As an exploration of technology’s increasing role in the mitigation of grief, I thought this was enormously moving and inarguably successful. As an episode of a tokusatsu series for children, I thought this was exhilarating and charming. As an exploration of technology’s increasing role in the mitigation of grief within an episode of a tokusatsu series for children, there were a few bumps in the road.

I got choked up a couple times, though, so it’s not like this episode was a miss for me. Multiple scenes felt like the show was intruding on something too personal to be shared – the deepest sadness of a father’s loss – and you can see from Aruto’s face that this situation can’t stay as it is. Memorializing someone through technology, it’s become more and more commonplace. Facebook pages are left as monuments to lives, photos are preserved digitally, machine learning is bringing stills to life… and that’s not even counting speculative tech like holograms or whatever. We’ve always used technology to remember the things important to us, and to feel closer to the people important to us. Someone trying to save their daughter’s memory through a Humagear is an idea as hopeful to some as it is abhorrent to others. What’s the difference between a memory and a ghost, you know?

The fact that we’re witnessing such raw and intimate emotion means this isn’t really a story with a lesson, and I appreciated that. Suggesting there’s a singular correct and healthy way to grieve a child… god, talk about abhorrent. What we get here is messy, and that’s as it should be. Seiji knows he broke the law, and he knows that buying a simulacrum of his deceased daughter to live out that woman’s unrealized dreams is, at best, uncomfortable to witness, and at worst, nauseating to telescope out. (It definitely robs that deceased woman of her individuality and personhood, flattening her existence down to Daughter and nothing greater.) He’s a man that’s grieving, and he’s trying to figure out how best to honor a memory while preserving his sanity. Aruto’s solution is to give Seiji a few days to wind things down, because even the massive goodwill and sincere sympathy of Zero-One needs to be balanced against destructive self-deception. (Fuwa’s version of goodwill and sympathy is to not immediately shoot both Seiji and Seine, and that’s to be commended.) There’s nothing that’s a sure fix; Aruto’s been in Seiji’s shoes, and he knows he can only hope to cushion this guy’s fall.

Added to this exploration of a parent’s love is Jin’s attempt to understand what it is to be a son to Horobi. For Horobi, it’s the best possible definition for a lifeform he made, and that's all. For Jin, it comes with expectations of affection and support, which turn out to be laughably mistaken once Horobi slaps a Forceriser on Jin and says Go Kill. Luckily (for us, only for us) that leads to an exciting action sequence where the brand-new Kamen Rider Jin proceeds to wipe the floor with Zero-One. Valkyrie shows up to sell the new Lightning Hornet Progrise Key, defeating the episode’s Magear with electricity attacks (!) and chest bees (?!), and it’s all very thrilling. Super fun action sequence.

The problem, for me, is that the action sequence is almost hilariously incongruent to the pathos and sorrow of the preceding two Acts. We pivot from a man trying to navigate a future without the person he cared the most about, and a robot boy trying to understand what means to have a parent, to a frog-headed monster (with a smaller, human-sized head inside its mouth) and a mute supervillain brawling with superheroes. It all happens so gracelessly that it’s almost offensive, and it keeps the finale from feeling like a natural consequence of the story we were invested in. It’s like someone put the last reel of Iron Man at the end of Ordinary People. We were having a nuanced, complicated discussion about processing grief, and then the episode blew all that up to, uh, blow stuff up.

But the resolution is strong, with Aruto replacing the destroyed Seine with an Emotional Support Alexa, basically. It’s a nice choice for the story to make, because even Aruto’s like I Hope This Helps But I Don’t Know. There’s no additional condemnation of Seiji as deluded or troubled or whatever. He’s just given something that can keep his grief in private, with the hope that it’ll allow him to process his emotions without as much stress and law-breaking. Like, people feel weird emotions all the time, and maybe technology can help them work through it in safety. Could be worth a shot!


First one of these that I’ve actually built alongside an episode!

Fun to do, this one. The gray bits on the arms and legs are all stickers, and there are a couple on the Forceriser. The black’s all painted on the undersuit. The entire second box, all of the suit parts are completely painted; the only stickers are for the bow and the stand’s nameplate. It makes for some super easy stickering and construction, with the only trip-up being an inability to line up the stickers for the boots. They need to fold around the toes, and it’s really difficult to lay out where they should go before you start applying them. Finished product is really nice, though! The shade of pink/magenta is a little less vibrant than what’s on the show, but the armor pieces and stuff all look right.

I’m a big fan of the MetsubouJinrai suits. Probably my favorite designs for the whole show, that I’ve seen? I like how Jin’s suit is highly symmetrical, but the different types of metal add a discordant look to everything. (Which the SO-DO stickers replicate really well!) It’s even and uneven simultaneously, which is tough to pull off without looking goofy. The different textures to the metal add to the feeling that this suit is kit-bashed, stolen from another source. The straps continue that expression, missing the cleanliness of Zero-One and the shiny craftsmanship of the AIMS suits. This one’s aggressively tactical and practically hotwired. It looks like a villain suit. The helmet’s a nice finishing touch, the profile of a soaring falcon giving the eyes a menacing triangular shape.

Overall, it’s a really eye-catching suit. We’d seen Horobi in low-light and cameos appearances, but this is the first Forceriser suit we’ve gotten a good look at. The gray and pink/magenta absolutely pop, and it looks like a suit that can give Zero-One a run for his money. Big fan of this one!