Review of Kamen Rider Zi-O (Episodes 38-41)
Team TokuNet Writer Malunis reviews the episodes of Kamen Rider Zi-O that aired in June 2019. In reviewing this month’s episodes, the review will also talk about spoilers for Kabuto and Den-O.
Ep38: “2019: The One Chosen by Kabuto”
With far too big of a meteorite headed their way, a plan is formed to take it down using WozGinga and FourzeArmor. However, Kageyama and Yaguruma capture Kagami, using him as a bargaining chip so that they surrender the watches needed to stop the meteorite. It seems that Kageyama is set on having his Worm bretheren from the meteorite collide with the Earth. The Time Jackers can’t have that, so they steal the watches back.
Meanwhile, Tsukuyomi goes to 2058 with Tsukasa, only to find her younger self and a young man dressed in black, who identify them as time travelers. Swartz intervenes, giving Tsukuyomi the watches in order to save the planet, giving her the clue that her power is also needed.
With their watches returned, WozGinga and Zi-O take on the meteorite while Geiz and Gatack fight Kick Hopper and Punch Hopper. In his time of need, the Kabuto Zecter appears and acknowledges Kagami, allowing him to transform into Kabuto. GeizRevive and Kabuto finish off the two, destroying the fake Kageyama and the Another Kabuto Watch. With Tsukuyomi’s time powers, they’re also able to stop the meteorite.
The Kabuto Zecter then turns into the Kabuto RideWatch, which Kagami trusts with Sogo. With that, another watch is obtained – and the group hears the sound of a train whistle… as we see the Den-Liner appear.
This was a really good arc. As I’ve said before, Kabuto was my first toku, so I was glad to see it being handled with some amount of care. The motivations for Kageyama and Yaguruma felt very in-character, and the focus that Kagami had in this episode was really heartwarming.
The fact that Kagami got acknowledged by the Kabuto Zecter comes from aaall the way back in episode 1 of Kabuto, where Kagami was supposed to be the one to use it, only for it to instead fly into the hands of another person. I’ll be honest, as someone who enjoys the main character’s antics, this was probably the more interesting route since it adds some closure. Soji Tendo is basically perfect, so he’d just be worth bringing in if you wanted a cool episode, not a heartfelt one.
Ep39: “2007: Den-Liner Crash!”
The Den-Liner crashes, getting the attention of Geiz and Tsukuyomi. The Imagin leave the train, then go to Sogo’s place – they’re here to meet Sogo’s uncle so that he can fix the Den-Liner, since it’s more like a clock than a train. When Another Den-O comes into existence, Zi-O and the others try to take him on, but Zeronos (Yuto Sakurai) and Deneb show up. They’re aware of the fact that Ohma Zi-O will eventually destroy the world, so they don’t want him to obtain “the ultimate power”.
Not only do they have Zeronos to deal with, but a Mole Imagin also has a connection with the person Another Den-O has a grudge with. As it turns out, Momotaros has the Den-O RideWatch on him, which he gives to Sogo so that he can do something about the Another Rider. Suddenly, all of the RideWatches come together, forming the GrandZi-O RideWatch…
I looove Kamen Rider Den-O. Before Zi-O, really before Gaim, it was so unheard of to have returning actors, but the Den-O cast was always able to come back – minus the main actor who is insanely popular now. Since this is such a celebratory show, it’s great getting all of the Imagin voice actors back, along with Zeronos’ actor… a second time. He did a good job of reprising the worst character in Hibiki, so it’s nice to see him follow that up by playing his better role.
Anytime you get the Imagin together, it’s a fun time. I loved what they did with Sogo’s uncle, as well as Momotaros as Geiz. They did everything you needed to do for that: People reacting to him as Geiz, Momotaros fighting as GeizRevive and doing his usual fighting style (aaand not knowing how the gadgets work), then finally using him in Zi-OTrinity. It was exactly the kind of tone I wanted out of a Den-O arc.
It’s also nice of this episode to open with a peak into the next episode’s climactic fight, considering the show took a break for a week. Always seems to be when a big form is about to debut, eh?
Ep40: “2017: Grand Climax!”
Sogo has just obtained the GrandZi-O RideWatch, but when Yuto tells Momotaros that he would eventually become an overlord, Momotaros takes back the Den-O RideWatch, and Yuto decides to deal with the Imagin victim that’s connected to Another Den-O. Sogo and the others also take matters into their own hands, finding out what caused Another Den-O to hate the Imagin victim in the first place – in gently dealing with the situation, Sogo shows both Momotaros and Deneb that he’s not a bad guy.
Finally, the Another Rider and Mole Imagin take on the Riders, and Sogo once again has the GrandZi-O RideWatch. Using his newfound powers, GrandZi-O unleashes a variety of attacks on Another Den-O while the other Riders defeat the army of Mole Imagin. Once all is said and done, GrandZi-O is suddenly warped to 2068, where Ohma Zi-O wishes to test his new powers…
This… was a very fun episode all around. It had a little less of the other Imagin since it involved them being kidnapped, but Momotaros and Deneb have some fun moments.
But of course… we must talk about GrandZi-O. The final form of the series. It’s certainly a busy design, but to that I say it deserves to be – it represents 20 years of Kamen Rider history, and in a way I find kind of clever. It looks like some sort of family tree of heroes, and the ability to summon Riders from specific episodes is a detail I wish to see get used more. The very obtuse Den-O summon was a blast, and I like that it isn’t just limited to Riders – WEAPONS can be summoned, so anything Toei still has lying around can show up!
And the battle itself is a lot of fun. Not only do you have a GrandZi-O fight, you also get the best of Den-O and Zeronos. Much like Woz, I don’t think there’s not much to say beyond that – bask in the moment.
Ep41: “2019: The World, Reset”
Although GrandZi-O seems like he has reached his peak, Ohma Zi-O manages to overpower him. Sogo is then taken back to 2019, because the future has changed – Hiryu Kakogawa, who previously held a grudge with him as Another Zi-O, has become an overlord and has left the city in ruin, and no one remembers Sogo. With Geiz seeing him as the overlord, and Woz joining Hiryu’s side, Sogo must fight Another Zi-O II alone. Tsukasa (Decade) is here, and gives Sogo reason to carry on, just as Geiz shows up to fight him…
This is the start of a unique arc, following up on that open-ended climax with Another Zi-O where his AnotherWatch reformed. It’s certainly an interesting story to tell in a time travel show, though it does make me think of how the show has gone back and forth on its rules. That said, I can put that aside and enjoy it for what it is.
There are other things to be said, but obviously, we have two more episodes of this, so I can get to those another time. Probably soon!