Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 6 Review: I Want to Hear Your Voice
Things get explosive this week as Aruto has to deal with a morally gray delima concerning a Voice Acting HumaGear and her Manager. Meanwhile Jin tries to understand his relationship with Horobi, causing him to be the point of origin when it comes to new questions and dynamics going forward in the series. Overall, this week was really exciting, so let's break it down so we can see how things played out.
01. Story So FarClick thumbnail to view full-size
The episode opens up at the studio that's dubbing the Perfuman anime. If you remember last week, this is the same anime, which Chochiro Ishizumi created. Seine, the HumaGear that we met with Mr. Tazawa (who is also the man in the beginning of last week's episode designing Seine) shows her unique ability as a HumaGear to voice multiple roles simultaneously, thanks to several different voice tracks she can switch through. Aruto is fanboying after hearing the main lead say the special catchphrase, to which Izu as usual, reminds him why they're here. He notes that A.I.M.S. is also present, with Isamu watching from the sidelines. We find out afterward, that he's investigating Tazawa who presumably violated the Special Artificial Intelligence Act (SAIA), by creating Seine in the likeness of his daughter without her consent. This is considered illegal, for obvious reasons.
Meanwhile, Jin, thinking about Horobi's words, about being his "son" does research on the very definition. Horobi walks in, prompting Jin to ask about it. Horobi responds that yes he is his father, and as such he must listen to him. That said, Horobi gives Jin permission to retrieve Aruto's progrise keys. This leads to him taking a cab to the studio, corrupting the taxi driver and handing it a new Onycho ZetsumeRise Key. Isamu and Aruto both transform, Aruto about to utilize the Flying Falcon key, but the Magia manages to swipe it and take off. They give chase, and when cornered, the Magia corrupts several HumaGear and go on the attack towards Tazawa and Seine, who is injured by them. Jin walks up to them, ZetsumeRiser in hand, but when Tazawa calls Seine his child, Jin hesitates, allowing them a window to escape. Aruto uses Biting Shark, and finishes the Magia with Biting Impact, only to discover that the Flying Falcon key is nowhere to be found. Jin, back at their base, looks at it with glee, but then recalls what Tazawa said, making him think further on his delima.
At A.I.M.S. the mysterious man tells Yua that he wants her to take down MetsubouJinrai.Net, saying that she's more than capable of doing so. He then hands her the Lightning Hornet Progrise Key, which he prepared for her. Its noted its twice as strong as Rushing Cheetah.
Aruto and Izu return to Tazawa's home and this is when Aruto notices the photograph of his daughter. Tazawa hides the photo and reboots Seine. Aruto tries to point out if this is morally right, but Tazawa breaks down. We learn that his daughter, Sumire passed away just when her acting career began to take off, and Tazawa only recently learned of the company (as we see in episode 5). When Seine wakes up, she immediately calls Tazawa "Papa", and relaying a memory of Sumire, which Tazawa frantically tries to get her to stop. She apologizes and reverts to calling him Manager. Tazawa gets a call for a callback and he promises to turn himself in afterward. They head outside, where Aruto reveals that his father passed away as a kid, and a HumaGear was created to support him (relating to the HumaGear that resembled his father). This conflict has Aruto ultimately torn because of his empathy. Isamu arrives to continue the investigation and Aruto has to force him to hold off until the end of the audition in three days.
Jin wants to know more about how families work, asking Horobi if parents protect their children. Horbobi says that they're not like most families and that Jin is strong enough to protect himself. Feeling offended, he tells him he snagged a Progrise Key, to which Horobi encourages him to find more.
The day of the callback, Seine in the middle of reading her lines, malfunctions and utters Sumire's dying words (which foreshadows what's to come). Tazawa runs on stage embarrassed at this, and Jin crashes the event, by shooting in the air to cause the audience to scatter. He jumps onto the stage and forces the ZetsumeRiser onto Seine. Tazawa tries to protect her, and Jin, confused, asks him why he's doing so, now that she's a Magia. Seine punches Tazawa off her and Jin turns around towards Aruto and asks him in a desperate tone. Aruto angry at Jin, says its a simple concept and that its only natural for parents to protect their kids. Realizing this fact, Jin tries to force the ZetsumeiRiser off Seine. She screams, making Jin back off, and then she transforms into the Gaeru Magia, based on the recently extinct Gastric-Brooding Frog. In response, Aruto reluctantly transforms. Horobi shows up, and Jin says that he must be here to protect him. Horobi slaps his hand back and explains that Jin is a HumaGear that he created, which is the only reason why he's called his "son". He slaps a new Driver onto him, the ForceRiser, which like the ZetsumeRisers, coils around him and hacks him. Jin uses the Flying Falcon Key to transform into a Kamen Rider, to Aruto's shock.
Jin and the Gaeru Magia team up and has Aruto on the ropes, until Yua appears. She takes on the Gaeru Magia, and Aruto pleads with her to let him take responsibility. Yua responds, by saying its his fault it got to this point. She then pulls out the Lightning Hornet Progrise Key and transforms into Kamen Rider Valkyrie: Lightning Hornet. Showing an impressive moveset, she unleashes her Thunder Lightning Blast Fever finisher to finish Seine off. Isamu arrives to help Yua and they both unleash their finishers against Jin, who dodges both and takes off. Jin hands Horobi the Progrise Key and its evident that his mindset has been altered drastically, sounding more brainwashed.
At the end of it, Tazawa settles for a Alexa-esque AI which has his daughter's voice installed inside of it, being all he needs to move forward according to Izu. Aruto concludes that people need things to help them move on, and in some cases its the AI, just like Ai, which in Japanese means "Love". He and Izu share a cute moment where Aruto turns it into a joke, and Izu copies him, finishing it with Aruto's catchphrase. Aruto laughs and says it as well, concluding the episode.
02. CharactersClick thumbnail to view full-size
We get to learn about Aruto's past a bit, having our first real answer about the HumaGear he called "Dad" when he was a kid. We learned that his father passed away and that HumaGear took on a role as a parental figure. I said back in the Episode 2 review, how interesting it was that Aruto's grandfather named Mamoru personally, and that this may have been a similar case with Aruto's HumaGear parent. Going forward I expect that this plot point will be expanded upon.
Jin got much more character development than I thought, and we see that he is in fact a HumaGear, something a lot of people speculated. I actually asked last week what was Jin's ties to the HumaGear, being that they were all called his "friends" and Horobi's final words last week. We see that Horobi created Jin and thats where the reference of being his son comes from. Also of note, seeing how self aware Jin is, raises a ton of questions, of which I'll address in a bit.
I really enjoyed the dymanic between Tazawa and Seine as it shows Tazawa's conflict of moving on after the death of Sumire, and the morally gray area it posed by creating Seine. Its like you understand where he comes from, but at the same time, you can understand why this is wrong from a moral standpoint.
03. ThemesClick thumbnail to view full-size
This episode tackles the grieving process and the concept of relationships within families. Tazawa commits a crime that could be deemed immoral. Isamu even points out that creating Seine is trampling on his daughter's death and I can understand that. I can also understand why he did it at all, even knowing the risk. Its a morally gray area that I'm surprised is being tackled so soon if at all. I would imagine a law like this would be made out of the fact that HumaGears, if allowed to resemble real people can be used for lots of things, ie framing someone for crimes, or some other dark uses, of which I'm not gonna get into but you all can figure out. In Tazawa's case, though at least we can understand that he found himself in a dark place and he just couldn't move on without his seemingly only family member. Its implied he's a single father and Sumire was his only child, so naturally he was looking for anything to give him some form of comfort, no matter how legal, or morally right it was.
That being said, the parallel between them and Horobi and Jin is one of interest too, as we see that we can argue that Horobi is an abusive father to Jin, who's kid-like mentality makes much more sense now. Jin may have the body of a late-teen, but his naivety of the world is clear. Which makes me personally see this initial psychopath with a bit more empathy. And watching Horobi hack him, seemed like a form of "discipline" for basically thinking on his own. From a writer's perspective, I'm actually really liking this, but I'm afraid it might go two ways. For those who've seen Ex-Aid its no secret that Yuya Takahashi is drawing a lot of similarities from the show and implementing them in Zero-One. This is especially evident in Jin's similarities to Pallad.
That said, Pallad in that series went through various phases before becoming a Hero towards the end, and I honestly don't want that to happen to Jin. Jin's set up as of this episode shows him as a naive child whose following an abusive parent. In a world where AIs are finding themselves and becoming self aware, I'm hoping (and this is a theory) that Jin, being a HumaGear will be the pioneer to bring peace for the AI. As more AI become self aware and question their roles in society, Jin could be the one who will persuade them that they are better off without humans. Not because they're forced to think like this, but because they are aware of the fact that humanity has become so dependent on them that they know they can't survive without them. So either, you destroy them, or make them submissive. That's just a theory of mine, but thats because I'm really hoping that Jin shapes up to be his own character and not a copy of what preceeded him. It would really devalue the greatness that this show continues to shape up to be in the long run.
04. Final Thoughts, What We Learned, and Questions Going ForwardClick thumbnail to view full-size
Episode 1-5 Questions
Potential Answers/What We Learned
Mamoru explains that Renosuke named him personally (and fitting, as Mamoru translate to "To Protect" and he's a security guard) Similarly the HumaGear that's witin Aruto at the time of the explosion is considered his father. Does this imply that Renosuke designed this specific HumaGear to function as a surrogate father for Aruto? And in line with comments from the board who were unaware of Aruto's existence, does this mean that Aruto was adopted and kept secret from the world up until this point?
We learn that Aruto's real father passed away and the HumaGear he calls Dad was designed as a caretaker for him as a child, which causes his conflict on how to handle the situation with Tazawa and Seine
Will we learn more about Aruto's father and the HumaGear designed to help him move on with the death? And will this tie in with the fact that no one at Hiden Intelligence know that the former president had a grandson?
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?
We learn that Horobi created Jin, the latter being a HumaGear. This explains why he calls fellow HumaGear his "friends" and why Horobi calls him his "son"
Jin has more self awareness than any other AI in the series thus far, to the point it comes to a shock to Jin when he learns he's a HumaGear. With him desiginating all of these HumaGear his "friends" will he potentially revolt/take over MetsubouJinrai.NET with an army of like-minded HumaGears with roughly similar amounts of self-awareness? And will Izu be lured into thinking similarly (in reference to the long-haired Izu)
The mysterious man tells Yua to take down MetsubouJinrai.NET, while handing her the Lightning Hornet Progrise Key that he prepared
Who is this man and how was he able to prepare the Progrise Key? This would mean that A.I.M.S. are either re-creating the Progrise Keys from the Daybreak Incident, or creating their own.
And that concludes this week's review. Another solid 5 episode, with little complaints and a lot to think about. There's not much else to say other than Jin's debut as a rider was amazing and heartwrenching in some places and I'm looking forward how much they're willing to push the envelope on the story.
As always, Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 6 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.
That's all for this week. Hope you all enjoyed the episode as much as I did and I'll catch you all next week!