Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 5 Review: His Passionate Path of Manga
With the major events of last week summed up, this week is a somewhat more easygoing episode, tackling a theme that was touched on back in the Episode 3 review a few weeks back. Aruto yet again has to help someone appreciate the value of HumaGear, but at the same time, he also has to help said person appreciate the value of their own skill. Like I said, its a much more laidback episode, that allows the plot to relax for the most part. By this, we learn two important things on the MetsubouJinrai.NET side, which as we'll see will play out most likely in the near future. So without further ado, let's just jump right into things.
01. Story So FarClick thumbnail to view full-size
The episode begins with Aruto experimenting with the HumaGear customization website, which their customer use to create their own HumaGear. This goes from their appearances to occupation, with different tiers separating the availability of said options. As an example of a customer utilizing this feature, an older gentleman is customizing a female HumaGear, with the back of his computer labeled "Voice Artist Management" (This will be relevant later on). Izu reminds Aruto that its time to go, in which case the pair are set to deliver a HumaGear to a famous Mangaka. A "Mangaka" is a term to designate creators of manga, such as Kohei Horikoshi and Masashi Kishimoto, creators of My Hero Academia and Naruto respectively.
They arrive and meet Choichiro Ishizumi, Aruto's favorite Mangaka and creator of a beloved manga of his, "Perfuman Sword". The new HumaGear, one designed to be a Manga Assistant, joins several others as they quickly take on respected roles in the creation of the latest chapters, from line work, to coloring, to shading and writing. Aruto questions Ishizumi's involvment in any of the work, but he says that the HumaGear do the job so much better that its just easier for them to do everything, leaving him to laze around and eat junk food. Izu comments that's a logical way to go about it, but Aruto initially objects a little, noting that he preferred the imperfect, yet passionate style it used to have. Before the conversation could go further, one of the HumaGears freezes up, causing the conflict of the episode. G-Pen (named after the drawing app tool) stands up, as if to object the mistreatment by Ishizumi, who throws the frozen HumaGear out of the chair. But he doesn't do anything, and Ishizumi sends him out to do some shopping. Aruto calls him out on it, but Ishizumi doesn't see anything wrong because they're just tools. He then asks for replacement batteries, and astonished by his attitude, Izu speaks up for him to acknowledge the request.
Jin meanwhile bugs Horobi and tells him he wants his own Progrise Key, after seeing them in action between Aruto, A.I.M.S. and even Horobi himself. Horobi explains to Jin that they don't need the Progrise Keys for their goals, rather so the ZetsumeiRise Keys, as they record post-battle data which they can use to restore the Ark. And once said Ark is complete they can basically flip a switch and turn the HumaGears all rogue at once.
They leave and they run into G-Pen again, and Aruto asks if Ishizumi at least writes the story, but is dismayed to realizes that its taken care of by the Publishing Editor HumaGear and even him sometimes, proving that Ishizumi does zero work at all. Jin then pops up and corrupts G-Pen, causing Aruto to race back and watch as G-Pen transforms into the Vicarya Magia, a type of extinct snail creature. Aruto transforms and due to its hard drills, he switches to Biting Shark (but not before Jin tries to swipe it initially) A.I.M.S. joins the fray and after Isamu transforms, Yua starts to record him and documents the inital testing of the Attache Shotgun, which blows Isamu on his butt due to the recoil. The blast manages to clip the Magia before it drills off and escapes.
Ishizumi is shocked to learn all of his HumaGears were wrecked in the chaos, and demands replacements immediately. Aruto asks him what if he were to draw the panels himself like he used to. ishizumi comes up with an excuse that basically says to just let the A.I. take care of it. Aruto asks him further if he really finds enjoyment in his craft like that. That, leads into a complaint filed, and has Fukuzoe and his posse none too happy with him. Adding insult to injury, being one of Hiden Intelligences' most loyal customers, as well as being famous, their reputation will be dragged in the mud if word gets out their president offended him. Aruto hates the idea that they're treated like slaves, but as a company they have to take an objective perspective. Fukuzoe tells Shesta to get the replacements ready and they take their leave.
Aruto expresses his disappointment to Izu, who doesn't understand where he's coming from, being that logically, the HumaGear were doing what they were designed to do. Aruto specifies that Ishizumi isn't looking for help, but rather he's just lazy and lost his passion. Izu looks up "passion" and takes the definition too literally when it says that a passionate person burns in regards to something. When Aruto tries to explain it, he realizes a way to beat the Magia, recalling the shotgun blast burning the drill on its head. That night, as Izu constructs a new Key, she looks up "passion" in the HumaGear Terms of Service, but comes up short.
The next morning, Ishizumi meets Mr. Tazawa and his HumaGear Seine, who is auditioning for Voice Acting. Tazawa says he wants to be slow and steady with her upbringing (unique choice of words) but Ishizumi encourages him to just let her be because she can handle it. In other words, use her like a tool. Izu drops by the studio to speak with Ishizumi. Later Yamshita and Aruto come back to Ishizumi's house to apologize for the delay and Aruto's words prior, which include a Omiyage of snacks. Aruto still tries to convince Ishizumi otherwise, and thats when they learn that Izu came to him before. She arrives, and tells him that she officially suspended the replacements, saying her reasoning came from a belief of the former president, who says that as a HumaGear, she's not designed to help him solely, but anyone who has passion within them. Therefore, she decided to cancel the replacements to help Ishizumi reignite his passion. Aruto in full support asks him if he's fine with his passion project being turned into a cash grabber. He explains how his manga helped him and many others to grow and encourages him to continue to write for their sake and the sake of future readers. This finally gets Ishizumi to re-evaluate things. He finishes by saying that if Human Passion falls, then AI dilligence will overtake it. Ishizumi attests to that, admitting that his passion is gone.
The Vicrya Magia pops up and Aruto transforms to drive it out of the estate. Aruto tells Ishizumi that he still has passion inside him, causing Ishizumi to look at the pen he subconsciously grabbed. They transistion into a warehouse where they're joined by Isamu and Yua, proving to her that Punching Kong can handle the recoil of the shotgun. Isamu acknowledges that he's Yua's ginuea pig again, with surprisingly no resentment. Izu also throws Aruto a new Progrise Key, Flaming Tiger to which he uses to become Zero-One: Flaming Tiger. Isamu loads in the Punching Kong Progrise Key into the shotgun to shoot and destroy the hand drills of the Magia. And between the two of them, Aruto defeats the Magia using his Flaming Impact finisher. Inspired by the fight, Ishizumi quickly sketches the pair together.
With the day saved, Ishizumi is back to drawing, this time having a remade G-Pen as his assistant solely. As a gift he hands Aruto an autographed sketch of the main character of his Manga, as well as informing him of a new character in the series, to Aruto's dismay is based off Isamu's Punching Kong. He asks if its a joke, and Izu misreads it as a pun, by saying his catchphrase.
The episode concludes with Jin asking why can't he have a Progrise Key, and comes to the conclusion that "It's because I'm your assistant right?" Horobi responds with saying that it's much more than that. He's his son...
02. CharactersClick thumbnail to view full-size
This week, Aruto gets the harsh reality of meeting his childhood hero, as he realizes that they're not all that they're cracked up to be. Ishizumi's character arc makes sense as due to his fame and the accessibility of HumaGear, he developed himself into a rut. His former passion project has turned into a cash generator for some that can turn people's reasonings. It started off as something he took pride in and became a job to sustain his wealth. Add in the HumaGears and then he doesn't have to do a thing. Like plenty of people with jobs they may have initially love, the repetition can make people lose joy in their work, and it would eventually turn more into an obligation than a passionate activity.
Izu continues to become more and more independent as time goes on and it seems as though she's learning step by step as she continues to interact with Aruto. That's what makes her last scene in this episode so adorable. Bringing back episode 3, Aruto makes an unintentional pun to which she explains, thinking it was a joke. Now in episode 5, she takes his unintentional pun and makes the joke. Aruto misreads it as her thinking he made a joke, but her confused expression implies she was the one trying to make the joke herself and his reaction made her think she messed up. Izu just continues to be a doll and I'm loving every moment of it.
Yua and Isamu surprisingly take a backseat this episode, with Yua not even transforming at all. Its clear she's still documenting Isamu's progress for what its worth, and has him test out the new weapon. Isamu acknowledges that she's using him as a test dummy, showing from his character that he's slowly acknowledging her in some aspects as the pair slowly build a bridge towards mutual understanding.
And we finally get some more expansion between Horobi and Jin, with Jin awakening his inner Parado, and Horobi dropping a bomb in terms of being Jin's father. Where this goes and what it implies remains to be seen, presumably in next weeks' episode.
03. ThemesClick thumbnail to view full-size
This week, we're expanding on the topic brought up back in episode 3, where Yua says that HumaGear are just tools for the benefit of humanity. Aruto back then challenged that they're more than that, but here we see Ishizumi reiterate that same talking point. However, he mistreats his like they're literal slaves, whereas Yua takes pride in the tools that humanity has created to better themselves. Yua has a realisitc point of view when it comes to how technology works, but Ishizumi abuses them, quite frankly. "Just let the AI take care of it." "They do't get tired." "It's okay, I can just get a new one." Ishizumi represents the kind of mentality that belongs to those who are careless with their things and who don't value anything given to them. And this mentality made him lazy and demotivated him. Of course, benefit of the doubt, after seeing how much more efficient technology is compared to traditional methods, anyone would be discouraged and lose their drive to create.
On a grander scale, Technology is advancing to the point where AI and technology is steadily being automated and taken over by technology. And many big businesses see this as saving money and increasing over efficiency. And even though that's the overall direction the world is going, we best not become so dependent on this. Or else we, like Ishizumi, become lazy and dispassionate to do anything in life.
04. Final Thoughts, What We Learned, and Questions Going ForwardClick thumbnail to view full-size
Episode 1-4 Questions
Potential Answers/What We Learned
Are the Progrise Keys 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?
While last week we learned that the explosion was caused by Satoshi, we have yet to know what triggered the HumaGears to revolt. Although we can assume it was caused by the Ark. Plus we learn that the Ark needs the post data of the ZetsumeiRise Keys in order to be restored
Why does the Ark need the ZetsumeiRise keys and not the Progrise keys in order to regenerate? What is the difference between them outside of the ZetsumeiRise keys containing data on extinct species?
Horobi, when finding G-Pen says that he's a HumaGear who obtained self awareness. As mentioned with Sissorzmen (the Barber HumaGear) the latter smiled, and showed more human-like expression as opposed to robotic expressions. If anything what determines self awareness is possibly a HumaGear's ability to develop free will on its own
Izu thus far has shown quite a bit of articulation and some free will of her own, although arguably she's followed protocol, and its assumed she canceled the replacements of her own volition. But then, she used Aruto's quote to tell a Joke, which would imply free will. Is there a reason why MetsubouJinrai hasn't designated her as a HumaGear with self awareness? Could the situation be more complex this early on, or does Izu have a firewall-program within her that prevents MetsubouJinrai to get to her?
Also, Horobi called self-awared HumaGear "friends" of Jin. As well as calling him his "son"
Just what exactly is Jin and what ties does he himself have to HumaGear? Is he legitimately Horobi's son,or an AI creation of his?
Episode 5 gets a 4/5. Solid episode as ever, but given the laidback-esque and tackling of topics we've pretty much understand already, the episode felt as though it was lacking in some areas. If next weeks' preview is anything to go by, I can understand the vague cliffhanger we ended up with. Even so, as a standalone episode, it definitely gave some filler vibes, which isnt inherently bad, but after the massive revelations we got last week, this week felt a little more mellow than anticipated.
As always, Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 5 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.
And that'll about do it today. 5 episodes in with a nice streak going, Zero-One has yet to disappoint the fanbase and that's great news to go by as we keep pushing forward. As always, thanks for reading and I'll see you guys next week.