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[personal profile] akinoame
Hopper, Parent and Child, Hero (Nobuhiro Mouri/Tasaki): It's almost Valentine's Day, and Eiji, Hina, and Goto help Chiyoko shop for supplies, specifically for the homemade chocolates she gives out to all of the men and boys who come in for Valentine's. She promises some for Eiji and Goto too, but Goto sees a little boy lecturing a man about littering. When the boy kicks him, the man shoves him to the ground. This catches everyone's attention, but Goto immediately shoves his bags at Eiji and runs down to help—which I like. Normally, it's Eiji who's the first to react, but Goto's an ex-cop. He's even less likely to stand around while a kid is being hurt. He shouts at the man, who says that the kid started it, but the kid says he didn't do it. Eiji comes in, promising to talk to the boy, Takashi Kanbayashi, and he hands him back his trash, asking him to put it in the garbage where it belongs. At this point, the man just leaves, and Eiji compliments Takashi on standing up like that—something Takashi says his father taught him.

His father, Susumu Kanbayashi, runs over and asks if Takashi did anything wrong. Eiji tells him what happened, and Takashi goes on praising his dad for never forgiving "bad guys." But Kanbayashi starts getting uncomfortable with the praise and urges Takashi to come along with him. Chiyoko and Hina make it over, and Chiyoko immediately recognizes him as an underclassman friend from college whom she hasn't seen in a long time. She invites him to the restaurant, but he's still skittish and leaves, all observed by Uva. Though Takashi tells him about all the nice things Eiji said about him, Kanbayashi urges his son not to do anything like that again, warning it's dangerous and he's lucky Goto and Eiji were there to help. Takashi is too young to understand what he means, since his father taught him that bad guys shouldn't be forgiven, and he asks when his dad is coming home. As it turns out, Kanbayashi is a prospective lawyer who's recently failed the bar exam, and apparently not for the first time. According to my research, the bar in Japan is ridiculously hard by design, with only 6% of applicants passing in 2010, during OOO, so as to thin out the herd of potential lawyers. Kanbayashi decides he needs to leave home until he passes, in order to motivate himself better. But this, understandably, has put a lot of stress on little Takashi, and he gets mad and says he doesn't care if his father never comes home. He kicks him and runs off.

Kanbayashi tries to chase after him, but he slumps onto a bench and notices all of the litter and graffiti around. Uva calls his desire "rare" and creates a Yummy from him. The Yummy grabs him, but at some point, he passes out and assumes it was all a dream as he rushes off for his part-time job. He watches a man snatch a woman's purse and decides to try to stop him, but he's only thrown into a tree. But his Yummy appears and attacks the thief, evolving into...well, what else? A grasshopper, much like the Showa Riders, but specifically, Shin. He even cries, "Toh!" when he jumps, like the classics!

Everyone works on the chocolate, with Eiji even using the new candroid to cool them—even though Goto gives him a hard time about using presumably expensive technology for stupid things like that. Oh, and by "everyone," I mean "not Ankh," who refuses to help, even when Hina says he won't get any chocolate with that attitude. Ankh honestly doesn't care and says he doesn't like chocolate. But Eiji worries about how his body wasn't restored when he absorbed his Medals, and when Chiyoko runs out of ingredients, he finds the perfect excuse to grab Ankh and talk to him in private. He asks what happened and suggests that maybe there's something different about him, compared to the other Greeed. Ankh doesn't answer, and the sound of the Yummy comes as a welcome distraction. Eiji finds the unconscious Kanbayashi, and Ankh recognizes him as the parent. Trash Yummies interfere with their attempt to fight with the Yummy, but Eiji uses Unagi's whips to take care of it. Still, Shin-Yummy reaches the woman and corners her, but to everyone's surprise, he returns the purse and insists that bad guys can't be forgiven—confusing even Ankh as he hops away.

They get Kanbayashi back to Cous Coussier, where Chiyoko patches him up, warning him not to be so reckless since it's not like him. Though she admits that even in school, he had a very strong sense of justice. She asks what he's doing now, and when he says it has to do with the law, she assumes it means he passed the bar. But he gets evasive and leaves for his part-time job—something that gives Hina pause, since why would a lawyer need a second job? Watching from the kitchen, Eiji asks Ankh if it's possible for Yummies to be heroic. Ankh says no, since they follow their parents' desires. Eiji points out that a desire for justice might just count, and Ankh says no one's stupid enough to think that way...before realizing just who he's talking to. Eiji points out that there are other people in the world who have that kind of drive, even if it's not a desire, and Ankh admits it's possible, with Kanbayashi's sense of justice, that maybe Uva's onto something.

Satonaka goes through Date's Medal profits while Kougami gives him a rather late birthday cake, considering he's been active since Christmas. Date starts eating as Satonaka counts out 327 Medals, and Kougami decides that Date was the perfect choice and the Cell Medals the perfect system. There's only one problem: Date doesn't like the cake. Well, sweets in general, and he asks for some oden. Meanwhile, Goto goes for a run, resolved to train harder as Date's successor. He finds Takashi alone along the riverwalk and warns him that it's dangerous to out this late, close to sunset, and he asks where his dad is. Takashi is still understandably mad at his father, and Goto sits next to him and asks what happened. Takashi says it's about the scolding he got, and he can't reconcile the idea of not forgiving bad guys with not kicking grown men in the shins when they litter. Goto agrees that his intentions were good, but he shouldn't put himself in danger; but Takashi misunderstands him and runs off, upset that Goto seems to tolerate bad people.

On his way to work, Kanbayashi notices various minor infractions and injustices, and he starts to think that everyone is just awful, and Shin-Yummy attacks. He decides to join forces with Shin-Yummy to punish all the bad guys. That night, some people play obnoxiously loud music in the plaza, and the Yummy brutally beats them, even throwing a guy so he falls down the stairs and busts his head against a pole. Eiji and Ankh arrive and see the danger, but Shin-Yummy has a Rider's speed and agility. Eiji asks for various Medals, but Ankh doesn't have much, offering only Kujaku, so the shield can block lightning attacks. Eiji notices that the TaJa Spinner comes pre-loaded with Cell Medals for fireball attacks, and he considers switching them out for his Cores, so he can use another finisher. Two victims escape on their bikes, and Shin-Yummy goes after them, with Eiji and Ankh going right after him. Goto chases Takashi, who runs out in front of the bikes and almost gets hit by the bikes. The Yummy jumps in the way and throws the riders off, much to Takashi's delight. Date arrives and starts fighting, warning Goto to get Takashi somewhere safe. Without the Birth Buster, he has to reply more on physical attacks and attachments, but collecting the Medals distracts him, and the Yummy gets away. He winds up pursuing it to a garage, where Goto and Takashi are running. As he starts winning, Uva attacks him, knowing he's no good against the Greeed. Eiji finally arrives and launches fireballs at them, taking on Uva so Date can fight the Yummy. He takes a lot of hits, to the point that Date starts worrying and takes over fighting Uva for a bit so Eiji can swap out three of the Cell Medals for his Cores. He powers up his second finisher, Giga Scan, but he's never able to launch it because Kanbayashi runs in and protects the Yummy, begging them not to destroy him so he can use his power to enforce justice the way he always wanted. Worse, Takashi supports his father and runs in to join him...


Chocolate, Conviction, Power of Justice (Mouri/Tasaki): Uva and Shin-Yummy take this as their cue to leave, and the Kanbayashi family follows, Goto especially hurt. He continues training, trying to control his aim and the recoil on the Birth Buster. During his workout, he considers Takashi's words and accusation, but he knows that he too can't put up with the horrible people and injustice in the world. Meanwhile, Maki gives Date a new Birth Buster and warns him not to give this one away like the last. Date defends Goto, since while he sounds naïve, with all of his talk about justice and protecting the world, Date really likes him and appreciates his outlook. Maki asks about the subjectivity of justice and how a Greeed would think. Date looks at the painting on the wall and asks about it. Maki says it's a depiction of the end of the world, and Date decides he prefers beginnings, as well as the name Birth. He reasons that the painting might be making Maki so gloomy, so he tries to take it down above Maki's increasingly louder protests.

The Kanbayashis take their brand of justice to the streets, taking out organized crime the police can't touch. Uva appears in human form to congratulate Kanbayashi, who thanks him. But Uva starts taking interest in Takashi, talking more kindly to him and insisting his dad is cool. He then encourages them to target a Diet member accused of taking bribes. He indeed is taking bribes at a posh, traditional inn, and they send the Yummy in to attack.

At Cous Coussier, Chiyoko learns what really happened with Kanbayashi and the exam, and Eiji mulls over what this new information means, especially the part about Kanbayashi leaving his family. Goto asks if they can ignore the Yummy, since it's acting in pursuit of justice. Ankh's argument is rational—they need to get more Medals. But Eiji says he's seen what happens when people who want to protect others lose sight of their sense of justice and become cruel and brutal—implicitly, what happened in the war. He believes this may have already happened to Kanbayashi and wants to stop him before he goes too far.

Goto's shooting improves greatly, and he asks Date why he fights and what he wants with his money. Date insists it's a secret, but he asks why Goto's fighting. When Goto hesitates, Date tells him to trust himself and know that if he's going astray, he has people around him to help him find his way back. So he should continue believing in what he wants and why he's there. Gorilla alerts him to the Yummy, and he decides it's time Goto tests his skills against a live enemy.

The Yummy starts strangling Representative Kurozaki, and the businessman bribing him begs for mercy, but the Yummy turns his attention toward him. This gives Kanbayashi pause, since the businessman certainly is scared enough to change his ways. Eiji and Ankh arrive, but Trash Yummies mob them. Ankh gives him Kuwagata-Tora-Batta to shock them and win easily, but Kanbayashi tells him not to interfere. The Yummy is still targeting the businessman, who's pleading for help, and Eiji asks if that's what Kanbayashi calls justice. The question shocks him, and Eiji tells him to take Takashi and run while he fights. Eiji manages to get the Yummy into the forest, away from any innocent people, while Kanbayashi runs to Takashi and tries to escape with him. But Uva appears and tosses him aside, having already decided to target Takashi.

He brings Takashi over to Eiji for a trade—the boy for his Cores. Eiji deactivates the Driver, above Ankh's protests, but behind his back, he activates the Kujaku candroid. He insists on a simultaneous trade on the count of three and tosses the Medals as Uva lets go. But Ankh interferes, detaching to try to stop Eiji just as he throws the candroid, throwing off his aim and only knocking one of the Medals away. Uva's already grabbed Takashi again and gets his other Cores back, but Takashi escapes and runs to Eiji. The Yummy attacks, and Eiji's forced to grapple with it while Takashi runs to his father. With no Medals, Eiji doesn't stand a chance, so Ankh desperately searches for the dropped Medal, but Uva steps on him just as he finds it. He thanks him for not trusting Eiji and thus helping him take the Medals, but Kanbayashi stops him from attacking Ankh and begs him not to let any more people get hurt. But Uva proves he's indeed the bad guy and grabs him, losing Ankh. Eiji tries to plead for him, but as just a human, he can't do anything. The Yummy comes after him, but Date shoots it from behind. More shots toward Uva make him lose his grip on Kanbayashi. While Birth fights, Eiji runs to Kanbayashi while Goto takes Takashi. Ankh blames Eiji for losing the Medals, since he'd agreed to the trade in the first place, but Eiji shouts back at him that he'll always put human life ahead of the Cores. Ankh tries to make him understand that a Core is a Greeed's life, but Eiji's already run back to the inn with Kanbayashi.

Eiji promises Takashi is safe with Goto, but Kanabayashi now sees his inner darkness and is struggling with it. Eiji says "right" and "wrong" are complex and hard to determine—believing you're right may blind you to other points of view. And if you do this in the name of justice, war may follow. Though shocked to hear the commentary on war, Kanbayashi still can't just let the bad guys go. Eiji tells him to focus on what's in front of him and do his best to protect the happiness he has; he can't do anything for what's beyond his control, so he should at least protect the smiles of the people he loves. And maybe that, Eiji says as he sees Ankh arriving, will be enough to overcome all the terrible people in the world—and of course Ankh is put out that Eiji looked at him while he said that. Since Eiji won't give him an explanation and just runs off to fight, Ankh settles for scowling at Kanbayashi before following him.

Date chases Uva and the Yummy across town. While stronger, Uva has a problem with the Buster and decides to run off and use the desire for justice to create another Yummy. Goto's just gotten Takashi to safety, and the boy starts to wonder if he's wrong in his beliefs. Goto admits he wants to save the world, but he understands now that he doesn't have the power to do that. But he still believes in himself and his desire, and he urges Takashi to do the same and asks him what he thinks is right. Takashi admits he wants to do the right thing, but Uva attacks, twisting Goto's arm at an angle so he can't shoot and blasting electricity to prevent Takashi from escaping. He prepares to create a Yummy, the slot appearing on Takashi's forehead, but Goto asks him what he really wants right now. Takashi answers he just wants his dad to come home, and the slot disappears, the desire too small to create a Yummy. gets free and shoots Uva several times, each shot hitting its mark. Eiji and Ankh arrive—late, as Goto points out—and Ankh throws Eiji some Medals, telling him to get the rest back. But Eiji realizes it's only two, and Ankh says it's all he has. Goto continues shooting, waiting for them to get their shit together while Eiji begs Ankh to let him borrow Condor. Ankh finally agrees, and Eiji does well against Uva and the Yummy, Tora's claws and Condor's talons providing sharp, sweeping attacks while Goto provides backup fire with the Buster. But as Eiji grabs Uva, the Yummy throws him through a wall, causing the top to crumble and fall toward Takashi. Goto's too far away to save him in time, but his dad arrives and pulls him to safety. He says he has to protect his happiness himself, and they all run for safety as the battle returns.

Eiji's struggling now, so Date provides assistance, combining Crane and Drill Arms to attack Uva from a distance, where he's got more of an advantage. When the Cells stick to the drill, the Cores are exposed so Ankh can steal them back, forcing Uva to run off. As Eiji starts to win against the Yummy, it blasts electricity at him, so Ankh sends him Kujaku to finish the battle quickly. Now, Eiji soars into the air and places the Cores in the Spinner. Giga Scan surrounds him in fire, shaped like a bird—likely a phoenix—as he flies right through the Yummy and blows it up before landing gracefully as he transforms back...and falls flat on his face from exhaustion. Good effort, though. Date starts collecting the Medals, and Ankh starts fighting him for them, despite Date pointing out that he got the Cores back for him. Ankh says that's different and tries to absorb more, and as Eiji stumbles to his feet, Date wrestles Ankh with the crane.

Valentine's Day finally arrives, and somehow or another, Eiji and a stone-faced Goto ended up dressed as cupids with curly blond wigs, white robes and tights, halos, and wings. Eiji asks just what exactly it has to do with international cuisine. The entire Kanbayashi family comes in, the father having decided to come home. He wants to become an attorney now to protect everyone's little bit of happiness...which still has me confused, since he'd still need to pass the bar. Was he going for something different before? I don't know. It's weird, and I almost feel like the writer has less of an understanding behind the Japanese legal education system than I do. Chiyoko's glad to see him back to normal and gives him and Takashi their chocolates, also making sure to give Goto his, much to his surprise—and Eiji teases him for blushing. Hina gives Eiji a special one, thanking him for everything. When he goes over to Ankh to gloat, he finds she made him a fudgsicle—the only way he was going to eat chocolate, and Eiji starts whining to Hina.


Beauty, Egg, Dormant Desire (Kobayashi/Morota): Kazari's at an internet cafe, popping Gamel Medals, the energy rushing over him. Maki checks in on him, and he says he feels more satisfied, like the Medals have helped with the unfulfillable gap since his creation. Maki suggests he add more Medals as fast as possible, but Kazari's cautious and doesn't want to lose control, preferring to create another Yummy. As Maki ends the call, Date enters the lab with a kotatsu—a heated table. Maki tells him to go get his physical done since he needs data on the Birth system's effects on his body. Date insists it's not affecting him at all, but Maki says the physical is mandatory, especially with a certain condition Date has. This gives Date pause for a moment, but he insists again that he's fine and a professional besides, so Maki shouldn't worry. Maki, however, says he is worried and wants to know. Date, now nervous, admits he likes how open Maki's being, but distracts him by threatening to play with his doll.

Cous Coussier's theme is French desserts, with everyone dressed like pre-Revolutionary nobles...wait. Does this mean the theme is "Let them eat cake?" Anyway, Chiyoko notices how Goto's finally starting to relax and act more kindly toward the customers. Hina says that a customer even came in specifically to see him, and Chiyoko agrees he's popular with the ladies. But she rushes to assure Eiji that he's got plenty of female admirers too; they just all happen to be elderly, and he awkwardly admits it's not the same thing. Hina tries to help, but even she can't justify it. Upstairs, Ankh worries about their lack of Cores, since they haven't gathered many and his is the only combo left. He remembers that Kazari has some of Mezool's Medals, and since they have two, if they can get one more, Eiji will have another combo. Date stops by, but he's a little intimidated by the fancy decor and drops his tank on his foot, spilling the Medals. Eiji and Goto help him clean up, explaining there's no lunch menu because of the dessert fair. Ankh hears the Medals and runs down, but he's disappointed to see that it's only Date. Date decides to leave to find lunch, and Chiyoko gives him a coupon for 20% off his next visit, the coupon featuring a picture of her. He takes it, and then to everyone's surprise, asks to borrow Eiji for a little bit.

At the Beauty Marine Lab cosmetics company, a report is being done on Rei Sakura, the beautiful president, model, and spokeswoman for the company, as well as the develop of their popular Sea Goddess line. But in the middle of her spot, a scientist wheels through with crates of materials. During the second take, she knocks it over and spills seaweed samples. Rei sweetly asks the reporters to continue the tour without her, then she yells at the scientist, her older sister, Yumi. Yumi forgot that Rei asked her to stay in the lab for the interview, apparently based on the stylish and savvy Rei's embarrassment of her definite nerd sister. Yumi's labcoat is splattered with seaweed, her hair's hidden under a beanie, she wears thick glasses, and her mouth's covered with a respiratory mask. For someone who works in cosmetics, she couldn't seem to care less about her appearance; she's more interested in her specimens, showing off a rare one she'd wanted to research for a while. Rei orders her to clean it all up and go back to the lab. As Yumi picks up the spilled seaweed, she looks at her reflection in the glass door, only for it to open so Kazari can throw a Medal into her. She returns to her researchers in the lab, who invite her to lunch, but she's still busy and decides to wait. They warn her about the mashed seaweed on her face and as they leave, they marvel at the difference between Yumi and Rei and reveal a few of Rei's dirty little secrets. As it turns out, Yumi's the actual head of research and developer of the products, and Rei told management that she was only a consultant. Beauty Marine Lab has cultivated a false image that their supermodel president does everything, and she's desperate to maintain it. Still, they have to admit that it's weird their ugly duckling chief, who doesn't care about her own appearance, is the developer of a cosmetic line.

The Yummy egg tries to grow as Yumi cleans her face. Uva finds Kazari overseeing it and admits his surprise, since he'd sensed Mezool. Kazari says there's a little of both of them, along with some of Gamel. But there's a problem: Yumi barely hears the Yummy asking if she wants to be beautiful, and the egg disappears when she ignores it. The only desire she pays attention to is her stomach growling, and she looks on her photos of Africa, with her friends eating oden in the desert. Date is in at least one of the photos, and she decides that if the interview is over, she's going to go out for oden for lunch. Yumi sees Rei and her assistant passing by, and she announces her plans for lunch. Rei looks at the state of her outfit and tells her to at least wear makeup to make herself a little presentable. As Rei leaves, Yumi sadly snarks that makeup's not going to help her much, and the egg flickers again. Despite the difficulties, Kazari's sure he made the right choice and reasons that the desire is simply dormant. He asks why Uva hasn't put the other Cores inside himself to evolve. Incensed by suggestions that he's scared, Uva attacks him.

At the oden shop, Gorilla candroid's insistent on carrying Date and Eiji's order while Date apologizes for dragging him all the way out there. He explains that he just doesn't like sweets, but Eiji doesn't mind because he also likes oden. Date asks about the photo in the restaurant, saying he feels like he remembers Eiji but he doesn't know why. Eiji's excited that they may have crossed paths in the past, but Date knows he'd remember if he met Eiji—he's too strange and memorable to forget. As Gorilla brings over their food, Date notes that Eiji seems to take one step forward and two steps back, despite being so young. Eiji's surprised by the criticism, but Date insists that Eiji's holding himself back, and Eiji suddenly goes quiet and uncertain. Date says he's a good judge of character, and it doesn't matter that he can't remember. As they start eating, Date reminisces how he'd bring a pot out in the desert and cook oden. Ankh watches, disappointed that they're not talking Medals; instead, Eiji asks what kind of work Date did abroad. Date says it should be obvious by his "intellectual aura," but before Eiji can find a polite way to respond to that, Ankh drags him off, warning him of a Greeed fight. Date realizes the candroid hasn't responded and rushes to pay and follow them, but he runs into Yumi as she enters. They're glad to see each other after all this time, but Date still has to go fight and promises to meet up with her for dinner.

Ankh and Eiji arrive to the fight, Eiji using Taka-Gorilla-Tako. The suction cups on his legs help him stay in one place while Kazari uses his brand new waterbending abilities while the Gorilla arms break through. Date's disappointed to see there's only Greeed, but he's got to earn what he can. But Kazari's airbending deflects shots from the Birth Buster, and...gravity-bending lifts him off the ground, smashes him into columns, and drops him on Eiji. Hey, Bryke, I think I have a new suggestion for stepping up the game for earthbenders if you do another Avatar series. But with our Riders getting their butts kicked, Eiji has to wait for Date to give him an opening to use his rocket fists. Unfortunately, Kazari sends them off with gravity, then blasts them through columns with water. Drill Arm is completely trashed, and Ankh realizes that their only hope is TaJaDor. Fire cuts through wind, and Kazari decides to run—just in time, since Eiji immediately collapses, and Ankh's forced to accept that they don't have enough Medals to win.

Yumi returns from lunch, happier from seeing Date. Rei, all dressed up, tells her to finish the new product announcement for her. Yumi promises to, but she worries Rei won't be able to answer questions about the new product. Rei says she'll answer from Yumi's documents, and she wonders if Yumi was asking to go up and do the announcement. Yumi denies it, and Rei insists her work as president has let them sell their products so Yumi can get absorbed in research. If she doesn't want to ruin everything, Yumi will stay away from the public eye. As Rei goes off to a party, Yumi gets to her chores like Cinderella, and the egg reappears. She thinks on her dinner date with Date and muses that he hasn't changed. With one hour left until dinner, she notices all of the splatters on her clothes. She goes to the mirror and removes her mask, picking up the makeup Rei left behind, and the egg once again appears. This time, she hears it and agrees to become more beautiful than Rei, applying lipstick and taking the egg.

Ankh hears the Medals forming as he and Eiji walk home, and they find Yumi and the egg, realizing it's still growing. Eiji runs to take the egg, but she smiles and lets stingrays swarm out. They fight, but there are too many, and she escapes. She buys a beautiful dress and fancy jewelry and gets her hair done. Date arrives at the oden place to learn she's not there, and the Gorilla responds to the Yummy egg and lands in the pot. Eiji chases after her, finally finding her in a plaza, surrounded by lovestruck men...and women. Nice touch. Date catches up to him, and they race up the stairs. Yumi turns around, more beautiful, and the egg glows. Date's surprised, but Eiji's hit by the love spell immediately and tumbles down the stairs and into a fountain. Despite the cold shower, Date can't get through to him—he's completely enthralled...


Memory, Love, Sea Combo (Kobayashi/Morota): Date's in disbelief over what his friend has become, and she asks why he's the only unaffected person there and if he thinks she's pretty. Still thinking with the head on his shoulders, he tries to go after the egg, but more rays fly out. He shoots them, and Ankh has to protect the completely lovestruck Eiji. Even after she leaves, the spell doesn't break—Eiji says his chest feels tight, even without a combo and his heart his pounding, so he wonders if this is the Love Combo. Ankh just calls him an idiot, more surprised than ever. To be fair, Ankh, Eiji has already admitted he's clueless about love, so this whole Love Combo thing shouldn't be that much of a surprise. When Date notices Eiji's in love and mimics his pose, Ankh calls him an idiot too. Still, they know this is the Yummy's doing, but Yumi's just as brainwashed and still has the egg with her.

The next day, Eiji is basically as high as a kite, almost like Shu Watanabe accidentally got ridiculously high on his lunch break and they had to construct a plot around it. The Yummy's side effects include high fever, and he burns through compresses, much to Hina's shock. She desperately tries to cool him down, but he babbles about Yumi and asks for love advice. Now, she gets flustered, and here's where I have to address something that neither Eiji nor Yasuko Kobayashi do—Hina has a crush on him. It's never said in-canon, and the only times you ever see it addressed are in the non-canon net movies, but there are very clear implications. The meaningful looks and touches, the way her closeness to him develops, the way she realizes over time that she constantly looks to him—it's there. On the one hand, I'm glad to see that there isn't a focus on her as a love interest, as opposed to some other seasons where the main ladies are basically reduced completely to love-object or a prize to be won. But on the other hand, it's this weird thing going on in the early years of the Neo-Heisei Era, where the heroes have to be celibate: Shotaro's terrible luck with love and Philip's even worse luck when it turns out his crush is actually his sister, Eiji (which I'll get into more in a bit), Gentaro's only love turning out to be space slime that ascends into an energy being... The first one that seems to show genuine interest in another woman (who has a personality, mind you) and doesn't make it feel forced or awkward because they're related or anything, is Shinnosuke in Drive. Now, yes, this has been going on since pretty much the beginning of Kamen Rider; Kamen Rider is a lone hero, who rides where he can't ask others to follow. He's no longer purely human, and he can't make others share in his pain. But seriously, it's weird at times, when there are all these romantic cues that don't get resolved in any way.

But as for Eiji, with the way he misses these cues and genuinely doesn't seem to understand that Hina is in love with him—spell-induced or not, since now he's hugging everything and asking if he should confess his love to Yumi, with Hina aggravated that he's only like this because of the Yummy, which indicates she's wanted to see this kind of interest from him for some time. With the way his romantic fantasies are childlike in their innocence—purely romantic, barely even sensual, absolutely nothing indicating sexual—it going well beyond anything being played safe for a kid's show. Eiji sounds asexual. Not necessarily aromantic, but there's this sense that he just has no desire for anything resembling a sexual relationship, and that even post-series, he still shows no particular desire for it. Romantic, possible. But it's very hard to see him, even in a normal state of mind, genuinely wanting something like that.

Rei studies the notes and crumples them in frustration, demanding that Yumi come in, since she never turned in the document she needs. She wonders if this was intentional, and if so, why, since all Yumi's good at is research. Rei's the one who made the company succeed...but she's desperate to convince herself of that. Yumi brings the egg to an aquarium, and it hatches into a giant ray with some rhino elements. She decides she must make the world see her beauty. The announcement is at that very aquarium, and Rei's pacing since Yumi's still nowhere to be found. She asks her assistant to delay the announcement, but he suggests she have another researcher fill in. She refuses, and Yumi appears, revealing the reason behind Rei's fear—letting Yumi or another researcher get the credit they deserve would reveal how little Rei can actually do or knows. The Yummy attacks Rei so Yumi can rise in her place.

Back at the Foundation, Kougami and Satonaka report on Date's progress. While Kougami's pleased with his work for the month, he's in the red, short 523 Medals—far from his 100 million. Date insists, though, that if he doesn't aim big, he won't score big—a philosophy that Kougami is thrilled with, unsurprisingly. More surprisingly is that Satonaka admires it too. Maki warns him not to get in any more fights with the Greeed, since the Birth system isn't powerful enough. But Date says it's okay and asks him to hurry on the repairs while he watches TV and eats oranges at his kotatsu. The Beauty Marine Lab announcement comes on, and Yumi's announced as the new president, with everyone at the conference in love with her again. He immediately asks Maki for the belt, and since Maki's finished the repairs already, Date's ready to go. But Maki sees the coupon from Cous Coussier left beneath an orange peel, and he drops his doll in shock at the sight of Chiyoko and screams.

Eiji's condition only seems to have gotten worse at Cous Coussier, since he's escaped bed and gone downstairs, swinging around a support beam and smacking Ankh in the head while asking Chiyoko advice for dating older women. Hina finally catches up to the crazy lovestruck fool and reminds Chiyoko he's feverish and shouldn't be taken seriously, so Chiyoko comforts him and reminds him how all the old ladies at the restaurant love him. But he only gets mad and insists that Yumi's not old. He turns his attention to Goto, since he's popular with women, and asks what kind of gift he should buy. Goto loses his patience and grabs a giant paper fan from nowhere and hits him in the head. Repeatedly. Chiyoko holds him off while Ankh, fed up with getting smacked, grabs a bucket of water while Hina tries to stop him. Date walks right into this circus and has to yell to get their attention, letting Goto know he needs him for sidekick stuff. Goto snaps out of it and drops the fan with an apology to Chiyoko before running off. Ankh realizes this means Date found the Yummy, and a giggling Eiji misses everything and asks him if Greeed can fall in love. This time, Ankh not only splashes him—he puts the whole damn bucket on Eiji's head.

Rei, tied up in the aquarium, apologizes to Yumi for everything. Yumi admits that she liked being in her shadow, but now she suddenly wants to be pretty like her, then couldn't stop. She likes how people are paying attention to her and doing what she asks. Date arrives to try to talk some sense into her. She realizes the Yummy's power still has no effect on him, and he says it's because he liked her for herself. He unties Rei and reminisces on their work together in the Sahel. Hard as it was, they had fun, since focusing on something made everything else disappear. And in those moments of complete focus, she was beautiful. Right now, she's drunk on desire, but this truth sobers her up. But the Yummy attacks, and Date has to wrestle with it while the sisters run. It throws him from a staircase, but Goto shoots it. Date's able to henshin, putting Goto in charge of protecting the Sakura sisters.

Meanwhile, Ankh and Hina have had it and drag Eiji toward the battle, and it's great to see them finally agreeing on something and cooperating, since Hina's just as fed up with all of his lovesick bullshit as Ankh is. Eiji gets out of their grip and holds up a flower, deciding to propose to Yumi, and they agree that despite his protests to the contrary, everything is wrong with him. Kazari appears, but Eiji's in no shape to fight him, playing "she loves me, she loves me not" with his flower. Aggravated, they both punch him, sending him flying. He mumbles something about Yumi joining him and his underwear before losing consciousness, and Hina realizes she put way too much force into it. She runs to him, Ankh telling a very confused Kazari to wait for them. Ankh finally decides to try making Eiji henshin, on the off-chance that OOO's power might counteract the Yummy's power. They pick him up and make him transform, in a cute shot of them caught up in his henshin. He wakes up, back to normal, with Kazari shrugging at the fourth wall. Ankh kicks Eiji into battle, and Kazari proceeds to punch Eiji in the face right away.

The two battles begin to converge, as the aquarium begins to collapse from the damage. Date starts reducing the Yummy to Medals with his upgraded Drill Arm, defeating the rhino half, but the ray escapes and goes on a rampage. It interrupts Eiji's battle and dives into the water. Kazari blasts Eiji with water, determined to get his last Medal. As everything starts to collapse around them, Date, Goto, and Rei are fine, but Yumi's got a jagged piece of metal penetrating her side and a broken leg, so they can't risk moving her yet. Goto tries to remove the shard, but Date warns him not to, since there's a good chance it'll increase the bleeding. He then strips off his shirt to splint her leg and tells Goto to get ice and towels. He uses the ice to restrict the bleeding of the puncture wound, then uses a metal bar as a splint. Goto notices his skills can't be amateur, and he admits that he's a doctor, who used to work with a group much like Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, providing medical care around the world. Yumi remembers his reputation as the "Fighting Doctor" and thought he was amazing, but he admits he was blown away by how she applied marine biology to semi-arid, inland Africa. The camera finally pulls back and...it took me a while to get through this scene the first time, honestly. Because I had to keep going back and forth to look through the subs because a certain someone had some distracting abs. Stupid sexy Date. Rei admits her jealousy of Yumi, who was kind, smart, and had dreams. And this exchange is why I'm not as annoyed with this plot as I ordinarily would be (beyond the presence of high!Eiji): It's not so much the desire for beauty or love. It's a crutch, a mask, the thing that Rei has made Yumi focus on to hide her own fears. Rei doesn't feel like she's as good as Yumi. She's afraid that the only thing people like her for is her looks. Never mind the fact that she's business savvy and definitely seems to have created a great model for their company, no. She's a pretty face. And she's scared that that's all she is. Meanwhile, Yumi is a brilliant scientist who's developed all of their most successful products. Rei is jealous of her. So the one thing she fears is the one thing she can use as a weapon—her beauty. She tells Yumi that she's not pretty, that if she comes out of the lab, she's only going to ruin everything, and that Rei's doing this for her own good, so Yumi can do all the research she wants without having to worry about any other attachments. She puts them into neat little boxes in private while trying to take Yumi's box for herself and pass herself off as brilliant so no one sees her as only pretty. Both sisters want what the other has, since they're afraid they're not good enough as they are. That is what makes this work. This was Rei's desire that started everything, and she apologizes.

With Kazari defeating Eiji, Ankh becomes more desperate for Mezool's combo. He detaches and tells Eiji to use Taka's eyes to find the right Medal within Kazari, even as the Yummy continues to attack the aquarium. Ankh draws its fire while Eiji and Kazari fight, luring it to hit Kazari. Eiji ducks an attack and plunges his claws into Kazari, finding the correct Medal—Shachi/orca, allowing him to transform into ShaUTa, which doesn't have an image song. Okay, technically, it does, but "Shout Out" never plays during the series, though it appears on the soundtrack. It'll be a while before I get to it, since it first premieres in-series in Movie Wars Megamax, but honestly, the song isn't a good fight song. Anyway, ShaUTa has the power to turn into liquid, and he's a fast swimmer, propelled by his own flow. The suction cups on his legs are part of his tentacles, which separate from his legs and provide multiple kicks at farther range. He uses them to rip the grabbing arms from the Yummy, then rides it to the surface, anchoring himself with the Unagi whips. As his finisher, he leaps into the air, tethering the Yummy and shocking it with the Unagi whips while pulling it toward him. The tentacles spiral around his legs like a drill as he makes his Rider Kick.

The ambulance takes Yumi away for further treatment. She tries to explain to Date why she suddenly wanted to become prettier, but he tells her to stop, since she wasn't in her right mind, and Rei accompanies her to the hospital. Goto points out that Yumi was very obviously in love with him, but Date doesn't have time for romance and has to earn his money.

As it turns out, Eiji has no memory of what happened, and Hina teases him mercilessly about it and how now she knows what his "type" of woman is. Worried about these jokes, he asks just what he did, and she says that he'd asked her for love advice. He proceeds to freak and chases after her, but she keeps teasing him and refuses to tell.

Medal tracking

Date: 2017-03-30 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] anothersignalman
Noticed near the end of Episode 22, when Birth drills through Uva and Ankh grabs the medals - in the shots without Ankh it's a Batta and Tako (three-stripe blue, horizontal), but in the actual grabbing shot it's a Kuwagata and Sachi (single-stripe blue, vertical).

Suppose the writers changed their minds because Ankh would only want to lend the Condor legs occasionally?

Re: Medal tracking

Date: 2017-03-31 01:01 am (UTC)
powertotearer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] powertotearer
I didn't even notice that! Good eyes!

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