She's never portrayed as being unreasonable, despite the viewer probably not thinking that Shouichi is a secret murderer.


Three plots get a workout this time, with Houjou getting his moment to shine as G3's yolk, Shouichi definitely murdering that lady in broad daylight, and Ryou... uh.

Hey, let's do the Ryou stuff first, since it was barely there. After cliffhanging us with a Gills V Spooky Man face-off, Masked Rider Agito one-hundred percent steers away from that, with Spooky Man disappearing until the very end of the story, and Gills, just, going home? I guess? He gets a phone call to say that his dad died (ALL DADS ARE DEAD) and that he'd been a crazy person since the mysterious boat accident of two years ago. So, yeah. That's all we get with Ryou, a plot point where he's now wrapped up in the boat accident plotline. It's fine. Serviceable.

The other two plots, hoo boy.

I really enjoyed the "Nijou and Mana try to prove Shouichi's innocence” Phoenix Wright storyline. It's cute, and, despite the hero of the show taking a murder charge and having no alibi, pretty low-stakes. Some of the stuff Mana does is either not exactly psychometry (did no one think to check the crime scene for footprints?) or requires some pretty heavy lifting, deduction-wise (that leap to find the one #62 train car, come ON), but I thought it was so dumb that it was entertaining. It was sloppy but earnest, like a puppy chewing on a shoe. I can't be mad at them for goofing around, especially since it nailed a lot of what I'm digging about Shouichi as the show's Rider.

Shouichi's got this sweet, dumb energy to him. His whole thing about making a home and protecting it, I love how it's exhibited through domesticity. He tends a garden, he makes dinner, he cleans, it's all stuff that you wouldn't normally put on a male action hero, which is why it works so well for me. It's distinct, it's charming, it keeps even the dark elements (a lady was still strangled with wire in a park, everybody) from feeling hopeless. Godai had a nurturing side to him, but it was always weighted against the fact that he wasn't going to stick around. Shouichi, it feels different, it feels like a promise. It's comforting, that energy.

The final main plot, with Houjou joining Team G3... let me just leave it at this:

No, okay, I'm just kidding. Let me talk about that Houjou stuff.

It's great, obviously. It's priceless. Him kicking ass on the training course, trying to befriend/impress Ozawa and The Other One, and, my absolute favorite, how utterly one-sided his rivalry is with Nijou.

It's not just him giving Nijou shit that I love, although I do love it. It's how he's constantly giving Nijou shit while Nijou is rooting for him. It's so hysterical, that dynamic. Nijou congratulates him in the hallway, and Houjou's all Good Luck With Your Thing and Nijou's all Hey Whatever I Can Do To Help You Out and Houjou's all Ha Ha Cute That Will Never Happen... the best. The. Best.

I realized what I loved about Houjou, why it was really working for me, once he suited up as G3. "Oh," I thought, "he's Kamen Rider Brave." All of that self-confidence, the gratuitous narcissism, the ways he needs to not just succeed but let other people know how they're failing, that's so Hiiro. And, shit, I love Hiiro. I mean, Hiiro never tried to make people feel bad, he was just being blunt with his assessments, but Brave and Houjou are both cracking me up in the same ways.

Brave also never cracked under pressure, so I guess that's another difference. Houjou getting beat and then just legging it, so fantastic. I mean, it's funny, but it's also a great way to make Nijou look more heroic for just not quitting as G3. It's a tricky situation, to make it seem realistic that Nijou would be removed and also make it seem realistic he might be reinstated, despite him not doing anything new as G3 to change anyone's mind, and this development, uh, yes. Yeah, I don't know why you wouldn't make Nijou G3's filling again after Houjou's spectacle.

Yeah, that whole plot was aces for me, for the humor, the action (that park fight, the first one, so cool!), the character interactions (Ozawa hates Houjou but she's trying to make it work, Houjou needs Ozawa to acknowledge his greatness, The Other One is such a beta), the ways backstory gets filled in organically, it's all so good. The Team G3 stuff is going over really well.