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Film / Kamen Rider ZO

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Kamen Rider ZO is a 1993 Kamen Rider film produced to celebrate the franchise's 20th anniversary.

Geneticist Dr. Mochizuki splices grasshopper DNA into his lab assistant, Masaru Aso, who stumbles from the lab and goes comatose in the middle of the woods. Mochizuki's next experiment has even more dire results: He creates the Neonoid, a diabolical mutant life form that holds him hostage when he won't complete its development. It creates a separate body for itself, Dorasnote , and tries to kidnap Hiroshi, Mochizuki's son, to force him to do as it demands, but he sends a telepathic call for help to Masaru, who transforms into Kamen Rider ZO to battle Doras.

Footage from the movie was used in Saban's Masked Rider, with ZO appearing only in faraway shots as a stand-in for the Kamen Rider BLACK RX suit.

The movie was also adapted into an Interactive Movie video game by Wolf Team for the Sega CD under the title The Masked Rider: Kamen Rider ZO, where it received a poor dub into English and also had scenes deleted. It was not well received.

There is also a novelization (which greatly expands on both Dr. Mochizuki and Neonoid's motivations) and a manga (which adds a character and makes Dr. Mochizuki more of a traditional Mad Scientist).

ZO would appear in several later Kamen Rider movies, with the cameos being more minor as the years go on.

Kamen Rider Decade x Double: Movie Wars 2010 only features Doras and the Neonoid as the true Final Boss.

Kamen Rider ZO, the character, was voted #13 Kamen Rider in the Showa era, and #80 Kamen Rider overall in NHK's All Kamen Rider Popularity Vote.

Kamen Rider ZO provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Hiroshi's grandfather. (The adaptations expand his role a little, and a Deleted Scene, where he shows up ready to protect Hiroshi with a lightning gun-rod and meets ZO, would've given him more of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer feel.)
  • Adaptational Villainy: Dr. Mochizuki easily acts as The Dragon to the Neonoid, taunting Masaru rather than being held as a hostage in the movie.
  • Advertising-Only Continuity: An early teaser for the film had the new Rider represented by the costume of Kamen Rider BLACK, standing in the shadows, since ZO had not yet been constructed.
  • All There in the Manual: ZO is a prototype for Neonoid, and wasn't supposed to be strong enough to win in a straight fight with Doras. However, Masaru absorbed enough energy from nature while asleep in the mountain for 4 years, and even gained certain abilities he didn't originally have, being able to return to his human form among them.
  • Ascended Extra: In the film, Reiko was just one of the four Karate dojo members that were friends with Hiroshi. In the manga, Naomi becomes Masaru's mentor.
  • Badass Biker Masaru on the Z Bringer.
  • Body Horror: Neonoid's true form.
    • What it does to Dr. Mochizuki after capture.
  • Claymation: ZO vs. Spider Woman Doras
  • Cool Bike: The Z(et) Bringer. Transforms with Masaru, and is wreathed in green flames while doing so.
  • Crossover: With Kamen Rider J in the short 3D movie Kamen Rider World.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Dr. Mochizuki, though the reason for his becoming a Mad Scientist really isn't clear in the movie.
  • Dark Reprise: The main song instrumental plays after the Neonoid absorbs ZO into it's body.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Dr. Mochizuki may be a Mad Scientist, but he draws the line when it comes to putting his own son into his experiments, given that he's the one who guided Masaru to protecting him in the first place. He also has a moment in the manga where he's disgusted that the Neonoid merged part of himself with a human.
  • Genre Shift: The manga, in accordance with Reverse Cerebus Syndrome, shifts from the Revisiting the Roots biopunk movie it was adapting to a more Fighting Series feel, complete with a scene where Masaru has to be taught to train harder.
  • Giggling Villain: Neonoid, though in this case it comes off as it being too young to pull off an Evil Laugh. The one it gives when ZO puts his fist into Doras during their last fight is extremely unsettling, with rising inflection.
  • Homage: Of the original Kamen Rider. Most of the story elements, if you squint a little, are very similar to what was done in that show. There's even an instance of the spider-and-bat in joke.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: ZO ends most of his fights by impaling his enemy on something, either a weapon of some sort or his own fist with a Rider Punch.
  • Implacable Man: Doras. no matter what he did, Hiroshi simply couldn't escape this thing. ZO takes its arm off? It just builds a new one. He runs it over with a motorcycle out a several story window, resulting in it falling on a jagging piece of metal and being impaled? It's put out of commission for the moment, but just gets back up and sends two monsters after the kid. It could give a Terminator a run for its money.
  • Improvised Weapon: ZO has no explicit weapon of his own, but uses objects in his environment several times in battle. He even impales the Kumo Woman on a piece of her own leg he broke off to kill her.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Inverted in the Manga, in which Naomi's appearance shifts the overall tone to a much more Hot-Blooded feel as she motivates Masaru into being a Kamen Rider.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Averted. While it appears that Masaru wakes up with no knowledge of who he is other then needing to protect Hiroshi, aside from being out of the know for a few years he actually remembers everything and is simply very single-minded about his new mission.
  • Leitmotif: Ai ga Tomaranai's melody plays at several points during the film's soundtrack, often serving as Masaru's theme.
  • Lighter and Softer: In direct comparison to it's predecessor, although admittedly, any entry barring manga works by Ishinomori' and season 2 of Kamen Rider Amazons would be this in comparison to Shin. The manga adaptation takes it a step further via the Genre Shift to a more Fighting Series feel.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Mochizuki. The novelization gives his Start of Darkness as being intense sadness when his wife died, with Neonoid being an attempt at a lifeform that would never need to feel such pain. The manga adaptation amps this up even more by just outright having him work with Doras.
  • Mechanical Monster: The 'body' Neonoid constructs out of junk is called Dorasnote . It is entirely unstoppable, and ZO has to settle for ramming it out a building from several stories up onto a sharp piece of metal, the first time they tangle. It doesn't seem to have any sapient intelligence at all until Neonoid reveals itself at the factory - afterwards, Neonoid appears to take direct control of Doras.
  • Mook Maker: The Neonoid is not only capable of creating Doras, but other monsters as well.
  • Mythology Gag: Doras' henchmonsters are based on a spider and bat. And killed in that order, reflecting the first two Monsters of the Week in the original series.
  • Naked on Arrival: Masaru Aso. (It's not clear in the movie if he was released or if he escaped from the operation that turned him into ZOnote , but he apparently ran for a while before falling asleep in a mountain.)
  • No Name Given: Masaru Aso is never actually referred to by name in the movie. (A cut scene indicates that Hiroshi's grandfather would've called him by name in his ZO form.)
  • Nostalgic Music Box: Hiroshi's musical watch.
  • Novelization: Entitled Kamen Rider ZO: Boy in the Dark.
  • The Oner: It's only about 1:40 long, but the first fight scene with Doras at the factory is all one take. The camera isn't mounted, and they fight around a central pillar - at one point, the camera operator is lifted up onto a walkway 3 meters up and lowered again as the fight continues below him.
  • Punny Name: ZO's name was chosen because it resembled the number "20". The film was a commemoration of the franchise's 20th anniversary.
  • Robo Cam: Doras has this ability and uses it to identify Hiroshi and ZO.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Uncanny Valley: Neo Organism looks like if an entity with no idea of how to be human saw a human kid and tried to emulate him. Vaguely looks and sounds like Hiroshi - looks like a marionette and speaks like a kid reciting off a script. Brrr.
  • The Unintelligible: In the American version of the video game, Doras's voice was distorted so badly he's practically impossible to understand. Even worse, responding incorrectly to some of his dialogue will instantly kill you.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Masaru Aso was turned into ZO by Dr. Mochizuki against his will.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: ZO is the prototype Neonoid, while the Neonoid is the perfected version. Played with, as ZO was given an upgrade by the earth itself.


Video Example(s):


Kamen Rider ZO vs Doras

The beginning of the last fight against Doras is shot in a single take that lasts for 1 minute and 40 seconds.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheOner

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