Nnnnnnot my favorite Kabuto episode. It's all over the place, narratively, and while there's an attempt at tying its many (many) storylines together thematically, it just doesn't feel like a focused story.

Which, you know, there's still stuff to enjoy. I didn't hate this episode. I mean, I'm not sure I liked it, but there are parts that are worth praising.

Truegami, Agito's The Real Shouichi Tsugami, is back on a Rider show, so that's neat. He wasn't ever my guy on the other two shows he was on, but it's fun to see him back in the mix, playing a secretive scientist/soldier with no regard for the human cost of his mission. So, same old, same old. But I always like his hair! Positivity!

I like spending more time fleshing out Hiyori. Her sullen nature could come off one-note, but I think the actor does a great job bringing little inflections to her various deflections. Hiyori's someone who's so terrified at being hurt again that she makes it impossible to truly feel safe. When Tendou reaches out to her, reaching back is the riskiest thing she's ever done. That conflict, between her wanting to be happy and feeling safer being miserable, I think that's a fascinating story to tell.

And, hey, it gives Tendou a chance to show the benefits of his limitless confidence. It's just fun to be around someone like that, someone who can sell you Everything's Going To Be Fine. It's hard to have that kind of easy charm, and Tendou's got it. We usually see him using it to remind everyone how great he is, and it's a pleasant turn to have him use it to draw Hiyori out of her shell. That's nice.

The rest of this episode, though... messy. Messy and uninteresting.

The hunt for Kabuto by Truegami's ZECT faction is... I mean, fine, ZECT is going to want to quantify Kabuto sooner or later, and it makes sense that someone up top would have less But He Gets Results equivocating than the regular cast. (I mean, Misaki definitely wants to get Kabuto's identity/motives nailed down, but she's doing it as an extracurricular.) It's a plot point that you have to address.

It's just, what's here is lazy and dull. Truegami has zero character in this. His plan is both inexplicable (they just follow this one Worm around, forever, and it never does more than kill one person at a time, with no pattern or escalation) and mind-bendingly open-ended. (Are they going to keep watching people die indefinitely? And is ZECT okay letting these stories keep getting out to tease Kabuto, at the risk of exposing their entire operation?) Worse, since Tendou immediately figures out that ZECT is up to something, there's absolutely no tension.

It makes for an episode that is just killing time until Kabuto inevitably shows up for some danger that Tendou can't ignore. (If you guessed Kagami Can't Stand By While People Are In Danger And Immediately Puts Himself In Mortal Danger, congrats. It was either going to be that, or Hiyori Is Attacked At The Tulip Festival.) It's basically just an episode of watching Kagami get more self-righteous about bureaucracy (and also the fact that he now works for an organization that engineers the deaths of civilians) and Tendou avoiding an obvious trap, which... not great writing!

And that's not even getting into the random, one-scene appearance of Kagami's dad, which is clearly setting up later stories without making its presence here feel necessary; how weirdly airless and basic Hiyori's should-have-been devastating flashback was; the fact that no one on this show has a cellphone (AT LEAST HIBIKI CALLED IT OUT), which would've solved half the problems in the episode; and ZECT's baffling hierarchy, which provides little to no documentation or coordination between divisions, treating a militarized organization of nebulous authority as something more like a collective of terrorist cells.

It's a dull episode, and while I liked a few things in it (Tendou, Hiyori, the restaurant manager immediately kicking herself for believing in Kagami, the fact that Kagami's dad asks him if he's been eating because your parents will never ever stop asking you that no matter how old you get or how long you've lived on your own), I thought this episode was pretty forgettable.

There's a thing at the end where the show is trying (I think) to parallel Tendou stepping into ZECT's trap with Hiyori waiting at the flower show, but it's... I don't know. I can squint really hard and maybe see some connective tissue, but there's not much incentive for me to do so. This was all a big step down from last time.


Sally, the owner/manager/head chef/whatever of La Salle, tries to get Kagami to take Hiyori to a flower show. It's an attempt to brighten the day of the otherwise withdrawn and monosyllabic Hiyori. Obviously, Hiyori has a (deeply obscured) fascination with floriculture, so she's interested in attending. How would you feel about attending a flower expo? Fun day out, or a total nightmare? (NOTE: Hypothetical question! I am not inviting you to a flower expo! These tickets were already bought before I asked! It doesn't have to be a date if you don't want it to be a date!)