Recap: Kamen Rider Gotchard, Episode 23 – Zukyun Always in My Heart

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

After Clotho sends Houtarou flying back, Supana and Rinne charge toward her and grab her. That gives Houtarou time to uphenshin to SteamHopper and then deliver a Burning Fever attack that drives her away.

Rinne says they must turn their attention back to Zukyumpire. Houtarou knows a Chemy wouldn’t intentionally do anything to harm people. Sabimaru and Renge arrive with the female fan Yua who explains everything.

Supana leaves it for the rest of them to take care of. And now understanding Zukyumpire’s motivation, Houtarou, Rinne and Sabimaru hurry over to the rooftop where Zukyumpire is fueling the Zukyun skyheart.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Zukyumpire asks why they must prevent him from showering his Zukyun across the world. Once the heart is full, his Zukyun will be able to bring about world peace and he can make everyone happy.

However, they break the news to him that whenever he Zukyuns someone, he is actually sucking their life energy. Zukyumpire doesn’t believe that. But Renge arrives with Yua who immediately apologizes to him.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Yua recalls the first time they met. Zukyumpire had just found himself in his human body when he stumbled upon a crying Yua. He approached her to ask what was wrong. Yua explains that her boyfriend left her after saying he no longer needs her.

Zukyumpire said Yua does not deserve to ever feel hurt again because she was born to be happy.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Zukyumpire gave her a Zukyun and she immediately felt much better. Zukyumpire said he also gains power from her smile. Yua believed he is the kind of person who can save the world.

But now because Yua had absorbed the most of Zukyumpire’s Zukyun, she is almost drained of all her life energy. Zukyumpire cannot believe it. Yua says she didn’t want to tell him and ruin his dreams.

Realizing what he has done, Zukyumpire begins to fall to despair. Yua tries to assure him that it is not his fault. But Zukyumpire’s skyheart begins to break. Houtarou asks for help from Tricera and Catchula and he is able to shield them from the falling fragments.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Houtarou tries to get Zukyumpire to snap out of it. But Clotho arrives and chains him up. She tries to send him further toward despair and forcibly feeds the skyheart with more of his energy.

Clotho laughs and says she will absorb Zukyumpire’s power once he becomes the ultimate Chemy. Rinne will not stand for Clotho distorting Zukyumpire’s sincere wish of bringing smiles to people.

Rinne henshins to Mooncerberus and they battle. Houtarou goes X-Rex and tries to break Zukyumpire free of Clotho’s chains. Clotho is able to drive Houtarou back. But Houtarou continues reaching out to Zukyumpire and encourages him to not give up. He says Zukyumpire can still find a way to bring people happiness.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Zukyumpire remembers all the smiles of the people and that powers him up to break free of Clotho’s chains. He says Houtarou has his faith and offers his powers to him. Houtarou Gotchas Zukyumpire and locks in his Card to deliver a Zukyumpire Xlash at Clotho.

The Zukyuns are able to eliminate the malice in Sabeliger and Kamantis. And with Clotho now powerless, Rinne delivers a Nova kick to tee her up for Houtarou who finishes her off with a Burning Fever finisher.

Back to normal, Clotho vows to return this humiliation to them in the future.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Later, Zukyumpire blows the skyheart away and that returns everyone’s life energy. Houtarou asks if Zukyumpire will fight alongside him from now on. Zukyumpire says of course, takes Houtarou’s hand and calls him a friend.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Yua asks if this is goodbye and Zukyumpire says his heart will always be with her. They remind him not to be giving out Zukyuns again, so he instead says Thank you to Yua.

Back at the Academy, Gurion is about to chide Clotho for her failures. But he says it’s alright because he now knows the key is to slowly, but surely infect Chemies. He declares their next experiment will take everything away from Houtarou and the gang.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Gurion nods to Atropos who hands Minato the Dread Driver and a replica Unicon Card. Minato thanks Gurion and both he and Lachesis smirk.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Over at Kitchen Ichinose, Hopper1 is also enamored by Zukyumpire which makes Houtarou very jealous.

Sabimaru says to himself that he’s kinda glad Renge’s crush was for a Chemy, but passes it off as saying he’s happy she’s back to normal.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Resolved to find his own path, Zukyumpire hopes Yua will be able to do the same.

On the other side of town, Yua is surprised when her ex-boyfriend approaches her saying that he wants her back. But Yua, reminded of Zukyumpire’s words to her, stands up for herself and says no thanks.

Kamen Rider Gotchard Episode 23 Recap

Episode Thoughts

Another wonderful episode. I think the biggest takeaway is how we get another example of how Chemies are really inherently good until they get corrupted. Possibly like humans as well. A bad or evil influence could turn even the best of intentions negative. And it’s interesting as this is exactly Gurion’s next plan. So this episode was a good way to set the stage for what’s ahead.

Meanwhile on its own, the episode had two nice Lessons of the Week. First, how it’s great to want to support others, but also being mindful of how you go about it. Zukyumpire sincerely wanted to bring smiles to people, but was unable to see the potentially negative effects of his efforts. Perhaps that might even be something Houtarou will have to learn in the future as well with his efforts to befriend Chemies.

Also, a nice little story about finding the strength to stand up for yourself. With some support from others of course. But it was pleasant surprise to see the final scene be of Yua being able to do that to her ex-boyfriend. And again, circling back to the idea that everyone can find their happiness in many different ways.

Another pleasant surprise was hearing what I thought was a new Zukyun theme song. And indeed, Zukyumpire has his own character song!

And performed by Jyutaro Yamanaka himself! It’s a great song and he really did a great job as Zukyumpire. I hope this means that we see more of him in the future!

Meanwhile, a nice tease of what’s to come from Gurion and the Gang. Seeing those smirks, I’d love to see Minato and Lachesis work together somehow. Kind of like an enemy of my enemy is my friend kind of deal. They can of course go back to fighting later on. But first, take care of their common enemy. I don’t think Gurion is an endgame villain, to be honest. But he’s been great in really upping the threat and danger that our heroes face. And that’s always important so as to give our heroes’ even more of a reason to fight.

Elsewhere, I guess I have to stop thinking of Sabimaru and Renge as twins now if they’re going to have Sabi harboring feelings for her! lolol

Anyway, a great pair of episodes. Perfect for Valentine’s week. But also great in continuing to further the story. Again, every episode so far has been able to add something to the big picture. It doesn’t always have to be a big revelation or twist. But the seed planting and foundation building has been so great this season. Helping to maintain the steady pace and making the big moments as impactful as they can be.

6 thoughts on “Recap: Kamen Rider Gotchard, Episode 23 – Zukyun Always in My Heart

  1. Omg I hope we see more of Jyutaro Yamanaka on the show 😍 You should check out his group M!LK. He also did a Tiktok with Junsei Motojima and Reiyo Matsumoto of the groups latest song!

  2. This was a good “calm before the storm” two-parter. I’m definitely glad that Clotho wasn’t killed off; that would’ve been a bit of a waste. Judging from next week’s preview, things are gonna start heating up in a big way. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next episode or two marks the end of the latest “chapter” of the story that started back in episode 16.

    I too am sorta getting the feeling that Gurion isn’t gonna be the endgame villain. I’m thinking it’ll be someone who hasn’t been introduced yet. Though I do think Gurion’s downfall will happen later rather than sooner (maybe in the late 30s or early 40s), and that whatever plan Minato’s trying to enact to defeat him will end up backfiring. Whoever does end up as the Big Bad down the line will probably take that position via offing him personally. At the moment, I see the scenario happening one of two ways:

    1. Gurion remains an utterly reprehensible Hate Sink of a villain till the end, with his final defeat being capped off by a satisfying Villainous Breakdown (the most satisfying example of that in Toku that I remember was definitely Ryoma from Gaim’s final defeat, in which he finally lost his smug, happy-go-lucky composure he’d maintained throughout the season; freaked out at Kaito evolving past humanity without the aid of his genius; and suffered a brutal beatdown for all the heinous things he’d done). And his position as the Big Bad is usurped by a more tragic and complex villain, like Kaito becoming the Big Bad after Ryoma in Gaim or Horobi becoming the Big Bad after the Ark in Zero-One.

    2. Gurion is eventually revealed to have a tragic motivation behind his actions, and by his final defeat, his position as Big Bad is usurped by someone worse than him. Think Gremlin killing off Wiseman in Wizard (looking back on it, it was quite impressive how that season firmly established Gremlin as being a more reprehensible and monstrous person than the guy responsible for everything that went wrong in the season). Or Banno taking the Big Bad position from the Roidmudes in Drive (though that one obviously wasn’t executed as well, and Banno should have been introduced and established as a villain long before he was).

    I also continue to enjoy the slow-burn development of Houtarou’s status of being a “special” character in the story in terms of his connection to the Chemies and the mystery of how he ended up in the Ouroboros Realm as a kid. Other seasons like Revice could’ve learned a thing or two about letting important storylines and developments breathe. This episode definitely furthered the mystery around Houtarou, what with Gurion marveling at the influence he’s having on Chemies and referring to him as “the key.” I’m sure it’ll all come full-circle and make sense once it’s revealed who Houtarou’s father is. Right now, I’m thinking it’s the Daybreak Alchemist from the storybook earlier in the season, whomever that may be, as he’s heavily implied to be the one who created Chemies in the first place.

    1. Wonderful insight! Yes, the season has a lot of room to play around with in whatever they may decide to do with Gurion specifically. Because of its pacing, they really can do anything and it will feel like it’s been simmering this entire time. And with the way they’ve unraveled some of the early revelations so far, I think they would definitely plant the seeds for any potential downfall or promotion of Gurion as a villain.

      There’s definitely lots of good examples, like you mentioned of late comers as the Big Bad. And also many examples of late Final Boss arrivals who were not executed in the best way. I have faith Gotchard will be more of the former hehe

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