Decent episode that managed to showcase some of my favorite and least-favorite things about this first batch of Zero-One stories.

I like how they’re all short stories about people, organic or inorganic. Aruto gets involved in someone’s life for a few days, there’s a discussion about how Humagears can be additive to the human experience, and he hopefully leaves them better off than when he found them. This episode’s about a basketball coach Humagear named Kobe (perfect) and his players, so we get twenty-odd minutes of Aruto in a sports drama. The Humagear grows beyond its programming (literally no one told it to start coaching basketball, and the school administrator’s bafflement about this development is delightful) and forges a connection with his players, one that’s so powerful it bestows sapience upon it. We get to see a machine that believes in his players so much that he gambles his own existence on their abilities; players that end up repaying that belief with a second life for their coach. It’s a story about how we’re constantly teaching machines to mimic human behavior, so it’s only right to start treating them with human respect. It’s a sweet little story, and it’s something Zero-One is incredibly deft at telling.

And then Jin shows up.

I never seem to enjoy the turns in the final act, because once MetsubouJinrai slaps a Zetsumeriser on the week’s Humagear, it stops being their story. Kobe isn’t responsible for anything that happens afterward, and the switch from subject to victim is done by an outside force. Yeah, he’s able to be made into a monster because of his sapience, but even that’s just a happy accident, a lucky accrual of moments that created something miraculous. The fight at the end could be against anyone, for any reason. It’s not Kobe’s story anymore, just like it stopped being Seiji and Seine’s story last episode. The third act of all of these great short stories just vanishes to have a MetsubouJinrai Vs Kamen Riders fight, and that’s getting a little frustrating. I like the fights! I just wish the fights felt more like they emerged out of decisions the week’s characters were making, rather than in spite of them.

Other than that complaint, I thought this was a solid little story that smartly used its run-time to tell one consistent story for two full acts. (Yua’s doing some dirty work in the background, but I don’t really care about that yet.) We spend a ton of time with the school administrator, the players, and Kobe, which keeps the stakes of the episode clear and compelling. If this show can figure out a way to do that for three full acts? It would be like waking up to a dream.


Fantastic toy. The amount of detail that Bandai put into this tiny man is astounding. There’s tons of clear blue plastic, sure. It’s not cheap to do, but you have to include it if you want the suit to translate in figure form. But Bandai not only included stickers for the chest piece underneath the Freezing Bear torso, they pre-stickered the halves of the Rising Hopper mask that are underneath the clear blue plastic of the helmet. Insane! That is some Figuart level detail, but at a candy toy price.

The entire build for this one was super easy, and I felt more confident for having just seen the suit in action. The body box has only a few stickers for the Driver and two silver parts for the collarbone, while the armor box has all of the COLOR stickers from the Rising Hopper suit and a few bits of red piping. Pretty quick build and stickering session.

I like the suit a lot? It’s mostly just the cold version of Flaming Tiger, as far as how it minimizes the COLOR parts for something more uniquely monochrome. The transparency of the chest piece is incredibly clever, making Zero-One appear partially frozen and adding a huge amount of dimensionality to the suit. It works really well, and it’s making me start to come around on these form changes. Not on Flying Falcon, though. Jin can keep that Key as long as he wants!