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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.

20 Minutes into the Future, 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 ("DestructiveThunderclap.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 Squad) and its own Kamen Riders: A.I.M.S.'s reckless captain Isamu Fuwa (Kamen Rider Vulcan) and their by-the-book technical advisor Yua Yaiba (Kamen Rider Valkyrie).

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

  • Kamen Rider Reiwa: The First Generation, the annual crossover teaming Zero One with Kamen Rider Zi-O.
  • Kamen Rider Zero-One: What Will Pop Out of the Kangaroo? Think About It by Yourself!note  And That's How You Know It's Aruto!!, a Televi-Kun magazine Bonus Episode DVD.

Recurring Kamen Rider tropes include:

  • Cool Bike: The Rise Hopper, which unfolds from a giant smartphone for some reason. Zero-One summons it with his actual smartphone.
  • 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 uses Magear as their transliteration to make it clear.
  • 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 six transformation belts in play in the series, and at least one more in a spinoff:
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Horobi, Jin, and Ikazuchi transform into Riders using the ForceRiser, with the former two using the Sting Scorpion and Flying Falcon Progrise Keys and the latter using the Dodo Zetsumerise Key. In The First Generation, Aruto also borrows a ForceRiser and uses his Rising Hopper Key to become Kamen Rider 001.
    • Also in The First Generation, an Alternate Timeline version of Aruto's father Soreo becomes Kamen Rider Ichi-Gata ("Type-1") using a CycloneRiser (a red-and-white ForceRiser) with the Rocking Hopper Zetsumerise 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 addition to the Riders, the monsters also transform using belts: HumaGears become Magia using ZetsumeRisers and Zetsumerise Keys (at least until they start getting hacked remotely without needing to use the belt), while humans become Raiders with RaidRisers and Progrise Keys.
  • Weapon of Choice: 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.
    • 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.
    • Zero-One's Shining Hopper and Shining Assault Hopper forms use the Authorize 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.

Kamen Rider Zero-One provides examples of:

  • 0's and 1's: Referenced in that our hero's codename is "Zero-One", but otherwise the show hasn't tried to force a computing metaphor out of it (yet, anyway).
  • 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  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.
  • 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: 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.
  • An Aesop: One for the series in general is that having things we enjoy doing or take passion in is part of what makes us human, as every HumaGear given focus is shown to become more human the more they carry out tasks they take pride in.
  • 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 Seldom-Seen Species instead of the usual suspects like dinosaurs. Raiders are based on common animals just like the Riders are.
  • 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 Episode 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Isamu Fuwa's first instinct to yank open Progrise Keys by hand may have been the only way to operate a Progrise Key created by MetsubouJinrai.NET rather than Hiden Intelligence or ZAIA Enterprise.
  • 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Thouser's introduction, he only takes a few hits before figuring out how to counter Shining Hopper. And he's already so tough that a kick to the neck isn't even enough to budge him since he expected it.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Since the Assault Wolf Progrise Key was designed for HumaGears to use, Isamu'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 Isamu initially used it while already badly injured, but it continues to inflict fatigue even after short uses.
  • Fantastic Racism: 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.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Episode 2 shows that it is possible to forcibly open an unauthorized Progrise Key for usage, as Isamu 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.
    • Episode 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.
    • Episode 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.
  • 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:
    • Up to Eleven. 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 and Shining Assault 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.
      Crushing Buffalo Raider: This charge attack will send you flying.
    • Aruto often says "Thank you" in English when Izu gives him a Progrise Key.
  • 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.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The Japanese titles for the episodes use katakana for a pronoun.
  • Implausible Deniability: Yua awkwardly denies having leaked footage of an attack by the Assassin HumaGear, even when Izu 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, while the second Onycho actually steals Flying Falcon from Zero-One, and the third Onycho is defeated by Thouser instead.
  • Killer Robot: MetsubouJinrai.NET turns normal HumaGears into these, referred to as Magia.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: While Aruto is the CEO of the company, most of the early episodes involve him and Izu going out on customer support calls.
  • 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.
    • Episode 6 has posters for Show Within a Show anime that reference previous Rider series. "Haran Banjou" features a dragon-boy boxer (whose Catchphrase seems to be "I won't lose!") accompanied by a rabbit, referencing Kamen Rider Build's Ryuga Banjou and Sento Kiryu respectively. "Magical Girl Koyomi in Magicland", whose Catchphrase is "It's showtime!", is a little more obvious.
  • 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.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Episode 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 Isamu needs to start treatment immediately or he won't make it - yet he does.
  • Once per Episode: The early arc episodes usually opens up from Aruto being fascinated by a HumaGear's working industry, before Izu reminds him that they are not there to enjoy the moment.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • 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 Episode 16, Jun is now the only one who legitimately still think Aruto shouldn't be on the job.
    • Episode 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 Episode 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 woman out of Horobi in episode 20 using security footage, which also happens to be very grainy and on a Progrise Key-looking device, which is tiny. Horobi calmly asks in return how he's supposed to give a valid answer at that rate.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening reveals the Rider forms of Horobi and Jin a few episodes before their proper introduction in the series.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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.
  • Story Arc: Currently two arcs, in a vein similar to Gaim, Ghost, Ex-aid, Build, and Zi-O.
    • Terror of MetsubouJinrai.NET Arc; The first 16 episodes. Deals with Aruto becoming the CEO of Hiden Intelligence, and his conflict with the terrorist organisation MetsubouJinrai.NET.
    • Hiden Intelligence vs. ZAIA Enterprise: The Five Stage Workplace Competition Arc; Deals with the competition between Hiden Intelligence's HumaGears and ZAIA Enterprise's augmented humans, and the appearance of Ark Magia and Raiders.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Despite the high-priority nature of Aruto's Progrise Key development chamber, Isamu and Yua just walk right in in episode 8.
  • Tournament Arc: Hiden Intelligence vs. ZAIA Enterprise: The Five Stage Workplace Competition Arc serves as this, with the titular "Five Stage Workplace Competition" being between Hiden's HumaGears against ZAIA's ZAIASPEC-wearing humans.
    • First round; Rentaro Tachibana vs Sakuyo Ichirin 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; Tatsumi Shinyashiki vs Smile Sumida in a real estate competition. Tatsumi is given the Splashing Whale Raider form, who 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 tycoon off Tatsumi, which was supposed to have been a game-changer, as well as Tatsumi being freed from the Splashing Whale Raider form from Zero-One, Tatsumi still won under ZAIA's rules due to having higher overall sales profits.
  • 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.

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