Recap: Kamen Rider Zero-One, Episode 1 – I Am the President and a Kamen Rider
Hiden Intelligence has developed humanoid AI robots called HumaGear that are being deployed across Japan to help in everyday life. But its founder Hiden Korenosuke has just died.
Elsewhere in the city, Hiden Aruto is frantically pedaling to Giggling Dreamland to avoid being late for work as a comedic entertainer. But he is fired by park’s owner saying a HumaGear can make people laugh much better than he can.
They watch as a HumaGear performer, Abdominal Blaster Taro, gets up on stage next and the crowd roars with laughter.
Aruto says it is his dream to make people laugh, but the park owner says maybe it is time to find a new one.
Over at Hiden HQ, Vice President Fukuzoe Jun returns from the funeral and is looking forward to finally take over as head of the company. He already has his portrait installed in the lobby.
Meanwhile in Daybreak Town, a pair of hackers, Horobi and Jin, from the terrorist organization MetsubouJinrai.NET prepare to commence Operation Magear. The plan is to fuse HumaGear with Singularity, a sentient AI who will surpass humans, to then eliminate humanity for good.
Back at the park, a disappointed Aruto about to head home is met by Izu, a HumaGear who serves as secretary to the President. She asks him to come with her.
Inside, Jin approaches Taro and attaches a ZetsumeRiser to his waist, hacking into his programming to change his mission from making people laugh to destroying humanity. Once the hacking is complete, Jin hands Taro a Zetsumerise Key to use as well.
At the Hiden board meeting, VP Jun welcomes everyone to the reading of the late Presidents will. And that includes Aruto who turns out to be the last president’s grandson.
The board doesn’t seem happy to have Aruto here and Aruto himself doesn’t really want to be here either. But Izu says because of the President’s will, there is no reason he shouldn’t be here.
Aruto opens the will and is shocked by what he reads. VP Jun grabs the will and reads it aloud.
The late President warns that Hiden will face a future crisis when a large number of the deployed Humagear will be manipulated and used by an evil group to eliminate humanity.
Izu comes in with the just manufactured Zero-One Drive and Progrise Key which will be used only by the company’s President to keep the HumaGear in control. And that new president will be… Hiden Aruto.
VP Jun and the entire board are absolutely enraged that the late President would leave the company in the hands of some 22 year old.
Aruto asks everyone to calm down and says he cannot be president because his dream is to make people laugh.
Aruto takes his bag and leaves.
On the way down in the elevator, Aruto remembers when he was a kid trying to make his father laugh.
But suddenly, a huge explosion levels the Hiden campus and gravely injures his father, revealing HumaGear technology inside his body. Aruto’s father tells him to keep jumping towards his dream.
In the lobby, Aruto looks up at his grandfather’s portrait and says he is sorry before leaving.
Aruto returns to the park where everyone is enjoying the comedy shows. But suddenly, Taro hurls a fellow HumaGear entertainer off the stage and declares his mission to eliminate humanity.
Taro inserts the Key into the Zetsumeriser to transform into a Magia.
Two HumaGear park attendants try to get Taro under control, but he turns them into Magia as well. They begin rampaging in the park as the people begin to run.
The park owner is frozen in shock seeing his park, which is supposed to bring happiness, being destroyed. Aruto runs toward Taro, but just gets swatted away.
Outside the park, A.I.M.S forces arrive to combat the Magia and rogue HumaGears. They are led by Captain Fuwa Isamu and tech manager Yaiba Yua.
Aruto sees the park owner and remember his words from earlier. He charges at Taro who is about to attack the owner, but again just gets swatted back.
Izu arrives with the Zero-One driver just as Taro laughs at the park owner and his dreams. That enrages Aruto.
Aruto says one cannot understand dreams just by looking it up online.
Aruto asks Izu if the Driver can help him take care of the Magia. Izu confirms and he tells her to hand it over.
Izu tells Aruto to equip the Driver around his waist. He is suddenly connected to Hiden’s communications satellite ZEA which Izu says is now wirelessly linked to his brain. This essentially makes him equal to an AI HumaGear.
While here, Izu asks Aruto to quickly go through the user manual.
Outisde, the A.I.M.S forces are having some trouble with the rogue HumaGears. Captain Fuwa runs back to the van and breaks a glass box to grab a weapon. Yua tells him he does not have her permission to use it. But he quickly turns and shoots behind her when a Magia is about to attack.
Captain Fuwa runs out.
Meanwhile, Aruto has completed his tutorial and prepares to henshin.
And inserting the ProgriseKey, Aruto is able to henshin to Kamen Rider Zero-One.
Aruto takes on Taro and discovers all the power he now possesses. Izu tosses Aruto an attaché that can turn into a blade weapon.
The park owner watches as Aruto takes care of the basic Magia before turning his attention back to Taro.
Also watching the scene is Jin who is enjoying the show. Without missing a beat, he grabs a rogue Magia and shoots it in the head.
After delivering a Rising Impact finisher, Taro is taken care of for good.
Jin takes the damaged Zetsumeriser back to Horobi and tells him about Zero-One. Horobi says it’s alright and humanity’s extinction still draws near.
Back at the park, Izu informs Aruto that him accepting the Driver means he has agreed to become president of Hiden. Aruto says that wasn’t his intention. But he sees the park owner speaking to a little boy, assuring him that the park will remain open thanks to a mysterious yellow hero.
The park owner sees Aruto and winks at him and smiles.
Aruto realizes accepting the position can also bring smiles and laughs to the people. He decides to get into the limo Izu after all. She hands him the president’s Rise Phone for him to look over. He makes a joke, but it falls flat for Izu.
Always interesting to judge a first episode of any toku series. Zero-One was no different. Lots of initial laying of the groundwork, as usual. But overall, it was fun and fresh, even if a bit familiar despite having the distinction of ushering in the new Era.
I liked the wacky start to the episode and then the swift transition to the emotional flashback of Aruto and his father and then the rest of the more dramatic, action-packed episode.
The craziest moment during the episode though had to be Jin’s uninterrupted laughter as he shot the rogue Magia in the head. ‘Twas crazy!
In fact, Jin reminded me very much of Parado. And that in turn made me think how this episode had some Ex-Aid vibes to it too. Partly because Aruto/Fumiya Takahashi does look like Emu/Hiroki Iijima, yes. But also similar characters as well. At least at first. This kind of goofy, clumsy guy that’s very likeable and can easily kick some ass later if needed.
The episode was a special effects extravaganza, that’s for sure. It was very loud, visually and maybe wanting to start off the Reiwa Era of Kamen Rider with a big bang.
But I was definitely more interested in the characters and the story itself.
There was a lot going on with all the characters they introduced. I think they got all the main characters into the premiere.
I might be most interested in the family dynamics of Aruto and his grandfather. And father as well. So, Aruto didn’t attend his grandfather’s funeral? Why? Was Aruto sent away after whatever attack that was that seemed to kill his father?
And what is his father anyway? Half-human, half-HumaGear? And how did Grandpa President know the HumaGear would be vulnerable to evil manipulation? Was he involved in making it so? And does it have something to do with that Daybreak Town?
I would love to see more about the family drama aspect. Perhaps not as a main focus, but it would be interesting even if it’s certainly not a unique plot point.
With MetsubouJinrai.NET’s goal to end humankind, I hope their reasoning is well defined. Maybe it’s revenge or something like that. But apparently there’s also an angle involving the A.I.M.S forces and them being anti-HumaGear or something like that.
So a lot of pieces laid out on the table after this first episode. But certainly a couple more episode to get a real feel for the season coming up.