Hi. My name’s Kamen Rider Die, and this is a thread where I’ll be watching Kamen Rider Zi-O. More importantly, this is a thread where I’ll get to talk about Kamen Rider Zi-O with all of you.

It’s been a couple weeks since the Legend Riders thread wrapped up, and I’ve been champing at the bit to get started on this show. Some threads, that has not been the case! I was wiped after a bunch, and the thought of jumping into another months-long project was… not super appealing. Really dragged my feet on a couple, made excuses to push things back a week or two. With this one? God, I almost jumped the gun and started it a few days early.

Some of it is that, unlike the Legend Rider thread, this is all new material for me. I mostly had fun with the Legend Rider stuff (definitely had a new appreciation for some of those films; also rewatched the Ghost/Drive movie), but it’s all movies and shows I’d watched before. There wasn’t anything new I’d learn, or some different concepts to spin around. It was at best a reconsideration, not a revelation.

I love starting a new show. I don’t enjoy travel, but these shows? They’re an adventure for me that’s as good as any excursion. It’s a months-long journey through new terrain (not literally, probably: Kamen Rider Quarry), meeting new people and watching them detonate monsters. Every episode could be the best thing I’ve ever seen. How could you not be excited to start a new Kamen Rider show?

Beyond that… I’d spent a little time over my break going through old threads and fixing broken image links. (All of my screencaps migrated to a new site.) The task itself is some incredibly slow going. I’d wanted to be done with all dozen or so threads before starting Zi-O, but I only managed four. (Legend, Decade, Kiva, Kabuto.) The reason it’s taking so long, honestly? It’s because I quickly find myself getting sucked into the discussions. Not my writing, but how the process of me watching the show expands outward, drawing in excited fans with clever ideas. The episode posts aren’t ever the final word from me; they’re the start of a discussion. Getting to see that discussion blossom and bear fruit? Magical.

That’s the part of the process I’m most anxious to get back to: tearing into a new show, and hearing your thoughts. Literally nothing in this world makes me happier. Not having that in my life for the last few months has probably been a source of stress, without me even realizing it.

All of which is to say: Welcome to Kamen Rider Die watches Kamen Rider Zi-O.

I don’t really know much about Zi-O, beyond the obvious. Watches. Anniversary. That’s it? It’s one that I’m… probably not going to approach the way everyone else did. I’m not terribly excited about the anniversary parts, if I can be brutally honest. I’m sure I’ll mark out over my favorite Riders or support characters (fingers crossed for a Cubi/Music Note tribute story), but revisiting old characters isn’t as much of a lure for me as it might’ve been a while ago. The Legend Riders project taught me a lesson on indulging in nostalgia (diminishing returns!), and Decade taught me a lesson on the value of an anniversary show’s recurring cast. I liked the Decade cast, a whole lot. I want that experience again. Not to see all of my favorite heroes come back, puffier but stalwart; but to get to encounter the history of Kamen Rider through new heroes. I already care about Heisei, but I’m excited to care about Kamen Rider Zi-O.

Before we get started, though, some bits of business:

-PLEASE DON’T DISCUSS ANY ZI-O EPISODES BEYOND WHAT I’VE ALREADY POSTED. If I’m on Episode 12, please don’t tease what happens in Episode 15, or hint at where a character ends up in Episode 30. I enjoy watching these shows with as little early knowledge as possible, and it’d mean the world to me if you could refrain from spoiling/teasing anything upcoming. There’ll be plenty of time later to go over all of those fun reveals, but it’s substantially less fun for me if they get revealed in advance. Special bonus: if you let me live in ignorance, you can laugh a lot harder at my inability to guess where the story’s going, or at my flowery description of a deceptive character’s “noble” motivations. Why deprive yourself of that precious gift?

-PLEASE DON’T TALK ABOUT ANY OF THE REIWA SHOWS. I’m going to get to them! Slower than I’d’ve thought, but eventually! (Honestly thought I’d be caught up by the time Revice was over, but, nope! Probably won’t even get to Revice until 2023.) If we can hold off on discussing Zero-One, Saber, or Revice until those threads make their way to the boards, you’d be doing me a huge favor.

-EVERY OTHER HEISEI RIDER SHOW IS FAIR GAME. It’s an anniversary season! It would be super weird to have, like, Ryuki show up, and then dance around what happened at the end of Kamen Rider Ryuki. Expect, probably, a rude amount of Heisei spoilers, often with no warning. If you are trying to stay spoiler-free on, like, Ex-Aid? I will see you this summer for "Kamen Rider Die watches Kamen Rider Zero-One", and I hope you have a fun non-Zi-O spring.

-I AM SORRY IN ADVANCE FOR *GESTURES AT EVERYTHING I’VE EVER WRITTEN*. It’s weird! I am very weird about Kamen Rider! I care about it in weird ways! I forget to mention new costumes! I will spend a lot of time talking about themes in the series that maybe no one actually put in there! Many sentences in a row will end in exclamation marks! It’s… I just want you to know what you’re in for. It doesn’t get more coherent than this. If you’re already exhausted reading this, I don’t know if you’re going to love this experience.

-YOU ARE MY POWER-UP. Like I said above, an episode post is… it’s like the first draft of my thoughts. (Sometimes literally! I don’t edit these posts a ton!) It’s my initial thoughts on an episode. It’s a gut reaction. It becomes something better by all of you interacting with it: sharing your views, pushing back on my analysis, adding jokes, asking questions. All of that post-episode discussion is why I’ve done over a dozen of these threads, and why I’m looking forward so much to this one. You don’t have to participate in the discussion, but choosing to share your perspective will always enhance mine. I’m excited to hear what you all have to say!

-WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS ON THE INTERNET. I almost don’t need to say this, since TokuNation has the best fans of anything, anywhere, but: Please be kind to one another, even if you disagree. We’re all here because we love Kamen Rider shows, and that commonality should be in the front of your mind as you interact with each other. Even if someone dislikes a show you love, or champions a character you despise, we’re all Kamen Rider fans who enjoy Kamen Rider shows. Please keep things civil and polite, no matter what.

I think that’s it! I think we’re ready to go! New episode posts should go up five or six times each week until we’re done. (I’m also watching that new Sentai show – Avataro Sentai Inoueforever – and I’m not sure if that’ll be on my night off from Zi-O, or take its place for a night. We’ll see what I can handle!) We’ll be doing movies and specials as they released chronologically, as well as the .5 episodes.

Stop the countdown! Kamen Rider Die watches Kamen Rider Zi-O starts now!