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Review of Kamen Rider Zi-O (Episodes 30-33)


Review of Kamen Rider Zi-O (Episodes 30-33)

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

It’s once again been a while! Awkward to say that since I opened the last review that way. There’s a difference, thankfully – I’ve just been away from writing reviews this time. That said, this show is nearing its end, so let’s get back into it.

Ep30: “2019: The Trinity Has Begun!”

Following the fight between Blade and Chalice, they reach a standstill as Another Blade is revealed to be Amane, causing Chalice to flee. At the clock shop with Kenzaki, the severity of the situation is revealed: Both Blade and Chalice are Jokers, and are destined to fight, which will bring about the end of the world. White Woz makes an effort to make sure the two find each other and fight once more, and causes Amane to transform into Another Blade, absorbing their Joker powers so that she can end this world.

Sogo chooses to speak to White Woz, finding out what what his motives were. It seems that he’s content with letting the world end if it doesn’t lead to HIS future, to which Sogo informs him that time is always changing and could go down any path. He wants White Woz to keep trying to aim for his future, to which White Woz decides to just give him the RideWatch that was created from the power-ups. He tells Sogo that if he can use this, he’ll accept the situation.

At this point, Black Woz and Geiz seem to be coming to terms with their past, or rather, the future. Black Woz’s interest is piqued at the new path Sogo is forming, and the two of them seem to accept the idea of letting their past go in favor of a new future.

Sogo arrives with the Zi-OTrinity RideWatch, which causes the three Riders to combine, giving them plenty enough power to defeat Another Blade. Once her AnotherWatch is broken, the Joker powers are retained inside of the Blade and Chalice RideWatches – Kenzaki says that it’s probably best to keep them sealed, so that he and Hajime can move on with their lives.

On a similar note, it seems as though they have pivoted towards a new Day of Ohma, and White Woz is willingly letting himself be erased now that his future is for sure not happening. He seemed to decide that Black Woz was the one worth keeping alive because he actually managed to make friends. Before he disappears, he gives Black Woz the vague warning that Swartz is more ambitious than they realize.

Meanwhile, Daiki (Kamen Rider Diend) returns to Sogo and Geiz, revealing that he’s taken this world’s greatest treasure: White Woz’s future notebook. He also opens a portal into the Ohma Zi-O future, where the overlord informs his younger self that he still has 6 more RideWatches to collect: Agito, Hibiki, Kabuto, Den-O, Kiva, and Drive. This is the beginning of Sogo’s final conquest.

Just before I watched this arc, I was told by one of the other TokuNet staffers that this was their favorite, and I can see why. It really does serve as an addendum to the finale of Blade, albeit one that fits pretty heavily within the lore of Zi-O. While the ending to that series is fine as is, it doesn’t hurt to receive some closure.

On that note, actually, it’s becoming apparent that things are getting… different. I’m speaking with some foreknowledge here, but it seems like the show has silently retconned how the Another Riders work, because not only do Blade and Chalice get to co-exist with Another Blade, they also don’t have amnesia of their Rider status once Sogo has their RideWatches.

Decade has a finale that was straight up edited after the movie that wrapped up its story, so… I have to wonder, was this decision brought on by fan reaction to how the show was being handled so far? It seems unusual to change this otherwise.

The disappearance of White Woz was somewhat unexpected to me since I’ve been very unsure of how he was going to be written out, and it makes enough sense. I guess this implies that the timeline with all the future Riders no longer exists. And it means I can just go back to referring to Woz by the one name – or two, since the Rider form is also called Woz. Can’t win em all.

But yeah, by this point, the show’s crossover episodes are getting way better.

Ep31: “2001: Awaken, the Agito!”

The police department dealing in unknown lifeforms is working on mass-production of the Kamen Rider G3 system from 2001, when an Another Rider breaks into the practice room. Sogo and the others encounter the monster to discover that it’s based on Kamen Rider Agito, and has the ability to turn others into Another Riders, solely targeting the G3 crew.

Sogo attempts to find Kamen Rider Agito at a restaurant also called Agito, but he, Soichi Tsugami, is studying abroad. However, unbeknownst to them, Soichi has already been informed of the strange circumstances and is on his way back to Japan. Zi-OTrinity takes on the Another Agitos, only to realize they’ve fled the area – meanwhile, Tsukuyomi fends off several Another Agitos, only to be saved by the real Kamen Rider Agito. Swartz appears before Agito, proclaiming he lured him back here to take his power.

Man, this was such a fun one for me. Agito was a show I had low expectations for due to the writer, but I loved it so much. It was nice seeing the actor again, along with yet another child character named Mana, AND Omuro still on the G3 team. The show spoils us with all the returning actors. I was pretty happy to see them immediately call back to the finale of Agito by showing us that Soichi is working at a restaurant, showing that he’s still the same guy from before.

It’s also a very fun idea for an Another Rider. Since we learned that the monsters were called things like Another Ex-Aid, people have joked about – and genuinely wondered – what the show would do with the name Another Agito since it belongs to a Rider in that show. As it turns out, they took the suit of Another Agito, added teeth and eyes, then added the name and year on the chest. Makes sense!

There’s also the bit about how Another Agito infects others in a zombie-like way, which is strangely relevant to the source material? It plays with the Seed of Agito bit, which is what causes Agito and Another Agito to transform and have the power to fight the monsters of their show.

On the Zi-O side, it’s also some further development for the future characters, as Tsukuyomi is finally given some backstory. She lost her memories once she became a resistance member, with her name being a codename – oddly pretty fitting they address this now, because like Agito, she too seems to have amnesia with a shady past. She discovers she can stop time like the Time Jackers, and Swartz alludes to the idea that ignorance is bliss when it comes to her amnesia…

I knew something would probably be going on, based on the shot of her and the Time Jackers in the show’s opening. Very curious about this one.

Ep32: “2001: Unknown Memories”

Agito takes on the swarm of Another Agitos, only for the Time Jackers to jump in and steal his powers, creating the Agito RideWatch. Giving this to the host Another Agito causes him to transform into the Rider, giving them an edge.

Meanwhile, Woz looks into the mysterious circumstances of Tsukuyomi’s time powers. Swartz implying that he, who can grant that power to others, did not grant her these powers, so she may be just like him – however, the exact meaning behind all this is something Woz will be keeping to himself. Being familiar with the idea of having amnesia, Soichi helps Sogo and Geiz out by having a chat with Tsukuyomi to lift her spirits and keep her moving forward.

Zi-O, Geiz and Woz take on a huge swarm of Another Agitos, with a clear goal in mind: Make it to the host and take back Agito’s powers. Aiding them in their goal is a G3 Rider, who turns out to be Soichi finding another way to help them fight. Once they manage to get the RideWatch back, Soichi transforms into Agito’s Trinity Form and joins Zi-OTrinity in one final showdown.

They bid farewell to Soichi, and we end on the note that there are 5 RideWatches remaining.

I really enjoyed this one. Much like the Blade arc, this one plays well with the concepts of Agito. While I could’ve used more of Omuro and Mana, because they mostly just had one or two scenes, I LOVE what they did with Soichi. They made good use of him.

Agito was a show that I loved, and looking back on the actor’s last appearance… he made a very quick cameo in the final scene of Decade‘s All Riders VS Dai-Shocker, where he barely looked recognizable and didn’t seem particularly in character, a wasted cameo overall. Here I felt like I was watching the same charming goofball from the 2001 show.

If there’s any nitpicks, it’s the fact that we actually didn’t get anyone playing the Another Rider, and it was more of an implied motivation rather than any clarification. I suppose chalk that up to being another way the show is shaking things up, doing things differently.

The last fight was also nostalgic since they decided to play the fight song from Agito, of all things! This was a big deal when the episode aired, leading some – along with me – to question why they decided now to do this. It adds more weight, and more personality, when you get to hear music you remember from that series.

Ep33: “2005: Rejoice! Echo! Roar!”

While looking at his elementary school yearbook, Sogo points out a Tsutomu Tsuzumiya, who once dreamed of being an Oni and even trained under the guidance of his master Hibiki – the group recognizes that as Kamen Rider Hibiki, and decides that this might be a good opportunity for them to meet a Rider and obtain their power before trouble starts. Another Hibiki s created from Tsutomu, which gets the attention of not just our heroes, but Todoroki as well – he’s an Oni who’s come to punish the rampaging monster for taking the Oni name in vain.

Todoroki chases after the Another Rider, only for a man named Kyosuke Kiriya to arrive and greet Sogo and the others, calling himself Hibiki. After the situation is explained to him, Kyosuke believes that they need to prove themselves worthy of his power if he ever comes upon a Hibiki RideWatch, so the Riders engage in some Oni training. Woz is particularly fired up, as he tries to figure out how to properly celebrate Sogo’s upcoming birthday.

In the end, Zi-O and Geiz take down Another Hibiki, finding out that Sogo’s old school friend Tsutomu. However, before Sogo can chat, Heure reactivates his AnotherWatch. The Riders start to fight once more, then Kyosuke appears and transforms into an Oni – however, Sogo notices that Kyosuke doesn’t quite look like Hibiki. Todoroki arrives, confirming that Kyosuke never managed to achieve the name of Hibiki.

This is going to be an… interesting arc for me. Hibiki is one of my earlier Rider shows, and I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, this arc is mostly pulling from the second half of that show, which I specifically dislike – especially Kyosuke. It’s a long story, but suffice to say, Kyosuke was a rival introduced for the main character Asumu, which kick started this idea of both of them competing to become Hibiki’s pupil. Despite the entire show being about following your dreams, the finale ultimately has Kyosuke becoming Hibiki’s pupil, with Asumu just randomly deciding to become a doctor instead.

So how did I feel about the episode? Well, it’s got some interesting setup with a former pupil of Hibiki becoming Another Hibiki, and kudos to them for giving him a name that fits the naming scheme of the Riders in that show.

Todoroki was a good character to see coming back, someone who started off a young and inexperienced Oni, now looking and acting like a guy who’s been around the block – even if he isn’t in it much. Kyosuke was one I was interested to learn more about, because… considering how I feel about the finale of that show, I find it surprising that they went the route of him LYING about succeeding Hibiki.

While it’s just a minor touch, I appreciate that they basically decided to end the Heisei era with Sogo’s upcoming birthday – we also get KuugaArmor in the show finally. Neat.

On that note, it’s cool that the final month of the Heisei era has some of the best episodes of Zi-O. A good conclusion to a Blade arc, a solid Agito arc, and a fair setup to a Hibiki arc. Just really knocking it out of the park so far.

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!

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