First I want to talk about both Takatora and Ryouma as their past gets a major focus in this episode. For Takatora we see the hardships he puts through just for the plan to save humanity. Takatora was the first test subject for the use of Lock Seeds and has a scar from those tests, high chance that will play into the show sooner than expected. Even when he gets injured though he was hard at work as he constantly did paperwork and still gave orders. Takatora at the beginning of the series was a threat and almost villain-like, but when learning more about him he seems to be a tragic hero. This man has to decide on the fact that six billion have to die just so that one billion people can live and to some that may seem villainous. Takatora knows of this and this is why he has been holding onto his doubts for a long time. In many ways he is similar to Kouta as he does want to find another way of helping the world. This is why he even started to have more doubts after seeing Kouta become the hero he is now. Kouta reminds him or himself before he started Project Ark and since Kouta came back with Kachidoki Arms, he is holding onto his dream. In this episode he comes back to ask Ryouma is there could possibly be more belts made before the ten year limit.
Going on with Takatora he ends up seeing another possibility as he meets an Overlord for the first time. The red Overlord is out for vengeance as he wants to find Kaito for the previous fight they had. When seeing the Overlord he is amazed to see an Inves with a weapon and the ability to talk Japanese. When Kouta comes to help he tells Takatora about the Overlords with how they could help with saving their world. The Overlord is not happy with this however and just tells them they are going to die. Takatora then has the insight to capture the Overlord and try to find a way to save the world. The man even ends up siding with Kouta as he even tells him his name and shakes his hand. This is a big moment as these two were rivals on the opposing side and now Takatora is breaking that as he and Kouta share the same beliefs. Again this is very similar to both Lloyd and Kratos from Tales of Symphonia and I absolutely love how those characteristics are being used for Kouta and Takatora.
Now onto Ryouma and boy did a good amount get revealed about him in this episode. It's mostly thanks to the flashbacks we got of Takatora being a test subject for the Lock Seeds. Ryouma at first respected Takatora since he saw him to help in his ambitions. As mentioned before, Ryouma wants to obtain the next step in human evolution and he sees that the forest and the forbidden fruit can be his answer. We even saw DJ Sagara tell him about the forbidden fruit and we all saw his reaction towards that. So when Ryouma is ordered to make more drivers based on quantity and not quality, he was not pleased with Takatora. He thought Takatora would share his belief of more power as he did want to go straight to the Genesis Drivers. Takatora wanted to save as many people as he wants to and power is not the way to do that. At that point is when Ryouma decided to betray Takatora and who knows how long he has been keeping that from him. Ryouma even learns about the Overlords on that day and decides to keep that a secret for himself. Now with Takatora knowing about the Overlords, Ryouma sees that he has to interfere and possibly kill Takatora. I will say I loved how the series teased us with Takatora looking like a villain while at the same time there were truly other people that can take the villain spot. Ryouma is a man of ambitions and he will make sure those get satisfied.
Also I really did enjoy the nice black and white moments.
On with Kaito as he was in the beginning of the episode. It's mostly him reacting to seeing Micchy shooting Kouta in the back and even trying to kill him. Kaito interferes with Micchy's plan and attacks him and soon makes him run away. The reason why Kaito did that is because he doesn't see Kouta as his enemy, even though they have different opinions. Again Kaito is a man who uses powers to make his dreams a reality and he sees that part of himself in Kouta. It's actually quite interesting to see how many character traits are shared between characters and yet each character is heavily different from each other. Kouta is going to try the impossible and change the rules of the world itself and to do that he needs to be powerful. Kaito wants to be powerful in a similar fashion as he does want it for himself, but at the same time he wants to share that power so that others can be strong. Now his true foes are backstabbers and Micchy is clearly one of those. This is why Kaito is my favorite character, he is an anti-hero, but it is easily done in a more good fashion compared to many other anti-heroes. Sometimes there are some anti-hero characters that just seem evil which completely not the point is. Kaito though is easily one of the best examples of an anti-hero though thanks to how he acts and fights others.
Oren was in this episode as he was just being the comic relief and for the most part I did like it. Now I will say the series did try a little too hard as some of the ending points got to be annoying with the comedy. I love the set up and delivery, it's just how it ends makes it bad. It's mostly because it goes too far with visuals as those are not needed for this character. Oren is colorful enough and he doesn't need additional ones around him. Let the character itself be funny and use the perfect timing ques to make it even funnier. The best example of this is whenever Oren saw food because he was lost in the forest for a long time, you hear this symphony in the background as it's the moment of hope for this man. Oren even knew how to break the ice in the middle of the action as he takes a hit for Takatora. Takatora tells him that was a sloppy move, but for Oren it was the best move since he was in his arms. That got me to laugh a bit and then seeing him getting thrown as nice, but at the very end it goes too far with a face cam moment pretty much. I will also say, Oren is clearly going to help more thanks to finding out about the cracks and the forest and I'm fine with this as this man can be helpful and does bring some good comedy at times.
Now I can't forget about Micchy as he came straight back to his happy place after getting attacked by Kaito. The scene he has with Mai really makes me wonder what Micchy will do because he is having a struggle with himself. Mai mentions that when he yelled at Kouta that wasn't his usual self. Micchy then replied with a question, "What should I do to act like myself?" Mai then tells him that he always seemed to be mature and in control as Micchy sees that as fantasy. Right there makes me really think about Micchy sees him. First of all he has some type of split personality as he can live happily with Mai and his friends, but when he is with Yggdrasil his dark side easily comes out. What's funny with Mai's line and Micchy response is that he isn't in control. There was a scene with Micchy saying he has the power of influence while the truth is that he can barely keep himself in check. Micchy is going to pick a side soon and I feel he could be going on the paths of Ryouma or is even that not enough for him?
The action in this episode was awesome as there was one part of it in this episode. It's when the Overlord appears and attacks the human researchers. Takatora comes out first and his surprise in the new Inves does get him off guard for a bit. Kouta saves him though and soon the two fight together. Again with Takatora and Kouta being similar to each other they end up working well together. Kouta always follows up when Takatora finishes his attacks and the two did perfect with shooting their arrows. There was even a great moment when the Overlord uses the trees to attack the two. Again thanks to the forest itself being a graphic, it makes effects like that look well done since it blends in with the environment. It was also an even fight since the Overlord got back at the two riders with his special powers, but soon had to leave because of another Overlord it seems.
This was my favorite part of the episode, the reveal of another Overlord and this one seems to be in control of everything. This Overlord is white and sits on a chair as he commands the red Overlord to retreat, or so I think. Again the Overlords have their own language and I love that since their scenes can be full of mystery with what they are simply talking about. I even love at one point the red one talks about his race saying the apes won't survive like they did. What I liked was that his race's name was in his own language so who knows what they were before they became Overlords. Its things like this that actual make the world in a show seem expansive and I hope more series can pick this up.
The only thing that sours this episode is the comedy, but again the comedy wasn't at its worse like episode twenty-five. I still love the use of the characters as they are really getting full development thanks to the plot increasing in suspense. Some characters are put into a new light like Takatora and Ryouma as one could find a new hope while the other one has to stop that. I really can't wait to see how things continue and yes I've been avoiding the spoilers very well, so don't tell me anything! Either way this episode gets an A-
Next Time: The Duke enters the scene