Follow TV Tropes


Franchise / Kamen Rider

Go To
Kamen Riders 1 through OOO (and New Den-O). Almost too many to be listed in one caption.note 

"Won't you believe in him? Even if there is no God or Buddha... there is Kamen Rider."
Kazuya Taki, Kamen Rider Spirits

The Kamen Rider Series, simply known as Kamen Rider (also known under the English translated title of Masked Rider in shows prior to Kamen Rider Doublenote ), is a franchise of tokusatsu series created by Shotaro Ishinomori and produced by the Toei Company in 1971, and has since then become one of the milestones in Japanese pop culture, greatly revolutionizing the Japanese superhero and action genre, effectively becoming the figurehead of classical superheroes and the idea of "poetic justice" in Japan.


Kamen Rider famously launched the "Second Monster Boom" or "Henshin Boom", a period in the 70's that saw the birth of many imitating superhero shows (specifically, that of the Henshin Hero variety), moving tokusatsu from the film industry to television. The subsequent domino-effect made Kamen Rider's influences in the current Japanese media deep rooted. Shows such as its brother-show Super Sentai, Devilman, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, and to go even further Sailor Moon (and the Magical Girl Warrior genre as a whole) wouldn't be possible without Kamen Rider, just to name a few.

The central concept is that a lone hero undergoes some great tragedy at the hands of an evil far bigger than they are (usually a large organisation with a secret and sinister agenda), but rises to use the technology of the villains against them and as a general force for good. While the interpretation of this theme can vary wildly from year to year, every single Kamen Rider series embodies this in one way or another. Another important theme is that the hero regrets the act of fighting, but is forced to do so for the sake of humanity; this is shown by the iconic "teardrops" coming from the eyes of the helmet.


It typically has a smaller main cast than the relatively more well-known (in the West) Sentai (the title of each series refers to a single main Rider instead of Super Sentai's Five-Man Band), but not always. Some series feature huge numbers of Riders, with the most extreme examples being Kamen Rider Ryuki and its 13 Riders and Kamen Rider Gaim with 18.note 

    Kamen Rider shows 
The Kamen Rider franchise is generally divided into distinct "eras", mainly based on the division of the Japanese era system of naming years after the reigning emperor.

Showa Era (1971-1989):note 

In the 1990s, while Kamen Rider wasn't regularly broadcast, a trio of movies was made. Though they were produced after the end of the Showa period (1989), they are generally included amongst the Showa Era series, due to the involvement of Ishinomori during their production. Their inclusion amongst the older generation of Kamen Rider was made official in the 2014 Kamen Rider Taisen movie. These three films are:

Heisei Era (2000-2019):note 

After Ishinomori's death in 1998, Kamen Rider was revived as a television franchise in 2000, beginning the Heisei Era run of the franchise.

Decade had a half-year run as a show, and its status as an anniversary series brought about a mini-reboot in 2009 in the shows that followed. These shows, referred to in Japan as "Phase 2 Heisei Rider" (第2期平成ライダー) and in some English-speaking circles as "Neo-Heisei", set themselves apart from the prior run of shows by having a different production staff, a different tone, a different airing schedule (beginning in August or September rather than January), a switch from using "MASKED RIDER" to "KAMEN RIDER" in the English portions of the logos and at least initially until the concept was abandoned outside of crossover movies, a concerted attempt at creating a Shared Universe.

Reiwa Era (2019-present):note 

It remains to be seen if and how the franchise will change in the new era, but Zi-O was designed and advertised as a definitive end of the franchise's Heisei era. One change that is currently known is that lead stuntman Seiji Takaiwa, who was the suit actor for 18 of the 20 main Heisei Riders, retired from the role after Zi-O.

    Other Kamen Rider Media 
TV and MoviesEach Heisei-and-later series also has various tie-in episodes and movies; these are listed on the individual series pages.

Video Games

  • Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbaride, later renamed Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbarizing (Arcade)
    • Kamen Rider Ganbaride: Card Battle Taisen (Nintendo DS adaptation)

Western Adaptations

Other Media and Related Links

Universal tropes of the series are

    open/close all folders 

    A to M 
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Several movies include villains that are updated versions of heroes created by Shotaro Ishinomori. At least one movie combined this with Adaptational Heroism by including characters based on villains from the older show, who turn out to be good.
    • In crossovers, expect at least one Anti-Hero or Anti-Villain monster from a Kamen Rider show to just be downright evil.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: The series is usually reluctant to get girls involved in its battles, so any woman that actually does so becomes one of these. They've gradually become more common, with the Heisei era having several token female Riders, and the Reiwa era launched with one as a regular cast member in Zero-One.
  • All There in the Manual: Especially from the Heisei era on, though how much gets left in the supplementary material varies from series to series. Regardless of the series, expect the supplementary material to be filled with Technology Porn explaining each individual part of the Rider's armor and gear. Kuuga was notorious for this as most of the backstory, including the form names, was in several separate sources.
  • Animal Motifs: While not as prevalent as Super Sentai, Kamen Rider still has these on the grounds that most of the Showa Riders were themed after insects as well as having many animal monsters and having a few series utilizing motifs based on other animals; Ryuki does this with its Riders, OOO with its titular Rider and his forms, Build with most of the Organic Bottles and Riders, and Zero-One with the Riders and their forms. Even if the season doesn't show at first glance, it is still shown with the animal-based arsenal such as Blade's Rouze Cards, Hibiki's Disk Animals, etc.
  • Anyone Can Die: The series does not shy away from death. Both main characters and background ones can and have died. Not every season features this, but on occasion, you will get people dropping like flies within the last ten episodes. Heck, even Fourze, one of the most idealistic and saccharine series of the franchise, couldn't get away without killing off a few characters or putting them in a worse condition.
  • The Artifact:
    • In the Heisei era, the Rider Kick finishers have tended to become this. Every main Rider gets one just out of tradition, but they usually only get used once at the start of the series, and then are immediately forgotten in favor of finishers using the Rider's weapons until around the end of the series when you might get another use of them just to remind the viewers they exist. They do get used a bit more in team-ups or other situations with multiple Riders fighting on the same side, as it's really cool to have multiple Riders kicking the enemy at the same time.
    • The same goes for the motorcycles. Every lead Rider (and some secondary Riders) still gets one, but they're rarely given any focus. Early in the Heisei era, they were often stock, non-Thememobile cycles and used simply as civilian transportation. Drive went ahead and dropped the bike for once, getting a car instead.
  • Artifact Title:
    • Some of the main Riders don't actually go by the "Kamen Rider" title in-universe at first. Showa Rider series like Stronger popularized the practice of 'earning' that title via a crossover with previous Riders (though both he and Tackle are still shown to have chosen their respective titles in their second episode); Kuuga and Agito revived this practice in the Heisei era, which got pretty inconsistent after that (Hibiki is the best known aversion). Gaim plays the issue oddly, as the common term used there is Armored Rider.
    • For a more literal version, some of the Riders don't use their bikes that much (Drive doesn't even have a bike); and others like Amazon, Shin, and Hibiki don't wear masks at all, they physically transform into their Rider alter-egos.
  • Ass-Kicking Pose:
    • Earlier series usually depend on a series of this in order to transform.
    • There are some exceptions, though: Hibiki and Ryuga do not pose when they transform, for example.
    • Black (later Black RX) is pretty extreme with this. Not just transform, they use them AS! EMPHASIS!
  • Back to Base Form: Despite the many forms, Mid Season Upgrades and Super Modes riders post-Showa gain throughout their series, you can expect some of them to finish the battle with their base forms instead with good examples being Den-O, Fourze, Wizard and Ex-Aid.
  • Badass Biker: It's there in the title, after all. Again, more apparent in the Showa series where more attention was drawn to them. Special mention goes to Lazer from Ex-Aid, as his primary henshin form is a bike.
  • Badass Normal: Taki Kazuya regularly faces cyborgs hand-to-hand despite being completely human. Riderman (V3's Rival) was, in his original appearance, basically a Mook with a swappable right forearm - he Took a Level in Badass between that and SPIRITS.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Most of the Showa Era Kamen Riders didn't use any weapons.note  Instead, they relied on good old martial arts and some devices embedded in their body. When Kamen Riders 1 and 2 did use weapons, they were usually stolen from enemy soldiers.
  • BFS: Most Heisei-era Riders get a sword as part of their powerset. If not at the start, then as part of a Mid-Season Upgrade; or even one at the start and another with the upgrade.
  • Big Good: Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider #1 (Hiroshi Fujioka) is the Big Good of the Showa Era and, to an extent, all Kamen Riders in general.
  • Blessed with Suck: More prominent in Showa Riders (almost all of them are transformed into cyborgs, usually against their will); Gills is a prominent Heisei example. Some Heisei Riders get retconned to invoke this for Decade. Then there's Shin...
  • Body Horror: Implied in any season where the Rider is created on the Big Bad's operating table. Played completely straight with Shin Kamen Rider, in ways that Amazon and Gills can only hope to accomplish. His face broke open!
  • Boring, but Practical: During crossovers, Showa Era Riders are capable of keeping up with their Heisei counterparts. This is due to the fact that while they lack the fancier powers of their modern successors, many of them are heavily modified cybernetic beings with enormous amounts of durability and strength while Heisei Riders mostly consist of ordinary people in Powered Armor.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "Henshin!", and variations thereof.
    • Modified with Amazon, whose transformation cry is his own name: "A-MA-ZOOON!"
    • Mach says "Let's Henshin".
    • Averted with the Riders (actually Oni) in Hibiki, who don't have transformation calls.
      • The lone exception to this aversion is in the second to last episode of Decade, where the alternate reality version of Hibiki uses the familiar "Henshin" cry while transforming.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • Every Showa TV series use this trope.
    • In general, the Heisei Riders themselves don't do this, but their Transformation Trinket does it for them.
  • The Cameo: Traditionally, every year there is usually at least one cameo by one of the suit actors outside of costume (or at the very least, a martial artist from JAE, the martial arts organization where the suit actors come from). This also happens regularly in Super Sentai as well.
  • Camp: A lot of the motions in the series are exaggerated in order to provide greater effect. This especially comes into play once the comedy kicks in, with everyone, suited or not, starts exaggerating everything.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Writer Toshiki Inoue includes extremely heavy doses of this, with tragic results, in every single series or movie he writes. Inoue was the head writer of Agito, Faiz, the second half of Hibiki, and Kiva, plus The Movies based on those four shows, Kamen Rider The First and The Next, and the Non Serial Movies for Ryuki and Blade, in addition to fill-in episodes on many Heisei Rider series he wasn't head writer of. You can guarantee that if a Rider series or movie involves tragedy resulting from the main characters not wanting to simply sit down and explain the situation to each other, it was written by Toshiki Inoue. Or Shouji Yonemura, who has made a career of copying and Flanderizing Inoue's style. Of course, if characters do confront each other over something, either a Rider vs. Rider battle will ensue, or one character will punch the other in the face and leave the room. Neither will resolve anything.
  • Car Fu: The series used to be built on Motorcycle Fu (he's called Kamen Rider for a reason), including the finishing move consisting of a ramming charge through the monster, known as Rider Break. It tapered off at times, but Double really brought it back, and the film Let's Go Kamen Rider has a truly epic moment when the Great Leader of Shocker's One-Winged Angel was defeated this way courtesy of ALL the Riders in the entire series. They called it the All Rider Break.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Several characters; by far much more prevalent in the newer series. A fine example is Momotaros' Ore, Sanjo! (I, have Arrived!) in Den-O.
    • Den-O as a series, while not the first to have catchphrases, was the most well known for them; and started a trend of just about every Rider after it having a catchphrase (though not always stated by the Rider himself, as is the case with "Kivatte Ikuze" (Let's go Kiva!) wherein Kivat says the phrase instead).
    • Some particularly famous catchphrases besides Momotaros' are Double's "Now, count up your crimes!", Fourze's "UCHU KITAAAAAA!!!" ("Space is heeeeere!!!"), and Woz's "IWAE!" ("REJOICE!") in Zi-O.
    • Most Showa Riders have "Rider ______" as their attacks.
    • Heisei Generations Final has a humorous moment where Ex-Aid starts of one of his catch phrases, seemingly expecting the other Riders present (Build, Ghost, Gaim, Fourze, and OOO) to join in and finish it together. However, instead they all deliver their own individual catch phrases, resulting in a barely-understandable cacophony of shouting, followed by them all looking at each other while saying "Huh?" "What?" and the like.
  • Central Theme: Most series have a main subject that it looks at; with the main franchise theme asking what the line is between being a man and a monster. For some specific series themes:
    • Kuuga: Violence
    • Agito: Human evolution
    • Ryuki: Wish, Survival
    • Faiz: Dream
    • Blade: Fate
    • Hibiki: Training, becoming a better person
    • Kabuto: Being chosen
    • Den-O: Memory
    • Kiva: Destiny
    • Decade: Journey
    • Double: Partnership
    • OOO: Desire
    • Fourze: Friendship
    • Wizard: Hope and Despair
    • Gaim: Power
    • Drive: Emotion, Family
    • Ghost: Bonds between people, human potential
    • Ex-Aid: The Value of Life
    • Build: Science, War, and how they affect one another
    • Zi-O: Kingship, Time
    • Zero-One: Dreams
  • Character Tic: Most of the Riders have at least one, especially if Seiji Takaiwa is in the suit. For example, it distinguishes who's using the Faiz gear: a hand flick for Takumi and adjusting the collar for Kusaka.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Rider series are notorious for showing something cool and unexpected in the next episode previews, and then not revealing said cool thing until the last 30 seconds of the episode.
    • The original series (and especially V3) would sometimes show the Rider mere moments from death at the end of the episode... then be doubly awesome in the next one.
    • Decade ends the last episode on a cliffhanger, with the finale only being available in theaters months later.
  • Conflict Ball: When it comes to Rider-versus-Rider battles. The original happened back in V3. Taken Up to Eleven with Ryuki, Decade, and Gaim; which have pretty much everyone fighting everyone else. Justified by Ryuki and Gaim though, as the antagonists specifically picked the Riders that could escalate conflicts. Double and the following series largely avert this. Post-Gaim series vary.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: If a Rider's family situation is brought up at all, usually he's this. In some shows, V3 in particular, it's his primary motivation to fight evil.
  • Cool Bike: They're not called "Riders" for nothing; every season has at least one nice motorcycle in it. Even when the series broke tradition and denied Drive a bike in favor of a car, his supporting cast (Mach and Chaser) still had bikes. Kamen Rider Lazer even is a motorcycle in his main form, and Accel can turn into one.
  • Creator Cameo: Shotaro Ishinomori has been on screen a few times. He's the guy with the Funny Afro planting the bug in the beginning of Shin Kamen Rider. He also played the fisherman who tells Kotaro Minami about Onigashima in the Kamen Rider Black movie Hurry to Onigashima. And he made an appearance in episode 84 of the original Kamen Rider series, playing yet another fisherman who encounters Isogin Jaguar, that episode's Monster of the Week. Though he looks different from how people might remember him because he doesn't have the Funny Afro or glasses.
  • Crisis Crossover:
    • Decade for the early Heisei Era, Zi-O for the full Heisei era, SPIRITS for the Showa Era, and Super Hero Taisen for Toei's toku as a whole.
    • Phase 2 Heisei era shows made it a tradition to have a finale where multiple Riders band together.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Super Sentai, Kamen Rider has numerous character deaths sprinkled throughout each series, has plenty of tragic and nightmarish moments, and tends to be aimed at older audiences. Although it should be mentioned that Kamen Rider is older than Sentai.
    • Specific series invoking this trope compared to other KR series include the original Kamen Rider, V3, X, Black, Shin Kamen Rider, Kuuga, Ryuki, 555, Blade, Gaim, Drive, Ex-Aid, Build, Zi-O, and Zero-One.
    • The adult-oriented Amazon Prime web series Amazons goes Up to Eleven, by having it more focused on violence and straight-up horror that's not for kids anymore. This is why Amazons was streamed on web service first.
    • There's even an entire darker and edgier toyline, S.I.C., which reimagines the Riders in a more organic form. More recent entries are tamer, but the initial figures in the line were somewhat twisted.
    • Black, already at the dark and gritty end of the spectrum for the series, has a manga adaptation drawn and written by Ishinomori himself that's straight-up terror.
    • Kamen Rider The First is this to the original, and The Next is this to The First.
  • Deadly Upgrade:
    • Stronger's Charge Up, Kuuga Ultimate Form, the first version of G3X, the G4 Armour, Gills Exceed (subversion), the Kaixa and Delta Gear in 555, Blade King Form in Blade, the Hopper Riders in Kabuto, OOO PuToTyra Combo in OOO, Kiwami Arms and Yomotsuheguri Arms in Gaim, Build Hazard and Grease Blizzard in Build.
    • Completely inverted in Fourze and Drive, where the key to activating their Super Modes actually revive Gentaro and Shinnosuke from clinical death!
  • Deconstruction: Though the series itself has other examples and can vary sometimes. Ryuki, while not as brutal as Shin really tears into the concept of Mons and what is a Kamen Rider, and Kuuga itself is a Deconstructor Fleet by being a more realistic take on the genre. Gaim has a ton of deconstructions as well.
  • Deuteragonist: A common trend in the Heisei era is that in addition to the lead Rider, there is usually a secondary main character, who may or may not be the secondary Rider.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: Nearly every movie villain exists outside of the main series plot until the movie comes around, at which point they interfere with the current plot for about an hour before they're killed off and the story continues without their existence ever being acknowledged in the series, save for an Early-Bird Cameo in an episode close to the movie's release. The notable aversions include Smart Brain (as Paradise Lost is a Bad Future), Albino Joker (as he's part of the collective of Undead), Orochi (to an extent, as the Orochi in the show was an event, not an actual monster), ZECT (as God Speed Love is a Bad Future and Prequel), Dai-Shocker (as they were an enemy during the final few episodes of Decade) and Roidmude 108 (as he's part of the collective of Roidmudes).
  • Diving Kick: The Rider Kick, easily the Trope Codifier (If not the outright Trope Maker) in all of Japanese Media, and any other that shouts out to it usually is a reference to the Rider Kick.
  • Dorama: Much as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four are Days of Our Lives With Punching, post-Kuuga Kamen Rider shows are heavily influenced by Dorama in terms of tone and characters. They often share cast members with famous dorama, too.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: It's become tradition for the tie-in movies to have these; the upcoming Rider will make a cameo in the summer movie, and the secondary Rider will make an appearance in the following Movie War installment. Starting with Wizard, the upcoming Rider will either make a cameo during the last couple episodes, or those episodes will be an epilogue to the main story that acts as a full crossover.
  • Elemental Powers: Some Riders have them, and here's a notable list.
  • Evil Twin: The series has a proud tradition of including evil Riders who use recolored versions of the heroes' suits. Some of them are even twins underneath the suits, too.
    • Rider 2 was this, in the original manga. The original series also included a squad of Shocker Riders.
    • Ryuga was a literal mirror image of Ryuki. Its adaptation Dragon Knight played with it with A) the "evil" twin took over the Dragon Knight suit while the "good" twin got the black Onyx repaint, and B) both characters were actually good at heart; the "evil" one just made a selfish mistake.
    • Dark Kabuto.
    • Dark Kiva is arguably an inversion, as he came first in-story and the regular Kiva could be considered his good twin.
    • Den-O had the rare monster version with Momotaros and Negataros. Of course, the latter also gets to be Nega Den-O.
    • Bujin ("Warrior God") Gaim in the Wizard x Gaim movie. His homeworld also has "Bujin" twins of the other Heisei Riders, but Bujin Gaim is the only outright evil one. One of the post-series DVDs also features Black Baron. (While an evil Gaim Yami also shows up in a movie, that one's just regular Gaim Brainwashed and Crazy.)
    • Drive has two, Dark Drive and Gold Drive; though Dark Drive is a little more elaborate than just a black repaint of the original. He's also a subversion, as he's really a hero who had his identity hijacked by the villain.
    • Ghost duplicates all three of its Riders in its summer movie, with Dark Ghost, Zero Specter, and three evil alternate-colored Necroms. The series proper also had a series of evil Specter clones running around.
    • Ex-Aid features a black repaint of the hero from day one with Kamen Rider Genm, though the two eventually get different upgrades that reduce the resemblance. Cronus also shares the same basic suit design as Ex-Aid and Genm, but with extra elaboration like a Badass Longcoat. Brave and Para-DX get evil twins in tie-ins, called True Brave and Another Para-DX.
    • A second, antagonistic Build showed up late in Build (though he turned out to be The Mole in the enemy camp and not evil himself). Unlike most cases here, he used the exact same armor as the original Build since the "black repaint" concept was already taken by Build's Deadly Upgrade, Build Hazard.
    • Thanks to Time Travel, Zi-O manages to be his own Evil Twin, as his future self is a tyrant with a similar suit only decked out with Bling of War. The monsters of the series are also "Another Riders", twisted "twins" of previous Heisei Riders. And then you have a second Woz from an alternate timeline showing up (both Wozes frankly have a claim to be evil, in different ways; but the second one proves to be worse).
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: In The Movie, the main cast will often perform complex fight scenes untransformed, displaying fighting abilities that they've never had before in the tv show, nor will they display them again once the movie's over. This is partly because Rider movies have a greater budget, but also because regularly setting up fight scenes with non-stunt performers on a tv show is difficult, time-consuming, and risky. The very first Kamen Rider series ran into trouble when its lead actor (who did all his own stunt work) broke his leg, so basically every series since refuses to risk the same thing happening again. (There has, so far, been one exception to this.)
  • Eviler Than Thou: You might be a mutant, a demon, a ghoul, a warlock, an alien, or even just a regular human with villainous ambitions. But make no mistake, Shocker will always find a way to be far more terrifying and far worse than you should you ever cross paths.
  • Exponential Potential: The franchise flirts with it from time to time. The Heisei Riders are often Swiss Army Heroes with Multiform Balance, and some shows give them more forms than they know what to do with.
    • Decade could Power Copy and take on any of the previous Riders' (non-Mid-Season Upgrade) forms, plus his own Super Mode. As of Zi-O, he has the forms of late Heisei Riders as well.
    • Double could mix-and-match his powers, two slots by three options each, for nine forms plus some Super Modes.
    • OOO had three slots by five options each for 125 forms, before his own Super Mode and additional promotional powersets.
    • Fourze dialed this back by giving him a large arsenal - 40 weapons to choose from - but not anything combinable. His Super Mode could also combine the traits of two weapons, such as Launcher plus Freeze producing a freeze missile launcher.
    • Ghost had ten alternate forms of his own, could borrow five others from Specter and Necrom (though he didn't actually do so), and got a number of additional ones in tie-ins.
    • Ex-Aid and his cohorts (who use the Gamer Driver) have one slot for their base form and a second slot for any of a number of interchangeable powerups, although most of the Riders stick with one set of powerups for themselves.
    • Build uses Double's mix-and-match system, but has several more options - thirty in each slot as opposed to Double's three; putting his combinations in the hundreds.
    • Zi-O and Geiz have 20 Rider Armors between them that are based on the other Heisei Riders.
  • Fanservice: Here and there throughout the Heisei shows, mostly in the form of bishonen Riders and leggy female sidekicks.
  • Finishing Move: Rider... KICK! (and Punch, Chop, Slash, etc.)
  • Fun with Acronyms:
  • G-Rated Drug: A few of the later Heisei series (Double, Fourze, and Gaim) has applied a drug metaphor to whatever turns people into the Monster of the Week.
  • Genre Motif:
    • For a number of years starting with Kiva, each show's background music has a distinctive genre. This also shows up in the releases of the opening and ending songs, which usually get a remix in the style specific to the show. Kiva has violins, Decade has both a full orchestra and hard rock, Double throws in some jazz, OOO's seems to be ska and Fourze uses both techno and classic rock. Gaim takes this Up to Eleven with different Riders having different motifs based on their costume.
    • The trend was probably started with Den-O and the innumerable variations of the battle theme "Double-Action". The standard version (for Sword Form) has a rock feel with guitar, "Rod form" uses horns, "Ax form" has obvious enka/kayokyoku motifs with more strings, "Gun form" has hip-hop stylings, "CLIMAX form" has a mix of all of the other forms' motifs, "Wing form" has an Arabian feel for some reason, "Coffee form" (for Naomi and Airi) is sugary pop, and "Strike form" (from the Trilogy movies for Kotaro and Teddy) has more guitars. Then there's the two variations of "Action-ZERO" for Zeronos with its own musical motif and "Real-Action" for Liner Form's solo fights.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Like many other Japanese fictional heroes, the Riders are often nice people who won't hesitate to pummel and kick the monsters of the week and their Mooks to death.
  • Gorn: The manga of the older series gets quite gory at times...
  • Gotta Catch Them All: A few series involve this kind of plot. Ghost featured 15 Eyecons that the heroes had to collect, while Build featured 60 Bottles that everyone was after, and Zi-O involved 20 Ridewatches. OOO and Fourze had downplayed versions: In OOO everyone was after the same Medals and they frequently changed hands, but there was nothing particularly special that would happen if anyone got all of them. Meanwhile, Fourze made a point of the heroes needing all 40 Switches to activate something, but they always had the complete set and just had to finish building them; and the villains didn't want them (because they were going after their own separate set of 12).
  • Gotta Kill Them All: Multiple series have premises where a specific number of enemies must be defeated. In Blade and Drive, it's the 52 Undeadnote  and 108 Roidmudesnote  respectively. OOO and Fourze have specific ensembles to target (five Greeed and twelve Horoscopes) while still allowing for unlimited numbers of lesser monsters. Ex-Aid plays with this in later arcs, as the protagonists have to clear all the involved games; this usually involves the defeat of the associated Bugster — but not always, and Bugsters don't stay dead anyway. Ryuki and Decade provide the heroes with hit-lists of other Riders to wipe out, though they tend to balk at crossing that line.
  • Gratuitous English: Most of it comes from the talking transformation devices. Less frequently used by characters.
  • Hammerspace: It's not always entirely clear where on their person the riders keep their belts (and their Merchandise-Driven trinkets for that series) when they're not wearing/using them. If no in-series explanation is given for this, then expect to see the belts getting pulled out of seemingly nowhere on a weekly basis.
  • Heel–Face Turn: While many secondary Riders start out in antagonistic Anti-Hero roles, since Gaim it's become more common for characters who were out-and-out villains at first to join the heroes' side later on.
  • Henshin Hero: Trope Namer and Trope Codifier. Nearly every rider since Rider 1 has used the cry of "Henshin!"
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Virtually every Heisei Kamen Rider either uses a sword as one of their weapons, or has a primary/ultimate form where a sword is the main weapon. Though how often they utilize said sword is sometimes a matter of contention (such as in OOO).
  • Hijacked by Ganon:
    • If it's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover and it's written by Shouji Yonemura, the series' original Nebulous Evil Organisation, Shocker, is normally involved. Most notably in Decade, which features the similar organization Dai-Shocker, an alliance of villains from across the Kamen Rider series.
    • In the Showa era, Shocker's Great Leader turned out to be behind any number of evil organizations.
    • Phase 2 Heisei shows produced by Hideaki Tsukada (which, so far, include Double and Fourze), the villain faction Foundation X is usually involved. The other Phase 2 Heisei shows' staffs seem less keen on using Foundation X: They had little to no presence in OOO's series (despite foreshadowing in The Movie of Double) and absolutely no involvement in or after Wizard. In Movie Wars MegaMax, the Big Bad of OOO's segment is not related to Foundation X in any way, until the very end. They eventually resurface in Ex-Aid, but only in a tie-in special.
  • Hot-Blooded: One of the Trope Codifier in Japanese pop culture, in fact.
  • Horrifying Hero: While definitely not the case anymore, during conception Kamen Rider was designed to be a more fearsome and grotesque figure compared to the comtemporaries at the time, which initially led to the Skull Man-esque design. Producers thought this would be too intimidating to the kids, so it was toned down to the grasshopper design we all know today.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: As part of the franchise's "humanity vs. monstrosity" theme, the monsters frequently have an all-too-human element to them. Often the ultimate villain is a human who is far more evil than the monsters were, and has turned himself monstrous in the pursuit of his goal.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • King Dark from Kamen Rider X.
    • Castle Doran and Powered Ixer from Kiva. (The former isn't quite a mecha, but the intent is there.)
    • The DenLiner in Den-O can assume this role too, especially when combined with the KingLiner. The former is a train, and the latter? A train station. And in Kamen Rider Taisen, the DenLiner combines with a Super Sentai Combining Mecha.
    • In the crossover movie with Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, Wizard's Dragon Phantom becomes one to combine with the Kyoryugers' Kyoryuzin for the Zyuden Brave Strike End Rider Kick.
  • I Have Your Wife: Showed up a lot in early seasons. The earliest English-language resource on the show even points out the frequency of this in one episode summary ("Shocker once again is using its make-scientists-do-what-it-wants-by-kidnapping-their-relatives strategy.").
  • In the Name of the Moon:
    • Most of the original series does this, but Stronger took it to the next level by giving the main character a tell-tale whistle whenever he wanted to drop in on the bad guy, and an entire speech - from higher ground! Later, he does this while handing out beatings.
    • Decade also does this when he's about to take down the Big Bad of each world he visits. It's usually a Patrick Stewart Speech about why the Rider of the arc is awesome and how Decade has learned from them, followed by a team-up fight.
  • Japanese Beetle Brothers: Either as heroes or villains, depending on the series. This is most prevalent in Blade and Kabuto with the main protagonists, Blade and Garren, and Kabuto and Gatack respectively.
  • Kiai:
    • Many of the Showa Riders tend to say "TOH!" while fighting, while Amazon instead has a high-pitched "KIIIII!" Blade has "UEEI!"
    • Kamen Rider Meteor has "WAZAA!" to match his jeet kun do inspirations.
  • Last Villain Stand: Many of the Generals/Commandants/Warlords, whatever they were called in their specific organization, would face down their Rider after he'd slaughtered their armies and ruined their plans enough, transform into a monstrous form with incredible power behind it, and fight the Riders one on one.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: With the start of the Heisei seasons, the production people have tried to make each Rider start out red, but the trope has been zigzagged with a vengeance, with some Riders saving their red variant for a form change (Agito, Faiz, Hibiki, Decade, Double, Fourze, Gaim), while some never do at all (Blade).
  • Lettered Sequel: Showa era series has many unexplained letters behind the titles (and Rider names): X, ZX,RX, ZO, and J. Heisei era also has W, OOO and the unofficial G.
  • Lighter and Softer: Dependent on perspective whether it's happened or not. While it is still darker and has more character deaths than Super Sentai or western superhero TV series, and the writers generally have stated in interviews a preference to cater to an 'all ages and demographics' audience; the content has been viewed as having gotten more kid-friendly since Den-O, compared to the early Heisei shows that had the monsters brutally killing people in many episodes. This is primarily due to changes in broadcast standards in Japan following a series of brutal murders and terrorists attacks in the late 2000's requiring content in live-action series be less graphically violent, unless it is broadcast past certain times of day. The writers of Phase 2 Kamen Rider have since compensated with that by adding more elements of Psychological Horror, sickness and abuse which makes the content more cerebral-storytelling-focused in its darker elements than that of the prior period's visual violence. To those who that appeals to, Heisei phase 2/Neo-Heisei and Reiwa series are darker than ever.
    • Zig-zagged with the Showa shows...while they do have more graphic violence, they also have a lot more Camp and focus on child characters due to differences in storytelling expectations of the eras.
  • Long Runner: 2016 was the franchise's 45th anniversary. Like another popular science fiction franchise, The '90s marked a long period of absence during which the franchises' only screen presence was in the form of movies.
  • Magitek: In W, Gaim, and Build; both the monsters and the Riders derive their power from a mystical or otherworldly source (The memories of the earth/Gaia Memories in W, Helheim fruit/Lock Seeds in Gaim, Nebula Gas/Pandora's Box in Build). In the first two shows, the characters must utilize the human-made technology of transformation Drivers to wield the power without mutating or going insane. Ghost similarly revolves around soul-manipulating technology.
  • Masquerade:
    • Most seasons include enhanced humans or monsters trying to pass themselves off as normal people until the hero uncovers them. Also the whole point of the Riders needing to transform - giving meaning to the title, Kamen (Masked) Rider.
    • Generally averted in a number of Heisei series, though; as while the Riders don't call attention to themselves, they also don't keep Secret Identities and don't try to keep up a ruse that the monsters don't exist. A few like Kuuga, Double, Gaim, Drive, Ex-Aid, and Build take the aversion further by having the general public aware of the monster attacks; either from the start or the police/government go public once incidents start piling up.
      • Incidentally, Double has a Masquerade-type Dopant. Instant faceless henchmen.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Decade and Zi-O were series devoted to this, and the former began a tradition of Movie Taisen winter films (later rebranded Heisei Generations) which crossed the currently airing Rider over with their direct predecessor, often (though not always) featuring a number of other past Riders in supporting roles. The predecessor Rider's storyline will often act as an epilogue for their series, while the current Rider may receive Foreshadowing of upcoming twists. The All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker and Let's Go Kamen Riders films, succeeded by the Super Hero Taisen films, instead feature all of the Riders as well as Super Sentai and various other Ishinomori creations, including Inazuman, Kikaider (both of them) and Zubat. These films typically forgo a strong central narrative in favor of an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.
  • Meaningful Name: Plenty there, if you're really knowledgeable in Japanese.
  • Merchandise-Driven:
    • Anything from multiple Riders to multiple power-ups, season depending. Much more pervasive in the newer series.
    • Many series will have the official toys as their props.
  • Messianic Archetype: Many recent series feature a protagonist who is unafraid to sacrifice themselves for the greater good and displays extraordinary capacity for mercy and Forgiveness. However, their disregard for their own lives is almost always portrayed as a negative thing.
  • Mid-Season Twist: While not every Rider show has one, Heisei Phase 2 saw a move to stronger central narratives that brought with them this trope. A typical Rider show from this era will have at least two or three twists that change the structure of the central conflict, occurring roughly at the end of each 13-episode cour. The first twist will usually, though not always, coincide with the defeat of the Starter Villain and/or arrival of the secondary Rider, the second with the acquisition of the main Rider's second-strongest form, and the third with the acquisition of their final form. Gaim, Ex-Aid and Build are particularly notable for having many more twists than this, but still save their largest for the end of each cour.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Heisei era Kamen Riders normally have at least one upgrade that sits between their initial loadout and their eventual final form. Two midgame upgrades is the most common structure, with each getting roughly one cour's worth of focus, but extreme cases have had as many as four. On rare occasions a secondary Rider will also get one intermediary upgrade, but almost never more than that.
    • Among Showa Riders, Stronger is the only one to get a noticable upgrade in the sense of having a disparate upgraded form. Black RX also gets his Roborider and Biorider forms, though the original for is still used for finishing moves. Other Showa Riders did get upgraded powers over the course of their shows, but they were otherwise permanent with the one hero form they could assume just being stronger than it was originally.
  • Mons: Noticeably embraced by the Heisei Riders from Ryuki to Ghost (though Gouram in Kuuga can also count). Ranging from Deconstructions (Ryuki, Kiva, Gaim), played straight (Blade, Hibiki, mechanical ones in Faiz) and parodied (Den-O). The later ones (Double onwards) shifted somewhat to Robot Buddies instead.
  • Monster of the Week: In the case of Kuuga and from Den-O onwards, Monster of the Fortnight (thanks to two-week mini-arcs). Monsters in the Showa series were almost always altered humans (sometimes willingly, sometimes not) except for Black RX which used alien warriors instead. The Heisei shows have more variety.
    • Kuuga has the Grongi, an ancient demon tribe.
    • Agito has the Lords, an ancient angel tribe.
    • Ryuki has the Mirror Monsters, monsters who live in mirrors.
    • Faiz has the Orphenochs, the next step in human evolution or so they think, they're really just mutants.
    • Blade has the Undead, immortal beast gods.
    • Hibiki has the Makamou, another ancient demon tribe.
    • Kabuto has the Worm, identity-stealing Insectoid Aliens.
    • Den-O has the Imagin, time ghosts.
    • Kiva has the Fangire, vampires and also another ancient demon tribe.
    • Decade has all of the above.
    • W has the Dopants, transformed humans (willing).
    • OOO has the Yummies, coin-based homunculi.
    • Fourze has the Zodiarts, more transformed humans (willing).
    • Wizard has the Phantoms, demons born from despair.
    • Gaim has the Inves, extra-dimensional invaders.
    • Drive has the Roidmudes, rebellious androids.
    • Ghost has the Ganma, evil ghosts.
    • Ex-Aid has the Bugsters, living computer viruses.
    • Build has the Smash, yet more transformed humans (unwilling).
    • Zi-O has the Another Riders, humans transformed into monster-ized Kamen Riders.
    • Zero-One, unusually, has two sets; the Magia (hacked androids) and the Raiders (hacked humans).
  • Mooks: Kamen Rider has a more sporadic relationship with this trope than Super Sentai; it's used in the Showa series except for Black, shows up again during the Heisei series with Kabuto, used in some episodes of W, OOO and Fourze and then used regularly again in Wizard onward.
  • Motorcycle Jousting: Happens infrequently in the franchise. A prime example occurs during the final battle of Kamen Rider Fourze's movie.
  • The Movie: Heisei series have a number of feature film tie-ins. It's grown to the point that there are three a year:
    • The first is a double-feature with the current year's Super Sentai movie in a "summer roadshow" (aka Super Hero Time: The Movie (insert year here)).
    • Starting with Decade and Double,note  there have been annual Christmas-time "Movie War" or "Heisei Generations" movies involving two lead Riders meeting each other.
    • Fourze introduced Super Hero Wars films that combine Kamen Rider and Super Sentai (and in one case, Space Sheriff Gavan).
  • Multiform Balance: First started with Black RX. Since then, it was codified by Kuuga and has become a tradition for Heisei-era Kamen Riders.
  • The Musical: There's been a few, including a 2010 show simply called Masked Rider Live & Show 2010 which is a Decade themed show, but actually focuses on Decade!Kuuga and a not-so-evil member of Dai-Shocker who eventually does a Heel–Face Turn. It also features gratuitous appearances by Riders from just about every possible show, from both eras.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first Monster of the Week in nearly every season is based on a spider, the second is just as likely to be based on a bat. Blade turned its one spider-based MotW into a recurring villain of sorts, while the first episode's monster was based on a grasshopper, much like the first Kamen Rider was. And the first use of a Giant Spider in Hibiki paved the way for more massive CGI monsters, after the one in J had been all but forgotten.
    • Kiva had both the spider and bat. The spider was technically the first monster to appear, but wasn't the first MOTW and in fact managed to survive for almost half the series. Being vampire-themed, the bat motif was used for Kiva, Kivat, and the King Fangire.
    • Blade actually has Kamen Rider Leangle, a spider-themed Rider. We are through the looking glass.
    • Double and Ghost have gadgets based on a spider and a bat, among others.
      • Movie War Core shows that when Sokichi Narumi first became Kamen Rider Skull, his first opponents were indeed the Bat and Spider Dopants.
    • Den-O, on the other hand, had a bat monster first, and didn't have a spider monster until much later on. Instead, the first few monsters parallel the Contract Monsters of several Riders from Ryuki (bat for Knight, chameleon for Verde, crustacean for Scissors, crow for Odin, and rhino for Gai).
    • Ryuki also had an example: The first monster was a spider while the first Rider, Knight, was a bat.
      • Thinking about it; if Shinji had used his Contract Card on the spider, he and Knight would have become the first (anti-)heroic example of the spider & bat combo.
    • Drive has its basic monsters come in three varieties: Spider, Bat, and Cobra.
    • Agito has another gag. Being direct sequel to Kuuga, the first two monsters are jaguar and turtle. Just like V3, the first sequel of Showa series.
      • Kamen Rider G3/G3-X doesn't transform. He's a Badass Normal in a suit of Power Armor, similar to Riderman being a Badass Normal who fights monsters using gadgets instead of superpowers.
    • Build has Night Rogue and Blood Stalk, two long-term antagonists present from the start who have bat and cobra motifs respectively. The first Night Rogue (Gentoku) subverts it by undergoing a Heel–Face Turn (and adopting a crocodile motif) while the second (Utsumi) plays it straight; meanwhile Stalk (Evolt) ends up becoming the Big Bad. Spider eventually gets represented by Killibus, the Big Bad of the direct-to-DVD post-series movie Build New World: Kamen Rider Cross-Z and Evolt's brother.
    • After running the gamut of belt designs in the Showa era, the Heisei era begins with Kuuga and Agito, whose belts may have been all about the bells and whistles, but in fact maintained design elements from the iconic Typhoon belt - a horizontal oval structure with a spinning circular hub, and two boxy units at the side with some important function built in. In addition to this, the silver straps on Kuuga's belt were a parallel to Hongo Takeshi's original white belt while Agito's red straps similarly mirrored Hayato Ichimonji's belt.
    • The Greeed of OOOs have belts that look somewhat like golden versions of the Typhoon belt.
    • See Ass-Kicking Pose above. Rider-1's right-arm-thrust-to-the-upper-left pose is so iconic that it's been reused several times - every other Showa rider, and Kuuga, Ryuki, Blade, Den-O in concept art, even Double to a small degree (just Shotaro). That's not counting the examples under Shout-Out. In fact, most of the main Rider poses are variants of it, with one arm extended away from its body.
    • Mentor characters named Tachibana, in homage to Tobei Tachibana from the original series; Blade and Fourze both indulged in this. And in inspiration to Blade's rather memetic use of it, Tachibana will always be, in one form or another, a traitor.

    N to Z 
  • Non-Serial Movie: Lots of early Heisei series have them, specifically Ryuki, Faiz, Blade, Hibiki and Kiva. Later Heisei series tend to fit their movies into the show continuity instead.
    • Subverted in Kabuto. 99% of the movie is set in an After the End alternate universe, but at the end Tendou goes back in time and alters history, creating the TV series timeline. Rather than creating a Timey-Wimey Ball, this time travel actually explains some of the plot points of the series (i.e. how Tendou got the Rider Belt and Hiyori's obsession with drawing bug-winged people).
    • Movie Taisen Core averts this trope and plays it straight simultaneously, being a crossover between Double and OOO. While it fits neatly into Double's continuity, trying too hard to work it into OOO's chronology will just give you a migraine. This is due to very little of the OOO series having been etched in stone as the movie was being written - imagine a decent fanfic taking place after episode thirty... of a series you've only seen episode one of. That's what the writer of Core had to do and there was no way for it to work out better than it did; Toshiki Inoue gets Mis-blamed for it, however.
    • All Riders Vs Dai-Shocker is particularly baffling, because while the events of it don't seem to fit anywhere in the show's continuity, it also contains massive revelations about the whole plot, and events from it were mentioned in Decade 's finale movie, which is canon to both Decade and Double. The worlds were probably merging.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Most of the Heisei era shows tend to avoid using the term "Kamen Rider" in series, except for the purpose of Crossovers. This was much more common in Phase 1 than in Phase 2: Phase 2 shows alternated between using "Kamen Rider" and not using it every other year, and now they use it consistently.
    • The only Phase 1 Heisei shows that averted this trope are Ryuki, Blade, and Decade, though Kabuto played with it:
      • Since Ryuki is all about the idea that There Can Only Be One Kamen Rider, they have to use the phrase to identify the participants in that conflict.
      • One of the recurring themes of Blade is that the Kamen Riders are an urban legend.
      • Kabuto never used "Kamen Rider", but instead referred to the technology that powers the Riders as the "Masked Rider System", in English. This, however, is a reference to every Rider in the show (except the Hoppers) having both a Masked Form and a Rider Form.
      • Since teamups use the term and Decade is about teamups, this trope never stood a chance. Decade and company always call other Riders Riders, and his Catchphrase is to refer to himself as a Kamen Rider who is 'just passing through'. Diend also refers to himself as a Kamen Rider throughout. This series is the only time you'll ever hear the words "Kamen Rider Kuuga" and "Kamen Rider Faiz" in-show.
    • In the first few Phase 2 series, this trope was either averted or played with by shows that premiered in odd-numbered years, Double, Fourze, and Gaim:
      • Averted in Double. In the beginning the titular Rider/Riders were just called "Double" by their friends, but the public eventually started referring to the mask-wearing, motorcycle riding hero as a "Kamen Rider" and since then all the Riders in the show introduced themselves as Kamen Rider so-and-so. However, Shotaro and Philip are quite protective of the term the people gave them; you have to uphold the ideal to earn the right to call yourself a Rider.
      • Also averted in Fourze, where past Riders are an urban legend, much like in Blade. Fourze is called just Fourze until Tomoko points and says "A Kamen Rider!" Gentaro adopts the name, and they and their friends become the Kamen Rider Club. (Tomoko is also so far the only one to call Wizard a Kamen Rider thus far; in his own series, Wizard is right back to the Heisei series norm of never using the phrase.)
      • Played with in Gaim, where most of the warriors are named "Armored Riders" thanks to a local DJ. Furthermore, the Riders using the Genesis Drivernote  as their transformation device are referred as the "New Generation Riders"note . Furthermore, "Rider" part also has nothing to do with vehicles - the initial public users were from street-dancing groups collectively called "Beat Riders" by that same DJ. "Kamen Rider" is as usual restricted to crossovers.
    • Starting with Drive, this trope is consistently averted.
      • In Drive, where the Roidmudes coin the term for the one hunting them. Drive himself made a conscious decision to adopt the title in honor of his fallen predecessor.
      • In Ghost and Ex-Aid, the title is granted to the protagonists along with their transformation gear. While there's little significance in-universe for Ghost, in Ex-Aid it has a somewhat more prominent significance early on, as originally only those that have a special surgery to receive immunity to the Bugster virus can transform into a Kamen Rider.
      • In Build, the term is used for individuals with a Hazard Level 3 and above, in addition to using a driver to transform.
      • Zi-O is an anniversary series like Decade and meant to be the grand finale of the Heisei Era.
    • Even Kamen Rider The First and Kamen Rider The Next don't use it. Riders 1, 2, and V3 are Hopper Version 1, 2, and 3 respectively (the V in V3, whose meaning is never addressed in the V3 series, actually stands for 'version,' even.)
  • Numerical Theme Naming:
    • The original Kamen Riders are officially designated #1 and #2, and right after them was V3 (Version 3).
    • The Kamen Riders from Decade to Fourze all took on number-related names: Decade (10), Double (2), OOO (3) and Fourze (40; "four-zero"). The following Riders don't have number names, but may still continue the theme: Wizard's belt symbol is a hand with five fingers, while Gaim uses padlocks which resemble a 6, and "lock" can be pronounced "roku" which means six... The producer of Zi-O confirmed that it was never intentional and fans were just looking too hard.
    • Several other Riders took numerical names as well, like ZO (which is shaped like 20, signifying the 20th anniversary of Kamen Rider), Faiz (which sounds like Fives, as in 555, though it's also based on the greek letter Phi), Zi-O (for the 20th Heisei show, similar to ZO), and Zero-One.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase: Most series have them. "Awaken the soul!" (Agito) "This clinches it!" (Double) Saying "Next time on [show name]" is rare, and not nearly as awesome. Except for the Gratuitous English "Open your eyes for the next Faiz!" in the voice of the Faiz Driver. For the Grand Finale, it became "Open your eyes for the final Faiz."
  • Palette Swap: For budget reasons, monsters in the new-gen series are sometimes given repaints or differently colored wardrobes to make "new" monsters. Sometimes happens with Riders too, particularly the movie-only Riders. Justified on occasion, where the monsters are representatives of the same type or species - an example being that the first three monsters Agito fights are essentially siblings.
  • People in Rubber Suits: The extent to which they are rubbery depends on the series and design, not so much on the era. Played straight with the Mooks from The First and The Next. they wear gas masks and corresponding uniforms, being quite creepy, until you find that they still shout "yee!" a lot.
  • Phantom Zone: A few series have this. Most notably, battles in Ryuki take place in the mirror world.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: This one dates back to the very first series, and extends into the Heisei era; Shotaro Ishinomori's trademark, actually.
    • Lampshaded and discussed in Wizard's Post-Script two-part crossover, where the villain notes that every Rider's powers is connected to those of their enemies in some way - and he somehow can't grasp how the Riders can be good in spite of having their powers based in evil.
    • Ex-Aid puts an interesting twist to this trope: Emu Hojo is not only the first to be grant with the power of becoming a Kamen Rider, but he himself is the source of the virus that creates the powers of the Riders and the Monster of the Week.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, to certain degree, was rather successful (not ratings-wise, sadly).
  • Product Placement:
    • Suzuki makes all the bikes in the Showa era and Honda in the Heisei and Reiwa era, with a few exceptions in the latter (Gas Gas made the bikes in Kuuga, and while main rider Shotaro/W rides a Honda in Double, second rider Ryu Terui AKA Accel rides a red Ducati named Diablossa). Also, all Riders tend to wear Shoei helmets.
    • Going in the other direction, Televi-kun magazine regularly promotes Kamen Rider, and ever since the Heisei era started they've distributed a "Hyper Battle" invokedBonus Episode DVD each year (and starting with Drive, they've released multiple Hyper Battles a year).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: After the "Rider Break" incident in Skyrider (see that show's entry on this for details), it's been a requirement that anyone who plays a main or secondary Rider has to have a motorcycle license and prove they are proficient in riding one, to avoid further accidents.
  • Real Time: While the episodes aren't filmed in a real time format, dates in the Kamen Rider universe sync up with the broadcast dates. (For example, when Japan is celebrating New Year's, the Kamen Rider characters are celebrating New Year's too. The same with Christmas, often with ...amusing... results.) Ghost in an exception, taking place in much less time since a 99-day time limit is a plot point: that time runs out after 12 episodes and is then reset, and the second 99 days spans three times that many episodes. It ultimately covers a six-and-a-half-month timeline that's aired over a year.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Ryuki & Den-O: this is critical to the plot in the latter.
  • The Rival: It all started with Riderman in V3, and now the Heisei era is rife with many a Face–Heel Turn and Heel–Face Turn.
  • Robot Buddy: It's common for Phase 2 Heisei Riders to have little helper robots. Hibiki had some in Phase 1, as well.
  • Rule of Pool: See Wet Means Defeated. Any time a Rider has a fight near a large body of water, especially if it's on a bridge, odds are good that someone's going for a swim.
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: Another part of the Rider package, almost as iconic as the kick, the belt and the bike.
    • Unfortunately, dropped starting with Black in favor of just armor - apparently, it's too easy for the suit actors to get tangled up in scarves. Lampshaded or subverted, depending on your point of view, when the Evil Twin from Blade is only distinguishable by the fact that he's wearing a scarf.
    • Completely inverted in Hibiki, where the Mooks are the ones wearing the scarves.
    • Ryotaro Nogami, the protagonist of Den-O, occasionally wears a red scarf (though really a muffler) as part of his street clothes in what is assuredly a Shout-Out to his precursors; however, he doesn't really do any ass-kicking while wearing it. When Momotaros possesses people during the Den-O arc of Decade, they gain a ridiculously long red scarf.
    • Returned with Double, who has a silver scarf while the Cyclone GaiaMemory is active, but the subsequent series haven't used it as of yet. In fact, the scarf is a part of W's suit - we just don't always see it because it isn't tied around his (their?) neck(s); instead, it sticks out through an opening at the back of the suit.
      • Along with the Nazca Dopant, who sports V3-style double scarves.
      • Kamen Rider Skull has the more traditional Showa-style scarf around his neck, reflecting his being "old-school". For an added touch it's tattered and worn as one would expect for a skeleton-themed Rider.
    • Before W, Another Agito of Agito incorporated a muffler into his design.
    • Like Double, Build's Ninja half-body has a scarf. A few other half-bodies are similarly attired, such as Pirate having a shoulder cape while UFO has streamers coming out of the shoulder armor to create the effect of a tractor beam.
  • Scarab Power: Scarabs (specifically the Japanese Beetle Brothers) readily show up in the franchise, due to Kamen Rider having a preference for insect themes.
  • Schizo Continuity: The "Bait-And-Switch" style. Toei takes a flexible approach to inter-season (and with Super Sentai crossovers, inter-series) continuity. Sometimes different Rider series take place in alternate universes (as in Decade); sometimes they don't. Don't waste too much time thinking about it.
  • Signature Move: RIDER KICK! Also RIDER PUNCH! and RIDER CHOP!, but these tend to get dropped in the newer series.
  • Sixth Ranger: Or in this case, Second Rider. Kamen Rider 2 from the original series, but more often done in the Heisei series with, among others, Gatack, Zeronos, IXA, Diend, and Accel. (For that matter, every Heisei series except Kuuga has a second rider... and in some cases, a third, fourth, tenth, or more with Ryuki and Gaim.)
  • Slice of Life: The first half of Hibiki in particular has elements of this, as does Kuuga.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Kamen Rider is a well-known instance of "Men Are More Equal". There's always a female lead who is one of the Riders' closest allies, but for all her importance she stays in a support role. Women who take combat roles as Riders themselves are rare, and they usually get killed off or suffer some other indignity that male Riders don't have to.
  • So Last Season: This ends up being So Last Mid-Season, given the way the series starts fresh every year. Once an upgrade is acquired, it's used all the time, while previous upgrades aren't effective enough and stop being used. Enforced by being Merchandise-Driven; you want to keep advertising the new toys and not waste time on the stuff that most fans would have bought already.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Every season has at least one name or term, likely more, with an odd spelling that English speakers aren't likely to deduce from its pronunciation.
  • Statistically Speaking: Toei publishes statistics for nearly every Rider during the run of their show, which since the beginning of the Heisei era has been standardized as a measurement of punching power and kicking power in tons, jump height in meters, and running speed by how fast the character can run a 100-meter dash. More often than not, these numbers are totally arbitrary nonsense and have little to no bearing on the character's actual performance in the show — as an extreme example, Kamen Rider Poppy (a side character from Ex-Aid who rarely fights) boasts numbers far higher than Kamen Rider Gaim Kiwami Arms (not just a main character's Super Mode, but he's essentially considered a demigod at that point).
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix:
    • A side effect of Heisei Rider belts having electronic voices.
    • It's gotten so bad that someone spawned this invokedinsanely catchy mv, with almost every single Heisei transformation voice or phrase.
    • This not only takes the transformation sounds, but other voices from the various Kamen Rider shows.
    • OOO's official Image Songs are these; their names are homophones for his combos ("ShaUTa" becomes "Shout Out", for example), and the belt's transformation announcements are worked into the songs themselves.
    • Wizard's belt is just asking for a dance mix, please. When it's primed, it sings out a catchy little tune on a loop until it activates a ring.
  • Super Mode:
    • Started with Stronger's charged-up form, but doesn't become a staple until the Heisei series, where it's commonly referred to as an 'Ultimate Form' in honor of Kuuga's final form. While some Riders, Kuuga in particular, went through several intermediate forms, the Super Mode is the bare minimum (eg. Ryuki and Decade).
    • In an interesting twist, Decade's Super Mode has the power of summoning duplicates of the other Riders' Super Modes to fight alongside him.
    • Teamups or The Movie even give a Super Mode on top of the Super Mode. Rising Ultimate Kuuga, Den-O Super Climax, Double Gold Xtreme, Fourze Meteor (Nadeshiko) Fusion States, OOO Super Tatoba Combo, Wizard Infinity Dragon (Gold), Drive Type Special, Ghost Tenkatoitsu Damashii, Ex-Aid Creator Gamer, Build Cross-ZBuild Form, and Zi-O Oma Form.
  • Super Speed: Seen in several seasons, but taken to ridiculous extremes in Kabuto - expected extremes, if you know your Ishinomori.
  • Swiss Army Hero: Started with Black RX and has been a series staple since.
  • Taking the Bullet: The show's go-to method for giving someone a heroic death: have them die doing a body-block for somebody helpless.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When the current Ending Theme kicks in, you know the battle is on. That, and older series had actual ass-kicking battle themes - several of them - which gets used to magnificent effect in the SPIRITS manga.
    • For the Heisei series, the "ending theme" isn't played over the end credits (they don't use end credits [except for Hibiki]), but rather it's used as the battle song (and they often serve as Image Songs as well). The shows from Agito through Kabuto played around with this, but they had two or three songs throughout the whole series run. However...
      • Den-O used multiple non-final non-Super Mode forms in the first half of the series, and with them came a different arrangement of the ending theme, and that's not including the second Rider's theme song, The Movie form and villain theme songs, the Super Mode theme song, and an Image Song for the hero's sister and the Bridge Bunny. All but two of these were just remixes of the first theme song, bringing us to a grand total of 9 ending themes, and that's not including the songs for the sequel movies.
      • Kiva followed the trend and had different theme songs for each of Kiva's forms, but ended up never using one of the songs at all despite promoting its existence during the show's broadcast. They also had the cast perform the ending themes and on various concept albums; the lead actor fronted a rock band made up specially for the show, the main secondary Rider's actor covered his own theme song, and anyone else whose character got in suit for the secondary Rider joined up on a concept album about the secondary Rider.
      • Decade was fairly minimalistic, only having two themes, one for each Rider and sung by the actor. Instead, the music team went all out producing three albums putting their own style on the 9 previous series theme songs.
      • Double went off the rails like Den-O, having multiple songs for multiple forms, secondary Riders, cast members, and The Movies, but it was implied that all of the ending themes were actually In-Universe pop songs, performed by bands played on the official radio show. One song (performed by the two cast members who are singers from AKB48) was even tied into a short story arc.
      • OOO gives a full, awesome song to every full Combo, plus TaToBa Combo, plus Birth, and all of them take on a deeper meaning when you know the characters: they're Image Songs as well!
      • Starting with Fourze, the show has mostly dialed back the song-after-song nature of the franchise, with Ghost remarkable in that it had no Ending Theme whatsoever. Ex-Aid is returning back to the use of ending themes...even though for several episodes in a row they completely omitted the opening sequence entirely, only to have to promise that with the 2nd half of the show they would have a brand new sequence.
      • Drive and Build are a little odd in this regard, since they have "collective" theme songs that represent the entire Rider Team as it is near the end of the series; for bonus points, Drive's song "Spinning Wheel" is sung by the Riders' actors.
  • Theme Naming: Following Decade, all of the belts in Kamen Rider are known as "Drivers", such as the Deca Driver, the W Driver, the OOO Driver, and so on. Previously, all of the belts had unique names, starting with Kamen Rider 1's Typhoon and ending with Kiva's Kivat.
  • There Can Be Only One: The central concept of Ryuki and Gaim. Also featured in Kuuga and Blade, interestingly between the bad guys. Kabuto forced this point somewhat with its BFS, and Agito... erm, suggested it would happen. Decade does this with entire worlds.
  • Time Travel: Den-O and Zi-O have this as one of their series' main themes; and Kabuto and Kiva also feature it to an extent. Riders 1 and 2, V3, Black, and Agito also meet up in the game Seigi no Keifu, sorta. It appears to some degree in many series; OOO managed to get into time shenanigans with nary a time train in sight in its three movies (and one with 'em, in the All Riders movie).
  • Token Heroic Orc: At least one of the protagonists is often a member of the Monster of the Week species or some other nonhuman who is, for whatever reason, fighting for good. Sometimes openly, sometimes they're a Tomato in the Mirror, sometimes they just draw power from the same source in a way that makes them functionally identical to the monsters.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Seems to be a recurring theme starting around the Heisei era:
    • Blade: Kotaro loves milk so much that he keeps a mini-fridge stocked full of it.
    • Kabuto: Tendou liks tofu, and both he and Kagami love Hiyori's mackrel miso.
    • Den-O: Owner and Station Master with their fried rice and pudding, which they make into a game.note  The Taros also love pudding, as well as Naomi's coffee (but they're the only ones). Inverted with Yuto, who has a Trademark Least Favorite and hates shiitake mushrooms.
    • Kiva: Otoya likes Yuri's Omurice and Megumi likes seafood.
    • Decade: Inverted; Tsukasa despises sea cucumber, which becomes a Running Gag after it's brought up; Decade features an inordinate number of sea cucumber-themed monsters.
    • Double: Akiko likes takoyaki and everyone love ramen.
    • OOO: Ankh has his popsicles and Date loves his oden. Kougami loves making birthday cakes, but he's never shown eating them (usually assigning subordinates to do it for him).
    • Wizard: Haruto always orders plain sugar donuts from his favorite bakery. Nitoh is unusual because his trademark is mayonnaise, which he slathers on literally everything he eats.
    • Drive: Shinosuke eats milk candies when he's slacking off.
    • Ghost: Like Ankh, Alain's first human food (takoyaki) quickly becomes his favorite.
    • Ex-Aid: Hiiro can often be seen using his surgery skills to cut up cakes, pastries, and other confections.
  • Training from Hell: Again one of the Trope Codifiers in Japan. The original Kamen Rider duo had to undergo intense training under their friend and mentor Tachibana in order to develop new techniques and tactics against the formidable enemies.
  • Transformation Trinket:
    • While its gimmicks may vary from year to year, the transformation belt is an important part of any Rider's arsenal. Heisei series vary pretty widely in what they actually do.
    • Hibiki ditches the traditional belts in favor of using handheld items and braces to transform (indicative of the fact that Hibiki wasn't originally intended to be a Kamen Rider series). Some of their weaponry is belt-worn, though.
    • TheBee, Drake, Sasword, Hercus, Ketaros and Caucasus from Kabuto, as well as Diend and Necrom use different kinds of trinkets other than the traditional buckle. Diend and Drake transform using guns, Sasword uses a sword, TheBee, Hercus, Ketaros, Caucasus, and Necrom use armbraces.
    • Drive mixed it up a little with armbrace as an integral part of the device, acting as a receiver for the sub-trinkets denoting individual forms and weapons, but still had the belt.
    • Sole exception from Showa series is Amazon whose trinket is actually a bracelet (later two bracelets) on his forearm.
  • True Companions: Eventually. But this ain't Super Sentai; the Riders almost never begin on the same page, and often even come to blows when neither is "evil" in the working-for-the-villains sense. Even Blade, where we've got a Heroes "R" Us organization, managed to have four agendas for four Riders. However, sometimes the main Rider and his supporting cast are this from the start.
  • Wet Means Defeated:
    • Falling into a large body of water is almost always a KO, whether you're a monster or a Rider. Basically, it's become a Running Gag for the first enemy who's badder than a normal Monster of the Week to beat the crap out of the Rider and then send him flying into the drink. It's not the water that keeps them down, it's the Curb-Stomp Battle that ended with the dip. That said, Riders who suffer from this usually emerge from the water in a lot of pain but not seriously injured. The exceptions to the rule are Riders and forms specifically built for water: X, Drake, Den-O Rod Form, OOO ShaUTa Combo, Wizard's Water Style, and any of Build's water-themed combos.
    • The series tradition is deconstructed in Gaim, where after Zangetsu gets thrown in the water he's not seen for almost the entire rest of the series, and when he does show up he's in a coma from oxygen deprivation.
    • Zi-O sees this trope being invoked and quickly subverted: Aqua drags Eternal into the ocean, counting on his water-based powers to give him the advantage. However, Eternal turns the tables and creates a vortex that launches Aqua back out of the water to continue the fight on dry land.
  • The Worf Effect: Since they peak lower and sooner than the main character, this happens a lot to secondary riders. But Kamen Rider is kind of unique in that the main hero himself will usually get stomped before getting a big new power-up to make his comeback more impressive.
    • The Kamen Rider fandom even has its own term for this: "getting rolled", which refers to how a particularly bad defeat will be marked by the Rider getting hit so hard that he rolls along the ground (often losing his transformation in the process).


Video Example(s):


Takeshi Hongo

The original. Accept no substitutes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / HenshinHero

Media sources:

Main / HenshinHero