I will get right to the big truth about forest first since pretty much everything in the episode follows on this aspect. The truth behind the forest is that there used to be a civilization in the forest as the vegetation took out that society. Takatora shows Kouta a city covered in the roots and fruit as it did seem rather ancient as the buildings were built with rock and even tables and other items like that were made from stone. It's surprising to see that the forest wasn't originally a forest to begin with because who knows how much overall destruction there was to this area. It's even unsure if the Helheim Forest took over another planet or some parallel world. Either way though this could be the fate for the Earth in due time and Yggdrasil has to keep this a secret because of how much widespread panic there would be. It is also confirmed that all of the Inves were people from this world so every Inves that the riders fight are actually people. This even gives a different viewpoint to Yggdrasil in general as the company that has been seen as a superpower abusing the so called power is a protector of the city. This can be shown through Takatora and Micchy's viewpoint since there are tragedies happening, but as Takatora said they are sacrifices that were needed.
The best part about this exposition dump is that we get many different viewpoints on the subject. We see Takatora telling Kouta, Ryouma telling Kaito, and Sid and Yoko thinking of different plans. It's also rather interesting to see the paring as well. We got Kouta with a man who is a Foil in the regards he has one major difference compared to Kouta and then Kaito as the professor telling him. Takatora and Kouta actually do share similar opinions, but when diving into more details they start differing from each other. Kouta feels that there is hope for the people as they can stand up and do something about the forest. Takatora sees that it will only cause more violence in the end as that can be seen with history in general. Ryouma mentions the many conflicts in the past like war, religion, and race tension. There has been a lot that happened and that cannot just be clearly shoved aside to save the world, people are different and there can be many different reactions. Even if there is some good it can only take one person to ruin everything. There is a great amount of realism being put into this situation and that continues regarding how the characters react.
The first character to talk about is Kouta as his heroics really get tested here. The amount of shock he goes through easily reminds me of the time when he got scared by Zangetsu in the beginning of the series. The whole time Kouta is still thinking like the hero he is and wants to help everyone. He also thinks there is a common good in people, but Takatora tells him off. Takatora tells him that he could be endangering his loved ones as the widespread panic could cause the destruction of the Earth even before Helheim spreads out completely. There is an estimation of ten years which is a lot of time, but imagine if the public did know about this what could happen in those ten years? Kouta is completely out of his league right now as he hasn't gone through was Takatora and many others are trying right now. Takatora has easily seen bloodshed before and I bet the project didn't originally start with him as I bet his father started it and things just got carried over. When Kouta finds out the Inves are people who just turned he even hesitates to fight as he cannot hurt someone with him knowing it. Kouta seems like he could stop fighting the Inves in general because of this shock he is going through which would probably be a similar reaction to if he found out about Yuuya. Kouta is put into a big issue with himself as his heroics will need to be pushed so that he can make the right move again.
Kaito has an interesting response to everything as he does listen to what Ryouma has to say. He even agrees on many points that were given out. Kaito even realizes that Yggdrasil built over the tree where the shrine used to be as that tree is actually a part of Helheim. It seems that the seeds come down onto the Earth like an alien race would have and it's only mean is to grow and survive. It's a miracle that the tree just stayed as a tree since it could have spread out and it's also used to become the artificial rift so that Yggdrasil can study the forest. Kaito is extremely mad to see an icon of his childhood being used like this, but he starts to calm down and actually learns about his situation. After hearing about the whole situation as there were some great examples of what exactly the vegetation which is an invasive species. Even after all of that Kaito ends up getting angrier as he sees that this is the golden chance for the world to fight for itself. Kaito is a man who sees power to be used for good things and there is no way he would hide this secret. Kaito wants the world to defend itself and sees that a world of lies deserves destruction. He even says the future should go to the people who will fight the forest. Then the biggest surprise is that Ryouma, Yoko, and Sid see good things in all of this. Ryouma even tells him that they are in the same field which could mean these three have different motifs than one could think. So is Kaito going to be a part of Yggdrasil now while aiming for his true goals along with the Genesis Riders?
I do feel that Kaito got the best development in this episode as his ideology really got tested here. Kaito's search for power is strong and he will make sure that others can do the same. He doesn't want a world of lies; he wants a world full of people who can fight for their own goals and dreams. This is even taken farther as the man sees that fighting Helheim will help humanity as those who do fight will most likely be the survivors. This is a huge reason why I can say Kaito is my favorite character, he doesn't back off from his ideas and finds how he can use that in many different situations. When he is put into a corner he will use whatever he has to make sure he can get out. I'm really interested in how Kaito is going to act in the series since he is not backing off and could actually become a bigger player compared to Kouta who is simply being the hero. It's great to see a secondary rider like him take his steps as the series continues as his quest for power will not stop.
There were also some little scenes that were nice to watch. First is how Zach is being the protector of the city as well which is great to watch since Kouta is busy at the moment. My personal favorite part of the little fight scene was how he was struggling since he hasn't become the perfect fighter yet. Then it continues as Pec actually helps him by acting as a distraction. It's awesome to see a person like him fight since he has no powers like Zach and the other riders do. The two of them defeat the Inves and sadly they couldn't defend a person as the vegetation starts growing on him. This leads to Oren coming out and trying to make the two and other Beat Riders look like the villains in the situation. Sure there are many people who do believe in the Beat Riders now, but Oren does bring up some good points even if they can be proven false. Then we see Bravo easily defeat three Inves compared to Knuckle having trouble fighting two. So there is time for Zach to grow as a fighter and I do hope he does get more notable fight moments in the series. Also Jonouchi is starting to act like Oren...
There were even some moments for Micchy as we see him fighting alongside the Yggdrasil Kurokage troops. To my surprise it seems that Micchy's combat experience is starting to pay off. His close combat gotten much better and he is actually using it to make room for himself so that he can fire his gun. We see this as he kicks and shoves Inves away from him as he uses his gun finisher. When I think about it there were many times where Micchy didn't fight as I was rather confused about those times, but it could have been because he wasn't confidence in his fighting abilities. Now Micchy is similar to his brother as he is more effective than the Kurokage soldiers and tells them to burn down the vegetation after the rift vanishes. We then see Micchy watching over Mai and the other Beat Riders saying that things can stay like this so that the others can be happy. Micchy does have goodness in him even if there are times he does show his darker side as he is fighting to protect others like many of the other riders in the series. I do wonder what might happen to him since I can't imagine how he will react if anyone ruins his perfect little world.
There actually was a nice amount of action for this episode thanks to the beginning of the episode, the little parts, and the final fight. Most of them were pretty quick, but there are things to get from them. First is that Micchy's combat experience is starting to show which I mentioned before. Second is that Zach still has his ways to go before he can start killing Inves like Bravo does. Then there were the fights that Gaim and Zangetsu had. They were actually working together this time as they dealt with hordes of Inves. The first fight was simply against the weaker Inves which was easy enough. Then there was the final fight as Kouta didn't want to fight since he knew the Inves were people. Zangetsu yells at him though saying that these beasts are no more than corpses and ends up doing all of the fighting. So Kouta is starting to not want to fight like in two of the previous episodes, but he I can tell he will start fighting the Inves again when he has to or will he only fight his true foes?
Episode twenty is a huge dump of information, but this was really done well. This is thanks to the many different viewpoints that were shown in this episode. There is even Sid's viewpoint as he sees that he can get the forbidden fruit along with Yoko. So there were a lot of things cleared in this episode and yet there is still rather a lot more mysteries to uncover. Kouta and Kaito both deal with the truth of the forest and they are told by two completely different people. Takatora is a man who wants to save the world while Ryouma is showing he has other intentions. Then there is still the overall mystery of the forest still as we do know what it is, but there could be more to find out about it since Sagara mentioned many times of a chosen one. With some nice little moments covering important subjects as well this is a strong episode as I clearly give it an A.
Next Time: Kouta faces one of his true foes