I don’t think this one worked for me?

Visually, I thought it was excellent. There’re a whole bunch of incredibly cool shots in this episode: all of the manga sequences; the cross-cutting between Philip and Double during the dance battle with Roachstar; the incredibly cool rack-focus during the scene with Saeko and Kirihiko that emphasizes their growing distance and mistrust. It’s an episode that always looks good, which is no small feat. I don’t want to overlook the really beautifully-shot episode that came about.

I just… I don’t care about anyone in this story? I feel like the writer was going for a Teenage Miscommunication love story thing with Chizuru and Dango, but I just came out of it feeling like they’re both deranged, and probably shouldn’t see each other ever again. So, they were a dance group, and Chizuru felt like she needed to train separately to make them a better team? And she didn’t tell Dango any of this? She just stopped showing up for practice or talking to him? And he countered by being a violent, possessive creep? Who dealt with his rejection by wishing she was dead? This is who we’re rooting for in this story – these two jerks?

It would help if anyone outside of them could make a case for why they weren’t going to self-destruct in another cloud of toxic codependency, but basically no one else cares. Philip – hilariously, in my favorite recurring gag in the episode – just wants to see Heaven’s Tornado, and could not give less of a shit about the emotional drama between Chizuru and Dango. Shotaro, meanwhile, is hunting down Roachstar, and is entirely outside of the high school attempted homicides and well-intentioned ghostings. Akiko is vaguely rooting for these two crazy kids to work things out, but her attitude is treated as slightly deluded, and not much more than a waved hand towards the obligations of premise. These two kids are awful, and the show’s just like Sure But We’re Moving On.

It’d maybe not be so bad if it felt like the story of Chizuru and Dango held any lessons for Double, but it really doesn’t. Philip’s story is about finding space to pursue individual passions within a partnership, but that’s not even a little bit what the teenagers are dealing with. Chizuru didn't love swimming, she joined the swim team to feel like less of a burden on Dango. It’s like the show went PARTNERSHIP, and thought it landed some huge point. It didn’t!

All that, and there’s barely any room for the Fuuto wordbuilding that helped last episode become an enjoyable whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. We get Santa, and that’s about it. (And only two Sonozakis! What a bummer!) It’s fun to see Shotaro use the geography of Fuuto to track down a suspect, but I need more than that.

This one… yeah, not so much for me. I appreciate that more of the story was about Double solving a mystery, but I can’t believe how little I cared about Chizuru/Dango, and how little it seemed to get at elements of the Philip/Shotaro partnership. Sort of a miss!



DIE-A MEMORIES



-I don’t ever want to be the guy that complains about the logic or rules behind transformation items in Kamen Rider, but what the hell is going on in the initial fight of this episode? Every time Shotaro has removed the Gaia Memories from the Double Driver in previous episodes, he immediately de-Henshins. Here, the Memories are removed multiple times by Roachstar, and nothing happens. What? How long can Double maintain a form like LunaTrigger without the Memories – indefinitely? It sort of wrecked the entire fight for me. Help me understand what’s going on here!

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