Tsukuyomi henshins, but much to the shock of Sougo, Geiz and Woz, she freezes time, dehenshins and bows to her brother. She offers herself up to Schwartz to help him in his trying time. She reasons that as a member of the royal family, she must do anything to protect their world.
Schwartz laughs maniacally.
Later on a rooftop, Tsukuyalpina explains that it was all Tsukasa’s plan. He said their world was disappearing because it did not have a Rider.
Back at the shop, Tsukasa continues to explain that if Tsukuyomi became a Rider, her world would be revived. And that would allow the people of this world to transfer there once it happens. To do that, Tsukuyomi must go to her world while Sougo stays here. If they can link up, that would create a bridge between the two worlds.
Geiz and Woz can’t believe Tsukuyomi would betray them like this.
Schwartz confirms that Tsukuyalpina regards him as the true king. She again bows at his feet and says of course.
Sougo says all they can do now is try to stop the siblings as they go. Tsukasa says the world’s deterioration is accelerating and suggests they say their prayers now.
In the other room, Uncle Junichiro works on the important repair job he has.
Next day, Tokyo continues to be in chaos as Heisei villains wreak death and destruction everywhere. Geiz, Woz and Tsukasa are doing their best to fend off the villains.
Daiki arrives and says he can’t think of a better treasure than being able to fight side-by-side with Tsukasa at the end of the world. Tsukasa tells him to shut up and fight.
Back home, Sougo and Uncle Junichiro are having a quiet breakfast. Sougo thanks him for the meal, but Uncle Junichiro figures Sougo wanted to have this meal as a “last supper”. Uncle Junichiro says that’s not possible since it’s breakfast time.
Sougo smiles and gets up to leave. But Uncle Junichiro has something for him. He shows him a tray of 18 RideWatches he was able to repair last night. He knows they are important to Sougo and the fight and hopes he can be of help in the way he knows he can.
Uncle Junichiro tells Sougo to ask everyone what they want for dinner. Sougo says he will.
Downtown, Tsukuyomi freezes time and tells Woz, Tsukasa and Daiki to stop the pointless battle since the end of the world is unstoppable. Schwartz arrives and sends the three of them flying. But before he can finish them off, Sougo arrives with the help of the Legend Riders.
Schwartz is shocked as he thought Rider history had been wiped out. But Sougo says no matter how much of a clusterfrak the timelines become, Kamen Riders will never be destroyed.
Sougo whips out the Grand Zi-O Watch and henshins to Grand Zi-O.
Sougo and Schwartz battle for the last time. Sougo gets help from the Legend Riders as they bombard Schwartz. But Schwartz says he’s not alone either as he summons five Heisei final big bad bosses.
The Big Bads are able to make quick work of the Legend Riders. They turn their attention to Sougo with finishers and he is forced to dehenshin.
Schwartz laughs and prepares the final finisher aimed to kill Sougo for good.
But Geiz swoops and absorbs the attack, cracking his helmet before he is forced to dehenshin.
Sougo runs over to Geiz and holds him in his arms.
Geiz grabs Sougo’s collar and tells him to become Oma Zi-O and become the greatest, kindest demon king.
Sougo begs Geiz not to die. Geiz says he was so happy he came to this period.
“Sougo… being your comrade… and becoming your friend…”
Geiz takes his last breaths. Sougo screams in agony.
Sougo’s despair suddenly manifests…
The Oma Zi-O Driver.
Sougo screams. The Earth opens up and he henshins to Oma Zi-O.
Woz is shocked. Sougo tells him to Iwae.
Woz proceeds to make the joyful proclamation.
Schwartz laughs and says this is exactly why he drove Sougo to despair. Now he can take Oma Zi-O’s power.
Schwartz begins to absorb the power, but quickly gets propelled back. Sougo laughs at Schwartz thinking he could absorb the power. Since Oma Zi-O’s power is of all Heisei Riders.
The Big Bads and other Heisei villains, mecha and monsters try attacking Sougo. But Oma Sougo literally swats them away.
Sougo says Schwartz underestimated the power of the Riders. But Schwartz is content with the little bit of power he did absorb and is ready to return to his world and rule.
But before Schwartz can escape through the dimensional wall, Tsukuyomi appears, henshined, and drives her blade right through her brother from behind.
Schwartz can’t believe he was fooled by his sister. He turns and forcefully hurls her against a wall, killing her instantly.
Sougo’s anger intensifies and he immediately prepares an End Times Oma Zi-O Finisher to finally end Schwartz.
Before Schwartz dies for good, he and Tsukuyomi meet in the frozen time. She proclaims this is her world now. Schwartz does not care.
Tsukuyomi turns to Sougo and entrusts the two worlds to him. She disappers.
The two worlds combine and all the Heisei villains flying around Tokyo are gone.
Woz proclaims Sougo has saved the world. He gets on his knee to pledge his loyalty to Sougo once again as he begins his reign.
But Sougo says that will not happen as he will destroy this timeline.
The older Oma Zi-O meets with Sougo and says he does have a right to rule since he saved the world. Sougo says he did not. The world was saved by Geiz, Tsukuyomi and the power of all the Riders.
Sougo says there is no point in ruling over a world with no friends. He asks Oma Zi-O if the power is only of destruction. Oma Zi-O says destruction is needed before creation, after all.
Sougo understands and that is why he wishes to recreate the timeline. Oma Zi-O says he will never have the chance to become king then. But Sougo says he does.
“The hands of the clock only move toward the future.”
Oma Zi-O says it was fun meeting his younger self.
Oma Zi-O disappears as Sougo proceeds to reset the timeline.
Tsukasa and Daiki watch as it happens.
Tsukasa says it looks like a new journey is beginning. Daiki looks over at him and smiles.
The world splits back up into 21 different worlds and timelines.
It is now September 2018 and Sougo wakes up to have some breakfast Uncle Junichiro has cooked for him before he goes to school.
On his way, some friends from school greet him and mention how Sougo put “king” on his career form.
Geiz bodyslams Sougo onto the ground, saying he is doing this everyday for Sougo’s sake.
Tsukuyomi says Geiz is too much and she bodyslams him too.
Heure and Ora appear and laugh at their sempai. Heure calls Sougo his osama-sempai since he think Sougo has what it takes to become king someday.
They all hurry off to school to avoid being late.
Woz appears and says normal high schooler Tokiwa Sougo is destined to become king… or not. He’s not sure as this timeline remains unwriten and he will have to watch and document it.
So I must say, I was initially underwhelmed by the finale after first watch. I did come to appreciate things a little more after watching it a second time for the recap. But I still am underwhelmed a bit.
I’m left underwhelmed because the finale felt very predictable, even though I kept myself completely spoiler free this week. I was much more excited last week or even by the last few episodes.
But since Zi-O is a tribute and conclusion to the Heisei Era and its Riders, perhaps this was the most fitting finale after all. Lol For my ~8 years of watching Kamen Rider, this is the type of finale I’ve experienced the most. That is, a sort of underwhelming, okay finale that could’ve gotten a lot more development to help get that maximum impact.
There weren’t any big surprises or twists in this episode. As soon as you saw Tsukuyomi “betray” her friends, you knew what was coming next. I mentioned last week that Uncle Junichiro’s precious package was the thing he would fix to help Sougo in the end. And the Build déjà vu was just that, only this wasn’t a bittersweet ending.
In another comparison to Build, they started this episode talking about the hastening deterioration of the world and that it was only a matter of time before it was all over. But we really didn’t see that until an episode or two ago and only in a very limited scope. Build and also Gaim‘s “end of the world” began episodes earlier, which in turn heightened the desperation and dire situation our heroes were in.
Now that I think about it, this whole timeline reset was a whole arc in the early 40s, wasn’t it? I think they could’ve just chopped off that entire “What if?” arc and instead focused on ramping up the drama for the big finale.
Essentially, Sougo as now Oma Zi-O decided to reset the timeline and rewrite it the way he wanted. That is, restore the different worlds/timelines and him being able to do his senior year of high school over. This time, as a normal high schooler with his new friends Geiz, Tsukuyomi and, inexplicably, Ora and Heure.
I don’t know, but I think I would’ve preferred a bittersweet Build ending. That is, Sougo returning everyone back to normal and where they were a year ago. Geiz and Tsukuyomi back to the future, but this time a non-post-apocalyptic future. Or if not, resurrecting everyone, but no memory wipes and them just going on with their lives from here.
I suppose he wanted to experience a normal life. Relive his final year of high school and enjoy it with the close friends he never had. Woz did tell us every week that Sougo was just a normal high schooler destined to become king.
Now, deaths of secondary Riders and BFFs of our title hero are certainly not new. And they are usually very emotional, to varying degrees. It was exactly that this episode. Geiz’s death was the most emotional of the deaths in this final arc. Definitely more than Tsukuyomi’s rushed death, that’s for sure. And much more than either Heure and Ora’s death. Though Miharu’s death is a close 2nd. (What happened to him then after the time rewrite?!)
For one thing, Sougo and Geiz’s relationship was definitely more developed over the season. Yes, Sougo, Geiz and Tsukuyomi’s bond did get big focus and development as well. (Plus Woz too to complete the foursome.)
But Sougo and Geiz’s bromance was the focus of a few of the season’s main arcs. Perhaps that could partly parallel or pay tribute to the flirtatious relationship of Tsukasa and Daiki in and since Decade. But Sougo and Geiz’s back and forth and eventual bond was the strongest this season. So that scene of them really had the depth and foundation to make it meaningful.
Especially when Geiz finally calls Sougo by his name. I know I always mention how I am annoyed by Riders not calling each other by their actual names and only by their Rider names. But that obviously worked positively here. When Geiz calls Sougo “Zi-O” all season and then finally calls him “Sougo” with his dying breaths after admitting how happy he was to have met him and become his friend…
So that was definitely a highlight in this episode.
For Tsukuyomi, we had a few patches of episodes during the season where she went off on her own. She would go against the very attitude she was encouraging Geiz to have towards Sougo. Things like that. So that bond may be a little less strong, even though it is definitely there as part of the group.
But after already playing around with “shocking” deaths these last few episodes, Tsukuyomi’s fell flat. Especially when you already knew she actually wasn’t a traitor. And by that point in the episode, you knew everything would be reset or go back to normal in a just few minutes.
The idea of Tsukuyomi becoming queen of the new world also came about haphazardly, so that scene of her entrusting the worlds to Sougo didn’t have as much impact as Geiz’s “go on and become Oma Zi-O” scene.
And then there’s Ora and Heure who were completely underdeveloped characters with zero emotional connection to the Gang. Heck, #JusticeforWoz who apparently has to spend the rest of his life, even in this pre-planned timeline, as the royal historian instead of getting to be with his new friends. Didn’t I just talk about ShiroWoz being happy to see KuroWoz making friends, implying that he didn’t have any before?
But now he’s going to be alone again watching everyone else have fun? Yet Ora and Heure, who at the end of day, were pretty irrelevant to the overall arc of the story and not even fun villains, get to play cute high school students in Sougo’s personal Fourze fanfic. Uh… okay. Hmph.
But what worked for me this finale?
Geiz’s death scene worked very well. Maybe the only moment in this episode where I teared up. (I want to cry during my toku finales!)
Sougo’s “last supper” with Uncle Junichiro was also very affecting. (The 2nd best relationship during the season.)
The henshins to Grand Zi-O and then finally Oma Zi-O were very epic and exciting. Grand Zi-O more though with the full jingle playing. That’s the signature moment paying tribute to the Heisei Riders and the end of an era, I think. It was very well done.
But other than Geiz’s death, the best scene had to be that final scene with Tsukasa and Daiki. I’ve been waiting for that scene all season, especially since finally finishing Decade (the series only) in January. And it absolutely delivered.
Overall though, as much as there were some truly wonderful scenes and exciting action, it really was still an underwhelming finale. I was expecting some surprises and a more epic climax. But with it being too predictable and a rehash of Build‘s finale, I feel like this episode wasn’t the best climax to a season I feel was an overall fun year.
First, to kind of recap my thoughts on the Rider seasons I’ve watched these last 8-9 years. Build is definitely my favorite season while OOO and Fourze will always hold special places in my heart for being my first two (simultaneously) seasons of Kamen Rider ever. Increasingly in the last few years, especially as the recent seasons haven’t really lived up to my high expectations, I am very nostalgic about Wizard and look back to it fondly.
Ex-Aid might be next in line even though I feel like they too rushed and underdeveloped the final arc and endgame despite having a solid foundation the rest of the season. Drive and Ghost both dropped the ball. Drive was a little better at pulling things together, even though they too underdeveloped the endgame and inexplicably saved the best story development in Drive‘s post-season movies and V-cinemas. Ghost is just a mess of epic proportions that took a good premise, dumbed it down then had no idea what to do with it for half the season. And then they made it worse after the season ended. (But strangely enough, Ghost had one of the best tribute arcs this season. lol)
Decade, which I technically have not finished since I only watched the TV episodes and not the “real” finale movie, really does feel like what Zi-O was aspiring to be and maybe improve upon. At least, in terms of intent and structure.
First and foremost, Zi-O is a tribute and anniversary season. So with that comes a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. It gives the season much more room to fuddle with the details. An actual good story comes second. So if you’ve got both, then that is a major accomplishment.
I think Zi-O did their main goal very well. And the second priority, they did alright.
We certainly have a lot of questions left. Some even as basic as Who is Woz really and why did he initially betray the Resistance? Or Where did Heure and Ora come from and why were they less relevant to the story than King Hiryu? (Seriously.)
But like I say, if ever the story of a season is lacking, I will be happy if we have good characters and good relationships between the characters. And I think Zi-O did have good characters and relationships.
While the Sougo-Geiz tsundere bromance really took a lot of focus in terms of character development during the season, their trio with Tsukuyomi was done well. Especially in helping to unpack Sougo’s own character as a child who grew up maybe feeling alone, yet still being positive about life. He immediately has two new friends who have their own issues to work out. And they do.
Again, because of the focus on Sougo-Geiz, Geiz definitely had a better season-long development than Tsukuyomi. Tsukuyomi first served as the bridge between Sougo and Geiz, as well as the voice of reason between the two in times of conflict. But then there was that arc where she inexplicably became the doubter and contradicting what she was preaching to Geiz. Then the whole little sister/princess arc at the end which should have been fleshed out more.
An argument could be made that Woz had better character development than Tsukuyomi even. We really see a huge change in his character throughout the season with his conversation with ShiroWoz (before he disappears) being the big turning point.
Even though Ora and Heure had much more screentime than Schwartz, they still felt very absent and inconsequential. Their deaths really meant nothing to me since their characters over the season really ended up merely being real-time reactions to whatever Schwartz was doing. Summoning MOTWs is not enough to make a good villain. And even though they were just poor pawns used by Schwartz, that doesn’t make them interesting characters.
I usually complain how the endgames of Big Bads in toku never really even start manifesting until around Episode 40. That in turn makes it feel like the endgames come out of nowhere and diminish the impact of what should be a big climax after 40-50 episodes.
With Schwartz, despite his minimal presence on screen, there are enough bits of foreshadowing throughout the season to give me the impression of “Yes, it does seem like they had this planned all along.” I can look back at episodes or moments over the season and see the seeds being planted.
Even if it might not be, the fact that the possibility is there to connect to events from the course of the season helps give the endgame here on Zi-O a solid foundation to make sense.
And speaking of making sense. I decided early on to not focus on the details of every little time travel or timeline change or deleted Rider. I accepted that Zi-O would just be a fun ride paying tribute to the last 20 years of Kamen Rider and wrapping up the Heisei Era.
But I do think Zi-O overall had a good story that ended up making sense in the end. Even if the season-long arc wasn’t the strongest aspect of the season, it was still good enough to help compliment the nostalgia, action and good characters.
Having so many characters able to come back throughout the season was great fun. Though some arcs were better than others, they were all able to provide something for fans of the original seasons, fans who have not a single clue about the original seasons and everyone in between.
The biggest of the returnees obviously was Tsukasa. And in turn, Daiki as well.
And it also made sense for them to be the elder statesmen and veterans of the seasons. Obviously, considering their own experiences with different worlds and such. And the fact that their story has continued through the years since Decade.
(Though that does make me wonder where Natsumi and Yusuke are throughout all of this. If it is explained in the Decade movie, don’t tell me. lol)
Tsukasa (and Daiki) actually played major roles in the story and were used pretty well throughout the season. Sometimes, even used to help clear up some of the more confusing elements of the season’s story. lol
But as the comparisons between Decade and Zi-O continued all year, I think both series set out to do different things as “anniversary” seasons. And both did solid jobs. Zi-O paid tribute with actual crossover-type guestings and reaching out to the original seasons’ stories. Decade was a more creative way of revisiting previous seasons while maintaining it as a separate entity. Two different objectives, but both done well in their own right.
I must say too, I am much more satisfied by Zi-O‘s finale than Decade‘s (TV) finale of course. lol
So in conclusion and overall and finally, I enjoyed Kamen Rider Zi-O. Definitely not a perfect season, but a thoroughly fun ride and a great celebration of these last 20 years of Kamen Rider.