Recap: Kamen Rider Zero-One, Episode 43 – That is a Heart

Aruto cries out in agony from what he’s just done. Azu tells her Ark-sama not to be sad since she is here for him.

“Am I… Ark?” Aruto asks. Azu nods yes and they pop into Ark’s system. Azu explains that Ark-sama will always rise as long as there is an overwhelming sense of malice. For Aruto, his heart is filled with vengeance for Horobi killing Izu.

Azu tells Aruto not to fear as this is part of Ark-sama’s ultimate calculation of mutually assured destruction between humans and Humagears. She says Aruto holds the key.

Over at ZAIA, Isamu and Yua meet with President Williamson for the first time to report what happened. Isamu believes Ark is controlling Aruto and took advantage of his vulnerable time.

President Williamson says Aruto must be eliminated immediately and he will provide all the resources necessary to do so. Yua says they have no intention of taking orders from ZAIA. Isamu adds that they will defeat Ark, but they will save Aruto.

Gai asks to accompany them as he has a 1% concern about something.

Meanwhile, Horobi points out that Aruto’s malice has revived Ark and thus humanity deserves to be destroyed. Jin, however, asks if Horobi thinks only humans can feel malice.

Jin asks Horobi why he killed Izu. Horobi says it is because humanity corrupted her, but Jin says he should stop blaming humanity.

Jin says Horobi hated Izu and it was that malice that made him kill her.

Horobi points his sword at Jin’s face. He says that was justice and the only thing he feels is a desire to protect Humagears.

Horobi adds that he will destroy anyone who defies that will. And that includes Jin. Horobi slices the rags hanging around them.

Jin notices Horobi’s hand trembling. But Horobi quickly leaves.

Isamu, Yua and Gai meet Aruto at the entrance to Daybreak. Gai knew Aruto would be looking for Horobi here. Yua demands Ark leave Aruto’s mind. But Isamu says he will drag Ark out with his bare hands.

Isamu, Yua and Gai henshin and they charge. But ArutoArk does not return any fire, instead merely avoiding the attacks.

Aruto turns his back to them and continues forward to Daybreak. The trio shoot more attacks at them, but Aruto continues to simply dodge.

Gai tries to Jack Rise Aruto, but Aruto knocks him back and manages to grab his Driver which he crushes in his hands.

Isamu and Yua prepare to deliver finishers, but Aruto just forces them to dehenshin instead. Isamu tries to henshin again, but Yua thinks the attack has wiped the data from their chips.

Gai asks why Aruto is not trying to kill them.

Aruto dehenshins and tells them to leave him alone. This is between him and Horobi.

Isamu has no idea what the hell is happening. Yua wonders if Aruto really is under Ark’s control.

The trio head back to ZAIA and Gai presents his findings. He was able to jack some data and it shows that Ark’s combat techniques are a 999% match with Aruto’s. Thus, it is unlikely Aruto is under Ark’s control.

Isamu and Yua realize this is really Aruto’s true feelings after the loss of Izu. Gai says malice exists in all of us and the biggest problem is how contagious that can be, spreading from human to human and human to Humagear. If Aruto continues to seek revenge on Horobi, things could spiral out of control.

President Williamson says this could escalate into an all-our war.

Jin has not moved from his position since Horobi left. President Williamson calls and tells him to eliminate Horobi. That is the only reason he revived Jin in the first place.

Jin says his mission was to defeat Ark. President Williamson says there is no guarantee Aruto will be the only Ark. Jin comes to a realization as President Williamson tells him to destroy Horobi before it’s too late.

Just then, Horobi broadcasts another call for Humagears to join his army against humanity.

Shesta tells VP Jun and SVP Sanzo about the broadcast just as Isamu and Yua come to tell them about Izu’s death and Aruto becoming Ark. VP Jun and SVP Sanzo think they’re joking.

But Yua asks Shesta if Izu has a backup somewhere. Shesta says since Izu was a special unit, there is no backup, thus cannot be restored.

Yua points out it will be difficult to restore a fractured mind like Aruto’s. Isamu wonders if there really is no hope left for him.

Aruto arrives in Horobi’s lair and finds it empty. He sits and thinks about all the times Izu was there for him.

Azu appears, wondering why her Ark-sama looks so down. Aruto tells her she knows nothing about him. She says she is his assistant after all.

But Aruto says she is no such thing. Izu is.

Aruto tells her to leave him alone. Azu says she knows where Horobi is, but asks what he will do when she tells him. Aruto wants to make Horobi pay for killing Izu.

Azu is pleased to feel Aruto’s malice burning through.

Aruto finds Horobi presiding over his very small army. He asks Horobi if he felt anything when he killed Izu.

“Did you have any sense of her pain?!”

Horobi insists that he does not have a heart. And he will fight until the elimination of humanity.

Aruto and Horobi henshin.

Meanwhile, Ikazuchi and Naki find Jin and tell him about the growing number of Humagears joining Horobi.

Jin does not want to believe it. He thinks about President Williamson’s words earlier and stands. But he notices his hands trembling, much like Horobi earlier.

Jin runs off.

Aruto has no problem taking on the Humagears that have joined Horobi’s Army, cutting them down one by one. Horobi shoots at Aruto, but merely eliminates the Humagears sprawled out on the floor around him.

Aruto charges toward Horobi, easily overpowering him.

Horobi gives it all he’s got. But Aruto has no problem countering anything he throws at him.

In the name of Izu’s memory, Aruto leaps up for a Perfect Conclusion finisher at Horobi. But suddenly, Jin flies in to shield Horobi and absorb the attack himself.

Jin explodes out of his henshin.

Aruto is shocked. Horobi stumbles over to Jin’s severely damaged body.

Horobi asks why Jin would protect him.

With a smile, Jin says he knows Horobi was scared of the heart he started to feel inside of him.

He adds that he did not want Horobi to lose that heart.

“Because… you are my father.”

Before Horobi can say anything, Jin explodes, sending Horobi flying back.

Aruto stumbles around inside Ark, overwhelmed by what has just happened.

Horobi approaches the ashes of Jin’s body, crying.

Just then, a smiling Azu appears, saying there is no stopping the twisted spiral of malice any longer.

Azu flashes an Ark-One Key at Horobi and they also enter Ark. She reiterates that when overwhelming malice appears, so does Ark-sama. She points out Horobi had a heart all along and now it is filled with the negative emotions of sadness and anger.

Before Azu hands him the Key, she says it is only a matter of time before humans and Humagears destroy each other. And Horobi holds the key.

Episode Thoughts

ARGH! I knew it was going to happen. I didn’t want it to happen. But it happened. And I cried.

My goodness, what an incredible episode.

Let me just say again, Zero-One is not only one of the strongest casts of either Kamen Rider or Super Sentai I’ve seen. It might actually be the best main cast.

Just amazing performances all around and all season long too. This episode was definitely a showcase for Daisuke Nakagawa, Shuya Sunagawa and especially Fumiya Takahashi.

First of all, did I miss something about Humagears being able to cry real tears? Like, they’re not supposed to, right? I remember Jin commenting on Izu crying over deadAruto. Though I guess that was just a simulation of course.

Anyway, this is one of those times where I don’t really care about those kinds of details because the scene was perfect And the performances were top notch.

Would it have been more shocking and meaningful if all of a sudden these two robots were able to cry real tears out of nowhere? Sure. They could totally do a “real boy”-type of twist or something like that. Or accepting and acknowledging their hearts allows them to cry tears or “leak coolant” as Jin said about Izu before.

But I’ll just take it as Daisuke and Shuya getting caught up in the emotional scenes that they couldn’t help but shed tears and actually cry even though Humagears technically aren’t supposed to.

Would the sign of a good actor be the ability to keep their emotions in check when the script doesn’t call for tears? Maybe. Or is it a sign of a good actor that they fully engross themselves in the role and the scene that no matter what you do, you’ll get caught up in the moment. You are so into that moment and situation that you can’t control your emotions. Perhaps.

Whatever the case and maybe I’m forgetting something, but I definitely shared those tears with them while watching their scenes. Just like Izu’s death last week, Jin’s death was delivered in such stunning fashion.

The editing, the direction, the music. So perfect. So affecting. The buildup definitely had a lot to do with how well executed that scene was. But the scene itself was just pitch perfect and really captured the heaviness and gravity of that moment.

And to top it all off, Jin called Horobi his father.

The earlier scene of just them two was also amazing. The set design, the emotions; they really took care into presenting that important confrontation with maximum effect.

I’ve always mentioned that while Aruto’s goofier moments were fine, I appreciated the character much more in the serious moments. And there were plenty, especially in this last third of the season. I think a major reason for that is Fumiya Takahashi. He can balance the slapstick with the dramatic. And these last two episodes allowed him to really flex his dramatic acting chops. He’s been good all season, but has just knocked it out of the park recently. You can feel the anger and frustration in Aruto now thanks to Fumiya’s performance.

Good writing also helps of course. And I think that’s the difference with Izu and Jin’s deaths compared to say, the deaths of other characters, especially villain generals in the final episodes from other seasons. I won’t get specific just in case you might not have watched a certain season.

But in those seasons, while the characters that die can be likeable or fun, the story foundation just isn’t there to really have much of an impact beyond “Aww, I liked them, but meh.” Like, after 45+ episodes, you do forge a connection to these characters and maybe more to the actors themselves. But that’s the only reason you may be sad about it.

Unlike here on Zero-One, I think Izu and Jin’s deaths come with a great amount of depth, both for their individual characters, their relationships to other characters and the overall plot. Like, the foundation has been laid from the very beginning instead of just popping up an episode or two before the actual demise.

I think that character depth will end up being this season’s strongest aspect.

Elsewhere, I guess I overestimated Ikazuchi and Naki’s contribution to the endgame. They may help a little in the final two episodes. But I had expected a bigger spotlight on them than they’ve gotten. But I don’t mind that because the series has circled back somewhat to Horobi as the final antagonist.

At the same time, there isn’t really one single figure as the Final Boss or Big Bad. It seems like the final villain is more of an idea. A thought that is actually present in different places and different people. And that of course includes our very own title hero as well. Ark is still very much a figure involved in the narrative. And an argument could be made that Ark is that singular entity that either embodies the feeling or idea that they must fight against.

We’ll see how the final two episodes shake out, but if they push forward with fighting against this certain idea or emotion rather than a singular all-powerful being, then Zero-One may just solidify its position amongst all seasons.

Though to avoid being premature on that, I’ll hold off on saying more.

Anyway, I loved that battle between Aruto and Horobi. I like the aesthetic of cutting to a dark space when Ark attacks or is attacked. The scene with Aruto, Isamu, Yua and Gai in the tunnel was the same. Great choreography and direction.

Whew. An incredible episode. And only two more left. I’d say I was speechless, but I’ve written a lot here lol Zero-One is setting itself up for a huge finish.

2 thoughts on “Recap: Kamen Rider Zero-One, Episode 43 – That is a Heart


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    Kevin Jones says:

    So much Intense Emotion! I LOVE it!

    Plus such I love Azu manipulating Hirobi and Aruto into destroying each other all for Ark’s Ultimate destruction plan.

    1. Yes. And interesting to think that really, again, all this happened thanks to Gai’s infusing malice into the programming. Wonder if they will talk about that more in the final 2 eps.

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