Ha ha ha, Fuwa.

A lot of other things happen in this episode – MetsubouJinrai.Net is exposed to the public as the perpetrators of the recent Humagear rampages, Aruto struggles with everyone looking to him for answers, his dad was maybe a Humagear (?) – but the big news this episode is the time we spent with the AIMS crew, and Fuwa in particular.

Fuwa’s great. He’s great. He’s all rage, and nothing else. He had a formative trauma, and he let it envelope him in unquenchable fury. The rules are irrelevant, if they stand in the way of his mission. The entire world exists to bear witness to his vengeance. He’s an investigator that asks no questions, and shoots every suspect. His Henshin sequence is him breaking open a collectible and shooting himself with a violence that protects him from the world.

He reminds me a bit of Nago from Kiva, in how hilariously psychotic he is. The actor plays it entirely straight, which (if anything) makes it even funnier to me. He’s the latest in a line of absolutely bonkers secondaries, the newest lunatic with a grudge that Isn’t Here To Make Friends and considers the title character to be a potential Finisher recipient, and nothing more.

And those are all good things! The second and third Riders from Ex-Aid were cut from that cloth, bound up in the ways they’d be wronged by the universe and desperate to pay it back. I like that arc, the guy who slowly finds something to live for other than revenge and regret. Nago, again, got to be one of my favorite characters in Kiva, and had maybe my favorite arc in the final few episodes. (A lot of that was the show leaning into Nago’s continuous failures and unceasing self-regard as a source of comedy relief, but still!) As funny as these one-note psychopaths can be, I do usually end up connecting with their inability to overcome trauma, and the ways recovery and catharsis can seem impossible when you live too long inside your grief. It’s gloriously melodramatic, but occasionally devastating.

Along for the ride this episode is Fuwa’s (presumably) long-suffering co-worker Yaiba, and she’s already my favorite character on the show. I’m a sucker for competent women surrounded by abject failures of masculinity, so it follows that I found Yaiba to be a very entertaining foil to Fuwa’s ridiculousness. She’s a cop whose partner thinks he’s a soldier, and you can see on her face that way too much of her job is keeping this dude from trying to eat the face of every robot he sees. As a mismatched buddy cop team for a toku show, they’re amazing.

Great episode, across the board. I liked how the story tried (maybe a little too bluntly) to contrast Aruto’s sense of protection with Fuwa’s sense of righteous fury, especially through the by now standard eye-catching fight sequence. The fight through the shipyard used so many cool techniques – some POV shots, some multi-level moves, some slo-mo, and a beautifully staged finisher from Vulcan. This show’s proficiency with fight choreography… I feel like it’s going to be this thread’s I Forgot To Mention The Suits? It’s so good, and I barely feel like I did it justice. Still! Just one more element of a really fun second installment.


Speaking of second things! Kamen Rider Vulcan!

I like the two Shotriser suits a whole lot. (I also like how the show works the word Rise into so many things? Good branding, and I like the emphasis on things becoming more than what they began as.) Unlike the clean symmetry of the Zero-One suit, Vulcan has a more unfinished asymmetry. It looks less agile, more destructive. Little spikes come off the blue parts, and even the torso looks angry.

It’s a great color scheme. I’m not gonna be like All Secondaries Should Be Blue, but I think it’s generally a smart move. It’s got the same red piping, to tie in with Zero-One’s suit, but we’ve got blue over a white undersuit, rather than COLOR over a black undersuit. It nicely casts Vulcan as cool, imposing. Something about that blue and white just says that this dude is not going to save anyone.

Another winner of a suit!