The episode started with a bang as it continues from the cliffhanger of the previous episode. Armored Rider Duke appears in front of Kouta and keeps asking him to transform and to make sure he does he starts firing at him! Kouta defends himself with Jinba Lemon Arms and surprisingly not even that can keep up with Duke. Now for those who are wondering, Duke is no other than Ryouma the scientist who made the belts. It's quite amazing to see a man like him being a fighter and he even says he's inexperienced, but that actually gives him quite of an edge to work with. By being inexperienced he doesn't know how to control his powers so he is using all of his strength whenever he is fighting. It is even implied that Yoko was holding back in her previous fight and not using all of the powers with her Genesis Driver. Agfter defeating both Gaim and Baron, Ryouma retreats since he has gathered enough information. He's happy to see that Kouta is drawing great power from the unfinished prototype that Kouta is using as of now. I just find it amazing that this guy just went guns blazing just so he can keep getting information; it's actually quite scary to think he could just pop up again and do this again. Ryouma is actually a threatening fighter and that is something I can't believe I'm saying since he is just a scientist.
This episode then has Kaito and Kouta working together since Kaito wants to break into Yggdrasil again so he can reveal their secrets, but he has a different reason for this. I really want to discuss how these two worked together since this hasn't happened before in the series. Now the two did fight together in episode eight, but that is different compared to this since they have a common goal and it does feel that Kaito is acting more heroic than before. The two played off nicely with each other as they are both stubborn about getting through Yggdrasil's defenses. Kouta is even disconnecting himself more from Team Gaim since the Inves Games are over and there isn't need for any fighting for the Beat Riders now. So Kouta and Kaito are working by themselves and will help each other since the two want Yggdrasil to finally stop hiding things. It's a great comparison between the two and they have different reasons, but at the same time there are many similarities as well mostly with how the two progress in the series. This even makes Kaito a much better secondary rider since his anti-hero like qualities are still around, but he is easily being more of a hero and I can't wait to see if he does become that full hero.
More onto Kaito as I did mention before he is acting more heroic than before. In the beginning of the episode he comes to defend Kouta from Duke. It has easily been established that Kaito does think of Kouta highly as he uses power to a great extent and tries to make his goals a reality. Kaito is the same way and again this helps increase the bond between the two characters. An interesting development though comes when Baron as to fight Sigurd. The two yell at each other about Yggdrasil and what Kaito is really aiming for. Again he has the dream of power and wants to see other people be stronger. Kaito hates what Yggdrasil did to his past for sure, but he wants to see if the company is truly strong and exposing them will show him if they can remain strong. This is supported by the people Kaito is around and the people he ends up respecting and it's an amazing change compared to how I used to think he just hated Yggdrasil because of what happened in the past. Kaito gained his ideology because of that event he doesn't regret it and just wants to see more power from anyone. This soon caught the attention of Ryouma who is now impressed with the boy. Kaito is easily making his impressions on the series as he does have past connections with the company and I'm quite interested to see how this could continue.
Kouta has clearly changed as well since he is focusing more on Yggdrasil since the Inves Games are now over. This does cause Mai to get sad because Kouta could not be around as much anymore and even Micchy is feeling saddened by this as well. After seeing the Beat Riders fight for what they want, Kouta was inspired by them. This is because he is experiencing a similar experience of being put into a corner. The Beat Riders were being hated and barely anyone was supporting them and then they come back and gain the city's love by themselves. Kouta is being kept down by Yggdrasil and he is facing some strong opponents like the Genesis Riders. Kouta doesn't want to give up though and wants to make a big change in the whole issue. The best moment for Kouta clearly had to be when he meets Zangetsu again where they first met. Kouta remembers what he was told before about the world being evil for no reason and he sees that evil killed Hase. With that, Kouta doesn't want to think it was fate and that Yggdrasil is creating that evil. During his fight with Zangetsu, Zangetsu says that he will clear Kouta's misconception and after being defeated, Takatora will show him what the evil really is.
I have mentioned many times before how the plot of Gaim is reminding me of Tales of Symphonia as the rivalry between Kouta and Takatora easily remind me of Lloyd having to face off Kratos. Kouta and Lloyd are people trying to become the new hero for the world as they cannot stand back and let things continue. Takatora and Kratos in a way are heroes themselves, but they know when sacrifices have to be made to keep things in peace. Both Kouta and Lloyd don't know what is really happening with their world and Takatora and Kratos do know what is happening and is going for a more straight answer and will not take any other way. Kouta has clearly changed from when he started and he has seen someone die before his eyes as Hase was just a victim. I can even compare this to when Lloyd ends up seeing Marble a person he tried to save become a monster and ends up dying as she did nothing wrong. I am absolutely loving this development for these two characters as it can easily expand much more as both sides are not in the wrong so we have good facing off good, it's just one of the good sides is just going with one answer and nothing else.
Micchy had an interesting moment in the series as I find out how much more he is reacting to knowing that Yuuya died. Micchy doesn't want Kouta to know and he goes as far to trying to stop Kouta from entering Yggdrasil. Micchy followed Kouta to the cafe and talks with him and Kaito about breaking into Yggdrasil. Micchy ends up betraying the two by telling Takatora about the plan. Now I am not saying that Micchy was being evil in that moment because he is trying to do some good here. He knows if Kouta finds out the truth about Yuuya he will be destroyed there is no doubt about that. I do believe that Kouta can step up from that though, but it would be a hard obstacle for sure. In a way this is similar to how Takatora is doing things. The two brothers know more than Kouta for the two big situations, Yuuya and the secret of the forest. Micchy is clearly stopping Kouta that he doesn't find out and in a way this is similar to how Takatora is trying to hide the secret of the forest from society. The two have their reasons and it's a great comparison between the two as these brothers are more similar than I would have imagined.
So when the two riders fail for the first time as they try to get back into action quickly, but someone appears to help them. Its DJ Sagara again as he is doing things on his own. First he is still having the radio show still be on the air for some reason as he continues to support the Beat Riders. When Kaito finds out that Sagara has been helping out before, he finds it suspicious that a man from Yggdrasil is doing this. Sagara pretty much says he isn't one of Yggdrasil's men, which could men he has some higher power or is simply using Yggdrasil. Sagara even continues to boast about how much fun he is having watching over the riders and mentions about who the forest could pick as he will keep watching to see who becomes the chosen one. Sagara even gives the two the Tulip vehicle that just stopped the riders from breaking in. I really loved this scene as I can tell something is going on and yet I don't know. I can only keep guessing on what is going to happen since it isn't obvious since everything hasn't been revealed. For some reason though, Sagara is very concerned about the forest as he could know more about the truth than anyone else. I can tell he is going to be a big player, but its how and why that is the question.
Yggdrasil is becoming stronger than before as Sid unleashes the new type of vehicles onto the two heroes. The Tulip vehicles I have to say look silly and having them mostly be a computer generated effect makes them look even sillier. Even how they walk is silly as these make me think of prototype versions of the AT-RT and AT-ST vehicles from Star Wars. I will say though the devices are quite effective as they can hide in the scenery and makes great surprise attacks. The device can even make rifts appear and force anyone out of the forest. So the series uses these things well and for the big fight that they were put it, I was actually fine with it. Again the CGI wasn't the best, but it was interesting to see how the riders came back so quickly. Gaim uses the Tulip to get rid of one at a time and then Kaito helps by sending the flying vehicles to tie them up around their legs... yea this is reminding me of Star Wars. So for how silly the newer devices are getting they are being used and I can even say the same for another CGI effect.
To my surprise the freaking Watermelon Lock Seed got used in a different way than before. Kouta has gained some great strength and since he was going to use the Tulip he gives Kaito the Watermelon Lock Seed. Kaito ends up using it and to my surprise it came with a bigger variation than I thought. It seems the so called form can change for other riders as Baron gains a sword with the Lock Seed. Also he used it for only a quick moment so that he can defeat a Sigurd a Genesis Rider! So the Watermelon Lock Seed still has some amazing power that even a Genesis Rider can't face. The CGI effect still looks the same though, but I will say it does look a bit more realistic when the background is an effect as well. So to my surprise even the Lock Seed I hate got used in a correct fashion, Gaim clearly knows what it is doing.
Other action moments would have to be in the beginning of the episode where Duke fights both Gaim and Kouta and when Gaim fights Zangetsu. I like the beginning because it did start with a bang and having Kouta dodge the laser arrows while not being transformed was awesome! It even continued when the big fruit from the sky ends up blocking some of the attacks. I also love how Duke fights, he keeps one hand out for a majority of the time and ends up using it for a defensive and yet offensive type of attacking. He blocks attacks and then goes for attacks with that hand and even throws Gaim around. Duke even takes a hit from Gaim's Sonic Arrow and just continues on with the fight like nothing happened. Then to show a difference of powers, Kaito enters the fray and is taken down by two slashes. Reminding me of power differences, the fight with Gaim and Zangetsu clearly shows that as well, but also a skill comparison as well. Zangetsu is easily the most powerful rider as of now and he even got the skills to back things up. Gaim still didn't get a hit on Zangetsu as he was blocking and then connecting all of his attacks on Gaim. Gaim even is downgraded back into his normal Orange form because Zangetsu knocked him out of it. Gaim doesn't give up though as he tries to use his sword finisher on him and Zangetsu lets the first part of the attack hit him and then blasts him down before he can get the final slash on him. This clearly shows how powerful the Genesis Riders can truly be and Yoko has been holding back before, so what is she really like?
This is yet another amazing episode and I don't think the series is going to stop with being great as it's on role and the series knows how to keep the plot moving by one episode each. Again comparing this to Wizard, Gaim is clearly the better series as of now. The difference of plot versus filler easily goes to plot, but I still won't say Wizard is horrible or even bad because I do find that it worked fine with its filler. Gaim though is clearly continuing on with what is really important as we got amazing fights from the Genesis Riders, silly vehicles that still got used correct and even Watermelon got used correctly as well. The amount of development and changes we are seeing for the characters are big and I do love the comparisons and the differences between them all. This episode clearly gets an A as really the only bad thing I can say is that the CGI effects are still not the best.
Next Time: The secret is revealed to Kouta.