Sara walks in just as Keiwa is recording his diary entry for today. She thinks he’s keeping secrets about failing another interview. He goes along with it and she tells him to get it together for the next time.
Meanwhile, Michinaga is at his construction job. He remembers a moment with his friend Toru who is no longer around: Toru asks why Michinaga is still working here. Michinaga asks why he needs a reason to. Toru says Michinaga is the type who just works to get paid and tells him that it’s okay to have a nice dream. Toru dreams of building a huge landmark in his hometown and is resolved to make his ideal world a reality.
Later, Michinaga is surprised that their next job is renovating and expanding “top star” Ace’s newly purchased house and lot. The huge project will be the subject of a reality show too.
Michinaga is of course annoyed by Ace’s cocky behavior. But Ace says if Michinaga doesn’t like it, he can just win the game and have his wish granted. Michinaga says he won’t lose again.
Ace taunts the Buffa Michinaga with his red shirt and says he knows Michinaga’s hatred of him goes beyond just the game.
Speaking of, the players are summoned for the next round which involves fighting against Trump Jyamatos who like to separate couples. So for this round, players will fight in teams of two. That means the pair with the lowest score will both be eliminated.
They will draw their partners in order of their rank from last round. Ace draws Neon while Michinaga draws Keiwa. That leaves Morio having to pair up with a silent DGP staff member who will remain henshined as Kamen Rider Punk Jack for the duration of the round.
Each pair will automatically get a treasure box and they can decide between themselves how to use its contents.
The players head out to the city. Neon finds Claw Buckle and Ace lets her keep it. Morio finds a Chain Array Buckle. Sensing the DGP Staff Member wanted it, Morio hands him his Shield Buckle instead.
Keiwa finds his third Boost Buckle, but he has yet to actually use one. Michinaga says he doesn’t know if Keiwa is lucky or not.
Trump Jyamatos appear and the players get to playing. But the Trumps don’t seem easily destroyed. They end the first window of the round without defeating any Trumps, nor earning any points. They all head back to the green room to try and figure things out.
Keiwa asks Michinaga why he fights up close with the Jyamato when he can use Magnum. Michinaga says he just likes to, which is why he feels Zombie suits him better. Keiwa comments that Michinaga definitely likes getting in people’s faces.
Keiwa takes the Magnum Buckle over to Ace and offers to trade it for the Zombie Buckle. Neon says they will accept it if Keiwa also throws in the Boost Buckle he got today. Ace points out that certain Buckles cater to each Rider’s strengths. For Geats, it’s Magnum. For Buffa, it’s Zombie.
Keiwa accepts the deal and hands the Zombie Buckle back to Michinaga. Michinaga says Keiwa was too naïve to have just given the Boost Buckle away, but Keiwa says he just wanted to help since they’re on the same team and should work together.
Michinaga scoffs. Keiwa asks why he has to be so antagonistic all the time. Michinaga says none of them rookies understand that only one of them will win and have their wish granted. Simple as that.
Keiwa asks if something happened for him to feel so strongly, but Michinaga tells him to mind his own business and leaves.
Michinaga remembers Toru’s wish for his ideal world and then remembers the moment Toru was defeated and died in the DGP.
Just as Ace brings Neon to a DGP training room to practice against virtual Jyamato, the Trumps begin rampaging downtown again. The players hurry out as Tsumuri watches, wondering if they’ll figure it out this time.
The players henshin and battle the Trumps. Keiwa seems to start realizing they have to defeat the Trump Jyamatos in pairs. Ace and Neon have already figured that out and are able to score the first points of the round.
Back at the green room, Girori updates them on the scores and the remaining six Jyamato. He asks them all to remain here until the next playing window.
Morio says his partner sucks. Girori shows them all a Special Ticket which they can buy with their Desire Money. It will allow them to draw new partners. And each player can still keep their already-earned points.
Michinaga gets up and leaves to train by himself against virtual Jyamatos on the rooftop. Ace approaches him and asks what he thinks about getting a new partner. Michinaga does not care since he regards all Riders as his enemies.
Ace says he doesn’t think Michinaga knows how the game works. He calls him the lone buffalo who refuses to join the herd. Michinaga doesn’t want to hear anything else Ace has to say. He is resolved to win and get his wish granted, which would mean the end of Ace’s ideal world as well.
Ace laughs as he is intrigued by what Michinaga’s wish could possibly be for him to feel so strongly.
Michinaga says his wish is to crush people like Ace.
Downstairs, Morio shows Michinaga that he has purchased a Special Ticket.
Back when I first watched Squid Game, I felt like it was pretty predictable who was going to die next. Part of it was knowing which actors got top billing and who was a guest star and things like that. So watching Geats, it’s a similar situation for me. That and they make it very obvious. I mean, if it’s a Double Elimination this week, it’s obviously going to be Morio and the faceless DGP staff. Lol
But we’ll see how the switch turns out. I think aside from Squid Game and Fortnite, this pair of episodes gets some Amazing Race inspiration too lol
Anyway, I enjoyed seeing Michinaga’s backstory. I like a good “Avenge my friend” story. And the DGP as a deadly competition is certainly a catalyst that makes sense. Not just for his motivation to win, but also his contempt for Kamen Riders and I guess the DGP itself too. They did a lot to flesh out Michinaga’s story in this episode alone without feeling forced. So that’s a big accomplishment.
I also liked his scenes with Keiwa much more than his scenes with Ace as I think Keiwa’s personality allowed for Michinaga’s character to stand out more. When Michinaga’s with Ace, it’s focused more on the competition/contempt for Riders angle. And since we’ve gotten that dynamic from the beginning for four episodes before this one already, it’s like an “Okay, we get it.” sort of feeling. The clashing is great and all, but I want to see a bit more than just that.
With Neon, after last week’s great insight into her character and backstory, I kinda cringed at her having to revert back to her cutesy kawaii personality. Like, her being instantly afraid of the Trump Jyamatos and cowering behind Ace even though they were clearly wearing DGP vests was so predictable. Talk about contrived. I mean, I get (but don’t really agree with) why they’re making the only female Rider act this way. But again, after last week’s more serious take on the character, it feels so forced.
So, overall, another solid episode. I enjoyed seeing Michinaga’s story. And I think of all the players, his ideal world would probably be the most interesting to play out. Though I’m not so sure he’ll be winning this particular round.
Japanese Lesson to Myself for the Week (lol)
Another week of teaching myself some Japanese! Lol
So this week’s title is “デュオ神経衰弱”/”Duo Shinkei Suijaku”.
Shinkei-suijaku translates to “nervous breakdown” in Japanese, but it also refers to the card game where you have to flip cards two at a time until you find a matching pair. It of course has many different names including “Memory” or “Matching Pairs” or simply “Pairs.”
Obviously, that fits with the episode. Not only with the Trump Jyamatos having to be defeated in pairs or the players needing to have teamwork, but of course learning about the “duo” of Michinaga and Toru.
“Memory” is certainly perfect with relation to Michinaga’s memories of a dead Toru. And “nervous breakdown” could also refer to the emotions Michinaga felt as his best friend died for some game and would drive him toward this seemingly vengeful path.
So, how to come up with an English title that would work best? Some places have “Duo Concentration” or “A Game of Pairs.”
Using my unearned creative license, I’ll go with “A Duo’s Memory.” Keeping the “デュオ’/”Duo” of the original title and forcing in the title of the game “Memory” without just simply putting in “Shinkei-suijaku.” Which actually wouldn’t be a problem since it can be a proper noun itself in English.