Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 26

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Recap

Tensions run high, as Kouta reveals the truth to Mai and Kaito gets a new powerup and one last chance to bring down the Overlords.

Marlin’s Thoughts

Finally, we get Micchy’s descent into total darkness. With even Mai seemingly against him, he has felt the ultimate betrayal. In his frantic attempt to play both sides, he has found himself ever distanced from Kouta and Mai. He employs even more despicable tactics this time than ever before, putting the safety of his own friends on the line to cover up the truth, and then having enough of a mental break to blame Kouta. His final snap brings us back to that nice dark area that Urobutchi loves to play in the most. He is willing to get rid of anything in his way now if it keeps him from his self-righteous protector complex about Mai.

I was excited to see a Banana Energy Arms, so it was a bit disappointing to see Kaito just recycle the Lemon form. Still, the fight with the Overlord was fun to watch. It did have that Harry Potter problem of people just standing around while they power up their shots, but for the most part both participants were moving around and the shot dodging was believable. It seems strange that Kouta was defeated in his Raiment form whereas the Genesis driver seems to be an equal match, but I suppose Kouta was not interested in fighting when he was defeated by the Overlords.

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It’ll be interesting to see where allegiances change from here now that Micchy has officially gone to the dark side. Takatora hasn’t been in the spotlight for a while, and I hope he won’t be so ignorant of the scheming rampant around him for too long. It would be interesting to see him team up with Kouta, who’s quickly becoming the only sane man in the room. Obviously, Kouta isn’t actually dead, but it will be interesting to see what happens to him when he’s left for dead in the middle of Helheim. I wonder if his wish will come true, and an Overlord will see to him.

Random Observations

  •  It still gets me every time Kouta shows up and hes not in the triumphant form, even though its clearly superior in every way to his normal form. (Zigg’s note: EVERY tokusatsu series does this)
  • That slap was almost hilariously overdramatic in its composition, but it was a perfect visual metaphor for how shaken Micchy was from taking it.
  • I do hope that Kouta starts doubting Micchy even a little bit after this stunt.

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Zigg’s Thoughts

Once again I’m impressed by the thought and maturity that has gone into Gaim‘s writing. The ability to let its plots burn slow and simmer away under the action packed surface is what has really made the series stand apart. Now we’re really beginning to see some emotional payoff for all the character work that’s gone on so far.

The big marquee act of this episode is of course Mitchy’s fall to full on villainy. In some ways it’s less dramatic that you might think – he’s still not openly against Team Gaim, and there’s definitely still a part of him that wants to be with hsi friends. Emotionally though, this definitely feels like the moment he finally embraces his villainy. Not only does he turn on Kouta, first through argument and eventually through violence, but he also betrays Takatora by throwing his lot in with the Professor’s gang. Whereas once his double-dealing could be excused by his desire to protect people, it’s very clear now that he’s in it purely to get what he wants.

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What’s especially great is that this burgeoning evil manifests itself brilliantly through expressions of character and personality. While shooting Kouta may be the big cliffhanger moment, there’s a bunch of wonderfully dark scenes throughout the episode that really emphasise what an arsehole he’s become. We’ve praised Mahiro Takasugi throughout the show for his ability to convey Mitchy’s slide into darkness, but he’s never been better than he has here. Finally given the chance to go full on psycho, he expertly blends it with an obviously false cheery façade, and the result is some of the most creepy, slimy acting we’ve yet seen. I think we all knew this was coming, but I’m still shocked at how well they’ve executed, and how immediately hateable Mitchy has become.

Speaking of hateable, Kaito has danced on the line between hero and villain for most of his run. I honestly thought his return to the side of the angels was inevitable, but given the eagerness he displays for mass culling this episode, that belief is being tested. I will say his plot against the Overlords is probably one of the least compelling on offer at the moment, but it’s still great fodder for his character, and I suspect that as the Overlords become a bigger and bigger factor in the ongoing conflict the storyline will become more interesting. The fact they’ve begun talking has already upped the ante considerably, and I’m interested to see if they’ll continue to involve themselves in human affairs.

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Because I don’t want and gloom, let’s end on an optimistic note – how good was that opening scene between Kouta and Mai? Sure, it’s not exactly Oscar-worthy material, but it’s a powerful, emotional scene, showing our hero doing the right thing and his friend understanding that he had no choice. I’m pleased that rather than milk it for further angst they were able to commit to a powerful moment, but also one that showed our heroes at their best. Like I said, thought and maturity.

Random Observations

  • Seriously, how great is that cliffhanger?
  • I’m pleased Kouta has finally ditched his Marty McFly life preserver with the distracting Engrish on the back, but that leather jacket just makes him look like a kid raiding his dad’s wardrobe.
  • FIGHT POWER FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT POWER is the perfect transformation sound for Kaito as it also double as a handy character motivation reminder.

4 thoughts on “Kamen Rider Gaim Episode 26

  1. According to internet board posts (which are of course totally true and never wrong), they never meant for Baron to get another upgrade at this point.

    The character proved popular enough though that they decided to add one in, but lacking in the props (and much more importantly, the toys ready for selling), they recycled existing elements to make a new upgrade for Baron.

    • Very intriguing. I’m always fascinated by how much of a year long show is planned out, as oppose to scripted on the fly. As you say, it could go either way but I could certainly buy that being true.

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