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Series / Kamen Rider Ex-Aid

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“I'll clear this with No Continues!”
Emu Hojo

Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is the 2016-2017 entry in the Kamen Rider series; the eighteenth entry in the franchise's Heisei era and the twenty-seventh series overall. It premiered on October 2, 2016, and aired alongside Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger and Uchu Sentai Kyuranger in the Super Hero Time block.

In the present day, an experimental gaming system created by the Genm Corporation goes awry when critical glitches give birth to sapient computer viruses known as "Bugsters". Bugsters manifest in real life as a biological virus and infect innocent human beings, incubating themselves until they can take over their host and wreak havoc. If the Bugster epidemic cannot be stopped, then the real world will become akin to a videogame world where violence and the Bugsters reign supreme.

Emu Hojo is an inexperienced but earnest pediatrics intern at the prestigious Seito University Hospital. Yet on the Internet, the bumbling Emu is known as "M", a videogame prodigy who can confidently beat any game no matter the difficulty or genre. A chance meeting with Asuna Karino, an agent of the Ministry of Health, sees Emu using the Genm Corporation's "Gamer Driver" system to transform into Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: a real-life videogame hero with the power to save his patients from the Bugster infection.


Yet all is not as it seems. New doctors soon appear with their own Gamer Drivers and philosophies on how best to use them. A mysterious black Palette Swap of Ex-Aid fights against Emu and the other Kamen Riders. A new "Rider Game" is about to erupt over the Rider Gashats that provide power to the Gamer Drivers; just who will claim all of the Gashats for themselves and become the "super doctor and saviour of humankind"?

Kamen Rider Ex-Aid's tie-in projects include:

  • Poppy Pipopapo's Room, a web series recapping the first twelve episodes.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Tricks: Virtual Operations, five web episodes discussing the specs and features of the main Riders.
  • Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legendary Riders, the yearly crossover film; in this case featuring Ex-Aid and Kamen Rider Ghost... going up against none other than Pac-Man.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Tricks: Kamen Rider Genm, a web series epilogue to Heisei Generations.
  • Kamen Rider Brave: ~Let's Survive! Revival of the Beast Rider Squad!~, a special exclusive to Toei's "Toku Fan Club" streaming service.
  • Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Chou Super Hero Taisen, a movie crossover between Kamen Rider and Super Sentai.
    • Kamen Sentai Gorider, a web series spinoff of Chou Super Hero Taisen.
  • Kamen Rider Snipe: Episode ZERO, A four-episode miniseries included in the series DVD and Blu-ray collections, featuring Snipe's backstory.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Tricks: Kamen Rider Lazer, a Televi-Kun magazine exclusive DVD.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: True Ending, the series' major theatrical tie-in, set after the TV series (despite releasing first) and serving as its Grand Finale.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Tricks: Kamen Rider Para-DX, a second Televi-Kun exclusive DVD.
  • Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL: Build & Ex-Aid with Legend Riders, the next year's crossover film; this time with Kamen Rider Build.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Trilogy: Another Ending direct-to-video movies featuring the other Riders of the cast:
    • Kamen Rider Brave & Snipe
    • Kamen Rider Para-DX with Poppy
    • Kamen Rider Genm vs. Lazer
  • Mighty Novel X, a novel set after Another Ending.
  • Kamen Rider Genms, crossovers with Kamen Rider Zero-One that star Kuroto Dan with Gai Amatsu/Kamen Rider Thouser; released on the Fan Club streaming service.
    • Kamen Rider Genms -The Presidents-
    • Kamen Rider Genms -Smart Brain and the 1000% Crisis-, which also includes elements from Kamen Rider 555.

Voted #8 series in the Heisei era and #8 product overall in NHK’s All Kamen Rider Popularity Vote.

Recurring Kamen Rider tropes include:

  • Cool Bike: None of the Riders have a motorcycle - Kamen Rider Lazer’s Bike Gamer form is a motorcycle! Until he's killed, that is, after which Ex-Aid can summon Bike Gamer as a normal nonsentient bike. Genm also gets his own spin on it, as the Shakariki Sports Gashat can summon a pedal bike. This, too, becomes Ex-Aid's later after Genm abandons it.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Played straight for the Bugsters.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Ex-Aid first debuted in Kamen Rider Ghost: The 100 Eyecons and Ghost's Fateful Moment, Genm briefly appeared during Ghost's final battle, and both featured in the Ghost Post-Script Episode.
    • The next Kamen Rider, Build, makes appearances in True Ending and #44.
  • Finishing Move: All of them are "Critical" something. Most Riders have "Critical Strikes" when they use their Gashat in the belt slot and "Critical Finishes" when using it with weapons. Higher level Riders get unique versions: "Critical End",note  "Critical Dead",note  "Critical Combo",note  "Critical Smash",note  "Critical Slash",note  "Critical Fire",note  "Critical Break",note  "Critical Kick", note  "Critical Punch",note  "Critical Crews-Aid",note  "Critical Bomber",note  "Critical Judgement"note , "Critical Sacrifice",note  and "Critical Sparking".note  The first word of the Gashat used is added to the beginning of the name (for instance, Ex-Aid has the Mighty Critical Strike). Several of these attacks are, of course, Rider Kicks. To go with the video game theme, the text flashes on screen and a close up of the rider is shown, similar to how many games handle finishers and special attacks.
  • Henshin Hero: Even with its crazy design choices, Ex-Aid is still a Kamen Rider series.
  • Home Base: There is a secret basement level beneath the Seito University Hospital. This is where the Riders home of operations, the Cyber Rescue Center, is located.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Yup, this is still going strong. This time, the focus is on the Gashat Cartridges. There are also medals which are used in another Ex-Aid focused arcade game Buttobasoul which in-show are used by the Riders as power-ups. The Mighty Action X game that Ex-Aid uses to transform is even playable as a downloadable bonus with All Kamen Rider Revolution.
  • Monster of the Week: The Bugster, beings born from glitches in a hyper-advanced gaming system. They can infect people like an actual virus. There are 10 Bugsters as MOTW, born from the initial 10 gashats, although this aspect decreased as of late.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: As per franchise tradition, the Riders have the same source of power as the Bugsters and use their power against them - the Riders even have to get a Bugster vaccine before they can use the Gashats safely. Or in Emu and Masamune's case, they've been infected already. There's also the fact that the Riders got their Gashats from Kuroto Dan in the first place as part of his nefarious plans; he intended them to be Unwitting Pawns but they're continuing to be thorns in his side even after he doesn't need them any more.
    • It is also played with, in that the "bug" came from a malfunctioning computer in Genm Corporation, Kuroto only discovered it. And while he was the one responsible for sending those bugs through Emu, they matured as the Bugster virus in Emu's body. So in a sense, one could interpret it that the origin of the actual Bugster virus is from the main Rider.
  • Protagonist Power-Up Privileges: Ex-Aid uses eight different Gashats over the course of the show, with the other main Riders having between four and six. Unlike most cases, though, the upgrades that Brave and Snipe get as Midseason Upgrades are much better than the one Ex-Aid gets, resulting in a considerable period of the show where it's the protagonist who's left in the dust.
  • Robot Buddy: Each secondary Gashat and the Gashat Gear Dual Beta can summon a robotic "Gamer" buddy based on its genre, which can then transform into armor and weapons for the Riders' upgraded forms. A few exceptions take the form of vehicles instead of robots such as Sports Gamer (bicycle). After Kiriya's death, Bike Gamer can similarly be summoned, but can't act on its own and is just a motorcycle.
  • Transformation Sequence: Definitely one of the more notable examples of the series, the transformation process is pretty complex. As usual it starts with a driver when, when placed on the waist, forms as the belt. The user then pulls out a gashat and activates it which displays and announces the game (or form in crossovers) it's based on. They insert it into the belt and the transformation commences. At the start, inserting the gashat would have the rider start in a “chibi” form of sort which is known as “Level one”, which can fight but doesn't have much power. After some fighting, the belt allows a “level up”, allowing the user to pull the lever on the belt. This activates the real Kamen Rider form (complete with a bit where the chibi-form shifts to a more human form) to allow for proper fighting. Later in the series, the protagonists and villains level up enough to bypass this and go straight to their fightable forms.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Gamer Driver and the Rider Gashats, which, like Kamen Rider Gaim and Kamen Rider Ghost, are used by all Riders. The Gamer Driver has two Gashat slots; Riders can insert a single Gashat for Levels 1 and 2, combine the powers of two Gashats for Level 3 forms (or Level 5 in the case of Drago Knight Hunter Z), or use a double-sized Gashat for even higher levels.note  The Graphite Bugster also uses Genm's Bugvisor to activate his monster form, and Genm himself uses it as an alternate belt called the Buggle Driver. An upgraded version, the Buggle Driver II (Zwei) is introduced later on; used by Kamen Riders Poppy and Cronus. Each Gashat is based on a different Video Game Genre:
  • Mighty Action X Gashat: Based on Platform Games. Ex-Aid's primary Gashat for Action Gamer form.
  • Taddle Quest Gashat: Based on Role-Playing Games. Brave's primary Gashat, activating Quest Gamer form.
  • BangBang Shooting Gashat: Based on First-Person Shooter games. Snipe's primary Gashat as Shooting Gamer.
  • Bakusou Bike Gashat: Based on Racing Games. Lazer's primary Gashat as Bike Gamer, which takes the form of a motorcycle rather than a warrior. After Lazer dies, Ex-Aid uses it to summon Bike Gamer as a regular motorcycle. Much later, Cronus gives Lazer a second version that instead activates a humanoid Level 0 version of Bike Gamer.
    • Proto Bakusou Bike Gashat Combi Fukkatsu Version: A prototype variation of Bakusou Bike, featuring Mighty as the main character. Ex-Aid uses it in the Kamen Rider Lazer DVD as a Level 0 upgrade, Bike Action Gamer.
  • Gekitotsu Robots Gashat: Based on Mecha Games.note  Ex-Aid uses it to attain his Level 3 form, Robot Action Gamer.
  • DoReMiFa Beat Gashat: Based on Rhythm Games. Brave utilizes it to reach his Level 3 form, Beat Quest Gamer.
  • Jet Combat Gashat: Based on Shoot 'em Up games. Use of it allows Snipe to gain his Level 3 form, Combat Shooting Gamer.
  • GiriGiri Chambara Gashat: Based on Hack and Slash games. Thanks to its power, Lazer is able to transform into his Level 3 form, Chambara Bike Gamer. Genm takes it and, while he doesn't wear a compatible Driver in Zombie Gamer form, is able to use its Gashacon Sparrow weapon.
  • Shakariki Sports Gashat: Based on Sports Games. Genm uses it to obtain his Level 3 form called Sports Action Gamer. After Genm abandons it, Ex-Aid claims it and activates his own Sports Action Gamer form.
  • Drago Knight Hunter Z Gashat: Based on Co-Op Multiplayer games (specifically in the style of Monster Hunter). A Mid-Season Upgrade that's shared between all four heroic Riders at once to activate their Level 5 Hunter [X] Gamer forms. A Rider can also combine all the Hunter upgrades into a more elaborate Full Dragon form, but it's more difficult to control so trying to solo a raid isn't recommended.
    • Each of the ten Gashats above also have a couple variations. Monochrome Prototype versions are more powerful but can harm the user's body with prolonged use; Genm uses the Prototype Mighty Action X Gashat and an earlier version called Mighty Action X Origin once he's back from the dead for an Action Gamer form identical to Ex-Aid's (only colored black). Taiga also used the Prototype BangBang Shooting five years prior to the start of the show, and a revived Lazer uses various prototypes for "Level 3"-like Level 0 forms. There are also stripped-down "Gashatrophy" versions awarded to Ride-Players who defeat Bugsters.
  • Dangerous Zombie Gashat: Based on Survival Horror Games, Genm uses it with the Buggle Driver to activate his Level X (10) Zombie Gamer form. It's generally not compatible with the Gamer Driver; if a Rider tries to use it in the second slot, it drains the Rider's Rider Gauge instead of leveling up (and presumably using it in the first slot has consequences that are just as bad). However, due to either special properties of the Proto Mighty Action X Origin Gashat or Genm's human-Bugster hybrid biology at that point, Genm can pair the two to activate a "Level X-0" version of Zombie Gamer with the Gamer Driver.
  • Mighty Brothers XX Gashat: Another Platform Game-themed Gashat, created by Emu's unique strain of the Bugster virus. Ex-Aid becomes a form called Double Action Gamer, a "two-in-one" form that starts out as the Level-1-esque Level X (10), before leveling up and splitting Ex-Aid into two separate Level XX (20) Riders representing the two aspects of his personality, the mint-green "Emu" left side and orange "M" right. It's later revealed that "M"/the orange Double Action Gamer was actually Parado all along.
  • Gashat Gear Dual: This is Parado's only Gashat, which he uses to become Kamen Rider Para-DX. Unlike the others, it has two games in one that he can switch between for Level 50 forms: Knockout Fighter (Fighting Game) for Fighter Gamer and Perfect Puzzle (Puzzle Game) for Puzzle Gamer. He can also use it to transform on its own, without needing a Driver. When he does get a Gamer Driver, he can merge the two games, allowing him to access his Level 99 form, Perfect Knock Out Gamer.
    • A monochrome version called Gashat Gear Dual Another is used by Another Para-DX in the Another Ending: Para-DX DVD.
    • Knock Out Fighter 2 Gashat: A sequel to Parado's Fighting Game, Ex-Aid and Para-DX share this in the Kamen Rider Para-DX DVD with each getting their own Level 39 Double Fighter Gamer form (though Parado's is identical to his usual Fighter Gamer form).
  • Gashat Gear Dual ß (Beta): Another two-game Gashat, this one shared by Brave and Snipe to activate their own Level 50 forms: Brave's game is the Role Playing Game Taddle Fantasy , which activates Fantasy Gamer, while Snipe uses the naval battle Simulation Game BangBang Simulations for Simulation Gamer. Originally Brave and Snipe had to alternate using the Gashat, but eventually a second one was made so both could reach Level 50 at once.
  • Maximum Mighty X Gashat: The third game in the Mighty series and a second one tied to Emu's Bugster virus, Ex-Aid uses it to obtain his Level 99 form, Maximum Gamer; a huge and powerful set of Powered Armor that resembles a scaled-up Level 1 form. Thanks to a special program loaded into the Gashat, Ex-Aid can hack Bugsters' programming and remove their abilities.
    • Genm later makes his own version in one of the Another Ending movies, called God Maximum Mighty X and set at Level Billion.
  • Tokimeki Crisis Gashat: Based on Dating Sims, Poppy Pipopapo uses it with the Buggle Driver II to transform into Kamen Rider Poppy.
  • Hyper Muteki Gashat: Ex-Aid's strongest Gashat based on an Invincibility Powerup, it acts as an add-on for his Driver to transform into his final form while using the Maximum Mighty X Gashat, the Muteki Gamer. Other Riders can use in the Gamer Driver's second slot to receive temporary invincibility.
  • Kamen Rider Chronicle Gashat: The end result of Kuroto Dan's "Ultimate Game". The game itself is part Survival Sandbox, part Mascot Fighter. Used on its own, it'll transform anyone into a Ride Player. When used with either the Gamer Driver or the Buggle Driver II, it will transform the user into Kamen Rider Cronus — but only if they have a complete immunity to the Bugster virus; otherwise it would be fatal.
  • Doctor Mighty XX Gashat: Appearing at the end of the series, this Gashat functions as an antivirus program rather than a game; able to weaken Gamedeus and cure his infection.
  • A few extra Gashats with Level 4 upgrades show up as well; mostly in tie-ins: Ex-Aid has the fast-food cooking game Ju Ju Burger in a single episode of the main series, Brave uses Night of Safari in the Kamen Rider Brave special, and Snipe gets BangBang Tank in Snipe: Episode ZERO but doesn't use it to transform.
  • Taddle Legacy Gashat: A Gashat used by the "Other" Hiiro to transform into Kamen Rider True Brave in Cho Super Hero Taisen. Cronus eventually gives it to the regular Brave, activating Legacy Gamer Level 100 form.
  • Mighty Creator VRX Gashat: Appearing in True Ending, Ex-Aid uses this Virtual Reality Game Maker Gashat to transform into Creator Gamer, gifted with an Imagination-Based Superpower.
  • Hurricane Ninja Gashat: Also appearing in True Ending, Kagenari Nagumo uses it with the Gamer Driver to transform into the ninja-themed Kamen Rider Fuuma, whose base form is called Ninja Gamer. Fuuma also has his own henchmen called Ninja-Players, who transform using the Hurricane Ninja Gashat without the Gamer Driver.
  • Mighty Novel X Gashat: A Visual Novel from the print novel of the same name. Ex-Aid Novel Gamer is capable of Rewriting Reality.
  • And, as usual, there's a series of Legend Rider Gashat toys with the powers of previous Kamen Riders, including Let's Go Ichi Go, Bouken Yarou ("Adventure Guy") Kuuga, Agito of the Sun, Mirror Labyrinth Ryuki, Moshi Moshi Faiz, King of Poker Blade, Taiko Master Hibiki, Insect Wars Kabuto, Time Express Den-O, Dokidoki Makai Castle Kiva, Barcode Warrior Decade, Meitantei ("Detective") Double, Jungle OOO, Space Galaxy Fourze, Magic the Wizard, Toukenden ("Swords Legend") Gaim, Full Throttle Drive, Kaigan ("Eyes Open") Ghost, and a Legend Rider Gashat for Ex-Aid’s successor, Kamen Rider Build. The ones from Wizard to Ghost were used in Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man and Kamen Rider Genm as Level 1-2 forms.
  • There are also Legend Game Gashats based on real-life Bandai Namco Entertainment games: Pac-Adventure, Famista ("Family Stadium"), Xevious, Taiko no Tatsujin, Galaxian, and of course, Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbarizing. In the Genm web video series, the first three are used as Level 3 upgrades, Taiko no Tatsujin is used for a Critical Strike, and Genm used Ganbarizing on a Collabos Bugster to summon clones of past Riders. Galaxian is used by Brave in Cho Super Hero Taisen.
  • Weapon of Choice: All the Riders get a weapon that can switch between two modes by pressing their A buttons and power up attacks by pressing B:
    • Ex-Aid's weapon is the Gashacon Breaker, which has a Hammer Mode and Blade Mode. Genm also has one in his Level 0 form.
    • Brave's weapon is the Gashacon Sword, which has fire and ice attacks.
    • Snipe's weapon is the Gashacon Magnum, which can switch between handgun and rifle modes.
    • Lazer's weapon is the Gashacon Sparrow that can split apart into a pair of scythes. Genm later lays claim to the Gashacon Sparrow after he kills Lazer and starts using his own Bugvisor as a belt.
    • Genm, Poppy, and Cronus each have a Gashacon Bugvisor (Genm has the original version while Poppy and Cronus use a Bugvisor Zwei), a weapon styled after a handheld game system (specifically a Game Boy Advance) that has a Chainsaw on one side and laser turrets on the other.
    • For Double Action Gamer, Maximum Mighty Gamer and Muteki Gamer, Ex-Aid gets the Gashacon Keyslasher, a weapon with sword, gun, and axe modes combined with what looks like either Simon or Lights Out. What makes this Gashacon weapon unique is that it's three weapon modes don't require a transformation, or adjustment. Simply press the button of the mode you need, Sword, Gun, or Axe, with multiple presses increasing the attack strength of that mode. The Orange keys are for Axe, the Mint for Sword, and the Yellow for Gun. Hence the name - you press the buttons like a "keypad".
    • Para-DX Perfect Knock Out Gamer's personal weapon is the Gashacon Parabragun which can transform into gun mode and axe mode.

I'll list these tropes with no continues!

  • All There in the Manual: The TV Asahi website for Ex-Aid has a section for Riders which give detail on the suit specs and features not normally addressed in the show, like how the Gamer Driver functions.
  • And the Adventure Continues: By the end of the series, Game Disease is still a problem in the world, no matter how small it may be, and the people trapped in the Proto-Gashats don't currently have a way of getting out, meaning the Riders and CR still have plenty of work to do to help.
  • And Then What?: Poppy asks this of Parado and Graphite in #40, pointing out that Bugsters are video game characters and asking what they think will happen if they wipe out humanity and there's nobody left to play the games anymore.
  • Anyone Can Die: Just like Ryuki and Gaim before it, the show makes it clear that there's no guarantee that any one of the main characters will come out in one piece when it's all over. Anyone can also be revived, within limits, but there's major debate between the characters if revival as a Bugster really counts.
  • Anime Hair: Most Riders' helmets are designed to resemble this. Ex-Aid, Genm, Para-DX Fighter Gamer, and Cronus have spiky hair (with Ex-Aid Double Action Gamer XX being spiky on one side, "slicked back" on the other). Brave has an ornate ponytail, Snipe's helmet has Peek-a-Bangs, Lazer's has a spiked mohawk, Para-DX Puzzle Gamer has something like a pompadour that drops down between his eyes, and Para-DX Perfect Knock Out Gamer has a wild spiky mane.
  • After Action Patch Up: Played with, as the patch up itself is usually skipped. The Doctor riders get hurt in battle and then show up with bandaids, mostly on their faces.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Despite their looks, the Level 1 forms pack quite the punch. In fact, they actually are stronger than their Level 2 counterparts! However, what they make up with raw strength, they lack in agility. And then, there's Double Action Gamer Level X, Ex-Aid's Level 10 form which is basically the upgrade version of his Level 1, which is stronger than all of the forms that has appeared so far and has enough power to defeat freaking Zombie Gamer.
    • Ride Player Nico. There you have a Ride Player with cutesy hat and bag… with the stats of Level X. In fact, she's the only Ride Player that can clear Kamen Rider Chronicle.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Emu:
      • Killing innocent people while disregarding the value of life in front of him is a big no-no.
      • Mocking about humanity’s mortality is a very bad idea, as Cronus find out the hard way when Emu, now capable of moving during Pause due to Parado’s Heroic Sacrifice weakening it, punches his Buggle Driver Zwei while untransformed that is so hard it sends him crashing toward his own clock.
    • Hiiro and Taiga:
      • Graphite in general is this for the two, for many personal reasons.
      • Hurting Nico became this for Taiga.
    • Parado:
      • He doesn’t take it kindly when Bugsters were unceremoniously killed by either a mildly Ax-Crazy CEO with a god complex, or his Big Bad father who see everyone and everything as a product to sell for profit. At this point, he finally snapped.
    • Kuroto:
      • He really hates it when there’s an unauthorized changes/additions to his “ultimate game”, such as Emu acquiring the Mighty Brothers XX Gashat.
  • Bio-Augmentation: In order to use the Gamer Driver, you need to have a special surgical operation. It makes Emu a mystery to the others as to why he could use the Gamer Driver, since he hasn't had the operation to anyone's knowledge. It turns out he was Bugster Patient Zero and was used to breed the original virus.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Leans heavily towards the optimistic side, but doesn't completely shy away from the bitter end of the spectrum: Kamen Rider Chronicle is permanently over, Emu and Kiriya are officially part of the CR, Nico is going back to school and supporting Genm Corp's stocks with her savings, Taiga's opened up a Game Disease clinic to start his life over again, Kuroto's on the path to redemption, Poppy and Parado are revived, and Tsukuru is now the CEO of Genm Corporation, ensuring that the company's in good hands. However, with Masamune's death, the doctors currently have no way to revive those who were deleted, though Emu is confident that they'll find one someday. Also, Game Disease is still in the world, but the riders will always be there to fight it.
  • Bookends:
    • Just like Drive, the opening sequence contains a shot that isn't "explained" until the final arc. In this case, the nighttime shot of the four Doctor Riders standing together (Ex-Aid riding Lazer with Brave and Snipe on either side) is repeated in the final episode as they face down Chronus for the last time.
    • In #1, Emu's initial strategy while fighting the Salty Bugster Union is to lure it into chasing after him. In #44, during the fight against Gamedeus, Emu lures it away in the exact same manner.
    • When Ex-Aid first appears in Kamen Rider Ghost, the Ghost cast mistake Ex-Aid for Genm. Come this series' Early-Bird Cameo, and Kamen Rider Build mistakes Genm for Ex-Aid.
    • The series introduces Emu by face-planting on the floor. The series ends with a scene of Emu face-planting on the floor.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Energy Items have many uses, such as rubberizing, shrinking, or confusing enemies. More often than not though, the riders will use Muscle Up, since getting a boost in attack power is a pretty effective way to level the playing field. (No pun intended.)
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: Inverted. While Kuroto is smart, he rarely actually uses those brains in combat. Parado is the only main villain who actually relies on skill, rather than being Unskilled, but Strong and relying on a huge power edge for combat. In contrast, Emu and then later Hiiro make very good use of clever tactics, techniques, and skill.
  • Breather Episode: Notable in that every single one has a Cruel Twist Ending.
  • Broken Aesop: Subverted. The theme about doctors needing to accept that death is inevitable and sometimes they can't save everyone is undermined by the revelation that every game disease victim has been digitized and could potentially be revived, meaning none of them have truly died. Then comes Dan Masamune, who starts actively killing them to blackmail the Riders....
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Literally everyone. The main Rider is a timid klutz whose personality makes a 180 degree turn whenever a game is involved. The hospital director can switch between stubborn disapproval and kind openness within the same sentence, and even has a sound effect dedicated to it. The female lead is a care assistant who seems fairly straight-laced until her personality turns upside down with the revelation that she's actually a cutesy mascot from a dancing game. NO ONE is without a quirk in Ex-Aid land.
    • It gets even wilder as Emu and co. are later joined by a mildly-insane CEO of a game company who spend the first half of the show antagonizing the heroes while creating his “ultimate game” with his godly talent, a calm-headed Bugster who was connected to the main protagonist in some way, and a teenager girl who wants revenge on the main hero for breaking her perfect videogame winning streak.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Beast Rider Squad special brings back quite a few characters and groups, with three main ones representing the different eras of the franchise: King Dark from the Showa era, Takeshi Asakura from the first Heisei era, and Foundation X from the second Heisei era.
  • Call-Back:
    • It was raining during Kiriya's final moments; in #34 it's raining again when he makes his big return. And in a Bookends way, Kuroto and Kiriya again died at that place while it was raining in Kamen Rider Genm vs. Lazer.
    • Masamune saying Kuroto needs to be stopped was brought up again in Kamen Rider Genm vs. Lazer. As well as Kuroto's issue with his mother dying.
  • Cartridge: The basis of the design for the Gashat Cartridges, the transformation trinkets for this season. The name of the collectible is based on the Japanese onomatopoeia for inserting cartridges into a console.
  • Central Theme:
    • Would you prefer the real world where there is only one "life" and no "continues" that you have to fight so hard, or would you prefer the world of gaming where you can't die because you have "continues"?
    • The value of Life and if it can/should be measured or harnessed is also prominent.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Kiriya leaves Emu his Game Driver before he dies. When Kuroto destroys Emu's Game Driver, Emu is still able to transform thanks to Kiriya's dying act of generosity.
      • Gets upgraded to Chekhov's Boomerang in #34 when Hiiro is forced to grab Kiriya's driver for Cronus, leaving Emu hanging until it's revealed that Kuroto had Emu's original Driver completely restored. Who gets Kiriya's Driver then? None other than KIRIYA.
    • Combined with Unspoken Plan Guarantee in #36 when Emu decides to recreate the already failed scheme by Kuroto to infiltrate Chronos' Bugvisor, this time strongarming Parado into it as the infecting virus...only to re-infect himself with his Bugster to regain the power of Genius Gamer M.
    • Early on in the series, Poppy scolds Emu and told him that he must use level 1 first to separate the Bugster and the victim. In #44, Emu is the only one that came with the idea to use level 1 to separate Cronus and Gamedeus.
    • Masamune being one of the first experimental infectee like Emu having a Bugster like Parado.
  • Combat Medic: The heroic Riders are all doctorsnote  equipped with superpowers and capable of kicking plenty of tail, since their job is supposed to be both fighting the Bugsters and treating the victims. Each of them even has different specialization:
    • Emu is a pediatrician.
    • Hiiro is a surgeon.
    • Taiga is a radiologist.
    • Kiriya is a coroner.
    • Asuna is a nurse.note 
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Genm Corp. has yet to have one CEO who's not this trope in some way. If anything, each manages to turn out to be even worse than the one before.
  • Covers Always Lie: In the series of preview images for #19, one image showed Hiiro holding the Mighty Action X Gashat to give the impression that Hiiro would transform into Ex-Aid. In the actual episode, Hiiro does try to transform, but Emu steals it back from him just before he can.
  • The Corruption: If an unprotected human activates a Gashat, not only will the Gamer Driver fail to work correctly, but they'll have done nothing but give themselves a Bugster infection. Stronger Gashats can be dangerous even to people who've had the compatibility surgery: you need training and experience to use a stronger Gashat than Level 5, while a Proto Gashat is only safe to use if you're a Bugster yourself. Hyper Muteki and Kamen Rider Chronicle are even harder to use than that: you need a trait that only two characters possess and that takes over a decade to develop, or you'll die.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Colorful video game mascots, knights, and soldiers fighting bosses in real life! Transform into your own Rider form and customize it! But it's all to destroy a pathogen that wreaks deadly havoc to stress out its host enough to kill them. Or in the latter case, it's to get you to rush to your own death - and then your loved ones to rush to their deaths to revive you.
  • Crate Expectations: The power-ups mentioned below are hidden in game related destructibles that are generated whenever the Riders transform. There are multiple types depending on the Rider's game genre. Ex-Aid gets Mario-like breakable blocks (apparently made of chocolate), Brave gets Inexplicable Treasure Chests, Snipe brings in Exploding Barrels and Lazer gets Trophies.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: Cyberbrain Rescue’s primarily target are the Bugsters, beings that infect people with a virus in order to materialize in the real world.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Riders can be perfectly healthy until their Rider Gauge hits zero; when that happens death is certain within the next few minutes unless you have a way of cheating.
  • Crossover: It is typical for the current Rider to get a crossover movie with the previous Rider, in this case Ghost. But this time, freakin' Pac-Man comes into the equation, along with Wizard, Gaim, and Drive. All this is in Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legendary Riders.
    • The spring movie, as usual, is a crossover of Kamen Riders with Super Sentai.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Most form and Rider debuts are this, as usual. Additionally, as a consequence of several of the villains being Unskilled, but Strong, nearly every fight they have is either a giving or receiving curbstomp.
    • The final battle has Chronus, who boasts about having god-level powers...and he gets thrown around like a ragdoll by the five Riders in Level 2 forms, much to his utter shock. This is thanks to Parado's sacrifice suppressing the Gamedeus Virus within his body and Emu damaging the Buggle Driver so that he can't use Pause anymore, meaning Level 2 and some actual teamwork is all the Doctors need.
  • Cyberspace: The Gashats can produce platforms and power-up items, while the Gamer Drivers can produce VR battlefields through "Stage Select".
  • Cyberpunk: While Ex-Aid is a Medical Drama series, it also has some shades of this. See Crapsaccharine World above.
  • Darker and Edgier: Despite the goofy visual style and designs, the series sports a much darker Crapsaccharine World tone than its predecessor. Most of the main Riders have some form of dysfunction that makes them antiheroes at best, the creator of the Drivers is one of the lead villains, and it's the first series since Gaim to kill off a Rider during the first act, even if he does come back much later.
    • Bloodier and Gorier: The Beast Rider Squad special even more so, featuring among other things Takeshi Asakura attacking two people, giving Emu a brutal beatdown in human form, and a whole lot of blood.
  • Dark Reprise: From #15 through #24, EXCITE plays at the end of the episode rather than the start, usually over a suitably dramatic moment to give it this effect.
  • Deadly Game: Kamen Rider Chronicle infects players with game disease. Running out of health while playing has the same deadly ramifications as with the Kamen Riders, as does quitting the game without defeating at least one Bugster.
  • Deal with the Devil: #30. The only way Poppy can use the Proto Mighty Action X Origin Gashat against Parado involves striking a deal with Kuroto Dan. Although by #31 as his true motive become known, he's becoming a slightly better person. His dad on the other hand, gets into one with Hiiro with him pulling all the strings regarding Saki.
  • Death of Personality: After Kiriya's death, the Bakusou Bike Gashat now summons a non-sentient version of Bike Gamer Level 2. To hammer home the fact that Kiriya has been Killed Off for Real, its eyes are now blank and it can no longer move independently. It's just a vehicle now.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Ex-Aid takes the trope of bringing people back to life that Ghost casually touched upon and rams it by introducing a case of Surprisingly Realistic Outcome. The Riders question the ethics of this trope once it's proven to be true, with one of them being subject to a Deal with the Devil regarding bringing back his love interest, while the civilians, who use the Kamen Rider Chronicle Gashat to become weak, mook level Riders, are more than willing to put their lives on the line to finding a way to bring their loved ones back to life. In fact, this is the motive for most, if not all the Victims of the Week once Kamen Rider Chronicle hit the shelves.
    • Parado's character arc is a deconstruction of Fish out of Water plots involving video game characters brought into the real world who play by game rules. At first, Parado has no idea the terror death brings people in real life, being a Bugster and all and not truly dying but Emu instills humanity into him and ends up absorbing him after destroying him, making him experience terrors of death. Once he experiences this, he repents for what he has done and decides to play co-op with Emu.
    • Kuroto is ultimately a deconstruction of the Enemy Mine trope. He hasn't actually changed in any meaningful way and his only real reason for joining forces with the heroes is Revenge not actual investment in their goals. As a result, he is ultimately only ever as helpful as he needs to be to beat the current villain he hates, to the point the entire Kamen Rider Chronicle situation could've been resolved the moment Hyper Muteki was introduced (and thus the means to defeat Gamedeus was in play) as he was capable of creating a Cheat Code to get them to the final level in five minutes if he felt like it. He also has to be kept on a very short leash by Poppy, as he's still an unhinged psycho. Because he's not changed one bit, nothing is stopping him from returning to being the Big Bad in the Another Ending trilogy the moment all other major villains have been taken out of the running except gaining enough power to be a threat again.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage:
    • The DoReMiFa Beat Gashat plays an instrumental version of the show's opening theme, EXCITE, when it's used in #6.
    • The very first scene of #40 shows Masamune humming to himself...and its the chorus of his own theme song, "Justice", sung by his actor, Hiroyuki Takami. He does say two of its lyrics, the first and last words of the chorus' first stanza, "justice" and "reset".
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Averted. One of the plot point of #13 and #14 is the victim of the week having pancreatic cancer on top of gaming disease.
  • Duality Motif: Every major character has two aspects to their personality, and most of their weapons have two forms. Mighty Brothers XX and Para-DX make it especially literal, with the former being able to split into two Riders and the latter having a head that turns around to change his form.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Humanity's only hope against a lethal and otherwise untreatable virus is a clumsy intern who spontaneously changes personalities with glowing red eyes when a game is mentioned, an arrogant surgeon who's more interested in killing Bugsters than helping patients, an even more arrogant unlicensed doctor who's more interested in stealing everyone else's Gashats than killing Bugsters, and a habitual liar who's more interested in finding out what's going on with the Bugsters than any of the above. Humanity's screwed.
    • This is somewhat subverted since most the doctors had Hidden Depths to their motive.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Par the course for Early-Bird Cameo in the previous season's Movie, but Ex-Aid's cameo in the Ghost movie is a lot more different visually. Namely, power-ups were visible as green coins, the font and style of the HIT signs is different, and the Finishers don't display their names across a split screen.
    • In Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legendary Riders, the Mighty Brothers XX Gashat was made by fusing the normal Mighty Action X Gashat with it's prototype, lacked the Level X form, didn't have the Gashacon Keyslasher and R and L were much more like two clones than a Literal Split Personality. The prop Mighty Brothers XX Gashat lacked a bit of blue paint as well.
  • Ejection Seat: A variation. Because using the Gamer Driver has serious effects on the user thanks to the Rider Gauge as mentioned below, the user needs to remove the Gashat before they lose all of their health, otherwise it's Game Over for them. The Gashat however has an automatic safety protocol - it automatically ejects when the user has low health, thus ejecting the user from the Game Arena and de-transforming the user to prevent them from dying through a Game Over. Dangerous Zombie has a jamming function that prevents Gashats from automatically ejecting, but Riders can and do still manually eject or otherwise choose to make an escape when low on hit points.
  • Enemy Mine: This is the usual course of actions in the series as result of combining number of characters with differing (often incompactible) goals and Always a Bigger Fish.
    • In #10, when Emu's gaming personality tricks all of the other Doctor Riders into engaging him in a three-on-one battle using the unstable Drago Knight Hunter Z Gashat, which results in them gaining temporary digital copies of it for use against Dark Graphite. They work together (albeit with Teeth-Clenched Teamwork) to defeat Dark Graphite, then they're right back to hating each other. Then in the next episode, they genuinely pull together with Drago Knight Hunter to finally take down Genm.
    • The cooperation (of sorts) between Hiiro and Taiga when they are willing to set their personal matters aside for common goal (like saving Emu).
    • Cronus' arrival causes the Bugsters to try and forge an alliance with CR to the general dismay of everyone. It doesn't work at all at first.
  • Episode Zero: The Beginning: Kamen Rider Snipe: Episode ZERO, the prequel to the main story and Taiga's Start of Darkness.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Gashat Gear Dual, used by a villainous Rider, has a noticeably deeper voice than the Gashats used by the protagonists. Similarly, the Buggle Driver used exclusively by the Big Bad is deeper-sounding than the heroic Gamer Driver. The Kamen Rider Chronicle Gashat and Buggle Driver Zwei one-up all of the above.
  • Evolving Credits: The intro sequence constantly receives minor tweaks throughout the series, as is common for Rider shows, but can be broken into three major categories: the first opening sequence from #1-14, the second opening from #25 onward, and #15-24, where there is no opening and the opening theme is instead played as background music for dramatic effect at the end of each episode. The breakneck pace of this arc in particular assures that there's always a suitable Wham Line to play the music to.
    • The second opening still reflects the breakneck pace of its own arc as some minor changes are made to reflect various twists and turns, meaning some versions of the second opening only last for less than a handful of episodes. In fact, one iteration only lasts for ONE episode (#36's, reflecting willingly evil Kiriya, only for #37 to change that to reflect that he was Good All Along, plus the addition of Hyper Muteki Ex-Aid.
  • Fictional Video Game: The series is filled with them. We also see a handheld developed by Genm Corporation, often seen being played by Emu or Parado. Mighty Brothers XX and Maximum Mighty X are special cases as games that were created by Heroic Resolve rather than programmed traditionally; it's not clear if they can actually be played in whatever game system is actually supposed to use Gashats.
  • First-Episode Twist: Not quite first, but Kamen Rider Genm's identity is revealed to the audience almost immediately and revealed to the Riders during the first ten episodes.
  • Five-Man Band: As CR accrues more and more Riders on their side, they end up with a full set:
  • Flawed Prototype: The Prototype Gashats are apparently limitless in their potential, but have one very serious drawback: they'll ruin their user's body with prolonged use. This is only alluded to in the show proper, but shown in the Kamen Rider Snipe: Episode Zero special where Taiga's friend Maki tries to use the Bang Bang Shooting prototype. Rather than simply infecting him with the Bugster virus as the final version did, it causes him to vomit up a huge amount of blood near instantly.
  • Following in Their Rescuer's Footsteps: Emu Hojo was saved as a kid from a car accident by Doctor Kyotaro Hinata. It wasn't limited to just the physical healing as Kyotaro also gave Emu emotional support after the surgery. It was that experience that made Emu to become a doctor and help people both physically and emotionally.
  • Foreshadowing: The show's loaded with it due to its dozens of twists and turns, many of which are alluded to in ways that only make sense in hindsight.
  • Gambit Pile Up: Kamen Rider Chronicle turns into this: Kuroto wanted to turn it into a battle royale were everyone fought each other and the Bugsters forever (and as a means to resurrect his dead mother), Parado wanted to use it as a Final Solution to perform genocide on humanity, and Masamune wanted to use it to control all life, all of which were mutually exclusive.
  • The Game Come to Life: The Bugster virus causes game characters to come to life at the expense of the people they infect. The Riders have to take on the roles of the game's heroes to stop them. Kamen Rider Chronicle eventually applies the trope on a much larger scale.
  • Genre Savvy: Emu and Nico are pro-gamers while Kuroto and Masamune are game company CEOs, with the former also being a game developer. As a result, they're all extremely well versed in gaming tropes, cliches, and conventions, which is rather handy when both you and your enemies' power sets run on them. As a result, all four frequently namedrop, invoke, and exploit video game tropes, with Masamune outright referring to himself as the True Final Boss of "Kamen Rider Chronicle" and even pointing out that the heroes probably should've seen the Final Boss going One-Winged Angel coming.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The heroic Riders have bright primary colors and pastels, while the villainous Genm and Cronus use buckets of black in most of their forms, combined with purple for the former and green for the latter. Averted by Para-DX, who wears bright red and blue.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Three times over the course of the show, though each time comes with different twists on the formula and reasons for doing it that make it easy to miss that the trope is being repeated at all.
  • Homage: The series is practically a love letter to retro video gaming. It's loaded with homages and references to real-life classic video games. Even some of the special effects are made to look like the style of the dated special effects of those games.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Many of the show's villains are defeated because of actions that they take which give them a temporary advantage but end up being a Meaningless Villain Victory in the long run.
  • Hollywood Game Design: Kuroto Dan is the CEO of a major developer, yet he seems to hand-code all the games himself. It goes to Refuge in Audacity heights once the coding is actually shown being performed. Some games aren't even coded at all so much as they're just willed into being.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: In the end, the ultimate Bugster proves to be nothing more than a power mushroom for the all-too-human Big Bad. Even before then, of the three main antagonists, two are human, while the third is a Bugster who never assumes a monster form, if he even has one.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode's title has at least one word, sometimes an entire phrase, written in Gratuitous English. Some even have a word play/pun - for example, #7 has the title "The Reason of Some Lie" with "Some Lie" being the English words of the episode. Said words can be read phonetically in Japanese as "Samurai", making the episode "The Reason of Samurai". It's the episode where the samurai-themed game Girigiri Chanbara debuts.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Parodied with power-up containers and power-up items just appearing whenever the riders transform.
  • In the Name of the Moon: Played for Laughs in #24. After seeing Lucky do his own roll call as Shishi Red, Emu is inspired to do his own. It doesn't stick.
    Emu: "Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Level 10!"
  • Instant Illness: While common Bugster viruses require the patient to be stressed to manifest their symptoms, stronger breeds like Graphite's inflict their full symptoms on the victim from the moment they're infected. Justified in that the Bugster virus is a sentient plague.
  • Interface Spoiler: The character select menu that surrounds each Rider during their transformation contains two blank portraits with question marks, as well as a portrait for Genm before the other characters meet him. One of the blank portraits fills in with the first use of Mighty Brothers XX, while the other fills in with the first use of Knock Out Fighter 2. Other characters and forms avoid being spoiled either by sharing their portraits with an existing Rider or by not using the character select at all.
  • Ironic Echo: Emu often says "I'll clear this with no continues!" before battle. However, in #25, the gang is told Kamen Rider Chronicle is a game with "no continues" after six players who didn't know their lives were at stake are cut down by Parado and learn the meaning of "Game Over" the hard way, screaming in terror as they are deleted.
    • Kuroto goes on to use the catchphrase "I'll finish this, even with continues," once he gains his 99 lives after reviving.
    • Remember when Parado kept saying about a loser deserving his bad ending and its variations, especially towards Emu? Emu tells him that right before he kills him.
  • Irony: The game disease victim of #13 is a world famous gastrointestinal surgeon. Turns out, aside from the game disease, he is actually suffering from pancreatic cancer.
  • Large Ham: Shin Kuroto Dan. has an extremely over the top personality, especially after His Resurrection.
  • Lensman Arms Race: No Rider stays on top of the power curve for more than seven episodes at the absolute limit, a record jointly shared by Para-DX Level 50 and Hyper Muteki Ex-Aid. The more typical average is two to three episodes before any given powered-up form is met by someone opposed to that Rider getting something even better. The new power-up is usually, though not always, created specifically to counter the one that came before it.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • Ride Player Nico is comically weak compared to every actual Rider note  and has to call out most of her finishers herself, but still manages to defeat Bugsters much stronger than she is. Hiiro, Taiga and Emu also all take turns playing the role when they're on the losing ends of the level curve at various points but still find ways to defeat their overleveled opponents.
    • The Level 1 forms look goofy and chibi compared to the other forms. Said forms are what ultimately allow the heroes to defeat the Final Boss after he goes One-Winged Angel, practically being able to No-Sell the boss.
  • Life Meter: The energy bars on the Rider's chests, called Rider Gauge, serve as this, decreasing in response to taking damage and increasing after picking up a Recovery token. They also sound a Critical Annoyance warning when they get low. If it drops to zero, the Riders will die. Some Riders have an unique Rider Gauge: Ex-Aid Double Action Gamer Level XX, who have three bars; Genm Zombie Gamer Level X, whose Rider Gauge is shown to be always empty before Emu's Maximum Gamer reprograms it so he can be killed; and Para-DX's Level 99 form with three life bars. Some forms, such as most of the Level 3 forms, have chestplates which cover the Rider Gauge. Some, like Para-DX, Poppy, and Cronus, lack one entirely. In addition, all Ride Players have their Rider Gauge hidden from other players due to the shutters covering them.
  • Living Battery: The Gamer Driver uses "bio energy" of its wearer as a power source. While it's benign unlike most that follow this trope (i.e. repeated use of King Form will slowly turn you into a monster) as all it does is multiply the user's strength and stamina while providing protection, however receiving any damage does take away your "bio energy", as seen in the Rider's Rider Gauge. And while the person can replenish lost "bio energy" with recuperation, losing all of the "bio energy" through damage until the Rider Gauge goes zero will result in death.
  • Mascot: Each of the Gashats have a mascot which acts as the "player character" of the game. The Riders in turn mimic the looks of the Mascot. Then we have Poppy, which is DoReMiFa Beat's mascot.
  • Medical Drama: Yes indeed, albeit in a Toku fashion. All of the Riders are doctors and the action focuses on the Seito University Hospital. In fact, one of the driving motivations behind fighting the Bugsters is curing the disease that they spread.
  • Millennium Bug: It is responsible for the early form of the Bugster Virus.
  • Mirror Match: Par for the course for the series - there's any time Gemn fights against Ex-Aid (since both use the same base Gashat), and then, there's Taiga against Dan Masamune while both are using the powers of Kamen Rider Chronos.
  • Mood Dissonance: The theme of video games and the bright, preppy suit designs is juxtaposed against medical drama and serious tension among the characters. Even the goal of the villains is basically "turn the world into video games through viral infection". This is intentional of course, as mortality plays a bigger role as one of the key themes of the series.
  • Mood Whiplash: Every jolly Breather Episode has a Cruel Twist Ending waiting in the wings that usually outweighs any happy moments from earlier in the episode, if it doesn't just straight-up Shoot the Shaggy Dog.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: Kamen Rider Chronicle has ordinary people becoming Ride-Players in order to participate in fighting Bugsters in real life, unaware that Game Over means death. The game is rated A by CEROnote .
  • Move in the Frozen Time: Ex-Aid's Super Mode "Invincible Gamer" (themed around an Invincibility Powerup) is capable of ignoring Kamen Rider Chronus's overwhelming "Pause" power. In its debut, Chronus tries to freeze Ex-Aid as he presses the button to enter the form... only for his Transformation Trinket to reactivate itself a few moments later, announcing "INVINCIBLE!"
  • Multiple Endings: Appropriately for a video game-themed series, the show has several:
    • Bad Ending: It seems fate has smiled upon Masamune Dan. With Perfect Knock Out gone, Hyper Muteki has lost his ability to transform. Now there's nothing that can stop Cronus. All of the Riders, and all humanity, are fated to a bad ending.
    • Normal Ending: The Riders are able to pull off a victory against Cronus, but in a final act of spite, Masamune erases both himself and the Kamen Rider Chronicle Master Gashat to prevent the Bugster Virus's victims from being resurrected using its power. The doctors intend to find another way, and develop a cure for the Bugster Virus. Kuroto returns quietly to his prison, while Taiga at last begins to rebuild his shattered life. The day, for now, is saved, but Johnny Makishima is still out there with the Gashacon Bugvisor he took from Graphite.
    • True Ending: The Riders foil Johnny Makishima's scheme to become a god with the power of Gamedeus, and Kagenari is reunited with his daughter. However, a mysterious red and blue Rider appears and steals Emu's ability to transform, sealing it in a mysterious bottle before taking his leave.
    • Another Ending: Kuroto's final mad scheme creates one last gift, a Gashat that allows the doctors to begin restoring the bodies of those lost to the Bugster Virus. Kuroto himself is Killed Off for Real...perhaps.
  • Mythology Gag: The series has its own page for that.
  • No Body Left Behind: This is the final result for the people infected by the Bugster virus, also how Riders who reached Game Over die.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When Parado has enough of Kuroto's treating Bugsters like disposable pawns, he makes his wrath known with one of the most epic beatdowns in franchise history. Kuroto may not be able to die, but it turns out that getting six kinds of hell beaten out of you still hurts plenty.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The second opening sequence shows a montage of each Rider's actor holding up their primary Gashat... except any who are dead, who instead just get a blank screen with a brief flicker of static in their respective primary color.
  • Oddball in the Series: A Video-Game themed Medical Drama entry for a Tokusatsu series. That alone would probably make the cut (though the franchise isn't alien to weird combinations, like high school and outer space or time travel and trains or even street dancing, Sengoku-era samurais and fruits), but then we have Riders with SD Gundam-like eyes and the Level 1 forms.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Averted. Games and gaming are shown fairly accurately, and while old-school visuals and sound effects do show up it appears to be an intentional retro style. It helps that Toei has a business relationship with a real-life game dev, Bandai Namco Entertainment, allowing an actual WonderSwan and even Pac-Man himself to make appearances (and the WonderSwan is even period-accurate, appearing in a flashback that took place when the system really was on sale).
    • In fact, the only real gaming-related goof seen so far is a case of Present-Day Past: A flashback to 2010 shows a tournament featuring Tekken 7: Fated Retribution. 7 was the current Tekken title when Ex-Aid was airing; in 2010 they would have been playing some version of Tekken 6.
  • Palette Swap: The Level 3 forms created by Bandai Namco Entertainment themed Gashats - Pac-Adventure, Xevious, and Famista - are all repaints of Gekitotsu Robots, Jet Combat, and DoReMiFa Beat respectively, and are even used by the same Riders (Ex-Aid, Snipe, and Brave). Despite that, they have their own unique powers. Similarly, Brave's Night of Safari Gashat summons a version of Drago Knight Hunter modified to look like a jungle cat instead of a dragon, and the Legacy Gamer armor worn by True Brave and later the real Brave is largely a white-and-gold version of Brave's existing Fantasy Gamer armor, with the demonic details retooled into angelic ones.
  • Passing the Torch: As per tradition when a Kamen Rider series finishes. The final episode sees Dan create a Gashat of Kamen Rider Build. The others gather around it as Emu take it and starts it up. Signifying the start of Build for the following week.
  • Patient of the Week: Sometimes once a week, sometimes one patient per two weeks, depending on the arc.
  • Plot Archaeology: Foundation X were set up early on to be the recurring villains of the second half of franchise's Heisei era, but were gradually forgotten after Kamen Rider Fourze. They would eventually return in a special for Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, before serving as the Big Bad of the crossover film between Ex-Aid and Kamen Rider Build.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The events of #15 center around Hiiro and Taiga picking a fight with Emu rather than telling him what they'd just learned about him. Justified in that both characters are jerks and this is typical behavior for them, so much so that Emu isn't even the least bit surprised that they're attacking him for no apparent reason. Taiga also has reason from his perspective to try and take Emu's Gashats away before doing anything else, as there's plenty of evidence that they're making the situation worse.
  • Power Levels: Each Rider has alternate forms called "Levels". Level 1 is a Super-Deformed form that can perform Separation Surgery on victims of The Virus by the Bugster. Level 2 is the standard combat form for use when the monster emerges into the real world, Level 3 is an enhanced form using a second Gashat cartridge, and to reach Level 5, all Riders use the Drago Knight Hunter Z Gashat. The level system undergoes Rank Inflation later, with Riders jumping to Level 10 (Genm Zombie Gamer, the Super-Deformed version of Ex-Aid Double Action Gamer), Level 20 (the regular Ex-Aid Double Action Gamer), Level 50 (Para-DX, Brave Fantasy Gamer, Snipe Simulation Gamer), Level 99 (Ex-Aid Maximum Gamer, Para-DX Perfect Knock Out Gamer), Level 100 (Brave Legacy Gamer), and some don't even have defined levels (Ride-Players, Poppy, Cronus, Ex-Aid Muteki Gamer). Note that while levels indicate the overall power of the form, there are many ways to defeat a high-leveled enemy, as there are in most video games.
    • Then there's Level 0, the Level of the revived Riders, Kuroto and Kiriya, which has the ability to negate Bugster powers. Then Kuroto adds Dangerous Zombie and ends up with Level X-0.
  • Power-Up: When fighting, the Riders will also find crates (said to be chocolate blocks), barrels, and chests containing power up medals. When they grab them, they gain the appropriate power up. The power-ups are the following:
  • Product Placement:
    • JuJu Burger was certainly created on behalf of McDonald's.
    • Various tie-ins promote a number of Bandai Namco games, with bonus points for featuring Kamen Rider's own game Ganbarizing.
    • The equipment used for True Ending's Virtual Reality is a modified, Gamer Driver-colored version of the PlayStation VR; and Sony released an Ex-Aid VR mini-movie as a tie-in.
  • Reconstruction: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid takes the working with a digital recreation of the villain trope that Kamen Rider Drive did and fixes it a bit by creating a means for the good guys to keep the villain in line while shifting the more eviler aspects of him over to his father.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Due to all the Foreshadowing utilized by the show, rewatching it after learning various plot twists puts a lot of details, conversations, and moments in a completely different light on second viewing.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Kamen Rider Chronicle's signature Rider should presumably be named Chronos, after the Greek personification of time (which is also the root of the word "chronicle"), but like many before them the Toei staff got him confused with Cronus, the Titan who fathered Zeus and the other Olympiansnote .
  • Save Token: Invoked, of all things. Kamen Rider Cronus gains the power to press the Reset Button. How do the heroes counter this? Energy Items that act as a save file and make them unaffected by any changes he tries to implement.
  • Set Bonus: Inverted with Drago Knight Hunter Z: while the full armor may look more powerful, it's both very difficult to control and considerably weaker than when each Rider uses only a piece of the armor.
  • Shout-Out: The series has its own page for that.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • The initial type of "operation" (such as it is) consists of the Rider using their Level 1 form to safely separate the Bugster Virus from the patient, which takes the form of a giant CGI blob monster called a Bugster Union. When the separation is done, the virus assumes its humanoid monster form and the Riders can dispatch it using Level 2 or other forms. Like most gimmicks involving giant CGI monsters, this gets phased out by the end of the first ten episodes in favor of the Bugsters just skipping straight to their humanoid forms.
    • The Final Battle ultimately plays out like this: the heroes manage to defeat Gamedeus, then Cronus fuses with Gamedeus into Gamedeus Cronus, then after defeating Gamedeus Cronus he transforms into Super Gamedeus, and then finally after separating the two they still have the normal Cronus to take out.
  • Significant Name Shift: Emu used to be a pro gamer nicknamed "M", but no one calls him that anymore. No one but Nico, who spent six years (the whole time since his retirement) holding a grudge against him for the single defeat in her otherwise perfect winning streak. She starts calling him "Emu" after moving past her grudge.
  • Single-Attempt Game: This is the ultimate goal of Kuroto Dan. His game, Kamen Rider Chronicle, is created to turn everyone in the world into a Kamen Rider and force them into an endless fight for survival where a Game Over means dying for real. While he dies before the game is completed, his former partner-in-crime Parado proceeds to take over and manages to complete the game. Parado, being a "Bugster" game character come to life, uses it as a means for his fellow Bugsters to ultimately wipe out humanity. Later reveals throw new wrinkles into this: Kamen Rider Chronicle actually backs up users' data so that nobody really dies; Kuroto in his own twisted way even intended it as a medical tool to save the lives of people with otherwise incurable ailments. This doesn't actually make anything better, as whoever's in charge of Kamen Rider Chronicle has full control of who gets to respawn and how, and by this point in the series it's in the hands of Kuroto's father Masamune, who holds players' lives hostage to get more and more people playing.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: From #15-24, the opening theme plays at the end of the episode (or in #16's case, a random scene in the middle of the episode) instead of the beginning of the episode. So it leads to situations like the cheerful "EXCITE! EXCITE! Kokoro wa" playing when Kuroto is dramatically revealing that Emu was the first person infected with the Bugster virus and Emu's stressed reaction to it.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Kamen Riders Lazer, Genm, Para-DX, and Cronus had multiple romanization picks when they were revealed early on (in general, they were assumed to be "Racer", "Genmu", "Paradox", and "Chronos"). Thankfully supplemental material like the Ganbarizing cards and toys offered official romanizations for their names.
    • Parado's romanization took a long while to appear, that some settled for "Pallad" (to go with Graphite for elemental names) or "Parad" (to go well with "paradox"). Eventually a cast poster was shown spelling out "Parado".
  • Spoiler Opening: The second version of EXCITE spoils the silhouettes of Para-DX's Level 99 Form and Cronus, Poppy's Level X Form having blue eyes instead of red and Nico becoming a Ride Player.
  • Stealth Pun: The episode where Lazer's GiriGiri Chanbara form debuts is called "The Reason for Some Lies!", the joke being that "Some Lie" is pronounced as "Samu rai".
  • Story Arc: The series is divided into story arcs similar to Gaim. In order:note 
    • "The 10 Games Arc" (1-12): The first arc is about the effort of the Riders to complete and gain the original 10 Gashats and the secret surrounding the mysterious "Black Ex-Aid".
    • "Emu's Secret Arc" (13-24): In this arc, the secret to Emu's immunity to the Bugster Virus and Kuroto Dan's master plan is revealed.
    • "Kamen Rider Chronicle Arc" (25-40): Continuing after the previous arc, the Riders must deal with new threats, as Parado unleashes the now complete Kamen Rider Chronicle upon humanity. His tenure as Big Bad is short-lived, however, as an unexpected threat to both the Riders and Bugsters appears in the form of Kamen Rider Cronus, whose presence soon eclipses the Rider-Bugster conflict.
    • "True Ending Arc" (40-45): The heroes must stop Cronus' final onslaught while also dealing with Kamen Rider Chronicle's final boss, Gamedeus.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Level X Gamers can fight evenly against opponents whose levels range from 10 to 1,000,000,000 due to the dynamic nature of the class.
  • Sudden Video-Game Moment: A regular feature; all the fight scenes are peppered with things like "Hit!" messages and other game-style graphic and audio effects.
  • Super-Deformed: The Level 1 forms (and Ex-Aid's Level X form) are all this, fitting the video game theme.
  • Super Prototype: The prototype versions of the ten Gashats are more powerful than the regular versions, but are also Flawed Prototypes that are more damaging to the user's body.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: All Rider weaponry has an alternate mode, and a way to boost attacks. By pressing A, the weapons switch forms, and by pressing B, an attack can be strengthened, depending on the weapon and the number of times it was pressed..
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The initial four Riders all hate or distrust each other for various reasons, and much of the first arc is spent on Emu steadily hammering them into what can at least be charitably described as a team. Later additions to the cast are similarly laden with personality flaws that make it difficult for them to work together.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In #25, the Poppy avatar tells the Ride Players - dozens if not hundreds of civilians with pseudo-Rider armor in what they believe is a game - about "rare characters" called Kamen Riders who you can beat up to take their "special items". Somehow, with full-body-concealing suits, the Riders manage to convey "Oh, Crap!" quite nicely but are of course still determined to save them.
  • Totally Radical: The designs and bright, saturated neon colors are specifically meant to evoke a late 80s/early 90s aesthetic.
  • Troperiffic: The series took the video game theme and ran with it. And never stopped running with it. If it's a video game trope, odds are it is in some way referenced, discussed, invoked, played with, or present in some capacity, some even being namedropped. Justified, as the cast includes pro-gamers, game company CEOs and game developers, and the villains are literally video game characters come to life.
  • True Final Boss:
  • Twinking: Essentially the CR Riders' plan to win Kamen Rider Chronicle, which is meant to take years to beat: Nico as a Ride Player defeats the various Bugsters to collect their trophies, but most of the actual work is done by the CR Riders using vastly more powerful gear than hers.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Invoked in #33 - Emu and Kuroto manage to figure out how to counter Kamen Rider Cronus' Game-Breaker ability, but we never learn what it is until they finally face off with Cronus. Problem was that Hiiro was also in on it...
  • Unwinnable by Design: Kamen Rider Chronicle is blatantly unfairly balanced against the people who play it. The player who eventually makes it to the end only does so with the assistance of a small army of much stronger Kamen Riders who do all of the heavy lifting, which is not the intended play method. It's theoretically beatable, but doing so would require an even more skillful player than Genius Gamer M who was already aware of the convoluted series of actions they needed to perform to unlock Kamen Rider Cronus. The game Emu plays in Kamen Sentai Gorider also qualifies, although that one's designed to be literally impossible, requiring the intervention of an entirely different Rider show's rules to beat it.
  • Waddling Head: Mighty, the mascot of Mighty Action series, is pretty much this with a Totally Radical attitude.
  • Wham Episode: Due to the breakneck pace of the plot, it's easier to list the episodes that aren't one. Over half of all episodes of Ex-Aid contain some event that would qualify as a major plot twist in many other Rider shows. The Beast Rider Squad special is also noteworthy, as it brings back Foundation X, the behind-the-scenes faction from Double, OOO, and Fourze, for the first time since Movie Wars Megamax.
  • Wham Line:
    • #14, by Taiga:
      Taiga: have game disease.
    • #18, by Kuroto:
    Kuroto: Emu Hojo!!! How are you able to transform into Ex-Aid...without undergoing the compatibility surgery? How are you able to create Gashats?! Why does your head hurt after transforming?! There is only one answer. Emu Hojo! That's were the very first person in the be infected by the Bugster virus!
    • #25, by Parado:
      Parado: Kamen Rider Chronicle is not a game where humans beat Bugsters. It's a game where Bugsters beat humans. A game to destroy humanity.
    • #28, by Parado again:
      Parado: M, you are... me.
  • Wham Shot: A distressed Emu screaming in agonizing pain as his Bugster Virus inside him went haywire after told by Kuroto about him being Bugster Patient Zero in #18.
  • With Lyrics: A couple of the tracks on the OST are BGMs from the show with added vocals by the Kamen Rider Girls. "Stormy Story" is a remix of "Ex-Aid LEVEL 2 ~I'll Clear This with No Continues!", while "Kaze no Mukou e"note  is a remix of "To Heart".
  • Would Hurt a Child: Bugsters don't have any particular control over who they infect, but regardless of whether it's an adult or a child, a stressful and agonizing death awaits any victim who isn't cured. Kuroto's quite willing to hurt children as well; after all, it wouldn't be the first time.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: With how the Riders fight the enemy, it means that the Bugsters have already infected a victim thoroughly in order for them to have a tangible body. The Riders need to be in Level 1 to remove the patients from the Bugster infection and force them to take a more humanoid appearance. Even lampshaded in the second episode where Emu tries to go Level 2 immediately but Asuna stops him because they need to destroy the humongous Bugster first. It also applies in that everything the Riders do in the first twenty-four episodes does nothing to stop the villains from advancing their plans, and Kamen Rider Chronicle is eventually created despite their best efforts.
    • This gets upgraded to Chekhov's Boomerang near the end as it turns out Super Gamedeus is essentially a Bugster Union and the only way to defeat it is to use their Level 1 forms to remove Cronus/Masamune from it.

See you Next game

Video Example(s):


The Smile of Dan Kuroto

Saiba Nico attempts to be her usual sassy self when dealing with Danny Boy. His response immediately makes her rethink her life choices.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / SlasherSmile

Media sources: