When his sister doesn’t seem to remember anything that happened, Keiwa wonders if he just dreamed everything. He is surprised to see his sister fangirling over Ace on TV, however.
Turns out Ace’s dream world is one where he is a famous and beloved superstar. As he revels in the fame, he has a lunch date with Tsumuri who takes his present attitude as him testing the limits of what the winner of the Desire Grand Prix can actually attain in a new world.
Keiwa gives the Driver and ID Core a try and he gets transported to the Temple where all the other players have been assembled as well, Ace included. Tsumuri welcomes them and explains what the DGP is all about.
The world faces a threat from the Jyamato. Until they can figure out where they came from or what they want, the Desire Grand Prix was invented to protect the world. None of them have ever heard of it because their memories are erased after each game, in order for them to continue to live peacefully.
Having an ID Core is the only way for them to recover their memories. The players will henshin to Kamen Riders to fight the Jyamato. The last one standing will be crowned the God of Desire and granted the opportunity to remake the world to their liking.
Tsumuri asks everyone to write their wish on a Desire Card which will be fulfilled if they win.
The players are transported into the forest for the first mission. Their objective this time is to fight the Jyamato and reclaim treasures that they have taken.
Neon approaches fellow player Kanato Sumida about teaming up and working together, but he just brushes her off. Morio Koganeya approaches Neon and offers to be her partner instead.
Ace takes on a Jyamato and retrieves a Water Core. But he isn’t too excited about it since it’s basically a water hose. Michinaga watches as Ace henshins and says he should enjoy this while it lasts.
Keiwa is running from a Jyamato and is given a heads up by another player who turns out to be Takahito Taira, the man who led his recent job interview and told him to not have such an idealistic view of the world.
Both of them are able to retrieve some treasure from the Jyamato.
Keiwa asks Taira-san why he joined the DGP. Takahito turns the question back to him instead and Keiwa says he wants world peace.
Keiwa says if everyone’s happy, he is happy. Takahito says his desire is to have a world where his son, who is sick, can stay healthy.
DGP concierge Girori appears and invites Keiwa and Takahito to the green room where they can rest and relax between rounds.
Keiwa sees Neon and tells her how much his sister is a fan of hers. Michinaga cannot believe the two of them are here and tells them to call him Kamen Rider Buffa. He acknowledges Keiwa and Neon as Kamen Riders Tycoon and Na-Go, but doesn’t think they’ll last long.
Ace walks in and says not to be so sure as you never know what can happen in the DGP.
Michinaga mocks the treasures Ace was able to retrieve and points out that Kanato was able to score what he really wanted. Michinaga approaches Ace and says he seems to have finally ran out of luck. Ace doesn’t think so.
When the two seem close to a confrontation, Girori reminds them that violence and sabotage are forbidden here and any trouble will result in their disqualification. Just then, Girori gets a call from Tsumuri about an emergency.
The seven remaining players head to the Temple where Tsumuri informs them that the Treasure Hunt is over. Their next mission is to defeat all the Jyamatos using the treasures they’ve obtained. The survivors will move on to the next round.
They are taken aback by the word “survivor,” but Tsumuri says in this game, their lives are on the line. Keiwa says it’s okay since the soba chef who had died originally came back to life after. Ace, however, says things work differently for them as players.
Anyway, Tsumuri flags them off for this mission by initiating their henshin. The remaining players henshin to Kamen Riders Mary, Na-Go, Tycoon, Buffa, Da-Paan, Geats and Ginpen.
The Riders lock in their Core treasures and begin battling the Jyamatos. Keiwa, however, does not understand how the others can be okay with this You lose, you die game mechanics.
When Takahito Taira drops a photo of his wife and son, Keiwa realizes that there are wishes and desires that one would be willing to risk their lives for.
Suddenly, the Jyamato deliver a decisive attack at Taira-san and he is forced to dehenshin. Keiwa runs over to him as he laments not only failing his son, but now having to leave him.
“I don’t deserve to be a father…”
“Was there no other way?” Keiwa asks.
Right before he disappears, Taira-san says he just wanted to save his son.
Ace tells Keiwa that unless you fight, then the world won’t change. That is the only choice.
Keiwa asks why Ace is fighting and he replies that he wants to help unfortunate children around the world. He believes the children are our future. Keiwa is pleasantly surprised that they both wish for the same thing.
“If you want to change the world, you fight.”
The Jyamato boss appears and Ace henshins to battle it. Keiwa is about to henshin as well, using the Boost Buckle he retrieved. But Ace asks him to hand it over. For the children.
Keiwa gives it up and Ace uses it to uphenshin and defeat the Jyamato.
Ace thanks Keiwa for being so gullible as to hand over the Buckle. He just pretended to care about the childrens. Keiwa can’t believe it. He tries to grab the Buckle back, but Ace says it’s one time use as its flies away.
The surviving players assemble at the Temple. Tsumuri declares the end of Round 1 and they will resume the DGP when the next Jyamato appears.
Before Tsumuri leaves, Keiwa asks if the eliminated players can be revived with a winning wish. Tsumuri says sure.
Ace says Keiwa can wish all he wants, but it’ll be him that wins in the end anyway.
Later, Ace goes to the hospital to make an anonymous donation to help pay for the surgery for Taira-san’s son.
Elsewhere, a mysterious hooded figure wonders that Geats’ endgame might truly be.
What in the Squid Game? lol
(Like I mentioned last week, any Fortnite and Apex Legends connections/influence will just go straight over my head. So allow me to compare to something I’m actually familiar with lol)
This episode was okay. It was definitely a business-like episode that basically just laid out some of the ground rules for the DGP and the season itself. At least, for now.
Again, the dynamic between Ace and Keiwa as well as each character on their own is very interesting. And probably, the most interesting aspects about the season for me after these two episodes. A refreshing change of pace, much like Donbrothers has done for Sentai. Then again, it’s only two episodes, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves lol
Like I mentioned last week, Keiwa feels more like the traditional title Rider. His personality and his emerging story is a familiar sort of set-up. Ace, meanwhile, feels more like the mysterious benefactor/mentor kind of character who supports the title Rider.
And in a way, we see some of that here with Ace sort of leading Keiwa through a pseudo-baptism by fire. Like how Taira-san tried to get Keiwa to be less idealistic about the world around him, Ace did that as well with Keiwa. Being emotionally manipulated so easily by Ace into giving up the Buckle should be the start of Keiwa’s wake up call. Or at least, help Keiwa understand that whatever this crazy Squid Game-esque tournament is, it’s serious.
All part of Keiwa’s character growth of course.
Meanwhile, Ace paying for the son’s surgery is one of those typical “I’m not the cocky guy you think I am”-kind of episode enders. And it was used very well here to give us a fuller picture of the possibilities and potential that exists for Ace.
Especially, again, considering how Keiwa has taken the narrative spotlight so far in the two episodes. An enigmatic title character is fine. But having such moments like his matter-of-fact reveal to Keiwa about the childrens lie and going to the hospital at the end help to build the foundation for Ace. As well as make him an actual character rather than just be mysterious for the hell of it.
Overall, it was a fine episode. Just helping to get things set-up. It looks like we’ll be moving on to meet the other Riders in the next episodes. So we’ll see how it goes.