Very weird episode of Zero-One? It’s a transitional one, leading us out of the initial MetsubouJinrai arc, and into the Thouser/ZAIA arc. But there’s an air of ambivalence to everything that’s reasonable for our heroes – everyone’s real Is That It for half of the episode – while not creating much interest for this viewer.

It’s like… it’s like there’s a middle section of this episode that would more directly ratchet up the tension, but we didn’t get it. Instead, we got our heroes exhaling after their recent success, while everything around them says WHY DO YOU THINK YOU’VE WON. It seems like the show wants to play it as a vague sense of unease, since multiple characters call it out, but it makes the middle section just feel like plate-spinning until Gai shows up to drop the hammer.

He’s an interesting character, Gai. I don’t feel like he’s more fully-developed than when he was last trying to give Hiden Intelligence a black eye, but there’s some fun new details. Him being the inverse of Aruto is clever. Gai manipulated a race of robots to become a powerful, rich industrialist, while Aruto became a powerful, rich industrialist to protect a race of robots. I don’t know if his scheme to takeover Hiden via a satellite trained to despise humanity and a robot death cult is particularly exciting to think about (it feels a little bland right now), but I appreciate his casual Oh I Taught A Robot To Hate People thing. That’s a fun energy for a villain speech.

The stuff preceding it was entertaining but perfunctory. Neat to see Shining Assault Hopper go all out with dazzling new weaponry, but, like, Jin isn’t exactly Final Boss material. There’s pathos to his inability to even attempt to explain why humanity should go extinct, exposing both the hollowness of MetsubouJinrai’s philosophy and the failure of humanity to teach Humagears how to live, but Horobi was the bigger villain to defeat. Taking out Jin’s just mopping up. It’s a well shot fight, but nothing with any real drama behind it.

This whole episode was just, I don’t know, incredibly weird in its transition from one story to another. There’s this middle section where everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop, and then it does. There isn’t much more to the second half than an inevitability, which is… it’s not a great way to generate or dispel tension? Weird. I didn’t much like the feeling, despite finding the episode relatively pleasant.


CYCLONE RISE! *click* DAD! *chunk* ROCKING HOPPER! *battle music* "You can never be a man until you murder your father."

(Pretty sure that's the complete Rocking Hopper Henshin sequence, from memory.)

I really like the Ichi-Gata suit. It’s a fun Reiwa take on Showa, creating something in the context of Zero-One’s aesthetics that still looks like it could be 50 years old. It’s got the vague Forceriser design (strapped-together armor over a bodysuit), but moved around and evened out, thanks to the Cycloneriser. It’s more symmetrical, with an actual design sense behind it, rather than Stolen and Hotwired. The little scarf/muffler is adorable, I like the sad Showa eyes it’s got. Very clever take on something that needs to feel from a different era.

I don’t love the SO-DO, though. A ton of it is how Bandai opted to do the tiny antenna: as giant fins. It completely ruins the profile of Ichi-Gata, and that’s a shame. The rest of the figure is fairly solid, with good sticker use filling out the color on Dad Form. There’re a couple stickers on the torso that are a pain (the silver/black ones that have to lodge in between the turquoise plates), but it’s all within reach. I didn’t have a bad time making him.

So, yeah, wish the helmet had been molded differently. Otherwise, it’s an okay figure for a really good suit.