Kamen Rider Kuuga is the first of the Heisei Kamen Rider series to be released on Jan 30, 2000. This is a series that is rarely watched but highly praised by many. After seeing it, I was blown away by it due to its uniqueness compared to the rest of the Heisei series. How, you may ask? Well here goes.
Kuuga starts off with the main character named Yusuke Godai showing off a belt he found while helping out his archeologist friend. A while later, he encounters a group of people who can transform into monsters called the Gurongi who play a game by killing people to raise their points so that they can move up a rank and eventually become leader of the Gurongi. While out with his friend and the belt, a Gurongi attack and without thinking, Yusuke puts on the belt and become Kamen Rider Kuuga. Though he struggle at first, eventually he manages to defeat the Gurongi and vows to help out the police to defend the city and find out more about the "Unidentified Lifeforms" which they call the Gurongi.
Kuuga is a realistic take on the Tokusatsu genre by not making the character a badass (although Yusuke was pretty badass to begin with) but more or less an average joe who wants to make the world a better places by making people smile. While Yusuke seems to be a happy person even while facing many evil beings and fighting a lot, eventually it does show that he feels a lot different than what he is showing. Also, it deconstructs typical shonen heroes by showing that the hero being more powerful is not always a good thing. He also cooperates with the police, which is also something rare for a toku and while they are practically useless in battle, they are still a great help to Yusuke by helping him find the Gurongi and other detective work. The Gurongi themselves are pretty cold, causally taking life like it is normal yet they aren't mindless beings nor interested in world domination. The fight scenes and stunts are well done; unlike many toku series, it actually feels like a realistic fight rather than seeing flashy moves in other shows which gives it a refreshing pace.
Overall, Kuuga's realism makes it a well done series. The characters are good, the villains are chilling, the fights are well done, and the story is compelling enough. If you can find the series floating around, I definitely recommend watching it.