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The age of the HumaGear, where robots imbued with Artificial Intelligence work in most fields.
The young President of the world's top A.I. company stands to protect humanity!
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Kamen Rider Zero-One is the 2019-2020 entry in the Kamen Rider series, the first series in the Reiwa Era and the thirtieth overall. It debuted on September 1, 2019, airing alongside Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger, and later, Mashin Sentai Kiramager in the Super Hero Time line-up. It ended on August 30, 2020, and was succeeded by Kamen Rider Saber.

Set in the year 2019 of the New Era (N.E.) calendar, the world has made vast advancements in Artificial Intelligence and created lifelike humanoid robots to supplement every role in society. In Japan, the number-one corporation at the top of the market is Hiden Intelligence, who produce a bestselling model called HumaGear. However, a cyber-terrorist organization called MetsubouJinrai.net ("DownfallThunderclap.net") have begun to stage terrorist attacks by hacking the HumaGears and turning them into weapons of mass destruction known as Magia, all in an effort to force a technological singularity where A.I.s would surpass and supplant humanity.

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After the passing of Hiden Intelligence founder Korenosuke Hiden, his last will unexpectedly names his grandson Aruto as the next company president. Although Aruto would rather be a comedian than a businessman, he takes up the role after witnessing an attack by MetsubouJinrai.net firsthand. With the position comes the Hiden Zero-One Driver, a belt DNA-locked to the current President of Hiden Intelligence that allows him to transform into Kamen Rider Zero-One.

Throughout his journey, Aruto is assisted in varying degrees by the Japanese government's special counter-terrorism strike force A.I.M.S. (Artificial Intelligence Military Service) and its own Kamen Riders: A.I.M.S.'s reckless captain Isamu Fuwa (Kamen Rider Vulcan) and their by-the-book technical adviser Yua Yaiba (Kamen Rider Valkyrie).

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And oh, it has a kick ass opening theme from Takanori Nishikawa, AKA T.M.Revolution.note 

The show was Cut Short due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, with the number of episodes being dialed back to 45. This resulted in a finale that left little resolved and the intended summer movie Kamen Rider Zero-One: REAL×TIME being pushed to a winter release and serving as a sort of Grand Finale instead.

As part of the franchise's 50th anniversary, Shout! Factory announced both Zero-One and Kamen Rider Ryuki would be licensed in the west as part of their TokuSHOUTsu channel and on their website, which can be watched here. In addition, Zero-One was the first Kamen Rider series to get a proper home video English release with a Blu-Ray release on January 25, 2022.

Kamen Rider Zero-One's tie-in projects include:

Voted #1 Reiwa series (out of two shows) and #10 product overall in NHK’s All Kamen Rider Popularity Vote.

Recurring Kamen Rider tropes include:

  • All Your Powers Combined: This trope usually applies to at least one upgrade for the main Rider, but Zero-One is unusual in how almost every major upgrade for every Rider is acquired by someone gathering the combat data from all of the Progrise Keys up to that point and feeding them into either Zea or the Ark. Also unusual is how the eventual powerup goes to the secondary Rider instead of the lead, creating Rampage Vulcan.
  • Cool Bike: The Rise Hopper, which unfolds from a giant smartphone for some reason. Zero-One summons it with his actual smartphone.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: As usual, nearly every form introduction consists of the Rider's new toy letting them walk all over their opponent.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Played straight for the HumaGears.
  • Henshin Hero: The franchise staple. Aruto Hiden transforms into Kamen Rider Zero-One, Isamu Fuwa transforms into Kamen Rider Vulcan, and Yua Yaiba transforms into Kamen Rider Valkyrie.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Zero-One and Vulcan both gain enhanced versions of their base forms, with Zero-One getting Shining Hopper and Vulcan getting Assault Wolf. Zero-One can also combine the two into a Shining Assault Hopper form.
  • Monster of the Week: Two kinds, something not seen since Kamen Rider Ghost:
    • Magia are HumaGears transformed into monsters by MetsubouJinrai.net using Zetsumerise Keys and a belt which hijacks their protocols. They also count as Victims of the Week as they are actually friendly robots before being corrupted against their will.
    • Raiders are humans transformed into monsters by a mysterious hooded figure using Progrise Keys and a different type of belt from the one used to make Magia. Unlike Magia, Raiders act on their existing evil impulses, albeit magnified by the belt.
  • Multiform Balance: The three heroic Riders each get multiple basic forms with different powers, and the satellite system which supplements Zero-One's gear is actually able to produce new Progrise Keys specifically to counter an enemy's abilities.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Magia is the official English writing, pronounced exactly the same as the "-maGear" in HumaGear. TV Nihon sub uses Magear as their transliteration to make it clear.note 
  • Swiss-Army Hero: As usual for Kamen Rider, different Progrise Keys activate different forms. Zero-One has at least five "basic" forms, while the A.I.M.S. Riders have two each.
  • Transformation Trinket: The series' collectible devices are the Progrise Keys, animal-themed keycards with special abilities. The Magia use Zetsumerise Keysnote  to transform, which work like Progrise Keys but are based on extinct animals. Between both the heroes and the villains, there are fifteen transformation belts in play:note 
    • Aruto transforms into Zero-One with the Zero-One Driver. He uses the Rising Hopper Progrise Key to access his main form, with the Biting Shark, Flying Falcon, Flaming Tiger, Freezing Bear, and Breaking Mammoth Progrise Keys also in his arsenal. He later upgrades to Shining Hopper and MetalCluster Hopper Progrise Keys. Eventually the Zero-One Driver is replaced with the Zero-Two Driver, allowing him to transform into Zero-Two with the Zero-Two Progrise Key. In the final episode, he uses an enhanced Rising Hopper Progrise Key with a newly acquired Zero-One Driver to access the Realizing Hopper form, which is a more powerful variant of Rising Hopper.
    • Kamen Rider Vulcan and Valkyrie transform using the ShotRiser, a high-tech gun which can be mounted on their belt buckles. Vulcan uses the Shooting Wolf and Punching Kong Progrise Keys, and Valkyrie uses the Rushing Cheetah and Lightning Hornet Progrise Keys. Vulcan later gets Assault Wolf and Rampage Gatling keys as upgrades, and also borrows Naki's Japanese Wolf key for another form. Both Riders receive additional Zetsumerise Keys in 01thers: Vulcan & Valkyrie: Vulcan gets a Dire Wolf and Valkyrie gets Serval Tiger.
    • Horobi, Jin, Ikazuchi and Naki transform into Riders using the ForceRiser, with the former two using the Sting Scorpion and Flying Falcon Progrise Keys and the latter two using the Dodo and Japanese Wolf Zetsumerise Keys. In The First Generation, Aruto also borrows a ForceRiser and uses his Rising Hopper Key to become Kamen Rider 001. Later, Horobi transforms using the Zetsumetsu Driver and the Ark Scorpion Progrise Key, both Evil Counterparts of Aruto's Zero-Two Driver and Progrise Key.
    • The second Jin transforms using the ZAIA SlashRiser, a blade variant of the ShotRiser, and the phoenix-themed Burning Falcon Progrise Key.
    • Kamen Rider Thouser uses the ZAIA ThousanDriver to transform, with the power of two keys: the Amazing Caucasus Progrise Key and the Awaking Arsino Zetsumerise Key. In 01hers: MetsubouJinrai, Leon Arkland steals the Driver and uses different keys, Triceratops and Carnotaurus Zetsumerise Keys, to become Kamen Rider ZAIA.
    • The Ark transforms his host into Ark-Zero using the Ark-Driver Zero, and unlike the others, it transforms without using a Progrise Key, only just pressing a button on top the Driver. Once Aruto becomes its host, he uses the Ark-One Progrise Key with it to become Kamen Rider Ark-One.
    • In addition to the Riders, the monsters also transform using belts: HumaGears become Magia using ZetsumeRisers and Zetsumerise Keys, while humans become Raiders with RaidRisers and Progrise Keys.
    • In The First Generation, an Alternate Timeline version of Aruto's father Soreo becomes Kamen Rider Ichi-Gata ("Type-1") in The First Generation using a CycloneRiser (a red-and-white ForceRiser) with the Rocking Hopper Zetsumerise Key.
    • In REALxTIME, S becomes Kamen Rider Eden using an Eden Driver (a retooled Zero-One/Two Driver) and Eden Zetsumerise Key, while his henchmen use Shot and Slash Abbadorisers (retools of the ShotRiser and SlashRiser, respectively) with Crowding Hopper Progrise Keys to each become Kamen Rider Abbadon. One of the Abbadon leaders steals the Eden gear from S and uses them to activate a different form, Kamen Rider Lucifer.
    • 01hers: MetsubouJinrai also features a new belt and key set, the MetsubouJinrai Driver (another Zero-One/Two Driver retool) and Massbrain Zetsumerisekey. The members of MetsubouJinrai use them to collectively become a Hive Mind as Kamen Rider MetsubouJinrai.
  • Weapon Specialization: The Riders' initial weapons all unfold from briefcases. While each has a primary user, they have a habit of being borrowed in battle and used by other Riders:
    • Zero-One has the Attache Calibur, a Cool Sword. In Shining Hopper and Shining Assault Hopper forms, he upgrades to the Authorise Buster, which has an axe mode and gun mode. He occasionally hands the weapon to Vulcan instead when the latter is using his Assault Wolf form. Zero-One's Metal Cluster Hopper form uses the Progrise Hopper Blade, a Healing Shiv styled after a giant Progrise Key. This isn't just for show, as the connector port on its pommel can be slotted into the Attache Calibur's Progrise Key slot to turn it into a Double Weapon.
    • Vulcan has the Attache Shotgun, a Cool Gun, in addition to the ShotRisers that he and Valkyrie both use. Its intense recoil means Vulcan can use it best in Punching Kong form, but he and Valkyrie both get the hang of using it in other forms. Unlike the other weapons, this one isn't unique, with multiple copies floating around: the second copy is primarily used by Jin.
    • Horobi has the Attache Arrow, an Energy Bow which can also transform into a sword. It was stolen from A.I.M.S., and saw brief use in Jin's hands before arriving in Horobi's.
    • Thouser has the Thousand Jacker, a sword that can, true to its name, hijack a charge of power from an enemy's Progrise Key and release it as a special attack.
    • Ark Zero can create single or multiple copies of any weapon used by other Riders and either use them by hand or have them hang in mid-air to fire.
    • In addition to the Rider weapons, Jin carries a handgun. In a society with gun control as strict as Japan's, this immediately marks him as dangerous. Horobi carries a katana which he uses for dramatic gestures rather than combat, he can also use the katana for a quick escape.

There's only one person who could list these tropes! And that's me!

  • Actor Allusion: Seine's flashbacks as Sumire involved her making cheesecakes for her father's birthday. This alludes to her actress who played Ichika Usami in KiraKira★Pretty Cure à la Mode, and Ichika also likes to make cakes.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: The Kamen Rider franchise has had a bad track record with female Riders. Only one was ever a regular character (Marika from Kamen Rider Gaim), and she was one of several Sixth Rangers and far from the most prominent of them.note  The rest were either one-shotsnote  or arrived so late in the series that they had minimal appearances.note  The first to escape the fridge happened in Decade, the 2010 series. Zero-One breaks this trend with Kamen Rider Valkyrie, who is promoted as a major character from the very first reveal, as well as the first female Rider to have alternate forms. It's subverted though as she ends up being a Faux Action Girl who never wins a fight against anything stronger than Mooks without help from the other Riders, and in Vulcan & Valkyrie she gets beaten in her only solo fight and loses her ability to transform.
  • All There in the Manual: The show's website regularly releases concept art of what Zero-One would look like if he used other Progrise Keys in the series. In one case, it also showed Vulcan's version of Rising Hopper.
  • Alternate Universe: Played-straight at first during it's initial run. Similar to Kamen Rider Build, Zero-One takes place in a different world separate from the main Rider timeline (if such a thing exists), due to its premise having far-reaching societal implications, the biggest one being that the major leaps in computer and AI revolutions started in the Eighties and had rudimentary AI by that point sufficent to have AIBO- like robots. It was retconned later on post-series, as the characters of Zero-One intersecting with various Rider shows, starting with Genms ~The Presidents~, a crossover special with Kamen Rider Ex-Aid.
  • An Aesop: The series has three major aesops:
    • Having things we enjoy doing or take passion in is part of what makes us human. Every HumaGear given focus is shown to become more human the more they carry out tasks they take pride in, and humans who use HumaGears as a crutch to avoid doing anything themselves deprive themselves of their passion by doing so.
    • Parenting is the most important part of determining what makes someone who they are. AI, like humans, can become good or evil depending on how they're raised. A good father can produce children who build on their accomplishments, while a cruel father can start a cycle of abuse.
    • Malice and hatred can grow inside of any human, and being human means learning to fight against it if you don't want it to rule you. Once it takes a hold, it can drive you into doing things you deeply regret and makes you a threat to yourself and others.
  • Android Identifier: Humagears are Hiden Intelligence's premier worker robots. They have special Humagear Modules on their ears to distinguish them from Humans as well as Body Seals (essentially bar codes) on their upper bodies should they need to be scanned. Barring a few exceptions, these Modules are normally blue - They turn blood red when the Humagear is hacked into a homicidal Magia by Metsubojinrai.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Even after the end of Zero-One Others, it's shown there's still much work to be done. Human-Humagear relations are worsening, many humans continue to view Humagears as Killer Robots, the Sold Humagears made by ZAIA are set up to take up Metsuboujinrai's mantle in fighting for liberation, the Ark is still at large and influencing things and now a new A.I. of the opposing moral extreme to said Ark is surfacing as a threat too.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Each Progrise and Zetsumerise Key, and the form it grants, has an animal theme. In default forms, Zero-One's theme is a grasshopper, Vulcan's is a wolf, Valkyrie's is a cheetah, Horobi's is a scorpion, and Jin's is a falcon. The Magia are based on extinct genera, favoring obscure species instead of the usual suspects like dinosaurs. Raiders are based on common animals just like the Riders are.
  • Anthropic Principle: Even for what is ostensibly a physics-defying, logic-spurning Henshin Hero show, Zero-One sees itself subject to many critiques and analyses for the simplest of actions taken by its characters. There's a reason it's one of the few Kamen Rider seasons with its own distinct Idiot Ball page.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Dreams" and "tools" emerge as major themes in the later part of the series. Aruto encourages humans and HumaGears alike to find dreams of their own and to follow them. Conversely, tools are those who have no dreams and just do what they're told; HumaGears are just tools used for a task until they develop dreams, while Gai treats even humans as tools for his use.
    • "I am the (Noun) and a Kamen Rider" is a recurring episode title throughout the series. Heroes use "ore" in the title, while villains use "watashi".
    • "Malice" and similar terms become one for the final two arcs, as the Ark and the legacy of hatred it leaves after its demise takes a more active role in the story and its motivations become clearer.
    • "The Only One Allowed to Defeat You", while mainly used as Zero-One's catchphrase, comes to play a major role in the final battle where as wielders of the Ark's powers and bearers of great malice made to fight each other, Aruto and Horobi eventually come to realise that each of them are also the only ones capable of eliminating the other's malice and destroy their Ark powers, with it literally being pointed out that Horobi is the only one allowed to defeat Aruto, and vise-versa for Horobi Ark-Scorpion once Aruto's Ark-One powers have been eliminated.
  • Artificial Family Member: A few of them show up.
    • Aruto lost his father when he was young. His grandfather built a HumaGear to act as a substitute parent to act as a emotional support. Aruto and the HumaGear did see each other as family to the point Aruto called him father and he was willing to sacrifice himself for Aruto. Not only that, he was actually buried in Aruto's family plot.
    • Jin is a HumaGear created by Horobi, and the two explicitly refer to each other as father and son.
    • An aspiring voice actress HumaGear in #6 was this to her talent manager and the latter treats her as though she was the manager's deceased daughter. While it was technically illegal, Aruto sympathized with the manager due to him being raised by a HumaGear.
    • Wazu Nazotoku was a prototype of Is and considered himself her older brother. Is returned the sentiment shortly before his death.
    • The astronaut brothers Uchuuyarou Raiden and Uchuuyarou Subaru.
    • In similar veins to Is and Wazu, Horobi was created based on Hiden Soreo's data, which make them brothers and their sons cousins.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • When they aren't bickering, fighting, or snarking at each other, Fuwa and Yua have a knack for taking down enemy forces flawlessly when they are together, as seen in Kamen Rider Reiwa: First Generation and #33.
    • Horobi and Jin initially worked out like this before #15. They have a good enough teamwork to overwhelm their adversaries - so long as one of them doesn't get taken out.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Ark and Gai Amatsu compete for dominance over the course of the series. Gai wants to scrap all Humagears, while the Ark wants to use them to exterminate humanity. In the final arc, Azu attempts to bring forth another ensemble by handing out Zetsumetsu and Ark Drivers to create more Arks.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Aruto manages to defeat Horobi without destroying him and even helps the latter realize he does have a heart, and Yua successfully manages to restore Jin since his data was stored in the Ark. The 'bitter' part comes when Aruto manages to rebuild Is from the ground up, but as this Is is essentially a brand new Humagear, she lacks all the memories and experiences of the original, though Aruto is working on reteaching her everything she knew previously. As is also still out there, and she isn't done as evident by the fact that she gives an unknown Progrisekey to S, the villain of The Movie.
    • It becomes a fully happy ending though in Kamen Rider Zero-One: REAL×TIME when the original Is is fully restored to the body of the new Is through the Zero-Two Progrise Key, and when S and his cult are defeated.
    • It goes back to being bittersweet though at the end of the Zero-One Others films, where Kamen Rider Metsuboujinrai is destroyed, permanently killing the Metsuboujinrai.net members in the process, Yua loses her ability to become Valkyrie and Fuwa is seriously injured and may even be dead. It's made even more bitter by the two Genms specials, which reveal that not only is the original Ark still active and freely roaming cyberspace, but a new A.I. of the opposite flavor is within hair's reach of going full Knight Templar; calling into question whether or not our heroes accomplished anything at all.
    • If anything it's made a full reverse The show ends with Is seemingly lost forever as she was, but everything else looking up and everyone else doing fine. Post Others Aruto gets Is back who continues to prove the emotional and moral potential of an AI and inherits the Zero Two driver to become Aruto's partner Kamen Rider, but almost everything else was lost instead, with the majority of the other Riders seemingly being dead except Yua (who has her power back in her most recent appearance) and almost everything else he worked for either being all for nothing or in serious jeopardy.
  • Artistic License – Law: Two examples are the crux of episode 30.
    • Gai declares a recall of all Humagears, which is depicted as armed men barging into peoples’ homes to seize Humagears from them, or fishing them out of the trash. In real life, a recall simply stops new stock from coming in to sellers, while ones that have been sold are either traded in for something more reliable or left alone.
    • Later in the episode Aruto is allowed to reverse the recall because it turns out the Humagears legally belong to him rather than Hiden Intelligence, as arranged by his grandfather. This would only be possible if the board of directors allowed it to be so, and no sane executive would allow one man sole ownership of their biggest selling product, due to the massive loss of profit that would occur if they disassociated themselves with the company.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The final arc sees a cynical and jaded Aruto, now an Anti-Hero after embracing the power of Ark-One, going up against Horobi, who has completely gone off the deep end seeking to Kill All Humans, and is not even willing to spare his own kind if they do anything to irritate him.
  • Book Ends: The first few episodes of Kamen Rider Zero-One had HumaGears who achieved Singularity, but had to be destroyed after being turned into Magia, be rebuilt and retaught everything they had learned previously. Come the final episode and Aruto rebuilds Is, who had been destroyed by Horobi three episodes back and lacking all knowledge she had previously and leaving Aruto to reteach her, starting with his catchphrase.
  • Breaking Old Trends: Unlike previous series with multiple Riders having the same or similar belts with different gimmick items and a few having totally different Transformation Trinkets, this series has a wide variety of different belts for everything from Riders to Monsters of the Week and only a few recurring characters having duplicates of the same belt. Over the course of the series and its sequel movies, 14 are introduced.
  • Breather Episode: The Played for Comedy Human-HumaGear Marriage mini-arc, which takes place in the middle of the Workplace Competition arc and right after the heavy debut of Zero-One Metalcluster Hopper.
  • Broken Aesop: The final arc's aesop against revenge and hatred would land better if the previous arcs hadn't encouraged you to hate Gai and take joy in his misery. It also doesn't work on its own, since Horobi's killing of Is was out of a desperate attempt to Hand Wave his burdgeoning emotions and scapegoat humans (despite acknowledging his love for his son Jin being what freed him from the Ark's control in the first place) and would have killed countless people if left unchecked, giving Aruto ample reasons to oppose him. The reason things spiral out of control isn't because Aruto tried to get revenge, but because he used the Obviously Evil Ark Driver, which convinced his friends he'd gone off the deep end despite ample evidence to the contrary and thus spent the latter half of the arc being lectured about his gear instead of properly helped through his trauma; only causing things to reach a boiling point.
  • Call-Back:
    • #21. The HumaGear defence attorney presents his client's alibi - it was impossible for him to post the fraudulent message that got him arrested because he didn't have his phone in hand; instead, he was watching Gut-Buster Taro, the HumaGear comedian from the first episode.
    • #23 has a marriage ruse being held to call out the Storming Penguin Raider, with the pastor being played by none other than actor HumaGear Enji Matsuda.
  • Casting Gag: Victim of the Week Chiharu Ebii and the HumaGear she wants to marry in #23, Match Enmusubi, are portrayed by Arisa Komiya and Ryoma Baba respectively, who have both co-starred in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters as Yoko Usami/Yellow Buster and Ryuji Iwasaki/Blue Buster. The "gag" part kicks in if you know that due to all three Busters being orphaned at the start of the series, Ryuji goes through Promotion to Parent due to being the oldestnote , making the whole situation feel like an Age-Gap Romance. Worth noting here is that Yoko did go through a fake wedding with a much older guy back in Go-Busters.
    • A secondary one in relation to this is that Ryuji had a berserk Superpowered Evil Side that sounded robotic; Here he portrays an actual robot, who ends up going berserk.
    • A Freeze-Frame Bonus from Chiharu's profile reveals she graduated from Usada University, the same name as Yoko's Buddyroid partner.
    • Another one happens when Teru, who is the Penguin Raider. In Love Live! Sunshine!! who Ebii falls in love with, Arisa Komiya voices Dia Kurosawa where she was compared to a penguin by Mari in the Koi Ni Naritai Aquarium audio skit. The episodes also has a lot references to her role as Dia, from her profile referencing Dia's interests to Enmusubi making the Buu Buu Desuwa pose like Dia does.
    • This goes two levels deep with Mao Ichimichi as the voice of Ai-chan - on the one hand it's a Call-Back to the Seine arc, where Seine was also voiced by a known seiyuu from anime who becomes a Alexa-like talking AI just like Ai-chan, while at the same time it's a new entry to the checklist of female supporting roles in Toku that Mao has steadily been progressing through (her first role as an inanimate object).
  • Central Theme: Love and empathy vs hatred and malice. Ultimately, every conflict in the series is started by someone's hatred, and the only thing that can effectively overcome it is another's sympathy and compassion. The Ark and As are the only main antagonist of the series to not ultimately be beaten directly by acts of sympathy and compassion, and even then the Ark's defeat is the direct result of Horobi's love for Jin. Its will, via As, is then defeated by Aruto having compassion and empathy for Horobi.
    • It's zig-zagged though in that theme doesn't come into play until the final arc, and earlier arcs conflict with it, such as how Gai is presented as a character the audience is supposed to hate and want to see get beaten up.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The series initially starts out fairly light with an optimistic perspective on technology and AI. As the show goes on, it continuously gets more depressing with each consecutive arc, with losses becoming more common for the main characters and villains coming out victorious more often than not. Even with the many victories that come for the heroes after the Workplace Competition Arc, the Ark-Zero and Ark-One arcs completely erase all of those victories with the revival of the Ark. Aptly put, the trajectory of the series' main plot goes from a optimistic Post-Cyberpunk story revolving around a All-Loving Hero trying to fight for the future of AI to a downright tragic story revolving around a Fallen Hero and Unscrupulous Hero, driven by loss and revenge.
  • Cheer Them Up with Laughter:
    • Berotha Magia's original purpose as a HumaGear is this, which he takes with great pride.
    • Struggling comedian Aruto is a Pungeon Master who constantly invokes this trope whenever things go south for his team or they are just going through difficult times. Unfortunately, he can only spout Incredibly Lame Puns, so he's not successful most of the time. It doesn't deter him from trying, though. The reason is that he failed to get a "smile from the heart" from his HumaGear father shortly before the latter's demise.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Isamu Fuwa's Dumb Muscle tendencies have come useful a number of times.
    • His first instinct to yank open Progrise Keys by hand instead of getting authorization is probably the only way for someone to operate a Progrise Key created by MetsubouJinrai.net, rather than Hiden Intelligence or ZAIA Enterprise.
    • During Zero-One Metalcluster Hopper's first rampage, his first instinct was to attempt to yank off Zero-One's entire belt with all his strength instead of just taking out his Progrise Key. It still succeeds and manages to stop Zero-One from killing a defenseless Gai in time.
    • The giant robots in #8. What else were they supposed to do? Look pretty?
  • Common HTTP Status Code: The theme song, "REALxEYEZ", refers to the "404 Not Found" error in the TV-length version, and the extended version also names "408 Timeout" in its second verse.
  • Cut Short: The pandemic and subsequent lockdown caused the number of episodes to be cut down, resulting in the latter half being substantially rewritten. This led to several plot threads being hastily wrapped up or pushed aside and the series itself basically having No Ending, with The Movie serving as a proper conclusion to the story.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Zero-One's endgame depicts the conflict between Aruto and Horobi, after Horobi kills Is for petty reasons, prompting Aruto to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against him.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Since the Assault Wolf Progrise Key was designed for HumaGears to use, Fuwa's human body wasn't meant to withstand using such power. It also is connected directly to the Ark, which probably isn't a good sign either. This aspect of the Key is downplayed after its initial few uses, as Fuwa initially used it while already badly injured, but it continues to inflict fatigue even after short uses. Metal Cluster Hopper also briefly serves this role due to being The Berserker until the HumaGears develop a method to make it safe to use.
  • Darker and Edgier: Relative to Takahashi's previous Rider show, which had a substantial bent towards comedy and a very low body count, with almost nobody being permanently killed. Substantially more characters die in Zero-One, and the show as a whole is much less comedic.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: The Cluster Cells that make up Metal Cluster Hopper are insanely powerful. They can curb stomp a Raider in mere seconds, turn into spikes and shields, and even create duplicates of Zero-One, on top of the form's absurd strength. Basically, to make sure that not every battle with MCH isn't a Curb-Stomp Battle, the Cluster Cells were sealed in the Progrise Hopper Blade, to be utilized through it. The CG cost was probably another factor.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Gai corrupted the Ark, implanted fake memories in Fuwa and separated him from his family, and removed the free wills of Yua and the other members of AIMS. You'd think the heroes would be a lot more hostile to him after he joins their side, but while they don't accept him right away their attitude towards him is more The Friend Nobody Likes as opposed to "the psychopath who ruined our lives". Even though he no longer has his influence as CEO of ZAIA, no one does anything to hold him accountable for the wrongs he committed.
    • Horobi is also allowed to wander freely at the end of the final episode after turning good, even though he was a terrorist plotting a genocide not long before. His murder of Is is also never brought up again, even where it would be relevant.
  • Elemental Powers: Some Progrise Keys give the users elemental abilities:
  • Evil Knockoff: The Raider monsters are ripped off from the A.I.M.S. technology. They use the same undersuits as Vulcan and Valkyrie, and the RaidRisers are stripped-down versions of the ShotRisers. It's eventually revealed that the two were made by the same company.
  • Fake Memories: It's revealed that Fuwa being attacked by HumanGears in the past were false memories created by Gai.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • At first, Isamu Fuwa/Kamen Rider Vulcan has a deep grudge against HumaGears due to them being involved in a terrorist attack which destroyed an entire city. This was shaken down a bit after his life was saved by a doctor HumaGear.
    • Gai Amatsu/Kamen Rider Thouser is much worse when it comes to his ambition to shut down all HumaGears due to his petty hatred toward his former idol Korenosuke Hiden.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: The A.I.M.S. Riders have colored elements over white base armor; in their default forms only their right sides are colored. Their following forms avert this, as Punching Kong and Lightning Hornet both primarily enhance the wearer's top half and are therefore symmetrical, while Assault Wolf enhances Vulcan's entire body. Rampage Vulcan returns to being asymmetrical, with more elaborate armor on his left limbs.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • #2 shows that it is possible to forcibly open an unauthorised Progrise Key for usage, as Fuwa constantly does it with his using brute strength. MetsubouJinrai.net is later shown to have their own Rider belt known as the Force Riser, which forcefully activates Progrise Keys by doing this mechanically.
    • #4 introduces a list of companies contributing to the development of prototype HumaGears 12 years ago in the ruined Daybreak Town incident. The only company logo of comparable size to Hiden Intelligence is ZAIA Enterprise, whose name also comes up in the materials that Vulcan and Valkyrie's armor is made of. As it turns out, ZAIA supplies A.I.M.S. with their Rider equipment, and soon develop their own independent Rider, Kamen Rider Thouser.
    • In a meta sense - A large number of extra Progrise Keys were designed and produced with full sound effects despite not seeing an actual use by the Riders in the show itself. Turns out, they were to be used by the second group of Monster of the Week, humans-turned-monsters known as Raiders.
    • In another metawise that has been there since the beginning - The OP shows Is with long hair just before the fight with Ark infected HumaGears, is not at all Is, but As.
    • #19 starts with HumaGear real estate agent Smile Sumida trying to sell a home to a surly-looking couple, and the woman has one hand draped over her belly the whole time. Smile scores the deal by finding a home suitable for a small family - because the woman was pregnant.
    • #22 has Is apparently mocking Fuwa for his tendency to crack open any hardware with brute force - at the climactic battle of the week, this approach proves to be the only thing that can stop the rampage of Metal Cluster Hopper.
    • Gai's Humanity Is Superior philosophy has him producing technology that comes dangerously close to direct Neural Implanting in humans. As it turns out, he did dabble in such technology, with Fuwa and Yua being his Unwitting Test Subjects all along.
  • Golden Mean Fallacy: Part of the reason the final arc's attempt at a Cycle of Revenge moral doesn't work is because it tries to paint both Aruto and Horobi as responsible for starting the conflict, despite the fact that Horobi willfully murdered Izu, while Jin's death was entirely accident and only happened because he put himself in the way of Aruto's Finishing Move before Aruto had time to react. Aruto certainly didn't deescalate things by using an Ark-Driver, but even before Jin died Horobi already believed in committing genocide against humanity, to the point of murdering members of his own kind who simply spoke out against his beliefs, and would have likely gone on to massacre even more people if Aruto hadn't done something to stop him.
  • Golden Snitch: The second round of the ZAIA competition is a real estate sale-off, and both Aruto and Gai have their eyes on this one client who can afford to pay enough to undo the massive lead Gai's agent has over Aruto's HumaGear agent Smile Sumida - but Smile matches the client to a much simpler home that costs less, ultimately rendering it moot.
  • Gratuitous English:
    • All Rider gear features jingles rendered in a mix of English and Japanese courtesy of Canadian music band Monkey Majik, followed by a speech synthesizer reading a complete, if awkward, English sentence after the jingle. Shining Hopper, Shining Assault Hopper, and MetalCluster Hopper use the synthesizer twice, once before and once after the jingle. Raiders deliver the synthesizer lines as well, although the audio mixing can make it difficult to hear.
      Zero-One Rising Hopper: A jump to the sky turns to a Rider Kick.
      Vulcan Shooting Wolf: The elevation rises as the bullet is fired.
      Zero-One Biting Shark: Fangs that can chop through concrete.
      Valkyrie Rushing Cheetah: Try to outrun this demon to get left in the dust.
      Vulcan Punching Kong: Enough power to annihilate a mountain.
      Zero-One Flying Falcon: Spread your wings and prepare for a force.
      Zero-One Flaming Tiger: The explosive power of one hundred bombs.
      Valkyrie Lightning Hornet: Piercing needle with incredible force.
      Zero-One Freezing Bear: Fierce breath as cold as Arctic winds.
      Zero-One Breaking Mammoth: Larger than life to crush like a machine.
      Vulcan Assault Wolf: No chance of surviving.
      Zero-One Shining Hopper: The Rider Kick increases the power by adding to brightness. [...] When I shine, darkness fades.
      Zero-One Shining Assault Hopper: Warning! Warning! This is not a test. [...] No chance of surviving this shot.
      Thouser Amazing Caucasus: When the five horns cross, the golden soldier Thouser is born. Presented by ZAIA.
      Zero-One MetalCluster Hopper: Secret Material Hiden Metal. [...] It's high quality.
      Jin Burning Falcon: The strongest wings bearing the fires of hell.
      Crushing Buffalo Raider: This charge attack will send you flying.
      Splashing Whale Raider: An aqua current that encompasses everything around it.
      Dynamiting Lion Raider: A beautiful explosive force like fireworks.
      Storming Penguin Raider: The winds are at his command.
      Scouting Panda Raider: There is nothing unknown to his eyes.
      Fighting Jackal Raider: Deciding the fate of a battle like a Valkyrie.
      Battle Raider: Heavily produced battle armor equipped with extra battle specifications.
      Zero-Two: Road to glory has to lead to growing path to change. One to Two! [...] It's never over.
      Ark-One: Hakai. Hametsu. Zetsubō. Metsubōseyo. Conclusion one.
      Orthoros Vulcan: Awakening the instincts of two beasts long lost.
      Horobi Ark-Scorpion: Destruction! Ruin! Despair! Extinction! [...] The conclusion after evil climbs the top of the highest mountain of rock.
      Zero-One Realizing Hopper: A Rider Kick to the sky turns to take off toward a dream.
      Eden: Imagine! Ideal! Illusion! Eden the Kamen Rider! The creator who charges forward believing in paradise.
      Abaddon Crowding Hopper: An attack method using various group tactics.
      Zero-One Hellrising Hopper: Hell's energy has destroyed the world! [...] Heaven or hell, it doesn't matter.
      Lucifer: The creator who charges forward believing in paradise. Over the Eden.
      Ark-Zero-One: Final Conclusion! [...] A jump to the sky to gain hatred.
      Zaia: When the five weapons cross, the jet-black soldier Zaia is born. I am the president.
      Metsuboujinrai: Connection! Complete! [...] Quartet with unified will!
      Valkyrie Justice Serval: Blades won by justice that protects lives.
      Vulcan Lone Wolf: Registration! Vulcan Co., Ltd.! [...] It's my rule.
      Ark-Thouser: When the five horns cross, the Thousand Ark is born. Presented by Ark.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Downplayed. Yes, it takes a lot of normal rifle and pistol rounds to even stun a Magia, but they can eventually take one down.
  • Happy Ending Override: The optimistic ending that comes at the end of Kamen Rider Zero One REA Lx TIME becomes a more bleak Bittersweet Ending after the events of the Zero-One Others films, which see the Metsuboujinrai.net members assimilated into Kamen Rider Metsuboujinrai and destroyed along with it, Fuwa possibly dying and Yua losing her ability to transform. Made worse by the Genms ~The Presidents~ special set after those films, which shows the Ark somehow survived and escaped into the Internet.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Once Naki is free, they make ZAIASpec users rampage by using the same backdoor code as intended for the Zetsumeriser and RaidRiser. Gai gave this to Naki so that he would have a way to control how and when they would rampage. Once Gai tries to patch it out, Naki does it again anyway just to prove that he's helpless now that his "tool" no longer works for him.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Played for laughs in the Shooting Special Recap Episode, whose non-recap segments consist of poorly-matched dubbing over previous footage, mostly consisting of Yua karate chopping Fuwa in the back of the neck.
  • Hope Spot: #30-33 collectively serve as one, as Aruto begins turning things around from what seemed like his darkest hour, Jin makes strides towards what looks like a Heel–Face Turn, and lead villain Gai begins suffering one humiliating defeat after another. #34 starkly turns things back around by making it clear that Gai losing isn't the same thing as Aruto winning, and that Jin's face turn isn't nearly as far along as Aruto thought. By the end of the episode, MetsubouJinrai.NET is back in the top villain seat, bigger and badder than ever before.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The Japanese titles for the episodes use katakana for a pronoun.
  • Idiot Ball: A lot of the plot is driven by characters acting uncharacteristically dumb, to the point where it has its own page.
  • Implausible Deniability: Yua awkwardly denies having leaked footage of an attack by the Assassin HumaGear, even when Is confronts her with surveillance footage of the scene clearly showing that she recorded it.
  • Irony: Flying Falcon was created to help Zero-One combat the Onycho Magia, but its track record in actually fighting it is atrocious : the first Onycho is defeated by Vulcan Punching Kong instead, the second Onycho actually steals Flying Falcon from Zero-One, and the third Onycho is defeated by Thouser copying its powers instead.
  • Just Eat Gilligan:
    • Even after the Ark's existence is revealed, none of the characters try to destroy it even though it's an unguarded satellite at the bottom of a lake. Had anyone done anything about it before it gained a physical form, the plot would be about half as long.
    • In the final arc, no one thinks to talk to Aruto after he becomes Ark-One even after it becomes clear he's acting of his volition. When Fuwa gets a chance to speak to him, he offers him No Sympathy for the trauma he's going through nor does he put much effort into explaining to him the coming Robot War that might result from his actions. Instead he just tells Aruto not to fight Horobi, which would have been an even worse option as it would have left a murderous terrorist on the loose, and opts to attack him when Aruto doesn't listen. Naturally this just leads to Aruto whooping him on his ass (somewhat rightfully) and being on his way.
  • Karma Houdini: Both of the Big Bads (Gai Amatsu and the Ark) survive the saga and get off free in the end.
    • Gai Amatsu corrupted the Ark and caused just about everything wrong in the series, but by the end of Zero-One Others: Vulcan & Valkyrie he's survived everything, never faced any proper retribution for his actions and kept his ThousanDriver (though this is due to his Heel–Face Turn). He's definitely in a much better standing than all of his victims like Isamu (who is hospitalized and possibly dead, even if he survived he would be blind), Yua (who lost her ability to transform and might have to see her friend die), MetsubouJinrai.net (who are permanently Killed Off for Real with no chance of recovery), and Aruto (who gained back the original Is but had to see his other friends suffer and die while being unable to do anything about it).
    • The Ark, which our heroes spent the entire series fighting, also bounces back from its supposed death by the Genms ~The Presidents~ and is now freely roaming the Internet.
  • Keystone Army: Episodes 34-35. Naki can hack into all Zaiaspecs and turn the human wearers into a berserk army, but distracting them is enough to shut them all down.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: During the Hiden Manufacturing arc, Gai gets several severe beatdowns in a row. It starts when he finds out that, even though he now owns Hiden Intelligence, he has no rights to their inventions or intellectual property, including the HumaGears he wants to destroy. After harassing Aruto at his new company, threatening almost definitely illegal damage against Hiden Manufacturing's property, Gai gets his backside handed to him repeatedly. Then, because of his constant taunts and reiteration that he only sees other people as tools to be used and discarded, even being willing to kill human beings if they get in his way, both the "wild dog" he wanted leashed and the one who was supposed to hold it for him break free of his More than Mind Control and team up to stop him from hunting down yet another HumaGear who he wants to destroy for no reason other than making himself look more powerful. Once all of that is done, Yua fights off his last futile attempt at using her Restraining Bolt to control her long enough to deck him in the mouth as her letter of resignation. Gai is left limp, humiliated, and utterly alone in all respects. A lot of it could have been avoided if he had just taken his victory and moved on.
  • Killer Robot: MetsubouJinrai.net turns normal HumaGears into these, referred to as Magia.
  • Loophole Abuse: Only the company president can become Zero-One. So when Aruto is removed from his position as president of Hiden Intelligence after ZAIA buys them out, he can't transform... until Is establishes a new company and names Aruto as president. Apparently the system doesn't care which company Aruto is president of (though it does help that he retained all the rights to the Zero-One technology).
  • Lost Aesop: Zero-One flip-flops a lot on its Central Theme against malice and revenge, depicting the Big Bad as the negative embodiment of these concepts while also having arcs about the cast beating down on Gai in retaliation to the wrongs he's inflicted towards them in a way that's presented as justified. The final arc has an anti-Cycle of Revenge message that ignores the arcs previous to it, while the Grand Finale film Vulcan & Valkyrie treats the destruction of both Metsuboujinrai.net and ZAIA as being a step towards peace.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: While Aruto is the CEO of the company, most of the early episodes involve him and Is going out on customer support calls.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When Aruto asks Raiden how he managed to leave Metsuboujinrai after recovering his memory, he can only answer "Quickly!", much to everyone's consternation. And that's because by all means, he shouldn't have been able to leave. Ark let him go to bait Aruto back to Daybreak Town.
  • Meaningful Name: Zero-One's Rider name has numerous meanings:
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Zero-One is a strong callback to Kamen Rider Ichigo ("#1"), with his explicit grasshopper theme, name, and the round core of his belt. Kamen Rider Ichi-Gata from The First Generation takes what Zero-One already has and goes even further; with a name closer to Ichigo's, Ichigo's original blue color scheme, and his CycloneRiser belt named and colored after Ichigo's motorcycle.
    • #6 has posters for Show Within a Show anime that reference previous Rider series. "Haran Banjo" features a dragon-boy boxer (whose Catchphrase seems to be "I won't lose!") accompanied by a rabbit, referencing Kamen Rider Build's Ryuga Banjo and Sento Kiryu respectively. "Magical Girl Koyomi in Magicland", whose Catchphrase is "It's showtime!", is a little more obvious.
    • The matchmaker HumaGear Match Enmusubi says that his job is finding peoples' "Best Matches", which were Arc Words in Kamen Rider Build.
    • The names and logos of the companies other than Hiden Intelligence and ZAIA Enterprise shown to be responsible for different areas of Daybreak Town in #4 are shout-outs to previous Kamen Rider series. For example, the second from left calls back to Kamen Rider Gaim, the top right has an eye design very similar to Ghost's, and Jee.Net has a design that evokes Kiva.
    • REAL×TIME introduces Kamen Rider Abaddon, which is actually a bunch of identical Riders with color-coded shoulder pieces, basically a Zero-One take on the Shocker Riders.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The terrorist organization MetsubouJinrai.net ("metsubou jinrai" means "destruction thunderclap" or "thunderclap of death and destruction"), which already sounds like something you'd find tattooed on a Yakuza.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: New Progrise Keys are created by sending battle data to satellite Zea, which analyzes the data and then uses the 3D printer at Hiden Intelligence to manufacture a new Key based on what Zero-One needs. Until the end of the series, where it runs out of upgrades for Zero-One, forcing the heroes to take matters into their own hands and create Zero-Two.
    • Zig-zagged in the V-Cinemas. Valkyrie's new form is utterly useless against Kamen Rider Metsubojinrai while Vulcan's new form works as intended, but precedes his likely death.
  • No Ending: The ending to the final arc of the show leaves a lot of plot points and events unaddressed, along with setting up new ones, and one has to watch Kamen Rider Zero One REA Lx TIME to get the real resolution to the story.
  • No Endor Holocaust: #9. Aruto is forced to shut down all the HumaGears working the hospital to prevent them going berserk, even though they're medical workers and halting their work for the time it took for Yua to travel from the hospital to Hiden Intelligence (half an hour tops) should have resulted in a dozen more medical complications. Dr. Omigoto even says that Fuwa needs to start treatment immediately or he won't make it - yet he does.
  • No Health and Safety Compliance: (Since this is set in Japan, OSHA does not apply.) HumaGears continue to be sold despite the fairly obvious drawback that they can go berserk if hacked by terrorists (or, later, if they just get angry at a human). Subsequently, ZAIASpecs continue to be sold even though they can also be hacked to make their wearers go berserk.
  • Once per Episode: The early arc episodes usually opens up from Aruto being fascinated by a HumaGear's working industry, before Is reminds him that they are not there to enjoy the moment.
  • Parent-Child Team: Jin and Horobi, albeit a Manchild and an abusive parent as a team.
  • Painting the Medium: Much like in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, each Finishing Move comes with its own title card. Each Rider belt gives the card a different aesthetic:
    • The Zero-One Driver flashes the attack's name one character at a time in crisp bold-print katakana matching the Progrise Key's color, followed by the full name being printed in a neat row along the edge of the screen at the moment of impact.
    • The Shotriser shoots the screen with each character in lean orange katakana hitting a concrete wall, cracking it more and more with each character until the card shatters, followed by the full name being seared into the edges of the screen. The Slashriser, based on the Shotriser, also follows this pattern, with an additional rain effect added to it.
    • The Forceriser freezes time and shows the attack's name in four kanji made of fire matching the Progrise Key's color, followed by the full name being hand-written across the center of the screen framed by chains. Some finishers instead display the attack's name one character at a time in hand-written katakana. The CycloneRiser also follows this aesthetic, while Zero Zero One notably averts this, using the Zero-One Driver's aesthetic for his finishers despite using the Forceriser.
    • The Thousandriver flashes the attack's name one letter at a time in ornate golden English letters, followed by the full name being printed across the center of the screen along with copyright information.
    • The Ark Driver-Zero's finishers combine two aesthetics: Flashing the attack's name one character at a time in sinister hand-written katakana like with the Zero-One Driver, with the full name following suit later using the same hand-written katakana like with the Forceriser.
  • Pocket Protector: In #30, Aruto survives Taking the Bullet for Is due to wearing all the HumaGear keys all over his body.
  • Post Cyber Punk: The show is a complete inversion of Cyberpunk ideals: radical technology has benefited humanity rather than diminished it, hackers are dangerous terrorists rather than the free-thinking rebels who usually helps the hero, and the Megacorp and the military actually try to make life better for the people instead of being corrupt. The whole reversal is exemplified further in the hero himself: in ordinary Cyberpunk stories, it would be a street-smart mercenary — here, it is the CEO of the Megacorp who goes out and fights to protect everyone in the hope that humans and HumaGears can coexist. By the end of the 2nd arc however, the story switches to its Cyberpunk roots: the evil Megacorp takes control of both the good corporation and the military squad while using their technology to control people, the hackers become more sympathetic, and while Aruto is still a company president it's of a much smaller firm that's basically just Aruto, Is, and Fuwa, incorporated via Loophole Abuse.
  • Product Placement:
    • The Sparking Giraffe Progrise Key was a promotional item offered by Toys R Us, with the choice of giraffe very likely to be a reference to the store's mascot Geoffrey Giraffe (especially considering that the following year's TRU prmotion was also giraffe-themed).
    • Episodes 38 and 39 feature Sony's Aibo Robot Dogs in the role of similar products made by Hiden Intelligence.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality:
    • The series depicts many of Aruto's enemies in a bad light for viewing Humagears as objects and not living beings, yet Aruto himself is the head of a company that sells them as products. While Aruto does try to encourage people to treat Humagears as people, he's still shown to be fine selling them as products to fulfill various jobs, in effect treating them as tools. Were Gai not so virulently anti-AI, he could make a compelling ethical argument for banning the sale of Humagears based solely on the fact that they're living, sapient beings.
    • One moment where Gai Amatsu's vile and greedy nature is shown is when he deliberately leaves holes in the ZAIA Spec's security that allows them to be hacked, endangering the lives of his customer base. Yet Aruto himself continues to sell Humagears even though they can also be made to harm humans if they are hacked, or even a human just does anything to slight them.
  • Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: as stated in the equipment list for it, Kamen Rider Zero-Two's Combat Clairvoyance and Flash Step work using this.
  • Recap Episode:
    • A great deal of #25 is this, reviewing past events up till the present and visually mapping out each involved organisation's current position in the plot.
    • With production on the Super Hero Time shows entering hiatus due to COVID-19 concerns, the gap between #35 and #36 was filled by a series of recaps narrated by various members of the cast. A small amount of plot progression occurs in these recaps, as they also feature the debut of the long-haired Is who appears in the show’s usual opening sequence.
  • Recurring Extra: This elderly couple appeared in at least three episodes, in the first episode, the hospital episode, and the rap-battle episode.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Aruto's final upgrade, Kamen Rider Zero-Two, is simply a stronger, faster, more versatile upgrade of his base form similar to earlier Rider series. This is in contrast to the trend of Neo-Heisei Riders getting either access to all previously established powers or a new, extremely powerful ability.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The V-Cinema duology transforms the entire season into this. Despite all of the setting's major factions essentially coming together to fight for peace in the preceding film (after spending the show bickering), Lyon Arkland creating Kamen Rider Metsubojinrai gets almost everyone involved killed and undoes the peace everyone had been striving for. The Presidents specials that take place after reveal that not only is The Ark still active, but a new A.I. of the precisely-opposing extreme is on the way, rendering everyone's struggles moot.
  • Ship Tease:
    • It isn't super blatant, but there seems to something going on between Fuwa and Yua. Even though they don't really admit it, it's heavily implied that they do care about each other's well-being, as seen with Yua's Not So Stoic moments and Fuwa's growing concern about Yua when she's under Gai's grasp. The duo's bickering has also gone significantly down since the beginning, becoming a lot more affable with each other ever since Yua resigned from ZAIA. It's even to the point where Yua pokes fun at Fuwa when it's revealed that his past is completely mundane, to the point where it's boring. #37 even has a Tsundere moment from Yua herself, as she was apologizing for all of the things that she did to Fuwa. And when the heel-face-turned Gai apologizes to them for all the things he'd done, each of them berates him for things he did to the other, while taking no notice of their own injuries by him.
    • Aruto and Is seem to be moving in this direction as well, with Is saying that her dream is to be by his side and support him in achieving his own. While she almost always smiles politely since she is designed to be an assistant, it's much more genuine with him than anyone else. She'll also drop the polite face if someone annoys her enough, like Shesta or Fuwa. Meanwhile, Aruto is especially protective of her even compared to other humans and HumaGear. Even off the clock, they are rarely seen apart. They also have more physical contact than canonical love interests in prior series, especially when one of them is hurt.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The unusual name of the Attache Calibur's Kaban Strash finisher is a play on the Aban Strash from Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai.
    • It’s powered up finisher is “Kaban Dynamic”.
    • In #2 Aruto as Zero-One gets to replicate the Kaneda bike slide (as of #3, it's in the OP!)
    • The HumaGear of the Week in #7 is a basketball coach named Kobe, after the basketball player.
    • In #8, Fuwa grouses that the hospital is filled with "damn dirty HumaGears".
    • Breaking Mammoth is based on the Dancougar's Big Moth. Even Masami Obari acknowledged the similarities in his own Twitter account.
    • #14 has HumaGear astronauts working on Zea to the tune of the Blue Danube Waltz.
    • According to #22, Ark's version of Matrix Raining Code is actually primal-looking red and black glyphs very similar to the Makai language seen in GARO.
    • Kamen Rider Jin's new form is named "Burning Falcon", after Sazer Tarious' Finishing Move in Chouseishin Gransazer.
    • The music that plays during Fukkinhoukai Taro's intro in the Miraculous Rematch special is nearly identical to the first five notes of the Terminator theme. During Fukkinhokai Jiro's creation, he appears in the same kneeling position (amidst an electrical storm, no less) as the T-800 during the latter's arrival scene in the first movie.
    • Taro also seems to have taken a page out of Mirio Togata's book in his shouting of "POWER!"
    • Zero-One stepping off of Thouser to hit the two Mooks behind him is basically the official counter-move to the Jet Stream Attack.
    • One of the alternate versions of MetalCluster Hopper's Metal Rising Impact is a drill manifesting in front of the opponent before Aruto kicks into it, very similar to the Faiz-era Rider Kicks.
    • Towards the end of #33 we get a Suspiciously Similar Song to "Battle Without Honor Or Humanity".invoked
    • MetsbouJinrai.net's big ploy is revealed in #34, when hacking into all ZAIA Specs in use causes all human users to gain Red Eyes, Take Warning as they start attacking everybody else, which mimics the final arc of Power Rangers RPM.
    • Gai treats HumaGears as a disposable servant race that he wants to eliminate because he fears they'll become too powerful (at least that's his claim now). He also conquers other technology companies through aggressive business practices that result in either buyouts or bankruptcies. He also eventually loses his Faux Affably Evil facade to become a screaming lunatic willing to destroy or even kill to get his way, after his right and left hand supporters get sick of his betrayal and turn on him. This more or less makes him a white-collar version of Freeza. This was confirmed as intentional by his actor.
    • Hellrising Hopper is another berserk form like MetalCluster Hopper, and like other berserk forms in the franchise, it brings to mind the Berserker Armor from Berserk. However, Hellrising Hopper takes things a step further by having a mechanical function identical to it, being so powerful that it breaks Aruto's limbs, but forcefully rips and pieces them back together to make him keep fighting.
  • Show Within a Show: Episodes 5 and 6 involve Perfuman Tsurugi, a manga and anime series of which Aruto is a fan. It's an action series about a sword-wielding anthropomorphic dog. Bandai even made official real-life merchandise based on it.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Averted in the Reiwa: The First Generation movie. When the adult Aruto tells Humagear Hiden Soreo that he's Soreo's son Aruto from the future, Soreo is able to digitally compare Aruto's face to his child son's to establish a pattern match, immediately confirming Aruto's story and avoiding the necessity to prove to Soreo that something so impossible could have happened.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening reveals the Rider forms of Horobi and Jin a few episodes before their proper introduction in the series.
  • Story Arc: Four of them, in a vein similar to Gaim, Ghost, Ex-aid, Build, and Zi-O.
    • MetsubouJinrai.net; the first 16 episodes. Deals with Aruto becoming the CEO of Hiden Intelligence, and his conflict with the terrorist organization MetsubouJinrai.net.
    • ZAIA "Workplace Competition"; deals with the competition between Hiden Intelligence's HumaGears and ZAIA Enterprise's augmented humans, and the appearance of Ark Magia and Raiders.
    • Hiden Manufacturing; deals with [[spoiler:Gai taking over Hiden Intelligence after winning the Workplace Competition (only to learn that Aruto still legally owns what he was after), forcing the now jobless Aruto to team up with both Fuwa and Jin to protect the HumaGears by starting a new business, Hiden Manufacturing. At least up until MetsuboJinrai.net’s leader, The Ark, takes the body of Horobi and becomes Kamen Rider Ark-Zero. Aruto and his allies then join forces to stop Ark-Zero who attempts to destroy all humanity.
    • The final arc has Horobi murdering Is, resulting in Aruto and willingly becoming the Ark's final evolution, Ark-One, to kill him in retaliation. At the same time, Horobi attempts another crusade to Kill All Humans.
  • Stupid Evil: Many of the villains in the series commit wantonly stupid acts that only create problems for them down the line. Gai inserting Naki into Fuwa's mind to brainwash him and using the Workplace Competition as a testing ground for Raidrisers leads to his corruption being exposed, the Ark's flippant acts of destruction lead to all of its followers turning on it, Horobi's senseless and hypocritical killing Is pushes Aruto to become Ark-One and singlehandedly destroy the entire uprising he's been building, and As's careless handing out of Drivers to spread malice just leads to the villains she's hoping to use as pawns turning her into their Unwitting Pawn instead.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: Zig-zagged in the final arc. Aruto becomes Ark-One to get revenge on Horobi after he murders Izu, but while everyone fears he's become this and will start a Robot War, he stays focused on Horobi and actively avoids trying to harm anyone who doesn't get in his way. Horobi is a straighter example, becoming another evolution of the Ark after Jin is killed and not having Aruto's fetters about collateral damage.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Aruto is an awful comedian, and as a result is fired from his stand-up job on his very first day. The real mystery is how he even got the job in the first place.
    • Hiden Intelligence's board of directors has never even heard of Aruto (part of it being that his father had already died many years prior), so they greatly oppose his naming as the company president; most of all Vice-President Jun Fukuzoe, who expected himself to be next in line. Come #16, Jun is now the only one who legitimately still think Aruto shouldn't be on the job. After Gai takes over the company, he actually seems to have finally changed his mind.
    • #14 reveals that while most of the Progrise Key animals appear to be Hard Light constructs and Breaking Mammoth can go back to Zea on its own, Zero-One's bike is just a fancy bike. And so, Hiden's workers have to manually send it back into space. Every time Aruto uses it. He promptly gets chewed out by one of the guy in charge of Zea's maintenance after summoning the bike because he was late for work, just mere seconds after it was pushed back into Zea.
    • An Opposing Sports Team cheating can spectacularly backfire. In #18, a contestant in a human-versus-HumaGear contest is threatened with a lawsuit when it's discovered he performed sabotage. Not only that, the threat came from ZAIA Enterprise, who had chosen the contestant as their representative in the first place — as they saw it, his cheating could have damaged their reputation.
    • There is no magic bullet for identifying someone who is The Faceless and is exceedingly elusive; additionally, security footage is not always revealing of everything beyond an event simply happening. Fuwa tries to get the identity of the hooded figure out of Horobi in #20 using security footage, which also happens to be very grainy and on a tiny smartphone screen. Horobi calmly asks in return how he's supposed to give a valid answer at that rate. Of course, he's playing dumb and knows it's Naki using Isamu's body. He lets this out once Naki is uploaded to a new HumaGear.
    • Despite finding the perfect home for their final customer, a business tycoon, Hiden still loses the second round of the contest due to ZAIA's representative earning more profits overall (not helped by the fact that Smile sold it for much less than his original budget. It works both ways, as the customer lived alone and didn't really need a Big Fancy House).
    • Shester is stuck inside a burning building, and the heat causes her to break down like any real computer would. HumaGears deliberately designed for fire rescue can last a bit longer, but the stress of moving debris and actual burn damage will take their toll.
    • Gai in general suffers from this as the story progresses and the downsides of his brute-force approach to both combat and business become apparent. While he initially dominates his opponents in battle through his greater abilities, his pride stunts his growth so that he swiftly falls behind once he runs out of new powers to steal. His oppressive and underhanded business tactics allow him to overwhelm Hiden Intelligence, but turn everyone against him and eventually cause even his own servants to rebel against him.
    • Although Horobi was able to overpower Thouser through pure combat skill, in the end it was shown that Thouser was more or less unharmed since Thouser's more advanced suit is simply too durable for Horobi to damage. Likewise this is probably the reason why Aruto transformed into MetalCluster to finish the fight in #30 instead of continuing the fight with Rising Hopper.
    • Despite Gai successfully acquiring Hiden Intelligence, he learns the hard way that this doesn't mean they necessarily own everything they help make. Koronosuke had the rights to some of it under his own name, which means that Aruto still legally owns them from his inheritance.
    • From a purely business perspective, the successful mechanisation of a workforce is a change too radical to undo. It'd be like trying to reverse the smartphone market because it's "stifling human evolution" as Gai complains so. In #9, an attempt is made to shut down all HumaGears working in hospitals, and the results are as disastrous as it sounds. Despite Gai's announcement of a total recall of HumaGears in the third arc, all it does is generate a thriving gray-market as customers turn to Hiden Manufacturing for third-party support and reactivation of HumaGears that were tied up in countless high-profile jobs. Gai implicitly acknowledges the recall was a bad business decision in #32, which is why he had to try and sabotage the fashion show, ie, stop HumaGears from being profitable.
    • Late in the series, Gai undergoes a Heel–Face Turn after being reminded that he loved Hiden Intelligence because they created the robot dog that was his only friend as a child. However, the others don't warm up to him right away, with even the kind-hearted Aruto tearing into him for all the terrible things he's done throughout the series (including turning Ark against humanity, which lead to the creation of MetsubouJinrai and all the death and destruction they caused), and pointing out that he's going to have to be genuinely contrite and put in a lot of work to make up for it. Fuwa and Yaiba agree wholeheartedly, with Yaiba saying that he can bow until his head hits the floor but it won't undo the fact that he basically stole Fuwa's entire life from him by feeding him False Memories and implanting a control chip in his head. That said, the heroes do acknowledge that Gai's change of heart seems legitimate and at this point they need all the help they can get against the incredibly powerful Ark Zero, so they don't just slam the door in his face.
    • No matter how Crazy-Prepared you are, you can only plan so far past your death. By the end of the show, Korenosuke Hiden's massive array of contingency plans finally runs dry, leaving Aruto on his own.
    • Being a Bad Boss has consequences even if you use mind control to force your subordinates into compliance. Gai and the Ark both relentlessly abuse their underlings and ultimately pay the price for their mistreatment.
    • Combat Clairvoyance is an extremely dangerous power...but becoming overly reliant on it has a Logical Weakness. Namely, when you're fighting someone who it doesn't work on, having to react to that prediction failing actually lowers your reaction time. Ark-Zero finds this out the hard way fighting Zero-Two.
    • By the same token as above, having a highly fine tuned predictions only works so far as the data you're given, which is both the strength and the weakness. Namely, the fact that false positives and negatives can be injected in intentionally, as As did to Is by showing a possible future of Aruto being killed by Horobi, which sets off a chain of events that causes Is's death.
    • After being christened as Ark-One, the heroes quickly jump onto the assumption Aruto's pulled a full Face–Heel Turn. Lecturing their friend in his time of need instead of showing empathy does their attempts to get through to him no favors and only reinforces his I've Come Too Far mentality. It's only Isamu reaching out using Orthros Vulcan and asking And Then What? out of errant desperation that gets any kind of reaction.
    • Speaking of Aruto, he and Horobi spend the entirety of the final arc gunning for one another, but when they actually meet in combat during the final battle As is hoping sparks a Robot War, the two being able to properly confront each other and vent their despair allows them to liberate each other from the Ark instead of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security:
    • Despite the high-priority nature of Aruto's Progrise Key development chamber, Fuwa and Yua just walk right in in #8.
    • Self inflicted by ZAIA. Gai left holes in their system so that he could have Naki force infected HumaGear and Raiders to go berserk as needed. Naki used this to break into the ZAIASpecs being use by their customers. Even after Gai tries to patch out the "bug", Naki does it one more time as a big middle finger to prove that no matter what he does, he's no longer safe.
  • Temporarily a Villain: Temporarily a Jerkass might be a better descriptor, but in the final arc Fuwa's attempt to avert the Robot War he fears is coming involved trying to prevent Aruto from stopping a dangerous terrorist, first by barking at and berating the distraught and traumatized Aruto and then by outright assaulting Aruto when he tries to get past him.
  • There Are No Therapists: The events of Episode 6 involve an actor mourning the loss of his daughter by commissioning a Humagear in her likeness, which is against the law. Instead of directing the actor to a therapist after said Gear is hacked into the Gaeru Magia and destroyed, Aruto fashions an A.I. helper using the Humagear's voice-pattern as an alternative Replacement Goldfish instead. This would later inspire Ai-Chan, a similar helper that facilitates Gai's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Tournament Arc: The ZAIA "Workplace Competition" arc serves as this, with the "Five Stage Workplace Competition" being between Hiden's HumaGears against ZAIA's ZAIASPEC-wearing humans. Unlike most Tournament Arcs, it ends with Gai winning, and he takes over Hiden and kicks out Aruto.
    • First round; Sakuyo Ichirin vs Rentaro Tachibana in a floral arrangement competition. Rentaro cheats and Sakuyo calls her out on it, causing him to slap her and her to become the Ark Onycho Magia, putting the competition on hold. Rentaro then becomes the Crushing Buffalo Raider under the pressure to win the rematch, but is freed from the form by Thouser. The rematch ends with Rentaro winning fairly.
    • Second round; Smile Sumida vs. Tatsumi Arayashiki in a real estate competition. Tatsumi is given the Splashing Whale Raider form, and uses it to sabotage Smile's houses. When he's forced to hold back due to Gai catching wind of his cheating, he resorts to publicly humiliating Smile and pushes her into a fountain, causing her to become the Ark Neohi Magia. Despite the revived Smile winning a major deal with a rich tycoon, which was supposed to have been a game-changer, as well as Tatsumi being freed from the Splashing Whale Raider form thanks to Zero-One, Tatsumi still won under ZAIA's rules due to having higher overall sales profits.
    • Third Round; Defense attorney Bingo Bengoshi vs prosecutor Naoto Ichimori in a marriage scam court case. After being attacked by the Dynamiting Lion Raider, Bingo and Aruto attempt to accuse Naoto of sabotage as the Raider with evidence, only to be proven wrong when Bingo confirms Naoto is not lying when he denies the accusation. Unable to cope with his incorrect judgement and further verbal abuse from Gai, Gai equips Bingo with a Zetsumeriser and turns him into a Vicarya Magia and destroys him as Thouser. The true culprit and Raider was eventually revealed to be cyber crimes officer Masuji Narusawa, allowing the revived Bingo to prove his client's innocence and win the round while Masuji is defeated in his Raider form by Zero-One Metalcluster Hopper.
    • Fourth Round; 119nosuke vs Takeshi Homura in a firefighting drill to determine which side can save more lives. However, the appearance and sabotage from the Scouting Panda Raider turned the situation into an actual emergency. After 119nosuke was reprimanded by Takeshi for refusing to save an unconscious victim who suffered a cardiac arrest, Gai takes the opportunity to make Yua force a distressed 119nosuke into becoming a Mammoth Magia for execution by Thouser, only for him to instead be saved and restored by Zero-One Metalcluster Hopper. Having understood the importance of saving lives, 119nosuke pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice to save the remaining victims later on, earning Takeshi's respect as the latter concedes the match and declares 119nosuke the true winner, while Gai relents and allows the win after the Raider and saboteur was found to be his own employee Daiki Kogyoku.
    • Final Round; MC Ch.eck-It-Out vs Masamitsu Yuto in persuasive speech to the public. The reason for a Rapper-type HumaGear is because non-human HumaGears are not allowed to be politicians by law. Attempting to discredit Masamitsu on live television with evidence of his money laundering and planting his own staff as public supporters, Masamitsu instead disproves Check It Out and accuses the former of forging evidence, setting off his Hair-Trigger Temper as he announces a revolt for HumaGears to take over humanity. He then willingly puts on a Zetsumeriser to transform into the second Dodo Magia when challenged by Yua transformed into the Fighting Jackal Raider for a public demonstration of the Raidriser for ZAIA, and gets destroyed shortly, resulting in ZAIA gaining major support from the public. Aruto then struggles in vain to fight for Hiden Intelligence himself in the remaining days of the match, ultimately losing the final round, competition, and Hiden Intelligence to Gai and ZAIA.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Thanks to his grandfather's will, Aruto becomes the new CEO of Hiden Intelligence, much to his (and the higher-ups of Hiden Intelligence's) shock.
  • Urban Ruins: Daybreak Town, a sunken city that also serves as Home Base for MetsubouJinrai.net.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: From a Certain Point of View of the final arc, yes. Horobi had friends trying to get through to him but was too stubborn to acknowledge them whereas Aruto's friends all but turned on him during his stint as Ark-One though he never blamed them. In the end what really saves the day isn't quite The Power of Friendship but in fact the very fight everyone was trying to prevent: It gave the two an outlet to unleash their pain. Aruto follows the advice of the Zero-Two Driver and tempers his malice with mercy, giving Horobi the confidence to accept his pain and own up to his mistakes - allowing both parties to ultimately come to terms with the deaths of their respective Morality Pets and reconcile by destroying each other's Ark-Drivers; quelling the civil unrest their feud had been causing and preventing the impending Robot War.
  • Wham Shot: The ending of #42. Kamen Rider Ark-One overpowers all other Riders and goes in to finish off a weakened Horobi, only to stop and detransform due to being unable to handle the power. Cue the stunned silence and horror on the faces of everyone present when its revealed that Ark-One is a very pissed off Aruto Hiden, driven by revenge against Horobi for killing Is.

Shine on! I may be the president, but I'm also a shiny new hire! Yes! It must be me, Aruto!

 
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Horobi's Spiteful Kill

In one of the most needlessly cruel acts in the entire series, Horobi heartlessly murders Is when she tries to reach out to him.

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