Kamen Rider Build Episode 8

“What the Memories Tell You”

Sentou’s team and Faust battle over the late Katsuragi’s hidden research files.

Zigg’s Thoughts

For the first time in a while, I’m going here to praise Build’s pacing rather than bury it. This episode was a lot slower and more well thought out than most of the stuff we’ve seen in the preceding seven instalments, and the net result is we get a very good 20 minutes of strong character building culminating in a small but decent emotional payoff. That wasn’t so hard was it? While Kamen Rider has largely abandoned the two-episode plot arc style popularised by the enduring Kamen Rider Den-O, I think this and the previous episode are a good example of the benefits of that format – more time to raise the stakes and deliver bigger climaxes, and more time for non-essential character building scenes and moments.

When Build previously attempted big emotional character scenes with Banjou’s girlfriend and Nabeshima, I criticised it for being rushed and overly tragic, but this  crack at adding a more human element to the show works much better. Again, one of the reasons is that the plot is given more time to breathe and we’re allowed to become more familiar with the new characters involved. Focusing on Katsuragi, a peripheral but familiar figure from the very beginning of the story, immediately gives us more attachment as we unravel a secret side to him we hadn’t seen before. The dignified, understated performance of Hiro Komura as his mother Shinobu also works, as she effectively conveys the character’s conflicted trust in Build and crew. She’s even given a fairly badass moment as she deceives Gentarou and sends him on a wild goose chase. The net result of all of this is that the big emotional moment at the close feels earned, as corny as it is. It’s an important step forward for a show which up to this point has largely been more focused on things happening than long term consequences.

Speaking of Gentarou, it’s a good episode for the villains too, as their internal conflict begins to build to a head. Pretty much the best part of any Kamen Rider series is when the villains start weaving elaborate schemes to stab each other in the back, and given what we see here Build is well on pace to emulate that. It’s another good look at the difference between the cool, calm and methodical Gentarou (as Night Rogue) and the brash, cocky and more openly sadistic Blood Stark. While they’re clearly still on the same page for now, trouble is brewing in the ranks at Faust and I’m eager for it to spill over into open villain civil war.

While I’ve definitely enjoyed Build up to this point, I feel only with this episode that I’m actually beginning to grow close to the characters, a must in any show that’s due to run an entire year. I’d like to see more well-thought out storylines like this, but judging by the preview next week is the week for major main plot moves, which is also pretty exciting. Let’s see if the show can build off the back of this strong instalment.

Random Observations

  • Some extremely weird plot bending aside this episode largely lays my ‘Blood Stark is Katsuragi’ theory to rest.
  • Gentarou’s fake letter gambit is extremely evil by the standards of toku and a good reminder of how nasty the character is supposed to be
  • We see the continuation of a longstanding anime/toku belief here, namely the idea that Fire Engines allow you to use fire. That’s not how that works!
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