Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 15 Review: The End of Each
If Episode 14 was the calm before the storm, this episode was a hurricane. So much happens one after the other, which pulls at everyone for one reason another and forces the cast to push their talents to their limits. You can already tell that I can't wait to talk about this, so I'm gonna stop wasting time and just jump into things.
01. Story So FarClick thumbnail to view full-size
The episode opens up with Yua and Isamu discussing the plan to attack the MetsubouJinrai base after the recent battle against Ikazuchi last episode. Now that it's confirmed that their base is in Daybreak Town, they plan to assault the base. Yua looks to Isamu, who shows he's been chugging energy drinks and double-checks to be sure if he's willing to go through with this. Isamu, being Isamu, wants nothing more to destroy Metsuboujinrai.NET.
Speaking of, we see an interesting parallel between Jin and Horobi, and Aruto's crew. Jin makes makeshift graves using the Dodo key and some rocks and tells Horobi that he did research about it. Horobi berates him, saying that he's copying humans by doing so. Although Jin quickly acknowledges Horobi's explanation that they fulfilled their purpose of reviving the Ark, he's a little dejected by Horobi's reaction. On the other side of things, Aruto, Izu and Subaru come and visit the Hiden Family's grave. Subaru notices that Soreo Hiden, Aruto's father is here as well, and Aruto explains some of his parts are buried along here. Subaru questions why this is the case, as he was just a machine, but Aruto mentions that he was more than that. Being that the HumaGears was created by Korenosuke, Aruto recognizes all of them like his own family. This includes both Subaru, Raiden, Izu, and all of the HumaGears they've encountered up to this point--the ones doing their best to provide for Humanity, of course. Subaru disagrees about Raiden, feeling as being a spy discounts him of being family. Aruto tries to convince him otherwise, but it takes Izu to reflect on her relationship with Wazu to drive the point home, by saying that a brother, is a special person to have. This includes a particular flash in her eyes, which happens to Subaru as well when he thinks back to Raiden, however, Subaru stumbles back, as if he has a headache, but before this could be addressed, Izu is notified that A.I.M.S. is moving out towards Daybreak Town. (Note we're coming back to this.)
A.I.M.S.' troops move out to Daybreak Town, where Horobi and Jin are awaiting them, and as Isamu steps up to the plate, Yua tells him to step back and provide cover fire, causing the hothead to snap at her (also coming back to this later.) Yua snaps back calling him deadweight if he aggravates his injuries. Horobi and Jin transform first, followed by Yua. Isamu, being Isamu, disregards Yua, transforming into Assault Wolf and jumping into the fray before she can so much as react. It ends up becoming Horobi vs Valkyrie and Jin vs Vulcan, the fights dragging deeper into the area, where Isamu gains an upper hand on Jin, and Valkyrie who is losing against Horobi, is saved by Shinning Hopper Zero-One, who completely flips the odds against Horobi, and showing how much of a difference four episodes can make. He finishes Horobi off with the Authorize Buster's Zero-One Dust finisher. Jin cries out to Horobi, although he's not fairing any better, and Isamu decides to finish things off here as well, activating his finisher. Horobi realizes Jin's imminent fate, and the Ark suddenly responds, syncing with Horobi. He acknowledges the Ark's desire and takes Vulcan's Magnetic Storm Blast Fever finisher, which, blows Horobi across to the other side of the lake, mortally wounded.
Isamu overdoes it and the Rider System forces a shutdown, making him fall unconscious on Yua and Aruto. Izu walks up to Jin and a dying Horobi, and Izu casually proclaims that the commander of MetsubouJinrai has fallen. This sets off Jin who can't comprehend why she's smiling at the dismay of a fellow HumaGear, causing him to impale Izu in the stomach with one of his tendrils. Aruto rushes to catch her as she drops in his arms, and she shutdown, throwing Aruto into sheer panic while Jin carries Horobi's body back into the lake.
Amatsu Gai, meanwhile is all smiles, saying that MetsubouJinrai barely put up a fight. Yua corrects him, saying that the battle wasn't as subtle as he's making it out to be, and it briefly pans back to the troops all bandaged up and broken, with Isamu hooked up to an IV. Yua makes sure to mention Isamu's condition. Amatsu shrugs at the seriousness of the situation, saying that MetsubouJinrai's defeat shows that Kamen Riders are projecting to be next-gen weaponry and that she and Isamu are creating the world's next mythology. Yua reluctantly accepts this and walks out, with Amatsu saying that the pace of the Ark's revival will move by 999% percent.
Aruto and Subaru get Izu back to the lab and they lay her down on a table. Subaru asks what Aruto is planning and, still in a panic, he claims he going to fix her, racing to the wall of tools and grabbing everything and anything. He slips and crashes to the floor, clearly distressed at the events. Fukuzoe and his posse, strolling in now of all times, rub a jar of salt in Aruto's open wounds, causing him to tell them to screw off in the nicest way he can at the moment. Fukuzoe being the inconsiderate jerk that he is, refuses, demanding for Aruto to fix the mess that's still lingering on concerning Hiden's image. Aruto says he's more worried about fixing Izu, prompting them to respond that she's replaceable. Aruto rejects that, saying that Izu is his family and she was just learning the concept of it herself. Which is why saving her takes priority. He begs them for more time to deal with MetsubouJinrai, but regardless of his plea, they set about to have an emergency board meeting the next day in order to see what they are to do about Aruto's status as President. Once they leave, Subaru suggests using the 3-D Printer and Satellite Zea to fix her.
Meanwhile, Jin having a similar idea to use Ark to fix Horobi, is stopped by Horobi himself, saying that his death was declared by the Ark to aid Jin to reach Singularity. Raising him like a son, and dying before him, were triggers to motivate intense hatred for Humanity within him. Horobi then passes away and this triggers Jin to achieve Singularity, igniting a massive surge of power through the Ark which triggers a plethora of printers in a secret factory that mass produces an army of Trilobyte Magia. Back in Hiden Intelligence, the pair manage to get Izu into the printer, and Subaru tells Zea to repair her, which it acknowledges. Aruto thanks Subaru for the idea, and Subaru explains that its because they're family that he wants to save Izu too. Aruto tells a bad joke, once that Subaru doesn't understand, and one that Aruto apologizes for making.
Back at A.I.M.S., Yua finds Isamu lying on the couch and tells him if he refuses to go to a hospital then at least go to the infirmary. As expected, Isamu tells her to back off, and that's when they're alerted of the sudden spike of rampaging HumaGears. Yua orders to deploy the Gigers, but even they're unresponsive to her shock. Isamu takes it as a call to action, and naturally Yua snaps at him. Isamu bites back and they stare each other down. Aruto watches Izu's repairing with impatience and a calmer Subaru informs Aruto of MetsubouJinrai's activity, forcing him to part with Izu.
A.I.M.S. arrives on the scene where hacked Gigers are destroying buildings and the Trilobytes go on a spree, attacking civilians, while Jin watches. Yua and Isamu arrive, and Isamu throws the question at Jin, as to why they've gone so far to kill Humanity, and Jin explains that the Ark declares that if they don't then everything else dies as a result. Not keen on that answer, Yua and Isamu transform. They begin fighting the Trilobytes, but Isamu's strained body holds him back, to Jin's amusement. Being overwhelmed in the process, causes Yua to react. She forces the key out of his ShotRiser and takes his weapon, dual-wielding against the remaining footsoldiers before a Giger is ordered to swoop in and take her out. She's knocked out in one hit. Yua questions how he's about to control the Giger like that, and he replies that its because he's awakened.
Aruto suddenly swoops in with Pressing Mammoth and wipes out the Gigers and the footsoldiers. Aruto approaches Jin, and acknowledges that he hates Humans. But he also prompts the question of what he thinks of HumaGears. Jin calls them friends, but Aruto calls him out, for hurting Izu, as well as all of the other ones prior who've been hacked. Each and everyone of them. Jin claims that its the Will of the Ark, and transforms. Aruto swears to fight for the peace of both Humans and HumaGear, causing Satellite Zea to instruct him to get the Assault Wolf key. Aruto unexpectedly pulls the grip off the Assault Wolf key, and attaches it to his Shining Hopper key. And after scanning it, this causes both Zea and Ark to beam to a single point, which creates an armor that mixes both Shining Hopper and Assault Wolf. And inserting the key, transforms Aruto into Zero-One: Shining Assault Hopper. Armed with the Authorize Buster's Axe Mode, he leaps into action, the final battle between the Riders and MetsubouJinrai set to culminate to this one final fight...
02. CharactersClick thumbnail to view full-size
I can't even begin to describe how much everyone shined in this episode. Everyone's chemistry was on point and I just couldn't get enough of it. So let's go down the list:
Aruto and Izu: Aruto was left reeling after watching Izu go down, and emotionally he was spiraling, which is such a 180 from how he is usually. Kudos to his actor for being able to show how much he cares for Izu and HumaGears in general, and also kudos for not letting Fukuzoe and his posse get to him in this dire moment. In Izu's case, I have QUESTIONS in all caps, because after re-watching the episode for this review, I've seen some things that are making the conspiracy gears in my head start churning. We'll come back to this as I said before.
Isamu and Yua: They're back to being an old married couple and I'm glad to see it. Even more so this time around, because Yua isn't acting in the interest of Gai when it comes to showing concern for the stubborn Isamu. She's legitimately concerned over his wellbeing. And singling out to Amatsu that Isamu's injuries are severe shows that she wanted him to know that. We can see now though that her feelings towards him from Episode 2 until now at Episode 15, show that she's gone from someone who only saw him as a test subject to someone that she cares about. A friend. And by the looks of it, probably the only person she trusts. Isamu likewise is back to just being as adamant and hard ridden as he always been, which is pushing the former to be more protective than ever.
Horobi and Jin: Horobi surprisingly didn't do much except serve as a plot device to push Jin. Actually, Horobi really does take a backseat in retrospect, as now he really does sound like a motivator for Jin when you think about it. He calls Jin his son because the Ark says so. He sacrifices himself for Jin, because the Ark says so. Everything he's done is so Jin could reach Singularity, because the Ark says so... Not gonna lie when you realize that calm and calculative Horobi was nothing but a cult follower for a busted satellite, it kinda diffuses his character.
Jin on the other hand, who I'm still banking on being the HumaGear Messiah towards the end of the series, really has character development. He starts the episode making graves for his fallen friends. Something he learned from humans. He attacks Izu because he can't come to grips that she's taking delight in Horobi's demise, being that they're HumaGears. And then Aruto explains to Jin that every thing he's done up to this point is not anything "friends" do. Again, something that he's learned from Humans. With that said, lets move on to the Theme Section so you guys can see where I'm going with this.
03. ThemeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Jin's character represents the development of a child. From Episode 1's childlike persona to Episode 15's calm, cool teenage aesthetic post Singularity, its almost like Jin is going through the motions and growing up. Ep 6 has him learning about parents, and Aruto explains to him why Seine's father is acting the way he is towards her. In the episodes between Ep7 and 13, with Lil' Assassin, he panics when ZAIA (presumably) kidnaps him, gets jealous when Horobi says Lil' Assassin might surpass Jin, is upset when he turns on them, then in Ep14 he's heartbroken when Ikazuchi is destroyed (even though I argued that point but I digress), And in this episode, Aruto once again teaches Jin another life lesson about how to treat your friends. Heck, in the beginning of the episode, he admits to Horobi that he learned about graves and paying respect to your friends! For the backstabber and the 30-second brother figure! Which Horobi rejects outright!
Jin is doing exactly what he was created to do, yet he finds himself struggling because of the Will of the Ark, which he blindly follows because he was told to, even if he doesn't know why he's following it. He implies that he wants to be free to do what he wants, which is probably why of all the Progrise keys he could've had he had Flying Falcon, the one that gave him Wings to soar unbounded, and the one that could grant him the freedom that he doesn't realize he wants.
So besides all that, Family. Aruto and Izu being two halves of the same coin, Raiden and Subaru being brothers, Horobi being father and son and Yua and Isamu being the series OTP (fight me). There is so much in this episode that brings out everything we've learned about these characters and cranks it up to eleven, showing how much they've developed in the few months since the show premiered. And at the end of the day, like the binary trope that I obsessively bring up, the zeroes and ones reflect how conflicting personalities compliment each other which leads to beautiful storytelling and compelling narratives.
04. Final Thoughts, What We Learned, and Questions Going ForwardClick thumbnail to view full-size
Episodes 1-14 Questions
Potential Answers/What We Learned
Questions Going Forward
What if it takes a massive emotional event, such as emotional trauma to trigger Singularity? The most defining trait of being Human is raw emotion. Could it be that Singularity triggers when a HumaGear experiences the defining trait that makes them "human?" (Episode 14)
This may be the case with Jin, who suddenly reacts when Horobi dies. Oddly enough though, Singularity has made Jin a much calmer and mature person,like he grew up in a way
Being that Jin's awakening proved to be very different from other HumaGears who've reached this point, is this really Jin reaching Singularity, or another factor entirely that aided in the Ark's sudden supercharge?
When thinking about Wazu, The camera zooms into Izu's eyes showing the circuitry. However when this happens to Subaru right after, he reacts differently, as if he has a headache. This isn't touched on any further, as Izu's situation takes all of Aruto's attention.
Is this a sign that the both of them have achieved Singularity, relating to the intense emotional events of losing their loved ones? Once again, does this event, among other possibilities make them "human?"
When activating Shining Assault Hopper, both Zea AND Ark reacted, creating the combination that is the new form.
If Shining Assault Hopper utilizes the data from both Zea and Ark, what will this mean for Aruto going forward? How does this benefit the Ark in any way?
Amatsu mentions that with MetsubouJinrai's defeat, the Ark's ressurection rate is at 999%
Being that Amatsu is noticeably intriguied by percentages, why does he state that its only going to accelerate to 999% instead of a full 1000%? What is this missing 1%?
Izu suddenly appeared before Jin and Horobi when the latter was defeated, causing her to acknowledge that Horobi has fallen.
Why? Why did she approach them, knowing the danger and the recklessness of such a statement? Was she instructed to approach them? If so, then was she to play a factor in Jin's development? And was it Zea, or Ark who told her to approach them? Or could it be for her OWN singularity, one of which we don't have any clues on outside of the one scene with her eyes?
Subaru doesn't appear after Aruto leaves him with Izu. And being that he as well had a similar moment as Izu did, and the camera angle focusing on this, this scene has relevance and doesn't dismiss Subaru for the story just yet.
This is to presume that Subaru will return...so the question is will he? And will he be important to the mystery of Singularity in the future?
This episode was just perfect. The intensity, the emotion, the message, and the characters REALLY knocked it out of the park. I remember watching the episode when it aired the first time and I was just so mad I had to wait a week to see what was gonna happen. So obviously, this episode gets a perfect score, hands down, no questions asked. Which means that Episode 16 is going to have to top it.
As always, Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 14 has fansubs in English, being done by Ridertime Subs, Over-Time Subs and TVNihon throughout the week of its airing (Between Sunday-Thursday depending on the group). Meanwhile, Kamen Rider Zero-One airs every Sunday at 9AM JST/ Saturday 7PM EST, so look out for those as well.
That's it for me. Onward to Episode 16. Until then you guys, thanks for reading and I'll catch you all later.