Kamen Rider Zero-One: The Beacon of the Reiwa Era
The New Era WIll Be An Age Of Zeroes and Ones!
May 1st, 2019: Naruhito of the Japanese Imperial Family ascends the throne and becomes Japan's 126th Monarch, thus ending the Heisei Era and ushering the new Reiwa Era. As this was a major event in the nations overall history, this was also a special year, as 2019 marks the introduction of the Reiwa Era's new Kamen Rider.
Kamen Rider is a beloved media franchise in Asia and parts of the western world, featuring armored bug-themed superheroes on motorcycles. The advent of the new era, also signaled that 2019 would not only see a new yearly hero but with the added role of kickstarting the new era as well, just as Kamen Rider Kuuga, represented the Kamen Rider series' rebirth in 2000. And with that said, we are greeted with the newest hero: Kamen Rider Zero-One.
So, if you're someone who's heard of this new hero and wants a crash course as to what to expect as he premieres this September 1st, or if you've been wanting to check out Kamen Rider and need a starting point, let's check out what Zero-One is all about. To start, check out the trailer below:
The Age of AI
So according to the trailer, the story takes place in an Era where humanity pushes Artificial Intelligence to the point of creating the HumaGear, human-like robots with AI operating them. As any stereotypical science fiction stories, the HumaGears become aides to humanity, preforming basic functions, from secretaries to chefs, to teachers and babysitters. Hiden Industries are the leading company in this age of AI, and this responsibility falls into the lap of Aruto Hiden, whose grandfather was the CEO just before his passing. Now, inheriting this role, he has to navigate how to manage a company with zero experience and the hurdles that come with it.
Aside from that, on the opposite side of the spectrum, MetsubouJinrai.net, a cyberterrorist group seeks to destroy humanity by hacking HumaGear, turning them into monsters called Magia and then against their creators in a very Skynet-terminator kind of manner. They believe that AI are superior in every way and wants to see a world where HumaGear are on top of the food chain. Hence, Aruto has to become the titual Kamen Rider to put a stop to the terrorist attacks, while presumably maintaining the image of the value and potential of AI technology as a force for good over destruction.
On the other hand, the Artificial Intelligence Military Squad (A.I.M.S.) is a Spec-Ops group trained to specifically combat rogue AI. Isamu Fuwa and Yua Yaiba become Kamen Riders Vulcan and Valkyrie respectively, both fighting HumaGear for their own personal reasons, deriving from their hatred for AI.
The three factions will clash, with the fate of the world and Artificial Intelligence hanging in the balance of it all.
Initial Thoughts And Opinions
Its a cliche at this day and age that any story that involves AI will involve rogue AI. Immediately after learning about this series, I got instant Tony Stark vibes from this kid and being that I love Iron Man, I have an immediate bias. That in mind, I would not be surprised that if somewhere down the line we get an Ultron-esque antagonist or something that ties Hiden Industries to the overall main conflict via mid-series plot twist. Kamen Rider has had a habit through the Heisei Era to drop a major plot point as soon as the episodes hit double digits/around Christmas. Typically to end the year and the introductory arc. By this point, the overarching mystery is finally revealed and the rest of the series spends time trying to make sense of it, uncovering newer details tied to it until we meet with the Final Boss around the 40 episodes mark.
It's not a complaint, as its something that drew me into Kamen Rider, the mysteries surrounding certain moments, character interactions and the like. It keeps viewers coming back week after week, and I hope to feel that going into this series. Another thing worth noting is how reflective it is to our society.
Technology continues to grow at a massive rate, with innovations continuing to build on one another.
As we approach the start of the 2020s, we find ourselves in a world of Virtual Reality, Self-Driving Cars, and Siri. We in the 21st century have become hardwired into the dependency of technology. And this series will most likely address this, covering the unlimited possibilities, technology can bring us while bringing into question the unlimited dangers that shouldn't be ignored either. Raising the question: "Should we put all of our hope in technology? And if we do, shouldn't we consider the risks that can come about from it?"
Transformation GimmickClick thumbnail to view full-size
This years transformation devices are the Hiden Intelligence Driver, and the A.I.M.S. Shotriser. Both of which use the Progrise Keys, memory cards that contain data based on animals. These equip the Riders with various abilities. As an example, Aruto's primary Progrise Key, Rising Hopper, is based on grasshoppers, giving him the ability: Jump, to jump super high. Isamu's Shooting Wolf, is based on wolves with the ability: Bullet (which is TBD until the debut) and Yua's is Rushing Cheetah, based on cheetas and the ability: Dash, for superspeed (presumably)
Since we don't have a clear understanding as of yet how this data is obtained or how Progrise Keys are even created to begin with, one theory I'm running on is something similar to Mega Man. For those who know who he is, when he defeats enemies he obtains their powers and abilities. Case in point:
Fitting along with the robotic mimicry thematics, I suspect that a similar method to Mega Man would relate into the Riders obtaining the series gimmick.
Zero-One is less than 36 hours away at the time of writing this, and I for one am excited to welcome the world's newest hero. So much in fact that I intend on reviewing the series starting with episode 1, as well as explore other Tokusatsu series as well. That said, I look forward to Reiwa's CEO Hero and I hope you guys are too.
Until then, catch you 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