Fair warning: this is where I start blogging opinions instead of blindly tlnoting.
I’m going to broach this subject in a roundabout way by starting with this.
It’s a liberty, though of the sort O-T is happy to take – really, of the sort I wish everyone took. Let me explain: if we were doing this boringly, it would say, “Meetings… welp, time for donuts.” To remind you, the line ties into Haruto’s musing about meeting someone special, the subsequent demise of the donuts, and Haruto’s quip to the Phantom about their “meeting” (or “encounter”), so we rewrote it further to connect all the themes together in a very basic example of script flow.
That’s not the moral. The point is, the change also makes Haruto a little more sad and a little more of a donut freak, but you know what?
He needs it.
I liked the Haruto that seemed to be in the first episode, the one that was cocky and didn’t have time for anyone’s shit (certainly not Rinko’s). At least, I prefer him to the Haruto that has emerged since then, who has been simply heroic. He wanders around being Kamen Rider and saying heroic lines at people. He’s become an Eiji Hino-style moving placeholder for the rubber-suited hero. At this point, any little joke or pun or bit of color I can add or get added is something I want to do, because one of my fansubbing beliefs is that we should be having fun if we want you, the leecher, to have fun.
It’s not just Haruto, either. His sidekicks, Rinko and Shunpei, have settled into their roles of perky sidekick and unbearable comic relief and don’t really do anything outside them. Meanwhile, the NSA hasn’t been back to provide any conflict, Koyomi was missing this episode but joined the friendship circlejerk last arc anyway, and the Gate… well, she’s certainly not up to anything, say, out of W, and neither was Takagi, for that matter.
But appropriately, there’s a ray of hope.
Check this out. Rinko accuses Haruto of not really caring about how she’s feeling most of the time. So my hope is, basically, that Haruto’s arc is going to be that he’s too dedicated to heroism (or at least Phantom-hunting). I want him to get too caught up in this war and accidentally hurt one of his partners or ignore something else important or get played by a clever enemy, because he becomes, just for a moment, short-sighted and too into his mission.
I’m not sure if that’s going to happen, but if it’s going to, I wish it would be soon. The antagonists doing something interesting would also be acceptable. We’ll see.
Was the identity of the Gate supposed to be a mystery? Because Haruto has thrice suggested a very mild red herring (the workers at the site for Rinko, the children for Shunpei, and now Yamagata for Manami) and then felt the need to point out when the answer was revealed, and none of them were particularly well hidden to begin with.
And speaking of Manami, one more bit of trivia: her name is written 愛美, combining the symbols for love and beauty. That’s it, nothing else to see here. (Takagi’s given name, Eisaku, was “glory” and “work”.)