Sort of a boring episode, despite an emotional and warm Ikki/Vice main plot. As always, the character-based elements shine, but there’s just too much weird Series Arc stuff to address in this episode, and it distracts from a core premise that’s decently enjoyable.

It’s a conclusion, of sorts, to the dilemma of Ikki and Vice switching places. The fun twist is that George has figured out how to easily and quickly reverse the process… but Vice doesn’t trust George enough to try it. I like that we’re not in a story where the solution is inherently dangerous, or difficult, or mysterious. It’s just that the solution is coming from George, and absolutely no one should trust George right now. George was responsible for Hiromi’s deteriorating condition! George jumped at the chance to do some mad science on the Demons Driver for Olteca’s possible benefit! George is probably slightly more clued-in than the rest of the cast about what Akaishi’s up to! George is a morally bankrupt mad scientist – no one should trust him!

But Ikki does (for, uh, reasons; it’s never really stated or implied why Ikki trusts George, beyond there not really being any other options), and Vice trusts Ikki, so we get Ikki back. It’s a cute story about how much trust Ikki and Vice have in each other now, but it never really rises above the level of Cute. There’s nothing here we didn’t already know, and no new shades to the Ikki/Vice partnership. It’s sweet, and well-acted, but still fairly minor in its scope and accomplishment.

Meanwhile, there’re what seemed like six million scenes of the overlapping Olteca/Giff/Fenix/Daiji/Weekend struggle to address, and they all felt like they were in a completely different, less compelling version of this show.

It’s too much, too many moving pieces. If we only had to deal with two of those, I’d pick Daiji’s single scene of pushing back Kagerou, and maybe Olteca scheming to upgrade the Demons Driver. But we get those AND multiple scenes with Weekend AND a couple sequences about Giff (including more hints about Dad Igarishi’s connection) AND a bit with Aguilera that goes absolutely nowhere… it’s too much for two episodes, let alone this single installment. As a result, nothing feels like it moves ahead (the Demons Driver just Nopes out at the end!) and the main plot feels like it gets 75% of the space it actually needed to be great. It’s a messy episode, and an unfulfilling one as well.

Wish this one landed better for me! I think most of the elements of this episode had promise, but the show needs to pare them down to just two or three at a time. At least this episode had a bunch of cute Lovekov stuff, though?

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