Monday, September 30, 2019

Kamen Rider Zero-One. Episode 1 - I'm President Kamen Rider. Summary/Review


The future had arrived a few weeks ago and that future is Kamen Rider Zero-One.  Not only is it a new season of Kamen Rider, it's also the first Kamen Rider of a new era.  We are now in the Reiwa Era, meaning that there's a lot of pressure for the show (not really, I just thought that part sounded cool).  Anyway, let's see if this first episode will be good or not in this exciting summary and review of the first episode of Kamen Rider Zero-One.  (Click o "Read More" to read the full article.)





Summary

We are in the future! A future that opens up with a commercial for a line of androids called Humagear.  These androids look human just like us.  They were made to help with our jobs.  You know, invented to basically replace us.  After the ad, the news pops up and reports that the inventor of the humagear (Korenosuke Hiden) has passed on.

We are now introduced to the hero of this season, Aruto Hiden.  He is an aspiring stand-up comedian that works at a theme park called Giggling Dreamland.  Well, he did work there until he got fired for not drawing enough of a crowd.  To rub more dirt in his eyes, Aruto gets replaced with a big buff terminator like humagear whose gimmick is that he makes his abs explode.

Meanwhile, at Hiden Intelligence (the building that makes the humagear) we have a new boss in town.  He is stereotypical greasy business man, doing a cliché greasy business man take over.  Meaning, he is putting his portrait up everywhere.  Little does he realize, there is a group of hackers in some weird location plotting to hack all of the humagear, so they can use them to take over the world.  Cliché plot is cliché.  The company sends a female humagear named Izu to pick up Aruto, so that he'll be at his grandfather's will reading.  Yes, Korenosuke was Aruto's grandfather.


Big muscular terminator comedy exploding abs humagear is reminiscing about how awesome his gig was.  He shouldn't have let his guard down because he ends up getting hacked by one of the hackers.  What does the hacker hack him with?  If you had said an evil belt buckle then you'd be both extremely high and extremely correct.

The will reading is taking place and I bet that you can guess what happens here.  It's very obvious and predictable to the point where I don't need to say what happens.  I will though because I like to hurt people.  First of all, Korenosuke warns the company about an on coming robot apocalypse (that's not the predictable part) and Aruto is appointed as the new president of the company. (That's the predictable part.)  The greasy business man isn't too happy about this until Aruto turns down the job.  Oh yeah, the president of the company also gets the right to be a Kamen Rider.  That part is soo bad that it's awesome.

We now get a flashback as to why Aruto wants to be a comedian.  It all started when he was a kid.  You see, Aruto had a humagear friend and he tried to make him laugh.  Sadly, a huge judgement day like explosion happens and this killed his humagear friend.  Before he died, the humagear told Aruto to stick with his dream.  THAT'S IT!  I'm sure we'll see more to this flashback in future episodes, but I don't think I'll be sticking around 'till then.  This plot is absolutely terrible so far.



Aruto returns to Giggling Wonderland to mope for God only knows what reason.  Lucky that he had because he sees the now evil explodo robo abs humagear beating up the patrons of the park, while also turning other humagear into his putty like minions.  (A-BLOO-BLOO-A-BLOO-BLOO!)  Big terminator evil humagear also morphs into a giant mantis.  Aruto tries to stop Mantis, but he just gets beaten up.  The police also show up to fight the evil humagear and they are packing some serious heat.  Yes, they are using guns with bullets to blow the humagear to hell.

Aruto gives a big heroic speech to Mantis and accepts the role of being president of Hiden Intelligence and...  IT'S HENSHIN TIME, BABY!  Well, nearly.  First Aruto has to be sent into the Matrix...  I mean that he gets his brain waves sent into a giant satellite where he must go though a tutorial about how to use the kamen rider outfit.  After that... IT'S HENSHIN TIME, BABY!  Aruto morphs into Kamen Rider Zero-One and kicks the shit out of Mantis and his minions.

Izu throws a suitcase at Kamen Rider which hits him in the head (*Crickets*), then Kamen Rider turns it into a blade and slices up more minions.  One of the hackers is watching the battle and he is attacked by one of the minions.  What the hacker does next is something that you certainly won't see in English adaptations of tokusatsu.  The hacker grabs the minion, puts a gun to its head, then pulls the trigger.

After dodging some awful CG mantis blades and diving though an awkward CG flying bus, Kamen Rider finishes off Mantis with his version of the rider kick called the rising impact.  After Mantis has been defeated, Kamen Rider slides on to the ground and badly twists his ankle in another unfunny crickets worthy gag moment.  The park has been saved, the hackers now know of Kamen Riders existence, and Aruto rides off into the sunset in his limousine.  That wraps up this shitfest of a first episode that is Kamen Rider Zero-One.


Review

Think of every sci-fi movie in existence, roll them up into a twenty-five minute action kids show, and you've got the first episode of Kamen Rider Zero-One.  Seriously, there's not one single spec of originally to be found in the story of this first episode.  You've got a robot apocalypse (Terminator and I-Robot), a big corporation with corrupted members (Robocop), you've got a hero that must step up and be a man (The Matrix), people corrupting things (The Matrix Returns), you've also got a part where our hero gets transported to a cyber world (Oh No, It's The Matrix).

Okay, I must admit that the idea of the president of Hiden Intelligence getting the right to be Kamen Rider is a fun idea.  I can see this story going into interesting places with that.  Other than that, the tropes weren't even fun or enjoyable.  It's just bland and lazy writing.  It could've been saved if the characters were interesting, but they are about as one-dimensional as they come.  I know, I know! That sounds a bit unfair due to this being the first episode.  But, all of the other Kamen Rider series I have watched gave you enough development and reason to support those main characters from the get go.  This one does not.

The gag humor during the fights is something that I should enjoy seeing it is classic slapstick humor.  I didn't enjoy it though and found it painfully forced and unfunny.  Although, it does oddly work with the main character seeing as he is supposed to be a failure of a comedian.  While it was painful in this episode, I can see it improving as the show goes along.



The acting is the most cheesy that I have seen in a tokusatsu in a long time and it can be compared to the likes of the dreaded Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie and the Ninja Turtles crossover from Power Rangers in Space.  Not only that, everything felt so unnatural and forced to the point where I couldn't take any of it seriously.  This is bad coming from a guy that likes watching shows with bad acting in them.

The costumes are generic, but not terrible and they really suit the tone of the show.  I like how the humagear have robot ears, it's basic but effective, granted it's also very cliché.  Kamen Rider's costume is just a fluorescent green outfit with the standard grasshopper helmet.  It's very basic and toned down compared to the costumes of the prior seasons, but it keeps in tone as to what Kamen Rider is supposed to be.

The outfits for the hackers do also follow this rule, but I find them laughably bad due to how it looks like the most cliché hacker costume of all time.  It's just people wearing hoodies and it looks like something you'd find in a one dollar shops costume section.  I can't really complain about costumes for the police characters.  They are what you'd expect them to be and are appropriate for their characters.  I know, a generic and cliché statement.  Oh, the irony of it all.  *Chugs down some wine*



There's a lot of awkward CG in this episode.  From seeing the humagears terminator like skeletons, a giant metal grass hopper jumping around the place,  cheesy fake explosions, to a scene where Kamen Rider is jumping though a bus window that looked like it wasn't even finished in time for the episode.  Yeah, it's hard not to cringe, wince, or cry at what is going on and it does kill the mood.  I will give them credit for using CG when they had to instead of because they wanted to... Excluding the giant jumping metal grasshopper.

There's a shit ton of action in this episode.  So much that it got a little bit too hard to keep track of.  That's not me nit-picking, the action was pretty decent although some of it could've been shortened to add in some character development.  You'll see some fun martial arts, crazy special effects, and surprisingly, a lot of gun violence.  I'm not talking about pew pew pew laser guns. I'm talking the kind that shoots bullets.  You don't see anything gory or anything, only robots are ever shot at in this show.  It's just the sheer sight of seeing proper guns being used in a kids show is something I am not used to seeing in this modern day and age.  I also found it quite enjoyable.


Overall, a very shit way to open up a season.  It is so bad that it has soured my entire experience with this season.  No matter if it gets good or not, this episode just kills the mood.  Don't worry, I'm still going to cover the show, but not in the episode by episode review format.  I do not want to do that!  Anyway, I give this episode a terrible score of a 3 out of 10.  That's just one point higher than the infamous seventeenth episode of Kamen Rider Black.  However, that was merely a mid-season filler episode while this is the bloody season opening.

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