Series: Kamen Rider Drive

Kamen Rider Drive, arriving at the scene of the crime!

"Start your Engine!"

The 2014-2015 Kamen Rider series; the sixteenth entry in the franchise's Heisei era and the twenty-fifth series overall. Riku Sanjo returns as the head writer after Kamen Rider Double.

The Global Freeze: an infamous event in which the world came under attack by mysterious beings who caused time itself to slow down. Six months later, peace has returned but the world remains alert for future occurrences of the "Density shift" phenomenon.

Shinnosuke Tomari is a young and talented police officer who sank into depression and lost all motivation after he accidentally crippled his partner during the Global Freeze. Because of this, he has been reassigned to the "Special Investigations Unit", a division of Bunny Ears Lawyers specializing in cases involving Density shift (known colloquially as "Slowdown") and other unexplainable phenomena.

When the perpetrators of the Global Freeze, a series of rogue AIs called "Roidmudes", emerge from dormancy, Shinnosuke discovers that his car (and its sentient belt) gives him the power to move normally during Slowdown and battle the Roidmudes on equal terms. Shifting his life back into gear, Shinnosuke transforms into Kamen Rider Drive to take down the Roidmudes and solve the mysteries surrounding them once and for all.

This series is most notable and gained much press because, for the first time in the franchise's long history, the title hero exclusively uses a car, rather than a motorcycle. On top of that, Drive is the first Rider to have an automobile motif, which up to this point was mostly utilized in Super Sentai seriesnote .

There exists a character sheet and a recap page for the series. Please place any related tropes there.

Recurring Kamen Rider tropes include:

  • Early-Bird Cameo: Averted. Drive is the first Main Rider since Den-O to debut squarely in his own series. Played straight for Mach in the Movie War.
  • Multiform Balance: Not only does Drive has multiple forms, called "Types", but so does his car Tridoron. Drive can also further modify his Type with Shift Cars, ex.: When he uses Max Flare while in Type Speed, it will turn into Type Speed Flare. (Tridoron can also equip Shift Cars, but it's not considered a Type change.)
  • Monster of the Week: The Roidmudes.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Well, duh.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: As per Kamen Rider tradition, the Shift Cars are simply the Good Counterpart to the Viral Cores, meaning that once again the Rider's power is from the same source as the evil he combats. Lampshaded in #2, as Shinnosuke is reluctant to work on the Roidmudes case because he figures that Mr. Belt, the Shift Cars, the Viral Cores and the Roidmudes are all connected since Mr. Belt knows a lot about them, and they possibly even have the same source. #5 shows that Mashin Chaser can steal and use the Shift Cars himself thanks to having compatible systems. However, #10 inverts it, revealing that it's the Roidmudes using a power source that was originally Drive's and not the other way around.
    • Gou lampshades this trope in #14 by explicitly pointing out that the Riders have the same power source as the Roidmudes; however, his attitude is that this makes the Riders themselves monsters and justifies his "by any means necessary" approach to crime-fighting. Shinnosuke, being a Fair Cop, naturally disagrees
  • Transformation Trinket: Drive's is a two-part one, with the Drive Driver belt and the Shift Brace on the wrist. Mashin Chaser uses the Break Gunner, while Mach has the Mach Driver Honoh.
  • Weapon of Choice:
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Mashin Chaser's Break Gunner, a knuckle-like weapon that acts as a gun. Lupin uses a recolored version of it called the Lupin Gunner, which thanks to the Lupin Viral Core, also has a blade mode.
  • Besides the Handle Sword and the Door Gun, Drive has an arsenal of Shift Cars that work similarly to Fourze's Astro Switches, changing the tire on his armor and giving him different weapons and powers. Not counting the ones that trigger a form change (listed under Multiform Balance above).
  • Mashin Chaser has a handful of Viral Cores that summon different weapons.
  • Mach gets Signal Bikes for his own arsenal.
    • Signal Magarl - A dirt bike with a turn sign motif: Mach fires shots that can curve.
    • Signal Kikeen - A custom bike with a warning sign motif: Mach fires a shot into the air to summon a bullet-like beast that starts out tiny, but can become giant to maul Mach's opponents.
    • Signal Tomarle - A sports bike with a stop sign motif: Mach's shots can stop a foe in their tracks, or shield him from incoming attacks.
    • Signal Kaksarn - An American-style bike with a directions permitted sign motif: Mach fires off a hail of fire that either hits all around him or hits one unlucky soul many, many times.

Start Your Engine!:

  • 108: There are exactly 108 Roidmudes monsters. Each one of them is even designated by a number, ex. Roidmude 029 Cobra. The official website has a counter keeping track of how many there still are.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: Subverted. When telling Shinnosuke why he couldn't trust the police with the knowledge of Drive, Mr. Belt tells him of a scientist who once created an invention for the good of mankind, but it was weaponized, causing much destruction. Shinnosuke asks him if he was that scientist. In fact, he wasn't: the scientist was Alfred Nobel, and the invention was dynamite.
    • However given what we learn in #10, it becomes clear that Mr. Belt was indeed referring to himself as well.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Kamen Rider" was originally what Brain called Proto-Drive. The name became used by the Riders, their allies, and the Roidmudes.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Every police officer not affiliated with the Special Division exhibits this. Despite the Density Shift being a well known, documented phenomena, and this being, well, Japan, they scoff at the mere mention that a monster may be involved. On the other hand, the general populace quickly catches onto the existence of monsters and seems to recognize that the Special Division is equipped to deal with them.
  • Arc Words: Start your Engine.
  • As You Know: In #13, Medic explains the Gunman Brothers' plan. For the audience, it's good to know, but she's talking to the other leaders, who of course know what their own scheme is. Sure enough, Brain grouses "I already know all that!"
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted with the Door Gun, which has to be recharged by opening and closing the door. Shinnosuke lampshades it the first time he runs out of ammo, asking if that's really a necessary feature (Rinna says it is).
  • Broken Streak: Drive is the first main Rider to use a car as his main Rider Machine instead of a motorcycle. note 
  • Call Back: Crossing with Development Gag, back when teasers of Drive were saying "This Rider is a driver!", and now we have the preview for Mach's debut saying "This Rider is a Rider!"
  • Car Fu: With a healthy dose of Conspicuous CGI, Tridoron is about as active in Roidmude fights as Drive himself.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Rinna having a crush on Shinnosuke was Played for Laughs at first, but a later arc reveals that she's been pining for someone all this time, and it's starting to affect her.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The tire on Drive's armor changes color and design to correspond with the Shift Car he inserts into the Shift Brace.
    • This is especially true for the Type Change Shift Cars, as they're identical sans the colored stripes running across the tires.
  • Cool Car: The Tridoron, Drive's car. It has a huge variety of functions and abilities making it one of the most versatile Rider Machines yet:
  • Chest Insignia: On the back of his belt and on his forehead is a silver R stylized enough that it's also a K, for Kamen Rider. The Drive Driver also usually displays one, which changes depending on the current Tire equipped (or the Type if it's using the default Tire).
  • Cursed with Awesome: One unforeseen effect of Slowdown - fatal falls become a lot less fatal. As long as Slowdown doesn't cut out before the end (which is presumably what happened with Hayase).
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Drive's main transformation device is called the Drive Driver.
  • Downer Beginning: Compared to Sanjo's previous works, the show's prologue starts with monsters running amok, a city being blown up, Shinnosuke's partner is crippled (complete with blood), and global dominating genocide everywhere, in a classic Kamen Rider fashion. This is considered as one of the most brutal opening scenes in the franchise's history.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Kamen Rider Drive's secret base, the Drive Pit. It's located right under a driving school.
  • Embarrassing but Empowering Outfit: The Slowdown particles-detecting equipment used by the Special Unit. Indispensable in their field work, but they're look like a more colorful version of Dr Brown's mind reading helmet with the addition of a proton pack from a dollar-shop.
  • Evil Counterpart: Mashin Chaser, like Drive, also hunts Roidmudes, but his motive for doing so is to eliminate the ones that aren't obeying the orders of Heart and Brain. Also, rather than completely destroying their cores, he instead reincarnates them in new bodies that might be more loyal.
    • Viral Cores are this to the Shift Cars, being the means to evolve for Roidmudes, and special versions for Mashin Chaser to activate various armaments for him to wield.
  • Evolutionary Levels: The Roidmudes can use Viral Cores to evolve into more powerful forms (for example, Roidmude 029 Cobra uses the Viral Core Cobra to transform into Iron Roidmude).
  • Evolving Credits: Starting with Episode 7, the opening credits included Type Wild Tridoron and Drive with the Handle Sword. With Episode 10, the credits include Type Technic Tridoron and Drive with the Door Gun. With episode 13, Kamen Rider Mach is included into the credits.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Drive's weapons, the Handle Sword (a sword with a steering wheel on it) and Door Gun (a blaster shaped like a car door). You can blame those on Shinnosuke; Belt-san was visibly disappointed that he didn't come up with something more creative for either.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry:
    • Most of Drive's forms are asymmetrical as well thanks to the tires. Types Speed and Fruit wear the tire at an angle across the chest like a sash, while Type Wild mounts it on the shoulder. Averted by Type Technic, which places the tire horizontally across the upper chest from shoulder to shoulder and, it appears, by Type Formula by putting dual tires on his forearms.
    • Mach has a round signboard on is right shoulder and a scarf hanging from his left.
    • Mashin Chaser's design fits this trope to a T. He looks like a bike exploded and attached to random parts of his body, resulting in a very Borg-esque look.
    • Proto-Drive mirrors Type Speed in having a diagonal stripe, though no tire is mounted there.
    • Tridoron can retract part of the hood on one side, in order to accommodate the Tire Exchange gimmick. It is also for hiding the Special Unit logo.
    • Brain's human guise has an asymmetric suitcoat.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Drive's three basic forms fit into this. Type Speed is the thief, specializing in its high speed, Type Wild is the fighter, with heavier brute-force attacks, and Type Technic is the mage, with its technopathy and other more esoteric powers.
  • Foreshadowing: Chief Honganji's horoscopes he receives on his phone always foreshadows an aspect of the plot, though he himself is not aware of this.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Drive Pit, Drive's secret HQ and Tridoron's garage, is located under a driving school. It's entrance is... a simple door that usually is blocked with a stack of carton boxes .
  • Honor Before Reason: In episode 16, Brain shows the other Roidmude leaders information about Special Investigations, even suggesting that one of them might be Drive. Both Heart and Chase dismiss the information, saying that defeating Drive when he's a powerless human would be meaningless. Medic likewise takes their side, telling Brain that as smart as he is, there are some things he just doesn't understand.
  • Humans Are Bastards: In episode 5, Mr. Belt and Chaser both warned Shinnosuke about trusting humans. Later on, one of the companies the Special Unit was protecting was smuggling a dangerous explosive compound. And in general, many episodes later involve human criminals' activities intersecting with the plans of the Roidmudes.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: An interesting variant: Rather than being straightforward, the title of each episode is a question (for example, Why did my time stop? or Who stole the woman's smile?). This fits pretty well with the investigation motif of the series.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to its predecessor's gritty and dark nature, complete with early 80's cop campiness along with the Showa era Rider/Super Sentai-styled episode structures.
  • Meaningful Name: A dead heat race means a tie between two racers. Type Dead Heat is a mode that ties the two Riders together.
  • Meta Twist: By now, the "good guy has an evil alter ego" twist has been repeated so much in a row that Kamen Rider Wizard couldn't cover it without someone calling the twist from day one. Enter Chase, who is similar to the elusive Proto-Drive in both visual design and their powers, to the point where even the characters were guessing he and Proto-Drive have a connection. Turns out that Proto-Drive was Dead All Along and that Chase is actually someone else... Or so we were lead to believe for three episodes before it confirms that yes, Chase and Proto-Drive are indeed one in the same, just that he had a third alter ego to go with it.
  • Moral Myopia: The Roidmudes have a hatred of Drive for killing their kind... despite the fact they launched a full scale invasion of the planet during the Global Freeze, intending to wipe out the human race, and generally having no qualms about killing innocent people.
    • The Paint Roidmude gets furious at Drive for stealing his paintings... that are actually the innocent woman the Roidmude kidnapped. Shinnosuke calls him out on it.
  • Mundane Fantastic: The Slowdowns got so frequent, how would one keep track of them? Why, with a smartphone app, of course!
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Oh, Crap: In flashbacks to the Global Freeze, Shinnosuke gets a look of sheer panic on his face as he fires the bullet that's going to cause the crippling of his partner.
  • Once an Episode: Shinnosuke and Chase clashing. It becomes notable whenever Shinnosuke is driving, only to find Chaser sitting on his bike in his way. He even lampshades it too in #5.
  • Phantom Zone Picture: This is what happens to the victims of the Roidmude duo in episodes 3 and 4. Destroying either Roidmude causes the women that particular one painted into these pictures to be instantly freed.
  • Police Are Useless: Surprisingly averted, for a Kamen Rider series. Not only is Drive a part of a special police unit, the main force and the rest of the team help him locate Roidmudes. His partner Kiriko is also the one who gets him back to work when he slacks, and is able to competently distract Roidmudes on her own. However, it gets double averted with the higher up cops like Gen (at first), who refuse to believe in the Slowdown despite it being a global phenomenon which had its start with a near-robot apocalypse.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Drive's Midnight Shadow tire is a shuriken. Guess what theme his new Sentai partner after Tokkyuger is.
  • Psychoactive Powers: While Type Speed can be used at any time, Types Wild and Technic require Shinnosuke to be in the right state of mind first; Wild needs him to be Hot-Blooded while Technic calls for absolute calm (which he achieves, at least in its first use, through Tranquil Fury).
  • Reconstruction: Of the franchise itself, since the show is going back to the classic nature of the Showa era.
    • Averted with respect to the Kamen Rider series from the Showa era, actually. The Showa Riders were serious multi-leveled characters often put in silly situations, but retained composure throughout. Drive focuses on characters with a single over-emphasized trait dealing with serious situations. Meaning it's more along the lines of the tone present in Den-O, W and Fourze. Riku Sanjo wrote the latter two (as well as the Super Sentai series installment Kyoryuger which has a similar issue with characterization), so it appears consistent, though redundant, with his prior work.
    • It's actually quite a return to what a Neo-Heisei series is as opposed to the rest of the franchise. After Gaim played with the formula and the idea of what a Kamen Rider is more than any series since Ryuki, and used the "season-long movie chopped into 50-ish parts" format of the 2000-2010 series, we're back to everything that made The New Tens feel like a new era for the show. Two-episode arcs, check (though that began with Den-O.) Cute helper robots, check. The term Kamen Rider is back, check. Also, like Fourze, the collectible trinkets allow for smaller mode-changes and full-suit changes are a rarer Big Deal. Kiriko is basically Rinko in a world where the police are allowed to not be useless - and Drive is another Neo-Heisei Rider with a Friend on the Force (of course, he is on the force, so it's more to be expected.) Also, we're back to one Rider who gets a secondary Rider as a Sixth Ranger figure, as opposed to Gaim's many Riders.
    • It also seems to reconstruct themes picked apart by previous shows. For example, Gaim shows the problems of keeping secrets, but Drive presents why keeping secrets is important. Wizard had the protagonist choose not to tell a Victim of the Week that her boyfriend was Dead All Along and that the person who popped up recently was a look-a-like out of fear that she'd hit the Despair Event Horizon. Drive had Shinnosuke tell his own Victim of the Week this exact same thing, and while she does hit the Despair Event Horizon, she manages to get the resolve to move on. It might also take a new look at Wizard's take on the "monsters and humans co-existing" trope.
  • Recycled In SPACE: Word of God stated that they were going for a Kamen Rider (Double in this case, since Riku Sanjo is writing the show) doing a Cop Drama.
    • And, more obviously, Kamen Rider IN A CAR!!
  • Red Is Heroic: Drive's default Type Speed form is mostly red.
  • Robot Buddy: The Drive Driver essentially functions as one, since it's programmed with an artificial intelligence who talks to Shinosuke and who used to be a human scientist before he was killed by the Roidmudes.
    • The Shift Cars also possess a form of sentience and aid Drive in battle in a manner similar to Foodroids or PlaMonsters. Episode 3 implies that when not helping Drive they patrol the city searching for Roidmude activity.
  • Robot War: The Roidmudes are android monsters waging one of these against humanity.
  • Secret Identity: Unlike the recent holders of the Kamen Rider title, Shinnosuke has to keep his identity as Drive a secret from most of the Special Unit save for Kiriko. Episodes 5 and 6 shows that Mr. Belt is just really paranoid about revealing Drive's identity to other people.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: In #14, Gou remarks that Shinnosuke and Kiriko make a cute couple, saying that if his sister has a nice boyfriend it's one less thing for him to worry about, and even asks if he can start calling Shinnosuke "Big Brother Shin". Both of them deny any attraction, then complain about how adamant the other's denial was.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • The Smurfette Principle: As usual, Kamen Rider's a male while a woman supports him. In this case, it's given a bit of a lampshade; as in #2 Shinnosuke asks why Kiriko isn't Drive since she's clearly qualified enough. So far there's no real answer, only that the powers can only be used by certain people for some reason and Kiriko isn't one of them. This naturally annoyed a good portion of the fandom once the news broke that the secondary Rider is Kiriko's younger brother.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Is it Roymyuudo, Roimyuud, Roimuld or something else? As it turns out, it's Roidmude.
    • Is Drive's green form Type Technic or Type Technique? Both have been used in official materials, but the name he actually wears on his tire says Technic.
  • Theme Music Powerup: Happens in just about every episode.
  • Those Two Guys: The two police chicks played by Hitomi Isaka and Mitsuki Endo from the Kamen Rider Girls.
  • Time Stands Still: The Roidmudes' Slowdown ability - slowing down the air around them, to the point where everything around will slow down or altogether stop moving. The victims can move somewhat but are far too slow to actually do anything to stop or get away from the Roidudes. Humans who are in a possession of a Shift Car are able to negate the Slowdown and keep up with the Roidmudes. This seems to shift inbetween from a passive ability to an active ability.
    • It has been noted that 1 Shift Car negates 1 Slowdown. You need multiple cars to negate multiple Slowdowns.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: The Roidmudes were wrecking havoc all around the world during the Global Freeze, but six months later they all seem to make Tokyo their base of operations. Mr. Belt himself says in episode 11 that worldwide Roidmude activity has gone down as the Roidmude executives have started moving towards Japan.
  • Tranquil Fury: Use of Type Technique supposedly requires a "cool" state of mind, which becomes impossible for Shinnosuke in the heat of battle. Until he crosses from the rapids of anger through the waterfall of hate into that simmering pool of nothing on the other side when the Volt Roidmude decides it's a good idea to taunt Shinnosuke with trapping a kid in an electric shock device.
  • Villain Override: On the one hand we have Brain, a Technopath who can jack random smart devices in passing; and on the other we have the Ride Crosser, formed by grabbing Mashin Chaser's bike whether he wants to or not. There's also the case of Shift Deco Traveler deliberately running into Chase's Brake Gunner to activate a diversion.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Justified, as the heroes are working for the police and that the Roidmudes can perfectly blend within the populace.
  • Wham Episode: #10. They confirm a lot that we have guessed atnote , some we merely theorisednote , a heaping helping of whamnote , and finally the two-eps-an-arc pattern is thrown out as they end with a Cliff Hanger.
    • And then there's #11, where we learn that Chase is Roidmude 000.
  • Wham Line: In #13, we get to see a dark side to Gou. Namely that he's more than willing to stoop to the Roidmude's level if it means stopping them.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Zig-zagged. Tridoron is based on an old Honda NSX, but it is not your father's popular tuner car.
  • X Meets Y: Word of God has explicitly stated that this show is a mix between Kamen Rider W and Knight Rider.

Nice Drive!