It’s been built up for months, with previews, item showcases, and clips shown during the run of Build, but now here we are at last: Kamen Rider Zi-O has begun! This show starts off with frantic action right out of the gate, wasting no time in establishing the existential threat that is Demon King Zi-O. The opening scene prompts a Terminator-style time travel plot to destroy the Demon King before he can gain his full power, and this becomes the setup for the entire series.
For those unfamiliar, or a bit confused by the opening episode, Kamen Rider Zi-O centers on Tokiwa Sougo, a high school student in our modern time, and the future Demon King of the entire world. By his own admission, Sougo’s life’s dream is to become a king, and he frequently declares as much to his classmates, his uncle, and whoever else will listen. Unbeknownst to him, the fateful date of 1st September 2018 (the air date of the premiere and setting of episode one) is the beginning of his dream becoming a reality.
Sougo seems like a good person, albeit a bit awkward with others because of his dedication to his goal. It will be interesting to see hints of his future personality come out as the show continues, but as of this episode, there is seemingly no trace of the kind of man who could do the things Demon King Zi-O is shown doing in Sougo. Tsukuyomi, a girl from the Demon King’s future 50 years ahead, believes Sougo’s course through life can be corrected and means to change the future peacefully. Geiz, on the other hand, doesn’t share that philosophy, and is very much the Terminator to Sougo’s John Connor. Each futurian uses their own Time Majin for time travel, and seemingly dimensional travel as one of their stops deposits them in Build’s world, around the time of episode 12 of Build, going by the date used.
Between the time travel, the spectacular fights and world-building, and even the gimmicks and armours the characters use, episode one of Kamen Rider Zi-O does a lot of things right, and sets the bar very high for what is to come. Even our first Another Rider, Another Build, is given ample attention, using a combination of Build’s powers and the human host’s natural inclination to basketball. Every reference used has some purpose in the larger plot, rather than being a reference for the sake of nostalgia, right down to Tsukuyomi’s gun being a modified version of the Faiz Phone, now called Faiz Phone X, and making the same visual and sound effects on a hit that Faiz himself did with the weapon. This show has the potential to be a masterpiece or a disaster, but if this first entry is anything to go by, we are in for a treat over the next year.
What did you think of Kamen Rider Zi-O’s premiere? Are you excited for what is to come? Do you have any theories about how the series will play out? Let’s start a discussion below or on social media!