Kamen Rider Bravo being a villainous rider might make sense considering just how infamous the Durian fruit is. And making him the Manly Gay one makes a funny kind of sense if you've seen an open durian. The flesh resembles a six-pack.
Kurokage and Gridon still have a fruit motif in the fact that they still have a seed in them. Just that they're not fruit that humans eat regularly. It makes sense that the nut-based Riders would be the Co-Dragons of a fruit-based Rider then. Well, at first.
All of the Arms that use sword-based weapons are based on fruits/nuts that require knives to cut, while Arms that use blunt objects are based on fruits/nuts that require some force to open.
Kurokage, Bravo, and Baron Mango Arms don't fit this pattern though.
Bravo's large swords bring to mind that, to open Durians, you take a knife to them and chop off their shell.
It makes sense that Takatora would initially have the Watermelon Lockseed in his possession. He already has the basic Melon Lockseed, so he may as well keep the theme going. That and he had an army of Watermelon Lockseed-using Riders in the first episode.
Him being allied with Yggdrasil makes a lot of sense as to why DJ Sagara has copies of the Rider's Lock Seeds.
Episode #42 sheds a new light on both why he always seems to have such rare and expensive Lock Seeds and why he keeps just giving them away. He's Helheim itself, he can get them whenever he damn well pleases.
If you look closely, the Nut Riders don't have a little splash when their transformation is complete. It's easier to notice when they transform alongside the Fruit Riders. Why is that? Because nuts don't have juice.
If you look at Baron's dance style Kaito is in the center pretty much moving the group around him. Says a lot about him compared to Gaim's dancing which seems more carefree and group oriented.
Calling them "Armored Riders" isn't merely Not Using the Z Word, but intended as a grab-all term for the Rider designs' obvious inspiration, armored warriors throughout world history (samurai for Gaim and Zangetsu, Warring States footsoldier for Kurokage, knights for Baron, Chinese generals for Ryugen, Roman gladiators for Bravo and so on.)
Something else that was clever. In Gaim's first appearance in Wizard, he didn't know what a "Kamen Rider" was. Amusing when you consider what they're called in the series proper.
Kurokage looking like a foot soldier serves for foreshadowing, as Kurokage is demoted to being mooks for Yggdrasil.
Nobunaga representing Kamen Rider OOO in the Sengoku world makes a lot of sense. Beyond the basic connection of Nobunaga being in OOO, the show's major theme was desire, something that Nobunaga was all about.
How does Yggdrasil make Kurokage troopers considering that only the person who first uses the belt can transform into that Rider? If the Sengoku Driver gets broken and the One Steve Limit is removed because of this copying wouldn't be a problem.
Jossed: Gaim can use the Banana Lock Seed. It seems seed use is solely a matter of availability and personal taste.
He can use the Banana Lock Seed, but he's still Gaim, not Baron. Using a Lockseed and getting that basic Rider's form are very different things.
Reinforced by the fact that when Baron gets the Genesis Driver with the Lemon Energy Lockseed, he does not turn into Kamen Rider Duke but just Baron with Lemon Energy Arms.
Gen Urobuchi's message of kids no longer wanting to drink orange juice after Gaim's 14th episode may be weird or foretelling a dark time (the latter being very true). However, consider that at Episode 14, the New Generation Riders make their debut. What does their Driver say when activated? "Soda." As in Soda drinks, which is usually what kids drink over natural juices like orange juice. That line wasn't referring to something happening to Gaim, but rather foretold the rise of the New Generation Riders.
The episode numbering coincides with the sagas perfectly. The first arc represents childhood, which runs from birth to the age of 11. At age 12, that's when puberty, the transition to adulthood, begins. Likewise, the second arc kicks off at Episode 12. The third arc kicks off at Episode 20, the majority of age in Japan. It's brief span might indicate the time it takes for a young adult to settle down and live the life of an adult. 24 boots off the age of a responsible adult while 33 continues that adult's journey into mid-life. This perfectly reflects the developments in Gaim.
1-11: Kouta starts as an irresponsible child.
12-19: Kouta experiences the harshness of metaphorical puberty and grows to accommodate it.
20-23: After a brief reflection as to what he should do, Kouta takes his first step into being a responsible adult.
24-32: Kouta lives through life as a new man, though deals with bigger and bigger problems, eventually leading into...
33-47: Mid Life Crisis. Though in this case, the crisis is an all-out war.
The Yggdrasil scientists' using hazmat suits when exploring the Forest of Helheim when other people can blunder about it and stay perfectly fine makes a lot more sense with the introduction of the Helheim disease. It never showed up in the first few episodes, but that doesn't mean Yggdrasil didn't know about it before then.
All of Kouta's forms involve fruits (orange, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon, lemon, cherry, peach) with Vitamin C which is good for boosting the immune system against invasive viruses!
And a Stealth Pun related to above: What happens when life gives you lemons?
Most of Yggdrasil's members seem to be love letters to the villains of the previous five Rider shows, as well as Kamen Rider Ryuki.
Takatora believes that humanity will benefit from them and will evolve, with Project Arc having similarities to Ryubee and Gamou's plans. His concerns for his sibling plus his utter badassery as a Rider also combines with Shiro, the Big Bad of Ryuki.
Ryoma is the Mad Scientist who plans on achieving more power, combining the job of Dr. Maki and the motive of Kougami. The mad scientist job also belongs to Hideyuki Kagawa/Alternative Zero.
Sagara is the quirky minion who isn't taken seriously by the other villains, helps out the heroes from time to time, and undermines the other villains, much like Sora/Gremlin. If you see it as such, he also pulls double duty with his multiple agendas and times spent on all sides being references to the Evil Mentors of the previous Rider shows starting from Double. Additionally, him taking not just the Beat Riders thing but also the fate of the entire world as a game for him brings Jun/Gai to mind.
Late revelations of him helping out the heroes by giving them power ups brings to mind people like Shroud, Tachibana, the White Wizard, and even Shiro himself in which they also give heroes the power ups to further their own plans.
Sid's proclamations of justice and comparing himself to a hero (or dare say, a Kamen Rider) probably wouldn't fall too out of like for Tsukasa or Tojo/Tiger.
Takatora is the experienced Second Rider akin to Ren and Ibuki.
Hideyasu is the untrustworthy Second Rider akin to Ryusei and the other Kaito. After Micchy becomes evil, Hideyasu takes up his former Friendly Rider persona, also reflecting of how the untrustworthy riders always tended to help out the main rider rather than hinder him.
The fruit parlor Druper's is the kids' local mutual hang-out.
Kouta remarks that Bando is smarter than he looks after the latter advices Kouta about the ambiguity of power, cheerfully responding that he's gone through a lot in his life. In the actor's previous two appearances in Kamen Rider Ryuki and Kamen Rider Kabuto, the characters he played had access to power as a Rider and a Worm respectively: in both occasions, he met his end at the hands of another Rider which happens to be a great risk of happening in this series.
In addition to declaring "Soda" when activated, the Genesis Driver also uses Energy Lockseeds, as in energy drinks, another alternative to juice that kids develop a taste for around the same age as soda.
Why does Knuckle look like a hybrid of Gridon and Kurokage? Think about his Lock Seed- Kurumi. It's a Class C+, right between Donguri (Class B) and Matsubokkuri (Class C)!
It's also branded LS-02, to Matsubokkuri's 01 and Donguri's 03.
Ryoma is monitoring Kouta who uses the Orange and Lemon Energy Lockseed. So of course he uses the Lemon Energy Lockseed to become Duke
It has been noticed that Team Red Hot was missing in the all-teams dance in #18. They likely weren't invited to it due to their recent crimes using the Inves. After all, the point was to look better, not to show they were associating with known criminals.
After finding out about his little brother being a Rider, of course Takatora would begin to watch Sagara's show.
Zangetsu uses the Melon Energy Lockseed while Gaim uses the Lemon Energy Lockseed. The two words can be perfectly anagram into each other.
The subplot involving the citizens' distrust of the Beat Riders being similar to the subplot of the villagers' distrust of the Oni in Hibiki's film makes sense considering that the latter's a Jidai Geki and the former has heavy influences from it.
Why would Yggdrasil give the kids lock seeds and start the Inves Games in the first place? For panic control among the citizens. Wild inves keep coming through cracks, and because of the Inves Games, the populace doesn't panic at the appearance of horrible bug monsters from another dimension.
The reason Project Ark has its name is because it can be liken to Noah's ark. There's no big ship formed from the top of Yggdrasil tower, but like Noah, Yggdrasil is forced to choice a limited number of living beings to save from a world wide disaster.
The ending themes to Gaim have two different versions each. One that is sung by the Kamen Rider Girls as a whole, and another where only one of them sings. Gaim always uses the latter for the endings and the later episodes provide the reason for that: Up until he gains Kiwami Arms, Kouta was all alone in his battle. Everyone else at the time was either against him (Kaito, Oren, Jounochi, and the Yggdrasil Riders as a whole), secretly going behind his back (Micchy), have little to support him with (Zack), dead (Hase) or are another matter entirely (Bujin Gaim, Ren).
This is amplified by Kachidoki's theme, which is sung by Kouta himself. It would make sense as the same episode where Kachidoki debuted is also the same episode where Kouta gained a Heroic Resolveand actually began a damaging assault against Yggdrasil.
Kiwami's ending theme sees Kouta finding his allies, much like how he gained allies after obtaining Kiwami Arms. The reason why Kaito is singing along with is because he is his strongest ally and closest competitor to the Forbidden Fruit.
The Lock Seeds are based on fruit. According to Ryouma, Lock Seeds can draw nutrients from Helheim's fruits and use its subsistence without the risk of turning into an Inves. Thus, turning it into a more familiar form of energy, the fruit we eat.
The crossover was actually far better timed than it looked: Kouta has found his final resolve, gained a new power up, and scored his first victory over Yggdrasil, but he will also be embarking on a lonely path. The other Armored Riders are either working against him (The new Gen riders and Fifteen), only concerned with their own agenda (Kaito), more concerned with their own beefs (Oren and Jounichi), secretly going behind his back (Mitchy, and that won't last much longer), don't really know enough to help (Zack), or dead (Hase and Bujin Gaim). Right when Kouta has accepted that he's in this fight alone, the Tokyugers show up to show him that there are people he can count on in battle, and lets face it the kid really needed that lesson. On a darker note, considering that things will likely get worse for him from here on in, this was probably Kouta's last chance to really smile.
Jossed on that last part. He was enjoying testing out the Peach Energy Lockseed.
The green Overlord Inves claims that Japanese is easy to learn despite her language remaining at a You No Take Candle level. Truth is, it's only easy to her because she cut out all the honorifics and flowery language, resulting in what you get in the show, which says quite a bit about about her way of thinking.
Kaito getting the Genesis Driver yet not getting a unique undersuit like Takatora's makes a lot of sense when you realize he wasn't supposed to get one in the first place.
Sid of all the villains in the show is probably the most villainous of the New Generation Riders and the one you are supposed to hate. The New Generation Riders also have a design quirk that their armor only has one shoulder pad and his is the only one of the four whose shoulder pad is on the left side, which would mirror the old superstition of left handed people being evil.
Urobochi has compared Zangetsu to Ohja, but if you think about it there are many parallels and differences between Ryuki's main four Riders and the main four of this series.
Gaim and Ryuki: Both stumbled onto a power that wasn't meant for them, are one of the few sane and rational people of their respective series, and both of them have an aversion to killing other people. However, Shinji had support and backup of Yui and Ren while Kouta is basically fighting a one-man war against Yggdrasil.
Baron and Knight: Both are knight-themed Riders, wield lances and are—at least at first—dismissive of the main protagonist. Both are also better fighters, gain their final upgrade before the protagonist does and can be a bit of a Jerk Ass. However while Knight's motivation was to save his girlfriend, Baron's motives are entirely selfish. Knight eventually warmed up to Ryuki while Baron, although he now has at least some respect for Gaim, considers friendship to be baggage and not worth his time.
Ryugen and Zolda: Both are green gun-wielding warriors who take influences from mythological creatures (Ryugen's name, Zolda's motif). They are also the fourth Rider introduced in their series and both of whom have manipulated the main protagonist and have personal connections with the main enemy Rider. But while Ryugen is a healthy teenage boy, Zolda is a dying middle-aged man. Ryugen is a student, while Zolda is a successful lawyer. Ryugen started out with good intentions but has since gone off the slippery slope. Zolda Took a Level in Kindness towards the end. Ryugen has a pretty decent relationship with the main enemy Rider; after recent revelations, Ryugen himself seems to be the more amoral one of the two. Zolda, despite his faults is much more moral than Ohja whom he has a severe rivalry with.
Zangetsu and Ohja: Both of them are similar in that they are way more powerful than the other three in their base forms and have a pretty good win-loss record (Ohja is responsible for the death of 5 Riders in Ryuki while Zangetsu so far has yet to lose a fight). Both later gain permanent upgrades but Ohja's gives him more weapons and powers, while Zangetsu loses some versatility. Both of them have a brother but while Ryugen is an important character and they have a decent relationship, Ohja's brother is a very minor character and Ohja murdered him. Zangetsu currently swings towards being a Well-Intentioned Extremist while Ohja is a remorseless killer; ironically, what Zangetsu plans to do will result in more deaths than Ohja could ever hope to accomplish.
Kouta using Ichigo Arms marked the very first time he and Ryugen worked together, him using that form also marked the final time he and Ryugen worked together.
Another call back. In the beginning, Peco used his sling shot to sabotage people during the Inves games, which pissed off Kaito. Come episode 26, Mitcchy does the same thing.
Micchy having the Grape Lockseed makes perfect sense when you consider his character arc: His jealousy over Kouta getting Mai's attention drives him to break his own pedestal, changing his opinion of Kouta from "beloved Big Brother Mentor" to "annoying Idiot Hero (emphasis on idiot)", and eventually turning into outright hatred. What's the term for a bad attitude caused by jealousy? Sour grapes.
When we see Kaito picking Lockseeds most of them turn into low level ones. Later on it's revealed that these can be used as a food source through the belt which makes sense since that's what the Drivers are going to be used for in Project Ark
Seeing that Urobuchi has compared Zangetsu to Ouja, Micchy succeeding his brother as Zangetsu Shin is inevitable as he is becoming more villainous akin to Ouja, while Takatora has been heroic the whole time.
While the audience has been aware that Ryoma has been plotting against Takatora since before the start of the show and both the name and image of Duke can be tied to European royalty, it wasn't until #27 that it became clear that his regal appearance is based of his mentality that he and Takatora could have been rulers of a post-Helheim infested world, hence why every Genesis Rider has some royalty motif save for Sigurd, whose motif is based off a Norse hero.
Sigurd being based off a Norse hero helps harden Sid's talk of being a hero during his debut.
Later on, Roshuo says that only a hero can grasp the forbidden fruit ties back to Sid declaring himself a hero. Of course he feels entitled to get the Fruit.
You may begin to notice the tonal/genre shifts in each arc. There's a good reason for it: All the arcs are love letters to three different sections of the Heisei Era.
The Beat Riders Saga establishes a city where a boy and his team of True Companions fight in a light-hearted environment with almost little to no death, tons of quirky characters, and a basic plot that is usually broken up into two-episode arcs that wouldn't be out of place for the Neo-Heisei era, which covers Double to Wizard.
The Yggdrasil Saga, however, involves amoral characters, a corporation that has ulterior motives, and the occasional Rider vs. Rider conflict, something that shows in the late Heisei era like Kabuto and Kiva can relate to. Hibiki also has a mention, as there were a few fights with monsters in the woods.
The Helheim/Overlord Saga has monsters who speak incomprehensible languages, people scheming plots up the wazoo (which include the ever so popular ruin any communications plot), and The Hero being almost completely alone in his battle, to the point where he might have to become a monster in order to actually fix anything is something that the first five Heisei Kamen Riders could relate to.
The Forbidden Fruit Saga is Gaim's own theme and tone, removed of the tones and themes of its older counterparts, though they may occasionally revisit them with a new view of it.
Mitsuzane getting the Double Arms makes a lot of sense. Much like the Rider, Mitsuzane has two-faces. It also makes a lot of sense he gets the Double Arms, as the only other Rider to make the switch from good to evil willinglywas a Double Rider himself.
It also makes Double's line "Now, count up your crimes!" all the more fitting, given Micchy's Heel–Face Turn.
This can also explain why the Meteor Lockseed was Ryugen-based. Ryusei actually succeeded in killing the Rider he pretended to be his friend while keeping a double life.
Ryoma wants the forbidden fruit to become a god. Of COURSE he'd make his Rider theme that of a king.
At first Takatora seems like a straight up Evil Counterpart to Kouta. He's serious, he's experienced and he's the bad guy. But later episodes show, if anything, he's exactly like Kouta. They both are naive and trusting of others around them, both have evil friends who betray them and both have the best intentions out of all the riders.
Mitccy on the other hand IS an Evil Counterpart to Kouta. He's obsessed with Mai, he's two faced and he only cares about his own selfish desires
Kaito's Genesis Driver has exactly the same transformation phrase (Fight-Power Fight-Power ffffff-fight!) as Ryoma's. While this highlights their character similarities and shared obsession with power, it also makes sense when you realise that Kaito wasn't intended to get one to begin with (both in-universe and out of it). Chances are Ryoma just made a copy of his own Genesis Driver because he didn't feel like putting the effort into making anything more unique for Kaito.
The phrases are tied to the Lockseeds, not the belts. The reason why Kaito and Ryoma have the same transformation phrase is because both use the Lemon Energy Lockseed.
Why is Gaim an orange instead of an apple? You'd think that would be the obvious one, right? Well, considering that the McGuffin revolves around a golden apple, it's appropriate that the protagonist's motif is a fruit that is often compared to an apple, to the point where some countries refer to it as a golden apple.
Part of the belt phrase for Kiwami Arms is 'Lock Open' as opposed to every other Lockseed's 'Lock On'. When you remember that the reason for the lock theme was to symbolise unlocking potential, it becomes clear why this is: Kiwami Arms is Kouta unlocking his full potential and reaching his strongest form. Metaphorically, he's finally opened the lock holding him back.
Relating to this, the Kiwami Lockseed is a key. To use Kiwami Arms, he has to turn the key of the Lockseed in the lock of another Lockseed. He's literally unlocking the power.
The parallels between Micchy's conversation with Sid in #4 and Kouta's conversation with Sagara in #15 become more sensible when it becomes clear that both providers (Sid and Sagara) are the Devils doing the Deals, though it's only until Sid kicks the bucket does Sagara take the Deal with the Devil schtick.
Whoever came up with the DJ Gun design deserves a medal. When attaching any lockseed that isn't the Kachidoki, the gun announces it as a "Fruit Basket." Originally, this could be attributed to Kouta having an inordinate number of lockseeds and thus an easy way to program in functionality. Then comes Kiwami's debut, complete with the Fruit Basket just before the henshin, and the depth reveals itself. Said function was Foreshadowing Kiwami!
Micchy, Kaito and Kouta all possess a power someone else wants. Kaito, as show in episodes 32 and 33, and subtly shown by his starting with leadership of team Baron, has the power to influence people and get them to do as he says and wants, which is the sort of power Micchy is after. Micchy can make more or less amicable alliances with people who would otherwise be enemies, as shown by his alliances with Sid, Oren, Yggdrasil, Ryoma and now Redyue, which Kouta wishes he had. Kouta has raw Lockseed Rider power, which is the kind of strength Kaito is seeking. All three have someone else's desired power, and all use it better than the person who wants it.
Why did Kouta think the food in episode 33 was bland? Because the belts aren't as safe as people think they are, and his prolonged use of it to not eat, not to mention his using it with two ridiculously powerful lockseeds Ryoma had never intended it to be used with, is turning him into an Overlord... just as Sagara hinted he needed to become in 32.
Ryugen and Zangetsu standing side by side in the prologue could actually be foreshadowing Mitsuzane being both riders as opposed to foreshadowing him joining his brother's side.
Notice how Ryugen looks up to Zangetsu? It could point to exactly how much Mitsuzane depends on his brother seeing that Takatora haunts him even after his supposed demise.
Um. Maybe we saw different subs, but in episode 22, Ryoma flat-out says anyone without a Driver is doomed to become an Inves in the new world. That's not fridge at all.
Looking at Gaim and his various Arms and how he got them, there was something easily missed. His first Arms outside of Orange was Pine and he got it from Kaito, his second arms was Strawberry and he got that from Micchy, how these Arms end up once they've been put on resemble the other rider's default Arms, Pine to Budou and Strawberry to Banana but then came the realization. Micchy and Kaito ended up switching positions from the start of the series but retaining their original roles in new ways with Kaito actually increasing Kouta's defenses and being his (albeit somewhat reluctant) ally and Micchy trying to weaken Kouta's defenses while being his (far to eager) enemy. Suika Arms adds in extra irony to this because he got it from Micchy and it was his first major power up besides the other base Arms.
For extra irony, the Suika Lockseed indirectly came from Takatora and his role changed constantly, just like the modes of the Suika Arms. From giant threat against the Rider (Armored Mode), to high-attacking force that gets up and personal with Kouta (Gyro Mode) to inevitably someone who rolls around with another person (Big Ball Mode)
The riders set to battle for good in the climax of the Gaim Movie (Gaim, Baron, Ryugen, Zangetsu Shin, Gridon, Kurokage, Bravo, Marika, Knuckle and the Original Generation Kurokage Shin (existing character Peco) and Kamuro (Lapis)) may represent a similar fan wish fulfilment as Rebellion's opening minutes, with most (except naturally Sigurd and Duke) of the Riders working together, Hase being alive, Micchi being a good guy, and Peco getting his own Rider Form just because. Startscreaming.
The main reason why Takatora goes ballistic when Oren gets a Sengoku Driver? There are several, but one of them is because he's an adult who isn't directly affiliated with Yggdrasil, which means they have practically nothing to pressure him into silence if he starts digging into the truth. If he somehow found out the truth about secrets behind Driver manufacturing and Helheim forests, there's a big chance he will expose it into the world, ruining Project Ark from the get-go, and (for Takatora, at first) ruining humanity's only chance in surviving Helheim. Oren being ex-special forces just makes everything worse, since with him getting a Sengoku Driver,just assassinating himis out of question. Takaktora might be uncomfortable with him, but if the choice is between having to handle Oren's man crushon him or having an uncontrollable Wild Card running amok, it's a no-brainer which one he chooses.
Also about Oren; His Jerkass tendencies toward other Armored Riders and Jounochi was harsh, but if you know his backstory, it was kinda justified. Heck, even if only half of this is true, it can be argued that Oren is actually going soft on them. And for Jounochi, his slave-driving, while harsh (not that we don't get schadenfreude of that) actually has another point; it was to test his resolve and self-control. There's reason why you don't teach civilians, hell, common soldier this type of things.
Fridge Horror sets in: all that he was doing in #18 was being soft.
This also explains why he suffered Villain Decay against the heroes but was still very capable at beating the Hell out of Inves. Against the Armored Riders, he likely holds back because, delinquents or not, they're still kids, but the Inves are, at first, simply dangerous 'playthings' and then later hostile invaders. Against the Inves, Oren goes all out and even gives some pretty sound combat advice to the other Riders while fighting Deemushu.
Many biblical references have been littered throughout the series so far such as the Garden of Eden, the Forbidding Fruit, and the Serpent. The Seven Sins can also be found throughout the show. Mistuzane Kureshima being the worst offender; so much so, that some of his sins overlap. Choice examples:
Pride: All Beat Riders were prone to this during their saga. Micchy most of all.
Lust: Micchy thinks he is doing everything for everyone's sake, but all he's doing is quenching his own self gratification.
Gluttony: Not in terms of food or eating, but in terms of excess. Kaito hungers for power, and Kouta keeps consuming stronger power-ups. Micchy has plenty of power and control with just Yggdrasil his family estate alone. But teaming with the Overlords grants even more power.
Wrath: It's been festering within Micchy, and he finally lets it out by showing Kouta his true colors.
Greed: Kouta in the Beat Riders saga. In terms of material possession, Micchy is collecting lots and lots of people for his Project Ark.
Envy: Hase became this when he lost his powers, and we all know what happened next. Micchy became jealous of the admiration and respect Kouta legitimately earned.
Sloth: The Armored Riders came down with Bystander Syndrome during the Helheim virus panic. Kouta only behaved like this after Micchy persuaded him to. And if Micchy could help it, he'd rather sit back and let his minions do all dirty work while he just barks the orders.
Most people compare Gaim's helmet to the Ku Klux Klan's pointed hood. While it's true that it's more based off Nobunaga's armor, the other comparison might not be far from the tree. In Wizard's second finale, Amadum makes the note of how Riders are Not So Different from monsters, going as far as to label them the "cross of fire". The Great Leader in the original Kamen Rider series also dressed like the Klan, though this time on purpose. Kiwami Arms is the next step to becoming an Overlord, the ruler of the Helheim Forest. In other words: while the Riders were 'monsters', Gaim is becoming the Great Leader.
In episode 33, during Gaim Kiwami Arms' fight against the fake Zangetsu Shin, he summons dual Sonic Arrows. For anyone who is curious as to how Gaim was able to utilize two copies of that weapon, keep in mind that Kiwami Arms' ability to summon any of the basic Arms Weapons, as well as any weapon with an attachment slot for the Lock Seeds, stems from how the form is accessed by merging Kachidoki Arms with every single basic and Energy Armor Part. Since the weapon commonly associated with an Energy Armor Part is the Sonic Arrow, that means Gaim can use up to four copies of it.
Roshuo isn't Takatora's counterpart, he's Kouta's. They both hold the forbidden fruit, both are clad in white, and Roshuo's obsession with reviving the queen is similar to Kouta's declaration of protection to the woman he thought was Mai in episode 1.
According to an interview though, Gaku Sano mentioned that Roshuo was Takatora's counterpart and Gaim did not have one. Upon further questioning, he said that Gaim's counterpart will appear in the summer movie.
It's eventually revealed that Lapis is the blue Overlord and Gaim's Overlord counterpart, though he doesn't transform into his Overlord form in the movie.
Well, maybe I'm reading too much Bartender and Xenosaga, but for me, there's some connection between amoral Riders and alcoholic beverages, tying into the Drunk with Power theme.
Micchy uses the Grape Lockseed. Grapes are an ingredient for many liquor, the more famous being wine and brandy.
Oren uses the Durian Lockseed. There is a phenomenon called "mabok duren" in SE Asia where basically, you get dizzy and uncomfortable if you eat too much durian. This is basically whathappenedwithOren in his early debut as a Rider. Also note that there is a myth that Durian and alcoholic beverages shouldn't be consumed together, as it can cause toxicity. Oren was never part of Ryoma's club because his loyalty is to Takatora only.
Ryoma uses the Lemon Energy Lockseed. If you read Bartender, there's an awful lot of cocktail which use lemon juice as one of its ingredients. Though to be fair, lemons have also found their place on many non-alcoholic cocktail, which is maybe why Kaito also got the Lemon Energy Lockseed for his Genesis Driver.
Sid uses the Cherry Energy Lockseed. Sour cherries are an ingredient for some distilled liquor, including Kirschwasser. And, yes, those cute Realians are named after a liquor.
Takatora gets an upgrade from Zangetsu to Zangetsu Shin and both power sets are considered to be different riders just like the character he was based on; Kotaro Minami aka Kamen Rider Black / Black RX.
Kouta not being able to fight Micchy, even when he knows full well he's evil makes tons of sense when you look at his past character development. After witnessing Ryoji's death and finding out he personally murdered Yuya, Kouta didn't want to sacrifice any more lives. That can explain two things: his reluctance towards killing people besides Overlords and why he doesn't give up on Micchy and just shoot him already.
Takatora's defeat by Mitsuzane in #36 mirrors his defeat of Hase in #11. Hase/Takatora confronted and challenged Takatora/Mitsuzane, who viewed him as a pest getting in the way of his extremely important plan. He fought valiantly and persistantly despite being greatly outmatched in power but nevertheless was brutally defeated with his Lockseed and Sengoku Driver being destroyed by the finisher.
Several of the Lockseed jingles point out aspects of that Lockseed's primary user(s):
The Orange Lockseed's jingle includes 'on stage', reflecting Kouta's 'this is my stage now!'
The Acorn Lockseed's jingle, 'never give up', reflects how Jonouchi keeps going in spite of his treatment by Oren.
The Pinecone Lockseed's jingle is 'strike in the shadows'. This reflects how Hase, its initial user, planned to backstab Kaito, but also how the Kurokage troopers are used as clandestine clean-up to hide evidence of Helheim by Yggdrasil.
The Durian Lockseed's jingle, 'Mister Dangerous', reflects how Oren was initially a serious threat to the Beat Riders due to his military training.
The Lemon Energy Lockseed's jingle, 'Fight Power Fight Power', obviously alludes to both Ryoma and Kaito's Social Darwinist and Blood Knight tendencies.
The beat of the Cherry Energy Lockseed sounds kinda like hip hop/techno music. It makes sense, as its user, Sid, was the one who interacted with all the Beat Riders, and therefore, was the closest out of the 4 New Generation Riders to them.
The motif to the Riders in Gaim also have some ties to birds, save for Ryugen's Kiwi Arms, which bares more of a resemblance to a Dilophosaurus, especially with the frills. Well, dinosaurs evolving into birds aside, dinosaurs have been shown in Kamen Rider before, associated with a color and a major theme: Purple and corruption. It comes full circle when Ryugen's equivalent to a Super Mode keeps Kiwi Arms' helmet.
Much like how Mitsuzane killed Takatora via a dirty trick, so did Redyue towards Roshuo.
The tale of the forbidden fruit, usually the one from Genesis, has two sides to its imagery. On the one hand, it represents a great power, a means to even become like God. On the other, it became the path to immense sin and exile from paradise. Kiwami Arms represents the former, while Yomotsuheguri Arms, the culmination of Micchy's evil represents the latter. However, at the same time, both likewise represent the other side as well. Yomotsuheguri is Micchy's own final form, and gives him access to the Overlords' weapons while gaining Kiwami began Kouta's transformation into an Overlord, though in a slight subversion, he only loses his physical humanity, not his internal one, which keeps the theme of all Kamen Rider shows. Also, the imagery of Yomotsuheguri draws heavily from both the tales of Izanami and Persephone. Izanami became the ruler of Yomi and declared war on Izanagi and the living. Persephone ate the seeds of the pomegranate in the underworld, ensuring she was now part of it. Though Yomotsuheguri is just a recolor of Budou Arms, one might take the deep red recoloration to evoke the pomegranate.
Why do Helheim-origin Inves spread the plant/disease with their attacks while Human-converted Inves do not? Because they're spreading the Helheim plant's seeds, which they've probably built up in their system through years of eating Helheim fruits. Most former-human Inves would probably have only eaten that first fruit that initially transformed them, so they'd have fewer seeds in their bodies to implant/inject into a wound. So it's not impossible for them to spread Helheim plant infection, just exponentially less likely.
DJ Sagara is the avatar of Helheim, which is an embodiment of evolution. He also appears as a snake. Why is this significant? Remember back when Ryoma explained his hypothesis that the legends of forbidden fruit from mankind's mythologies were inspired by the forbidden fruit of Helheim. One of the examples was the story of the Garden of Eden. Sagara explains that the Woman at the Beginning will choose a champion, who will in turn receive the forbidden fruit. Now, how did the Garden of Eden go? Eve was tempted by the snake (Helheim, the drive to evolve) to take the fruit and in turn tempted Adam. Sagara knows that Ryoma was correct because chances are he played out the Eden story in one of the worlds he changed!
It also explains why The Woman of the Beginning is a pivotal part of how Helheim takes over worlds, because the first person to take the fruit (The Beginning) was Eve (The Woman).
By further extension, it means that all myths about various old civilization's pantheon(Norse, Greek etc) are really just a civilization that got their hands on the Forbidden Fruit and being invaded by Helheim, and that said "gods" are simply Overlords. This means that Roshuo is on equal standing with Odin, Zeus, Jade Emperor and other pantheon heads. In most legends, each civilization also has some form of holy fruit, such as the Apple of Idun(Norse), Nectar of the Gods(Greek) and Peaches of Immortality(Chinese) for examples. Notably, these fruits are almost always tended to by goddess. In other words, the statement that "The "Fruit of Knowledge" gives someone the power to remake the world itself and become God" is 100% accurate. Similarly to what happen between Roshuo and Redyue, these god-like civilizations no longer exist, due to internal conflict for the Forbidden fruit.
Takatora calls Mitcchy his shadow. This is both correct and wrong. In fact, both brothers represent both sides of a coin, or rather, the same person, with each brother showing a "what if" scenario and the subsequent results. The brothers's both want to save people. However, Takatora is the noble side, trying to save as many as he can, willing to sacrifice himself, or make hard choices so that some will live. Mitcchy represents the selfish side, only wanting to save those who are close to him. Mitcchy eventually walks down the dark path, while Takatora maintains his heroism.
It's possible to Mondegreen Ryoma's Lemon Energy jingle as 'Fight the power'. While initially funny, it actually makes some sense: the first time Ryoma transforms onscreen, he is fighting the power, specifically by rebelling against Takatora and overthrowing him. It makes even more sense with Kaito's one, because by Kaito's own admission he considers himself weak and thinks he needs more power to fight the strong - Kaito is fighting the power!
"Yomotsu" refers to the Shikome, a hag sent by Izanami to kill Izanagi for breaking his promise of not seeing her within Yomi no Kuni. One of the items Izanagi used to stall the hag from killing him as he ran back to the surface was his black headdress, which took the form of grapes.
Kaito reverting back to his human form after completely slaughtering Ryouma isn't that crazy. We've seen it before with Hase (something Kaito even lampshades, though he never saw Hase switch back and forth like Kouta did). We already know the Belts allow you to take in the nutrients of Helheim's fruits without transforming, but we also know powerful enough fruits can still change you (like with Kouta). Kaito had his belt much longer than Hase did, and was exposed to more fruits as well through his constant transforming. Not only that, he also had the Virus directly in his system via the cut on his arm, which was kept in check by the belt. It's clear that these combined factors (and possibly Kaito's raw willpower) were what allowed him to not only retain his mind (something Hase was unable to do), but even revert back to his human form. This is also massive Fridge Horror, because it means Kouta wasn't wrong, and saving Hase was truly possible.
It's notable that Ryoma doesn't have his Berserk Button pressed when Kouta uses a Jimber form, yet when he uses Kachidoki for the first time, he flips out. There is a good idea why he doesn't flip out with the former. The Genesis Core used for those forms were an invention of his, and so he doesn't mind beyond wanting to figure out who's smart enough to steal behind his back.
It could also explain why he was horrified with Hakaider. Someone managed to make something that could easily be the next stage of human evolution, to the point where it can easily warp a human's mind into thinking only nothing but destruction, and it wasn't him.
Thinking it over, there were a few about the Kiwami Lockseed that are probably obvious but it has to be said none the less:
First, the Kiwami Lockseed was made from a piece of the Fruit of Knowledge, and it takes a form of a key. There is the saying "Knowledge is the Key to Everything"
Second, on the Kiwami Lockseed there is an Orange in the center surrounded by the three fruits representing the other three Main Riders as well as three fruit representing the three lockseeds Kouta got after Orange from those three Riders, and the Rider Fruits and Lockseed Fruits are side by side their appropriate counterpart (Banana and Pine, Budou and Strawberry, Melon and Suika), reflecting Kouta trying to unify the riders but their different motives making that difficult at any given time.
Third, the fact that once the lockseed is open its says Fruit Basket. Yes it does refer to Kouta having access to the other Arms Weapons but it also reflects Kouta's desire to protect the old world instead of using the Fruit of Knowledge's power to create a world based on his own ideals. Your body will be malnourished and you could die if you only eat one type of fruit all the time, just like how one person cannot make all the decisions for everyone else and it shows with what happened to Roshuo's world; it became a world of only his beliefs and look where that got him and his people. Given the biblical references and subtle suggestion that all the pantheon we know of were world taken over by Helheim, this one was probably a subtle stab at monotheism.
The eyepiece of Gaim Kiwami Arms is a very rare translucent multicolored one. When was the last time we saw something like that? Kamen Rider Kiva, with Emperor Form in its berserk state.
Kikaider and Hakaider's presence in Gaim actually helped foreshadow some major themes for the last chunk of the show.
Kikaider's a hero with a major degree in What Measure Is a Non-Human?. Kouta easily toes the line a few episodes after this and soon rejects his humanity, with one person warning him of the same fate that befell Jiro: No one would accept him if he is not human.
Hakaider, true to his name, cares only for destruction. The theme of power is prominent in Gaim, and the overall question that's stated is "What can you destroy with that power?", a few characters, including Kouta, have found an answer to that question and have stuck to it. Those who have not found what to destroy or believe that their power should be used for somethingelse are simply scooted to the side in some way, shape, or form.
Back in Kamen Rider Den-O, the Mole Imagin was made in three separate near-identical suits, turning it into a Mook in later appearances. Is it any wonder that the Mole Kaijin from Badan had an identical sibling lying in wait?
It also nods to the stereotype that moles exist in indeterminate numbers since they're only ever seen popping up intermittently from mole holes, which of course inspired the Whack-a-Mole game.
In the final fight with her, Redyue goes down extremely easy to Kouta, despite proving on par with Kiwami Arms before hand. Why? In addition to Kouta's growing power, Redyue was the most calculating and intelligent Overlorde. Redyue just lost all semblance of composure and sanity when she found out Roshuo no longer had the Forbidden Fruit. Redyue's tact and intelligence had been lost to her anger, robbing her of her greatest advantage. This, combined with Kouta's increased strength, spelled her end.
Kaito is ultimately killed by his own sword. Remember the old phrase 'who lives by the sword dies by the sword'?
The opening scene makes sense now that the final acts have taken place.
The first shot is Helheim Forest growing in front of the Yggdrasil Tower. Redyue takes over the tower and it becomes her HQ for the remainder of the series.
Kouta and Kaito leading Inves armies. They awaken as Overlords and are able to summon the Inves at will.
Gridon being by Kaito's side. All of the Nut Riders have made it to his side at one point (while Zack and Jounouchi have joined Kaito's side during the war for Zawame, Hase was too busy being dead to join by that time). Not only that, but once Kaito announces his intent to destroy the world, one of the Riders who joins his side was a Nut Rider, Zack. His absence during the fight also makes sense. Zack, much like the Nut Riders, betrayed Kaito and was beaten up by Kaito, leaving him the only Rider to fight Kouta.
Mitsuzane and Takatora standing in the sidelines. Both Riders were absent during the final battle, the former due to a massive Heroic B.S.O.D. and willfully backing away from the fight and the latter due to being in a coma.
Mitsuzane sitting down and Takatora standing up. From the point after Kouta gains Kiwami Arms, outside of one occasion, Mitsuzane never used Ryugen and opted to use Zangetsu (Shin) for the entirety of the war.
The Woman of the Beginning waking up and observing the battle. She awakened due to her going so back in time that she got bumped into a parallel timeline, this current scene. Not to mention that when we last see Mai before she becomes the Woman of the Beginning, she was dead.
The Suika Arms could be Riders who didn't make an appearance, nodding to the massive amount of Riders.
Also, think about who wasn't in the scene: Ryoma, Sid, and Yoko. Sagara said that everyone present had had the opportunity to take the Forbidden Fruit. Yoko didn't want it, but Ryoma and Sid were both utter monsters. Mai was the one who decided who'd get the fruit, and she'd never have picked them under any circumstances. They're not present because they were the people who had no chance to get the fruit.
Sigurd's finishing move involves being crushed by two cherries colliding into each other. How fitting that his death involved being crushed by two large rocks colliding into each other.
The Overlords have traits from both the Armored Riders and the New Generation Riders, namely the desires of the former, but the burdens of the latter. Their downfall also mirrors the New Generation Riders. It would make sense considering their role as a foil.
Roshuo has Kouta's desire to have the power to handle Helheim (he's the ruler of the Forest, and thus can control it) but Takatora's burden of handling the possible extinction of their race and the ensuing apocalypse. He dies at the hands of Redyue, reflecting Takatora's 'deaths' at the hands of Ryoma and Mitsuzane.
Deemushu has Kaito's desire to be the strongest there is, but Sid's burden of being ordered around by a benevolent ruler. After he breaks off of Roshuo's leash by going into Zawame, like how Sid broke off of Ryoma's leash by going into Helheim, both got killed by a powerful being in white, also foils to each other, on the opposite side.
Redyue has Mitsuzane's desire to be a master manipulator, but Ryoma's burden of having everyone in the way of the one thing he wishes to have. Her pursuit for the Golden Fruit turned out to be in vain and in the middle of her Villainous Breakdown was killed by someone who had just awakened as an Overlord, much like what happened with Ryoma.
And Kaito? He's an Armored Rider, New Generation Rider AND Overlord at the same time. He's his own counterpart!
In the opening, in the third to the last shot, we get a cycling close-up of each of the four main Riders. The order is interesting because it foreshadows the order each exits the story, barring Drive x Gaim. In order:
Zangetsu: Takatora's last time as a Rider is the return of the original Zangetsu after 20+ episodes, only for the belt and Lockseed to be destroyed and Takatora presumed dead for ten episodes
Baron: Kaito is the final boss Kouta must overcome and is slain in their last battle.
Gaim: Kouta, ascending as the Man of the Beginning, leaves with Mai and all traces of the Helheim Forest and Inves on Earth to settle on a deserted planet to live in peace. He can and does return briefly to Earth, but he no longer regularly resides there.
Ryugen: Curiously the last in the cycle instead of Gaim, Mitsuzane holds the last functional Sengoku Driver and Lockseed (though what happened to his Kiwi and Suika Lockseeds is unknown) and so, barring Kouta's intervention against Jam, Mitsuzane as Ryugen Budou Arms, is the last defender of Earth.
Redyue and Micchy have one thing in common: They helped set the stage for the battle of the Golden Fruit. Redyue killed Roshuo, who probably would have let Kouta have the Golden Fruit had he been alive, while Mitsuzane hid Mai away and thus got her to take in the Golden Fruit, which made her the key decider to who gets the Golden Fruit, especially after Roshuo kicked the bucket.
Seeing Sagara in the beginning as the DJ, especially when he starts gushing about how the Beat Riders are turning the Inves Games into something akin to the Warring States period, really makes sense when the last leg of the show reveals that he wants to see how things evolve.
A bizarre thing to realize, but all users of some variant of Ringo (Apple) Arms are either socially maladjusted and abnormal at best and downright evil at worst. Kougane is the Big Bad of his movie, Lapis by the standard norm of all surviving Overlords is a deviant (peaceful!), Touka is trying to kill the Kureshima and destroy Yggdrassil, and Kaito... is Kaito. They are all, in short, bad apples.
The Mysterious Girl's leitmotif sounds akin to a romantic song, like something that'd play during a Love at First Sight scene. Sure enough, her overall role is to hand the Golden Fruit to who will pretty much be her husband.
Most of Legend Rider Lockseeds' sound style are connected to the Gaim rider, one way or another.
Most of the Rider Lockseeds with Japanese and English mixed annoucement (Gaim style) are based from Anniversary series (like Ichigou, Kabuto, Decade, himself, and Drive) and Gaim is the protagonist of his series with is the pinpoint of Heisei Riders on having as same amount of number as Showa Riders.
Most of Rider Lockseeds with Ryugen-like sound have something related to "2 somethings in 1" (like Double's "2 in 1 Kamen riders or V3's power based on 2 previous riders power) and Ryugen has 2 faces, cheerful guy and Manipulative Bastard one
Most of Baron-like Riders Lockseeds have the main protagonist be transformed into monster (Blade and OOO)
Many of Lockseeds with Bravo's style ("Mister [something]!") are Broken Steak (Ex. Amazon isn't Cyborg like the previous riders and didn't used either word Henshin or belt to transform, or Faiz being the VERY first Heisei rider to used pure technology for his Rider system and the first Heisei rider protagonist who aren't human in any sense
Gaim's the last Rider (in a row) to make a cameo and fight off a villain. This actually makes more sense than one can think. Note how, in previous cameos, the Rider defeats a progressively stronger monster note Shadow Moon, de facto leader of Dai-Shocker, to Luna, one of the most skilled mercenaries Daido has, to Gara, who absorbed a bunch of Core Medals, to four of the Horoscopes, which are pretty much super-evolved Zodiarts, to Amadum, who at the time Gaim fought him had all the powers of the previous Heisei Riders). Stopping at Gaim without Drive to make a cameo in the movie makes sense considering that, by the end of the show, Kouta becomes a nigh-powerful God, with the only thing that could defeat him being another nigh-powerful God. Having Drive cameo to fight something stronger than Kouta would have broken the scale of power and lead us to wonder where that went when he fights his own battles.
When Ryoma confronted Kouta in the jimber arms, he was completely calm with no signs of panic. This completely contrasts his reaction to the Kachidoki arms which he has never seen before. Ryoma's Berserk Button would then be called into question until we realize that he was already well aware of the jimber function in the Sengoku drives once he fought Kugai.
Zack's weapon in Jinba Marron Arms isn't a pair of knuckles, it's a pair of shields. Why not the Sonic Arrow like other Jinba forms? Rule of Symbolism. At this point, Zack is fighting for Kaito's true ideals versus Shura's twisted Social Darwinist interpretation. Kaito's ultimate aim was to protect the weak by making a world where the strong never oppressed them as opposed to destroying them like Shura planned to. Zack's Super Mode uses shields to symbolise his devotion to the same ideal of protecting the weak.
The first two successful riders in the past were Takatora and Ryoma, both who are on the opposite sides of the moral spectrum. They also use the melon and lemon lockseeds, both of which are anagrams of each other.
As of Episode 14 Small Role, Big Impact has never seemed so horrifying. Gaim pretty much came to be because Kouta killed his own friend.
...How many Inves were simply animals from our world that got transformed and were just scared/hungry? And that's not even asking about how many were potential humans...
Hase might have been able to get his hands on one of the mass produced drivers and get his power back if he waited a little while.
Speaking of that, what are his parents thinking when they find out what happened to their son?!
As the episodes progress, we see the Armored riders rarely eating when food is in front of them (even before things get heavily serious), when in past rider series (in particular wizard), food is a necessity for all the energy they burn while fighting, while they eat less. Particularly of note is during Takatora's recruitment of Oren, as due to oren's obsession over his Job (and the notorious reputation of his buisness), not finishing his food would be coming off as an insult. Then Ryouma reveals the drivers designed the drivers to remove the need for food, instead giving the wearer nutrients as part of filtering the contaminants of the Helheim fruit.
But what happens when the belts, which have become a substitute for sustenance are damaged or destroyed after not eating for so long? Hase didn't give into the draw of the Helheim fruit, he NEEDED to eat as he was going into Hypoglycemic Shock.
You know how one of the members of Team Gaim figured the best option when dealing with Oren is to expose him to a Crack and show him where the Inves really come from? Yeah. If they ever tried doing that, they're putting the entire city at risk of being burned alive. It kind of justifies Micchy's manipulations to Kouta about how Zangetsu would silence any and all possible threats.
More of a Fridge Jerker than anything else, but if you think about it carefully, Takatora showing Mitsuzane the truth of Helheim and getting him to join Yggdrasil is perhaps the closest he's ever gotten to bonding with his brother before that point. It would make all his actions to protecting Yggdrasil's key members (like sending an Inves to stop Kouta from pursuing Sid) have sense.
What makes it more of a jerker is that this may have been the key event to starting Mitsuzane's road to villainy, as he is forced to betray people until his betraying resulted in Mai slapping him silly. Even sadder is when Takatora finally sees an Overlord and begins to feel hope. Chances are, if Mitsuzane never saw the truth of Helheim and was driven to villainy, he would have been delighted to see his brother being happy. However, after that, all he could think is "Kouta is ruining everything"... Assuming Mitsuzane wasn't Evil To Begin With.
We know that that Helheim is another dimension that assimilates other worlds into itself with all of their inhabitants turned into Invase but we don't know how many worlds have actually suffered this fate and even if only one world has been effected so far. But since almost every Human and Animal is turned into an Invase that's means that Hellheim would very likely have Billions or Trillions of Invase inhabiting it assuming that every world has a population roughly equivalent to Earth with there possibly being even more since we don't know how many worlds have been absorbed.there is a chance of there being Invase out there numbering in the decadillions. and considering Knuckle needed help defeating two Elementary Invase (and assuming Knuckles physical stats are accurate he has better stats then any Rider in Blade or Fourze) that means that if Helheim unleashed every Invase every Rider, every Sentai Member and all the other Heroes would be goners.
Not even. Between Kabuto and OOO's ability to travel faster than time, not forgetting OOO's Latorartar and Putotyra Combos which can either freeze, or burn the plants of Helheim, or Gatakiriba's duplication power, as well as those of Decade and Knight, numbers wouldn't be an issue. Hell, it's established that Beast Chimera love the Helheim fruit, the main source of the Forest. And that doesn't even factor in the abilities of the various Sentais or Heroes. The odds would be monumentally against them, but by no means are they doomed from the start.
What might kill the humor for most of the crossover with Tokkyuger for some people is the fact that the jokes could have been played straight at any moment, especially considering that Gaim is a Deconstructor Fleet. For one example, the scene Takatora looking away while Tokkyu-Oh is fighting the Lion Inves. What if he turned around and saw that actually happening? Granted, he probably couldn't do anything after Kouta busted his Scalar Weapons, but still. Though what helps preserve the humour is that Selective Obliviousness is part of Takatora's character.
A lot of people have compared Mitsuzane to Sayaka when comparing Madoka to Gaim, though as the show goes on the comparisons slowly died off as soon as Mitsuzane becomes far more wicked than Sayaka ever became, and soon comparisons to Post-Rebellion Homura began. However, let's look at the circumstances for Micchy: His concerns for Mai's happiness and wishing to make her love him, his antagonism towards Kouta, his rivalry towards Kaito... It matches with Sayaka's concerns for Kyousuke's happiness and wishing to make him love her, her antagonism towards Madoka in episode 8, and her brief rivalry with Kyouko. Couple that with the number of episodes for Gaim and this conclusion is set: Mitsuzane is Miki Sayaka if the show went on longer and she didn't turn into a Witch.
Now that we know Mai is the Woman of Beginnings, and that she went back in time to speak with Kouta, Kaito and Mitcchy, we know that she basically screwed everyone over right from episode 1. However, it goes even deeper than that. Due to Sagara knowing that Mai comes from the future(in the episode Kachidoki Arms makes it debut), Mai basically confirms Sagara's suspicions on who the major players are, as well as who to give power to. Now armed with this knowledge, proceeds to manipulate events from the side lines, which results into Mai receiving the Forbidden Fruit, and right up to sending her back in time(he goads her into accepting the Fruit's power, and even going back in time, which she plays right into) Sagara basically played the time loop to his advantage, fulfilling the bible verse "cunning as snakes but as innocent as doves".
Project Ark would have allowed one billion humans to survive, because that's how many Sengoku Drivers they could create with their supply of precious metal, right? But one day, those people would have to have kids. How would they survive?
The prototype Sengoku Drivers given to the Beat Riders and Takatora are the only ones that lock to the first user. The mass-produced Drivers used by the Kurokage Troopers and, presumably, Project Ark, can be used by multiple people. The billion people rescued (spared?) by Project Ark are going to start dying, too, of old age if not the dangers of the forest. So the kids would wear Drivers salvaged from dead people. Not to mention that they'd probably make more Drivers as time goes on, especially now that they're under no rush (which is why they had to do Project Ark in the first place.)
Yggdrasil was constrained by time, not lack of resources. They estimated that it would take about 10 years for Helheim to fully consume the Earth, and that they could produce approximately one billion drivers in that time. Assuming that things went as planned, they could continue making them after that point, it's just that that would be the number of them available once things went to hell(heim.)
A small, slight piece of Fridge Horror is Mitsuzane's What You Are in the Dark moment against Jam, who is really Kougane possessing a girl. If he were to shoot her out of her suit, she would die. Mitsuzane gives up and detransforms, but given what he was before (especially since he did something similar), it would be unnerving if this happened beforehe became The Atoner.
For a good chunk of a year, Mitsuzane personally believed he killed his best friends, the very same friends he's been trying to protect, never knowing that they were alive until months after being convinced by the ghost of the brother he seemingly killed tells him that it was all his fault for clinging on and never changing. That has to suck for him.
During the last fight between Kaito and Mitsuzane, Kaito calls out Mitsuzane on him wanting to protect Mai and saying how he really doesn't want to protect her smiles, but rather have her as a doll to play with. A doll is a type of toy. Now, who elseregards people as nothing but toys to play with?