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Series / Kamen Rider Kabuto

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Grandmother said this... "The man who walks the path of Heaven, and rules over all."

Kamen Rider Kabuto is the 2006-2007 series of Kamen Rider and the seventh installment in the Heisei Era. Also notable for being the 35th anniversary series of the Kamen Rider franchise.

In 1999, a meteor fell to Earth and obliterated the Shibuya district of Tokyo. Along with the destruction the meteor brought something far more dangerous: the Worm, an insectoid race of aliens with the ability to perfectly mimic the appearance and memories of a human. Seven years later, the Worm have infiltrated society and are slowly killing off the human race, replacing them with their own.

Earth's only defence lies in the secret organization ZECT, who are losing ground against the evolved Worm and their Clock Up ability. To counter this, ZECT develops the Masked Rider System and Kabuto Zecter weapons, which new recruit Arata Kagami is eager to try out.

Enter Souji Tendou: genius chef, philosopher, loving brother, martial arts expert and all-round Ace at everything he does (also, kind of a dick). During a Worm attack, Kagami calls out for the Kabuto Zecter but instead it goes to Tendou, who proclaims that he is The Chosen One and uses it to transform into Kamen Rider Kabuto.

Partnered with the Super Sentai show GoGo Sentai Boukenger after initially airing alongside the final episodes of Mahou Sentai Magiranger in the Super Hero Time block.

In addition to the main series, Kamen Rider Kabuto has two spinoffs. Kamen Rider Kabuto: Birth! Gatack Hyper Form!! is a (possibly non-canon) "Hyper Battle" DVD episode that was distributed by Televi-kun magazine. Kamen Rider Kabuto: God Speed Love is a Non-Serial Movie that turns out to have a surprising connection to the TV show's continuity.

Followed by Kamen Rider Den-O.

Voted #13 series in the Heisei era, and #20 product overall in NHK’s All Kamen Rider Popularity Ranking.

Recurring Kamen Rider tropes include:

  • BFG: The Perfect Zecter in Maximum Hyper Cyclone mode.
  • BFS: The Perfect Zecter's default mode.
  • Finishing Move
    • Kabuto/Dark Kabuto: Rider Kick, Avalanche Break, Avalanche Shot, Avalanche Slash
      • Hyper Kabuto: Hyper Kick, several with the Perfect Zecter but most noteworthy are Maximum Hyper Typhoon and Maximum Hyper Cyclone
    • TheBee: Rider Sting
    • Drake: Rider Shooting
    • Sasword: Rider Slash
    • Gatack: Rider Kick, Rider Cutting
      • Hyper Gatack: Hyper Kick
    • KickHopper: Rider Kick
    • PunchHopper: Rider Punch
    • Caucasus: Rider Kick
    • Hercus: Rider Beat (Avalanche Break)
    • Ketaros: Rider Beat (Avalanche Slash)
  • Multiform Balance:
  • Transformation Trinket: The Zecters transform their users into Kamen Riders when they are put in certain "holders" to initiate the transformation. It is also noteworthy that this series introduced the concept of weapons being used for transformation with Drake and Sasword, while the rest use either belts (Kabuto, Gatack, Hopper Brothers) or wrist-mounted devices (TheBee, Caucasus, Hercus, Ketaros).

Change Troper!

  • After the End: The setting of the Alternate Continuity movie.
  • Alien Invasion: One of the few examples of this trope in Kamen Rider, with the Worms invading Earth via Kill and Replace.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Perfect Zecter.
  • Altar the Speed: Hiyori and Kagami in the God Speed Love movie, because Hiyori is on her deathbed.
  • Anchored Attack Stance: The Finishing Move Maximum Hyper Cyclone has such tremendous recoil that Kabuto must create a backblast with Hyper Clock Up in order to withstand it.
  • Arc Words: I'll always be by your side. Tendo's not the only to use it. Even the lyrics to One World (the movie's ending song) uses this line
  • Bash Brothers: Tendou and Kagami, eventually
  • Bastard Understudy: Shun Kageyama to Masato Mishima. Kageyama's actor, ironically, played another Bastard Understudy three years prior in Kamen Rider Faiz.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Practically the season's overarching theme.
  • Becoming the Mask: Scorpioworm, who so perfectly mimicked the real Tsurugi Kamishiro that even he was surprised at the revelation that he was a fake.
  • Berserk Button: The "Red Shoes System".
  • Blood Brothers: Yaguruma and Kageyama.
  • Bokukko: Hiyori Kusakabe.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Riku Kagami, leader of ZECT, who has a tendency to go on rambling tangents about Bach or Beethoven.
  • But Not Too Foreign: While Hiro Mizushima merely grew up overseas, the show hangs a lampshade on this trope by casting a clearly mixed-parentage boy as young Souji Tendou in flashbacks. They do resemble each other to a degree.
  • The Cameo: Kikawada Masaya, who plays Hongo Takeshi/Rider-1 in Kamen Rider: The First, briefly appears in-character to call Tendou a weird guy.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Tendou prefaces nuggets of his unseen grandma's wisdom with "Grandmother said this" while holding up a Declarative Finger.
    • Kagami sort of gets one in the Hyper Battle Video: "The man who washes his face in front of a mirror every day."
    • Although not a Meaningful Name, Hiyori tends to say any variation of "Why me?"
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Tendo has actually been training his whole life to use the Kabuto Zecter, and is shown dealing with an armed mugger while not messing up the tofu in his hand in the first episode, well before obtaining said Zecter. The fact that all his training gets ignored in future episodes while his latent ability isn't led to a fair bit of Memetic Mutation.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "Red Shoes System".
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: You know the world's in trouble when Souji Kusakabe (aka Dark Kabuto) does this upon entering Earth in Episode 42. Who knew such an innocent-looking smile could be so terrifying?
  • The Chosen One: Each Zecter chooses their own host. At least until the Natives show up and Tendou proves that you can buy control of a Zecter.
  • Colony Drop: The premise of The Movie. Eventually averted, see New Powers as the Plot Demands below.
  • Cooking Duel: Literally. Multiple times.
  • Crossover: After show segments sometimes feature the characters crossed over with settings or the characters from GoGo Sentai Boukenger.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Hibiki's Second Half and Den O. While having it's fair share of Comedy. This was rather dark if not as dark as Kuuga-Blade. Especially the Worms themseleves.
  • Depending on the Writer: How fast Clock Up is tends to differ from episode to episode.
  • Disney Villain Death: In God Speed Love, Kamen Rider Ketaros dies by falling to his death. From near Earth orbit.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Tsurugi Kamishiro, who began as a one-dimensional rich jerk who was only there to act as yet another rival to Tendou and fill out the show's Rider quota. After Tendou was finished proving his superiority and moved on, Tsurugi developed the most delightfully quirky personality as he sought to regain his lost wealth and learn about the ways of the common people with his best friend Ka-GA-mi.
  • Elite Mooks: Shadow, the elite Zectrooper platoon.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Zecters, who choose their masters based on their own personality quirks.
  • Engrish: Lampshaded by Tsurugi Kamishiro, a native Japanese speaker who takes mundane Japanese words and, believing them to be exotic and foreign, mangles them something fierce. (e.g. Ramen becomes the exotic French dish "La Men".)
  • Evil Chancellor: Mishima.
  • Evil Twin: Dark Kabuto. Though any Worm-clone counts.
  • Exposition: "In the Clocked Up Rider Form, one is capable of speeds far greater than an ordinary human."
    • Given that everything is moving in slow motion around them, this has an annoying tendency to turn into Captain Obvious.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: Invoked in ep. 25 when Tendou uses Clock Up to slip into a hostage situation and finger-flick the armed assailants in the head. Clock Up amplifies them into concussions.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Clock Up during the last ten-ish episodes. It was much worse than simply letting it go unused - you had a major baddie clobbering Riders via Flash Step and lesser ones speeding away as the Riders watched helplessly on a regular basis, as if all the Rider suits weren't designed to combat just that.
    • The Cassis Worm's Flash Step was actually so potent that even a rider in Hyper Clock Up was basically stationary to him, so this can be partly forgiven.
    • The heat-vision binoculars, which were demonstrated to be able to spot a worm in human form in episode 5. They would have been INSANELY useful later in the series, but outside of a brief reappearance in Episode 8, they're never used again.
  • Gambit Pileup: ZECT, the Worms, the Natives and Tendou are all spinning their own series-long plans at once.
  • The Ghost: Tendou's often quoted grandmother.
  • A God Am I: Tendou has one of the biggest God Complexes in all of media history. He never loses a fight, is perfect at everything he does, and the entire story seems intent on fueling that complex (For example, the Kabuto Zecter goes to him instead of Kagami as was planned, he gets the Hyper Zecter from a future version of himself, and the Perfect Zecter lets him steal Zecters from other people even while they're transformed). Heck, just look at his catchphrase! What he is essentially saying is "I will become God!"
  • Good Is Dumb: As a rule, the nicer you are the less privy you are to secret information and the greater you are manipulated by the various plan spinners.
  • Gratuitous English: The "Masked Rider System" (which is called that, even in Japanese, rather than "Kamen Rider System"), Kamen Rider "TheBee", ALL ZECTER COMBINE.
    • Cast Off henshin is usually accompanied by a voice speaking an English phrase to the effect of "Change (insect)."
    • To say nothing of Tsurugi, along with the occasional Gratuitous French, Italian, and Chinese.
    • The movie, God Speed Love, contains a good bit in the second half. Two characters speak a few complete sentences in English, and just about everything the computer says is in English.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: The Rider suits are generated with these.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: In all honest case, Tsurugi is thoroughly convinced that he's himself, when in fact, the Scorpioworm has taken his identity after killing the real one. The worm then actually forgot his own identity. Eventually, he literally ends up hunting his own kind as a result.
  • Hell Seeker: Yaguruma/Kick Hopper.
  • IKEA Weaponry: 'Suits' in ZECT carry these for self defense.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Gatack can combine his twin blades into... giant hedge clippers. Seriously.
  • Informed Ability: Remember when Gatack was introduced, they called him "the strongest Rider"? HA!
    • Although, in the final battle of the show, that title is justified at least partially... Gattack's Double Caliburs cut the worm that Hyper Kabuto's Perfect Zecter failed to damage, allowing them to win with a Double Rider Kick.
  • Invincible Hero: The main problem with Tendou. Hell, it got so bad that the show had to introduce an Evil Twin because no-one else could come close to being a Worthy Opponent. Even then, the twin only lasted two episodes before Tendou overtook him and proceeded to curb-stomp him into the ground. And the show makes it clear that the only reason Tendou had trouble in the first place against the twin was because he was going through a Heroic BSoD.
  • Japanese Beetle Brothers: Kabuto and Gatack, respectively a Rhinoceros Beetle and Stag Beetle, who start off as rivals before becoming allies. A stage show sees them joined by a female ladybug Rider, based on Tackle.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Around halfway, or even earlier if you look hard enough, Tendou begins to show more signs that he actually cares about those around him despite his attitude. Most notible throughout the entire series with Yuka and eventually with Hiyori, more obvious when you find out she's Tendou's "sister." Kagami might be one, too. To some degree.
  • Kaitou: the Sasword debut arc involves Tadokoro's team creating their own Phantom Thief, 'Shadow', to lure out a Worm that targeted criminals.
  • Kudzu Plot: Kabuto has more loose ends than a kitten-infested yarn ball factory.
  • Large Ham: Souji Tendou believes himself to be walking down the path of heaven. From cooking preparation and clothing choices to inexplicably receiving upgrades FROM THE FUTURE, anything Tendou does has to be epic.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Gon.
    • It's heavily implied that Gon's memory problems are due to PTSD rather than amnesia. (Which, actually, is relatively accurate - memories blocked due to stress work a lot more like TV-brand amnesia than the actual amnesia condition.)
    • Mamiya Rena aka Uca Worm. After she takes a hard hit in one battle, she loses her memories of being a worm and resumes her human persona's former life.
  • Last-Name Basis: It's very rare for any of the Riders, and several other characters, to be called by their first name. The Kamen Rider Decade Kabuto arc reverses this, using first names all around.
  • Leitmotif: the destruction of Worms (particularly by Tendou) will end with a booming Hollywood-worthy theme, accompanied by Tendou's path-of-heaven finger gesture. Without fail.
  • Love Redeems: Renge Takatori. Or rather, food redeems.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: The Zecters.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: In a riff on Tendou being "the man who walks the path of heaven", Tsurugi keeps saying that he is "the man who stands at the top of [insert relevant subject]".
  • Meaningful Name: Souji Tendou and Tsurugi Kamishiro make highly pretentious catchphrases out of the literal meanings of their names. Lampshaded in the Hyper Battle Video when Kagami wants one too and gets, "The man who washes his face in the mirror every day."
    • Also Lampshaded with Juka, who gets "the beautiful girl who walks on the path of heaven, and makes trees and flowers beautiful."
  • Messianic Archetype: A deconstruction of this trope. Tendou shows that if you raise someone from birth to be a savior, train them until they are better than everyone at everything, and tell them that they will be the hope of the world...yeah, there's no way they're not going to have a massive superiority complex.
  • Mirror Match: Dark Kabuto
  • Mood Whiplash: Entire stretches of episodes strung together could be made of this. You'd switch scenes without a clutch between Kabuto and Gatack fighting for their lives against impossible odds, and Tsurugi running around saying silly words and dressing funny. Even if the actual show didn't already contain copious amounts of this, the after-show joke segments which often followed an incredibly tense cliffhanger ending would probably count.
  • Mundane Utility: One after-show segment has Tendou allegedly using Clock Up to cheat at cards.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Daigo Tachikawa
  • Mythology Gag
    • The double gold stripes on the Shadow Zectrooper uniforms are a reference to the first Kamen Rider, who was redesigned with double silver stripes towards the end of his series (as opposed to No. 2, who had single silver stripes to differentiate them.) All Zectroopers also carry Arm Cannons reminiscent of Riderman's Cannon Arm, lampshading their status as 'normal' soldiers.
    • Tendou's Koans always refer to himself as the sun. Kamen Rider BLACK carries the title of 'Black Sun'. And Dark Kabuto's debut is also marked by an actual black sun ie. an eclipse.
    • In episode 17, Daisuke, accompanying Gon to the women's restroom because she's scared, is caught by a woman, who then opens up her cell phone to call the police. As she dials the numbers, Faiz's phone effects can be heard.
    • In the documents that are found in Area X, the Masked Rider Project was started on April 3, 1971. This was the air date of the first Kamen Rider.
  • The Neidermeyer: Tsurugi turns into one when he's given a Zectrooper squad, making them run stupid errands like laying seige to a video store so Misaki can return a tape. Possibly subverted, since Zectroopers in general don't have the level of characterization to complain.
    • He didn't get to keep it up for long.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Hyper Kabuto can travel back in time... when the writers need him to.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Towards the end of episode 7, Tendou tells Yagumura about the escaped Worm he was fighting. Yagumura believes he's trying to trick him and fights him in the opening of episode 8. When he later receives a call from his superior, he finds out Tendou wasn't trying to trick him, and it ended up resulted in a death of a smoking man in white clothes earlier.
  • Non-Serial Movie: Subverted. 99% of the movie is set in an After the End alternate universe, but at the end Tendou goes back in time and alters history, creating the T.V series timeline.
    • And in an odd subversion of the Timey-Wimey Ball, this actually makes the plot slightly less confusing by explaining some of the plot points of the series itself (i.e. how Tendou got the Rider Belt and Hiyori's obsession with drawing bug-winged people).
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: ZECT.
  • Once an Episode: Tendou's grandmother quotes.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Nogi Reiji.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Occasionally, when infiltrating ZECT, Tendou will use an alias by the name of... Tendou Soujirou.
  • Pet the Dog: Towards the end, Riku attempts to make amends to his son, and they are shown playing catch together.
    • Even Tsundere Misaki warms up to Tsurugi late into the series. Maybe too late.
  • Planet of Hats: The Worm.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Daisuke Kazama/Kamen Rider Drake had his storyline hastily concluded and took an extended leave of absence when his actor, an up-and-coming male idol, had to record (and promote) his new album. Later, Hiyori Kusakabe was Put on a Bus for several episodes (and was almost entirely divorced from the events of the final arc) after her actress developed health problems.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Tendo's cooking
  • Red Shirt Army: The Zectroopers occasionally shift between this and Mooks
  • Redemption Equals Death: Shun Kageyama, Tsurugi Kamishiro, Dark Kabuto.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Gatack and Kabuto respectively, though the colors are reversed personality-wise.
  • Refused by the Call: Kagami, until he becomes Gatack.
  • Serious Business: Cooking. (And for Daisuke Kazama, make-up.)
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: It turns out that the series timeline was created this way when Kabuto used his Super Mode to travel back in time to prevent the After the End Bad Future he came from.
  • Shoot the Dog: Literally with Kageyama (at least the first time), leading into a Heroic BSoD for Kagami (also the first of several).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Hopper Zecters to the Double Riders, Kabuto himself to Stronger, "Maximum Hyper Typhoon/Cyclone" (named after, respectively, Rider 1's belt and motorcycle).
    • The Hopper Hell Brothers are also a reference to the original Kamen Rider—originally, Kamen Rider's name was going to be "Kamen Rider Hopper King".
    • After Daisuke gets dragged into a womens' restroom by Gon, a random girl catches him in there and calls the police with a red-colored cell phone that sounds exactly like the Faiz Gear Phone.
    • And then there's Kick Hopper's Finishing Move combo: Rider Jump! Rider Kick! Just like the theme song to the original Kamen Rider series.
    • The seventh Heisei Rider and the seventh Showa Rider are both rhinoceros beetle themed.
    • And in a non-Kamen Rider example, Hyper Kabuto's design bears similarities to Super Blue Beet. Not to mention that both of them have Evil Twins wearing black armor.
    • The Clock Up system used by the riders was heavily inspired by the Acceleration Switch used by Joe Shimamura.
    • The Riders able to change between their pupa-like forms to their insect-like main forms is a nod to one of Shotaro Ishinomori's earlier works, Inazuman.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Renge to Kagami.
  • Stealth Sequel: It turns out The Movie is a Stealth Prequel to the series, as Kabuto travels back in time and alters the past to create the prime timeline.
  • Super Speed: Clock Up.
  • Surprisingly Good English: The Zecters, voiced by an Indian actor. Also, Hiro Mizushima (Tendou) can speak fluent English. He only ever speaks with an English accent in non-canon bonus material though; in-character, he uses a Japanese accent like anyone else (e.g. still pronouncing Rider as Raidaa).
  • Straw Nihilist: Kick/Punch Hopper.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Kabuto Kunai can be use as handgun, axe or combat knife.
  • Take Up My Sword: Parodied in episode 29.
  • Team Spirit: Sou Yaguruma's philosophy, otherwise known as "Perfect Harmony".
  • Time Travel: Hyper Kabuto's speciality.
  • Time Stands Still: An ability of Cassisworm Dimidius.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Everything to do with Hyper Kabuto and the Hyper Zecter.
  • Tokyo Tower: a prominent backdrop for much of the series. Lampshaded in Kamen Rider Decade, which uses a Tokyo Tower backdrop to represent Kabuto World.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Tsurugi is the Scorpioworm In The Mirror
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Hoppers and Kagami, once he finally becomes Kamen Rider Gattack.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means
  • What Would X Do?: Tendou's frequent quoting of his grandmother.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • The Worf Effect: Kabuto and Gatack against the Hoppers in episode 36. Though Tendou had conveniently fallen victim to the 'Red Shoes' system at the time, but still.

"Walking the Path of Heaven. Ruling Over Us All."