Welcome to Tokusatsu Gesundheit, where we’re doing another check-in the currently ongoing Kamen Rider Build. We’ll be talking about events up through episode 20, since this post goes to press before I can watch 21, and will contain spoilers for what’s happened up to now.
See my rundown of the first six episodes to get the basic plot outline. In the intervening episodes, our heroes have solved their respective mysteries, discovered the secret identities of the leaders of FAUST, and inadvertently sparked a war between two of the three nations that were once a unified Japan.
Kamen Rider Build airs at 9 AM on Sundays in Japan as part of the Superhero Time block with Super Sentai.
- The Riders’ mentor, ex-Astronaut and bumbling coffee shop proprietor Soichi Isurugi, was revealed as the alter ego of their arch nemesis Blood Stalk. He wiped the memories of genius physicist/FAUST founder Takumi Katsuragi, murdered loser rockstar wannabe Taro Satou, used his powers to swap their face, framed Ryuga Banjou for the murder of “Katsuragi”, began mentoring Sento Kiryu (who was effectively Katsuragi’s intellect with Satou’s body), and used him to perfect the Build Driver and Full Bottle system. Suffice to say, he’s no longer the heroes’ mentor.
- Ryuga Banjou finally got his own Build Driver in episode 11, becoming Kamen Rider Cross-Z (pronounced “crosz” so far as I can tell). As of episode 17, he gained the more powerful Sclash Driver and became Cross-Z Charge, which might be a new record for shortest time between regular mode and super mode first appearances. The Sclash Driver uses a gel form of the “liquid” in the Full Bottles, because this mythology only holds together well if you don’t examine it overmuch.
- Banjou (that’s never not distracting) isn’t the only one with the Sclash Driver: Kazumi Sawatari leads the forces invading the main Riders’ homeland as the oil-themed Kamen Rider Grease. Since this belt is dangerously unstable, I doubt it ends well for either one of them.
- Not to be left behind (since he’s, y’know, designing the technology), Sento himself has gained two super-forms: RabbitTank Sparkling (a carbonated – I kid you not – mixture of the Rabbit and Tank bottles that make up the primary Rider form) and the Hazard Trigger (an all-black suit that’s been on screen all of thirty seconds so far).
Kamen Rider is usually much more character oriented than Super Sentai and Build is an excellent example of that. So far, it’s got a well-developed world and a twist filled plot that feels light on filler..but there’s still like thirty episodes left in the season, so it could easily fall apart.
Come Back Next Week as Strange Times & Places Takes A Trip to Wakanda!