We're back with more Decade episodes! Joining me for this look at the lovable failures of Kamen Rider Blade is AkibaSilver, one of the funniest people on TokuNation. AkibaSilver pretty consistently cracks me up, so watch as I try gamely to keep up! I'm bound to fail, but... Blade!


KAMEN RIDER DIE: AkibaSilver! Thank you so much for offering your help on this Decade project. We're going to dip our hands into the failure-pile of Kamen Rider Blade, and hopefully haul out some thoughts on how Decade best encapsulated a meme-launching show about professional disasters. Before that, though, I need to know a little bit more about the person who is willing to care about these colossal weirdos and the show that they called home. Tell me a little about how you came to tokusatsu as a genre. What was your introduction to toku?

AKIBASILVER: So I've been watching Power Rangers since my earliest memories, beginning around Wild Force and keeping up with that through to Jungle Fury. Around that point, I'm beginning to develop internet skills, and end up on Jefusion watching a clip of something that certainly looks like Power Rangers, but seems to be called Go-Onger. From there, I slowly dip my toe into the realm of Japanese toku, keeping up with cool toy reviews on YouTube, which have this Super Sentai (Shinkenger and Goseiger), but also something called a Kamen Rider. Which, you know, I vaguely recognise - I've seen Kamen Rider Dragon Knight on TV once or twice, I've seen Ultraman mentioned, but what could this be? And that's how I watch a copy of the Fourze/OOO Megamax on Jefusion, check out Gokaiger from a distance before actually beginning with GoBusters, and when Kamen Rider Wizard rolls around, I somehow stick with than for an entire year. Since then, I've been an occasional fanfic writer, a firm-if-somewhat-unreliable watcher, and somehow managed to keep up a special interest with both tokusatsu and Doctor Who, my other first love.
Also, as a child, I was big into Thunderbirds, so I've always had a taste for the best genres

KAMEN RIDER DIE: That is an incredibly robust backstory, which I'm going to try and unpack some. Let's start with Power Rangers, an international cultural touchstone that has completely eluded me for my entire life. What made Wild Force work for you as a youngster? Was it just the show that happened to be on at the right age, or was there something about that particular show that spoke to you?

AKIBASILVER: I mean, I was very young at the time - probably 4 or so? But still, I think what grabbed me where the zords - giant robotic animals that all combine together into a bigger robotic thing isn't exactly Power Rangers exclusive, but that's what got to me at the time. Add that to a reasonably good story - everyone always talks about the Green Ranger in MMPR and his redemption arc being one of the formative Power Rangers moment, but that for me will always be the Zen-Aku arc. Him being more powerful than the rangers, slowly beating them and stealing their own powers and turning it against them, only to have a hidden secret and to be redeemed, it's not complex storytelling but when you're young, it doesn't have to be
There's probably also a couple of other factors
Fox Kids (and later Jetix, I think) was pretty good with rerunning old series, so I could catch old series and have a working knowledge of backstory
And idk how well you know Wild Force, but it has the 10th anniversary episode "Forever Red", which makes the history of the show seem like this big dramatic saga with a legacy of heroes - to a child, it makes it all seem so grand
I must've watched Ninja Storm when it came out, but nothing from it has quite stuck in the same way?

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I know the words "Wild" (like Chalice's upgrade form) and "Force" (what everyone has to do to themselves in order to interact with Tachibana), but the Power Rangers significance is definitely over my head.
So, you said you watched Power Rangers up through Jungle Fury. Why'd you leave that franchise at that point? Was it that you'd found other toku to watch? Or something else about the franchise that you'd fallen out of touch with?

AKIBASILVER: It was more of personal circumstances than anything else - my family had recently moved countries, and Power Rangers wasn't on the local networks. Even if I'd still been in the UK, I think RPM (the series following Jungle Fury) was known for being very funkily handled by the networks - on a visit back to see family, I remember catching an episode at around 6am (the one where they get the Whale Zord, I think? Thanks memory). It was just inaccessible to an 11 year old with few computer skills.
Plus, I think I'd seen stuff on early YouTube about the Go-Onger mechs as the came out from people like Baltmatrix, so in a way, I guess I felt between that and the occasional wikipedia summary, I was doing my best to keep up with it

KAMEN RIDER DIE: With that incomplete picture of the narrative, was it the merch that was getting you more interested in toku? I've never been one for toy reviews (yet another step in most people's toku journey that I am ignorant about), but was that a substitute for having easy access to the shows the toys were based on? How did that part of your burgeoning interest work?

AKIBASILVER: I guess it was partially a substitute for being able to handle the toys myself, combined with easy accessibility, and an interest in how the engineering of all of them worked
Child me was very fascinated by how you could combine, say, all the Go-Onger or Shinkenger robots into their incredibly complex final forms

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Did you ever end up collecting merch? Or was it just fun to watch them in action?

AKIBASILVER: Not at the time! I was a 12 year old who did not have the money to import stuff - I think I have a knock-off Shodo Phone from a flea market, but that's it. It was just fun to watch them in action
I had a couple of Megazords from childhood (I think I still have the Wild Force / GaoKing and Thundersaurus / Abaren-Oh upstairs), but nothing concurrent
Even since, I'm not a huge merch person - I have a few Gashats, too many SO-DOs, and a bunch of Lightning Collections
At the time, I was probably spending my money on Bionicles and Hero Factory

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Well, SO-DOs are practically designed to have way too many of. When the scarcest SO-DO is, like, the cost of the cheapest Figuart, that is a recipe for hoarding.
Once you started getting online, it seems like the floodgates opened for toku. Like, you listed approximately fifty to sixty franchises that you got into basically overnight. (I am not going back to count, but I feel confident in that range of numbers.) Was there any one Japanese toku franchise that bubbled to the top for you? If you had to pick a favorite from that point in your life, what would it've been?

AKIBASILVER: You say that, but for the longest time, it was just Kamen Rider and Super Sentai coupled with Power Rangers
Even now, my knowledge of Ultraman is very scarce, and Metal Heroes is non-existent
And while my brother was big fan of the modern Godzilla films (at least the US ones, he's a anime fan but I'm not sure he's seen any Japanese Godzilla), I'm not sure I've ever seen one
I've seen Pacific Rim though, so that's something

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Pacific Rim is Godzilla Perfected. I don't know why they kept making Godzilla films after that.
Are you still keeping up with the KR/SS/PR trinity? I think I saw you post something recently about watching Saber in chunks. Is that what your toku viewing is like these days? Binge watching bursts of recent shows?

AKIBASILVER: I haven't seen a Power Rangers series properly since Jungle Fury - the distribution of PR in the UK is messy, and while I still keep up with the franchise, I don't actively watch, if you get me?
Super Sentai I watched regularly from GoBusters to LuPat, but I checked out around the early episodes of Ryusoulger - it just didn't grab me, and I was more and more of my mind was getting dedicated to uni. A weekly TV show doesn't seem like much, but apparently my scheduling wasn't up for it!
Also I think I was burnt out - I hadn't enjoyed LuPat so much, and Ryusoulger didn't immediately grab me, so I watched the first arc, and decided I could use the time on another show.
I've since checked out Kiramager, and that's good fun, but I'm drifting behind a little with it.
Kamen Rider seems to drift whenever I start something new - Ex-Aid was during my first year of university, and I ended up bingeing the first half of that in chunks rather than weekly. Same with Saber - I started a Postdoc, and couple that with the pandemic making the weeks hard to track, it ends up being forgotten about and suddenly you're months behind and there's three new power ups and 6 new Riders
But I keep up with the board news, since even if I'm not watching stuff, it's fun to watch people chat

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Agreed. Passionate fans will always have my attention. Speaking of the boards, how'd TokuNation become part of your fandom?

AKIBASILVER: I've been on it so long, I don't actually remember exactly how
I must have been looking for information on whatever series was airing at the time, it came up in a google search, and I remember checking it for a while before making an account
It was before Twitter really took off, facebook didn't really have that kind of socialising function, and I guess I just liked the message board

KAMEN RIDER DIE: They're also good folks, which is a slight-to-unsurmountable edge over your Twitters and Facebooks. Where do you spend most of your time on the boards? Any particular threads you gravitate towards?

AKIBASILVER: Yeah, I do enjoy the feeling of community of a message board - maybe it's just a sign of my age, but it's difficult to replicate that on other more decentralised sites
I enjoy the "What Are You Watching" threads, those are often fun, and even though I don't buy them, the Figuarts and Figurise threads are nice - people's enthusiasm is catchy!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: At the risk of dampening that enthusiasm, let's talk about a series defined by questionable plot decisions and some weird late-stage retconning that maybe wasn't the best way to engage the fans. I'm speaking, of course, of Chris Chibnall's run on Doctor Who.
Since you mentioned Doctor Who before, I thought I'd pick your brain on the recent announcement that Chibnall would be leaving and taking Whittaker with him. Thoughts?

AKIBASILVER: My discourse senses are tingling!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I realize asking a Whovian to briefly summarize their feelings about an era of Who is fraught, but I hope we can still be friends after this.

AKIBASILVER: It's fine! It's not my opinions I have to worry about, it's everyone else's for being wrong 

KAMEN RIDER DIE: This is your platform! They don't get to chime in!

AKIBASILVER: I think my overall take on the Chibnall era as it stands (we still have a whole Series to go) is that, while it's certainly got its flaws, no era is perfect - a lot of the drama comes from it being current and on people's minds, combined with internet platforms that reward takes with no nuance. Do I enjoy every episode of Doctor Who from Series 11 and 12? No, not when I've thought about them. But I didn't enjoy every episode of Moffat's run (my rant about Asylum of the Daleks could last for hours), or RTDs run, but because they enjoy the benefit of "Not being the current showrunner", they don't currently rule the discourse airwaves
It's also true that Doctor Who means a lot to me, probably more than it should, and I enjoy talking positive things about the show I love so much rather than complaining how it's actually awful these days
It's weird - I was reflecting on my time in the Doctor Who fandom back in 2013 recently, when I was very annoyed because one person on the forum I was on would take every message as a chance to say how much they hated Moffat as showrunner and couldn't wait for him to leave, because canon and characters and etc, and isn't it strange how the more things change, the more things stay the same

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Yeah, I only got into Who with the Davies restart, and literally every series was somehow No Longer Good according to the fandom, and it's like... I don't understand fandoms who operate with a baseline of Ugh More Of This. So weird.
Admittedly, Chibnall is the second showrunner in a row where I checked out midway through their run (bailed on the second Moffat series), but there were some fun episodes in that first series, I thought. And Whittaker's just an aces Doctor. Even when the series themselves end up being dodgy, I don't think they've cast a bad Doctor yet in the new era.

AKIBASILVER: I feel like stopping watching a show you're not enjoying is the smart thing to do, so I respect it

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Well, now that we've established that it's better to focus on the diamonds than the rough, let's talk about Kamen Rider Blade!
Blade was on your shortlist of shows from Phase 1 that you had thoughts about. So why Blade?

AKIBASILVER: Blade is one of four shows from Phase 1 I've seen some of, and one of three I've seen all the way through
And one of those is Decade, which I'm not sure Decade could do a focus episode on
But yeah, why Blade?
It's got a lot of memes, which are the baseline of my humour as an internet-dweller these days
I enjoy the arcs of all four of the main Riders - Kenzaki's slow journey from unlucky everyman to be willing to sacrifice his humanity and bonds for the sake of a monster, and in turn Chalice's turn from monster with an apprehensive curiosity towards humanity as pests with aspirations into someone with more empathy towards them than the next two Riders
Tachibana is, of course, half car-crash and half ego, but his slow recovery out of addiction and into a somewhat reliable ally and tutor to Mukki, I just like what he does
And Mukki is an edgy emo boi who is one step away from becoming Peter Parker in Spiderman 3 who you want to get better and eventually he does, through the power of magic monster trading cards
The plot may range from "confusing" to "non-existent", but the characters keep it going
Plus I like the theme of overcoming the apocalypse through Kenzaki's empathy

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Blade, more than nearly any other Phase 1 show, is A Lot. I think my first reaction, when I think back on Kamen Rider Blade, is to chuckle at the cast. They're all so hopeless, but in an adorable way. They're like this dog, happy to be stuck in a hedge:

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's always been a show about Failure to me, how it's both inevitable and surmountable.

AKIBASILVER: That dog is Kenzaki for the entire first half of the series
And Kotarou for all of it

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I have such warm feelings for them all, you know?

AKIBASILVER: Yeah, I get ya
Failure is interesting - Blade starts with the organisation falling apart, Kenzaki left adrift with someone he literally just met, his ally betraying him to go smoke seaweed, and ends not with them preventing the apocalypse, but the apocalypse straight up happening

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And Kenzaki's backstory is literally I Am Defined By Failure.

AKIBASILVER: He's similar to Haruto, in a way, in that they're both motivated by the deaths of their parents and how they failed to prevent those
By virtue of being children

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Yeah, and the end of the series is bleak even for a Phase 1 show, where the apocalypse is only delayed, and even then at the cost of a memorable friendship. Like, that ending! That bench! It's telling you that a failure doesn't have to define you, as long as you can turn it into something positive someday. Such a Kamen Rider message to me.

AKIBASILVER: Hajime gets his happy ending, and it comes at the cost of Kenzaki's everything.
Even Build, which resets the entire world, gives its hero a happier ending than that

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's bleak! It is a bleak one! So bleak it's worth celebrating, maybe? That'll be up to Kamen Rider Decade to decide. AKIBASILVER! Hide your puzzle pieces and get behind a corner, because we're about to watch DECADE!


Team Decade find themselves in the World of Blade, where only Tsukasa has anything to do for this story. He has to run a corporate cafeteria well enough to draw a heroic lesson out of Kamen Rider Blade, but he naturally does it so well that it completely ruins Blade's life. And what's the mysterious Undead from last episode doing skulking around the well-lit corners of BOARD's headquarters?

KAMEN RIDER DECADE EPISODE 9 - "BLADE BLADE” (I swear that is the title)
Tsukasa helps Blade learn that failure isn't the end of your story unless you let it be, adding a newly heroic dimension to Blade's outlook. Together, Blade and Decade shut down BOARD's scheme to unite Riders and Undead in a society-destroying scheme to basically become a self-perpetuating private military group, and it's all a little tough to care about. Luckily, Tsukasa and Blade have become close friends! Unluckily, we all remember how it works out to become close friends with Blade, so Tsukasa is out of here and onto the next World.


KAMEN RIDER DIE: Look at him! Look at our shiny(-eyed) new Blade!

AKIBASILVER: It's so odd hearing him called Kendate all the time
Kazuma, even

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Yeah, "Kazuma". Not that into it!

AKIBASILVER: I guess it's a side effect of the theme naming of all the AR Riders (same first name, different last name), but going from Kenzaki's constant last-name-basis with everyone to Kazuma here, it's strange
Same with not-Tachibana

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I mean, I'm still calling the new Kuuga "Onodera", even if everyone in the show calls him "Yuusuke", so we get to make up our own rules as fans. The official position of this thread can and will be that this guy is called Kenzaki, even if that isn't actually his name.
One of the things that's absolutely amazing to me is that this two-parter gets at the themes of the series it's homaging way better than any previous story in Decade... and yet, it's the first two-parter not written by a guy who wrote for Blade!
Like, this thing feels 1000% like Blade, and it's by the guy who wrote Kabuto.

AKIBASILVER: That's such an odd choice! Like, the guy who wrote what's generally agreed to be the best section of Blade is right there, and he decides "Nope, I'd rather not"
I'm undecided - part of it feels very Blade, and other parts of it feel more generic

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And it... I mean, there's a lot of Kabuto in here. I spent a good section of these episodes screaming WHY IS THE STORY WHERE TSUKASA IS A SUCCESSFUL RESTAURATEUR NOT A KABUTO STORY, until I found out the Kabuto guy wrote it. Also, Tsukasa is maybe at his most Distracted By Not Helping People here, which is totally Kabuto.

AKIBASILVER: He falls for Narutaki's successful distraction doing the restaurant sidequest

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Also, he's just super into Money and Status... which ends up being part of this story's take on Blade, so I'll allow it.
This thing was totally Blade for me, as far as hitting the big themes of Accepting Failure and Helping Others Accept Failure.
First thing in the episode with Tsukasa is that his camera breaks! FAILURE! IMMEDIATELY!
Shit's gonna break, and you need to figure out what to do about it.

AKIBASILVER: I suppose a big thing I got out of Blade was the self-sacrifice theme, which never really comes into play here?

KAMEN RIDER DIE: That's true, it's not really a part of what the writer wanted to talk about here.

AKIBASILVER: It's much more on the "Learn how to deal with suffering", which is still Blade, but reframing it around this new, semi-functional BOARD is an interesting choice
Also, they went harder on the playing card motifs here than I think Blade ever did

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Yeah, this story ends up building in things that I don't think of as integral to Blade's themes (a lot of stuff about status and ranks that existed for about 10 minutes in the first episode and that was it), but it goes all in on Kenzaki losing everything that's important to him, fully, and then figuring out how to move forward.
That's pretty much the main theme I think about when it comes to Blade, and I was thrilled to see someone call it out in a tribute story.

AKIBASILVER: Original!Kenzaki does fail a lot, having new!Kenzaki carry on that proud tradition is the least a callback episode could do

KAMEN RIDER DIE: That said, it really puts all of the narrative and thematic weight on Kenzaki. Blade The Series spread it around a lot more. This story... does not!

AKIBASILVER: Yeah, I was going to bring that up - Blade works for me because of the quarter of dysfunctional Riders who, by the end, are each trying to drag each other up
I know it's partly because we're compressing a whole series into 2 episodes, but Garren and Leangle are here to be jerks and then die, and Chalice is basically here as a suit

KAMEN RIDER DIE: There's a brief bit of Kenzaki realizing that he needs to help the people who let him down, but it's fairly minor and a little hard to connect with.

AKIBASILVER: Compare that to the Kuuga or Ryuki episodes, which try to resemble the secondary Rider dynamics

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Garren's mostly My Hands Are Tied and Mutsuki is a colossal prick with no real darker impulses.

AKIBASILVER: I can't believe this Mukki is even more unlikeable than full Spiderman 3 Mukki

KAMEN RIDER DIE: He's just a status-seeking striver, and without any of the flashes of sympathy that the original version could engender in the viewer.

AKIBASILVER: Tbf, Garren going "Hey I'd love to help you Kenzaki but the chairman who totally isn't evil told me to do this" was an arc in Blade, so maybe it's more accurate that I thought
Although even then original Tachibana was acting out of misguided desires to help, this one's just apathetic
But at least he's here!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Garren, though... yeah, Garren Trusted The Wrong Guy is a thing. But there's nothing pitiable about this Garren, and that is way more of his thing.
Both Mutsuki and Garren, they're narratively thin, here.

AKIBASILVER: They exist as part of the system to dunk on Kenzaki, a system Tsukasa is very happy to join in
Which Yuusuke would have you believe is 100% to build his character and make him realise failure isn't the end

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Hey, since we're on that topic, let's talk more directly about the Decade/Blade dynamic!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: You mentioned that Chalice is just a suit in this one, but let me say something potentially controversial: Tsukasa is Chalice in this story.

AKIBASILVER: Now that's a spicy take, but I get where you're coming from - he's someone stronger than Kazuma, someone who refuses to emotionally engage with him, someone who puts him down

KAMEN RIDER DIE: The ending is completely I Love You But We Have To Stay Apart Also I Am A World-Destroyer!

AKIBASILVER: I suppose the difference is that Hajime is fundamentally a more alien character who we see open up, but Tsukasa... he's just a jerk!
No bench 0/10

But their dynamic... it's the romantic comedy version of Hajime/Kenzaki, for me.
It's got that same thing of the Chalice character so grudgingly getting involved in helping Blade, until it becomes such second nature that a real bond develops.

AKIBASILVER: Whereas for me, it's almost reversed. In Blade, Kenzaki is the one constantly reaching out to Hajime (for the most part, until they actually become friends), whereas here, Decade is the one putting constant pressure on Kazuma

KAMEN RIDER DIE: The main way love exhibits itself in Blade The Series is trying to fix incredibly broken people, and this story gets that!
But, yeah, Chalice is way more of an active force on the storytelling than Hajime ever was on Blade. That's true.

AKIBASILVER: My issue with Tsukasa is that it's just difficult to know whether or not he is doing all this to Kazuma because he thinks it will help, or because he finds it funny to needle some guy who was full of himself

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I think it's B that becomes A.
Tsukasa is only ever an Accidental Help, until he can leverage it for something he needs.

AKIBASILVER: Like, Yuusuke's message about how Kazuma can learn from his failure, and how 0 is a representation of infinite possibility is instantly!undercut by Tsukasa's "Oh yeah, totally, peace out"

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Tsukasa multiple times in this story doesn't notice he's fixing Blade! Because he doesn't care! At all!

AKIBASILVER: Two episodes is tight to make that exchange work, and when it's needing to happen with every Rider, it's hard to take it as sincere
But that's more an overall Decade thing than a this episode thing

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Yeah, this story was the most effective Decade story for me yet (if not "the best", but maybe) because it really figured out how to thread the needle of Tsukasa not being even slightly invested in the stakes of the story, while still being an asset to the heroes of the world he arrived in.
He doesn't care about Blade, so he's able to diagnose Blade better than anyone.
But then he does care, because we all end up caring about these stories eventually.

AKIBASILVER: He helps by not helping

KAMEN RIDER DIE: The real failure was the friends he made along the way.

AKIBASILVER: Speaking of friends, Yuusuke and Natsumi are definitely here

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Sor-- sort of?

AKIBASILVER: Yuusuke gets something to do with giving Kenzaki a pep talk, which seems to be his recurring feature (translating Tsukasa's unknowableness to the other ARs), and Natsumi... cosplays? And also meets Narutaki again, because he's still lurking

KAMEN RIDER DIE: They end up factoring more into the BOARD world-building, which deserves its own screencap:

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I genuinely love that two nameless young people are able to get a meeting with the CEO of a major company, despite having literally nothing to offer him.
They're just in a room to say Please Help Us?

AKIBASILVER: "Yo, can we get some Rider assistance?"
"What do you want to do with it?"
"Uhhh we generally wait around for an apocalypse to start."
I love the little banter between them when he asks them how they plan to fund it

KAMEN RIDER DIE: They seem intensely baffled by the concept of Capitalism.

AKIBASILVER: Wonder if Yuusuke's yen has different designs on it, like that old Batman Lex Luthor Dollar

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Does the World of Decade not have money? Natsumi seems familiar enough with it when Tsukasa needs his camera fixed.

AKIBASILVER: Money exists purely as a form of making Tsukasa suffer
Also of course it's the Blade episode where Tsukasa suddenly needs rent money

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's a thing that was really prominent in Blade The Series in the beginning, but it gets dropped so utterly that, when Main Bad Guy shows up at the end to fire them, I was like Oh Yeah Jobs.

AKIBASILVER: It's interesting, because "The evils of capitalism" isn't anything I'd think of as inherent to Blade - with how BOARD goes under so quickly, it's almost incidental that the almost-final boss is their, well, boss
Whereas here, by virtue of BOARD still existing, it's more obvious

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Yeah, there's a way I could squint at Mutsuki's arc on Blade as being about the dangers of lusting after status, or of letting your job/role define you, but it's not a main thing for the show.
Here, capital-s Status is the main motivator for interpersonal conflict.

AKIBASILVER: This was done by Kabuto's writer, and you've seen Kabuto - is it bleeding over from that? I know ZECT exists as a thing

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Not really? ZECT exists as the more franchise-standard Large Organizations Make Bad Decisions storytelling device. Kabuto The Series... it's not really (to my memory) something that spent a ton of energy on ZECT as anything nearly so regimented or interesting. If anything, ZECT was less functional and believable than this comedic version of BOARD. I mean, BOARD has rooms of furniture! And turned-on lights!

AKIBASILVER: Fair enough, it was just a hypothesis

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's barely explored, but I did laugh that the main bad guy's motivation here was about drumming up business to keep his company afloat.
As a small-business owner, it's a real relatable fear!

AKIBASILVER: As much as his plan makes no sense, it's a more understandable motivation than any of Blade's actual villains

KAMEN RIDER DIE: This guy's world-domination scheme is all about bilking the Japanese government for military contracts, and that's real interesting to me.

AKIBASILVER: You're the president! You own the belts! Why do you need to steal them from Leangle and Garren???

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Kamen Riders in this world must have a kick-ass union.

AKIBASILVER: It's a very grounded motivation you could imagine being from Amazons or something, and instead it's in the comedy company episode
"Union contract specifies one milk box per day to be provided"

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Yeah, no milk in this story! What the hell!

AKIBASILVER: The lack of milk is symptomatic of cutting out all the human-Rider relationships (no Amane, no Koutarou/Hirose, no Hajime(!))

KAMEN RIDER DIE: A bunch of little loves/aggravations in this episode for me, starting with:

KAMEN RIDER DIE: There are a ton of good Tsukasa boasts in this story, but this one was my favorite. (Super Ace is a close second.)

AKIBASILVER: Tsukasa as a person is hard to get a handle on how much is heartfelt and how much is jerkery, but Tsukasa as a boast machine is unsurpassed

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I was briefly going to talk about how hard this story leans into comedy, and that it was a strange choice... but then I was like We Just Saw The Comedic Ryuki Story, so now I guess Decade is just a comedy show? Is that right?
Do you think of Decade as a funnier series, at least at this point in the run?

AKIBASILVER: It's odd - Kuuga and Kiva weren't exactly comedy arcs, and we opened with the massive Rider destruction battle
So maybe they wanted a pair of lighter arcs to bring things back up?
This definitely felt more explicitly comedic than Ryuki, with this getting a lot of mileage out of Kenzaki suffering

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And just the weird intensity of Tsukasa The Manager, where he's more goal-oriented than we've seen him as before.

AKIBASILVER: He really wants that camera!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: THAT is the most Kabuto thing from this story, though, Tsukasa being thrown into a new organization and basically wresting control of it overnight/apathetically.

AKIBASILVER: Yeah, this is where I think the Tendou comparisons come from

KAMEN RIDER DIE: He doesn't even like BOARD, but he's going to fix it if it's the eighth-or-ninth thing he does!

AKIBASILVER: He wants that line going up! Up!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I don't even slightly understand how Feed Everyone Better Meals is more cost-effective than Only Feed Six People Better Meals.

AKIBASILVER: Something something economy of scale

KAMEN RIDER DIE: And why does the Ace section have SIX CHAIRS?!

AKIBASILVER: Well, you see, in Europe, card decks have six suits!
Space, Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds, Squares, and Stars

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Has BOARD's Human Resources department confused playing cards with Lucky Charms?
Tsukasa is right to be so disillusioned.
Also, speaking of disillusioned... boy, Garren being an In Name Only character was a total bummer for me.
I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but I really like Garren.

AKIBASILVER: Yeah, he's such a highlight of Blade in how much of a loser he is!
I love watching him fail!
And here he's just... there

KAMEN RIDER DIE: He's such an endearing disaster, and this one's some glorified extra.
This was never going to be a Garren story, I get that, but... man, they figured out how to at least get some of Mutsuki's character across! Why didn't Garren eat something weird, or eat something normal in a weird way, or make a bizarre face, or hide behind a corner, or or or!
Why didn't this show even try on Garren?

AKIBASILVER: I vaguely remembered hearing there was some reference to Blade being a meme show, and how was it not Tachibana-focused! The man's a living meme!
He never even betrayed us!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: So, speaking of Blade memes: was Kenzaki calling Tsukasa "Cheese" instead of "Chief" supposed to be a callback to mumbly Kenzaki from Blade The Series?

AKIBASILVER: I believe so
It's so minor!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It's real random.

AKIBASILVER: Very strange

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Also strange, did they really just make the final boss in this story the stock Joker suit? Really?

AKIBASILVER: I am very annoyed the Joker was downgraded from the ultimate symbolism of an unstoppable apocalypse, and a sign of Hajime's disconnect from the humanity he desperately craves, to a CEO
Well annoyed might be strong - disappointed, I guess?
Especially when they made a whole new Rider for Ryuki, designed by the original person

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I don't know, now that you put it that way? I feel like the Joker suit as an expression of apocalyptic disconnection from humanity maybe makes it the perfect form for a CEO.
Feature, not a bug!

AKIBASILVER: I've just realised something
They don't ever bring up Hajime's interest in photography

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Well, if Tsukasa is the Hajime of this story, they sort of did?

AKIBASILVER: I can't believe I keep finding evidence for your harebrained theories like this, smh

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I am as mad about it as you are.
Anything else from these episodes you want to bring up? We haven't even talked a little about Kivala, who I found both fascinating and embarrassing.

AKIBASILVER: I'm not sure if it's intentional that Blade's final villain is Hajime forced to become his inhuman counterpart whereas here it's a human willingly seeking that power out, but it's neat writing if it is

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I always have a love/hate relationship with Helper Puppets on these shows. Kivala is no different!

AKIBASILVER: "Helper" is a bold description of Kivala

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I mean, she's in the same bucket as Yurusen for me.

AKIBASILVER: I've seen Decade, and I can't remember her deal, so what's your take on her?
I'm half convinced she's Narutaki's mole, but does Narutaki think that far ahead?

KAMEN RIDER DIE: She's definitely working for him, but beyond that I haven't invested a lot in her mysteries. I think her addition to the dynamic is incredibly strange, though.
Photo Studio Hayao Miyazaki is smitten with her, and she's just sort of around?

AKIBASILVER: Old Man whose name I do not know is interesting, cause you'd usually expect him to at least have some words of wise wisdom (Wizard, Zi-O)
This guy just makes coffee and puts lipstick on puppets
He's utterly disconnected from the plot, just like the photo studio is disconnected from any reality

KAMEN RIDER DIE: He's like Brave's dad on Ex-Aid, where he's half there for comedy, and half there because someone just assumed someone that age should be.

AKIBASILVER: Kivala exists to make Narutaki more mysterious, and give old man someone to talk to when Natsumi and Yuusuke are figuring out how money works

KAMEN RIDER DIE: This show in general - and this story in particular - has a real tough time juggling its main cast.

AKIBASILVER: Yeah - people like to bring up how Yuusuke never transforms, but at least he gets to leave the studio
And because Decade is dedicated to doing an AR Rider story every week, any development for them is going to be balanced with a story that also has to tell the themes of another story

KAMEN RIDER DIE: But Onodera and Natsumi contribute basically nothing to the plot here. Onodera sort of does his one thing as the Tsukasa Translator, spinning Tsukasa's hectoring bullshit into strands of affirmations and assistance. Natsumi does nothing! Gets some lines, but that's it!

AKIBASILVER: Yeah, it's disappointing
They get one scene, and it's a very good scene, but then it's back to the background for them

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I really like the supporting cast, and god knows Decade Solo would work out about as well as it did for the Doctor in "Midnight", but there are times where I wonder if this show wouldn't work better if Tsukasa was the only recurring cast member.

AKIBASILVER: I'd agree - it would both make him more of an isolated wanderer, and give the secondary casts of the individual AR worlds, who by their nature have to be different every week, more room to show off
Speaking of people who get one scene, was that Zanki or Todoroki at the midway cliffhanger?

KAMEN RIDER DIE: It was Todoroki!

AKIBASILVER: Thank you Todoroki, very cool
Having one protagonist be the only constant throughout the series though, you can guess why they didn't do it
Maybe the solution was picking up a new straggler from every world - we got Kuuga, Kivala, we need someone from Ryuki
"The gang adopt a Mirror Monster"

KAMEN RIDER DIE: As the world's maybe only Cubi Stan, I'd be all about a show where a Kamen Rider collects a bunch of monster friends to hang out with.

AKIBASILVER: Congratulations, you've described Den-O!

Well, that show also had a human antagonist/secondary, and I don't want to say Hey Diend Showed Up This Week, but:

KAMEN RIDER DIE: hey diend showed up this week

AKIBASILVER: Ahh I was wondering if you'd guessed who it was!
I was going to be like "Speaking of our secondary cast!"

KAMEN RIDER DIE: This is one of those things where, due to Existing In The Fandom, I knew we'd be getting Diend at some point, and here's this Mysterious Pretty Boy, so, yeah.

AKIBASILVER: Yeah, it's him, being mysterious

KAMEN RIDER DIE: Not a ton to talk about from my end, unfortunately! He's Very Mysterious, and that's about it right now.

AKIBASILVER: Yeah, same. I'd forgotten he was here, and yeah, he's certainly here

KAMEN RIDER DIE: He has cryptic things to say about sea cucumbers, as well.

AKIBASILVER: You can probably guess how people take that one
But yeah, not much to say about him yet
Is introducing elements mysteriously a Blade thing? Maybe!

KAMEN RIDER DIE: I am the absolute wrong audience for Diend at this point. I don't have any theories, because there's nothing to theorize. I assume we'll start getting more details in the next story, which will be taking us to the World of Faiz! Faiz was a story about self-actualization and finding supportive social groups and not being defined by those social groups and dealing with the poor decisions of previous generations, so I'm hoping Faiz High School is as brilliant as I want it to be. Everyone I ever knew in high school was either a Takumi or a Kusaka, so we might be in for a treat as we continue our Journey through Decade!