Oh, nothing to see here. Just a masked superhero and his Sony-branded robot doggie.
The currently ongoing Kamen Rider series, Zero-One, is helping itself to a truly bizarre crossover collaboration this weekend. Toei has announced that the 38th and 39th episodes of the series will feature a special storyline around a very special guest star. Sorry toku fans, it’s not a past Rider, or a big Super Hero Time crossover with Sentai or whatever. The guest star is…the latest model in Sony’s adorable robot dog line?
— 仮面ライダーゼロワン (@toei_zero_one) July 8, 2020
As Tokusatsu Network reports, the collaboration between Sony and Toei will see an Aibo pupper — from when the line was relaunched in 2017 — will explore the childhood of Gai Amatsu (Nachi Sakuragi), the rival figure to show protagonist Aruto Hiden (Fumiya Takahashi) who suits up as the sinister Kamen Rider Thouser. Turns out, like all good rival characters, poor Gai had a tragic upbringing. A testy relationship with his demanding father saw Gai turn to an unlikely companion for solace: an actual Aibo that Gai named Thouser.
Yes. This Kamen Rider is named after his pet dog. His pet robot dog. It’s brilliant, and weird, and completely delightful to just see a little Aibo wandering around these suited up superheroes.
Zero-One, which is set in a near future where humanity has created a servant class of artificially intelligent humanoid robots, has already tackled a lot around the theme of humanity’s relationships to machines, and how we impose our own emotional responses upon emotionless programs. Given Aibo’s legacy in Japan as a tragically faithful robotic friend, maybe a storyline between Gai and a $4,000 doggo of his own isn’t all that weird. Kamen Rider Zero-One’s 38th episode, kicking off the Aibo storyline, airs this weekend in Japan.