Our first scene is the actual intro to the series. I have to say, I dig it. The music and editing reminds me very much of early Heisei Riders, specifically Kamen Rider Ryuki's. We can only hope that it lives up to the tone the intro sets up.
Now the first thing that I want to bring up is a character I neglected to mention last episode due to saving space in the review and only needing to cover plot important elements. This character is Kuroto Dan, who showed up last episode as the CEO of Genm Corp, the parent company behind Mighty Action X and supposedly every other game featured in this series, and also revealed in the first scene as the creator of the Gamer Driver being thanked by the Ministry of Health for said Driver, all while discussing that the Ministry is hiding all information regarding Ex-Aid's debut incident. Why? Who knows? All I know is that if this is anything like RWBY, keeping the public in the dark NEVER goes well.
Back at CR Headquarters, Director Kagami is told that Emu will be joining CR and is welcomed with no problem, the latter even getting a nifty stethoscope/communicator in the process. But, happy times are soon out the window with the introduction of the genius surgeon, Hiiro Kagami, the director's son. Kagami walks in like a tool/boss (depending on your viewpoint) saying that CR doesn't need two doctors, even going as low as to insult Emu's status as an intern.
We cut over at night to our villains again in the process of spreading the Bugster Virus where the human, named "Parad" decides to get involved with future events.
The next day we're given an odd treat of nurses being flailing over themselves over Hiiro performing a surgery as Asuna gives the low-down of his history: that being a genius surgeon recently pulled from America to use a Gamer Driver and help CR; in fact, he was the original candidate before Emu took the one Asuna possessed. Emu, realizing the situation, laments that he isn't really necessary. But no time for realizing your uselessness, THERE'S A NEW BUGSTER STARTIN' TROUBLE.
Asuna and Emu head over to couple Rensuke and Asami, where the former is lying on the ground in pain. But, before Emu can even examine him, here comes Mr. Pompous Hiiro himself to take over with his posse. After a quick scan, he puts on his Driver. Or rather, his nurses do it for him because doctors don't grab the tools themselves. I get this is establishing his snobbishness, but I can't imagine there's a lot of dignity being a nurse trained to save lives and ease pain, only to end up being this dickhead's back-up dancers and putting on this gaudy lookin' 90s lunchbox because he can't be bothered to. On the plus side, we get the best genre to show up in a video game themed Rider show: the RPG. Represented here today by: Taddle Quest!
|"I CANNOT believe I spent four years in school to save lives only to be this guy's damn dresser. Sonuva bitch..."|
The Bugster takes over and we get an octopus-lookin' crawler just as Hiiro begins to transform.
In retrospect, I do approve of the Level 1 form. While it's utterly silly, it kinda reminds me of old 2D sprites from games of old. And when Leveling Up, they transform into a more modern day game form.In fact, referencing Mega Man once again, it's like if you took original Mega Man and compared him to Mega Man X.
In fact, we learn that the Level 1 form is actually CRITICAL and NECESSARY to fighting Bugsters. Because when Emu transforms and goes straight to Level 2, Asuna just flips his driver over to downgrade him back to Level 1. While his reasoning applies to games, this is an operation.
So, logically, we can assume that Level 1 separates the Bugster from the patient, while Level 2 outright destroys the Bugster. Meaning you take a Bugster out in Level 2 while it's still an orange blob? Congrats, you just killed a patient. I LOVE that they give an actual reason for the chibi form. Granted its probably just to sell more toys, but at least they try and justify it instead of trying to BS it.
Regardless, Emu and Hiiro fight the Bugster both at once, though we had to hammer this message in again in case you missed it the first time.
Emu gets knocked away by surprise while Hiiro delivers the final blow to the first form. And now, we're introduced to our RPG antagonist: the wizard Aranbura Bugster.
But, before either of our heroes can take down the wizard...
|NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHING|
Emu decides to examine Rensuke and learns that he and Asami were meant to be married until Asami got cold feet, and got stressed. Emu deduces that because stress weakens the immune system, when the infected become stressed, they're immune system weakens enough for the Bugster to activate. He goes to walk with Asami, who explains that she cancelled the wedding because she didn't think she wasn't good enough for Rensuke. She reveals she still wants to marry him just as the Aranbura Bugster shows up again and kidnaps her, intend on marrying her after Rensuke disappears.
Emu transforms and prepares to fight, but with Asami hostage, he's not allowed to go to Level 2 and promptly gets his ass handed to him. Luckily, he's soon rescued by the prompt arrival of our shining knight, Hiiro. Emu warns him of going Level 2, but he just goes for it anyway.
|God I was hoping his quirk would be germs...oh well.|
|I see what you did...and I grant a thumbs up|
Afterword, Emu informs Poppy that Rensuke and Asami made up and are going to get married. When Director Kagami walks in and announces he'll put Emu back in pediatrics only, Emu decides to stay in both that and CR so that he can still help the patients instead of leaving them to Hiiro. Director Kagami reveals that the patients thanked them with an apple pie. As Poppy prepares to cut it, Hiiro uncharacteristically decides to show..."enthusiasm" for wanting to cut the pie, making it seem like it's a surgery on its own.
|So...that's your schitck? Sweets? Man, this really IS heading towards the same direction as OOO...|
Over at Genm Corp, Dan is speaking with previously seen Kamen Rider Snipe, "Hanaya-sensei", offering him a Gamer Driver and a Gashat with the promise to either help patients as a doctor, or...you can figure it out.
Overall, this episode was strong. We got some rule establishment on how to fight Bugsters primarily as far as long game plot goes (or until it pulls a Ghost and changes things for no good reason). We have our second Rider introduced as well as showing that our hero isn't an all challenge-beating Jesus who's always on top of things, as well as establishing that these guys ARE NOT friends...yet.
Compared to the first episode, this one lacks a bit of the heart that Emu had with Souta in the previous. While it did have some more emotional backing in Emu's defense of the patient and valuing Rensuke a helluva lot more than Hiiro did, it just wasn't as effective as him and Souta. Bonus: the odd jump cuts in the editing have stopped (for now). It only jumped ONCE as Director Kagami repeated "pie" three times in a second, its forgettable.
But, as a whole, I have to say that Ex-Aid is still looking good so far. Let's just hope it can keep the pace going.