Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 3 Review: That Man, Sushi Chef
After the press conference held the episode prior, Aruto continues to push forward, dropping by various businesses to raise awareness of MetsubouJinrai.Net's threat concerning the HumaGear. Coincidentally (or is it?) Yua Yaiba of A.I.M.S. happens to run into him at a 3-Star Sushi Restaraunt and shows that her perception of HumaGears is clearly different than Isamu's. The Head Chef and owner of said restaurant, however, isn't fond of the HumaGear, saying that it lacks a heart. This sets up the episode as it delves into a common story trope in a setting like this. So without further ado, let's jump right into Episode 3: This Man, Sushi Chef
01. Story So FarClick thumbnail to view full-size
Moving away from Aruto and co. We see Jin and Horobi rewatching the footage of both fights from the previous episodes. Hiden Intelligence and A.I.M.S. both have countermeasures to combat them, and Jin, ever carefree asks curiously if Horobi is really going to ignore them. Horobi tells them that their presence isn't stopping what's already taking place, being that the Magia project is already in effect. The Ark, (the device I previously speculated to be a fallen BS-ZA satellite in my Ep 1 review) will be restored without any delays on their part, just as long as they get as much data from the Magia as possible. That said, he sends Jin off on another errand to corrupt another "awakened" HumaGear. This point I'll come back to.
Back at Hiden Intelligence, Jun criticizes Aruto's unconventional way of doing things, being that he's going to this various Humagear-established businesses. Shesta explains the reasoning being so he can investigate any leads on MetsubouJinrai.NET, while setting the contract with the business to allow the HumaGears to be used at the establishment. Jun figures this to be a win for him, in that either the contract goes through, or it fails and shows Aruto's inadequacy of being the president, giving him a reason to force him out. The three of them do a maniacal laugh (Shesta especially is comical due to her emotionless robotic tone)
Yua shows her phone to Ikkan Nigiro (The Sushi Chef HumaGear) and Izu informs Aruto that HumaGear can scan Risephones to adapt to their customer's wishes. In this case, scanning Yua's phone allows Nigiro to make a sushi dish thats specific for her. Yua here makes her perspective of the HumaGears clear; They live in a society where humans and technology live in harmony; therefore, HumaGear, being that they are technology need to be embraced for what they are, if they hope to move forward. Aruto, in full agreement is happy to hear this from her. The head chef, not so much. Even after the HumaGear makes his favorite sushi, he calls it disgusting, simply because without a heart, HumaGears can't be Sushi Chefs. Before the conversation can go anywhere, Yua gets a call for a Magia attack
Meanwhile at a Barbershop, a Barber HumaGear finishes up a customer and is our target for the MOTW. (I'll get back to him more in detail in the themes section.) He becomes the Neohi Magia and in typical MOTW fashion wrecks havoc. Isamu and his squad arrive immediately and noticing the ZetsumeiRise key, he deduces that this is MetsubouJinrai.NET's doing. Once again, he forces the somewhat broken lock open on the progrise key and transforms into Kamen Rider Vulcan. Yua arrives and reminds Isamu that he needs her authorization, but of course that falls on deaf ears, Isamu even telling her to just shut up and watch. She shows discomfort, biting her lip, before turning her attention to the downed soldiers at the corner of her eye. Aruto arrives and joins the fight, with Isamu trying to attack him as well. Eventually Neohi escapes and Aruto, realizing the situation, runs off before Isamu can catch him.
Aruto returns to Hiden Intelligence empty-handed on both fronts, both with the contract and info on MetsubouJinrai.NET, to the pleasure of Jun. Shesta points out that the contract was in their projected budget, meaning that by not getting it, thats money lost. Aruto makes an unintentional pun out of fusturation to which Shesta comments. Izu meanwhiles is connected with BS-ZA taking the data from the fight and seeking the best countermeasure, resulting in the satellite constructing the Biting Shark Progrise Key. Nigiro asks the two if a heart can be converted into data. Izu initially replies with a misunderstanding, but then quickly dismisses the thought when Nigiro explains why he thought about it. Aruto then gets an idea, needing Izu to look for something for him. That evening, Yua and Isamu are out, Isamu impatiently asking if Yua has found the Magia. She gives him a straight, dismissive answer, making him uneasy for a moment. He then tries to see what she's doing on her phone, to which she hides. Frustrated by the "disrespect" (ironically enough) he decides to look for it on his own. Yua smirks as he walks off, saying that "it depends on how you use a tool."
That next morning, Aruto, Izu and Nigiro return to the shop to try and convince the chef to purchase Nigiro. Through brief investigating, they find out that old apprentices have been driven out due to his harsh criticisms and inability to learn a special technique, involving pressing the sushi in the air, leaving them heartbroken. Nigiro says he's able to do it as he has no heart to be broken (classic robot line). After getting the situation from one of the former students, Nigiro learns the technique. In addition, he studied it, and concludes that the technique itself is something that comes from the heart itself. The Chef eats the prepared sushi, and tells him to do it 10,000 more times. He scoffs when Nigiro agrees to the challenge. Izu asks Aruto why he smiles when the Chef sounds upset, and Aruto doesn't really know how to explain it as humans are complicated like that.
Jin, being Jin, wrecks the happy ending, having Neohi hack various HumaGears in the area, including Nigiro. Aruto tries to snap him out of it, but fails. Izu tells him he has to destroy Nigiro, and Aruto doesn't want to after all the trouble they just went through. Yua arrives and drives him back, knocking him into a crowd of other corrupted HumaGear, mixing him in. Yua here, reveals her true perspective of HumaGear, by explaining to save his data and reupload it into a new HumaGear. Aruto says that HumaGears are partners, not just machines, but Yua denies that flatly. She reveals a belt buckle and a Progrise Key, transforming into Kamen Rider Valkyrie for the first time. Adhering to SAIA, she combats the HumaGears. The Chef uses Yua's words from earlier, explaining that it all depends on the person how HumaGears are to be used, and with this newfound wisdom, Aruto transforms to take on Neohi. During the fight, Aruto puts the new Progrise Key to work, unveiling his first power-up form: Zero-One Biting Shark. Using Biting Impact, he finishes off the Neohi Magia, with Jin collecting the key amongst the wreckage later on. Valkyrie also puts little effort in taking out the HumaGears, using the Dash Rushing Impact on them. Isamu astonished by the sight of the new rider, is further shocked to see it was Yua. She walks off, with the latter simply pointing out that she could've mentioned there were two of them all along.
Closing things out, Aruto's efforts save the contract and the pair are back at the shop to commemorate the transaction. With everyone happy, Aruto makes another unintentional pun, which Izu explains, following it by mimicking his catchphrase. Meanwhile, Yua reports to a shrouded figure who sits playing chess, explaining her findings. As it turns out, when she held the phone to Nigiro, she had him install a surveillance mod to allow him to spy on them. With that they learn that the Progrise Keys that supposedly were destroyed during the Daybreak incident are intact by Hiden Intelligence. The man deduces that the Ark can be restored then, with Aruto being the key to it all...
02. CharactersClick thumbnail to view full-size
Jun and his group show their interesting dynamic towards Aruto as they remain comic relief in a different style than what we're used to. Jun's interesting in the sense where any situation concerning the company is in his favor, showing that he's not really antagonistic, just a bully with a good heart deep down. He obviously means well and shows that when Aruto has moments of success, he's adult enough to swallow his pride for the sake of the company, while in parallel, rub it in his face when Aruto screws up. Shesta in comparison to Izu kills me because she's so stiff and stuck up to the point she doesn't recognize Aruto's unintentional pun. All other Humagears up this point, Magia included show some sort of emotion outside the stone-cold robotic facade, but Shesta ain't there yet clearly.
While MetsubouJinrai.NET have yet to do anything substantial, outside of revealing more of their relevance to their villain resume, I like how Yua gets into the spotlight, piggybacking off her characterization from last week. She proves to be the middle ground as a realist, compared to Aruto's Optimist and Isamu's Pessimist personalities. Aruto sees dreams, Isamu sees nightmares, Yua just sees robots. She clearly loves technology and likewise sees Aruto's view of technology being to Humanity's benefit. However, she's also similar to Isamu, whereas when technology goes against what it's designed for, then it needs to be scrapped and replaced. This is especially clear when after she transforms, she acts according to the SAIA protocol. I also like the clever shrew persona she has, showing how she went from being pushed around by Isamu in episode 1, standing her ground in episode 2, and straight formally putting Isamu in his place after revealing her identity as Kamen Rider Valkyrie in episode 3. And its not because she was losing patience, but because she has patience. She has her own agenda and if that means putting up with Isamu then so be it.
And then we have this mysterious man. Aside from mentioning the Ark, we don't know if he's the leader of A.I.M.S. or another party entirely. That it seems we'll get more details on.
03. ThemesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Looking back at last week's review, I said something along the lines of whether or not the theme of HumaGears putting more emphasis on the "Huma" part of HumaGear--i.e. become more human. This episode focused on whether or not HumaGear--and by extension robots, can have a heart. I thought it was interesting that Izu dismissed it as wishful thinking on Nigiro's part, but as we see the show is continuing to push the idea that technology is advancing to the points that we hardly consider. I think about Siri, Google, Cortana, all of these voice automated features in cellphones nowadays. We may be like Yua, who sees technology as tools to progress society, but before you know it, our perceptions on technology can very well change, to the point where we'll be working along with them, as opposed to us using them.
That being said, The Barber HumaGear struck me as interesting because of what he does as his customer leaves. He smiles. He's expressive. Remember Taro back in episode 1? How he smiled at the thought of making humans laugh? What Horobi means by them "awakening" could very well be when HumaGears reach their peak in their design. When HumaGears start showing signs of being more Human, showing genuine emotions. Izu as well is starting to become softer and more articulate in her expressions as well, like when Aruto snatched the sushi from her and her surprised expression, amongst other subtle hints back in Episode 1. At the very least she's much more articulate than Shesta. Heck, Aruto's dad, being a HumaGear is extremely articulate for a robot. I could go on but I'll leave it be for now.
The mysterious man and the Chessboard, also struck me because its one of those cliche's that in all my life I could never figure out. Best interpretation I can see, is this:
The game, due to most of the pieces yet to be moved, has barely started. The man puts the knight down to the second one, symbolizing Isamu being somewhat on the same page as Yua in terms of the Shotriser Gear/or, the piece can be Yua having equal footing with Isamu, who already moved on ahead. The Rook on the other hand, not only was it a part of a Castling move (when the rook switches places with the king for added safety and maneuverability) but it has the freedom to move forward, which takes out the pawn. This, is Aruto and his Grandfather, the former who not only took the latter's place but also succeeds in taking out another Magia from MetsubouJinrai.NET (The black pieces).
All of this is speculation, but the camera puts so much focus on the movement and the posistion of the pieces that it has to hold some symbolism.
04. Final Thoughts, What We Learned, and Questions Going ForwardClick thumbnail to view full-size
Episode 1-2 Questions
Potential Answers/What we learned
At the MetsubouJinrai.NET's Base of Operations, Daybreak Town, the camera pans twice to wreckage in the middle of the city. Resembling a satellite similar to BS-ZA, could this be the method of corrupting the HumaGear?
Through visual storytelling, the satellite wreckage is something called the Ark, and it seems to be the motivating element between MetsubouJinrai.NET and A.I.M.S. Rather than be the source of corrupting HumaGear, its actually the complete opposite. Data from the Zetsumerise Keys and the Progrise keys it seems, are necessary for the revival of this mysterious artifact
It seems that Yua is under the impression that the Aruto has Progrise Keys that were supposedly lost in the DayBreak incident, unaware of the 3d printer that was down there due to Nigiro being upstairs with him when Izu put in the request for it.This raises the question about the Progrise keys themselves; are they the core reason to the explosion, the HumaGear infestation and other results of that tragedy? And being that both forms of these keys contain data, what exactly is the purpose of this data? And how will it benefit this Ark?
Isamu's fixation, has the potential to be a liability if he continues to be reckless. Will this end up being to Yua's detriment? Or does her recording of his fight against the Kuehneo Magia shows evidence that she has her own agenda behind the scenes?
By the way things played out in Episode 3, its clear that Yua knows much more about the situation that Isamu would care to find out. Yua's lines about tools imply that despite everything he's done in the first two episodes, Yua sees him as a tool for whatever endgame she's leaning towards, but time will tell
How will Isamu proceed, now that he has to acknowledge Yua as his superior? Can she manipulate him into being more submissive, in terms of his aggression? Or will he begin an investigation of his own, finding ties to DayBreak that somehow lead back to her and this mysterious man, who (benefit of the doubt) is the leader of A.I.M.S.?
Yet another strong episode. This week gets a 4.5/5, mainly because I'm biased for Yua being my favorite character, plus Valkyrie is dope. Plus Izu's scene in the restaurant was adorable (cuz shes short) Shesta's dry robotic laugh and cold commentary of Aruto's humor had me chuckle too. Overall it was a solid episode of the week, that did its job of fleshing out the world, and expanding on the concepts of the HumaGears.
It reminds me of Gaim, in the sense that we're introducing ideas, and answering questions almost immediately, while forming new ones. It gives off a very mystery-esque, serious tone to the series which is always a treat. Some may argue, after seeing the preview of Episode 4, may be an issue towards pacing, but I think depending on how much story they're gonna tell, Pacing might not be so big of an issue. Ex-Aid as well spent the first 9 Episodes playing up the mystery of the Black Ex-Aid, and I'm thinking Zero-One is doing the same, playing up the mystery of DayBreak, and dropping a major plot bomb at christmas to kick off the first's half's latter arc. But time will tell.
Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 2 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 8PM EST, so look out for those as well.
In any case, thanks so much for reading this article, and keep an eye out for an OP analysis I'm currently working on. The Opening intro has a lot of things that caught my attention and based on info from this episode I have some theories I'm speculating on. Until next time, I'll see you guys later!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Nolan Johnson