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YMMV / Kamen Rider Kuuga

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  • Complete Monster: While the Gurongi Tribe is a race of Serial Killers, four of them stand out as among the worst of their kind:
    • The Gurongi leader, N-Daguva-Zeba, is a sadistic Blood Knight and Social Darwinist who cares nothing for the lives of humans or his own kind. Upon being reawakened, Daguva releases his 200 Gurongi, slaughtering the archaeologists who found them. Restarting a brutal game in which the Gurongi hunt humans, Daguva kills 162 of his own kind for being too weak to take part in the killing game. When the titular Kamen Rider stopped the game, Daguva curb-stomped him, mercilessly beating him and made him watched in horror as he incinerated countless innocents before leaving. Continuing his systematic genocide, Daguva attempts to bring about "Ultimate Darkness", turning humans into twisted, vile creatures like himself and even after being fatally wounded by The Hero, dies laughing, hoping the latter will become as evil as himself.
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    • Go-Jaraji-Da, the Porcupine Gurongi still stands as the standard to which other kaijin-of-the-week in Kamen Rider are compared to even years after he blighted television screens in Japan. Jaraji uses his upper-class privileges to choose the 90 teenage boys in Midorikawa High School's 10th grade as his targets for his game. Using teleportation and poisonous darts that kills his victims from encephalitis within four days, Jaraji terrorizes and poisons all but one of his targets, condemning many of his victims to slow, brutal deaths and drives others to suicide. As those who commit suicide do not count to his Gegeru, Jaraji compensates by killing high-school boys belonging to other grades and numerous policemen. Most of the other Gurongi are either required to participate in the Gegeru or merely see the Gegeru as a necessary duty. Jaraji, on the other hand, commits his crimes precisely because he enjoys himself watching living beings suffer and coldly admits this to a family before closing in on one of his targets.
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    • Go-Jaaza-Gi, the Shark Gurongi, is the only female member of the Gebageru subgroup and a Dirty Coward who stands in contrast to her battle-loving compatriots, choosing those who cannot fight back as her targets. Assuming the form of a well-dressed, glasses-wearing woman, Jaaza posts blogs on the internet to announce the massacres that she'll commit minutes prior to hunting for victims. To start her game, Jaaza infiltrated a plane and slaughtered the elderly passengers, forcing the pilot to send a distress call to the police before she killed him as well to make the plane crash; this incident alone had 244 casualties. After impaling Godai's shoulder with a harpoon, Jaaza planned on invading a cruise with 324 people on board, most of whom were children, intending to end their lives simply because killing them would be "too easy".
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    • In the novel, by Naruhisa Arakawa, Go-Raio-Da, the Lion Gurongi is the most successful player of the Gegeru, possessing the highest number of intended victims: 1.6 million. Posing as a young amnesiac, Raio was adopted by an important figure in Japan and quickly became a beloved politician, using his connections to invent a drink called Lionel, tainting it with his own secretions, which he could telepathically control to damage the human brain. Disposing of his foster father as a way to increase the sales of Lionel across the country, Raio had over a thousand people killed in his "little sideshow", gleefully mocking an airplane pilot who had plunged into a building.
    • In the manga by Toshiki Inoue, Akira Harada is a psychotic Serial Killer who, upon witnessing the first player of the Gegeru, Zu-Gumun-Ba, the Spider Gurongi, massacring humans on a railway, decided to worship Gumun as his goddess. A registered sex offender, Harada had tried killing himself for his goddess, and when he failed, Harada came up with the idea of "sharing his dream" with other people. Prior to having his identity revealed via DNA analysis, Harada had already murdered four women; by opening their chests, filling them with gunpowder, and burning them alive so they could become "human fireworks". When encountered by the detective investigating his murders, Kaoru Ichijo, Harada had killed another woman, and laughed at her death. Transported to an ambulance after attempting suicide, Harada slits the driver's throat and brags about being able to resume his serial killings. Harada is found by Gumun on the parking lot, and when he sees the remains of the creature's victims, he feels joy, seeing this as his goddess's work. A childish maniac with an obsession for fireworks, Harada was proof that Zeba's plans to bring about the ultimate darkness were already in motion long before his rise to power.
  • First Installment Wins: At least for the Heisei Era Kamen Rider series. Many fans see Kuuga as a superior Kamen Rider series to most of the Heisei installments.
  • Foe Yay: Ichijo and B1/Rose Grongi.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: This is the last series that Shotaro Ishinomori was involved in before his untimely death (albeit just working on the concepts) and the series that revived the Kamen Rider franchise. It's safe to say that he achieved his goal of reviving the franchise.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • It's stated in the finale that the Gouram was intended to disintegrate if Kuuga somehow grew too powerful, yet it doesn't happen even after he gains Ultimate Form. Fast forward to Kamen Rider Wizard, where he certainly qualifies after gaining an additional Rising Ultimate Form...
    • It was hilarious even before that when Decade turned Kuuga himself into a Gouram, but was further compounded in the Final Chapter movie by Kuuga having the ability to become Ultimate Gouram form at will.
  • Ho Yay: "...Why am I on your shoulder? This is the blunder of my life..."
    • It's implied that Ichijo is a bit stand-offish but he warms up to Godai rather quickly. At one point Tsubaki (one Ichijo's closer friends) calls Godai "his true love", poking at how attached Ichijo has become to Godai.
    • The (dubiously canon) novel takes it further. Godai vanished after the events of Kuuga and only returns at the end of the novel 13 years later, defeating a monster terrorizing the city. Ichijo ends up being knocked unconscious during the incident and wakes on Godai's shoulder the way he did 13 years before. When Godai tries to go on his way, Ichijo breaks down in TEARS and BEGS Godai not to leave again. Godai still leaves.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Kuuga's Rising Mighty Kick causes a gigantic explosion, which at one point happens in a heavily urban area. This is the point at which the show begins to show that Kuuga becoming even more powerful isn't a good idea... While no one is actually killed in the blast due to Godai informing Ichijo ahead of time that his kick might be too powerful, the property damage leads the police to begin doubting No.4's status as an ally.
    • And then defied: the MPD has always attempted to compensate for Kuuga's Destructive Savior aspects, and if anything everyone involved begin taking even greater steps to coordinate actions.
  • Memetic Badass: Despite not becoming an actual Kamen Rider in the show's entire run, Kaoru Ichijo (a cop and a Badass Normal supporting character) is labeled as the "first Secondary Rider in the Heisei era" by many fans.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Kuuga sure is a cool guy.
    • Related to the above, Ultimate Form being the Memetic Badass form of all the Heisei riders for its simple yet sleek and regal design, black color, and the fact that apparently it can destroy the world with its full power.note 
    • The so-called "curse of Kuuga" which, for the longest time (until 2010, when it was apparently broken after ten years), seemed to cause any fan translation projects to come to a sudden halt after about ten episodes.
  • Narm: The Grongi's over-acting in human form practically embodies this, and the goth makeup doesn't help.
  • Narm Charm: It does, however, make them somewhat convincingly seem like the different species posing as people that they are.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The resurrection of the Grongi in the first episode. A massive humanoid figure only seen in shadow slaughters the excavation group that accidentally unleashed him, then walks slowly across the countryside, causing trees and objects to explode with his mere presence before reviving the Grongi, causing dozens of hands to burst out of the ground like a zombie film.
    • The Grongi in general. They're basically a entire race of Serial Killers. Supplemental and toyline material reveal they were once humans mutated by a mysterious meteorite metal implanted in their bodies. Which begs the question where the rest of it is...
    • N-Daguba-Zeba's debut in his perfect form, which is at the beginning of one of the last episodes where he has Kuuga on the ropes, belt damaged and beaten to the point that Godai can only watch as he starts setting people near by on fire in the rain. All of this is disjointed shown to the audience as Godai would have seen it with his own eyes.
    • Problem being, of course, that we don't see it. The entire first fight between them is offscreen and Yusuke bounces back from it with no problem. It kinda makes Episode 47 a bit of a mind screw considering the Previews showed us a fight between them and then...nothing.
    • Crosses over with Moment of Awesome, Kuuga's battle against the Porcupine Gurongi — it's VERY unnerving to see the normally nice Godai so angry.
    • The style of the Final Battle: Everything stylized (and the usual epic action music) goes away and gets replaced with a brutal fistfight that you'd expect from a violent action movie. Both combatants have their Transformation Trinkets destroyed, resulting in the swipes that normal people trying to maim each other would perform.
  • Signature Scene: Godai's first Transformation into Kuuga Mighty Form, also Kuuga's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in episode 35.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: It takes several episodes for something to happen.
  • Special Effect Failure: They really should have stuck to practical effects for the monster explosions. They look like something out of a PS1 game. At the same time, this allowed them to have explosions in locations that would have been suicidally absurd to use practical effects in/on, and made some of the Nightmare Fuel possible in the first place.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Kuuga is the first Heisei series to get a manga adaptation. Thing is, this is being written by Toshiki Inoue, a writer known for making nice guys (like Yusuke) into utter jokes.

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