The Igarashi Brothers spend an episode dynamically mopping up Deadmans with a synchronicity that borders on the superhuman, and it’s wonderful to see. Very exciting to watch Live and Revi (and Vice) get gigantic fight scenes where they use combo tactics to detonate monsters.

Okay, with that out of the way, let me talk about the main thing worth addressing in this episode: Sakura.

Sakura’s one of my favorite characters on Revice, mostly for how incongruently she’s fit into the narrative thus far. Much like Daiji’s great for his laundry list of psychological defects, Sakura’s teenage prickliness and barely-restrained aggression makes every one of her scenes fascinating to watch. She’s coiled at almost all times, appropriately, like a cobra. There’s a restlessness that seems natural for a girl her age, but it’s turned up a few notches too high. She doesn’t fit in this family, and I don’t mean that in an emotional way. They all love her, and she loves them. But she needs more than that, and she can’t articulate what.

It’s the core of her story in this episode, the belief that more power is the answer, even when she doesn’t know or understand the question. She’s someone looking desperately for a purpose, and she’s lost herself in a life that’s thus far avoided the necessary engagement to secure it. She trains, relentlessly, but that’s inherently a hollow pursuit. Training for what? Becoming stronger why? Since she was a little girl, she’s seen Being Stronger as a goal in and of itself, with a clarity that would give Ren from Saber pause. But now that she’s becoming an adult, she’s learning that strength only matters if it’s in the application of a greater cause.

I appreciated the show treating her like a child, despite generally losing my temper with shows that treat male characters as unstoppable beacons of moral justice whose resolve and self-sacrifice are only questioned to be proven unimpeachable, while women are things (not people) to protect and patronize. Some of it is for my favorite Sakura expression – wide-eyed, stunned, paralyzed with fury – but a lot of it is for a clear division between the adult cast-members and the youngest Igarashi. They’re wrong to hold Sakura back, but it’s right for these characters to hold her back. In much the same way that Ikki struggles with being overprotective because he's always been the oldest kid, and Daiji struggles with defining himself outside his brother’s shadow because he's the middle sibling, Sakura’s frustration and desire for power spill directly out of how powerless a large family can make the youngest child feel. The way this show uses relatable family dynamics to quickly and precisely shape its cast is great, and Sakura’s stifling but well-meaning family is a perfect foil for a young woman who is determined to test her own boundaries.

Also, Aguilera.

The thing that made Diend great (stay with me here) is that his actor, seemingly all by himself, decided that he and Decade were constantly flirting with each other. It’s barely on the page; it is almost entirely in the performance. It’s the same thing with Aguilera here, who brings a romantic charge to any scene that even hints at Sakura’s existence, even when it could read through dialogue as menacing or bored or jokey or whatever. Find you someone who looks at you the way Aguilera looks at Sakura. I could watch those two Fight As A Metaphor for an entire episode and never get sick of it. Aguilera’s a temptation in a lot of ways, but she’s mainly here to get Sakura to understand that her power as a human fighter is irrelevant in a world of demon-powered superheroes and Cinco de Monsters. If she wants to have her family actually hear her, she’s going to have to meet them on their level. She’s going to have to become a Kamen Rider.

It helps that she’s got a Vistamp and a Driver (the Ushijimas, most likely: a bunch of suspicious weirdos living in an empty house), but neither of them help her become a hero. She’s looking for power, but she lacks a purpose. She’s missing a definition to her resolve. She might find it in the next episode, when we meet her inner demon.

When we meet my favorite character in Revice, at long last.

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