A 27-year-old nerd who loves writing, history and just learning as much as possible about the world around him.
Before we start I just want to quickly apologize for the late review. I was sick last week and had no motivation to actually write, on top of that I got tangled up in other projects so this went on the back burner for a minute. But I feel it necessary to start catching up before I get any further away from this.
Right, so due to the fact that the mass HumaGear hack at the local hospitals put Hiden Intelligence in a really tight spot, ON TOP of the leak media footage "supposedly" not by Yua, Hiden Intelligence aids a local J-Drama's filming crew by utilizing for them a HumaGear that takes on a lead role in the production, in a publicity stunt to recover what's left of their reputation. Now, how all of this will play out, is what we're gonna find out today, so let's get right into it.
01. Story So Far
So we open up the episode during the middle of filming, where we find out moments later is the set for a Drama series called Giri, the Dedicated Officer, being produced by Hiden Intelligence. I don't really find it surprising, as we had Seine back in episode 6, being a VA HumaGear. Naturally if we have a VA, why not an actual Actor? The actor's name is Enji Matsuda, a HumaGear who studied Hollywood actors and behaviors to learn how to act. His Co-Star is a legendary actor named Shinya Owada, who's stared in lots of movies during his career. When asked about his opinion about the HumaGear actor, he says he loves the fact that he doesn't forget his lines, which gets a chuckle from the journalists. Izu and Isamu watch in the distance, with Isamu providing security for Hiden Intelligence as a thank you for saving him last episode. While he still doesn't trust HumaGears, he's definitely feeling less hostile towards them. He then wonders what it was that leaked the video footage to the media however (which subsequently sparked the whole production in the first place), and Izu is surprised that he doesn't know that it was Yua who did it. She shows him the footage and this revelation hangs over his head for a time.
Meanwhile, Lil' Assassin is restored once again, and he and Jin watch one of Shinya's videos where he stars as a Samurai assassin. Lil' Assassin watches the movie to learn how to become stronger, and Jin jokes that if he copies him then he should definitely lose less. Horobi calls to Jin and hands him a new ZetsumeiRise Key. During filming, the two of them arrive on the set and begin to assault the A.I.M.S. troops outside the studio, causing Isamu to go and address the matter. Izu sees them fighting and comes back inside, and attempts to use charades to get Aruto to take notice. He's clueless until he sees Isamu and Jin in the doorway. Problem is, being a part of the production, he's stuck or else risk Hiden's reputation plummeting further.
With Isamu on the ropes, still being injured, after all, he's pushed into a corner until Yua arrives to bail him out. She transforms and between them they're able to push Jin into retreating, being abandoned by Little Assassin unexpectedly amongst everything. Afterward, the pair talk, Isamu wondering whether or not they should delay production. Yua rejects that idea, wanting them to continue so that it has the opportunity to fail. Isamu reminds her that A.I.M.S. is only there to monitor the activity of HumaGears, not to see Hiden's downfall. She agrees, but that's not her objective, causing Isamu to understand that this is ZAIA's objective, for whatever reason. He asks her too if Hiden's fall is something that she wants herself, but she walks off before she could give an answer.
With production wrapping up for the day, Shinya pulls the director over and explains to him that contrary to his inital opinion, he doesn't feel as though the HumaGear is working out. Admittedly he has everything it takes to be an actor, but he's a robot. So the human aspect of acting is completely lost on it. The director, reluctantly agrees, but encourages Shinya to bear with it until production wraps up. Meanwhile, Lil' Assassin looks off in the distance, recognizing Shinya from his movie, which prompts him to disguise himself as a Human to ask for his help at becoming stronger (assuming that Shinya is an actual assassin).
Shinya and Lil' Assassin go to a park later that evening and after demonstrating his fighting style, and practicing the script, Shinya praises him, saying that he's even better than Enji, especially since Lil' Assassin adlibs a line. This, of course, is based on Shinya's ignorance of Lil' Assassin's identity. Shinya decided to take him under his wing, something that Lil' Assassin excitedly accepts.
The next day on set, during the scene, Shinya adlibs a line and throws Enji off, and because of it, he doesn't know how respond, causing himself to yell Cut. Shinya chastises him for doing so, and he humbly apologizes for his sudden outburst, but this is implies now that Shinya's adlib was intentional, to prove HumaGear couldn't be actors, something that Lil' Assassin takes note of. He deems Enji as useless to his Master, and takes it upon himself to Assassinate him, transforming properly. Yua, who was on set, counters him by transforming himself, but Jin swoops in in defense of the both of them, saying that Lil' Assassin can't axe their new friend. Jin and Lil' Assassin drive Yua outside, and two-man her until Aruto jumps into the fight to take on Jin. Yua notes that Lil' Assassin keeps coming back stronger and evolving, and based on this, she's beaten rather mercilessly, thanks to Lil' Assassin's own finishing attack. Before he can finish the job, Isamu swoops in and saves her.
Yua asks him why she did it, and he counters her question by asking why she saved him before (based on the fact that she has ties to ZAIA and not A.I.M.S.). She said she did it out of her own volition, and Isamu responds that he's doing the exact same. And that he's acting out on what he believes in. Yua considers this and throws him a new Progrise Key: the Gatling Hedgehog. Using it, Isamu takes out the Trilobyte Magia and puts down Lil' Assassin for the third time. After a brief exchange between the two, Yua noting that she may have to betray him someday, Isamu replies that he'll be the one to oppose her if need be. Aruto jumps in to celebrate a job well done, only for things to go immediately south when the director frantically tells him that Shinya's bailing out of the Drama.
Yua returns to ZAIA to report, and the Mysterious Man by the sound of it is happy to hear it. He then proceeds to say that his plan will be 100% flawless, but rephrases by saying it'll be 1000%.
I realize I have a particular bias when it comes to the relationship between Yua and Isamu, but I can't help but love their dynamic. And this scene in particular really got me. My Japanese is still at a beginner level, but watching this scene RAW, I immediately understood what was going on. Yua saved Isamu, because like I said in my last review, because she cares for him. Isamu likewise, despite her affiliation, cares enough to look out for her. They're partners, despite their differences and objectives, and until the time comes when they will have to be enemies, they will continue to have each other's back. Again, like I said before, this doesn't have to be a romantic subplot, but there's enough space for it to go in that direction if its relevant to their character development.
If anything, shippers can have fun with this.
This episode had 3 themes that stood out to me. The analogy of the coin, Shinya's feelings towards HumaGears, and Yua's consideration of fighting what you believe in.
Let's start off with the coin: I love this analogy because it encompasses so much that happens in this episode. Shinya showed the world that he liked working with Enji, but kept his actual opinion of him with the director, which, in a pure sense of irony, he praises Lil' Assassin, as he assumes that he's a Human. Likewise, Isamu learns or at least gets an idea on where Yua's ties lie, learning about a side of her that's been kept hidden up until this point. Lil' Assassin shows one side of him to Shinya, as someone who wants to become stronger, keeping hidden from the fact that he's an actual Assassin, let alone a HumaGear.
Shinya's opinion about Enji not having any humanity is a notable factor to consider, as we've more or less established that its the development of Humanity that labels HumaGears as those with free will and singularity. That said, Lil' Assassin's ability to make Shinya believe that he's human implies that Lil' Assassin is close, if not already, achieved Singularity of his own.
Then there's Fighting for what you believe in. Yua had to contemplate the concept for a moment before throwing the Progrise Key to Isamu. And when you think about it, Isamu saved Yua out of his own personal reasoning, not because A.I.M.S. told him to. Likewise, Yua saved Isamu out of her own personal reasoning, or so it seems, as Isamu is her guniea pig in regards to the Rider System when it comes to ZAIA. Regardless Isamu's fighting for himself and his interest. And that moment was enough to make Yua think to herself whether she's fighting for ZAIA or for herself. Is she hellbent on bringing down Hiden Intelligence, for her own sake, or because of Orders? She made the decision to give Isamu the key, because she knew it would turn things around. Whether it was to save just herself, or both of them, you can argue to that she could've just bailed the fight and left him there, but that wasn't the case. She clearly cares enough to have his back, despite their ideals clashing. And her warning at the end, shows that she believes their ideals will clash to the point where they'll have to fight one another, but until then, she wants to make the most of things going forward, and by Isamu's answer, he feels the same.
No matter what your alliances lie, if you're honestly fighting for what you believe in, then respect can be established.
04. Final Thoughts, What We Learned, and Questions Going Forward
|Episode 1-9 Questions||Potential Answers/What We Learned||New Questions|
Going forward, is Isamu going to show a more softer side to HumaGear, now knowing for sure that Horobi is the sole cause of his trauma?
The episode indicates that he's more willing to keep his particular biases under wraps, as well as show a softer side to Hiden Intelligence for saving his life. Even more so, when confronting Yua, he says that A.I.M.S. is supposed to monitor HumaGears, which in retrospect, back in Episode 1 he was MUCH more likely to shoot first, ask later. Therefore, as a character he's grown quite a bit in such short time
Due to her reaction, she acts as though she's being set up. Could this be the case, or is this a front to hide her true motives? That said, is her new found understanding a true re-evaluation, or her concept of taking a step back and reconsidering how to continue with her line of thinking in terms of her proposed service to ZAIA Enterprises?
Yua admits to Isamu at the very least, that she recorded the video. Technically she doesn't say anything about leaking it, although it can be implied that she did. But for the sake of arguement, we can say that ZAIA's president was the one who did so. And like Isamu, Yua's perspective of what she's fighting for is beginning to shift, playing off between a sense of duty and doing the right thing.
As we go forward in the series, what will both Yua and Isamu do in concern about their relationship? With two clearly opposing objectives, while being partners at the same time, how will things play out between each other, as well as Aruto, who at this point relies on them as allies?
Lil' Assassin is brought back for a 3rd time and as we can see, he becomes more articulate with each revival.
Is Lil' Assassin slowly developing its own sense of singularity? Not only that, but being a HumaGear with learning capabilities, what is the purpose of Lil' Assassin's repeated revivals?
That does it for Episode 10. It was a bit of a slow episode admittedly, but it definitely had some subtle themes that I really liked that paint the picture of plot points and foreshadows a lot going forward. So, that said, this episode will get a 4.5/5. It had a bit of a filler atmosphere but it did enough push the overall narrative and shape things as we begin to push into the next Arc.
Kamen Rider Zero-One Episode 10 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 7PM EST, so look out for those as well.
The Episode 11 Review will be up shortly, so bear with me as I continue to play catch up. Outside of that, I hope you guys enjoyed the read and I'll catch you guys with the next review!