A new season, a new Kamen Rider, and a new summary and review series. This is Kaiser Sensei here, the Kamen Rider guy for the website and I'm super excited. Why? Because the next Kamen Rider season has started. The format to this series will be the same as my Kamen Rider Black series (check it out), where I go over what happens in the episode (AKA I spoil the f**k out of what is going on), followed by my review on the episode. Yup, I'll be doing this for every single episode of the series, so keep an eye out. But anyway, it is time for my summary and review of the first episode of Kamen Rider Zi-O and this weeks episode is called: Kingdom 2068. (Click on "Read More" to see the full article... even if you don't want to read the darn thing).
This episode opens up with a mysterious Masked Rider in a black and gold costume, causing chaos and destruction at a Kamen Rider memorial. People are trying their best to stop him with their guns and rockets... But this mysterious guy just shakes them off like they are nothing and wipes them out with ease. Here's where we get our first plot twist and it's a doozy right from the get go as the mysterious Kamen Rider is none other our main hero, Sougo but fifty years into the future. How do we know this? Well, someone is showing him a video of it and he is shocked, so he runs outside and gets chased by a T-Rex and then the intro cues... What?
Bonus Review: The Intro
Since this is the first episode of the series, I gotta review the opening, closing, and the eye catch. I like how this intro opens up as it kicks in (no pun intended) with an anniversary image saying 20 Kicks in celebration of when this reboot era started, which was back in the year 2000. Next we get an epic voice over explaining the Kamen Rider powers for this season. After that voice introduction we see the characters walking across the screen and transforming into Kamen Riders. The transformation effect they used is a bit trippy as when they were transforming, the background was spinning but the characters were still walking in place.
Lastly, we just see action scenes of the characters, nothing too special here. As for the tune that played, it worked with what was going on but it also has an outdated techno and dubstep sound that got in the way of the rest of the song. Overall, the intro is harmless but I will be skipping it in future episodes. By the way, there's no eye-catch or closing credits in this episode... Well, not in the video that I watched. Now back to the summary and review of Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 1.
It wouldn't be a Kamen Rider series if we didn't cut back to where it all began and we cut back to Sougo, whom has just finished high school for the day. While on his way back he runs into a friend and they talk about how Sougo just wants to be a king (cue the Lion King soundtrack) but his friend tells him that he needs to grow up and then gives Sougo a big ol' Judo Throw... That's not as mean spirited as I made it out to be, I ensure you that the conversation was friendly. Once Sougo gets up from the ground, he notices some weird device that's on his bicycle seat and this device looks very familiar as it looks just like a Kamen Rider Transformer... That's because it is, but Sougo doesn't know that yet (Sougo doesn't know! Sougo doesn't know! Don't tell Sougo! Because Sougo doesn't know). Oh, yeah, Sougo is also being followed by a giant red robot.
Sougo rides home, which is also a clock shop and gets into a conversation with his uncle about his future and if he is going to take his entrance exam. Sougo says that he isn't going to take the exam and claims that he is going to be a king and then walks away. Sougo's uncle becomes sad as he had test forms to get Sougo to a very good school but now he has to throw them away because Sougo wants to be KING! Sougo goes for a bike ride and is met by a mysterious hooded person with a giant book, this strange man warns him about the big red robot but Sougo is just confused about what's going on... Then the big red robot comes out and chases down Sougo. I'm starting to suspect that some Minority Report s**t is going down.
Could this be the end of Sougo?... Nope! Because lucky for him, he gets rescued by a mysterious girl piloting a big black robot. The big black robot is also a time machine and so the mysterious girl transports them to the Prehistoric Age of the Dinosaurs and this is where the flashback ends and now we are caught up with Sougo being chased by the T-Rex... The dinosaur and not the psychedelic rock band. The Mysterious Girl saves Sougo from the big cute dinosaur and they warp to the year, 1671 *ghost sounds*.
Sougo finally gets the hang of time travel and then the mysterious girl reveals her name, Tsukuyomi and she is from the future of 2068 and her goal is to capture Sougo and change the past... Or something like that, this scene isn't 100% clear and a bit on the vague side. Tsukuyomi then talks to Sougo about the item he found on his bicycle seat and how it will grant him a lot of power but it will also be the same power that'll lead him into becoming the evil overlord of the future. We start to see signs of Sougo's heel turn already as he gets excited to have the power and doesn't seem to mind for now that it'll make him an evil overlord as he just wants to be king... But then the item doesn't react to him at all.
Meanwhile, outside of the place that our heroes (or are they?) are eating at, a fight goes on and Tsukuyomi manages to get Sougo involved. Sougo ends up being ganged up on by all of the people in the fight and they just throw him into the river. Tsukuyomi is left worried as now she thinks that she has captured the wrong person. Sougo is happy that he got thrown in the river as all of the people that were fighting each other are now getting along with each other. Remember the guy controlling the big red rbot? Well, he is Gez, another person from the future of 2068 and he has found Sougo and Tsukuyomi... RUH OH!
Sougo and Tsukuyomi start to travel though time once again but Gez catches up and knocks them out of the time stream to where Sougo gets attacked by a monster. Sougou is saved by some faces that should be very familiar to Kamen Rider fans. Yup, he is rescued by Kamen Rider Build and Kamen Rider Cross-Z (although, I have to admit that I still need to watch that series myself) . Kamen Rider Build and Cross-Z take Sougou to a café, where they are trying to make sense of Sougo's morpher as it is technology that's well beyond their very own. Sougo goes on about how he is going to become king (for the 50th time) and while he is doing so, they get shot by Tsukuyomi... Good thing she has her blaster set to stun and not kill. The reason is quite simple, it can be too dangerous interacting with people too much in the past... Not that it stopped them before.
Back to the street where a mysterious hooded person saves a guy from getting hit by a car but only does so for their own personal gain. What this hooded person does is that they turn the guy into an evil version of Kamen Rider Build. Sougo wakes up back home and talks to his Uncle about how he is going to be a evil king in the future and how he is bummed out about that. Sougo then walks outside and spots Evil Kamen Rider Build sucking the souls out of people and gets worried about it. Sougo starts to fight Evil Kamen Rider Build but Tsukuyomi jumps in and starts helping out Sougo by blasting at Evil Kamen Rider Build... Oh, that mysterious hooded man with the book also returns and he is hoping that Sougo will embrace his path to evil.
Now Sougo must think very hard about what to do next as he knows that he needs to use his power to save the day but he also knows that by doing so that he is following the path that'll lead him to becoming evil himself. What does Sougo do? He chooses to embrace his destiny and this can only mean one thing... IT'S HENSHIN TIME, BABY! Sougo transforms into Kamen Rider Zi-O and now he can have an even fight with Evil Kamen Rider Build. Kamen Rider Zi-O is doing pretty well until he gets knocked over but he then gains a sword and finishes off Evil Kamen Rider Build with a Zi-O Edge Slash. Every thing is back to normal and the day has been saved!.. Actually, I think we're pretty much f****d now as we have a Kamen Rider on the path of evil... Okay, it's not over as Gez shows up and he has a trick of his own as it's henshin time again, Gez transforms into Kamen Rider Geiz... And that's the end of the episode.
What did I think of this episode? Well, it was okay, nothing terrible but it didn't have that pop of excitement that you should get from a first episode. This episode is nothing but setup which isn't a bad thing on its own but it needed something a little bit more, maybe something that would've gotten me behind the main character a bit more. I don't hate the main character but he was a bit one dimensional writing wise, the actor that played him did a fine job but this character also has a lot of potential and this episode is setting that up nicely. Actually, that could be said about this entire episode as the main thing that it is setting up is really interesting and I am curious to see what direction it goes in. It is great seeing that we did get to see past Kamen Riders in this show and that's one of the things that I am looking forward to seeing more of in the future. This crossover format is a good way to get people into a Kamen Rider show that they haven't seen, it's also good fan service to the fans as well. The idea of making the monster of the week to be an evil version of a previous Kamen Rider is also an interesting concept.
The action scenes were basic but fun to watch, despite it having a lot of s****y CG that look more rubbery than the monsters in the classic series. The transformation effect in this is trippy as the background spins while the characters stand in place and can be a little headache inducing. The new Kamen Rider costume is pretty snazzy, I liked the clean look and the purple colors.
Overall, I feel a bit bad being a bit mixed on this considering it's only a part one of what looks like a two part first episode... But this isn't a review of multiple episodes at once, this a review of each episode as a single episode and as a stand alone episode it isn't the best but gives me hope as to what this series can achieve. I'm giving this episode a 6 out of 10, even so, I'm still looking forward to seeing the rest of the series.
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