Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 25

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Recap

Jounouchi attempts to prove he’s a real man, while the Professor confronts DJ Sagara.

Marlin’s Thoughts

We finally get a bit more information about DJ Sagara. Now that the Professor’s research has come into greater focus, it would seem to me that I may have been thinking completely wrong. If this story of prior invasions is true, it would seem to imply that Sagara, and perhaps all of the Overlords, are or were once human. It was also nice to hear more about the oft-touted Forbidden Fruit, but what I’d really like is for us to finally see it. Unfortunately, with this being such a dialogue heavy scene, Gaim decides to break out Fate/Zero “Walk in a circle while talking” levels of ridiculous posturing while expositing. I suppose it’s within his character to have the Professor just writhe about aimlessly like a madman while laughing, but it made for a scene that was way too hammy for its own good.

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A bit more of a lighthearted affair after that as focus comes back to Jounouchi and Oren. As the show goes farther and farther into the Helheim plot, I struggle to see how these two will remain relevant to the story. The way they are now they just seem like bit characters. Now that Kouta has his power-ups it’s not even like Bravo poses a serious challenge to him anymore. It doesn’t even make sense that Kouta would just fight him in his normal form when he’s obviously stronger in his Triumphant form. Almost to demonstrate how ridiculous the whole scenario is, even after Jounouchi comes in for his big save, Kouta immediately just transforms and blasts everything that was griefing them like it was nothing. If he could do it then, why didn’t he just do it when the Inves first showed up, or like I said, when he was fighting Oren in the first place?

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Thus, this episode comes off feeling like filler as we get a look into Jounouchi’s crisis of conscience as he becomes fed up with Oren’s ways. I suppose it’s nice to see that they still exist. Some of the most irritating things in fiction is when a character just drops off the face of the earth with nary a mention as to why. The one thing I did grab from Jounouchi’s plot arc this episode is that the final theme of Gaim seems to be solidifying. I’m not sure if I’m just slow to the punch, but it seems like each young rider is trying to figure out the way he wants to deal with coming into adulthood. Kaito has his strength fixation, Kouta wants to protect, Micchy wants to control, it’s only natural we’d see Jounouchi have his own struggles with growing up and the concept of manliness. With him it seems to be how to portray confidence in your abilities. It’s only until he’s needed that he understands he has the power to do things for himself. With Oren finally learning about the cracks, I’m ready for a return to the core plot.

Random Observations

  • So has DJ Sagara been a hard light hologram this whole time or something?
  • Why did Jounouchi agree to dress in drag in the first place?
  • That scene was hilarious, but watching fruit shop dude slow dance with the boa kinda killed the mood they seemed to be making between Jounouchi and Kouta.

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Zigg’s Thoughts

It’s a bit of an odd duck this one. On the surface, it appears to be a breather comedy episode, with the usual heartwarming ending. Weirdly though, several scenes of huge importance have been crowbarred in between the funny bits, and the result is an episode which ping-pongs quite uncomfortably between moods and styles. There’s still plenty of good stuff in it, but it’s rather haphazardly assembled and that somewhat takes the edge off.

Let’s deal with the comedy stuff first, because it takes up most of the episode but is also the least important. I’m pleased that we’ve got Oren and Jounouchi back on our screens, and there were some great, ultra-goofy interludes here, with the training montage and continuous NEVER GIVE UPs being a particular highlight. With that said, I don’t think there was enough of an emotional payoff at the end. It’s true that Jounouchi had a sort-of-realisation, and the mentor-student is played up adorably (it’s worth noting Kamen Rider has a small but vociferous adult female fanbase). But it’s a pretty cheap and forced resolution that doesn’t really grow either of them as characters, though it’s interesting to note that Oren seems to be turning towards the side of the angels. The slapstick was pretty great but I do wish it could have been stitched in more cohesively and balanced with the other elements a bit better.

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Much more noteworthy in the long run are two relatively short scenes, one in which Kouta reveals that he knows of the Overlords to Kaito, and a second in which the Professor and his crew confront DJ Sagara. The first is a great character sketch which firmly re-establishes where our two main heroes stand. Kaito definitely looked to be coming around from the beginning of the show, but this really firmly established he’s back on the ‘bad’ side, at least for now. It’s also the starkest illustration yet of their opposing philosophies – Kouta seeks to use their power to help save the world, while Kaito cares only about overcoming that power. But conversely, Kaito also has a good point – it seems pretty unlikely that the Overlords will just happily co-operate. If you want their power, you’re going to have to take it by yes, being stronger than them.

That ties in to the other major revelation this episode, which is Sagara’s reveal that Helheim hides a source of ultimate power. This is a much more traditional turn for the plot than Gaim has utilised up to this point – mysterious mcguffins have driven plenty of stories in both toku and other genres – but is nevertheless an interesting one. The script does a great job of tying it into existing mythological tales of fruit, giving it a weight and resonance beyond simply portraying it as an objective. The precise nature of this powerful fruit is also left unclear, so there’s bound to be some decent story to be gained unravelling that. The mystery of DJ Sagara continues onward too. Here he merely states he’s ‘an observer’ which suggests to me he could be some sort of otherworldly force. But he’s obviously done way more than observing, so is he a renegade, or is there are specific objective he has? Though it was a little more muddled than usual, Gaim still has enough questions to make us want answers.

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Random Observations

  • This is now a battle between superpowered heroes for an object that grants ultimate power. Urobuchi has some experience in this…
  • Mitchy is noticeably colder and more condemning of Kouta in this episode, and judging by next week’s preview that’s only going to get worse.
  • What the hell is written on the back of Kouta’s jacket?
  • Given Japan’s gleeful approach to Christianity as magic, I’m surprised the Professor didn’t mention the apple eaten by Adam and Eve in his list of famous mythological fruits.

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