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Review of Kamen Rider Zi-O (Episodes 21-24)


Review of Kamen Rider Zi-O (Episodes 21-24)

Team TokuNet Writer Malunis reviews the episodes of Kamen Rider Zi-O that aired in February 2019. In reviewing this month’s episodes, the review will also talk about spoilers for Ryuki.

Ep21: Mirror World 2019

The Time Jackers recognize that the Day of Ohma is steadily approaching, and Heure gets a clever idea of who to make as their new Another Rider: A man who appears through reflections. Zi-O and Geiz encounter this black dragonic Another Rider several times, but he’s too powerful since he’s able to reflect their attacks back at them. When they learn that the victims have all been followers of a former news site called Ore Journal, they track down one of the staff members, a Shinji Kido, only to discover him passed out in his apartment with all the windows covered up. We later learn this is Kamen Rider Ryuki.

White Woz later informs Geiz that even though Shinji isn’t the Another Rider, killing him will stop this otherwise unbeatable threat. It turns out, this is Another Ryuga, and their true identity is the darker side of Shinji Kido who was previously known as Kamen Rider Ryuga. Geiz would risk his life trying to stop the Another Rider, rather than kill Shinji. Zi-O steps in to try and use a new RideWatch given to him by Black Woz, which doesn’t seem to activate. Another Ryuga starts to just leave, only for Zi-O to try and stop him. Zi-O is flung into the mirror world, where he finds another version of himself who transforms into a mirrored version of Zi-O…

This was kinda interesting to see after it seemed like the show was done with these crossover arcs with past series. Ryuki is also an interesting one to go with, considering… well, let’s talk about that. Major spoilers here.

Kamen Rider Ryuki was a story with a lot of intrigue regarding the mirror world, with all of the Riders pursuing a single wish that would be granted to them if they defeated every Rider that got in their way. Things escalated, and just about every character got killed off, until the wish was made… which undid everything. None of the characters became Riders, and never actually met, so it was a bittersweet ending. Especially if you’re not into those kinds of reset button endings. Ryuga is from the movie, though the Rider count in the show implies he was always a factor in the show’s plot, you just never got to see him on screen. Or the other movie Rider, or the one that was exclusive to a TV special. Wild how they had that all mapped out!

Anyway, I explain that ending because Heure kinda comments on it, referring to Shinji’s mirror self as a remnant of a world that’s long gone, and goes so far as to say that searching for its timeline is like trying to enter a broken mirror, which adds to why they wouldn’t be able to create the RideWatch needed to defeat Another Ryuga. It’s all super clever and I commend the show for choosing this series to do a story arc for.

I also really like the angle they went with on the Another Rider. It was interesting to see Another OOO be a previous Rider of another name, but I feel like it’s appropriate to see a proper villain Rider make a return as an Another Rider of the same name – he even outright calls himself Kamen Rider Ryuga in this monster form. I don’t think I would be as positive towards an Another Genm, but this one feels right. The design is also clever, what with its use of mirrored text on the body.

Ryuki was a show that felt a little bit slow to me once in a while, but it had some great characters and a cool horror-esque tone. This episode captured the tone nicely with how it uses Shinji, showing his apartment windows covered up in newspapers and his reaction to being in a hospital full of reflective surfaces.

It’s also kinda sad how timely Ore Journal was! We see the old editor-in-chief himself, and he remarks how these days everyone has feeds they go to for their news, which is different from the way it used to be in, say, 2002.

We’ll talk more about Zi-O’s new yet-to-be-used watch in the next episode, but I did find it interesting that Black Woz refers to it as the power of Ohma Zi-O, which he would have obtained on the Day of Ohma. The mirror world Zi-O is also a nice twist – I almost didn’t know it was happening until I saw the Premium Bandai merch! Oh Bandai, never a moment’s rest for you.

Anyway, let’s continue.

Ep22: Zi-O Saikyo! 2019

While Sogo is in the mirror world, Geiz is dealing with some inner demons. When he was told to kill Shinji Kido to stop Another Ryuga, he was actually considering it. It seems like it bothers him because he knows that Sogo would never hesitate to say no. Meanwhile, even when he returns home, Sogo is being bullied by his reflection. The Sogo of the mirror world represents his darker side, behind the idealistic talk of protecting others, and he’s certain Sogo will use his new watch to become Ohma Zi-O.

While Geiz and Woz try their best to attack Another Ryuga, even the power of MirideWatches being helpless to the monster, Sogo talks to Shinji in his apartment. It seems that Shinji is aware enough that his reflection has gone missing and is hurting others – when he learns that all the victims are old followers of Ore Journal, which Shinji used to be part of, he seems to believe that maybe his darker side wanted to get back at them for not supporting the site enough to keep it alive. He comes to terms with the fact that he feels this way, so that he might be able to move on…

Sogo, too, speaks to his reflection, and accepts that he has both positive and negative feelings, and is willing to use his new power to become the good overlord he wants to be – the reflection provides him with the other half of the new watch. Geiz does the riskiest move by far and uses his Rider Kick on Another Ryuga, and it reflects, destroying his RideWatch and leaving him passed out. Sogo shows up, having seen this coming, then uses his new watch to turn back time. As Geiz begins his Rider Kick, time rewinds to put him back on the ground, to which Black Woz confirms… this is the power of Ohma Zi-O.

The Zi-O RideWatch II splits into two watches to go into both slots of the Ziku-Driver, transforming him into Kamen Rider Zi-O II. He’s stronger, has a new sword that combines with the olld one, and he has the ability to predict attacks by looking into the near future. Using his newfound abilities, he manages to defeat Another Ryuga, then tells the dark side of Shinji that his real world self has accepted him. We then cut to the former editor-in-chief of Ore Journal, who’s reuniting with a Shinji that’s chosen to move on from Ore Journal. He convinces his former chief to do the same, and they agree to work together again. Shinji notices that he has a reflection again, and this time, it looks like any other reflection.

Sadly, with the reveal of Zi-O II, both Geiz and Tsukuyomi are convinced that Sogo has always had the potential to become Ohma Zi-O, and there is only one choice left for them… meanwhile, we are given the teaser of another new Rider…!

Phew. So, that was a wild crossover arc, albeit one where the crossover element takes a backseat and is merely used to further the show’s own plot, in an interesting way.

That said, I really enjoyed the last moments with Shinji and his former chief. Sadly, no roomba was seen – that was a fun night trying to decipher a pun in an interview quote.

Anyway, now the arc ends on a pretty surprising cliffhanger, with the realization that Ohma Zi-O is all the more likely after all that’s happened. What could possibly happen next?!

Ep23: It’s Kikai! 2121

Sogo needs to do make-up exams if he plans to graduate high school, but he keeps falling asleep. In his dreams, he finds himself in the year 2121, where humans are hunted by Humanoiz, machines disguising themselves as humans. One of them, Wrent Makina, protects humans as Kamen Rider Kikai. Meanwhile, in the present, Another Kikai is roaming around, and seems to work differently than other monsters as it respawns after defeat.

Swortz eventually reveals to the heroes that this was not created like the others, then proceeds to take its sentient crest and attach it to Heure, turning HIM into Another Kikai. As the group figures out how to find the fleeing monster, a line is drawn between two sides: Zi-O on one, Geiz, Tsukuyomi and White Woz on the other. In Sogo’s dream, Wrent recharges, only to be turned into one of the evil machines!

This was a really good episode! I loved how much we got of Kikai’s setting, an “old fashioned” future where humanity is nearing extinction. Wrent is also a charming hero, really rocking the Kikaider look to go with his Rider name. I’m of the opinion that Shinobi is the only one we’ll see getting a spinoff but I would LOVE to explore this character’s setting some more. And this also makes me realize Quiz really got a raw deal in terms of backstory.

The matchups are also interesting. Despite the apparent path to Ohma Zi-O, Geiz recognizes that the key to finding Another Kikai’s weakness lies in his future sight, so he is actively trying to cooperate with Sogo to stop this monster. Meanwhile, Tsukuyomi and White Woz find this troubling, as they see Sogo as the inevitable overlord. In the end, Geiz seems to reluctantly join those two, leaving Sogo alone… but he has Black Woz, I guess.

Ep24: Best Friend 2121

With Heure in a sad state, Hora approaches White Woz, attempting to request that he save her ally. Meanwhile, as Sogo continues to sleep to find the key to stopping Another Kikai, Tsukuyomi has some doubts about her decision to abandon him as she learns she and Geiz are the closest thing he’s ever had to friends. In his dream, Sogo learns that Wrent was all about friendship, and guesses at what may be a password to deactivate Another Kikai: “Will be the BFF”.

The three Riders work with Hora to stop Another Kikai, only for the password to fail. Tsukuyomi arrives, having seen a similar phrase on Sogo’s childhood robot toy, “Will be the king”. Things escalate as Hora takes the chance to enter that password and take the Another Kikai Watch, putting it into Heure so that he may become her puppet and the new king. Another Kikai unleashes missiles, killing Tsukuyomi…

… but that was just one possible future. Using his newfound time powers, Zi-O II was showing Geiz what would happen if he hesitated. As Geiz enters the password, Woz obtains the Kikai MirideWatch, defeating the Another Rider. As it turns out, Hora and Swortz worked together to turn Heure into Another Kikai, and she’s disappointed it was all for nothing – reluctantly, Heure joins her as they depart.

Sogo returns to his dream and saves Wrent from being an evil machine, then returns to his makeup exam successfully. Tsukuyomi fears that this whole ordeal with Kikai was a result of a greater threat within Zi-O: He not only can see the future, he can reshape it as he pleases. With the Day of Ohma approaching, White Woz uses the three MirideWatches to create Geiz’s new transformation item… and Swortz decides it’s time to use the Another Zi-O Watch.

So that was a lot of story. Overall, this arc was fantastic – I enjoyed what we got out of Kikai, but I also really like the main cast developments. Tsukuyomi’s gone back and forth a lot, for good reason – the overlord she knew is a bumbling idiot, but also has the power of Ohma Zi-O, but also seemed to be a lonely child with big dreams to do good, but also appears to have the ability to reshape time. I can see that being seen as a flaw, but it feels like a valid response when all this conflicting information keeps getting thrown at her.

And also the twist with Another Kikai! I figured Hora was starting to show some human emotions, but it turned out to be an elaborate hoax to get everyone to help her obtain the Another Kikai Watch. Poor Heure is really just getting tossed around… I hope we get more depth with him – I want something like Parad from Ex-Aid, basically.

I feel like I don’t have as much to say this time, because the story really speaks for itself in a lot of ways. I’m pretty pleased with what the show is doing and look forward to more! It’s here I must reiterate, the show does really well when it focuses on its own cast. The future Riders technically are crossover material, but they’re basically the writers’ OCs, so they count as original content. Their arcs even do very different things.

This episode alone also puts down a lot of teasers for what’s to come – GeizRevive, Another Zi-O… I know these are happening, but I’ve remained spoiler-free, so I’m excited to see what happens!

Copy editor for TokuNet. Creator of a few casual Kamen Rider blogs on Tumblr (FruitRiderNews/GameRiderNews/BuildRiderNews). Collector of Riders, Transformers and generally robotic/cute stuff. I also do a lot of art, so if you're interested in a commission you can check out this link. Thanks for stopping by!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Toys Samurai

    March 30, 2019 at 12:08 am

    Does anyone find that the actor who plays Geiz Myokoin looks a lot like the actor who plays Ren Akiyama.

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