I have said this many times before in my Gaim reviews, but there is another connection to Tales of Symphonia in the series. This has to do with the Beat Riders being blamed for what has happened to the citizens. There is a link connecting the two incidents since the Beat Riders have been using them in the Inves Games. Even if there is not concrete evidence, the people only need to know that these kids have been using monsters for a game and are seeing people in grave danger. Many people will be jumping to conclusions and for Kouta this is hitting him hard. Now let’s set things straight, the Beat Riders are not to blame for this since they had controlled their Inves for most of the time. The people who were injured were attacked by Inves that appeared from the rifts as this is clearly a sign that the Helheim forest is spreading faster than expected. There are two characters in Symphonia that share this experience which would be Lloyd and Colette. Lloyd ended up breaking a rule along with his friend Genis as they ended up breaking a treaty between their city and the Desians, the result their hometown was burnt down with barely any survivors. Then with Colette she was supposed to save the world, but she left her journey half way through and is blamed for any accidents that happened afterwards like the city of Palamcosta being destroyed by the Giant Kharlan Tree. Kouta is now experiencing this for himself, so how is he dealing with it. Also with the comparisons I'm not saying that there is copying happening as the events are different just with similar elements and personally I am excited to see how Gaim will continue and seeing this contrast with my favorite role playing game is just making me love the series more.
So now Kouta and the other Beat Riders are the targets for the citizens as he clearly knows what happened to the victims. The scene when they into the hospital played out as expected as many people snap at him, Micchy, and Mai. It's impressive how far this is going as the scene clearly shows that the people are scared and need to vent out their anger. With what seems to be the culprits in their eyes, the people make sure to tell them off. A doctor then even shows the damage that the people are going through as Kouta even remembers seeing one of the victims getting attacked. The mother blames Kouta and his friends for this even though the whole time Kouta has been fighting to protect the people. Now Kouta has been labeled not as a hero, but as traitor to the city. Again this is similar to what Lloyd had to deal with when he broke the treaty and he ended up had to be banished from the town. For Kouta he still stays true to his heroics which would be similar to Lloyd as he promises to save the world to atone for his sins. The whole hero archetype has been done before many times, but what ends up saving those archetypes are the reasons they end up fighting for. Kouta is just trying to save people and he will continue to do that even if he is blamed for what has happened. It's a great trait and I can't wait to see how far he will go with his heroics.
Yggdrasil ends up doing something interesting which is that they are still going to continue with their experiments even with the recent pandemic. There is also an interesting scene with the deejay as now he is going to stop being the announcer for the Beat Riders. They even tell him that the first part of his job is done and they thank him for that. This scene and many other moments in this episode is easily setting the tone that the fun times are over and things are going to get more serious. I mean the Inves Games are going to end and Yggdrasil is going to try to move on even if the Beat Riders get in their way. There is even the assumption that the company took this into thought even further as since having the Beat Riders being blamed works for their plan as well. Micchy thinks that the Beat Riders are now being used as a scapegoat since there could be a chance that Yggdrasil could have been blamed if they didn't secretly spread out the Lock Seeds. So the company as successfully made the city blame their own people and they can continue with their operations like nothing happened to them, all they care about is progress. Again this is an amazing tone setter for the series as things are changing in a clear fashion and I do wonder how the series will continue with this tone.
For characters like Kaito he starts to see the citizens starting to blame him for what has happened. The three he sees even try to throw him out of the city. Kaito responds with him transforming and summoning three Inves to do his bidding. This is easily something that wouldn't help for the image of Beat Riders, but high chance Kaito doesn't know or should I say he doesn't care. His ideology follows by power only and he goes on about he gained his spot in the city with his power. If the citizens want to throw him out they need to do something about it. High chance Kaito was just scaring the three citizens since he clearly didn't send the Inves to attack them and just yelled at them for being cowards. Soon Oren enters into the stage and I will get into his character later. Soon the two fight and one of Baron's members gets injured by a falling boom box, Kaito ends up helping his teammate and cancels the fight for the time being. Oren even taunts Kaito by asking him what is more important, his pride or his team. Kaito ends up helping his own which does show a good side for him and even though he clearly did something that may look villainous, he is not. Kaito is just a man who runs by power and constantly shows this throughout the series, anyways he does get his revenge on Oren later on.
Takatora ends up doing something rather interesting regarding the Beat Riders. This has to do with what the deejay says about the Beat Riders. He says that they will not go down without a fight and so to prevent this, Takatora gets a rider to do the fighting for the company. Takatora hires the veteran mercenary to take out the other Armored Riders. What ends up happening is that Oren pretends to act as he fights the Inves and Beat Riders. Oren even starts to spread his message like he did in his second episode, but this time he talks poorly about the other riders. What ends up happening though is that Oren just does his job and ignores the Inves at large. This is shown when Kouta gets into the scene and before he could transform, Oren appears to stop him. High chance Oren was told to destroy their belts as I wouldn't see Yggdrasil going out for murder, but that would easily make them look eviler. I have to say I was surprised that Oren got used to trick the people even further by playing the hero in the grand scheme while taking out the riders. Also I did laugh at his announcement, the style of the shooting and having him showing how he got Jonouchi was too funny. So Oren amazed me and even got me to laugh.
For the action of this episode there are three moments I want to talk about in great detail. Now the first fight really wasn't that big compared to what happens in the end of the episode, but the first fight with Bravo and Baron was impressive. There were no big special effects flying around as the two riders were just fighting it out. What made the fight memorable, at least for me was how it was shot. First is how the fight was just the two riders fighting it out as I really love to see this more than big flashy effects. Then what helps the scene are some of the shots like the zoomed out shot showing the reactions of Team Baron and the citizens. Then the there was sunset. It gave off a nice red shine to the area in some of the shots as it did seem it was on purpose since there were no big glares on the screen. Then to follow it all up is Oren taking the credit of being a hero and having being yell out his name in glory which again was a funny scene to watch and the sun still setting is still a nice shot during that moment.
The second fight and easily the biggest one was that Gaim and Baron teamed up to take down Oren. First for Kouta he wants to take down Oren because he is pretending to be a hero and just tricking the people of the city. Oren just let an Inves get away as Kouta cannot forgive him for doing that since he was supposed to be a hero. As for Kaito he comes in to get payback on Oren for what happened before. Also I have a feeling he heard the conversation the two had and wants to take down the fake hero as well. So the two fight together which was great. First to start out the fight was Gaim trying to take on Bravo by himself as he does hold up better than previous times, but he is clearly over powered by Bravo. With Baron on his side though the two end up getting Bravo open for their attacks. Then there was the moment where Bravo threw his swords again and yes they are in fact some type of explosive. What ends up happening is that the swords explode the send out spikes on Bravo's foes. This attack gets the two riders done, but Gaim quickly fights back by shooting him down. Then comes easily the best moment in the action so far, Baron uses Mango Arms and he lets Gaim use the Banana Arms! Surprisingly Gaim looks good with the Banana Arms as I do hope the Lock Seed switching will happen more in the series. What ends up happening is that the two riders overpower Bravo as they give him one beating he will not forget. The two had perfect follow ups as they first get his defensed weakened and then end up giving him one strike at a time and two strikes at the same time. The two even perform finishers on Bravo which was just awesome to see after seeing the two kick him away. This fight just knew how to keep following things up as it gets more exciting when things change first with Kaito joining the fight and then onto the change of forms.
What ends up happening after that is that the two look for the Inves. Kouta finds more vegetation around the area as this is Kaito's first time seeing this. The Inves is found, but they also find the powered-up Zangetsu. The Inves soon finds a piece of fruit and becomes more powerful after eating it. Kouta and Kaito end up having to hide behind the scenery as there is too much commotion for them to transform. Zangetsu saves the day though and shows off the new powers of what a Genesis rider can do. What I loved about this part in the action is that the two heroes have the avoid the giant beast and the use of the scenery helped out since they were throwing things around to make it seem that the debris was coming from what the monster was destroying. Also it's awesome to see Zangetsu using the new powers as he takes down the giant beat by himself. The bow weapon has great range and he is powerful enough to slash and kick the beast. The finisher was stunning to see as the bow gets charged up with a green energy and that effect did have lines in it to represent a melon and then seeing the Inves getting completely chopped up easily shows how strong the new powers are since this was a Dragon Inves and those have strong armor.
The final thing to talk about is Hase as he is going through a problem since he lost his powers. Right now Hase is in a constant stage of fear since he is seeing flash images of Inves or the riders that could easily defeat him. So Hase is going through some major stress right now as he wants power again so he can defend himself and not be afraid of who faces him. What ends up happening though is that he sees the Dragon Inves become stronger after eating the fruit. So Hase ends up doing the same and what ends up happening is that he transforms into an Inves! There was a subtle way of telling us this which was shown through the injured citizens with the vegetation on their bodies. This shows that the Inves as some effect on the human body and they are beasts who eat the fruit so they must have sometime unique in their body that has the human body react to that. Now we see what happens when a person eats a fruit as they go through a complete transformation, so is there any connection to the Inves and the humans then? Are the Inves a whole race of people who ate the fruit and evolved into the Inves? Also what will happen to Hase now?
Gaim still impresses me a whole lot as the series is giving me a lot to like. First there is the whole writing scheme of the series since there are many hints and clues going to this point, I even remember in the first episode where Kouta almost ate a piece of the fruit, close call for him. There is even the whole change of tone that the series has been having for a while ever since Kouta and Micchy found out what Yggdrasil is doing. Now there is a clear point where things are being left behind and new things are coming to replace them. The shows started out with showing kids having fun playing with their new toys and now they are seeing what exactly their new toys can actually do. Also they are victims in a grand scheme as well and there is no doubt these riders are not going to quit fighting. This episode gets an A+ as even the little action moments are even well done which shows a lot and my hope for the series increases by every episode.
Next Time: More Genesis Riders!