Recap: Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger, Episode 1 – The Kikai World is Kikikaikai!

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

The worlds of the 44 previous Sentai seasons are trapped in mysterious gears by a malevolent force. And they have set their sights on their 45th target world.

There, a young man named Goshikida Kaito is approached by security guards on an observation deck asking what he’s carrying. He says it is his lifeline as his hope is to be the first person to bungee jump from the top of the Tokyo Skytree.

The guards escort him out of the Skytree and call him a YouTuber. Kaito says he isn’t a YouTuber. He just wants to do something big and be the first person in the world to do it.

Suddenly, a large purple-tinged gear appears over the city. And with it pop out strange android beings. Kaito wonders if they are from one of the parallel worlds his parents discovered.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Kaito excitedly greets one of them, introducing himself and saying he would like to be their friend.

One month later, Japan has adapted to having their world combined with the parallel world of Kikaitopia. Kikainoids have managed to fully integrate themselves into society and live harmoniously with humans.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Kaito’s grandmother, Yatsude, is tending to her candy store as she sees a feature story on the news about the new world. The report mentions her son Dr. Goshikida Isao and daughter-in-law Dr. Goshikida Mitsuko’s theory of parallel worlds they proposed ten years ago. They have since gone missing.

Kaito comes running in to ask if he can grab a bag of cotton candy. Grandma Yacchan says sure, but it’s coming out of his pay. She comments how he’s grown into a such an innocent ball of energy.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

On the other side of town, a bunch of teens are having a tailgate in the middle of nowhere. Kikainoid Zyuran brings them a bag of more grillable foods and they welcome him to join the party.

Zyuran admits it’s the first time he’s ever partied in his life. But he’s sure that’s not the case for the hotshots sitting in the dark Tojitendo Palace.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Over in the palace which remains in Kikaitopia, Great King Boccowaus emerges for an update from Ijirude. Ijirude reports that they have captured all the worlds in Tojiru Gears except for one. Not only that, Gege adds, that last world has even absorbed a portion of Kikaitopia.

Janitor Vroon, who is sweeping up nearby, is shocked at that news. Ijirude zaps him for interrupting.

Since it has been a month with no progress, Gege suggests that instead of trapping the final world in a Tojiru Gear, they should conquer it the traditional way. Boccowaus orders his general Barashitara to make it happen.

Back in Tokyo, Kaito excitedly trades the bag of cotton candy for some Kikai takoyaki from a nice Kikainoid selling them from his stall in the park.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Before Kaito can enjoy the Kikaitopia specialty, the takoyaki stall blows up. Barashitara has arrived, flanked by an army of Kudakks. He declares this world belongs to the Kikaitopia Tojitendo Dynasty now.

The Kudakks begin attacking both humans and Kikainoids.

Kaito confronts Barashitara. Everyone had been getting along so nicely, why would Kikainoids attack even their own kind. Barashitara says anyone not part of the elite is mere scrap, Kikainoid or not.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Barashitara tosses Kaito clear across the city.

Kudakks arrive at the tailgate. A Kudaiter elite soldier orders Zyuran begin attacking humans as well. Zyuran will do no such thing. He picks up a rock to throw at the Kudaiter, but the human partygoers become afraid of him, thinking he is about to attack them.

The humans run away. The Kudaiter realizes Zyuran is just a peasant Kikainoid and says he can get scrapped along with everyone else.

Kaito lands in a pile of trash right outside his grandma’s shop where he is shocked to see her trying to fight off some Kudakks. He quickly gets up to help her and they barricade themselves inside.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Kaito says he was so happy humans were getting along with their new friends from a world his parents discovered.

Kaito picks up Secchan, a robot bird friend created by his parents when he was still a young kid. Kaito was so happy they were finally able to complete it after they had failed a couple of times with it. His parents say that’s why they never give up and go full force until they get results.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

That memory reminds Kaito to never give up as well. He decides he will save the world. He might not know how, but he’ll be going full force, full throttle until he does.

Suddenly, Secchan seems to activate and begins talking. He asks Kaito and Yacchan to take a seat on the floor nearby and then activates a trap door. The grandmother and grandson fall in.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Kaito and Yacchan are shocked to find themselves in what Secchan describes as the secret lab of Drs. Goshikida. They had found many different worlds other than Kikaitopia. And each of those worlds had Super Sentai heroes who would protect those parallel worlds.

The Drs. Goshikida created the Geartlinger and Sentai Gears using their research of those worlds. Secchan says they can use them to fight off the invaders.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Kaito is resolved to fight. He takes a Geartlinger for himself and hands one to his grandmother so they can fight together.

She says having a 60-year-old grandma do such a thing is absurd. He tries to convince her and says it would be really cool.

Back above ground, Zyuran walks through the chaos, sad and confused at what is happening. He sees a little boy about to get struck down by a Kuddak, but he quickly runs over to tackle it.

The Kuddak gets up and goes to strike at Zyuran. But Kaito arrives and shoots it out of the way.

Zyuran sees the little boy is afraid of him, as have all the people he has encountered since the invasion began. He apologizes. But Kaito runs over and with a smile, thanks Zyuran for saving the boy’s life. The boy’s expression immediately changes and he also thanks Zyuran.

Zyuran is surprised, but he tells the boy to hurry to safety.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Kaito hands Zyuran a Geartlinger and asks him to fight with him against the Tojitendo. Zyuran is shocked he would offer since he is also a Kikainoid just like the Tojitendo.

Kaito says he knows Zyuran is actually not like them.

A group of Kudakks appear and Zyuran affirms that he is definitely not like them. They exchange introductions as Barashitara and the Kudaiter from earlier appear.

Zyuran shoots one of the Kudakks. Kaito hands him a Sentai Gear and teaches him how to use it.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Kaito and Zyuran lock the Gear into their Geartlingers and use them to henshin; Kaito to Zenkaizer and Zyuran to Zenkai Zyuran.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Kaito and Zyuran get down to business and battle the Kudakks. Secchan tells them to use different Sentai Gears stored in their buckles for some extra power.

Kaito pulls out Gear 40 to receive a Zyuohger power up. This one is based on Zyuoh Eagle and allows Kaito to fly around.

Kaito tosses Zyuran Gear 39 and he uses it to power up with Ninninger-style ninja stealth.

Barashitara summons a giant Kudaitest which begins to rampage in the city. Secchan tells Zyuran to flip the Gear. That allows him to embiggen and then transform into Zyuran Tyranno.

While Zyuran takes care of the Kudaitest, Kaito takes care of the Kudaiter.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

Back at the candy shop, grandma Yacchan commends Kaito and Zyuran on a job well done. Kaito is excited that they’ve done something big for the first time. Secchan laughs that yes, first time in this world at least.

Zyuran says they should have a party to celebrate tonight. Grandma Yacchan says to leave it to her as she will be making her Yatsude Special. She leaves to go grocery shopping. But Kaito and Zyuran run out when they hear her scream.

Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Episode 1 Recap

They are shocked to see mushrooms have sprouted onto the heads of both humans and Kikainoids.

Episode Thoughts

I will admit I wasn’t sure what to think about Zenkaiger when it was first announced. The idea of having only one human member of the team certainly feels very COVID-induced. It’s certainly something very different for the franchise. And what better season to try it out on than an anniversary season, I guess.

We’ll definitely wait and see how the show can manage with four non-human team members. And if they can give them just as much character as a would-be face actor would. (Kyuranger certainly showed that it is more than possible.)

For a first impression though after the first episode, I have only positive things to say about Zenkaiger so far!

It was a fun premiere. Obviously you can never judge a season based on one episode. But it was definitely a strong start.

I have 100% faith in the suit and voice actors of course. They always do such amazing work on both Sentai and Kamen Rider. But a lot of the season will be carried by Komagine Kiita as Kaito. And he definitely rose to the occasion here.

Kaito is very likeable and charming. You can’t go wrong with a happy, positive nice guy as the leader of a team. And in the few more serious moments in the episode, you can see Kiita can deliver those emotional moments well. There’s definitely potential for them especially with the plot thread of his missing parents.

I love the Kaito-grandma Yacchan dynamic though. I agree with Kaito, it would’ve been awesome if his grandma had become a Zenkaiger and fought alongside him! And I am so happy that she is very much involved and in the know. That is as opposed to being the family member who is in the dark all season long, not knowing their relative is a superhero.

I know we’ll be getting many great scenes of the grandmother and grandson.

Speaking of the suit and voice actors, this episode also showed great potential for the Kikainoids as well. I felt so bad for the Kikainoid that got his takoyaki stand blown up when Barashitara first attacks. If you look at his face, they changed his eyes and mouth to a more distressed expression. It looked so sad. =(

Usually, the facial features on suits rarely change regardless of the emotion being conveyed by that character. But just judging from that moment, I hope Zenkaiger continues to do things like that all season. The team is going to be encountering many Kikainoids all year as they protect both them and humans from the MOTWs. And having that little bit of expressive features can go a long way.

I also really liked the design of the Tojitendo. Reminds me very much of the Shadow Line. And anything ToQger-feeling is great for me!

There was a definitely a retro feel as well, from the visuals to the music. Much more so than Gokaiger, the last big anniversary season. So that’s a good thing as it will set both seasons apart. For all the similarities (especially with Secchan being a spiritual successor to Navi, for example), it gives hope that both seasons will remain very distinct from each other.

When Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger was first announced, I really hoped Jingi Irie would be cast so he can continue his ownership of Toei’s modern kikai properties (Kikaider, Kamen Rider Kikai) hehe That would’ve been fun. (Speaking of, I’m still waiting for the Kamen Rider Kikai miniseries Toei, thank you.)

Anyway! I very much enjoyed this premiere episode. There’s definitely lots to like and it’s a positive start to the season.

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