Boy, this was a great episode, and a great two-parter.

I like how the entire story is sort of commenting on the necessity of these small-scale Kamen Rider adventures, you know? It’s very much in the camp that these sorts of battles, where it’s all about saving one person from a horrible fate, are as crucial to understanding heroism as the gigantic world-in-peril mega-arc stuff. After a few months of epic battles to save the world, this story is all about not missing the trees for the forest.

It’s all in that really well done Yuri/Touma debate, where Yuri’s unemotional pragmatism – defeat the Megid at any cost, because that’s your job – runs up against Touma’s emotional decision-making, because Touma can’t sacrifice someone that he can still try to save. Touma’s point is that people like Yuri and the Sword of Logos, they’re so wrapped up in their duty and grandiose mythology that they’re forgetting that the only reason to Save The World is so people can live in it. They’re literally trying to save the world, by preventing a global apocalypse, but they can’t see how individual lives are caught up in that struggle. Touma’s a writer, and he’s used to empathizing with people to see how they tick, to better understand a world he wants to write about. He’s only doing all of this for his friends, and for the people whose stories make up the world. It’s a nicely humanistic view of a show that almost exclusively traffics in large-scale metaphor.

Despite the appearance of the Sword of Logos, and another crucial misunderstanding (Touma is terrible about quickly explaining that the Book Club is now turning people into Megids), this episode is a great big win for Touma. He saves Yuki, he wins Yuri’s respect, and he gets his head on straight in regards to his quest. He’s not skeptical about Kamijo’s claims, or fearful that he might be on the wrong track. He’s resolved that he’ll have to fight to get at the truth, but he knows his methods can work.

I really liked how smoothly this episode went. It’s all about enjoying the pleasures of these classic two-parters: the speeches, the debates, the salvation. It’s so nice to have a clear victory for Touma, even in the midst of so much darkness. I guess it pays to have a Sword of Light by your side, huh?



EXPLODE AND MAKE UP



Daishinji sat next to Rintaro in silence.

Daishinji liked silence, generally. He preferred his workshop, and the concentration the isolation afforded him. He cared greatly for the other swordsmen, and considered them good friends, but he liked the peace and quiet of his seclusion. He didn’t like loudness, or interruptions.

He didn’t like arguments.

Everything that had happened since the defeat of Calibur had been a trial for Daishinji. Touma succumbing to the temptation of power was a failure of the entire guild, and it put Touma in an unacceptable amount of danger. Daishinji and the others had been poor teammates, and worse friends. He was new to the strength of the Sacred Swords, and unprepared for how they could make a man feel invincible, unaccountable to rules and warnings. They’d all tried to stop Touma before things got out of hand, but they’d failed there, too. Touma was on the run. He was scared, most likely, and worried his friends had abandoned him. They’d all argued, back under the overpass. It was painful to Daishinji, physically.

He’d volunteered to go after Touma, to try and reason with him. Rintaro had volunteered to go with, and even suggested a location that Touma might visit if he felt particularly anxious. (Daishinji was aware of the Brooding Roof from Kento’s frequent trips; the stage was a late birthday present that Daishinji had worked hard on to get right.) Rintaro was clearly struggling with Touma’s betrayal, and Daishinji was, at first, glad for the silence as they waited for Touma’s arrival. The quiet was a welcome surprise, considering Rintaro’s anger and confusion over recent events. Daishinji wasn’t looking forward to a heart-to-heart conversation with Rintaro.

But that was several minutes of silence ago, and even Daishinji’s love of personal space and choked-down emotions was reaching a threshold that made him uncomfortable sitting next to the taciturn swordsman.

“This is a nice roof,” Daishinji said, in his best approximation of what an icebreaker might be.

“It is. It was one of Kento’s favorite places,” Rintaro said. His eyes watered slightly. Oh no. This was getting off to an awful start.

“I built that stage.” Daishinji pointed over at the wooden furniture, a slight smile of pride relatively beaming off of his face. “Kento told me that he and Touma used it to relax a few times.”

“Yes,” Rintaro said with a small laugh, “they’d act out books they’d loved as children. It was…” He trailed off for a moment, which was unusual for Rintaro. That was always such precision to his speech, every word carefully considered and placed methodically. “It must have been nice for them, to have that bond.”

Rintaro’s face was like a damaged sword to Daishinji: undiagnosable, but clearly in pain. He’d hoped a brief chat might help calm Rintaro’s nerves, and he had no idea if he’d accomplished his goal, or made things worse. Rintaro’s expression was becoming more clear by the minute, though. Something had captured his confidence.

“That’s why we have to stop Touma from destroying everything Kento believed in,” Rintaro said to Daishinji. “We aren’t stopping Touma for Reika, or for the Sword of Logos. We’re stopping him for Kento, and for himself. We’re stopping him because we’re still his friends.”

Rintaro looked out across the roof, with the closest thing to a smile that Daishinji had seen on his face in days. He turned to look Daishinji in the eyes, which Daishinji found distasteful, and said, “We’re fighting Touma to save Touma.”

Daishinji hoped Rintaro was right. He missed the silence of friendship.
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