“The Devil’s Scientist”
Sentou and Ryuga travel north to Hokuto in search of answers regarding the mysterious Takumi Katsuragi.
It’s interesting how over the course of the half dozen or so episodes, Build has gradually established the seemingly minor character of Katsuragi as the lynchpin of some of the biggest mysteries that are driving the plot. Kamen Rider is generally not big on subtle plot development but I’m genuinely impressed how they’ve built Katsuragi from anonymous, faceless murder victim to a potential mastermind behind this plot. I use the present tense there since given how this episode plays out I’m increasingly convinced that he isn’t actually dead – there’s a ton of circumstantial evidence floating around. The biggest hint to me is the seeming contrast between the flashback image of Katsuragi as a cackling nutter and his kind, salt-of-the-earth mother. Rider shows may have gotten more sophisticated but a kindly family is still a dead giveaway to a good guy (unless it’s Gaim). That and the fact that the flashbacks to the murder stubbornly refuse to show the face of the corpse suggest to me some sort of switcheroo or double character. We’ll have to see, but kudos to the writing team for effectively laying out a compelling plot that could go any number of directions.
The other big happening this episode is the revelation that Gentaro has been Night Rogue all along, which is something that I can’t help but be a little disappointed by. It’s the most obvious path, and it certainly makes sense as far as building the villain faction goes, but it can’t help but feel a little anti-climatic. A lot of the appeal of Night Rogue, to me at least, was his enigmatic nature and given he’s currently your #1 villain, this revelation feels premature. With that said, it’s fun to see his verbal and physical battles with Blood Stark. Villain infighting is consistently the best thing in many Rider shows and seeing these two going at it raises the prospect of some juicy backstabbing and infighting to come. The other thing which this early revelation tells me is that there’s almost certainly a villain or villains beyond these two, so I’m interested to see how they unveil that.
Those points aside, this was an overall strong episode that really shows how the dynamics of the show are beginning to click together well. Sentou and Ryuga’s odd couple partnership continues to be a lot of fun to follow along with, and the extremely trollish Blood Stark is a good foil to the pair of them. Although I wasn’t necessarily 100% behind some of the revelations here, the important thing is that they’re continuing to build out potentially interesting story branches for the future.
- Katsuragi’s coded message is a neat idea but also relies on there being a definitive romanisation of Japanese text, which as far as I’m aware is not true.
- Ryuga dressing as a clown is pretty much pointless aside from being very funny.
- I continue to enjoy the show’s rather bitter take on idol culture.
- Faust’s ultimate goal being the production of super soldier Riders is disappointingly mundane, and I really hope there’s another level beyond that.
- Given his slightly wacky tendencies, and complete lack of morals, I think there’s a strong chance Blood Stark is actually Katsuragi. On the other hand, I’m batting .000 on predictions for this show so far, so who knows?