The beginning of the episode was quite interesting as I wasn't expecting the chase with Baron and Gaim to continue. All I expected was Micchy fighting his way out and having Takatora react to seeing his brother fighting the Kurokages. Bringing me to a pretty big flaw in this episode as it's really the only bad thing I can talk about in this episode. That is how the effects were handled mostly with the Kurokages on the new hover bikes. For Micchy's fight, the additions of the CGI and green screen backgrounds really made this a pretty horrible fight to watch. What would have helped a little is add more animation to the background so there isn't a big contrast difference between the actual items and the background itself. I will say though it was cool seeing Micchy fighting without his gun and using one of the bikes himself. Luckily, the chase with Gaim and Baron was handled with more care. The forest area has some additional effects to work with and most of the time the bikes were in the background or covered up by some sort of glare. It helped make the CGI effects look a tad bit more realistic at least, but they did too many cut away shots so that kind of got annoying. So this episode didn't have the best start, but after that the rest of the episode really picks itself up.
Right after the chase, Kouta and Micchy go to the hospital to check up on their friend, Rat. Shockingly, this is actually one of his first focused moments in the series. Rat was pretty much just a background character just like some of the other members of Gaim. Actually the previous episode gave some more lines for one of the female members and now the other one got more than usual as well in this episode. Luckily, Rat is not going through the symptoms that the many other victims have and he is expected to make a quick recovery. Kouta starts to apologize since he does see that he could have prevented this from happening, which is something Sid said before. Rat tells him though that Kouta doesn't need to feel responsible for everything since this was something out of his control. Also they are friends so if Rat is fine with what happened, then Kouta should be as well. It's a nice little scene for a background character like Rat since even these types of characters can help the main characters with their problems. I bet this does give Kouta some sense of relief and something to think about at the least.
Regarding the Beat Riders now, Mai and her friend see an Inves robbing a jewelry store and find out it's from Team Red Hot. Since the town is scared of the Inves as of now they found a way to bring out the real Inves out from their seeds. This is actually something that's really surprising as we have seen many scientists working on the Lock Seeds and the drivers and now the kids have found a way to hack that same technology. So with these Lock Seeds having special changes they can summon the Inves and still have control over them. I do wonder if this could bring up some interesting little villains for the show as I can see other teams like Hot Red using the Inves for evil purposes. Heck, Team Baron even mentions that there are other teams doing this as it made the streets quite dangerous now. Gaim is really doing some exploring with its own world with possibilities like how the Beat Riders are reacting to this situation.
Kouta and Mai share the same reaction to this news as they are disappointed in fellow Beat Riders stooping so low. For Mai she is brought to tears by this because she remembers the days when it was all about the dancing and not the ranks. This is then supported by her ideology of wanting to make people happy with her dancing so it's understandable why she feels like this. For Kouta he is disgusted by this and tries to talk some logic into Hot Red. Kouta saw a man turn into a monster and doesn't want to see that again and he doesn't want to see people getting hurt by the Inves. With what Kouta has been learning about recently he is taking some bolder steps of being a hero. Now he doesn't want to hurt team Hot Red as he even saves the team from the out of control Inves that they used to have control over. After everything that happens then, Kouta starts asking himself if power makes people into evil people, but Bandou helps him by telling him that even weak people can be evil. Power is something that is used and it's true there are bad people who use that for the wrong reasons. There is another fact then, power comes with a responsibility as one choice can make someone into a villain or a hero. I do really love where Kouta's character is going as he does want to be the hero and he knows he has to fight, but he won't attack any victims. In honesty even Hot Red were victims in the end as Sid ends up using the team for his own needs. Team Hot Red were bad people, but they don't deserve to be attacked like the others and Kouta sees this as he is a hero who wants to protect the innocent and help the villains to see what is clearly right and wrong.
Kouta had many chances to give the leader a quick punch, but he never hurts him.
Reminding me of team Hot Red there was a nice amount of imagery used with these guys. In the previous episode there was some great work with how the physical appearances help to give an image to the characters. Hot Red get those moments as their hangout spot reminds me where the Greeed from OOO were hiding, it even gives me thoughts about the Grongi from Kuuga as well. The whole area is dark with dim lights as it just gives off an evil vibe. Another thing that works well is how Hot Red dresses the leader got his hat on backwards which was a pretty stereotypical way of showing who a bad person was, but his other teammates hold some qualities like that. One of the teammates didn't look all that well groomed; he let his hair grow down and sometimes hides his face in certain shots. Again these are little things that give you a sense of how characters are going to be and it's nice that they are subtle and not in your face like how a bad comedy would point out a stereotype about a certain race of people. I easily approve of this and I bet looking back at certain episodes I could find new details I didn't see before.
Takatora took an interesting route that I wasn't expecting as he finally found out that his brother is an Armored Rider. I loved seeing how he went straight to Sid about this as I just felt like Sid was going to get screwed big time. Sid says that he thought Takatora gave Micchy permission to become a part of the experiment since Micchy came straight to him. Why would Sid reject the younger brother of the overseer and this then confirmed that Takatora is in charge of the project, but something feels like there is just someone more powerful than him in all of this. I was thinking Takatora was going to try to take the driver away from his brother since he is over protective about him. To my amazement though he is actually proud that Micchy took control of his own fate. Takatora even makes a connection between the two as he did something similar in his life that gave him complete control of his life. So I can guess that his father tried to be over protective just like he was towards Micchy. Things even continue to take a turn into the unexpected, as Takatora takes his brother to see the truth of the project.
With Micchy in all of this, even he is quite surprised how of Takatora reacted to the situation. I did love how Micchy didn't try to hide anything to make him look innocent as he boldly tells him what he is going to do with the footage he found. Micchy wants to tell the world of what Yggdrasil is doing with the people and take down the corrupt business. Takatora though takes him into the forest and shows him the truth of Helheim. Now the audience doesn't get to see what the truth is, but basing it on Micchy's reaction it's quite horrible. Micchy falls to the ground in shock and starts to change his mind about everything. He even agrees with his brother that the people cannot know about this. At that point, Takatora gives his hand to Micchy and gets him to join Yggdrasil so that they can fight the real war that is going on. I was expecting this from Micchy, he just had these little moments of a more serious character and I take back saying he felt evil at points, that was just him being good at business. It's actually more of a connection between his brother since he does act like him in those moments. These two are good people and their goal is to save humanity, but it's just the way they are doing it can be viewed as wrong. Who knows though since the truth behind the forest could change my mind as well when I see it.
So back with Kouta's, he tries to find out how to use the new Lock Seed he got from Sagara. He sees that the Lemon Energy Seed won't work in the slot of his belt as it only fits in the attachment. The question is how the attachment can be part of the belt. Well when fighting an out of control Inves, the face piece of the belt falls off and then Kouta realizes that the attachment can go there now. With these he combines his Orange Lock Seed with the Lemon Energy Seed and transforms into Jinba Arms. The Jinba Arms can change it seems as this is Lemon Jinba Arms. The style of transformation is mixing which is what the belt says when the transformation starts. The form looks pretty nice as the giant piece of armor actually works nicely with the Gaim suit. The color yellow works pretty nicely with the overall blue of the suit and the patterns on the lemon parts help out as well. Even Gaim's helmet gets some changes as silver replaces the gold and his mouthpiece gets a change as well. It's not final form upgrade, but it's a cool way showing how the Energy Seeds can work along with the old drivers. He can also now wield the Sonic Arrow weapon as it's used like how Zangetsu was using it before. It can be as a sword and the bow part of the weapon gives it a long range. The finisher for this was sweet then as it reminds me of Blade's Royal Straight Flush, but with oranges and lemons! Overall, it's a cool form that shows a nice sense of upgrades and yet not to the point that is can be the same as a Genesis Rider.
As I said before the beginning of the episode is probably the only really weak part as everything else is strong. Well the reveal of Lemon Jinba Arms wasn't the best as it felt a little too quick, but it did show everything about the form though so I'm still very happy with that. There were some great character moments with the best being between Micchy and Takatora. My favorite part of the episode though was the fact that the Beat Riders found a way to hack into the Lock Seeds and some are becoming villains during all of this and there were some nice focus scenes on those Beat Riders. I give the episode an A-
Next Time: More Marika, YES!