Look Twenty Minutes into the Future. When a violent, monstrous cyborg runs loose on a motorcycle racing track, hero champion Gerd Frentzen is crippled, seemingly for life. But he gets better with the help of a mysterious woman, reviving as a super-powered cyborg himself. After the paparazzi catch him turning Demoniacs (the afore-mentioned monstrous cyborgs) into properly pwned ashes, the media hails him as the Messiah. However, there is more to his miraculous comeback than meets the eye, and he's not the only super-cyborg on the block...hell, he's not even one of the strongest, because this show is not about him...Feels like a Kamen Rider series animated by the same guys as Vandread or Soukou No STRAIN, with an intriguing and heartrending story spiced with eye-catching battle scenes. There is a powerful social message folded into this vividly animated seinen action series, made even more shocking by its reality. There's the main conflict of humanity trying to earn its right to survive against the rise of its "evolution," the profanely powerful Amalgams, which is impressive enough in its execution to stand alone. Then, entwined within the personal stories of the characters is a dramatic exploration of the kind of elitist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic oppression you KNOW happens in real life, which adds an entirely new depth and impact to the work.Produced by GONZO, and like most of their other works, highly underrated.
It's even called so. What with Pale Rider and all.
Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Sword Rider (War), Scale Rider (Famine), Bow Rider (Conquest) and Pale Rider (Death) (in the meaning "Pale Rider nanobots" it would be Pestilence, but then there's The Pale Rider, or "Blassreiter").
Interestingly, this trope could thematically apply to 4 central characters: Gerd (White-Conquest), Joseph (Blue/Black-Famine), Hermann (Red-War), and Xargin (Pale-Death). The first 3 even have Cool Bikes as their mounts, while Xargin rides an actual horse.
Character Development: Malek is the only character that changes much over the series, with everyone else more getting character reveals through flashbacks. Still, he goes from an angsty wimp agonizing over why God won't solve his problems for him to a decidedly heroic Ascended Fanboy who succeeds Joseph
The bullet that Brad carries around his neck is later used to Mercy Kill his old partner, Lena.
After the fall of the XAT, Amanda paints Al, Brad and Lena's names onto the top of her Transforming Mecha, and soon after the kanji for the word 'Bond' gets added. This later serves to snap Al out of his amalgam-induced Face Heel Turn.
Cloning Blues: It's revealed in the last episode that Mai Fong is a clone, and would have died relatively soon anyway. It's not clear who she's a clone of, but considering one of the Minister's comments, its likely his daughter.
Deadly Upgrade: Joseph has two, one where they inject something in to him to make he lose his temper and make his a anger go Up to Eleven, and another one in the final battle, where he takes a pill said to kill any amalgam where it goes Up to Eleven a second time.
XAT doggedly diverts their resources to the big hunt for Joseph. Even when he prefers to be fired at than to hurl a XAT operative or two over yonder house or something. They don't think it's a good idea to stop after he took a bullet protecting an Innocent Bystander when XAT's own sniper failed to check what's around his target.
In XAT's defense, Amanda was the only one to come to this revelation, and seeing as they'd just seen Joseph surrounded by sliced and diced cops, she was the only one who was still ready to accept the possibility he might be different from ALL the other Amalgams so far encountered.
Hero Killer: Xargin, most evident when he marches on Zwolf Castle with an army of 30,000 demoniacs, only to walk into the castle himself and effortlessly crush everything in his way, including a recently powered-up Joseph that said army paralyzed with fear.
More than Mind Control: Wolf's Start of Darkness involved Beatrice seducing him, taking advantage of the confusion and paranoia resulting from the changes going on in his body and mind, and stroking his... ego.
A living human who catches The Virus becomes a Ninja Robot, and when the dead are reanimated with that same virus they become everything except the pirate part.
The Only One: As one of the strongest living Amalgams, Joseph seems to be the only one capable of maintaining his sanity and compassion to defend humanity, since the only other Amalgams on his side eventually either have to be put down or don't survive The Dragon.
Hermann and Joseph also fit this description, particularly after the former gets Amalgamized.
Spoiler Opening: Oh, were you wondering if that guy with the strange blue scar and the heroic blue Amalgam were somehow connected? Guess what? They're the same! Though, seriously, you should have picked up on that pretty quickly...
Stripperiffic: Beatrice loves to play up Evil Is Sexy for all its worth, and Amanda takes every opportunity she can to unzip her XAT jumpsuit enough to let her assets breathe. And that's not even counting what Amanda wears when she's OFF duty.
The Unchosen One: There's going to be an Apocalypse. Only, you see, it's not quite behind the next corner and we're a bit impatient. So, let's make it up right now if we can, eh? Because we're sure it's our sacred duty to be The Hand Of Destiny and all that. Who if not our righteous selves?