Reviews: Kamen Rider Kuuga

Kamen Rider Kuuga-The Revival

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.

No fear! No pain! Kamen Rider Kuuga Chou Henshins into Greatness!!!

The very first of the Heisei Rider series, Kamen Rider Kuuga. This was the first KR series I tried to get into, but I couldn't really enjoy it from my initial impressions. A while later, I tried getting into it again.

And goddamn, it is awesome. Is it an absolutely perfect masterpiece none of the other Heisei series have matched? No, but it's a damn good series in its own right and a perfect way to start off the Heisei era of KR.

The story is rather simple: The Grongi are a race of monsters that partake in the Gegeru, a game that involves killing the Linto, AKA humans. Godai Yuusuke gains a mysterious belt through some strange circumstances which absorbs into his body, allowing him to transform into the being known as Kuuga, who sealed the Grongi away long ago. There are a few twists and turns later on, and the story remains interesting.

The part that really grabs you about Kuuga is the characters. Is Godai a sue? Sort of. I can't really deny any sue accusations about him, but I will say this: He isn't an annoying sue. It's not like, say, Decade, where the sue protagonist completely irritated the hell out of me. Godai was an overall likable dude, and his sheer niceness served as an antithesis to the Grongi's idea that humans are all driven to destruction, (minor spoilers there) making him a somewhat justified sue. The other supporting cast are all well developed for the most part, and their depth surprised me at time. I didn't expect the silly foreign guy who randomly spoke in english to become so likable.

Of course, it IS Kamen Rider, so I have to talk about the fights/designs/awesome parts. Godai is a GIGANTIC BADASS and the action really picks up after episode 4, along with the special effects sorta kinda. They go for a lot more insta-changes rather than the hilariously cheesy looking henshin type from episode 2 after a while, so it looks better. The Kuuga suit is simple, yet effective, and the fights aren't as explosion laden as later Heisei series, but there's a sense of raw brutality that's quite satisfying.

In summation, Kamen Rider Kuuga is a fantastically written, well developed show, and well worth a look if you're interested.