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Yusuke Godai/Kamen Rider Kuuga
Yusuke Godai is a carefree, gentle spirit, always willing to help out people. Motivated by the death of his father, he swore to protect others and promised to master 2000 talents before the year 2000. One day, he has a vision of an artifact called the Arcle, and eventually puts it on after the first of the unsealed Grongi attacks, giving him his 2000th skill in transforming into Kuuga. At first, his white Growing Form is dubbed Unidentified Lifeform No. 2 by the police, and his subsequent forms are dubbed Unidentified Lifeform No. 4. As the police learns of his identity, they begin working with Godai.After seemingly dying at the hands of the mushroom Grongi Me-Ginoga-De, Godai's premonitions combined with Dr Tsubaki's defibrillator awaken a new power in the Amadam, the stone within the Arcle. This unlocks a new level of power, the Rising forms. In his hatred for Go-Jaraji-Da, he channels Ultimate Form, a form powered by anger, as he defeats the Grongi. Eventually, once all the other Grongi are defeated, N-Daguva-Zeba, the Grongi leader, comes and nearly kills Godai, challenging him. Eventually, Godai transforms into Ultimate Form, but firmly under his control, and engages in a brutal battle with Daguva, narrowly winning after both their Amadams were destroyed and reverting into human form. Yusuke eventually recovers and is free to resume his wanderings, though it is stated that his Amadam is regenerating.
Tropes that apply to him in general
- The Ace: Has mastered nearly 2000 skills, is loved by everyone who doesn't consider him an idiot, and is later on seen as the hope of humanity for beating the Grongi.
- All-Loving Hero: He is a Nice Guy who is willing to use his powers to protect people's smiles. This trait of his is the reason why he managed to control the Ultimate Form in the first place.
- Adorkable: He's known for having some strange hobbies, most notably archaeology. This is due to a promise he made to master 2000 skills before the year 2000. His 2000th is, rather fittingly, becoming Kuuga.
- Badass Biker: Very proficient at Bike Fu.
- Came Back Strong: After seemingly dying at the hands of the Mushroom Grongi Me-Ginoga-De, he revives with the ability to use the Rising Forms.
- Catch Phrase: Please witness... My HENSHIN!
- Chest Insignia: After a certain point, he starts wearing shirts and jackets marked with Kuuga's emblem, just like Kamen Rider Stronger.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Inversion, With Great Responsibility Comes Great Power. The first time Yusuke transforms, it's just to save himself, transforming into the weak Growing form. It's in his second battle, with the resolve to protect humanity from Grongi, that he activates the Mighty form. This basically defines Yusuke's time as Kuuga, as despite being scared of fighting and what he might become if he grows too strong, he continues to fight because he has to.
- Cool Bike: The TryChaser 2000 and the BeatChaser 2000. Not just a set of wheels for a ride, Yusuke liberally fights with Bike Fu whenever he must, and combining with the Gouram gives these bad boys enough armor for an explosive ramming attack.
- For Happiness: He fights to protect people's smiles. Realizing this for the first time allowed him to transform into his iconic Mighty Form.
- Healing Factor: Merging with the Arcle resulted in him gaining one. It allows him to survive injuries that would kill a normal person and heal much quicker.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Unlike most writers, his power neither come with instinctive knowledge of how they work nor a helpful person to explain everything to him from square one. While Sakurako can translate ancient text to figure out what his powers are, most of the time he discovers the power before she's translated the appropriate text. Most obvious with his Dragon Form where he had zero idea how to use the form at first.
- Instant Expert: Zig Zagged. Whenever he gets a new form, he doesn't always have the proper mindset or knowledge of how to use it effectively. When he gets his eureka moments however, he immediately starts curb stomping.
- Legacy Character: Succeeds Riku, the original Kuuga of over 2000 years ago. As the opening will have you know, he's also a new hero for a new legend. Lampshaded when he calls himself "The Year 2000 version of Kuuga".
- Loyal Phlebotinum: Justified with the Arcle, as it's literally stuck to his body and won't come off until it's shattered. The Gouram though is purely loyal only to him.
- Memetic Hand Gesture: The thumbs-up, which he gives to everyone. One of the few that are justified: Yusuke inherited it from his teacher, because it meant "Well Done", as someone who surpassed adversity. His sensei gave it to him while cheering him up from Yusuke losing his father. He encouraged Yusuke to protect his mom and sister's smiles, and grow up to be a man who could protect everyone's smiles. If not for Yusuke's teacher, we wouldn't know the wonderful man he became.
- Motorcycle Jousting: The crowning example of the Heisei Era, Yusuke can bike fu in beaches, roads and even inside buildings. Justified, as the Try and Beat Chasers were specifically made for both speed and maneuverability.
- Nice Guy: Probably the ultimate example in Kamen Rider, though later on Eiji would give him a run for his money in this department. This is justified, as having a clear, pure heart is what allows Yusuke to control Kuuga in the first place and being anything less than COMPLETELY pure would have him become a violent Berserker in Ultimate Form.
- Reluctant Warrior: Hates fighting, but due to the Grongi threat has no choice but to.
- Stepford Smiler: Shows signs of this late in the series, following his rage-filled beatdown of Go-Jaraji-Da. Especially noticeable in his farewell scene to his old teacher, when, seeing more reports of Daguva's carnage, we get a close-up of his fist on his side, clenching in rage. Following the final battle, he's gone back to Walking the Earth for some soul-searching to rediscover his smile.
- Vigilante Man: Averted, which is a huge deal for the franchise. He pretty much immediately cooperates with the police, though not publicly, as he has Ichijo as his middle man. Averted even harder later in the series when the police find out he can transform into Kuuga, and give him access to the Beat Chaser 2000.
Tropes exclusive to him as Kamen Rider Kuuga
- Dark is Not Evil: Kuuga's Amazing Mighty and Ultimate Forms are black with gold, and in the final episodes Yusuke wears a lot of black. He's still as heroic as he ever was, though. However, Ultimate Form is perfectly capable of corrupting Yusuke so Dark is Evil applies too.
- Destructive Savior: Deconstructed. The Rising Forms are powerful enough to cause catastrophic explosions; thus Godai and the police work to avoid this by diverting battles to more secluded locations.
- Elemental Powers: Downplayed as Kuuga does not actually invoke the elements themselves (unless otherwise stated). Each of the four forms of Kuuga is themed after an element and implied as such based on in-universe translations of the Linto language. Heck, even Godai's own surname is tied to the four elements (Specifically, it means literally means "FIVE great", the fifth probably referring to the black colors for his Amazing Mighty and Ultimate Forms.)
- Fragile Speedster: Dragon Form, allowing for quick movement and high jumps, but isn't as strong as the other forms.
- Finishing Move:
- Growing Form: Growing Kicknote
- Mighty Form: Mighty Kicknote
- Dragon Form: Splash Dragonnote
- Pegasus Form: Blast Pegasusnote
- Titan Form: Calamity Titannote
- Rising Mighty Form: Rising Mighty Kicknote
- Rising Dragon Form: Rising Splash Dragonnote
- Rising Pegasus Form: Rising Blast Pegasusnote
- Rising Titan Form #1: Rising Calamity Titannote
- Rising Titan Form #2: Double Rising Calamity Titannote
- Amazing Mighty Form: Amazing Mighty Kicknote
- Ultimate Form: Ultimate Kicknote
- TryGouram Attack: Kuuga on the TryGouram rams a Grongi.
- Rising BeatGouram Attack: Body Attacknote
- Mecha Expansion Pack: Gouram can combine with both of his Cool Bikes, TryChaser 2000 and BeatChaser 2000.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: Mighty Form, Yuusuke's most used form, adaptable to many situations.
- Lightning Bruiser: Amazing Mighty, powering up Mighty Form even more to be faster, stronger and better than nearly all of the other forms.
- Mighty Glacier: Titan Form, slow but powerful and durable, which Yuusuke uses by tanking everything thrown at him before stomping the attacker in question.
- Multiform Balance: Every form has a use in every situation here. Unlike in other shows, where the new form comes in and is basically mastered right at that episode, entire episodes are devoted to the mastery of a single form.
- Squishy Wizard: Pegasus Form, with enhanced Super Senses and mastery at long-range combat, but suffering from a time limit and being bad at short range.
- Super Mode: Ultimate Form, the unquestionable best form and the best at everything. It even has the ability (So sayeth the side materials) to use the weapons and powers of all the other forms with zero drawbacks.
- Super Senses: Pegasus Form enhances all of Godai's senses. Unfortunately, these heightened sense are so sensitive that he can only maintain Pegasus for about fifty seconds before he suffers Sensory Overload and is forced to change out of it. Ultimate Form also has this ability but is much stronger and has no overload drawback.
Riku/Warrior Kuuga/"The Previous Kuuga"A young member of the Rint tribe, who took on the Amadamu in the face of the Grongi threat in ancient times. The majority of his story is told in the novelization, and he's only ever referred to as "the previous Kuuga" in the show. Can be assumed to have had the same abilities as the modern Kuuga.
- Batman Gambit: Riku became Kuuga as a result of the Grongi setting him up for it, on the theory that he was the least warrior-like choice. It backfired spectacularly.
- Beware the Nice Ones: As with Yusuke, Riku wasn't a warrior from the get-go - he became one anyway.
- Big Brother Instinct: Became Kuuga to protect his little sister and only relative, Mio. (That's probably her hand touching the sarcophagus, at the very beginning of the first episode.)
- Eleventh Hour Superpower: Averted - he apparently did not unlock anything past the five basic forms. (Between this and the generally sparser population density of the time, there's a good chance he avoided reaching the modern Kuuga's level of Destructive Savior.)
- Nice Guy: Had to be, given the nature of the power he had. Whether it was to the extent of controlling Ultimate Form or not is unknown.
- Reluctant Warrior: Wasn't much of a warrior at all before becoming Kuuga.
- Sealed Good in a Can: If you need any proof that he's a Nice Guy, be aware that he sealed himself in that sarcophagus while he was still alive, just in case the Grongi overcame the fatal case of death he'd given them. Sadly, N-Daguba apparently forced him to revert to his aged human form in the present day... which didn't stop him, as he appeared to be getting up to fight anyway.
- Shrouded in Myth: We don't know a whole lot about him, just that he was at minimum Yusuke's equal as a good man and warrior.
- The Straight and Arrow Path: He probably used an actual bow and arrow while in Pegasus Form.
Ichijo is a young police officer from the Nagano police who is assigned to the national police squad dealing with the Unidentified Lifeforms. He uses his influence to eventually help Godai, and eventually the police help Kuuga.
- Badass Normal: He kills two Grongi. Sure, he use special nerve-breaking bullets and one of them wasn't transformed, but the fact remains that he's the only human to do so.
- Friend on the Force: Supports acting together with Kuuga to his colleagues and superiors and in general gives Yusuke backup by coordinating with the police to find Grongi while also giving him access to weaponry and the specialized TryChaser and BeatChaser 2000s.
Sakurako is Godai's friend, an archaeologist. She was at first reluctant to help Godai, but she eventually relented. She researches the ancient texts to decipher the mystery of Kuuga and the Grongi.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Averted, she spends most of her time researching texts rather than going out for adventure, though considering said texts help Yusuke figure out his powers, she's helpful either way.
- Hot Scientist: Although given she mainly researches past languages is probably more of a Hot Librarian.
Minori GodaiYusuke's sister, who works at a children's daycare that Yusuke occasionally visits. At first wary of her brother's new powers, Minori became supportive of him. She helps out at the Pore-Pore Tea Cafe whenever hands are short.
Shuichi TsubakiDr Tsubaki is Godai's doctor, treating his various injuries, and taking notes on the Arcle. He also performs autopsies on Grongi victims, and even on the body of Zu-Gooma-Gu, eventually leading to the conclusion that the Grongi work similarly to Kuuga.
Hikari EnokidaThe Head of the Police Department Science Division, the single mom is a personable scientist who studies the Grongi and develops weapons against them. Due to her workload, she doesn't have much time to spend with her son.
Tamasaburo KazariFriends of Yusuke's father, who looked after him and Minori when their parents passed away. Affectionately called Uncle, he runs the Pore-Pore Tea Cafe and is the series Comic Relief, though they are too outdated or obtuse for anyone to understand. Collects a scrapbook of Kuuga's exploits, though ignorant Yusuke is that hero, initially.
Nana AsahinaAn aspiring actress, she moved in with her Uncle Kazari to take up acting school in Tokyo. She had a crush on Yusuke, and helps out at her Uncle's cafe. Though a lighthearted character, the murder spree of the Grongi occasionally hits close to home.
Jean Michel SorrelA transfer student from France, he shares the office with Sakurako and gets gradually roped in the circle of Kuuga. He has revealed that he had once failed a child. Has a crush on Enokida and tries to help her reconnect with her son.
- Gratuitous English: Though he supposes to be French, Jean occasionally uses English words and phrases.
The ruler of the Grongi tribe. He is the first Grongi to be awoken and was the one to revive all 200 of the rest of his tribe (although he slaughtered a large number of them as they were too weak to fight Kuuga). Dubbed Unidentified Life Form 0, Daguva took the form of a young man in white towards the end of the series once Kuuga defeated the Zu, Me and Go tribes. Towards the finale, he attempted to bring about the 'Ultimate Darkness' to turn humans into a violent race like the Grongi. Yusuke eventually confronted Daguva in the mountains and after cracking each other's belts, were both forced into their human forms where they fought hand-to-hand. In the end, despite dealing Yusuke a critical blow, Daguva was killed.
- Big Bad: The one who leads the Grongi Tribe.
- Evil Counterpart: To Kuuga's Ultimate Form. It's eventually revealed that it's Inverted, Kuuga being the GOOD counterpart to him, as the name "Kuuga" and the accompanying symbol was derived from Deguva himself.
- Man in White: To the point of glowing.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Daguva has no problems of killing every low ranking Grongi Tribesmen and causing mass destruction just for the sake of evil.
- The Social Darwinist:
- Daguva absolutely despises the lowly and weak, doesn稚 care about any human (or Grongi) lives, and is willing to use any means necessary to make humanity as violent and hateful as he.
- The first thing he does after waking up and resurrecting his brethren is kill 152 of them (out of 200).
- Weather Manipulation: Can induce heavy rains or blizzards.
- Xanatos Gambit: His final fight with Kuuga, he wins and he goes on to bring about the Ultimate Darkness, Yusuke wins and Kuuga becomes his successor. Subverted since Yusuke wins the fight yet he never became evil, thus foiling Daguva's plan.
The Rose-Tattooed Woman/Ra-Baruba-De
The "judge" of the Grongi's game. She is clad in black, and offers rose petals to her fellow Grongi as some kind of symbolic gesture. Ultimately killed by Kaoru Ichijo with the Nerve-Breaking Bullets.
- The Baroness: Looks like a sexpot but acts mainly like a Rosa Klebb.
- The Dragon: The closest thing the Grongi have to one.
- The Unfought: Her monster form is never seen and she's killed by the police.
Zu-Gooma-GuThe Bat Grongi of the Zu tribe. First appearing in Episode 2, Gooma was disguised as a priest and resided in a church where he preyed on his victims during the night due to his photophobia. After his first battle with Kuuga, Gooma lost the right to continue participating in the Gegeru and was unable to advance in rank. He mostly hung around the Rose-Tattooed Woman looking for any chance to rejoin the game but being shot down each time. Eventually, he discovered pieces of Daguva's body and ingested them to overcome his photophobia and finally get enough power to defeat Kuuga in Titan Form. He later attempted to usurp Daguva, but died at his hands.Gooma was one of the longest lasting Grongi, surviving the Zu tribe, the Me tribe, and all but the final three members of the Go tribe.
- Meaningful Name: Gooma is taken from the Japanese for 'fiend'.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Grongi only start taking him seriously after he gets his Eleventh Hour Superpower.
- Too Dumb to Live: Come on, he gains his One-Winged Angel form by absorbing a small piece of Daguva's body. What on Earth would make him think that would be enough to beat Daguva himself? Not to mention, even after gaining his power up, he still loses to Go-Gadoru-Ba, the second strongest Grongi.
- Other Grongi
- Body-Count Competition: Their game is basically one, about killing humans within the rules they set up
- Evil Counterpart: Along with Daguva, both Go-Badaa-Ba and Go-Gadoru-Ba parallel Kuuga in different ways. Badaa, like Kuuga, is a Badass Biker whose animal tattoo just so happens to be the motif of the first Kamen Rider. Gadoru, as the leader of the Go Tribe, is able to change between forms, five in total, each paralleling one of Kuuga's base four forms and his Rising form. It also helps that his animal motif is a rhinoceros-beetle.
- Eye Scream: Zu-Mebio-Da is shot in the eye by police, with bloody results.
- I'll Kill You!: Zu-Gumun-Ba yells at Kuuga with this threat before he explodes.
- Kiss of Death: Me-Ginoga-De's killing method. While the poison he injects with it almost kills Godai, "killing" him only caused his belt to power up enough to allow Godai to defeat the rest of the Grongi.
- A Load of Bull: Go-Baberu-Da is one of the top three Go class; he can even wreck Titan form's armor.
- Mythology Gag: Go-Badaa-Ba is a grasshopper-based Grongi with a red scarf and a bike. To a lesser extent, Zu-Baduu-Ba is reminiscent of the yellow-scarved Shocker Riders.
- Not So Different: All the Grongi are biologically identical to Kuuga.
- Palette Swap: Go-Badaa-Ba and Zu-Baduu-Ba; both are grasshopper-based Grongi with minor design differences, the most prominent of which is the color of their scarves.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: Each of them puts one on themselves when it's their turn as part of their game. Failing to use live up with them can get their kills voided or boot them out of the game.
- Threatening Shark: Go-Jaaza-Gi; in fact she is one of the three strongest Go class, with the ability to change forms.
- Transformation Trinket: It's eventually revealed that the belts all Grongi wear function nigh-identically to Kuuga's Arcle, fusing with their nervous systems and giving them the ability to transform into powerful combat forms. They're probably the only Kamen Rider monsters where their true forms are their human forms.
- Wicked Cultured: Some of the Go class; one reads the collected works of Camus, while another plays Chopin at the piano.
Minor Supporting Cast