Recap: Kamen Rider Zero-One, Episode 44 – “The conclusion after evil climbs the top of the highest mountain of rock.”

Recap: Kamen Rider Zero-One, Episode 44 – There’s Only One Person Who Can Stop You

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Horobi addresses humanity to lay blame on them for the Ark’s creation and how Aruto becoming Ark is more proof that humanity must be destroyed.

With Naki, Ikazuchi can’t believe Jin would run off on his own.

Azu happily watches as Horobi vows that Aruto will die by his hands.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Not wanting to believe it, a few Humagears approach their president Aruto to ask if what Horobi is saying is true.

“It wasn’t supposed to end up this way,” Aruto says as he struggles with his Ark-ish thoughts and runs off.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Humagears quickly rise up in violent protest across the city, demanding answers from Aruto and Hiden Intelligence amidst a growing anti-human sentiment.

Shesta slaps a hysterical SVP Sanzo and tells VP Jun that standard protocol requires he represent the company during Aruto’s absence.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Over at ZAIA, President Williamson orders A.I.M.S. troops to deploy to quell the protests. Gai asks if he intends to destroy the Humagear. Williamson says in order to prevent an all-out war, they must do whatever it takes to protect humanity.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Yua is watching the breaking news announcing emergency evacuations before A.I.M.S. forces arrive. She fears further violence will only reinforce the human malice learning.

Yua says the only way to stop this is for Aruto himself to say he does not want to harm Humagears. Isamu says they’ll have to pry open Aruto’s heart themselves.

Isamu leaves to find Aruto, but Yua gets a call from Gai.

VP Jun is in the office thinking about what he must do. Ai-chan reminds VP Jun that he has been protecting the company the longest and suggests it’s time he make his dream come true.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Isamu finds a struggling, out of breath Aruto. Aruto says he’s done something that cannot be undone and thus is too far gone.

Aruto seems to be unable to escape Azu’s and the Ark’s embrace.

He says he must finish what he started. But Isamu says fighting Horobi will only reinforce the malicious humans-are-enemy learnings. That’s why he will stop Aruto.

Aruto says Isamu should just stop since he can’t henshin anymore.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Isamu tries to engage his Shotriser, but nothing happens.

Meanwhile, Ikazuchi confronts Horobi, telling him he better not lose himself. Horobi reminds Ikazuchi that Aruto killed Jin, thus humans must be destroyed.

Ikazuchi says those same humans taught them what it means to have a heart. And Jin sacrificed himself for that.

President Williamson himself goes to the frontlines as the angry Humagear mob descends. One Humagear breaks through the A.I.M.S. line and charges toward Williamson. But an A.I.M.S. officer tackles the Humagear and pins him to the ground.

Williamson tells the officer to destroy it, but he hesitates. Williams says it is an order from the president of ZAIA.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Before the officer can shoot, Yua arrives and says destroying this one Humagear will be the end of everything. Williamson says Yua has no authority here.

But she actually does. Turns out Gai’s final action as president of ZAIA Japan was to return A.I.M.S. to government control and to suggest Yua as its commander.

Commander Yaiba Yua flashes her brand-new ID.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Aruto, walking away, tells Isamu to just stop and let him be. Naki appears and asks if Aruto is really trying to destroy the dreams of Humagears. Is Aruto betraying the hearts of Humagears who believed in him and in humanity?

Aruto, again thinking of ArkAzu’s embrace, says there is no turning back now.

Naki calls to Isamu and tosses him a brand-new Japanese Wolf Key so he can stop Aruto.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Isamu acknowledges Naki’s will and forces the Key open. He henshins to Orthoros Vulcan.

“Awakening the instincts of two beasts long lost.”

“I told you to leave me alone!” Aruto henshins to Zero-Two.

Over at Hiden, VP Jun, accompanied by Shesta and SVP Sanzo, head to the lobby to face the angry Humagears.

VP Jun says that their dream at Hiden Intelligence is no different from that of Humagears. They aim to build a future where they can laugh together. And the one who worked to turn that dream into a reality more than anyone else is Hiden Aruto.

Commander Yua tells the Humagears, A.I.M.S. forces and President Williamson that Humagears are not tools. Like humans, they too have hearts. And forcing those hearts into submission cannot be considered justice.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Ikazuchi tries to remind Horobi of his own heart.

Horobi directs the question back to Ikazuchi. What would he do if humans destroyed his younger brother?

Ikazuchi cannot reply. Horobi leaves.

Isamu tries to remind Aruto that it was he who taught them how to believe in Humagears.

VP Jun kneels and bows to the Humagears, asking them to believe in Aruto once more.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

VP Jun is surprised and moved when Shesta also does the same.

An emotional SVP Sanzo joins them as well, seemingly calming the Humagear mob at Hiden.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

A maid Humagear charges at Yua and smashes a protest sign on her head. A.I.M.S. forces point their rifles at the Humagear, but Yua motions for them to hold their fire.

Her head busted open and bleeding, Commander Yua approaches the Humagear and puts a hand on her shoulder, letting her know it is okay.

Commander Yua asks the officers what justice means to them.

The A.I.M.S. officers return their guns to their holsters and drop their rifles to the ground.

As Isamu gives it all he’s got to try and stop Aruto, Aruto merely tries to hold him back and knock him out.

Isamu says it pains him to see Aruto this way. It reminds him of how he used to be. That triggers Aruto who goes harder at Isamu.

Isamu tries to deliver one last finisher which seems to make Aruto stumble. But Aruto somehow destroys Isamu’s Driver and new Key, causing him to dehenshin.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Isamu asks what Aruto will do after Horobi is dead. What about his dream. Aruto looks back at him, then glares at Naki before walking away.

That night, Horobi and Azu are on a rooftop. She asks him if he has made up his mind. Will he destroy Aruto and fulfill his dream of destroying humanity? She hands him a Driver and walks away.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Aruto walks alone, thinking of Isamu and Naki’s words from earlier. He wipes the blood from his lip and finds himself inside ZEA.

Aruto asks ZEA what he should do now.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Suddenly, his father appears, holding a Driver.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Over at ZAIA, Gai has settled into his new makeshift office where he calls Isamu and Yua to. They update him on the powder keg outside.

Gai says if Hiden fights Horobi, it’ll be all over. Isamu says they’ll just have to trust Aruto.

But Gai says they have one last option. President Williamson has given him Jin’s earpiece. With it, Yua believes she can restore Jin.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

It’s daybreak in Tokyo and Aruto arrives at the rooftop where Horobi has been waiting.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

They both say they’ve arrived at their conclusions.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

Azu laughs as Aruto and Horobi lock in their Drivers. The scene is being broadcast across the country, enraging some Humagears once again.

Ikazuchi watches with the rest of the crew from the SDC. Naki says this will truly be the end.

Horobi and Aruto henshin to their respective Arks.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

The two slowly approach each other before they quickly charge.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

The world watches in horror.

Kamen Rider Zero One Episode 44 Recap

While Azu relishes.

Episode Thoughts

Definitely a much calmer episode, relatively speaking, than what we’ve been subjected (!) to the last few weeks. lol Still a lot happening of course. This episode was definitely setting up the finale and the decisive battle while also starting to wrap up each of our friends’ stories.

I’ll get my one criticism out of the way first. I feel like the episode was really rushed and cramped. So much happened that I would’ve preferred the events to have some room to breathe. Have some scenes linger and the events simmer for maybe two episodes instead of just this one.

Perhaps the rushed feel is a result of the coronavirus-induced production halt. Or not. Either way, I would’ve liked them to had slowed down a little bit here

There’s definitely a few pros in the quick cuts to each scene in the middle of the episode. They help illustrate the sort of chaotic, dire nature of the present situation. And it evokes that big sense of urgency that some seasons unfortunately don’t have in their final episodes.

For example, the threat of war and the civil unrest between Humagears could’ve been good as an episode on its own. It might feel a little too much like Build. But I think Zero-One could have improved on the idea. And of course instead of warring factions, Zero-One would be a battle between two sides. Certainly evokes some current world events, that’s for sure.

Anyway, the major plot development in this episode was the journey of both Aruto and Horobi to that rooftop. Getting them to accept, even if with some hesitation, of this perceived fate that they must battle in the end.

Jin may very well be the key to how everything gets worked out in the end. (As a Jin fanboy, I would love to see it!) With Izu maybe popping up as well. (An Izu vs Azu battle for Aruto’s soul would be very interesting!)

But the big twist in this episode was Aruto’s father. What role will he play in the final episode. What was that Driver for? And could we see some parallels with Papa Horobi and son Jin too? Could Horobi be Aruto’s new father?! lol

For each of the other characters, we got some nice moments that served as sort of mini-climaxes for their own arcs.

The one MaGMCM for me in this episode was definitely Shesta bowing to the peoples. That really was so unexpected, but it hit me for some reason. I definitely teared up at that moment. Shesta with VP Jun and SVP Sanzo are kind of like a mini-version of the relationship between Aruto and Izu. Shesta has always been a loyal assistant to the VP and SVP. But when Izu was involved in the bigger picture, Shesta represents the everyday Humagear.

Having had a front row seat for everything that’s happened, but not necessarily specifically involved with the happenings, Shesta kind of encapsulates the greater Humagear experience. Loyal, great at their job and responsibility. But thanks to a more complete learning picture (both positive and negative), Shesta is able to find herself and her heart. And that resulted in that wonderful moment of her bowing next to VP Jun. I loved that moment.

For Isamu, we got that great scene where he basically says he and Aruto have switched places. He comments on being able to see in Aruto how he (Isamu) was before toward Humagears. For Isamu to say it pained him to see Aruto this way shows again the impact that Aruto has had on so many people and Humagears.

It makes Aruto’s descent into the darkness of Ark that much sadder and upsetting. He had been the biggest cheerleader and the biggest dreamer when it came to human-Humagear relations. And it all came crashing down for him. He feels hopeless and helpless now. Thus, he must fight Horobi. (Though of course we don’t know what happened in ZEA with his father yet.)

With Yua, it’s great to see her ascent to commander. It makes sense for her. She was the one that saw Humagears as tools. She helped create and develop weapons and such without regard for humans or even the thoughts of Humagears. Now that she has that awareness and care, she can bring that leadership to A.I.M.S. in a way that allows her to right the wrongs she committed while being Gai’s lackey.

Ikazuchi’s scene with Horobi was great. But it was another moment that I think could’ve used a couple more minutes. Horobi’s question to Ikazuchi deserved a deeper look. Maybe that would’ve been a hypothetical focus episode for Ikazuchi. What would he do if his brother was killed by humans? It’s a fascinating question. Unfortunately, we didn’t really get much of an answer. But we do know he does not agree with Horobi’s plan of action.

I think Naki got the least amount of spotlight in this episode. They merely tossed Isamu the new toy and then had that epic shot of the Hiden media aircraft fly above them. But Naki essentially was another voice to try and get Aruto to snap out of his Ark-driven stupor.

President Williamson’s connection with Jin hasn’t really been fleshed out much and only described in passing. So his involvement here is questionable. Like, could we have the same results without him? I dunno. We could’ve had Gai or Isamu or Yua have pick up Jin’s earpiece themselves. Again, I can’t help but think more was planned for Williamson before COVID.

Anyway, this was an exciting episode. Still emotional, though definitely not as painfully heartbreaking as the last few weeks. It definitely set up the finale well.

But oh boy, I’m not ready to say goodbye to our Zero-One friends.

2 thoughts on “Recap: Kamen Rider Zero-One, Episode 44 – “The conclusion after evil climbs the top of the highest mountain of rock.”

  1. LOL! I love how everything is building to this huge climax and we still have to wait. LOL!

    And it will be sad to say good bye to Zero One but I am excited for Kamen Rider Saber.

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