Rinne visits Kitchen Ichinose as Houtarou is helping to decorate for their annual Christmas party. Mama Ichinose explains that they like to hold a Christmas party for their regular customers a week early since they’ll most likely want to spend the actual holiday with their loved ones. Houtarou wants to invite Sabimaru and Renge and asks if Rinne will come as well. Rinne says sure, but she has something she’d like to speak with Houtarou about. Mama Ichinose suggests they go out to collect some branches together for the wreath she is going to make.
As they walk into the forest, Rinne tells Houtarou about her two encounters with Atropos. She wonders if her challenging Atropos to target alchemists instead of civilians is the reason Sabimaru was attacked. Houtarou says it is not her fault, but the Sisters’ alone.
Houtarou apologizes for not noticing something was bothering her. But he promises to become someone she can lean on in the future. Rinne thanks him and says she will try to do better as well.
After hearing a loud roar nearby, they call AAHQ (Alchemy Academy HQ) and Minato-sensei says it probably came from the dinosaur Chemy, X-Rex. Sabimaru says it is a Level 10 Chemy and is eager to hurry out, but Renge reminds him he’s still recovering. Minato-sensei warns Houtarou and Rinne that X-Rex eats people. Houtarou can’t imagine why. Minato-sensei says the Academy has no idea either.
Just then a young woman comes running, happy to finally see some people. She introduces herself as Manabe Sawa and says she came out after reading about dinosaur sightings in the area. She hopes to take a photo of it and give to her father as a gift. He writes dinosaur articles for Choujo Taiken and is a bit of a dinosaur hunter. Sawa looks up to her father for following his dreams.
They hear another roar in the distance and decide to run over to it.
Meanwhile, Supanner speaks with someone on the phone who gives him the location of the Meikoku Sisters’ lair so he can retrieve the replica Cards and Dreadriver. The lady on the phone also reminds him to keep his eye on Rinne.
Spanner heads to the location and demands the Sisters hand everything over. Eager to battle her little doggy, Lachesis slaps the Driver on and henshins to Dread. They battle, but Lachesis is able to use the replica Cards to power up and overpower Supana to the point that he is forced to dehenshin.
Back in the forest, Houtarou, Rinne and Sawa find X-Rex. Sawa excitedly takes photos, but X-Rex begins to stomp towards her. Houtarou henshins and tells Rinne to take her to safety.
Houtarou tries talking to X-Rex, but gets eaten instead. X-Rex stomps toward them, but Rinne is able to alchemy themselves away. Sawa blames herself for Houtarou getting eaten. Rinne says it is not her fault. Anyway, she is sure Houtarou will return to them. He is a Kamen Rider, after all.
Rinne sees a photo on the ground and it is of Sawa and her father. He had dropped it when X-Rex ate him earlier in the day.
When Houtarou wakes up inside X-Rex’s stomach, he meets Papa Manabe who is beside himself thinking about X-Rex being able to see his memories. Papa Manabe thinks it’s because he has forgotten about what’s truly precious to him.
Suddenly, they are transported into Papa Manabe’s memories. Houtarou watches a nice moment between Papa Manabe and Sawa by the lake when he encourages her to follow her dreams. They take the photo that Rinne found on the ground.
Sawa tells Rinne about her father being proud of his job. But one day on her way home from school, she sees her father being talked down to by the magazine editor who wants him to write something he is not comfortable with. Papa Manabe says his articles about dinosaurs are his dreams. But if he does not do as the editor says, his column is done.
Relating the same memory to Houtarou, Papa Manabe says that moment must have ruined Sawa’s dreams. He feels he has disappointed and betrayed her. Houtarou says that is not true and tells him all about Sawa wanting to take a dinosaur photo for him. She loves him very much.
Papa Manabe has a change of heart and says he wants to see his daughter once more. Houtarou speaks with X-Rex saying he realizes now that the Chemy eats people so he can get to know them better. Houtarou says he wants to know X-Rex and become his friend as well.
Houtarou allows X-Rex to look through his memories and they flash back through the recent battles. But Houtarou is taken aback by a memory of a little boy and Hopper1. No time to think about it though as X-Rex has accepted Houtarou’s resolve. UFO-X flies out and Houtarou henshins to get him and Papa Manabe out.
Meanwhile, the Meikoku Sisters have found Rinne and Sawa. Rinne goes alchemist and is able to hold the Sisters back until Houtarou arrives.
Clotho takes her turn with the Driver and henshins to Dread. Houtarou stands firm and just then, X-Rex comes stomping towards them. X-Rex hops into a Card and Houtarou is able to uphenshin.
I have nothing but positive things to say. Another wonderful episode. It’s been really great how the show has been developing Houtarou’s character. The pace at which they are peeling back his story is very nice. And it allows for a natural progression for his character, which in turn helps the story move along nicely as well.
On one side, we continue to see Houtarou’s sincerity and his growing bravery. He will of course have stumbles like what happened after Sabimaru is taken away. But he is able to learn and grow from those experiences. He doesn’t know everything about the alchemy world. But he knows what he believes in. And he believes in his family and friends. Which then helps him be able to see the good and the potential in Chemies.
One amusing moment though was Houtarou flabbergasted and asking why X-Rex would want to eat people. And Rinne was all “What do you mean ‘why’?!” It’s a funny little moment, but like Minato-sensei pointed out, it’s a very Houtarou way of thinking. So again, another example of Houtarou being different and leading up to him eventually shaking up the traditional alchemy ways.
Of course, we know there’s another big reason he can connect with Chemies. (Hello little Houtarou and Hopper! Hehe) But until that is fully revealed, they have been able to show that even without some grand “chosen one”-type of plot point, it is not a stretch to believe Houtarou really would want to become friends with Chemys. All part of his big dream, adventure-seeking personality. Which I assume is also going to relate to the mystery behind Papa Ichinose as well.
Speaking of dreams, a nice moment between Rinne and Sawa. Rinne of course can relate to Sawa’s situation. So I look forward to seeing how this will lead into next week’s episode as it seems Rinne steps into the spotlight. Very exciting!
But also very emotional. When I first watched the episode, I got the impression Papa Manabe was going to do something drastic at the lake. And perhaps that’s why he was so distraught inside X-Rex. Maybe feeling guilty about what he was going to do. That’s why he felt he betrayed Sawa. But Houtarou was able to comfort him in his own, positive way.
Also a great moment at the start with Houtarou and Rinne’s conversation. It’s great to see their friendship grow. And again, it’s been at a nice pace. Very believable and not forced.
Elsewhere, more great moments showing how the Sisters can be. Loved the confrontation between them and Supanner. And also a good, intriguing scene with Spanner and the mysterious Association contact. I guess that would partly explain his interest in Rinne too. So we will see where that goes.
Overall, another great, exciting and enjoyable episode. I am just so happy how much I am enjoying this season.