Kamen Rider BLACK RX is the ninth TV series in the Kamen Rider franchise and, unusually for the series, a direct sequel to the previous series, Kamen Rider BLACK. It was broadcasted from 1988 to 1989 and was the last TV series aired during the Showa-era before the transition to stand-alone movies throughout the 90s.
Six months after being practically left alone at the end of Black, Kotaro Minami has finally gotten on the road to a normal life. He's been adopted by the Sahara family and has a steady job as a helicopter pilot.
However, a new threat to the peace of Earth comes in the form of the Crisis Empire, which seeks Earth as their new invasion target. Acknowledging Kamen Rider BLACK as a threat, they capture Kotaro while preventing his transformation and attempt to goad him into joining the Empire. Kotaro refuses, and as a result he has his King Stone destroyed and gets thrown off to space.
The sun's radiation, however, resurrected Kotaro's Kingstone and split it into two. Thus, Kamen Rider Black evolved into Kamen Rider BLACK RX. It also resurrects the destroyed Battle Hopper, upgrading it into Acrobatter. Now, Kotaro must use his new powers to defend Earth from the Crisis Empire, consisting of General Jark, Colonel Maribaron, Naval Commander Bosgan, and Captains Gatenzone and Gedorian.
The Lighter and Softer tone of the show clashed horribly with the Darker and Edgier Kamen Rider BLACK, and fans did not approve. However, it's quite wrong to label it a Franchise Killer, as the series had pretty good ratings (it performed better than Kidou Keiji Jiban, the Metal Heroes series that aired during the same season, and actually scored a slightly higher series average than Blacknote ). It's also notable as the first Kamen Rider series to introduce the concept of form changes, which became a staple of the Heisei era. Black RX still remains popular amongst the older franchise, and like its predecessor, it enjoys massive popularity in the overseas market.
Recurring Kamen Rider tropes include:
- Finishing Move
- Black RX: Two of them:
- RX Kick
- Roborider: Hard Shot
- Biorider: Spark Cutter
- Black RX: Two of them:
- Multiform Balance: Black RX was the first Kamen Rider to be a Swiss Army Hero, which would become a series staple. His selection of forms was rather simple compared to future Riders: his normal form was rather balanced, stat-wise, and he could switch to the stronger-but-slower Roborider form or the faster-but-weaker Biorider form.
- Weapon of Choice: RX has a different weapon for each form.
Kamen Rider BLACK RX provides examples of the following tropes:
- Alien Invasion: The Crisis Empire is the second evil space empire to invade the Earth, following Dogma.
- As Long as There is Evil: Uttered by Emperor Crisis, the Big Bad (who may be the same Big Bad of Original Kamen Rider through Kamen Rider ZX) upon his demise.
- Back from the Dead: Battle Hopper, becoming Acrobatter. Also later, Shadow Moon.
- Badass Driver (Look below)
- Bittersweet Ending: As much as the earlier Lighter and Softer tone, the shows ends in this note, though less so than Black. Crisis Empire has been destroyed by Kotaro and the past Riders. However, in process, the Sahara parents were Killed Off for Real, orphaning their children. Still, Kotaro has avenged their deaths and made sure they can rest in peace, and happily says his goodbyes to his friends before going on to his next adventure.
- Celebrity Paradox: In episode 1, one of the characters actually pick up and read the manga adaptation of Kamen Rider BLACK
- Cerebus Syndrome: While it's lighter in tone than Black, it has three cases of this: First during a Story Arc where Black RX gets two alternate forms via Traumatic Superpower Awakening, then when Shadow Moon shows up, and in the final arc, when General Jark goes One-Winged Angel and kills the Sahara parents.
- Chef of Iron: As noted on the Black page, star Tetsuo Kurata is a heck of a steak chef (with his own restaurant) and once battled the star of Kamen Rider Blade, Takayuki Tsubaki, on a cooking show - and curb-stomped him.
- Crossover: RX teams up with his past self (along with Biorider and Roborider) in the short movie Running Around the World. He also teams up with all the other past Riders (from Kamen Rider I through ZX) in the final episodes of the series.
- Defied Trope: Orcus on His Throne. Jak and his captains may be content to simply send a monster a week at Kotaro, but eventually Emperor Crisis gets tired of this and forces them to take a more hands-on approach.
- Discard and Draw: After dropping the Satan Saber to Kotaro at the end of BLACK, Shadow Moon wield the Shadow Sabers as its replacements.
- Dolled-Up Installment: Sort of. RX was originally planned as a stand-alone show starring a new protagonist, but Toei decided to keep Tetsuo Kurata for another year due to his popularity and retooled the show at the last minute into a continuation of Black. Outside Shadow Moon's brief guest appearance, RX barely acknowledges the events of the original Black.
- End of an Age: The last Kamen Rider series to be made in the Showa period. No new TV series would be produced until Kamen Rider Kuuga.
- Gag Sub: of the first episode, done by The Tipping Forties as part of a mod challenge on Something Awful.
- Green Lantern Ring: Biorider ends up being Kotaro's most versatile form.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Shadow Moon, who told Black RX the details of Crisis' Evil Plan before going out in a blaze of glory by saving two chained-up kids.
- Fake Shemp: When Kotaro cradles Nobuhiko's dead body after Shadow Moon dies, it's obvious that the producers didn't get a hold of the original actor who played Nobuhiko, as someone else is used for the shot.
- Idiot Ball: Crisis grabs it pretty hard whenever they try to trap RX while forgetting that he can just turn into Bio Rider and escape in his liquid form. This even gets Gatezone killed.
- Improbable Weapon User: Maribaron uses her feather on her helmet as a weapon.
- Intrepid Reporter: Reiko.
- Laser Blade: The Revolcane.
- Lighter and Softer: For the majority of the series.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: As bad as Crisis is, they at least do seem to treat their robot minions the same as the living ones.
- Informed Attribute: A great many monsters are described as the "best" of their respective unit, and then quickly meet their doom on the end of the Revolcane.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: By the end of the series, all older Kamen Riders before Black join forces with RX to defeat the Crisis Empire.
- Mood Whiplash: From the intense and dark Kamen Rider BLACK to the goofy and light-hearted RX... until near the end when Jark murders the Sahara parents in cold blood.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Odds are, Black would've been outclassed by the Crisis Empire, but the villain decided to throw the Child of the Sun into space where he'd be directly exposed to sunlight, causing him to evolve into the much stronger Black RX.
- No Accounting for Taste: Shunkichi and Utako Sahara argue so much, you sometimes wonder how did they even manage to have two kids.
- Nonstandard Character Design: Bujin from episode 7, an extremely rare tokusatsu monster-of-the-week who actually has an exposed human face.
- Noble Demon: Zig-zagged with Bosgan; he refused to let Grand Zairus help him in his duel with RX...but he did have Chaps laying in wait.
- Put on a Bus: Kasumi no Joe after some extensive injuries. He comes back after a while.
- Refrain from Assuming: The ending theme, "Dareka ga Kimi wo Aishiteru" (Someone Out There Loves You), is sometimes known as "Lonely Heart".
- Retcon: Kotaro brings Rideron to life by using the magic sea cave that brought him to life (never mind how the heck he got it down there). Except it wasn't the sea cave in Black, it was the elixir that Whale Mutant gave him. The cave was just Whale Mutant's home.
- Rubber-Forehead Aliens: For some reason, some Crisisians have fleshy antlers for ears, while others don't.
- Revenge Before Reason: Shadow Moon wants to get back at Kotaro for his previous defeat in BLACK, even going so far as to prioritize their duel instead of waiting for him to finish rescuing two kids. Unsurprisingly, Kotaro calls him out for it.
- Same Character, but Different: Kotaro is a lot spacier and more happy-go-lucky since last time we saw him. It helps that the Sahara family doesn't induce the same guilt or tension Kotaro had during the last battle with Nobuhiko/Shadow Moon (with Kyoko being his sister, and Katsumi being his girlfriend), and they really took good care of Kotaro, allowing him to show more of his more cheerful/joking side that he occasionally showed to Kyoko and Katsumi.
- Superpower Lottery: The upgrades Roborider and Biorider
- Really, Black RX as a whole has this. The Kingstone Flash alone is capable of ridiculous feats.
- Taking You with Me: Maribaron attempts to do this in the final episode when she was deadly wounded by Crisis. She failed.
- Technicolor Death: All over the place, but special mention goes to General Jark, who shoots lighting and fire everywhere, explodes into a cloud of flames, and then the cloud of flames explodes.
- Theme Naming: A variation, though not by name. Each Crisis general summons monsters based on certain themes. Maribaron uses supernatural monsters, Gatenzone uses mecha monsters, Gedorian uses alien monsters, for example.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Variation. RX was the first Rider to use both feet for his Rider Kick. Every Rider before him only used one foot in their kicks - including Kotaro himself in his previous suit.
- And note that his RX Kick wasn't even the Finishing Move - it was mostly used to weaken foes before RX stabs them with the Revolcane.
- Thrown Out the Airlock: The Crisis Empire tries to dispose of Kotaro in this fashion. Fortunately, they didn't realize that the previous villains didn't call him Black Sun for nothing and this merely exposes him directly to the sun, evolving him into Kamen Rider Black RX.
- Transformation Is a Free Action: Subverted; Kotaro is shown a few times to be able to change forms and back in less than a second, so presumably all the posing and speeches is just for show.
- Wild Card: Jark is smart enough to see Shadow Moon as this and has no intention of letting him take over Gedorian's position as captain.