The first thing I want to discuss is that the show actually reveals another new rider! With Kaito leaving Team Baron, he makes Zack the leader of the team. It's quite funny that we got to see Zack before Kaito, heck the same goes for Pec. I will get to Kaito's reasons later since I'm focusing on Zack and Pec here. Zack and Pec were followers of Kaito and even did their own little stunts like we have seen in the first two episodes of the series. The two didn't try their own stunts after Kaito gave them a strict talking to and since then they have been on the bench like other Beat Riders. So now we got a new leader of Team Baron and as a gift he gets the driver that was said to work on anyone. Then with Kaito gone from the team, the two tell Team Gaim that they would be up for the group dance since the two did want to dance. Pec actually speaks out against Kaito about rejecting the offer in the beginning. Zack easily felt the same way, but he knew how Kaito would act, or so he thought. Zack then stands up on his own when Bravo and Jonouchi attack the Beat Riders. With this he becomes Armored Rider Knuckle! How he stands up on his own and helps Gaim and the fellow Beat Riders really gave this character a boost in his development, personality, and likability as this is probably my favorite rider reveal in the series.
Knuckle looks similar to Kurokage, but I think it's mostly because of the overall black color scheme. Knuckle uses the Walnut Lock Seed and wields some deadly fists. It's actually a little funny that this rider has a boxer motif to him since many of the previous riders are based on much older warriors. Now he does have a mix of a medieval squire, but the boxer motif sticks out much more. His fists are the biggest part of the suit which makes sense of a rider called Knuckle while his overall suit is actually pretty slimmed down compared to the other riders. There is a nice touch of simplicity that I really love about this suit as the added parts have some nice details. Personally, Knuckle's helmet is like my second favorite as the mouth piece, visor, and the back of the helmet work well together. This is thanks to the added touches of silver and having the light brown behind the helmet while the yellow eyes stand out. His chest and shoulder pieces are nice as well as they are not big and have some nice detailing to them. Which reminds me; on the helmet you see ridges on it which reminds me of when I open a walnut. Surprisingly overall this is a great design to look at and I thought I would only have three to four sentences for this design, guess not.
Anyways onto Kaito, the reason he left the team was so that he could focus on his own battles and being alone would help him. Now I do feel that Kouta was right about something, Kaito left right at the time when his allies started to speak on their own. I can tell Kaito didn't just quit because he wanted his team to be happy, but he saw that they are saying their real thoughts and started to express their own power. Kaito respects people who use power to get around in life so he felt that Team Baron can be left in good hands as he goes on his own. Kaito is surprisingly a nice person even though he does have that power ideology he follows. With that ideal though he can respect people and help them at the same time as people being able to do things on their own is important. Also there is the fact that Kaito knows more about Yggdrasil now and he won't go down without a fight just like how Kouta is right now. I'm really interested to where Kaito is heading to in the series since he got many traits of being an anti-hero and yet it seems that he is forming into a pure hero as he does help others like helping Knuckle in the Bravo ambush.
I do have to say this does feel like a finale for the Beat Riders as their importance for the series is important, but the series is clearly moving on with the plots regarding Yggdrasil and how other characters will act. There is Micchy who has become Yggdrasil's spy and wants to keep his happiness. Kaito has now moved away from the team and will fight for himself. Kouta is going to be the defender of the city. Bravo and Jonouchi are working under Yggdrasil as they do act to be comic reliefs, this episode and the previous one do show that they are still a threat. Now I do have to wonder how the series will use Zack since he is clearly becoming a bigger character and I would love to see him interact with the Yggdrasil plot points. Then with having the Beat Riders getting a happy ending with the people seeing that they are good people as for some reason Sagara was doing the broadcast again. Along with that there were more hints of what's going to come afterwards. Ryouma still wants to see more data from Gaim as he even appears before him as he was transformed as Armored Rider Duke. There was even an interesting line from Micchy where he says he will betray anyone for this happiness, yikes. So the Beat Riders get a great finale as they all join up and have one big dance to win the hearts back from the people as we even get a new rider and many signs of how the series will move on.
Another part that helps with the Beat Rider finale is seeing all of the good teams dancing together even though there were two teams I never seen before. I did find out that the girls in white were the Kamen Rider Girls as that's a nice cameo, but I'm not a big fan of them they just exist and that's my opinion on them. Other than that it was awesome to see the Beat Riders finally stopping this war like game and focusing on their dancing like what they were originally doing. Mai had some nice moments with her not giving up and even trying to get Team Baron to join by herself only. Then there was the dancing, now it wasn't all that special regarding on how they were moving, but has in mind that they are dancing in sync with each other. There are like nearly fifty dancers in that scene so that had to be hard to work with. What's also great is how they continue to dance and we see this in the background of the action. It was a nice thing to look at since they did stay in sync with each other for most of the time and seeing their passion burning did give a boost of excitement for the action. Even with threats like Alfonzo and Jonouchi around they still continued to dance as again this feels like a great finale for this part of the series.
Alfonzo and Jonouchi clearly had their comedy moments in the episode which was around the beginning where we see Jonouchi trying to see which Lock Seed was the real one. He picks the fake one and gets hurt again and then it escalates with Alfonzo kicking him and then using his butt to attack him (I have a feeling he plays as Peach in Smash Bros). I did know about the Alfonzo meme that is going around, but still watching the scene for the first time was really funny. It had a bit of surprise humor along with good physical comedy, all these two need to a third member and we got the closest thing to having Three Stooges like humor in Kamen Rider. These two work nicely together as Jonouchi is the hopeless student who gets a beating from his strict teacher. Other than that though, the two still pose as a threat. Alfonzo is Bravo and he is a strong warrior and then there is Jonouchi who hides in the shadows. Bravo fights Gaim while Jonouchi summons Inves to attack, even though some of them were actually dancing... Jonouchi even tried to stop the performance by getting rid of the music, but it fails as the Beat Riders make their own music. In the end, Bravo is defeated once more and Jonouchi actually joins the other Beat Riders in the dance. These two are good comedy characters and it's surprising to see Bravo still posing as a threat while the same can be said for Jonouchi, but I do wonder when he will be fighting more one on one.
The action in this episode was another great moment for this episode and the series overall. First there was the reveal of Knuckle who easily impressed me by a huge margin. Then there were the dancers in the background. The third thing was that how the fight kept building up. At first there was trouble as Bravo and the first couple of Inves were scaring people. Knuckle then joins the fight and helps boost the morale. I like the little effects they give Knuckle in this fight as whenever he gets a big hit on someone we see a shell being shattered which easily shows the walnut theme he has. Also his fighting style helps with the boxer motif as he sends little punches and then goes for the big punch to end his combo. He even knows some nice jabbing as he gets the quick jabs around the stomach or chest area and then those big punches go to the higher areas than that. Other than that we got to see Bravo fight Gaim with the Jinba Lemon arms again, but this time there were more swords clashing than in the previous fight they had. It actually does feel like Kouta is picking up some skills from fighting. The best part though was Baron and Knuckle fighting alongside each other and delivering strong finishers together. The two faced the Dragon Inves as that hard armor did prove to be a hassle for the two riders, but they had great teamwork with each other, probably thanks to the times they danced together. It was a great fight overall as there was strong build up and it knew when to keep bringing the punches.
Now compared to other episodes there is less to talk about here. Thanks to that though, the episode knew how to use those elements perfectly while giving each part a strong focus. Knuckle's reveal was well done as it was a surprise while giving a character a new look. The Beat Riders get a happier conclusion now and there were many hints showing where the series will focus on as it continues. It's a really strong episode that also brings a good amount of emotions into play as this easily rivals episode nine as my favorite episode in the series. I give episode eighteen an A+
Next Time: Lemon Jinba versus Melon Energy!