"So here's a song about nothing and everything at once
Oh the minutes and the months
The feedback and the drums
Oh the feeling noise becomes
Everything at once"

-Superchunk, "Everything At Once"

This one... I mean, not a lot in this one, plot-wise, but a great episode, character-wise.

Plot-wise, there's a monster, Hibiki finds it, and kills it. Asumu is there to chase Hibiki around and gawk at the superheroic action, but he doesn't really do much. No one else really gets much of a look in. (There's another call back to the temple, which we'll get to in a minute, but it doesn't have a ton of bearing on the plot outside a little piece of exposition.) There isn't... I can't really think of any big reveals or key pieces of info. (Hibiki is a Kamen Rider! Also named Hibiki, one would assume!) It's a solid, if unexceptional episode of superheroic action. The monster fight is sort-of dull (White Spider gets eaten by the Spider House, which executes a sort-of cheesy CGI chase against Hibiki for the action component of the episode), and it's mostly characters walking around or eating.

But, holy hell, I'm okay with it if it's this well-done.

Another gorgeous episode, naturally. It's a continuation of the premiere, so we're still on that lush mountain with its rolling mist. The cinematography and editing are still pitch-perfect, with another rapid-fire series of cuts when Hibiki calls back to the temple for a little bit of exposition. (The Spiders are/were making a baby Spider House. Some nice symmetry to the Hibiki/Asumu storyline, there, with an older generation trying to protect a younger generation.) It's just an expertly designed episode of relaxing television, give or take a CGI chase that bites off more than it can chew. (A frequent Early Part Of The Season problem in this franchise.) But, y'know, it's all in service of characters worth spending time with, so it's not just showing off.

It's great to see how easily Hibiki fits in with Asumu's family. Even the most outgoing Riders have this... distance, I guess, from people. Ways that their kindness is so pure that it's hard for them to just hang out with strangers, crack jokes and relax. Here, Hibiki is instantly a part of the group, ingratiating himself with an ease that's hard not to love. He's from the same neighborhood that Asumu's from, knows what school he goes to, knows how many bus stops away things are from each other. He feels like an old friend after only being around for a day.

Which is necessary, because you need to believe that not only is it reasonable for Asumu to be crawling all over a mountain looking for Hibiki, but that Asumu's mom would support it. But she does, which is a very sweet touch. I love these little ways you get to see how adventurous his family is. His cousin wasn't some weird outlier, someone who's up for some mischief when no one's looking. It seems like his whole family is cool with following their gut and seeing where it takes them.

Trusting your instincts... that seems like a big part of this episode? Hibiki and Asumu have that (beautifully shot) conversation at the shore, where Hibiki tells Asumu that the first step to being yourself is believing in yourself. It's a solid message, something where you can't really follow your instincts until you acknowledge that your instincts have value. But it also feeds into the larger themes of the power of music, and how music is a way of expressing your dreams.

It... I mean, we're only on the second episode, it's a little early to be talking about the themes of the show. But, like, one of them has to be The Power Of Music or what are we even doing here. (Hibiki literally defeats the monster with drumming!) Music is the way this show is communicating, more than images or dialogue. There's all of the orchestral score that choreographs the fights, or how the upbeat tempo of the search for Hibiki lets you know that this is a sequence to find joy in. (Even the bits of plot rhyme like lyrics, like when Hibiki has to save another boy from a potentially deadly fall.) Music is communication, it's a way to get at something that you can't explain any other way. It bypasses language in favor of something more primal and universal.

But that primal nature of music, it's also a way to fight, to argue for your right to exist. To scream and declare yourself important, valid, worthy. Asumu needs to see someone harness music to save lives, to keep the world safe. Of course Hibiki defeats a monster with music. Of course he drums it out of existence. Music is one of the greatest of all human achievements, and I absolutely believe that someone could use it to explode a Spider House.

Assuming they're well-trained, of course.