Kamen Rider ZO
|Kamen Rider ZO|
|Hepburn||Kamen Raidā Zetto Ō|
|Directed by||Keita Amemiya|
|Produced by||Ishimori Productions
|Written by||Noboru Sugimura|
|Music by||Eiji Kawamura|
|Distributed by||Toei Co. Ltd|
Kamen Rider ZO (仮面ライダーZO Kamen Raidā Zetto Ō?), translated as Masked Rider ZO, is a 1993 Japanese tokusatsu movie produced by Toei Company, part of their Kamen Rider Series. Directed by Keita Amemiya, the film was the first joint production between Toei Company Limited and Bandai.
As part of the 40th anniversary of the Kamen Rider Series, ZO was shown on Toei's pay-per-view channel during September 2011. The film's protagonist, Kamen Rider ZO makes appearances in the films of the later Kamen Rider Decade television series, as well as appearing as a playable character the 2011 Nintendo DS video game All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation.
|This section needs an improved plot summary. (October 2013)|
Masaru Aso was the lab assistant of geneticist Doctor Mochizuki, and was used as one of his experiments related to the creation of the Neo Organism, enabling him to transform into a grasshopper-like being called Kamen Rider ZO. He fled into the mountainside and went into a coma for two years before he was awoken by a telepathic call and with an unconscious urge to protect Hiroshi Mochizuki, the son of Doctor Mochizuki. After an attempt to uncover the meaning of his transformation at Mochizuki Genetics, Masaru senses Hiroshi in danger and saves the boy from Doras as ZO. Masaru then reveals himself to Reiko and her karate class. ZO battles Koumori Man to cover Hiroshi and Reiko's escape, when the two of them are sucked in a pocket dimension by Kumo Woman, both monsters having been created by Doras. ZO saves them and kills Kumo Woman before Koumori Man swoops down and snatches Hiroshi off, with ZO in pursuit. After saving Hiroshi, Masaru reveals to Seikichi that Dr. Mochizuki used him in his experiments. Refusing to believe it, Hiroshi runs off before Masaru finds him and fixes his watch, recognizing the melody that stirred him out of his rest as he helps Hiroshi cope with this new information. However, Koumori Man assumes Mochizuki's form to lure Hiroshi away and captures him with Doras knocking Masaru out cold. Making his way to a complex, ZO kills Koumori Man before making his way to Hiroshi and Dr. Mochizuki, learning that the geneticist was the one who woke him up and that the Neo Organism has been acting on its own whim the entire time to become the perfect being. ZO attempts to fight Doras, only to be assimilated into the Neo Organism. Doras then proceeds to use the boy to force Mochizuki to complete its evolution. However, the watch manages to hold Doras at bay as ZO breaks out of the monster and Mochizuki sacrifices himself to destroy the pool, the Neo Organism's life source. The complex then self detonates as ZO and Hiroshi escape with their lives. Dropping Hiroshi with Seikichi, Masaru leaves to parts unknown.
- Masaru Aso/Kamen Rider ZO (麻生 勝／仮面ライダーZO Asō Masaru/Kamen Raidā Zetto Ō?): The hero of the story, Masaru was originally the assistant to Doctor Mochizuki until the doctor conducted experiments on him. Horrified at being made into a grasshopper-like cyborg, Masaru went into hiding in the mountains for two years and fell into a coma until he awoke with an unconscious urge to protect Hiroshi. Although he hates Mochizuki, Masaru eventually forgives him before learning the man was telepathically communicating with him. As Kamen Rider ZO, his only attacks are a Rider Punch called the ZO Punch (ZOパンチ Zetto Ō Panchi?) and a Rider Kick called the ZO Kick (ZOキック Zetto Ō Kikku?). ZO also rides on the Z-Bringer (Zブリンガー Zetto Buringā?), built by Dr. Mochizuki. Though resembling a regular motorcycle, the Z-Bringer changes along with ZO with ability to reach speeds up to 1,300 km/h (810 mph) and resist heat up to 1,000 degrees. ZO can use the Z-Bringer to execute the Z-Bringer Attack (Zブリンガーアタック Zetto Buringā Attacku?) Rider Break. Another of ZO's features within his insectoid head called a Break Toother (ブレイクトゥーサー Bureiku Doūsā?), a breathing apparatus stored around the mouthplate that shoots out vapors, baring resemblance to fangs when extended. An early design for Kamen Rider ZO had the hero wearing the trademark scarf of early Shōwa Kamen Riders, along with a more-traditional transformation belt design. His origins were also unrelated to the creation by Doctor Mochizuki.
- Hiroshi Mochizuki (望月 宏 Mochizuki Hiroshi?): A young boy who lives with his grandfather Seikichi and is targeted by the Neo Organism. Hiroshi longs to be with his father, who had gone missing years ago. As a memento, Doctor Mochizuki gave Hiroshi a pocket watch that played music. Hiroshi is at first afraid of ZO, but as ZO proves he truly was a friend, Hiroshi affectionately refers to ZO as "Onii-chan" or "brother".
- Doctor Mochizuki (望月 博士 Mochizuki-hakase?): A mad scientist who turned Masaru into ZO and then created the Neo Organism. His dream was to create the "perfect lifeform", but instead it turned on him and was held captive by his creation. He uses grasshoppers as a means to contact ZO via telepathy.
Neo Organism (ネオ生命体 Neo Seimeitai?) is a pool of living fluid that relies on the very container its dwells in as its life support. It takes on the appearance of a deformed little boy in Hiroshi's likeness, lacking emotion and having a god complex. The Neo Organism orchestrated the events in the movie and held its creator captive for two years when he refused to complete its evolution. It soon assumes the grotesque Kamen Rider-like form of Doras (ドラス Dorasu?), to find Hiroshi to force Dr. Mochizuki to complete its evolution into the "Perfect Lifeform" so it can destroy the "inferior" human race and their imperfections. Doras is capable of regenerating itself from severe injuries, absorbing inorganic and organic materials to upgrade itself, altering its form into an orb or a bladed projective, generating lasers, and producing Doras Monsters (ドラス怪人 Dorasu Kaijin?) from itself. When Doras manages to absorb ZO, it becomes a red fleshy version of itself called Doras Strengthened Form (ドラス強化体 Dorasu Kyōkatai?). It then goes after Hiroshi, but the music from the pocket watch manages to give ZO the strength to break free from Doras' body after Mochizuki destroys its life support. Reverting to its original state, Doras is finally killed by ZO's Rider Kick, the ZO Kick.
- Kumo Woman (クモ女 Kumo Onna?): A Doras Monster created by Doras, she is a large 4-legged inhuman spider woman who shot strong webbing to entangle Hiroshi. She also has a set of spider legs on her back and two spider legs for a left arm. During combat with the monster, ZO snapped one of Kumo Woman's legs and used it to impale and instantly kill her. She was the only Kamen Rider monster to be animated by claymation and be a large puppet.
- Koumori Man (コウモリ男 Kōmori Otoko?): A Doras Monster created by Doras, he is a black bat-like entity. Koumori Man is black, has small-but-long bat wings for ears that cover its head (unless he is flying), and an eye on each hand much like Doras. Koumori Man can extend its fingers to form wings for flight. It can also disguise itself as any human. It takes on the likeness of Mochizuki to trick Hiroshi and take him to its master's hideout. ZO kills Koumori Man easily with a ZO Punch by bursting into the monster's stomach.
- Masaru Aso (麻生 勝 Asō Masaru?): Kou Domon (土門 廣 Domon Kō?)
- Hiroshi Mochizuki (望月 宏 Mochizuki Hiroshi?): Shohei Shibata (柴田 翔平 Shibata Shōhei?)
- Doctor Mochizuki (望月博士 Mochizuki-Hakase?): Isao Sasaki (佐々木 功 Sasaki Isao?)
- Seikichi Mochizuki (望月 清吉 Mochizuki Seikichi?): Hiroshi Inuzuka (犬塚 弘 Inuzuka Hiroshi?)
- Reiko (玲子 Reiko?): Naomi Morinaga (森永 奈緒美 Morinaga Naomi?)
- Kuroda (黒田 Kuroda?): Kenji Ohba (大葉 健二 Ōba Kenji?)
- Nishimura (西村 Nishimura?): Masaru Yamashita (山下 優 Yamashita Masaru?)
- Miyazaki (宮崎 Miyazaki?): Iori Sakakibara (榊原 伊織 Sakakibara Iori?)
- Neo Organism/Doras (ネオ生命体／ドラス Neo Seimeitai/Dorasu?, Voice): Shingo Yuzawa (湯沢 真伍 Yuzawa Shingo?)
- "Hohoemi no Yukue" (微笑みの行方?, "The Whereabouts of Smile")
- "Ai ga Tomaranai" (愛が止まらない?, "Love Doesn't Stop")
ZO vs. J
The S.I.C. Hero Saga story published in Monthly Hobby Japan magazine in the February to May 2005 issues for Kamen Rider ZO featured a crossover with Kamen Rider J and was titled Masked Rider ZO (& J): ZO vs. J (MASKED RIDER ZO (& J） -ZO vs J- Kamen Raidā Zetto Ō (ando Jei) -Zetto Ō vs Jei-?). In the story, the Neo Organism Doras gains the powers of the Fog Mother. It introduces the original characters Red Doras Ver. 2 (赤ドラスver.2 Aka Dorasu ver.2?), Doras Ultimate Form (ドラス究極形態 Dorasu Kyūkyokukeitai?), and Fog Doras (フォッグ・ドラス Foggu Dorasu?).
Kazuhiko Shimamoto drew a manga adaptation of the film. The manga takes some liberties with the plot: including expanding the role of several characters and a different characterization of ZO himself. More graphic violence was also added. It includes a short story about Kamen Rider Black and a short story about Kamen-rider creator Ishinomori himself.
The movie was adapted into a full-motion video game for the Sega CD, with an interface similar to Dragon's Lair. The 'Game' was released in America as "The Masked Rider: Kamen Rider ZO", despite the film never airing in the United States. The game was critically panned, largely due to its script and dubbing (the Neo Organism's dialogue is difficult to understand) as well as some scenes from the entire film being cut from the game.
Adaption In Saban's Masked Rider
Saban Entertainment spliced together some footage from Kamen Rider ZO to be used in their Masked Rider TV show, with the monsters being used in certain episodes. Doras became Destructosphere and was the first monster sent by series villain; Count Dregon in the opening two part story Escape From Edenoi: Parts 1 and 2. Kumo Woman became Arachnida and appeared in the episode Stranger from The North, who also appeared with a monster from the follow-up movie Kamen Rider J and Koumori Man became "Parasect" and appeared in the episode Cat-Atomic.
- Televi Magazine First Issue 31st Anniversary Project: All Hero Great Assembly (テレビマガジン創刊31周年記念企画), December 2002
- Televi Magazine Deluxe 66, January 17, 1997. ISBN 4-06-304418-1
- "仮面ライダーZO みんなのクロスレビュー、最新情報". Famitsu.com. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
- "2011年9月のラインナップ". Toei Channel. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
- Uchusen, No. 125. July 2009
- "仮面ライダー総集結のアクションゲーム『ライダージェネレーション』が発売！". Dengeki.com. 2011-05-23. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
- Kamen Rider Art Collection: Hero Edition (仮面ライダーアートコレクション ヒーロー編). Page 72-74, June 2003. ISBN 978-4-8402-2373-7