Unsuccessful episode, I’d say. It’s incredibly concerned with dry plot stuff, but it doesn’t compensate with interesting character pairings or clever morals or relatable guests. Worse, it lands its central premise in the weirdest, most Uh Hold On way possible.

The premise here is that you need to have faith in the people you care about, even if everyone’s against you. Additionally, we’re in a story about how finding out the truth can be difficult to handle, but it’s better than settling for an easy lie. Both solid lessons.

The problem is, both of those lessons are filtered through the prism of Fuwa’s experiences, and it takes them to such an insane level that they start to become cautionary tales. The whole idea of Fuwa telling this kid to not believe his dad caused a tragedy – this is Fuwa telling a child to hold onto his rage and never stop blaming someone else for what might just be a tragic accident. Fuwa is telling this kid that, no matter what anyone else says, the Humagears are responsible for his dad’s death. The fact that Fuwa turns out to be right in this one instance (sort of, but we’ll get to that) doesn’t alter the fact that we’re watching a story where Fuwa teaches a child that there’s always someone to blame when anything hurts you. That’s… I don’t love that message!

And the other one, about searching for the truth… it’s noble, and I like Aruto’s version of it okay. It’s more about corporate responsibility, and respecting your customers more than your shareholders. Protecting The Company should never take precedence over Protecting Your Customers. But the Fuwa side of this works as a reckless insistence that the truth is always being hidden, if it’s not what you wanted to hear. That’s, y’know, fine if you want to tell a story that exposes Fuwa’s worldview as one that’ll never offer him any solace, but here it’s all just him being dead-on right that Hiden was covering up what happened in Daybreak Town. The lesson, in all cases, is that Fuwa’s worldview is right.

(To be fair, Fuwa does learn a lesson about Aruto’s trustworthiness, and the fact that MetsubouJinrai was behind the destruction of the town. It’s not some huge change in his attitude, but it’s a nice button on an episode that sees Fuwa acknowledge Aruto’s good intentions as Kamen Rider Zero-One.)

Even without the upsetting inability to really interrogate how inappropriate it is for a vengeance-crazed gun-nut to be imparting wisdom in a disaster zone to a bullied child, this episode exposition-dense structure didn’t leave enough else to really enjoy. Izu’s barely in it. Yua shows up to deliver a collectible and say, basically, This Thing I’m Helping You Do Is Enormously Unsafe. The Flying Falcon fight does not have my favorite effects. Anna the Bus Guide is a neat idea, but she doesn’t really have an arc to speak of. (No time!) It’s… this whole episode is trying to deliver relevant background, which is fine, but it’s dressed up in nothing but a vaguely repellant Fuwa story. (I genuinely don’t understand how the only lesson that you can have Fuwa learn in this story is I Was Not Lied To In The Exact Manner I Was Expecting. There are… there are a lot of things Fuwa needs to learn! That is not one of them!)

I didn’t like this episode? Sort of at all?


I don’t like the Zero-One form changes, either? The contrasting red and COLOR are unpleasant, visually. I can appreciate how the Rising Hopper mask splits and spins around to give some height to the back of Zero-One’s helmet, but it also gives him two faces on each side of his head, like the Another Double suit got stripped for parts. I just… I do not like the whole folding-back part to the form changes. Seeing bits of Rising Hopper hanging around, fluorescent and unmissable? It just doesn’t work for me, aesthetically.

Built this one a while back, and it definitely tripped me up. I didn’t understand the folding-back thing, so I couldn’t figure out why so many pieces and stickers were around the edges. One of the main figures that got me putting a pin in Zero-One SO-DO. Now that I get it, though, I’m still not a fan. Very fun resolution to that wait!