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Kamen Rider Zi-O Episode 1 Review

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.

 

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Demon King Zi-O stands before a statue that reads: To Commemorate the First Transformation of Tokiwa Sougo

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

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Ultraman R/B Episode 1 Review

After months of build-up, Ultraman R/B made its long awaited debut this past Saturday. Did the red and blue brothers live up to the hype?

Ultraman R/B does an incredible job of setting up its world and characters early into the first episode. Before the OP has even played, we see our heroes, Katsumi and Isami Minato, in their Ultraman forms, as well as Grugio, the Kaiju of the week and resident legend of the brothers’ hometown, Ayaka. We see Ayaka itself, a quaint small town in the mountains of Japan, complete with its own local legends and folklore. When the cutaway begins, the feeling is almost like the cliched-but-entertaining, “Record scratch. You’re probably wondering how I ended up here,” situations that come up in films from the 1980s.

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Isami is a scientist, and Katsumi works with his father selling clothes out of the family’s store, Quattro M. As the episode goes on, the brothers remark that their mother was a scientist as well but has been missing or gone for close to 15 years. Katsumi is shown to be the more responsible of the pair, as the older brother, and Isami, for all his knowledge, is painted as a bit more reckless. While the pair banter back and forth, we are given a glimpse of another character we know will be a major player later, Makoto Aizen, an industrialist who seems to specialise in human augmentation.

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The brothers play off each other very well, from a comedic standpoint. More and more as the episode goes on, we see their exchanges in the way of friendly banter, one-liners, and quick jabs at each other’s personality quirks, meant in a friendly way. This extends all the way to their teamwork in the first encounter they enter, against the Kaiju, Grugio. In fact, it’s one such exchange that leads to the brothers getting their Ultraman powers in the first place, if indirectly.

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Isami begins to detect movement near the mountain just outside of Ayaka, and ropes Katsumi into going along to the park. Complete with odd backpack gear and too much jargon, Isami is able to dive full on into his research, and Katsumi is left confused. When Grugio attacks, though, the brothers are fearless and act immediately to save a child. Grugio catches them both in a blast but they awaken as Ultraman Rosso and Ultraman Blu, rather than being killed.

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During combat, they show little to no aptitude, making for a few moments played for laughs in which they accidentally hurt each other. Going along with this motif, their first form change comes from an improvised idea by Isami to see if they can switch power sets by switching crystals. They can and do, inverting their abilities to finish the fight.

When defeated, Grugio reverts to a crystal and falls into the palm of someone’s hand. Though we do not see this new figure’s face, the implication is that this person is the human host of Ultraman Orb Dark. The brothers awaken to find their younger sister, Asami, trying to give them candy and get them home. It seems being an Ultraman is exhausting.

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Overall, this episode serves as a great introduction to this series, while offering a slightly more light-hearted take on Ultraman than previous series have. The comedic dialogue and snappy one-liners from the brothers made this episode very entertaining, and I would easily recommend Ultraman R/B as a jumping on point for newcomers to the franchise.

What did you think of the premiere of Ultraman R/B? Leave your thoughts below and let’s discuss!