Before I geek over Kamen Rider Zi-O lets back up some shall we? So how many of you remember a little show by Saban in 1995 called Mask Rider? Maybe jump ahead 10 or so years to another show called Mask Rider Knight? Nothing? Well, most wouldn’t remember. Mask Rider was part of Saban trying to bring Kaman Rider over to the US and make it a big mega-hit such as Power Rangers was at the time.
Given you, unless you’re like me and watch Japanese shows, you’d know nothing of Kamen Rider, what it’s about the rich history and why it’s awesome.
Kamen Rider is Mask Rider
Before we get into what called for this discussion today with Kamen Rider Zi-O, let’s talk about a bit. First, I do wanna talk a bit about why Mask Rider fade and yet Ultraman, Super Sentai and Kamen Rider all exist and do well (at times). Mask Rider compared to Power Rangers comes across like this.
Power Rangers has 5-6 teenagers who power up using special powers and ride Zords (large robots).
Mask Rider was simply a younger kid (not a teenager) who powers up using a special power and riders a bike (is not a robot). Seen how that looks? Yeah but let’s talk about this a bit later for another day.
Basically, Kamen Rider translates to Masked Rider. Fair enough.
Kamen Rider Zi-O is Awesome!
Still with me? Really if you guys need me to write about what Kamen Rider is, I’ll do that. Believe me, I wanna write more about Kamen Rider. Kamen Rider Zi-O is the 20th anniversary and the final entry into the Heisei period of Riders. Overall Zi-O is the 29th series of Kamen Rider. Go Beyond space-time! is the show’s tag line.
I’m gonna be honest, other than being busy and other things taking up my time (and being lazy). After Decade, I watched some of Kaman Rider W (Double) and that was about it for me. To be fair, I did look at some of OOO (watching the first few episodes and a bunch of clips online.) I also did the same thing for Wizard, totally skipping Fourze. Something about a Japanese High School becoming a Kamen Rider with space powers was just meh to me. Gaim was weird to me and I sort of lost track for a long time.
Then Ghost came to an end, and I had to go back and watch it. I loved Ghost. Then came Ex-Aid, while I thought the idea was cool, a Kamen Rider show using video games as the theme. Just didn’t like the suits. Of course, it kind of grew on me after. Build was a year I was pretty much in a bad place and while Kamen Rider wasn’t something I thought about at the time.
The King Returns.
Kaman Rider Zi-O is about a high schooler named Sougo Tokiwa. He’s a boy who dreams of becoming king one day. Then he means a woman from the year 2068, a horrible future. Ruled by a Kamen Rider named Oma Zi-O, the king who rules supreme. The twist.
Tsukuyomi warns Sougo that he will become Zi-O, King of TIme and the demonic king destined to rule the world. Even with this information, Sougo to save his new friends and protect people becomes Zi-O.
What makes Zi-O different, as it’s an anniversary season, so you can guess it draws on 20 years of Kamen Rider history, going as far back as Kamen Rider Kugga (2000). As you can guess it, like Decade, we learn that Zi-O, as well as his other allies who also become Riders, can use what is called a Ride Watch to gain armor of past Kamen Riders.
This is rather interesting, with Decade, which was the 10 year anniversary season, Decade could use Rider Cards to transform into past Riders fully with only his belt being the thing to separate him from the original. Zi-O only takes on armor while keeping with the design of his suit. What is even kind of strange but did grow on me, is Decade’s Ridewatch. Zi-O’s belt uses two slots, one on each side. One using the watch to transform the rider and the other is used for power-ups and to gain Rider Armor.
Kamen Rider Decade Ride Watch
His watch is bigger and when attached, gives Zi-O and anyone else who uses it access to use another watch with it. So far only Zi-O has used the watch. What is cool is when Sougo uses the Decade Watch and then uses another watch, the armor changes into that Rider’s Final Form. Normally when Sougo uses a Rider Watch, it shouts Armor Time! But with the Decade Ridewatch, it shouts out Final Rider Time and turns his armor into a Decade/Super Form of that Rider.
As of now, it’s only shown Build, Ghost, Ex-Aid and OOO super forms with the Decade Ridewatch. Sadly now that Zi-O has gained his own Super form called Zi-O II I doubt we’ll see the Decade Ridewatch in action again other than in some weird moment. As it does appears that unlike other past riders, who gain super forms they always go into base form and then later into Super form. Zi-O since gaining the new Ridewatch goes right into his Super form.
You Should Watch
I don’t wanna spoil too much, but you should go and watch Kamen Rider Zi-O, right now they are on episode 24 and generally go about 45-50 episodes or so. Kamen Rider Decade oddly enough is only 31 episodes. Which does make me wonder? Given the nature of the Rider using past Rider Powers? Will Zi-O fall to just 31 episodes as well?