Like Kabuto, when I first saw the opening and designs for Kiva, along with a few select scenes, I thought, "Holy crap! This looks freaking awesome! I totally want to watch this!" While it wasn't as amazing as I expected and didn't live up to a lot of its potential, Kamen Rider Kiva is still a fun series.
The plot revolves around the Fangires, a vampire esque race who live off of human life force. Wataru Kurenai is a rather silly, timid young man, who can transform into Kamen Rider Kiva with the help of his robotish bat friend. Yes, it is weird. The plot, overall, was really good in theory, but the execution of it left a lot to be desired. It seems like Kiva is in the shadow of the wildly successful Den-O, and was trying to borrow a lot of its silliness and humor. It actually detracts a lot from the series which I find really disappointing, because there was so much potential for greatness in its story and premise, and it just falls a little bit short. There are still a lot of really cool moments, especially near the end, but it almost feels like a competent fan trying to write a Kamen Rider series. It'll be good, but it generally won't have that same level of polish.
I like the characters. Wataru does remind me a lot of Ryoutaro in how he develops, again, taking influence from Den-O, although his changes were a lot more abrupt and jarring, especially near the end. Nago Keisuke, Kamen Rider IXA, was a badass who suffered from a lot of "comedic" character development. All the other supporting characters were pretty cool, and Wataru's dad, Kurenai Otoya, is seriously a fantastic character. I just love that guy. There is quite a bit of derailment for the sake of comedy, which is okay if the comedy works for you.
The suits and designs are the best part of Kiva. Kamen Rider Kiva's Emperor form is one of the best designs ever. Although yes, it was rather ineffectual by the end. Kamen Rider Ixa's initial form was kind of clunky looking, but when he achieved Rising form? DAMN, that was awesome. Saga and Dark Kiva were good looking too.
Does Kiva break the chains of fate? Almost. It's still a really good series, but it doesn't follow up on a lot of its potential. As a Kamen Rider series, it's pretty damn fun to watch if you're bored, but it could have been a whole lot better.
Now then, I've gotta go get in shape. Time to IXACISE!