|This article is about a/an manga in the film Kamen Rider ZO.|
|WARNING: This manga contains scenes of graphic violence and blood. Viewer discretion is advised!|
Kamen Rider Black Part X: Imitation 7
The story focuses on Hiroshi Tachikawa, a biker gang member who is converted into a "Black Dummy" by Gorgom. Black Dummies are cyborg replicas of the original in every way, except lacking the real Black's Kingstone. After conversion, he escapes from his captors and tries fending off the monsters they send after him. He runs away and then ends up meeting his old biker gang on the road. He asks Sub, one of the members, for a jacket and bike. Once he gets to the old hideout, he finds that he has been replaced as leader by a thug named Okamura and then uses his cyborg super strength to beat him up.
He leaves with the gang only to see a stranger running around on his bike. Sub tells Hiroshi that particular racer is hard to keep up with and he has always outruns them when they try to chase him down and one of them who tried got hurt going over a curve. Hiroshi chases the biker down and challenges the man to a race, the racer declines at first and asks him to slow down but then accepts. They race to a curve and then see an oncoming truck, with the man jumping out of the way on his bike while Hiroshi crashes into it and his bike gets totaled. Hiroshi unconsciously transforms into his cyborg form which protects him from the crash. Sub calls out to Hiroshi who de-transforms and reveals he is fine. He apologizes to Sub for wrecking a motorcycle, but his fellow gang members are just relieved he is alright and confused why he doesn't have even a single scratch on him. Hiroshi comments that the man he was racing was pretty good but he feels next time they meet, the outcome would be different. One gang member bleeds to death and it is revealed that a group of kaijin have come to kill Hiroshi, sneaking up behind the bikers to attack them. They kill off the bikers one by one gruesomely using their abilities, Hiroshi fleeing to keep them away from an injured Sub.
The Kaijin reveal that they are simply toying with Hiroshi and let him escape. Hiroshi hides in a diner in the city until Sub arrives in pain and is bleeding severely. Sub tells Hiroshi not to run away and to avenge all his fellow bikers. The three Kaijin appear in human form, having followed sub to locate Hiroshi.
After threatening to kill Sub, Hiroshi gets angry and then decides not to run anymore, promising to kill the kaijins to avenge his gang. Hiroshi transforms into Black 07 and knocks the Crab Kaijin into a wall with his Rider Kick. He then Rider Kicks the Hyena kaijin and the Ant kaijin. He exits the diner and tries to outrun the Rhino kaijin but gets caught and put in a hold. The other kaijin recover and then attempt to kill Black 07, with the Bee Kaijin using his gun fingers to slowly kill him with bullets. They are stopped when they hear the sound of a motorcycle and the man on it is revealed to be Kohtaro Minami, who Hiroshi recognizes from their race earlier. The Ant kaijn tries to rush Kohtaro but gets blocked and lifted up by his pincers, which Kohtaro crushes with his cyborg strength. He then transforms into Black, much to Black 07's shock and amazement and then Rider Kicks the Rhino Kaijin's head off. Black then kills the Hyena kaijin with his Rider Chop while Hiroshi uses an improvised Rider Punch with a brick to kill the bee Kaijin. Hiroshi goes to check on Sub, who is amazed that his "bro" was Kamen Rider and exclaims how cool it is before passing away from his blood loss and injuries. After a bit of silence for his fallen friend, he tells Black there is a Gorgom training base near the foot of Mt. Fuji and they should go there eliminate the camp's assassins who are planning to kill Black. The two ride off to the base as a team to destroy the base.
The story ends with the narrator saying that Mt. Fuji was engulfed in flames at a certain region and when the flames cleared, investigators of the blaze found a massive compound in ruins. To this day nobody knows what it was for or who made it.
Kamen Rider ZO
Chapter 1: Awakening
The first chapter begins much in the same way the film starts, with Masaru waking up from a long slumber underground and receiving a telepathic message to protect someone named Hiroshi. As he transforms into ZO without realizing it, Masaru breaks free from his bonds underneath the roots of a tree and has flashes of memory which snap him back into a full conscious state. Masaru is confused as to why he is here and hears a giant grasshopper call to him and tell him again to find Hiroshi. Masaru sees the reflection of his ZO form in a nearby underground lake. Horrified at what he sees and in a fit of rage, he throws a stone pillar at the water and then walks away soaking wet with a look of disgust on his face.
In Tokyo, an orb descends from the night sky and arrives at a city junkyard. It assembles a humanoid body from the metal scraps it absorbs into itself and then goes to seek out its target. Seikichi and his grandson Hiroshi are out exploring the city and are suddenly found by Doras. Doras chases them and leaves a devastating trail of destruction by firing energy blasts as it pursues Hiroshi while Seikichi tries to keep his grandson away from the creature by running and hiding. Hundreds of people are killed by falling and flying debris, crushed by toppled cars and the energy blasts of Doras. Doras calls out to Seikichi, telling him it is foolish to run and hide as it will lead to the unnecessary deaths of innocent people.
In a cafe in the Shinjuku district, Masaru is meeting with his old girlfriend Kasumi to talk, who is surprised to see him as Masaru has been missing for four years. She tells him that she is married now and has children, and while she did wait for him to come back, she had to move on. Her marriage was arranged by her father and she wants to not mess up a good thing by going back to Hiroshi. Kasumi wants a good reason for why he left.
Hiroshi flashes back to 1990, where he was on a date with Kasumi, he arranged another date so he could meet Kasumi's father. However, during his time as a lab assistant, an insane Doctor Mochizuki strapped Masaru to a table and began experimenting on him against his wishes. Ready to further his experiments, Doctor Mochizuki does surgery on Masaru to convert his body into an "evolved lifeform". Masaru screams in terror for his employer to stop, but his screams are drowned out by the raging storm outside. When Hiroshi woke up hours later, he staggered out of the lab and looked in a mirror. To his horror, he saw his face change into his ZO form as the lightning flashed. In the restaurant Wonder Bit, Kasumi was waiting for Masaru to show up. Masaru runs to the restaurant, completely naked, and stands outside looking at Kasumi. He realizes he can never have a normal life with her given what has happened and leaves. Tired of waiting, Kasumi leaves Wonder Bit after paying her bill, disappointed in her boyfriend. She opens her umbrella and passes by Hiroshi who is hiding in an alley, sorrowfully watching her leave. Masaru then rides his motorcycle up the mountain roads at full speed in the rain and loses control of his bike, crashing into the forests below. Due to his modified body, he walks away mostly unharmed and then wanders through the forest until he goes deeper and deeper into the mountains and then collapses and falls into a coma.
He simply explains to Kasumi he was in an accident that left him hospitalized. She thanks him for the explanation and then says goodbye to Masaru, and then tells him they may never see each other again. Masaru sulks alone in the cafe while Kasumi leaves, with a large spider stalking her.
Masaru is sitting alone in the cafe when the giant grasshopper appears on his table. It once again relays the message that Hiroshi must be protected while Masaru is trying to enjoy his coffee. After taking a sip, Masaru has an angry outburst and kicks over the table screaming for the huge insect to leave him alone. He doesn't know anyone named Hiroshi. Masaru then screams to the bug: "Why?! Why Must I Protect Him?! TELL ME!" as he throws a chair. He then begins smashing the cafe's windows trying to kill the grasshopper so it will stop talking in his head. The waitress is frightened by this as Masaru is wrecking her boss's cafe and shouting like a lunatic at seemingly nobody. Masaru realizes what he has done and smashes through the window falling to the ground below. The Waitress calls her boss to come out as "some crazy guy got upset about a break-up" and destroyed the cafe. The boss sees Masaru land safely from a great height and dust himself off. The boss calmly walks back toward the kitchen and tells her to pretend like nothing happened, much to her confusion. The boss then sees the giant grasshopper, which was only knocked out by Masaru's assault on it, which then wakes up and flies toward Masaru. The two hysterically think the grasshopper is some kind of Biblical omen as the 21st century is only 6 years away.
The Grasshopper finds and speaks to Masaru again, expositing that Doctor Mochizuki created Doras and he must protect the doctor's son Hiroshi from the creature and Doras is a modified lifeform like Masaru. Masaru ignores the request and tells the Grasshopper to shut up, but then trips over an impaled man's corpse and sees the ruins of an entire block of Tokyo filled with dead bodies, spatters of blood and burning wreckage. Masaru is in shock at this and wonders what happened but then quickly gets his answer when Doras appears carrying Hiroshi while floating in the air. The Grasshopper lets Masaru know that the child Doras is carrying is Hiroshi. Doras fires an energy blast and Masaru quickly transforms but gets hit. He then gets up and grabs Doras, ending the chapter.
Chapter 2: The Perfect Lifeform Doras
Masaru as ZO tries to punch Doras but it has no effect and his punches seem to get weaker as he becomes more afraid. Doras does several punches and then grabs ZO's head and slams him into the ground twice. The monster bids farewell to "#1" as it picks up Hiroshi and prepares to leave. ZO gets up and realizes that he cannot run away from what fate has given him and that the dreams he had as a human have been taken away. But if he deems himself worthless now, he won't have anything to stand for. He picks up a nearby bike and does a pseudo-Rider Break attack on Doras, knocking Hiroshi out of the creature's hands. Seikichi finds his grandson lying on the ground and carries him away from the fight. The Tokyo Police arrive and try to shoot Doras when he gets up, to no effect. Doras tries to fly off, but ZO sees the Jumbotron TV on the Studio Alta building near Doras and sees an advantage. ZO jumps and Rider Kicks Doras straight through it, the electrical shocks causing severe damage to Doras. The Jumbotron then explodes from an electrical short causing ZO to fall backwards from the blast as Doras screams in pain from the high voltage until the TV finally loses all power. ZO is happy he seemingly triumphed over Doras, but then collapses and falls unconscious from his injuries as the police surround him.
ZO wakes up in a hospital with a doctor baffled as to what he is as any normal human would have died and his injures healed in several hours. Upon being informed that he had been knocked out for several hours, ZO grabs the doctor by the collar and asks if someone like him was in the hospital too or the mourge. The doctor says that when the police investigated the wreckage of the TV, there was no body as it turned into a ball of light and flew away. ZO realizes this means he isn't done with his mission yet and storms out of his room, punching the door off its hinges on his way out. The doctor and his nurses are stunned by this and the doctor just decides to let ZO go as they could not stop him even if they tried. The Grasshopper arrives and lands on ZO's shoulder. ZO finally decides to trust it to guide him to Hiroshi, letting the insect accompany him.
At a Dojo, students are being webbed up by a huge female spider monster. The Kumo Woman then tries to take Hiroshi who is hiding in the Dojo. The assistant instructor Naomi tries to use her training sword to strike Kumo Woman. The Kumo Woman uses her webbing to bind Naomi and flails her around until ZO bursts in on the Z Bringer and catches Naomi. He puts her down and after the Grasshopper reveals it is a creature like ZO, ZO prepares to fight the monster.
At the industrial secret base of the Neonoids, Doras returns to report its failure to capture Hiroshi to Doctor Mochizuki thanks to ZO, but tells the evil scientist not to worry as his Kumo Woman will bring his son to him. ZO is not doing well against the Kumo Woman, as he is being strangled by her. Doras explains that he had a part of himself assimilate spider DNA and then fuse with a human woman. Doctor Mochizuki seems to disapprove of this action.
As ZO is strangled, he slowly reverts back to Masaru, which causes Kumo Woman to hesitate and loosen her grip as she seems to recognize him. Masaru uses this opportunity to break free by ripping her arms off and then impaling her with one of the broken limbs. Masaru then does a powerful kick which causes Kumo Woman to fall backwards. As the Neonoid parasite dies, Kumo Woman reverts back to her original form: Kasumi. Horrified at this revelation, Masaru rushes to her side. Kasumi struggles to breathe and tells Masaru that when she left him at the cafe, a big spider latched onto her and she was transformed. She then passes away from her injuries, with Masaru blaming himself for her being transformed. Masaru cries as he holds her body, knowing he killed the woman he loved.
Naomi watches this and then sees Masaru sit and feels sorry for himself. Masaru talks about how his regrets led to Kasumi's death and he is an idiot. Naomi is annoyed by this and decides to slap Masaru and calls him pathetic and wonders if he is even a man. She tells Masaru he has been given great power to receive a greater destiny and potential as a hero. But because he acts like a coward by moping and regretting and does not see he can fight his enemies on equal footing, he is never able to reach that potential. Masaru tells her that Doras is a perfect life form and he cannot hope to stand up to him. After asking a math questionnaire that has trick answers based on generosity, Naomi tells Masaru that the human heart can surpass calculations and limits. She thinks it is concieted to think Doras is "Perfect" as nothing is perfect about an emotionless weapon. She then speaks of a technique where the human spirit can make a punch feel like 120 or a 130 punches to an opponent.
At the base, Doctor Mochizuki is having second thoughts and regrets about his creation as he never intended for Doras to be so cruel as to use humans to do his dirty work and now sees making an emotionless lifefrom as a mistake. Doras wants Doctor Mochizuki to finish his body so he can become whole and rule the universe, even negotiating to stop hunting Hiroshi if he agrees to help. The Doctor hesitiates to give him an answer..
Back at the dojo, Naomi says she will train Hiroshi as ZO to master the punching technique and that it will require ZO to channel his ki and be a man, facing the coming battle with Doras like there is no escape and will not allow ZO leave until he settles things. ZO agrees as he has nothing else to lose and feels he must finish what he started with Doras as they begin training. Hiroshi and his grandfather watch ZO train.
Chapter 3: Decisive Battle
ZO is outside training underneath a waterfall to focus and amplify his Ki while doing a basic kata. ZO then punches a boulder, but only manages to break part of it. Naomi says he is doing it wrong as he is only relying on his body's muscles and not his spirit, she tells him that he must execute the cry of "RIDER PUNCH!". ZO goofs off mocking this idea only to get hit in the head with Naomi's kendo stick. She says that the Rider Punch is a power used by men who shoulder the responsibility of protecting humanity's future and channel their spirit into their fists. The other instructors watch him and comment that ZO "looks more like a hero" but worry they won't have time to complete the training before Hiroshi is found and attacked by Doras. The Koumori Man appears in the sky and breaks through the dojo to take Hiroshi away.
Kazuhiko Shimamoto describes in his own mini-manga story the thought process behind his ZO manga, his passion for Kamen Rider, and the struggle he had making it. In the end, his animated caricature breaks the fourth wall and then asks the reader if they enjoyed it.
Osamu Tenka's Story
The story is about a struggling young artist trying to make it in the manga industry who meets Shotaro Ishinomori. Through trials and tribulations, Osamu learns the secret of the legendary manga author's superhuman drawing speed.
Differences from the film version
- Doras can speak, something he never did in the film in his combat form. His child form is never shown, he emerges from the pool of fluid in his battle form.
- Masaru Aso at first refuses the call to protect Hiroshi Mochizuki, even having a violent outburst in a cafe trying to squash the mutant grasshopper compelling him to go to Hiroshi.
- The amount of destruction Doras causes is far greater that what was shown in the film, as Doras used his powers to kill dozens of bystanders and level an entire city block.
- Doras and ZO have a short battle in Tokyo, with ZO ultimately passing out from his injuries, thus allowing Doras to escape.
- The Spider Woman is the result of the Neonoid fusing part of itself with a innocent bystander named Kasumi, who was an old flame of Masaru. When she changes back after dying, Masaru feels guilt for killing her.
- The female dojo instructor is given more character development, acting as a mentor to Masaru and training him to learn the Rider Punch.
- The Rider Punch and Kick are described by Kazuhiko Shimamoto though Naomi's character as the manipulation and focus of ki energy into concentrated attack power.
- ZO's Break Douser acts as his "mouth", opening and moving when he shouts.
- Dr. Mochizuki is portrayed as more evil, as he tries to help Doras win by suggesting his creation assimilate ZO.
- Naomi accompanies ZO to the final battle and gives him the moral support he needs to win and is taken out of the crumbing fortress afterward with Hiroshi riding on the Z-Bringer with ZO.
- Hiroshi never speaks or even interacts with any of the other characters, acting more as a male damsel in distress with no defining characteristics.
- After leaving the hospital, the Z Bringer inexplicably appears for ZO to ride rather than seeing Masaru transform it from his regular bike like in the movie, though there is a later scene depicting that with Naomi riding with him.