Just my opinion here, but I like villains that die without repenting their actions for a single second*. Particularly when repenting wouldn’t really be in character for them. The Sakurazuka Seishirous, the Sengoku Ryoumas, it’s not in their nature to be…
I’m gonna jump in here and add in some of my thoughts on this: In regards to the flashback scene, I read it as Ryouma was placing a lot of hope and faith in Takatora, because we know that he’s a strong, capable, and intellegent person. The sort of person who draws people to him and wants to get things done. Thing is though, Takatora didn’t really have an “ambition” so much as a “duty”, and that was what I think cause Ryouma’s feelings of admiration into hate. Because he didn’t want to be more then what he was, all he was concerned about was saving as many people as possible by using the research and technology Ryouma built, and he had asked many times before the betrayal if he could speed up the mass production process. And I think that the flaw in Takatora is that he was seeing people as numbers and tools, not maliciously like Michi, but in a way that cuts him off from people and doesn’t allow him to show gratitude for their work, because it’s what he expects them to do (Remember when Sid was talking to Takatora and Takatora said “it doesn’t matter what Ryouma thinks” when discussing the drivers). And he was so much a man who lived for his duty (like a samurai) that he was unable to see the problems unfolding right under his nose (the distance between him and Ryouma that would lead to a mass betrayal ,the stuff with Michi that lead to them being on opposing sides in their last battle). And don’t get me wrong, Takatora still is my favorite character in Gaim and probably one of my top 5 riders period, but he is a very flawed man who, I think, if he was able to see past his duty and ask himself “what does he want? is this the most you can do? the most you can get out of life?”, and maybe said different words to Ryouma during that conversation, Ryouma wouldn’t have turned into the man we knew him as and died as. He choose not to take power when so many people expected/wanted him to, and put faceless people above the ones closest to him, and that was what ultimately was his sin.
(P.S. I did however want Ryouma to at least have some sort of flashback or recognition of Takatora before he died, to show that despite how they ended up on different paths, they were once friends and he had faith in him, and considering the rather sad end note we see Roshou and his queen end on, well, I feel like there could have been more there. But hey, can’t have everything I guess.)
Takatora’s one of my all-time favorites too, I’m a sucker for tragic heroes like him <3
Now, personally I don’t know that he puts faceless masses above those close to him. He certainly was all about protecting his little brother, afterall. I would say his flaw was his inability to underdstand that not everyone close to him had the same noble goals that he did.
But that’s nitpicking, I absolutely agree that for Ryouma this was about ambition, for Takatora it was about duty.
As to a reference to Takatora… I choose to believe that he was so vicious about breaking Micchi because he was resentful/jealous/whatever that it was Micchi and not himself that was Takatora’s demise. It’s my headcanon and no one can take it away!