Holy shit, I loved this. No notes!

I don’t know if this is the official start of When Saber Gets Good, but it sure as hell felt like it. An entire A-plot that’s dedicated to things like how we use our own stories to fill in the blanks of the people we love, a B-plot that just wants to goof around, and a C-plot that starts to wind up the Book Club storyline, or at least let it do something of value? That is exactly the type of show I want to see more of, and it’s got me legitimately excited to see the next episode.

It’s clever in the way it largely dodges Touma’s still-not-quite-resolved Narratively Convenient Amnesia, in favor keeping the focus locked on Kento’s confusion, frustration, suspicion, and general self-destructive martyrdom. In other words: it’s a Handling Kento episode.

I’m all for that? As previously stated (I think earlier today?) I really like how much this cast has to try and navigate the minefield of Kento’s mood swings, as well just, like, generally keep him from dying in a blaze of sword sparks and shouted accusations re: his dad, of which he’s only got the one memory. (It’s a good one! But, shit, I’d hope he’d interacted with his dad more than the one time!) Of the few recurring story engines this show has, Handling Kento is my favorite.

This episode does a bang-up job of interrogating Kento’s current grumpiness by having Rintaro get involved, who honestly pluses up every single plot he’s involved in. (Dude is seriously this show’s MVP so far.) The start of it was where I knew I’d love this episode, because it smartly makes Rintaro’s one and only appeal something that would be a critical hit on Rintaro, but a total miss for Kento. Rintaro tries to argue for the rules and duty of a swordsman, but Kento couldn’t care less about a guild that let a former member probably-murder his dad, and possibly cover it up for 15 years. Kento needs an emotional appeal, not a logical one.

The thing that makes this episode great for a Kamen Rider episode, not just a Saber episode, is how it reframes Rintaro’s original argument into him actually trying to appeal to Kento emotionally. To Rintaro, the Sword of Logos is his family; Kento is his brother. When Rintaro’s putting things in terms of how the Sword of Logos would be hurt by Kento’s actions, or how Kento risks expulsion, what Rintaro’s trying to say is that Kento is hurting this family. He doesn’t have any other way of saying it, because his story doesn’t include things like a father or a brother. He thinks he’s opening himself up to Kento, but Kento’s just hearing more office talk from an organization he no longer trusts.

It’s a type of miscommunication that’s really fascinating, and thematically appropriate for this show. Rintaro’s got a story he knows, about duty and responsibility and comrades-in-arms. Kento’s got a story he knows, about fathers and sons and guilt and shame. Those stories inform how they interact with the world, and how they view relationships. We get to see Rintaro eventually try and understand Kento’s story by the end, to his (physical) and Kento’s (emotional) detriment. Rintaro is able to see Kento’s need for answers through the lens of Rintaro’s own dedication to the other swordsmen, and how he’d risk his life for them. His sacrifice for Kento lets Kento understand that his bond with Rintaro (and Touma, and Mei) is something that’s more than just situational or professional, it’s familial.

(Even that screencap I used up top is two brothers who know how to get on each other's nerves! It's playful while still being intensely serious! A+++!)

Powerful, beautiful episode. It did everything right, and I didn’t even touch on the hilarious Gremlins plot of Kenzan thanking a monster for a fun fight, or Saber trying to call a time-out mid-battle because he's a little winded after the last couple days. This one was perfect! No notes!



WHAT WE TALK ABOUT



“That took a while. You went into the kitchen to make that call, like, five minutes ago.”

“Yeah, no, sorry… I was…”

“Was what?”

“I was calling the pizza place, but I guess I dialed it wrong, because I got some guy on the phone instead.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah, he said his name was Tassel? And I was like ‘oh, sorry, wrong number’, but then he just starting telling me about the Sword of Logos–”

“He started telling you about a sword? What?”

“No, it’s not a sword. I guess it’s like some sort of cross between a religious sword apocalypse cult and that show The Office? It’s like if Jim and Pam were both trained killers with magic swords who were trying to prevent a monster armageddon.”

“...is the Sword of Logos?”

“Yeah. And they live in a base at the North Pole, but there’s another base at the South Pole, and that one’s real sketchy. Anyhow, the Sword of Logos–”

“Why is the South Pole one sketchy?”

“Uh, he didn’t say, and it– it sort of wasn’t relevant? It’s like he just wanted to dish about some lady who was real suspicious. He didn’t even tell me her name, but he was like ‘That Southern Base! I don’t trust them!’”

“Uh–”

“So anyway, Sword of Logos: they got betrayed by some guy named Calibur, and his kid Espada is in the group now, but it turns out Calibur isn’t his dad? It’s some other guy? Who used to be Saber, but not the current Saber, an old one.”

“So this guy’s dad used to be Saber?”

“No, his dad was Calibur, but then Calibur wasn’t his dad. Calibur is Saber, but not the Saber who’s friends with Espada. Oh, and whenever Tassel mentions Calibur his voice gets really low and menacing, even though he normally sounds real cheery and musical. Like– like he’s hosting some kid’s show?”

“Uh huh.”

“Right, so, Espada’s all freaked out about his dad not being Calibur right now, and Saber’s remembering all this stuff he forgot about this little girl he was friends with as a kid. It’s a whole THING.”

“Right.”

“That’s all I got, though. It sounded like some friend of his showed up, and he started telling them some of this? And then he hung up on me.”

“... Look, are you going to actually order a pizza, or what.”

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