Uh... sloppy. Sloppy episode!

It's all the hell over the place. There's a whole bunch of tiny things that get covered/addressed/introduced, but it leaves the main Wataru Reckons With His Father's Legacy story feeling slightly undercooked (the Moth Fangire's motivation feels like it's at cross-purposes from Wataru's story?) with an ending that... uh.

So, that ending. I do mostly appreciate what it's trying to say. Wataru has learned that his father was an unrepentant scumbag (not a fan of Otoya getting punched for being a creep and him going Cost Of Doing Business!), but he's also learned that his father believed in the beauty of the world. Otoya is The Worst, but he's also capable of gentleness. Wataru's learned that his father was complicated, and that's different from being a bad parent. It's a sweet little grace note. It doesn't undo or forgive the earlier revelations about Otoya, but it creates room to be impressed by his sweetness, or respect his artistry. It's a story where Wataru stops deifying the idea of Otoya and starts connecting with the reality of Otoya.

I don't know if the show really earned that ending, though? It's the same problem I have with all of these I Forgive My Terrible Parent stories across the Kamen Rider franchise: the sense of scale. Wataru falls victim to it, here, where he seems to ignore his previous quest to redeem the Kurenai legacy simply because his dad wasn't a complete prick every minute of every day. It's the same with the people whose lives Otoya destroyed. When they see that Wataru is a sweet kid who wants to atone for his dad, both of the victims cheerfully abandon decades of seething rage with a Pobody's Nerfect shrug at Otoya's sliminess and their own (legitimate!) complicity. It's ridiculous, and it honestly made me start rooting for the Moth Fangire for a few minutes.

The episode can't seem to decide if Otoya running around Japan and bankrupting people due to avarice, gluttony, and sloth is a big deal or not, and that keeps this episode from really delivering on Wataru's dilemma. He's shook to his foundations, and then when a Fangire confesses to orchestrating this existential threat because she was in love with Otoya, the stakes, just, like, vanish. Wataru doesn't need to make up for anything, because... something something spurned lover something something unrequited love something something daddy was an artist? There were binders of people who had been wronged by Otoya, and the show doesn't do nearly enough to put the scope of those crimes into any sort of context for Wataru. Why is the fact that his father was an artist some sort of balance against binders of malfeasance?! It'd be a compelling idea if Otoya, like, worked too hard or something. But he's The Worst, and the show seems to forget that right at the conclusion of this story.

(Also... what the hell was the Moth Fangire trying to do? Was her whole revenge against Otoya just making Wataru feel bad? Why? Did she know he was Kiva ahead of time? What if Wataru didn't give a shit about his dad? Would the Moth Fangire have spent years tracking down everyone Otoya wronged for no reason? Why introduce a path towards redemption and then be so shocked that two random victims out of thousands were okay with it? I don't understand anything she was trying to do!)

Putting aside the main story, which has a genuinely sweet message that it absolutely did not deliver on (some beautiful images notwithstanding), the other interesting thing in this episode was the integration of Nago into the core dynamic, and I loved that. Nago's the empathetic dad to Megumi's helicopter mom, and that team is electric to me. Seeing the two of them bicker over who is more helpful to Wataru, and Wataru naturally being 1000% on Team Dad, brilliant stuff. They've got outstanding chemistry (Megumi has chemistry with everyone, best actor on this show by a mile), and Nago fills in the parenting equation this show's going to need going forward.

Like, Wataru is going to keep looking for a dad in the men he respects. There's a part of his development that isn't there, and it's going to lead him to put paternal figures on pedestals. He did it with Otoya last episode, and he does it with Nago in this one. He's innately looking for the guidance and approval he never really got from his real dad, so he'll keep looking for it in other relationships. Wataru's going to let Nago in, and put stock in his opinion, when he probably should be a little more guarded. Conversely, Wataru's keeping Megumi at a distance, when she's someone who's actually capable of giving him unbiased advice. Very curious what the deal is with Wataru's mom; feels like there's a key to his treatment of Megumi in there.

Speaking of father figures! Zanki is a werewolf sword that lives inside the belly of a Dragon Cathedral! I have no comment other than Of Course He Is!