has a happily life.
Ikki realizes Vice is sacrificing himself in order for him to regain his Igarashi memories. Understanding what’s happening, he calls out to Vice to turn around so they can start round two.
Vice asks if Ikki is mad and Ikki says of course he is.
Right before they henshin, Ikki says this will be their last memory together. They do their handshake and playfully engage in their final battle.
The spectators all flashback to Vice explaining his plan to them. He knew that in getting Ikki’s memories back by being defeated by him, that Ikki would lose his memories of Vice instead. Sakura points out that Vice, Lovekov and Kagerou are also Igarashis. But Vice wants to do this so Ikki can live a happy life and asks them all to help make him smile when he’s gone. Anyway, Ikki can’t be sad about Vice when he doesn’t remember him anyway.
Bon arrives with all the people whose lives Ikki meddled in the last year. They all agree that it is time they do something to help Ikki instead.
Daiji wonders if their demons will leave one day. Sakura says bidding your demons farewell isn’t a sad thing. Daiji agrees, saying it is all part of growing up.
Papa Igarashi says he envies being able to fight one’s demons with a smile and Mama Igarashi says children grow up very fast.
After some fun uphenshins and farts, Vice begins to fade. Ikki runs to catch him as he collapses. Vice says he had fun. Ikki says this is not goodbye since they will always be together as one.
Ikki promises to remember Vice, no matter what it takes. Vice is family, after all. They hug.
Vice thanks Ikki and he disappears for good along with all of Ikki’s memories of him. Ikki says goodbye. Everyone cries.
Ikki finally remembers his family members again. Papa, Mama, Daiji and Sakura hurry over to him to share a happy reunion.
A few months later, the Igarashis are finishing up cleaning the Spa. Ikki finds a rubber ducky with Vice’s face painted on it. He thinks it’s looks horrible, but the family says it is the spa’s guardian spirit.
Later, Daiji speaks to the media at a construction site introducing Blue Bird, a rebranded Fenix. The organization will help people who might give in to their demons. But Blue Bird will help turn mistakes into opportunities for people to grow.
Hiromi congratulates Daiji on a job well done. Hana and Tamaki thank Daiji for giving them a second chance and a place where to belong. They promise to do what they can to repent.
Meanwhile, Hikaru runs into Sakura at a café. He says he’s getting his life on track while Sakura hopes to go to medical school. Lovekov encourages them both.
At the Spa, Buu-san helps Mama Igarashi with her new vlog. Papa Igarashi takes care of the lights, but is a tiny bit annoyed that his vlog hasn’t been as popular.
Over in prison, George visits Olteca and says if he doesn’t visit, who will? Olteca says he can “help” with anything if needed.
George leaves and Hiromi hands him a bouquet of flowers so he can finally visit Daddy Karizaki.
Ikki is at the soccer field when he meets his idol and football legend Kazuyoshi Miura. Kazu-san compliments Ikki’s playing. Ikki says it’s too late for him. But Kazu-san says it is never too late to pursue a dream as long as you keep moving toward it. Kazu-san adds that Ikki’s best moments are ahead of him.
That evening, the Igarashis sit down for a happy dinner together.
On another day, Ikki finds a strange box in his bike’s basket. But a mysterious man takes it from him. He opens it to find a Revice Driver which he snaps into his Driver. He tells Ikki that he’ll see him soon.
A few quick thoughts on this episode before we get into our long rambling Season Thoughts.
What a dud. That was honestly such an emotionless, bland, anticlimactic finale. I mean, I don’t know what else to say.
Last year for Saber‘s finale, I talked about how apathetic I was to it. Like, I could care less what happened or what would happen because I really didn’t care about the characters or the story at all.
Now that I think about it, could Saber have a one-up on Revice considering last season actually had a season-long plot? It was a completely nonsensical and shallow plot, to be sure. But at least the idea of Touma and Kento obsessively wanting to bring Luna back or whatever was something that the season continually harped on, even though I could care less about it.
Anyway, with Revice I actually do care about the characters. I like them. Though I loved most of them at one point. And knowing better non-TV series content exists helps to maintain me actually caring.
But this finale was just so flat and uneventful. Especially as it was supposed to be a culmination of the season. Instead, half of it was Ikki and Vice having fun. The other half was an epilogue of completely uninteresting updates except for George’s visit with Olteca.
I dunno. Let’s just get to it.
As always, a congratulations and thank you to the cast and crew for all their hard work in the past year.
But boy, Revice is a fascinating season to dissect. Not its story. But perhaps how the story was developed and then executed.
Through the course of the season, especially halfway through when things were obviously going off the rails, it seemed like something happened in that writers’ room. Because it’s kind of easy to see how things really started to fall apart.
I think part of it is how well and how fast the season started out. Those first 15 episodes especially were so good. If the rest of the season had kept that momentum and were on the same level as that first quarter of the year, then Revice could’ve easily been top tier.
Instead, the season unnecessarily did a 180. The abrupt end to the Deadmans was so haphazardly done that the season would not recover, I believe. Either they exhausted their story far earlier than they should have and didn’t know what to do the rest of the way or they decided everything had to change, so they threw pretty much everything that was working into the trash. Before then deciding to dig through it to have stuff to do in the 40s.
For me, the strongest part of Revice was and has always been the “family” aspect of the story. Most especially the Igarashis, obviously. The season should’ve been all about them. And keeping them at the forefront and in the center of everything would have been a strong, almost untouchable foundation from which many other stories could grow out from.
And of course, it doesn’t have to be simply blood-relations. Revice had every opportunity to explore every different type of family. Whether it’s found family or friendships or even romance. Or anything, really.
I’ve talked about how all the extra non-TV series content from this season has been great to excellent. My ideal Revice season would entail this. First, the entire first half of the series should’ve established the family story. Exploring their dynamic, especially of course the siblings who would become the main Riders of the season. This all leading up to the big reveal of Episode 25. Which I, initially thought, felt like a rejuvenation or energy boost to the season that was increasingly starting to waver.
After Episode 25, insert the Revice Legacy – Kamen Rider Vail miniseries. And they could’ve done it a few different ways. They could have done straight up flashback episodes with the siblings digging into their parents’ past. Or even have them travel back in time with a Zi-O or Decade Stamp of whatever.
Alongside this, flesh out George’s Daddy issues. He was obviously hurt believing his father abandoned him. So show us! Show us how he grew up fatherless. Show us what motivated him to try and surpass his Daddy. Show us how that pain and trauma brought him to this point where he’s a Kamen Rider superfan making Drivers and Stamps and all that.
It would be so perfect to have intertwined all that Igarashi family joy (and drama) with George’s lack of both.
(By the way, Where is the Karizaki Family TTFC miniseries?!)
Or how about this. Turn George into some sort of noble antagonist wanting to use the Riders and Stamps to revive his father or something like that. But then realizing family can come from anywhere and anytime.
Or if George really resents his father, how about playing with him sincerely growing closer with the Igarashis. And upon learning of Daddy Karizaki’s role in Junpei’s torture and in turn, what the Igarashis are going through today, have him feel guilty and then join the heroes in the end to help them. Furthering his anger toward his father, but then learning of Daddy Karizaki’s sacrifice in the end. Such a waste of an opportunity because I think Noritaka Hamao would’ve absolutely hit it out of the park if given the right material.
And that applies to the rest of the cast too. This was a great, strong cast. And they proved they can more than handle challenging material because they showed it in those first 15 episodes. It’s too bad the rest of the season’s stories didn’t maximize their full potential either.
Before moving on to other parts of the season and keeping with the family theme, Dear Gaga‘s two episodes were just beautiful. And Hiromi’s story about where his present sense of justice came from would have fit perfectly in-series as well. Certainly much more interesting and engaging than whatever they were doing with last minute with Akaishi or the Ushijimas.
Anyway, any toku season needs a strong antagonist or a central conflict. Or several. Even if the endgame isn’t necessarily centered around them.
If you were to point to Revice‘s central narrative theme, it would be about inner demons. How to deal with them, how to acknowledge them, how to overcome them. Revice, however, didn’t seem too sure of its own rules when it comes to those inner demons. Whether it’s the relationship people have with them or if they’re simply manifestations of a person’s troubles and insecurities or if they’re an inherent, indispensable part of a human’s whole. Or is it all of the above. Or even none of the above.
The Deadmans were introduced as an antagonist. They wanted to revive their god-like leader from out of a log.
Ignoring how their story eventually ended up. Let’s take the Deadmans instead as an example of being completely overcome by your inner demons. The opposite of the Igarashi siblings. Fleshing this out instead of abruptly “killing” the Deadmans would’ve also helped lead into the idea of Vail and his disruptive presence in Papa Igarashi’s life. Then bring in the Gifu stuff to support those stories, fully knowing that Gifu wouldn’t be any part of the endgame. Just one of the pre-finale defeats before potentially powering up the actual final boss, whether that’s Vail or Olteca or George or even Vice.
Developing the Deadmans instead of killing them off so early would’ve helped a lot with the overall story. No need to make the Deadmans the final boss either. But slowly have them come around to overcome those Latin-flavor demons that had taken over their bodies and minds. Though again, the line between who Aguilera and Hana were or who Tamaki and Julio were was absolutely blurred. The show’s rules disappearing from view. Even though they had plenty of MOTWs that should have illustrated these “rules” for demon possession, etc.
I tweeted how the season truly went downhill when Olteca was killed off. Instead, the show could’ve kept Olteca being thirsty for power or whatever and then lead it up to a mid-40s climax where he is finally able to overcome the corruption of the demons inside him. Considering what drove him to be more susceptible and open to demonic overtaking (physical and emotional abuse at home and at school), it would have been a really emotional story to tell. Having him be triumphant over that traumatic past and then joining the heroes against whatever final boss emerged, that’s very typical Kamen Rider. But with a refreshing and very engaging take on that kind of story. Seki Hayata would’ve done an excellent job too.
It really was too early for that Olteca reveal and the Deadmans collapse. The show should’ve kept them as Gifu acolytes far later because other than Olteca getting killed off, Aguilera and Julio… I mean Hana and Tamaki became irrelevant for the next 20 episodes. If not all the way to the end, to be honest.
Having them lurking around for a while would’ve also eliminated that abrupt night and day feeling after Episode 15.
What final boss?
So instead of the Deadmans, what did we get to antagonize our heroes? Director Akaishi and a flying tree. What was that? The way they came and went with pretty much zero effect on the season’s main characters or even the main plot. Akaishi and Gifu were as good as MOTWs. Yet the season spent the late-20s through the 30s almost entirely on them.
Like I mentioned earlier, insert Vail, Dear Gaga and even The Mystery into this middle section of the season instead of what we got with Akaishi, Gifu and omg the Weekend.
What was the Weekend? Aside from botching the Ushijimas potentially also playing into the family theme of the season, Weekend just popping up as merely a counterpoint to the Akaishi-led Fenix really helped to drag it down. Weekend was absolutely not necessary unless they turned out to be a late-30s/early-40s antagonist. Which I fully expected, but never happened.
If they wanted to use Weekend to reintroduce Daddy Karizaki into the story, they were able to do that, yes. But getting him folded into existing or potential story? Didn’t do that at all.
The lack of a legitimate, focused threat and opponent contributed to the season feeling lost. It was all bark and no bite. Completely shallow and underdeveloped plot threads that really did its best to bring down the rest of the season too.
Bringing it back to the Igarashis, having Vail be the final boss should’ve been the move. Especially since a battle against Vail should involve the Igarashis coming together as a family. Instead, Vail got sent off rather plainly. Pulling out Papa Igarashi’s backstory from the file cabinet to fill one episode in the 40s and be done with it.
Just another potentially excellent bit of storytelling tossed aside by Revice.
And speaking of, how about our title characters. The idea of Ikki treating Vice like family is fine. Let’s ignore Daiji and Sakura’s confusing and inconsistent relationships with their demons. Let’s just focus on Ikki and Vice.
The way Vice felt like he was rewritten about a third of the way through the season is one of the biggest question marks of the year. And really one of the clearest pieces of evidence to support the idea that some hurricane blew through the writers’ room and carried all the originally plotted material out the window.
The logical story for Ikki and Vice would be laying out their dysfunctional relationship before unraveling their contract and then connecting their relationship with the idea of family, the should-be central theme of the season. The demons are supposed to represent exactly that; a person’s inner demons. So, with Ikki and Vice, what better way to illustrate being able to overcome your demons, but maintaining the shaky relationship until its time to say goodbye.
For Ikki and Vice, seeing that relationship grow from one of tolerance to one of genuine and sincere bond would’ve been another great story. It’s too bad we didn’t get it.
With all of this rambling, I’m already exhausted. I probably have a few more ideas. I haven’t even touched on Daiji and Sakura getting weighed down by irrelevant, sometimes even annoying loads after having had such excellent starts.
But I just can’t put text to digital paper anymore. In contrast with how I felt last year with Saber, I guess I’m not apathetic to Revice.
So, a success? lol
But I think it’s because the season had such an amazing start. It has a strong cast. Yet the seemed to have sped through all the material they had mapped out and then had no idea what to do next.
The strange problem with Revice though is that the TTFC and Blu-ray miniserieseses showed that there was plenty good story to tell that still tied into what had been the focus in the first ¼ of the season. Inserting those miniseries into the main series in the 20s and 30s instead would’ve made everything much better with more cohesive writing and would’ve added a lot of needed depth as well. The basic foundation was there. But the show took a hammer to it, leaving almost nothing behind for the main series.
Ultimately, Revice should’ve drilled home the family theme and then branch out from there. Have the Igarashis in an Us Against the World position, especially against Vail. Episode 25 was the season’s high point and best episode, in my opinion. If the rest of the season had even half the emotion, depth and action of Episode 25, then it would’ve been a very different year.
Bring in the found family stories. For the subplot, have MOTWs and supporting characters like Deadmans struggling with inner demons and showing people the different ways one can deal with such Demons.
Sounds so simple, but many times, simple is better. Saber definitely proved that with their 32 main characters last year. But with Revice, them being lost and seemingly not knowing what to do turned the season into something unnecessarily disconnected. And that’s a shame.
Funny enough though, I’m certainly not done with Revice just yet. Especially how, like I said, all the non-TV series stuff has been pretty great. I’ll definitely watch that Girls Remix thing sometime. Battle Familia seems like it’s the story the show should’ve done. And now they’ve announced this:
— 仮面ライダーリバイス (@toei_revice50) August 28, 2022
Both Daiji and Hiromi look badass in that poster. It’ll probably be another story I wish the show told instead. But I’ll look forward to it in 2023.
So strange, isn’t it? It certainly is for me. A season where I can be so frustrated and annoyed with at times, but also love and enjoy other times. I guess that’s more than I can say for other Kamen Rider seasons.