We begin by witnessing two different Kamen Rider factions going to war when a flower accidentally flies off the head of a mysterious woman in a white dress and with a red eye.
Fast forward to the present day where we meet Kazuraba Kota.
In the middle of delivering curry for the Indian restaurant, he helps cheer up a boy who’s been separated from his mom. After the mother and son are reunited, he hops back onto his delivery bike and drives through the planned city of Zawame.
DJ Sagara, the host of a radio show called the Beat Riders Hotline, broadcasts while a dance crew named Team Gaim are performing at the park in front of Yggdrasill Tower. We find out it is the Yggdrasill Corp. who seems to have built and now owns and controls pretty much everything in Zawame.
Suddenly, a rival dance crew, Team Baron, interrupts their performance and tells Team Gaim to leave the stage. Mai and Mitsuzane of Team Gaim speak up, but Team Baron’s Zack proposes they duel using Lockseeds.
Mai is ready to go, but Mitsuzane says they should call Yuya-san. Mai says she can handle this and she takes out her Lockseed as well.
Lockseeds summon the Inves, strange little monsters that are part of the newly popular Inves game, from another dimension. Players use their Lockseeds to control their Inves in a fight.
But a Team Baron member uses a slingshot to knock the Lockseed out of Mai’s hand, causing her Inves to lose and Zack’s Inves to escape from the ring and start terrorizing the spectators.
Before the Inves can jump onto Mai, Kota arrives and sends the Inves back to where it came from.
Team Baron claims victory.
Kota tries to catch up to Mai who is upset. It seems Mai holds a little grudge against Kota for leaving the group and she tells Kota not to butt in to their childish business since he’s an “adult” now, after all. She walks away, but up walks Yuya, Team Gaim’s leader.
Mai apologizes for breaking the Lockseed he gave her and she hurries away.
At headquarters, Team Baron is excited as DJ Sagara reports their team has widened their lead. (In the Inves game?) The whole city is engrossed. But Team Baron leader Kaito says that’s nothing to get excited about since, naturally, the strong only gets stronger.
Across town, Team Gaim are sulking about their loss. Mitsuzane, or Mitch, wishes Kota was still with them, which riles Mai up. The other crew members, however, also wish Kota hadn’t left.
Kota and Yuya are at Drupers, a fruit place. They watch DJ Sagara who urges fans to send in videos of any Inves battles they may come across in the city.
Yuya tells Kota the streets have changed a lot since he left the team with all the Lockseeds. Kota glances over to a corner where Sid, a lock dealer, is closing a Lockseed sale.
Drupers owner Kiyojiro Bando says the Inves game seems to be a harmless way to settle scores. But Kota says they’re pretty dangerous considering they don’t even know what they are or where they come from.
A commercial by Yggdrasill Corporation and its contributions to the Project City of Zawame comes on the TV as Kota heads home.
Kota’s sister, Akira, tries cheering him up. Kota says by filling his time with work, being an adult, he’s also given up on everything else that’s important to him. He wishes to henshin, transform into someone stronger, someone who can do anything.
Don’t rush, Akira says, just let it happen naturally.
As Kota gets to his various odd jobs, he thinks about how his sister has taken care of him since their parents died. He doesn’t want to be a burden on her anymore, so he needs to become an adult as soon as possible. But there are still things he misses.
Meanwhile, Yuya meets with Sid who offers him something that could help Team Gaim.
Yuya sends Kota a picture of the thing Sid says will help and asks to meet him.
Kota goes to the location where Mai also waits. They spot an opening that looks similar to the openings the Inves pop out of and they walk in.
They walk through a strange, colorful forest when suddenly they see human-sized Inves eating the purple fruits growing on all the trees. Kota pulls two of them from a nearby tree and feels compelled to eat them.
But before he can take a bite of the forbidden fruit, the Inves turn their attention to them, so Kota and Mai run.
They seem to have lost the Inves when they notice a small thing on the ground, the same thing Yuya sent them a picture of.
Kota thinks it looks like a belt buckle and when he puts it on his waist, it straps itself onto him. The two fruits he pulled off the tree suddenly turn into Lockseeds.
They run out of the forest and back into reality as the Inves follow.
Kota notices the belt has a slot similar to the shape of the Lockseeds.
The Inves start rampaging, so Kota tells Mai to get to safety while he tries to distract the Inves.
The Inves chases Kota then hurls him around the shipyard. He then takes the Lockseed and unlocks it.
He places it on the belt, lowers the knife and a large orange engulfs his head.
Kota then henshins into a Kamen Rider. The Inves attacks, but he is able to absorb the blow. Maybe I’ll be okay, he says, and he gains a little more confidence to try and fight off the monster.
Kota learns about all his new weapons and tricks as he goes.
Suddenly, the white dressed woman with the red eye appears. And she looks very familiar. She looks like Mai!
“Exercise caution, for fate is trying to choose you. If you proceed, there is no going back. Till the very end, you shall fight.”
“If it’s to protect you, I…”
The woman takes the Lockseed off of the belt and places it in Kota’s hands. She points to where to place it on the sword and it enables Kota to unleash the Orange Charge to finish off the Inves.
Kota dehenshins and Mai comes running up.
She doesn’t seem to have seen any of what just happened.
Kota takes the Lockseed from the belt.
“This is my transformation.”
Very interesting! That was a very solid premiere.
It actually felt like I was watching some Korean or Japanese idol drama or something.
Which isn’t a bad thing since I’m a sucker for Korean idol dramas. The whole concept of good looking teens in rival dance groups reminded me a lot of that.
Of course Fourze was all about high school life, but the characters here feel more grounded and natural instead of the archetypal characters of Fourze (which were fun and awesome, I feel I should point out).
There seems to be a lot of potential for story here outside of the central conflict and I hope they can really touch on a lot of them. Going back to Korean drama, I feel like Gaim‘s basic setup is what the new Lee Min Ho-Park Shin Hye drama Heirs. Yes? I don’t know. That’s a very nonsensical comparison. (lol)
Anyway, Gaim‘s first episode was interesting and slick. Definitely a different vibe from the previous three seasons I’ve seen. The cast seems pretty good. I’m definitely looking forward to a new adventure.