Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 7 Review: I am a Hot-Blooded HumaGear Teacher!
Episode 7 of Zero-One is upon us, and as per usual, we get some clarity on certain plot points, while springing open new factors and questions along the way. We see Aruto himself seeing a new side of the HumaGear, and Yua slowly moves on in her objective of learning all that she can about MetsubouJinrai.NET as per instructions from last episode. So then, let's jump right into it, shall we?
01. Story So FarClick thumbnail to view full-size
Aruto and Izu head over to Reika East High, a local school where the faculty are having issues with one of their HumaGear. As a brief sidenote, I find it interesting to see that HumaGear are actually a part of the staff, as we see one of them standing by the gates of the school, assuring that the students exit safely. In any case, the school's basketball club has a HumaGear advisor, who for some reason took it upon itself to become a really passionate coach. This isn't necessarily its job, but we can see that its determination to do its job too well is causing it to go above and beyond. (We'll get back to this). Isamu, sent by A.I.M.S. drops by as well, as the complaint by the Board of Ed, turns this into yet another butting of heads between our Riders.
Meanwhile Jin brings in a HumaGear, curious as to what they're gonna use him for. Horobi explains that he's designed to specialize in assassination, and he's handed the Dodo ZetsumeRise key to do so. This HumaGear's has a bit of a quirky side to him, which kinda has little relevance, for now at least.
Mr. Satou, the teacher who requested the assistance, takes the trio to the Gym where he shows that all the other clubs and their HumaGear instructors leaving as scheduled, except Coach Kobe, who is noted as keeping them an hour late every day. Aruto likes that the students are enjoying his training, but Isamu notes that HumaGears are not supposed to break their protocols like that. Izu asks Mr. Satou why he hasn't tried to reset Kobe, to which he says he's tried. Kobe ended up convincing him to not, saying that He's there to lighten the load of the teachers, and basically, respect his role in regards to that.
Jin and the Assassin arrive at the school but are immediately intercepted by Yua, who exits not out of an A.I.M.S. truck, but a black van. The pair transform and during the fight, Yua notices the HumaGear behind Jin. She fakes him out and dives into the HumaGear, sliding a new Progrise Key into the ZetsumeRiser and installing it. The Key backfires and freezes the HumaGear (literally). Jin responds, and while Yua is protecting group of girls from one of Jin's attacks, the black van she came out of circles back and the men inside kidnap the HumaGear and rushes off. Jin, understandably freaking out, is now intercepted by Aruto and Isamu, both transformed. Yua takes the opportunity to run off, unnoticed by the others. Jin escapes, wondering what he's gonna tell Horobi.
Due to the attack by MetsubouJinrai, Isamu tells the kids that the school is off limits until further notice, putting a hindrance on their practice for the upcoming game. This doesn't faze Kobe, as he and the students sneak into campus to continue to practice. Aruto, after realizing this, brings them to the roof of Hiden Intelligence where there's a court waiting for them to practice. During this time, Aruto thinks to himself how a HumaGear was able to disobey an order, by going into the campus regardless of the ban. Overall, Aruto and Izu tell Mr. Satou that they're not going to do anything about Kobe. Everything up to this point is based on his learning algorithm, and Izu further adds that while he may be overzealous, his thinking is logical. Satou is still adamant about resetting him, making the terms conditional. If they lose the next match then Kobe will have to be reset. Aruto is reluctant to agree, so Kobe, who overheard, agrees, and assures they'll win.
And as it turns out, they don't. Kobe's team chokes on a free throw, allowing the opposing team to get one point ahead of them. Yuta, the boy who threw the free throw, tells them post game, that he's gonna quit the team. Kobe responds by throwing the basketball at him, and telling him that by doing that he's better than some NBA players. He reassures his team that they can try again in the Spring tournament. Yuta doesn't want to, but Kobe gives more inspirational words of encouragement. This moment, something clicks inside of Kobe. As the three debate on how to handle Kobe's sudden use of force, he stands up and becomes very animated. He says that he wants to see the kids win their first game. It's what he wants. Jin comes up and says that Kobe, like the other HumaGears that were hacked, has achieved Singularity, or sentience. Isamu deems it as trouble automatically, Aruto argues its based on the dreams of the kids, Jin jumps in and hacks Kobe. Kobe transforms into the Mammoth Magia. Aruto and Isamu transform into their respected rider forms.
Meanwhile, the Assassin, who's now sporting blue-eyes and blue headphones activates the Dodo key and transforms, all of this being recorded by Yua. Notably when he joins in the fight, his headphones have reverted back to its red color. In the 2v2 battle, Isamu swipes the Attache Calibur from Izu, to her surprise (and Aruto's annoyance) and Yua appears armed with the Shotgun, loaded with the new Progrise Key. She shoots the Mammoth frozen for a second, long enough for her to hand Aruto the key. With it, he transforms into Kamen Rider Zero-One Freezing Bear. Izu claps in the background.
Yua joins Isamu, the latter of which preforms the Shooting Dispatch Slash to take down the Dodo Magia, and Aruto uses the Freezing Impact to finsh off the Mammoth Magia. Jin collects the Dodo Key, but immediately freaks out again, when he loses the Mammoth Key. Its revealed that Yua swiped it, as for what she's going to use it for remains to be seen. In the aftermath of everything, Aruto and Izu, along with Mr. Satou see the newly replaced Kobe learning from the team, in addition to seeing new members who were inspired from the game joining as well. Aruto holds onto his belief that HumaGear are to fufill Humanity's dreams.
The episode however, closes on Yua, who studies her recorded footage, recalling how she was able to undo the MetsubouJinrai.NET's protocols and revert the HumaGear, however, regardless of that, its function was still to assassinate Aruto. Yua says that it all depends on how you use a tool, closing out the episode.
02. CharactersClick thumbnail to view full-size
I think the three that stood out this week were Jin, Yua and Kobe. Starting with Kobe, we see that as the series begins to gain traction and expand on its worldbuilding, we see Kobe be the first example of what it means for a HumaGear to gain Singularity. In retrospect we can look back at the previous episodes and see other examples of this as well. From what we can tell, what designates hints at Singularity, is when a HumaGear find its able to develop its own dream of something. HumaGear are designed with one function in mind and learn as they go. When they at some point decide for themselves that this function fills them with a sort of purpose then it seems to be a sign. Taro from Episode 1 found joy in making people laugh. Anna desperately wanted to know the truth about Daybreak for the sake of her tour groups. Seine cared more about being a daughter than a VA. It's when their prime objectives become their dreams, that they're considered "sentient".
Yua, as I expected, is becoming more secretive and seems to be adhering to her task about learning all that she can about MetsubouJinrai.NET. And its scares me because she's exerting serious Kiriya vibes. Kiriya/Kamen Rider Lazer, from Ex-Aid, did similar things, be sneaky in order to investigate the origins of the Bugster Virus. And because of this, he was subsequently axed early on.
Yua in a similar vein, tests a progrise key in a ZetsumeRiser, and deduces their not only incompatible, but there's a major drawback to the user, as we see Assassin frozen by the powers. She then kidnaps him, and runs a test to see if she can undo the hack, which she seemingly succeeds, although she wasn't able to undo its prime directive to assassinate Aruto. And she steals the Mammoth ZetsumeRise key. All of which hints at her trying to gain an idea on how their tech works. Eventually we'll see the fruits of her labor.
Jin seems to be back to his usual self, but judging by his reactions to the fact that he lost the Assassin and the Mammoth key, he's suddenly stressing about Horobi's reaction. Its weird for this rogue character who found fun in any situation, to now suddenly have a sense of loyalty to Horobi. Well, not so weird. After all it makes some sense, considering the former hacking Jin in last episode. We can assume this'll play up some more in the future.
This time around, I had to really think about what the theme of this episode could be. Overall its a wholesome episode that feels like it's been ripped from a 90's family movie. That being said though, I guess the theme of pursuing your dreams no matter the setbacks will have to do. You figure Kobe's determination to see his students succeed in the game and his dream to see them win the spring tournament giving him sentience, is a contributor to this.
04. Final Thoughts, What We Learned, and Questions Going ForwardClick thumbnail to view full-size
Episode 1-6 Questions
Potential Answers/What We Learned
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?
Thanks to Kobe (and previous HumaGears in some retrospect), the leading theory that marks a HumaGear with sentience/self awareness is when the HumaGear is able to surpass its prime objective. In other words, once they complete the task they've been designed to preform, then it unlocks a sense in them where they desire to pursue the same dream on their own. If that is the case, then being hacked by MetsubouJinrai.NET rewrites that and makes their new desire and dream to eradicate humanity instead.
That said, What would it take for Izu to gain sentience? Izu in particular is the assistant of Aruto. Her prime objective is to be his support until she's relived of her duty presumably. In which case, she may develop self awareness due to her dream of supporting Aruto.
Being that Trilobite Magia are small footsoldiers and not complete Magia armed with a ZetsumeiRiser, is it possible for them to be completely reverted if their programming is strong enough? Anna was able to briefly overcome her corruption, but what if she was armed with a ZetsumeiRiser? Would thing have played out differently? Did Onycho hack her to keep her from accessing the memory in the first place, as it would reveal MetsubouJinrai.NET's involvment in the attack in the first place?
While we don't have a direct answer for this, we do have solid confirmation that the hack can be undone, thanks to Yua's experimentation. Not only that, but we also get the idea that Anna was assassinated to keep MetsubouJinrai's secrets hidden; Yua, thanks to her experiments, not only has a method of uncorrupting them, but she now has info on how the Zetsumeriser works and other info which will be revealed. This, of course, is all in regards to her orders of taking the group down as per the mysterious man's orders.
How far will Yua fall into the Rabbit Hole before she gets herself in trouble. What is her objective, in regards to the mysterious man's direction. Assuming this is all a part of A.I.M.S. (although the black truck can imply otherwise)
Well, that just about does it for this week. I'll give this week a 4. Not that it was weak by any stretch, as we learned quite a bit of information, but like episode 5, it feels a bit like the beginning of a longer plot thread that we're gonna explore. Yua is showing more of a mysterious side to her, but its because we don't know where its going yet, its vague and somewhat scary, in regards to what her potential fate could be if she gets too close to the fire. I am looking forward to next weeks episode, so maybe things will come full circle finally.
As always, Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 7 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 just about does it for this week folks. As always, thanks for taking the time to read and I'll catch you guys in the next review!