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Series / Kamen Rider Drive

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"This man, is a police detective, and a Kamen Rider!"

Kamen Rider Drive is the 2014-2015 Kamen Rider series; the sixteenth entry in the franchise's Heisei era and the twenty-fifth series overall. Riku Sanjō returns as the head writer after Kamen Rider Double.

The Global Freeze: an infamous event in which the world came under attack by mysterious beings who caused time itself to slow down. Six months later, peace has returned but the world remains alert for future occurrences of the "Density Shift" phenomenon.

Shinnosuke Tomari is a young and talented police officer who sank into depression and lost all motivation after he accidentally crippled his partner during the Global Freeze. Because of this, he has been reassigned to the "Special Investigations Unit", a division of Bunny Ears Lawyers specializing in cases involving Density Shift (known colloquially as "Slowdown") and other unexplainable phenomena.

When the perpetrators of the Global Freeze, a series of rogue AIs called "Roidmudes", emerge from dormancy, Shinnosuke discovers that his car (and its sentient belt) gives him the power to move normally during Slowdown and battle the Roidmudes on equal terms. Shifting his life back into gear, Shinnosuke transforms into Kamen Rider Drive to take down the Roidmudes and solve the mysteries surrounding them once and for all.

This series is most notable and gained much press because, for the first time in the franchise's long history, the title hero exclusively uses a car, rather than a motorcycle. On top of that, Drive is the first Rider to have an automobile motif, which up to this point was mostly utilized in Super Sentai seriesnote .

Aired alongside Super Sentai shows Ressha Sentai ToQger and then Shuriken Sentai Ninninger, the latter of which sharing a one hour crossover with as well as hosting a cameo in the spring Rider movie, in the Super Hero Time block.

Kamen Rider Drive's tie-in projects include:

  • Kamen Rider Drive Secret Mission Type TV-KUN: Hunter & Monster! Chase the Mystery of the Super Thief!, a DVD special and prequel to Movie War Full Throttle.
  • Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Drive & Gaim: Movie War Full Throttle, the annual crossover film, teaming Drive with Kamen Rider Gaim.
  • Kamen Rider Drive Secret Mission Type ZERO Episode 0: Countdown to Global Freeze, a DVD special depicting the events of the Global Freeze.
  • Kamen Rider Drive Secret Mission Type HIGH SPEED! The True Power! Type High Speed is Born!, a DVD special.
  • Super Hero Taisen GP Kamen Rider 3; intended to be a franchise crossover with Super Sentai but Shuriken Sentai Ninninger merely makes a cameo.
    • D-Video Special: Kamen Rider 4, a three-part web video series following up on plot threads from Super Hero Taisen GP.
  • Kamen Rider Drive Secret Mission Type TOKUJO, a set of four minisodes included on the season DVD collections.
  • Kamen Rider Drive: Surprise Future, the summer movie.
  • Kamen Rider Drive Secret Mission Type LUPIN: ~Lupin, The Last Challenge~, the last DVD special and sequel to Movie War Full Throttle.
  • Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Ghost & Drive: Super Movie War Genesis, the following year's crossover, this time with Kamen Rider Ghost.
  • Kamen Rider Drive Saga: Spinoff DVD movies featuring secondary Riders.
    • Kamen Rider Chaser: Notably, this film guest-stars Kamen Rider Accel from Kamen Rider Double.
    • Kamen Rider Mach
    • Kamen Rider Heart
    • Kamen Rider Brain: Originally an April Fools' Day joke in 2017, it was officially announced two years later in April 2019. It's a two-episode web miniseries Affectionate Parody as opposed to a DVD release and promoted as "The Last Heisei Rider."

There exists a character sheet and a recap page for the series. Please place any related tropes there.

Voted #11 series in the Heisei era, and #15 product overall in NHK’s All Kamen Rider Popularity Ranking.

Recurring Kamen Rider tropes include:

  • Cool Bike: Played with, as for the first time ever the lead Rider does not have a motorcycle of any kind. He gets a Cool Car instead, while it's the secondary characters that get the bikes: the Ride Chaser for Mashin Chaser (later Kamen Rider Chaser) and Ride Macher for Kamen Rider Mach. They're even Combining Mecha, able to merge with one another to form the Ride Crosser vehicle.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Played straight (averted) and doubled. Not only do the Roidmudes' expendable bodies explode, they are killed when their Cores explode as well, though in some cases the Core survives. Averted in certain cases when a Roidmude is mortally wounded, leading to both the body and Core crumbling into ashes.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Averted with Shinnosuke, as he is the first Main Rider since Den-O to debut squarely in his own series. Played straight for Mach in Movie War Full Throttle. Also played straight for Kamen Rider Ghost, who appears in Surprise Drive as well as the final two episodes.
  • Elite Mooks: The Reaper Legionnote , alternatively known as Reaper Unitsnote , which are Plain Roidmudes modified with a cockroach theme to become stronger by Medic, replacing Chase as the Roidmudes' enforcers. Ultimately, a total of 24 Roidmudes, amounting to two ninths of the 108, were modified to join the Reaper Legion.
  • Monster of the Week: The Roidmudes.
  • Mooks: Downplayed. All Roidmudes have a default form known as Plain Roidmude, before evolving into their unique forms. While other series will have Riders sweep through a good dozen mooks an episode, there are only 108 numbered Roidmudes in total, so in the series a MOTW will be accompanied by only a handful of henchmen who never get the opportunity to evolve before being terminated.
    • Played straight in the movies, which boast armies of numberless and coreless Roidmudes, officially known as Plain Roidmudes (Lost Number), distinguished in that their numberplates are blank. In The Challenge from Lupin, Lupin uses the Lupin Gunner with Roidmude data to create a trio of Plain Roidmudes, one for each type, after destroying Chaser's henchmen. Later, in Movie War Full Throttle, ZZZ Megahex creates an army of blank Roidmudes as well as Mecha Inves.
    • Similarily, Surprise Future has an army of Future Roidmudes, whose number plates read "---". These Roidmudes also appear as a result of a temporal anomaly in Super Movie War Genesis.
  • Multiform Balance: Drive has multiple forms, called "Types", based on different cars: his default, Type Speed, is a Jack of All Stats and Fragile Speedster based on a sports car, Type Wild is an ATV-based Mighty Glacier, and Type Technic is a Magic Knight that seems to resemble a garbage truck. He later gets Type Dead Heat, a bike-and-sidecar Glass Cannon form that he shares with Mach and is a combination of both their powers, the F1-themed Lightning Bruiser Type Formula, and he physically merges with the Tridoron for his Type Tridoron Super Mode. A DVD gives him another Fragile Speedster, Type High Speed; and the movies have additional Types based on other Riders: Fighting Clown Type Fruits (Kamen Rider Gaim), alternate Super Mode Type Special (Dark Drive), weaker Glass Cannon Super Dead Heat (Mashin Chaser), and Master of None Zerodrive (Proto-Drive).
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: As per Kamen Rider tradition, the Shift Cars are simply the Good Counterpart to the Viral Cores, meaning that once again the Rider's power is from the same source as the evil he combats. Lampshaded in #2, as Shinnosuke is reluctant to work on the Roidmudes case because he figures that Mr. Belt, the Shift Cars, the Viral Cores and the Roidmudes are all connected since Mr. Belt knows a lot about them, and they possibly even have the same source. #5 shows that Mashin Chaser can steal and use the Shift Cars himself thanks to having compatible systems. However, #10 inverts it, revealing that it's the Roidmudes using a power source that was originally Drive's and not the other way around.
    • Go lampshades this trope in #14 by explicitly pointing out that the Riders have the same power source as the Roidmudes; however, his attitude is that this makes the Riders themselves monsters and justifies his "by any means necessary" approach to crime-fighting. Shinnosuke, being a By-the-Book Cop, naturally disagrees.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Not the Roidmudes this time. Their creator Tenjuro Banno was sealed in Brain's tablet, and is considered far more vile than the Roidmudes. Go ends up setting him loose.
  • Transformation Trinket: Drive's is a two-part one, with the Drive Driver belt and the Shift Brace on the wrist. Mashin Chaser uses the Break Gunner, while Mach has the Mach Driver Honoh.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Justified, as the heroes are working for the police and that the Roidmudes can perfectly blend within the populace.

Start your Tropes!:

  • Accidental Truth: During the time that Go was brainwashed by 001 into fighting for the Roidmudes, Chase tried to spare Kiriko's feelings by telling her that it was all a ruse. And indeed it was, because Go had the same immunity to 001's mind control that Tomari did, and the whole act was a long con to give Go a chance to steal Brain's tablet. Chase just didn't know that at the time.
  • Aesop Amnesia: #24 has Go learn that he doesn't need power ups to be strong and that he himself is already strong. At the tail end of the series, he gets quite a few power ups, though what mitigates it is that these power ups are less power ups and more borrowing another Rider's power to emphasize another aesop that Go learned.
  • All for Nothing: Heart's rebellion ultimately was this. While from the human's end it was a disaster, the Roidmudes goal of obtaining their freedom from humanity ultimately only ended with Heart the Last of His Kind after having played right into Banno's (the one he was trying to rebel against in the first place) hands.
  • All There in the Manual: The DTV movie Drive Saga: Kamen Rider Mach is actually a sequel to an official side-novel (Kamen Rider Drive: Mach Saga), but this only really comes up twice: firstly at the start of the movie when Go explains his past meetings with Reiko Nishhiori (once during the TV series, the second during the novel) and the fact that Go realizes the Big Bad is Roidmude 005, the Revenger Roidmude, who was also the villain of Mach Saga.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: Subverted. When telling Shinnosuke why he couldn't trust the police with the knowledge of Drive, Mr. Belt tells him of a scientist who once created an invention for the good of mankind, but it was weaponized, causing much destruction. Shinnosuke asks him if he was that scientist. In fact, he wasn't: the scientist was Alfred Nobel, and the invention was dynamite. However, come #10, it becomes clear that Mr. Belt was indeed referring to himself as well.
  • Appropriated Appellation: "Kamen Rider" was originally what Brain called Proto-Drive. The name became used by the Riders, their allies, and the Roidmudes.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Every police officer not affiliated with the Special Division exhibits this. Despite the Density Shift being a well known, documented phenomena, and this being, well, Japan, they scoff at the mere mention that a monster may be involved. On the other hand, the general populace quickly catches onto the existence of monsters and seems to recognize that the Special Division is equipped to deal with them. #32 reveals that the entire police force was brainwashed by number 001 to not immediately recognize anything Roidmude related in order to hide himself. It explains why Honganji can't even say their names right.
  • Arc Words: Start your Engine.
  • Big Bad: While other villains sometimes take the spotlight and even become bigger threats, Heart is the most prominent enemy and nearly all of the other Roidmudes submit to his leadership. Though in terms of indirectly kickstarting the series' events, Banno.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Banno and the Sigma Circular are destroyed, effectively stopping the true Global Freeze. But by that time, every Roidmude has died, regardless if they were good or not, and the Roidmudes may never be seen as anything more than destroyers of humanity in mankind's eyes. Also, the Drive Pit's been sealed up for now, and the SIU has gone their separate ways.
  • Body Horror: Though Drive avoids the body-bending issue that Accel had, some of his tire effects are...disconcerting to look at.
    • Vegas adds a slot reel where Drive's tire goes. Simple enough...until the reel triplicates, and extends Drive's right shoulder and head out at an angle, as though someone actually stacked them there.
    • Cab is almost as bad. It removes the right shoulder and head from Drive's body, allowing the upper corner of Drive's torso to skitter around and go through walls. The rest of the body is still autonomous too. The whole thing is just...creepy.
    • Type Technic is almost as bad as Vegas. It inserts the tire into much of Drive's upper body, nearly reaching from shoulder to shoulder!... Or it could be seen as the Rider putting his head through the tire like a swim tube.
    • Just as we thought we've seen the last of it, Type Tridoron's tire pierces through just below Kamen Rider Drive's right ribcage!
  • Book Ends: The series began and ended the same way - with a bullet.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted with the Door Gun, which has to be recharged by opening and closing the door. Shinnosuke lampshades it the first time he runs out of ammo, asking if that's really a necessary feature (Rinna says it is).
  • Breather Episode:
    • The Cook Roidmude fortnight was set right after two three-part episodes which held the climax of the story arc regarding who killed Shinnosuke's dad and right before the story arc regarding Go's dad becoming the Big Bad. While there were some huge moments such as another Krim running around and Heart getting a Super Mode, it wasn't as huge as the arcs we saw before and the ones we'll see after.
    • Drive Saga's Heart-focused installment is right in-between Chase's and Mach's. Chase's, while having funny moments, was mostly dealing with Chase's inability to emote, an Enemy Civil War, and a crossover with Kamen Rider Accel. Mach's dealt with one of the Roidmude hosts becoming a Victim of the Week that Go has to save from an emotionally manipulative Roidmude who nearly kills him and almost drove said host to suicide. Heart's? It's, for the most part, hijinx regarding him and Gen being partners on top of him adjusting to the fact that Brain and Medic share a body with him now.
  • Brick Joke: In the series, Lt. Ohta draws a picture of Drive based off of momentary glimpses he caught of the Rider's different forms, resulting in a goofy-looking mishmash with Type Technic's helmet, Type Speed's chest and arms, and Type Wild's legs. In Drive Saga: Kamen Rider Heart, Heart assumes this exact form the first time he tries to transform — and it's every bit as useless as you would imagine, with the enemy Roidmude literally pulling pieces of the armor off.
  • Call-Back: Crossing with Development Gag, back when teasers of Drive were saying "This Rider is a driver!", and now we have the preview for Mach's debut saying "This Rider is a Rider!"
    • And later on we get "This Rider... is a Chaser!"
  • Car Fu: With a healthy dose of CGI, Tridoron is about as active in Roidmude fights as Drive himself.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • Rinna having a crush on Shinnosuke was Played for Laughs at first, but a later arc reveals that she's been pining for someone all this time, and it's starting to affect her.
    • #32 does this with one of the show's longest Running Gags: Otta's Accidental Misnaming of Roidmudes, revealing that it's not his fault at all, but a side effect of 001/Freeze's brainwashing the Metro police force in order to keep them useless and ineffectual — "Roidmude" is the Trigger Word, and Otta messing it up is the very reason he's been able to remain competent. The same episode puts the gag to rest for good, with Rinna developing an antidote for Freeze's brainwashing and using it on Otta, who's finally able to say "Roidmude" afterwards.
    • The Signal Ax has a joke in the form of its finisher, requesting the wielder to wait until it gives the okay to do the finisher. By the endgame, it becomes a source of Black Comedy as Go holds it. It's happy declaration of "GO FOR IT!" given the context could easily translate to "Kill Him Already!!"
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Despite its Downer Beginning, Drive was pretty light hearted in the beginning. But then it got dark during the arc on who Chase really is and we find out what Medic's playing at. Though despite that, it still managed to retain some light heartedness... Then it got even darker once Roidmude 001 enter and focusing on Shinnosuke finding out what really happen to his deceased police father. There's also the revelation of Go being Banno's son and his emotional break down, with both of them being emotionally manipulated. Even the cases got more serious and personal and would usually end in either a Bittersweet Ending or a Downer Ending. After an arc detailing Shinnosuke's father, while it tries to return to some brighter pastures, the damage was done. The end result is "bleak, but not completely hopeless".
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The tire on Drive's armor changes color and design to correspond with the Shift Car he inserts into the Shift Brace.
    • This is especially true for the Type Change Shift Cars, as their tires are identical sans the colored stripes running across the tires.
  • Cool Car: The Tridoron, Drive's car. It has a huge variety of functions and abilities making it one of the most versatile Rider Machines yet:
    • It can support Drive by shooting lasers at his enemies.
    • Driving Armory: It enables Drive to use Tire Exchanges by literally supplying him with the corresponding tire. Not to mention it also stores both the Handle Sword and the Door Gun.
    • Transforming Vehicle: It can transform into different modes that correspond with Drive's Type.
    • Mecha Expansion Pack:
      • Just as Drive, Tridoron's capable of using Tires. While in some cases, like with Max Flare, it utilizes them in a single attack, others are more like this trope. For example, when using Rumble Dump Tire, it essentially becomes a Drill Tank. And combining Hooking Wrecker with Funky Spike, allows Tridoron to grab the Roidmude and bash them around the area... before dragging them into the Spike Wheel and sawing into them. Reasonably, this combination can also be used to allow Tridoron to clear debris.
      • There are also the Ride Booster go-karts, which can attach to Tridoron as flight turbines.
    • In Movie War Full Throttle, thanks to the power of the Shift Fruit, Tridoron becomes a Flying Car. That can travel through outer space.
  • Chest Insignia: On the back of his belt and on his forehead is a silver R stylized enough that it's also a K, for Kamen Rider. The Drive Driver also usually displays one, which changes depending on the current Tire equipped (or the Type if it's using the default Tire).
  • Cursed with Awesome: One unforeseen effect of Slowdown - fatal falls become a lot less fatal. As long as Slowdown doesn't cut out before the end (which is presumably what happened with Hayase).
  • Cycle of Revenge: An underlying theme of the story. Banno abused Heart in petty Revenge by Proxy on a businessman who snubbed him, resulting in Heart and the Roidmudes attacking humanity due to being abused by Banno convinced them Humans Are Bastards. In return, Go grew to hate and want to exterminate the Roidmudes due to the evil they've done, even perfectly innocent ones like Chase, and even Krim seems to have some resentment and hatred of the Roidmudes. Shinnosuke ends coming dangerously close to falling into this trope due to his father's murder by Nira in envious payback for being upstaged but ultimately decides justice is better than revenge and arrests Nira instead of continuing the cycle. Ultimately, the only side of the fight that isn't somehow motivated by revenge is Banno, but even he is a target of revenge. The only time revenge actually works out is Go killing Banno and closing the circle with the one that started it and actually deserved it the most.
  • Darker and Edgier: The series became much darker after Cerebus Syndrome began in the second half, such as Go working with the villains (though this was just part of his Fake Defector scheme), Shinnosuke's disastrous fight against Freeze (which resulted with him almost dying), the circumstances that led to the death Shinnosuke's father (which Nira is involved with), and the worst of all, Banno himself.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Although Gaim touched upon the trope with Baron, Drive manages to give Can't Catch Up a beat down in the form of Gou, who begins having a beef with Shinnosuke after the latter gets more power ups than him and hit a Heroic Self-Deprecation phase when he fails to fight some of the stronger Roidmudes. However, it manages to reconstruct this by having Gou learn that he doesn't need more power ups to be stronger and that he himself is already strong.
  • Deconstruction: Although it's done more to reconstruct several tropes associated with Kamen Rider, it managed to deconstruct a trope that's near and dear to Kamen Rider: The Masquerade. For one, what's the point of keeping a secret identity if all it does is hamper your team's reputation and your own progress in protecting humanity? There's always the option of going public, but that too results in problems. Unwanted attention, for one.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Drive's main transformation device is called the Drive Driver.
  • Downer Beginning: Compared to Sanjo's previous works, the show's prologue starts with monsters running amok, a city being blown up, Shinnosuke's partner is crippled (complete with blood), and global domination and genocide everywhere, in a classic Kamen Rider fashion. This is considered as one of the most brutal opening scenes in the franchise's history.
  • Dramatic Irony: Go insists to Shinnosuke to keep his Awful Truth a secret from Kiriko... only for Kiriko to reveal a dozen or so episodes later that she kept a similar Awful Truth from Gou until he was old enough to accept it.
  • Dwindling Party: For the main antagonists. At the beginning of the series, we are told that there are precisely 108 Roidmudes. Through in fighting and the efforts of Team Drive, this number goes down quickly. By the end of the series, only a handful of the strongest Roidmudes remain. By #47, Heart was the Last of His Kind... And by the end, he's gone too.
    • By the same metric, the final assault on Banno's base is framed as a Suicide Mission. By the end of it, Chase sacrifices his life to save Go from Banno, Go is too badly injured to continue, and Medic sacrifices her life for Shinnosuke. Afterwards, Heart decides to have one last fight with Shinnosuke, but dies from exhaustion before he can deal the final blow.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Kamen Rider Drive's secret base, the Drive Pit. It's located right under a driving school.
  • Embarrassing but Empowering Outfit: The Slowdown particles-detecting equipment used by the Special Unit. Indispensable in their field work, but they're look like a more colorful version of Dr Brown's mind reading helmet with the addition of a proton pack from a dollar-shop.
  • Evil Counterpart: Mashin Chaser, like Drive, also hunts Roidmudes, but his motive for doing so is to eliminate the ones that aren't obeying the orders of Heart and Brain. Also, rather than completely destroying their cores, he instead reincarnates them in new bodies that might be more loyal.
    • Viral Cores are this to the Shift Cars, being the means to evolve for Roidmudes, and special versions for Mashin Chaser to activate various armaments for him to wield.
    • Finally, Gold Drive AKA Banno has the appearance of Type Speed, only with a sickly gold color and a red visor. Banno himself is an evil counterpart of Krimbelt, being a scientist who digitized his consciousness into a Kamen Rider belt. While Krim and Shinnosuke are partners, Banno lobotomized and hijacked the body of Roidmude wearing his belt. While Krim has been like a father to Team Drive, Banno is cruelest to both his biological children and his creations. Even how they die at the end of the Signal Ax is similar, yet different. Krim allowed Shinnosuke to kill him to prevent the Bad Future from happening while Banno was begging Gou to stop so that he could continue with his desired future.
  • Eviler than Thou: Professor Banno turns out to be much worse than his creations.
  • Evolutionary Levels: The Roidmudes can use Viral Cores to evolve into more powerful forms (for example, Roidmude 029 Cobra uses the Viral Core Cobra to transform into Iron Roidmude).
  • Evolving Credits: Starting with #7, the opening credits included Type Wild Tridoron and Drive with the Handle Sword. With #10, the credits include Type Technic Tridoron and Drive with the Door Gun. With #13, Kamen Rider Mach is included into the credits. With #23, Deadheat Mach and Drive Type Formula are included in the credits. With # 27, Kamen Rider Chaser and Medic are included in the credits
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Drive's weapons, the Handle Sword (a sword with a steering wheel on it) and Door Gun (a blaster shaped like a car door). You can blame those on Shinnosuke; Belt-san was visibly disappointed that he didn't come up with something more creative for either.
    • Mr. Belt even predicted that Type Formula's weapon would be called the Trailer Cannon.
    • The other Riders' weapons- the Zenrin (Front Wheel) Shooter (a gun with a spinning wheel on it for melee attacks) and the Shingou (Signal) Axe (an axe with a pedestrian crossing light on it) also qualify; they came with their names preinstalled though.
  • Exploding Barrels: In #2, the monster sends barrels flying at the Tridoron, and shoots them to make them explode to try to stop Shinnosuke from chasing him.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry:
    • Most of Drive's forms are asymmetrical as well thanks to the tires. Types Speed and Fruit wear the tire at an angle across the chest like a sash, while Types Wild and Tridoron mount it on the shoulder. Averted by Type Technic, which places the tire horizontally across the upper chest from shoulder to shoulder, and Type Formula as well, where dual tires are put on his forearms, though two of the Tire Exchanges for Type Formula place only one tire on Drive's right arm.
    • Mach has a round signboard on is right shoulder and a scarf hanging from his left.
      • As a way for incorporating both Riders in one suit, the shared Dead Heat upgrade has both Drive Type Speed's angular tire and Mach's signboard.
    • Mashin Chaser's design fits this trope to a T. He looks like a bike exploded and attached to random parts of his body, resulting in a very Borg-esque look. As Kamen Rider Chaser, Chase's helmet has some missing parts, and the left shoulder pad has his logo on it.
    • Proto-Drive mirrors Type Speed in having a diagonal stripe, though no tire is mounted there.
    • Tridoron can retract part of the hood on one side, in order to accommodate the Tire Exchange gimmick. It is also for hiding the Special Unit logo. Drive Type Tridoron is also missing that bit of hood on his helmet.
    • Brain's human guise has an asymmetric suitcoat.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Drive's three basic forms fit into this. Type Speed is the thief, specializing in its high speed, Type Wild is the fighter, with heavier brute-force attacks, and Type Technic is the mage, with its technopathy and other more esoteric powers.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Chief Honganji's horoscopes he receives on his phone always foreshadows an aspect of the plot, though he himself is not always aware of this.
    • The Handle Sword has something to press down on the front and can load a Shift Car from behind, just like the Brake Gunner.
    • The title sequence as well. What looks like a random scene of Tridoron dodging hazards is actually Banno trying to prevent the riders from reaching the Promised Land and stopping the second Global Freeze.
    • Brain laments that the troublemaking Roidmudes are the ones that always evolve. It's later revealed that the misanthropic nature of the Roidmudes that lets them evolve is actually programmed in.
    • The Judge case involved a man swearing vengeance on another man after he helped him, much like what Nira did to Shinnosuke's father.
      • It also involved said man's legacy staining his family, something that Gou fears will happen to him and his sister to their father's legacy.
    • A running gag is that Chase knows a bunch of stuff on the villains, but the reason he never shares it is because they didn't ask. What's the reason for Banno taking the Big Bad spot from the Roidmudes? No one bothered to ask about him until it's too late.
      • It also ties into Shinnosuke's irritation to keeping secrets. In a way, he was right.
    • Some of the Roidmude deaths early on were actually pretty tragic and are nothing like how the defeat of a monster would go down. They're not the true villains here.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Medic falls for Heart, though he doesn't seem like the type who would refuse her aid, and he is usually very open about his emotions.
  • Freudian Trio: The three main Riders.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: The Kamen Rider Chaser movie was this for Kamen Rider Double, as it deals with the remaining Gaia Memory, Beast.
  • Gang of Hats: Black Candle from the Judge arc, literally as they're also a Whole Costume Reference to A Clockwork Orange.
  • Harmful Healing: One of Drive's Shift Car helpers is the aptly-named Mad Doctor, whose treatments can themselves hurt as much as death; Shinnosuke found this out the hard way the first time Doctor was used, to save him from a deadly neurotoxin.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Drive Pit, Drive's secret HQ and Tridoron's garage, is located under a driving school. It's entrance is... a simple door that usually is blocked with a stack of carton boxes .
  • Honor Before Reason: In #16, Brain shows the other Roidmude leaders information about Special Investigations, even suggesting that one of them might be Drive. Both Heart and Chase dismiss the information, saying that defeating Drive when he's a powerless human would be meaningless. Medic likewise takes their side, telling Brain that as smart as he is, there are some things he just doesn't understand.
  • Humans Are Bastards: In #5, Mr. Belt and Chaser both warned Shinnosuke about trusting humans. Later on, one of the companies the Special Unit was protecting was smuggling a dangerous explosive compound. And in general, many episodes later involve human criminals' activities intersecting with the plans of the Roidmudes. It turns out their creator Professor Banno is the reason the Roidmudes believe this, as he was worse than any of them. It ends up being one of the least misanthropic uses of the trope, as the show restates time and time again that it's not all humans that are bastards, just evil-hearted ones.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: An interesting variant: Rather than being straightforward, the title of each episode is a question (for example, Why did my time stop? or Who stole the woman's smile?). This fits pretty well with the investigation motif of the series.
    • Averted by the final/crossover episode (48) which instead is titled The Case of Ghost, breaking the theme due to being a crossover episode but still keeping the investigation motif.
    • The Secret Mission series of special episodes has its own theme, each being Type [word], and most then having a subtitle.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Shinnosuke breaks his arm at one point and still tries to fight a monster. Unfortunately, the pain is still too much for Shinnosuke to do so much as put on the belt, so his friends have to bail him out.
  • Ironic Name: Despite having "Super" in its name, Drive's movie-exclusive form Super Deadheat has weaker stats than his Deadheat form.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In Drive Saga: Kamen Rider Chaser, a criminal dies on the border between Tokyo and Futo, resulting in the two cities' police departments clashing over whose responsibility he is. The debate is rendered moot when the crook springs back to life, reveals himself to be a Roidmude, then uses a Gaia Memory to transform into a Dopant; at that point, Shinnosuke, Go, and Ryu Terui pull out their Drivers and go to work.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Banno, who was always treated with a certain seriousness even before he appeared. Afterwards? We find out why the Roidmudes believed Humans Are Bastards.
  • Last of His Kind: Heart as of #46. Made all the more tragic by his efforts throughout the series to ensure the survival of the Roidmudes by any means necessary. Then he died in the end as well...
  • Lensman Arms Race: The entire series can be see as one between the Riders and the Roidmudes, as both sides keep developing new weapons, powers, and technologies to try and beat the other, neither ending up at a disadvantage for long. Then Banno shows up, steals from BOTH sides to use their techology for his own evil ends.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Shinnosuke whenever he shifts into "high gear", accompanied by him tightening his tie. It's Inverted early on as well, when he's severely demotivated and noted to be shifted into low gear instead.
  • Lighter and Softer: Downplayed. Compared to its predecessor's gritty and dark nature, Drive seemingly returns to its balance tone despite it's Downer Beginning complete with early 80's cop campiness along with the Showa era Rider/Super Sentai-styled episode structures. At the same time, the show isn't all fun and games like Den-O or Fourze. Then after the Cerebus Syndrome hits full throttle at #26 the show becomes flat out Darker and Edgier.
  • Love Triangle: Downplayed for most of the show, as both Shinnosuke and Chase have had Ship Tease moments with Kiriko throughout but things rarely went farther than that. Near the end of the series Chase finally realizes his feelings and starts prodding the other two about theirs, leading both to have a Love Epiphany about the other. Chase bows out gracefully after that.
  • Magic Feather: In the Hyper Battle DVD, Mr. Belt and Rinna pretend to power up the Type Speed and Max Flare Shift Cars into Type High Speed and Mega Max Flare in order to deal with a Roidmude who's copied Drive's appearance. After Shinnosuke has won, they admit the truth, saying that the Fake Drive had psyched Shinnosuke out and making him think he was stronger put him back in the right mindset to win.
  • Meaningful Name: A dead heat race means a tie between two racers. Type Dead Heat is a mode that ties the two Riders together.
  • Meta Twist: By now, the "good guy has an evil alter ego" twist has been repeated so much in a row that Kamen Rider Wizard couldn't cover it without someone calling the twist from day one. Enter Chase, who is similar to the elusive Proto-Drive in both visual design and their powers, to the point where even the characters were guessing he and Proto-Drive have a connection. Turns out that Proto-Drive was Dead All Along and that Chase is actually someone else... Or so we were lead to believe for three episodes before it confirms that yes, Chase and Proto-Drive are indeed one in the same, just that he had a third alter ego to go with it.
  • Moral Myopia: The Roidmudes have a hatred of Drive for killing their kind... despite the fact they launched a full scale invasion of the planet during the Global Freeze, intending to wipe out the human race, and generally having no qualms about killing innocent people.
    • The Paint Roidmude gets furious at Drive for stealing his paintings... that are actually the innocent woman the Roidmude kidnapped. Shinnosuke calls him out on it.
  • Mundane Fantastic: The Slowdowns got so frequent, how would one keep track of them? Why, with a smartphone app, of course!
  • Mystical 108: There are exactly 108 Roidmudes monsters. Each one of them is even designated by a number, ex. Roidmude 029, a Cobra-type. The official website has a counter keeping track of how many there still are.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Official Couple: Shinnosuke and Kiriko, unlike most Kamen Rider series, their relationship is less ambiguous, especially in the final arc. Not to mention, the final episode pretty much stated that Shinnosuke and her got married and she later gave birth to Eiji.
    • Beta Couple: Otta and Rinna are teased as such, with the Drive Saga: Heart movie revealing that they eventually get engaged.
  • Oh, Crap!: In flashbacks to the Global Freeze, Shinnosuke gets a look of sheer panic on his face as he fires the bullet that's going to cause the crippling of his partner.
  • Once an Episode: Shinnosuke and Chase clashing. It becomes notable whenever Shinnosuke is driving, only to find Chaser sitting on his bike in his way. He even lampshades it too in #5.
  • Otaku Kyu Saijo, the Special Investigations Unit's resident tech and a fan of the Show Within a Show, Murmur Mansion. He has merchandise of the show decorating his work station, multiple colors of a t-shirt with a design from the show, and constantly carries around a treasured doll that resembles a character from it.
  • Phantom-Zone Picture: This is what happens to the victims of the Roidmude duo in episodes 3 and 4. Destroying either Roidmude causes the women that particular one painted into these pictures to be instantly freed.
  • Police Are Useless: Surprisingly averted, for a Kamen Rider series. Not only is Drive a part of a special police unit, the main force and the rest of the team help him locate Roidmudes. His partner Kiriko is also the one who gets him back to work when he slacks, and is able to competently distract Roidmudes on her own. However, it gets double averted with the higher up cops like Gen (at first), who refuse to believe in the Slowdown despite it being a global phenomenon which had its start with a near-robot apocalypse.
    • #27 shows why that is happening: Roidmude 001 has been downplaying Roidmude incidents as much as possible by his usage of memory alterations.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Once again happening in Kamen Rider. Had several tight-lipped characters got into a room and shared the information they had on a person they all knew, they might have gotten the idea to prevent said person from being released from the Roidmudes' control and end up hijacking their position as Big Bad. A slight justification, given how there are certain complications towards the said tight-lippedness. And none of them had any idea that person was planning something destructive.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Drive's Midnight Shadow tire is a shuriken. Guess what theme his Sentai partner after ToQger is.
  • Psychoactive Powers: While Type Speed can be used at any time, Types Wild and Technic require Shinnosuke to be in the right state of mind first; Wild needs him to be Hot-Blooded while Technic calls for absolute calm (which he achieves, at least in its first use, through Tranquil Fury). Later on, Gou gets control over the drawbacks of Dead Heat by clearing his doubts and regaining his confidence.
  • Reconstruction: Of the franchise itself, since the show is going back to the classic nature of the Showa era.
    • It's actually quite a return to what a Phase 2 Heisei series is as opposed to the rest of the franchise. After Gaim played with the formula and the idea of what a Kamen Rider is more than any series since Ryuki, and used the "season-long movie chopped into 50-ish parts" format of the 2000-2010 series, we're back to everything that made The New '10s feel like a new era for the show. Two-episode arcs, check (though that began at the beginning of Heisei Kamen Rider with kuuga) Cute helper robots, check. The term Kamen Rider is back, check. Also, like Fourze, the collectible trinkets allow for smaller mode-changes and full-suit changes are a rarer Big Deal. Kiriko is basically Rinko in a world where the police are allowed to not be useless - and Drive is another Phase 2 Heisei Rider with a Friend on the Force (of course, he is on the force, so it's more to be expected.) Also, we're back to one Rider who gets a secondary Rider as a Sixth Ranger figure, as opposed to Gaim's many Riders.
    • It also seems to reconstruct themes picked apart by previous shows.
      • For example, Gaim shows the problems of keeping secrets, but Drive presents why keeping secrets is important. And also why it'd be important to reveal such secrets.
      • Wizard had the protagonist choose not to tell a Victim of the Week that her boyfriend was Dead All Along and that the person who popped up recently was a look-a-like out of fear that she'd hit the Despair Event Horizon. Drive had Shinnosuke tell his own Victim of the Week this exact same thing, and while she does hit the Despair Event Horizon, she manages to get the resolve to move on.
      • It also takes a new look at Wizard's take on the "monsters and humans co-existing" trope, eventually showing that, yes, Roidmudes and humans can co-exist, not just in harmony but also in cahoots. It also has Gaim's take on Humans Are the Real Monsters and shows that the actual monsters can pull that same thing too, as we see with Medic killing a good Roidmude and even plotting her own Project Ark... Though it turns around once Banno shows up.
      • Speaking of Gaim, it also takes a look at the damaged Driver plot point. Whereas when it happened in Gaim, it led to one of the biggest wham episodes in the show thanks to the Driver's owner gaining Sanity Slippage and being victim to Was Once a Man, Drive slaps that away and has the scientist repair the Driver in almost no time, and even nods to both the Mass-Produced Driver idea from Gaim and the stronger reconstruction idea from the Showa era by making a second, stronger version.
      • After five shows where becoming a monster was portrayed as more tragic, horrifying, and often ending in the human dying once the monster's defeatednote , Drive returns to the Double route of the trinket infecting the human, but ensuring that they are mostly not injured or harmed in defeating the monster, to the point where the human must be uninfected before the monster could even be defeated to ensure the lack of harm.
  • Recycled In SPACE: Word of God stated that they were going for a Kamen Rider (Double in this case, since Riku Sanjo is writing the show) doing a Cop Drama.
    • And, more obviously, Kamen Rider IN A CAR!!
  • Red Herring: In the final arc, Rinna starts mass-producing Mach Drivers for the police to use. They're wrecked when Roidmudes trash the Drive Pit and are never used.
  • Red Is Heroic: Both Drive's default Type Speed form and his Super Mode Type Tridoron are mostly red.
  • Robot Buddy: The Drive Driver essentially functions as one, since it's programmed with an artificial intelligence who talks to Shinosuke and who used to be a human scientist before he was killed by the Roidmudes.
    • The Shift Cars also possess a form of sentience and aid Drive in battle in a manner similar to Foodroids or PlaMonsters. #3 implies that when not helping Drive they patrol the city searching for Roidmude activity.
  • Robot War: The Roidmudes are android monsters waging one of these against humanity.
  • Secret Identity: Unlike the recent holders of the Kamen Rider title, Shinnosuke has to keep his identity as Drive a secret from most of the Special Unit save for Kiriko and Rinna. Episodes 5 and 6 show that Mr. Belt is just really paranoid about revealing Drive's identity to other people. It gets thrown out midway through, with the rest of the Special Unit finding out and Chief Honganji, who knew all along, deciding it'd be best to go public.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: In #13, Go remarks that Shinnosuke and Kiriko make a cute couple, saying that if his sister has a nice boyfriend it's one less thing for him to worry about, and even asks if he can start calling Shinnosuke "Big Brother Shin". Both of them deny any attraction, then complain about how adamant the other's denial was.
    • Happens again in the Kamen Rider Drive vs Shuriken Sentai Ninninger special
    • In #43, Chase asks Shinnosuke if he's in love with Kiriko, prompting a hilariously overblown reaction which includes a Spit Take, Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat, and listing off her bad points as he stammers and tries to drink more water, only to get more on his shirt than in his mouth due to his shaky hands. Then in #44 he asks Kiriko if she loves Shinnosuke and she reacts in exactly the same way, which Chase interprets as a "yes".
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Show Within a Show: Murmur Mansion, an anime that Kyu (and, later, Shinnosuke) are fans of. It's known for its unique artstyle, blend of emotional moments and funny ones, and lack of spoken dialogue. The lattermost point is what leads to #20, because a voice actress was brought on for the movie and invoked ruined what made the series special to begin with. The show is apparently so good, Shinnosuke got hooked onto it despite having other interests, and it even caused a Roidmude to Heel–Face Turn so that he could enjoy more of the series.
  • The Smurfette Principle: As usual, Kamen Rider's a male while a woman supports him. Subverted when Rinna reveals as another woman aiding him.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • Is it Roymyuudo, Roimyuud, Roimuld or something else? As it turns out, it's Roidmude.
    • Is Drive's green form Type Technic or Type Technique? Both have been used in official materials, but the name he actually wears on his tire says Technic.
  • Super Prototype:
    • First off there is Proto-Drive/Chase, who subverts this trope at first with his inability to destroy Roidmude cores before turning this around as Machine Chaser, who is able to keep up with the hero for most of his time as a villain, despite Drive's constant stream of upgrades, and then finally played straight with Kamen Rider Chase, who is a perfected Machine Chaser
    • Then there is Drive himself, which acts as the prototype for Mach. Although Mach starts off stronger, true to the trope Drive's collection of supermodes eventually allows it to surpass the newer system
    • Finally, Mach becomes the super prototype to the mass produced Police Machs.
  • Theme Music Powerup: Happens in just about every episode.
  • Theme Naming: The core Riders are all named after motion words: Tomari (Japanese for "Stop"), Go, and Chase
  • Those Two Guys: The two police chicks played by Hitomi Isaka and Mitsuki Endo from the Kamen Rider Girls.
  • Time Stands Still: The Roidmudes' Slowdown ability - slowing down the air around them, to the point where everything around will slow down or altogether stop moving. The victims can move somewhat but are far too slow to actually do anything to stop or get away from the Roidudes. Humans who are in a possession of a Shift Car are able to negate the Slowdown and keep up with the Roidmudes. This seems to shift inbetween from a passive ability to an active ability.
    • It has been noted that 1 Shift Car negates 1 standard Slowdown. Multiple Shift Cars were needed when multiple Roidmudes were generating multiple standard Slowdowns simultaneously in the same area. With the introduction of Hyper Slowdowns this may vary being as only Type Formula, Type Dead Heat, and The Trailer Cannon could move at all.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: The Roidmudes were wrecking havoc all around the world during the Global Freeze, but six months later they all seem to make Tokyo their base of operations. Mr. Belt himself says in #11 that worldwide Roidmude activity has gone down as the Roidmude executives have started moving towards Japan.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: The preview for #45 doesn't just say "Someone is going to die", it outright tells you who's going to die and shows how it happens. The character in question is Chase, killed fighting Gold Drive, complete with him dying in Go's arms.
  • Tranquil Fury: Use of Type Technic supposedly requires a "cool" state of mind, which becomes impossible for Shinnosuke in the heat of battle. Until he crosses from the rapids of anger through the waterfall of hate into that simmering pool of nothing on the other side when the Volt Roidmude decides it's a good idea to taunt Shinnosuke with trapping a kid in an electric shock device that would immolate said kid when the machine goes live.
  • Universal Driver's Licence: Another first in this show, the long-awaited subversion - Chase and Gou have to be car-certified before they're allowed to operate the Tridoron.
  • Villain Override: On the one hand we have Brain, a Technopath who can jack random smart devices in passing; and on the other we have the Ride Crosser, formed by grabbing Mashin Chaser's bike whether he wants to or not. There's also the case of Shift Deco Traveller deliberately running into Chase's Brake Gunner to activate a diversion.
  • Wham Episode: #10. They confirm a lot that we have guessed atnote , some we merely theorisednote , a heaping helping of whamnote , and finally the two-eps-an-arc pattern is thrown out as they end with a Cliffhanger.
    • And then there's #11, where we learn that Chase is Roidmude 000.
    • #20 reveals just what angle Medic is playing at... and it's not a pretty game for the Roidmudes.
    • #21. Just...just wow. During a fight with Chaser, it's revealed that he can create a Density Shift strong enough to affect Riders. And then Medic reveals that she can upgrade a Roidmude midbattle. Top that off with the fact that she corrupts ALL OF THE SHIFT CARS, and Chase being able to combine all three of his Viral Cores, it's no wonder why Type Formula was needed
    • #23 has Go's belt being destroyed. If we know anything about that from previous Kamen Rider shows, things will not end well.
      • Subverted, as Mach's belt is repaired first thing next episode.
    • #25 has Shinnosuke forced to reveal his Secret Identity as Drive.
    • #27 reveals the reason for Go's determination to destroy all Roidmudes. Turns out Professor Banno is his and Kiriko's father, and Go is trying to clean up his dad's mistake.
    • #32 ends with Freeze achieving his Ultimate Evolution and killing Drive in ONE HIT!
      • And in #33 Drive is revived with a new Super Mode and returns the favor, killing off the guy who had until now been built up as the Big Bad.
      • The show seems to be shifting into high gear, because #34 is another whammer of an episode. The truth behind the murder of Shinnosuke's father is revealed. It turns out Nira killed him. Oh, and Brain uses the power of Nira's envy to achieve his own ultimate evolution.
    • #38 has Heart achieving his Ultimate Evolution after finding pure joy of having Shinnosuke as his worthy opponent and would have nearly killed the riders if it weren't for Banno shielding them. Also wait, is that future Krim?!
    • #39 has Banno revealing himself to the SCU, including his daughter Kiriko who was very shocked and Krim who is more furious to see him again. As Shinnosuke and Go has trouble fighting against Heart while Kiriko gets kidnapped by Tornado, one of the Ride Boosters arrived only to shoot them down... and it was Banno who was piloting it! As this causes Shinnosuke to be separated and cease his transformation... while 004 arrives to take the Drive Driver off of him and walks away while Shinnosuke can't fight back.
    • #40 reveals what a monster Banno truly is as Heart remembers how he had the appearance of the man he hated and was tortured out of petty reasons which cause Krim to leave Banno in disgust. Then Banno becomes a Drive Driver and what chip did Banno just put in Belt?!
    • #41 has 006, who was set up as one of the powerhouses and candidates for the Promised Number, about to go into his Advanced form which he touts is on par with Heart's... then Banno kills him by taking his core out of his body and destroys it! He uses 006's body to transform into Gold Drive which is the same power as that of an Ultimate Evolution and shows his horrifying power against Go.
    • #42 has Medic revealed to be corrupted into being heartless by the negative emotions she absorbed from Roidmudes she cured. She then achieved her Ultimate Evolution... at the cost of her mind being wiped by Banno and being her servant along with Heart being forced to work for Banno. The Promised Number have been reached but Brain is already on the run.
    • #43 begins endgame with 004 revealing himself as Evil Future Krim who was actually helping Banno all along to use Krim's data to make a Dark Drive Driver and help make plans for the next Global Freeze.
    • #44 continues with the Promised Number being fully assembled and begins the Global Freeze with the power of Four Ultimate Evolutions fueling Banno's device called the Sigma Circular... which then siphons the excess energy off of Medic in attempt to kill her. Brain then performs a Heroic Sacrifice by directing the device's path to him which kills him as his core disintegrates. However, Banno reveals to them that they are not in the Promised Land as the device was used to gather their power so he can use it for himself to start his own Global Freeze. Oh and 004 self-destructs in order to take the heroes and Roidmudes out.
    • #45 starts with the destruction of the Drive Pit and ends with the death of Chase... along with his core destroyed to confirm it.
  • Wham Line:
    • In #13, we get to see a dark side to Go. Namely that he's more than willing to stoop to the Roidmude's level if it means stopping them.
    • Medic is fighting Mach with her two modified Roidmudes. Mach inquires if these are the new Reapers. What she says is so shocking, even her two Roidmudes turn and go "wait, what!?"
    "I've come to a realization. No matter how many times you reset them, Roidmudes make the same bad decisions. That is why, aside from Mr. Heart, myself, and a chosen few... It would be more pragmatic to dispose of them. That's how I will handle our affairs, acting as the new Grim Reaper."
    • Go's reason for fighting the Roidmudes?
    "Because my father was the one who created the Roidmudes. Banno Tenjurou. He made them go out of control and because of that... The Global Freeze happened... All those people died... And I... I'm running out of time.
    • Medic says this with no emotion after Banno mindwiped her once she achieved Ultimate Evolution.
    "I did it all for Heart..."
  • What a Piece of Junk: Double subverted. The Tridoron is based on early 1990s, "zenki" version of Honda NSX, which was pretty much too old to survive in modern days due to strict unfair Japanese laws. However, this old Honda was revamped very much to the level of Cool Car that the Tridoron is not your regular street racer's Rice Burner. See for yourself.
  • You Didn't Ask: This was Chase's reason for why he didn't tell the Special Cases Unit about 001's ability to change people's memories

Nice Drive!


Video Example(s):


Shift Mad Doctor

The Mad Doctor Shift Car is capable of immediately healing the killer poison circulating through Shinnosuke's system. However, as Mr. Belt explains, the treatment can be "as painful as death". But despite the indescribable agony, it works.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / HarmfulHealing

Media sources: