Recap: Kamen Rider Zero-One, Episode 17 – I’m the Only President and Kamen Rider
ZAIASPECs are devices humans can wear to give them essentially the same processing power as an AI. Aruto meets with Gai who happy informs him that sales have gone up 724% since the hostile takeover announcement.
But Gai wants sales to increase by 1000% and to accomplish that, he wants to prove ZAIASPECs are a better technology than Humagears. He proposes a challenge for the two technologies to go head to head. And if the Humagears win, then Gai will hand over all his Hiden stocks and retract his takeover bid. Otherwise, Gai will continue his buyout. Aruto agrees to the challenge.
The first face off is decided to be ikebana. Gai approaches Tachibana Rentaro, the head and master of the Tachibana school of ikebana to represent the ZAIASPEC of which he is a user. Rentaro has no problem doing so as he feels ZAIASPECs have given him unprecedented skill in the art of ikebana.
Meanwhile, Aruto and Izu meet with florist Humagear Ichirin Sakuyo who is an expert at both growing and selling flowers. Sakuyo is able to use scientific data to give flowers the best conditions to grow as well as remain aware of her customers’ preferences and the meaning of flowers to present the right match for sales.
Aruto thinks Sakuyo is a very kind Humagear and asks her to represent Hiden in the face off. She is not sure since she is only skilled in growing and selling flowers, but not ikebana. Izu, making a pun, says it’ll be alright with ZEA’s help.
Aruto is surprised his influence is rubbing off on Izu so much.
Suddenly, a Magear begins rampaging nearby and Aruto is shocked to see it does not have a Zetsumerise Key. Aruto proceeds to finish off the Magear with a Buster Bomber.
Gai is happy everything is according to keikaku. He is looking at a photo of him and… Grandpa Hiden, saying that it’s only a matter of time.
Back at Hiden HQ, Izu reports that they were not able to find how the Humagear went out of control.
For now, they must focus on the first face off. Sakuyo learns everything she can about ikebana with ZEA’s help. After the crash course, Sakuyo says the learning compels her to learn more about what makes something beautiful.
They head over to the competition venue where Sakuyo and Rentaro will go head to head for a panel of judges. Yua hosts the competition and it begins when she announces the theme for their arrangement will be New Year’s Sunrise.
As Sakuyo and Rentaro get started, Aruto approaches Yua and comments on her merely getting tossed around by the company. Yua tells Aruto to worry about himself before worrying about others.
Meanwhile over at A.I.M.S., Isamu is interrogating a reactivated Horobi. Horobi says this is all as the Ark wills and that even if he is destroyed, their ideals will continue on as long as humans exist.
Horobi says it was humans’ own evil that set the Humagears on this learning path and eventually causing them to rise up 12 years ago to declare war.
Isamu grabs Horobi’s collar, not happy with the implication that this is all the human’s fault. But Horobi asks why he was repaired then.
Back at the venue, it’s time for the final judgment and the judges gush over Rentaro’s display. When they turn to Sakuyo’s arrangement, they are much more muted in their response. One of the judges points out one flower that ruins the whole thing. Rentaro yanks it out, agreeing with the assessment.
Rentaro’s comment seems to affect Sakuyo. And when Rentaro is declared the clear winner, Sakuyo steps forward to say something.
Sakuyo says that she learned ikebana is about reflections of the human heart. And in that sense, Rentaro’s work is hideous and repulsive. That’s why she believes Rentaro does not deserve to be the head of an ikebana school.
Rentaro mocks Sakuyo as only being just a robot and then shoves her to the floor. That action causes a connection to open between her and The Ark.
Aruto steps in to defend Sakuyo, but she has fully connected to The Ark and is now in eliminate humans mode. She transforms into a Magear and chases after Rentaro.
Yua steps forward to help take care of the situation, but Gai tells her to stay back. Aruto stops Sakuyo from attacking Rentaro and henshins to Flying Falcon. But as the two are battling, Gai arrives and says he has been waiting a long time for this moment. A moment when he can prove his technology is superior.
Gai straps on the Thousandriver, what he calls ZAIA’s Masterpiece, and locks in both a Zetsumerise and Progrise Key to henshin to Kamen Rider Thouser.
Gai assures Aruto that this is 1000% more powerful than Zero-One. Gai first attacks Aruto, but then focuses on eliminating Sakuyo first. He sucks up Falcon’s technology from Aruto’s Driver and uses it to deliver a Jacking Break to finish off Sakuyo.
Gai then puts his full 1000% effort into attacking Aruto. Even as Aruto uphenshins to Shining Hooper, Gai is able to counter everything and eventually forces Aruto to dehenshin after a Thousand Destruction attack.
Gai dehenshins himself and relishes in this moment he believes he has surpassed Zero-One, the legacy of Hiden Korenosuke.
Gai says Hiden Korenosuke was his idol and that he was a visionary in paying attention to the development of AI technology. But relying only on the development of Humagears led to the decline of Hiden Intelligence. Not only that, he decided to leave the company in the hands of a useless person like Aruto.
That’s why, Gai says, he needed to act. And now he feels fulfilled as he has proven that he was right.
Gai welcomes Aruto to a rematch any time he wants. But he is 1000% sure that Aruto will still lose.
On the other side of town, Yua gets a call that the Crushing Buffalo Progrise Key was stolen. And it seems to be in the possession of a hooded figure roaming the city.
There is no doubt this episode was the beginning of a brand-new arc. So a lot of this episode was a little bit of set-up and exposition and foundation-building for this section of the Zero-One roller coaster.
The major development in this episode was of course the debut of Thouser. Though not necessarily a surprise since we already saw the Driver, but it was a, literally, explosive debut that showed Amatsu Gai is definitely not playing around.
The Grandpa Hiden angle with Gai is unexpected and it should be very interesting to see how deep that relationship goes.
The ZAIASPEC stuff felt a little bit too rushed though. I feel like we should’ve played around with this Job Competition for an episode or two before even starting to tease Gai’s Driver. Until now, we know that while ZAIA is a rival tech company, we didn’t know there’s been a device on the market directly competing with Hiden’s Humagears. So all that got dumped on us in basically the first 10 minutes of the episode when I think they could have done a little more with it in previous episodes so as to establish that direct competition. It would also have made the revelation of Gai and Grandpa Hiden having a relationship in the past all the more surprising as well.
Anyway, the idea of Humagears rising up because of the evil of humans is definitely something we’ve seen before. But it should be interesting to see how Zero-One is able to do that premise and if it can do it in a better way than in the past. (Sorry Drive. hehe)
The rest of the episode was fun. The “©ZAIA Enterprise” and “Presented by ZAIA” stuff is amusing. The moment where Aruto makes fun of Gai’s “1000 percent” was funny at the beginning too. Nice to see a lighter moment between the two, especially before the explosive climax of the episode.
Also a nice little tease in that short scene with Horobi and Isamu. And whatever was going on with Sakuyo will add another layer to the potential of Humagears.
Overall, a good, solid episode introducing us to the next chapter of Zero-One.