After thoroughly enjoying Kamen Rider Zero-One: REALxTIME, I was even more excited to see that Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai (ゼロワン Others 仮面ライダー滅亡迅雷 ) had also been released and was waiting for me to quickly jump right in. And my goodness. If I wasn’t sure just a day ago, I might be sure now. Kamen Rider Zero-One might have just solidified itself as my favorite season after this film. And there’s still more to come!
Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai begins with ZAIA Enterprise CEO Lyon Arkland being presented with a Driver by the continually devoted Azu who believes he can become the new Ark. For Arkland, he sees this as an opportunity to advance ZAIA’s mysterious Project Sold that had been sidelined during the recent events affecting the company.
Meanwhile in Japan, Horobi and Jin are hanging out in Daybreak. Jin dreams of a normal life as he waters a flowering plant, believing that Ark can never return so long as everyone lives without malice and hate. Though Horobi believes they still have a responsibility to be vigilant just in case, he silently hopes Jin can continue to remain as hopeful as he is now.
Unfortunately, Arkland’s arrival in Japan immediately shatters that hope as he attacks the father and son. Kidnapping Jin and holding him hostage at ZAIA Japan headquarters, Arkland reveals a shocking truth about Jin’s origins and his revival. It’s up to Horobi and fellow MetsubouJinrai comrades Naki and Ikazuchi to save him. But in the process, they face an unprecedented and agonizing decision about their future.
Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai starts out in a familiar way. Getting to meet Jin and Horobi once again is an absolute treat. And it is an absolute thrill to see Daisuke Nakagawa and Syuya Sunagawa both effortlessly deliver with every scene they are in, just like they did during the series.
But that false sense of security gets shattered as the major revelations that emerge through the course of the film turn everything upside down. The film delivers one emotional shocking punch after another. And the process of trying to comprehend what is happening on screen slowly makes one realize just how profound and affecting this story really is.
And that story is one that is firmly grounded in the foundation of the series. Like REALxTIME, this film draws upon story and plot from the series itself. But its strongest aspect is the character-driven narrative that puts the focus deservedly on Horobi and Jin as well as Naki and Ikazuchi later in the film. Strategic appearances by Gai, Yua and Isamu help to bring everything together. And Azu of course provides the catalyst for the defeated Ark to somehow feel immortal with the way she is continually in search for its successor.
Even Lyon Arkland who we first meet in this film makes a forceful first impression and arguably is the most consequential character in the film.
At the heart of the film is just that: heart. One of the biggest themes of Zero-One is of course the idea of malice and hatred being a scourge on the world. But specifically for Humagears, it is the idea of freedom and free will. We saw that quite emotionally with both Jin and Horobi’s stories. The film is able to draw upon that well-established foundation to give all the events that happen here a depth that isn’t always guaranteed or even attempted in such post-series films.
The idea of free will for Humagears is something that powered Jin’s story throughout the season and for Horobi in the series’ breathtaking final arc. So when selfish ambition involving arms, war and fomenting hate and fear threaten what they had fought so hard to attain, it’s sure to be a strikingly affecting story.
Also this being a V Cinema release, you can be sure to expect a little bit more blood and violence than the usual episode or theatrical release. And that just makes everything even more emotional to absorb. Especially with such well-developed and strong characters like Horobi, Jin and the rest of Zero-One.
The way Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai also manages to expand the Zero-One universe and continue world building is an amazing feat in and of itself. Certainly ZAIA USA, for example, is a logical place to explore and delve deeper into like they did in this film. But it only goes to show the seemingly infinite potential for more stories from Zero-One.
At the end of this film, it goes without saying that we are all holding our breath for the release of Zero-One Others: Vulcan & Valkyrie to get some answers about just what we witnessed here on Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai.
And that’s really a good word to describe this all: Breathtaking. These two post-series films so far (REALxTIME and Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai) have truly been stunning experiences. It’s really not common to have such deep post-series movies like these two. And even more so, films that proceed to tackle existing themes in an unexpectedly profound way.
Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai touches even more about technology in our everyday world as well as the concept of freedom and free will. That’s also while maintaining Zero-One‘s excellent character-driven narrative and delivering heart-pounding action and sincerely shocking twists and turns.
With its excellent cast, stellar writing, and top-notch production and direction, Zero-One Others: Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai is truly an experience not to be missed.