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YMMV / Kamen Rider Ryuki

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  • Awesome Music:
    • Alive a Life by Rica Matsumoto, the opening theme of this series. While the music itself is awesome, the "glass break" sound effect in the opening episodes makes it even better. Completely suitable for a show about masked heroes (and villains) fighting each other inside the Mirror World.
    • Revolution, the Survive Form theme. It sounds awesome and even encompasses everything about Shinji's character in the second half of the series in its first verse, and everything about Ren in its second verse. Its debut alongside Shinji's Survive Form, with Shinji activating Survive for the first time and declaring that he definitely wouldn't die so Ren wouldn't become a killer, made the song and the scene one of the most iconic of the series and possibly the franchise.
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    • And before we had that, we had Hatenaki Inochi (Boundless Life). Debuting alongside Shinji's first official transformation into Ryuki, it again says everything about Shinji while sounding badass at the same time.
  • Badass Decay: When Tiger first shows up, he's serving up The Worf Effect like nobody's business (even to Asakura), but as time goes on and his real character comes through, he proves incapable of winning any fight at all. A side effect of his deteriorating sanity, perhaps?
  • Complete Monster: In this battle of where There Can Be Only One, these Riders stand out as particularly vile:
    • Takeshi Asakura/Kamen Rider Ouja, the archetypical evil Rider of the Heisei Era, is a psychopath who is drawn to, and wishes to perpetuate, violence. Originally an escaped Serial Killer who joined the Rider Fight, Asakura murdered his own parents at the age of 13 by starting a fire in their home, and would go on to rack up the highest body count amongst the Riders. A vicious sadist, he's responsible for breaking the hands of the intended Kamen Rider Raia, Yuichi Saito, and the murder of an innocent woman, who turns out to be Miho Kirishima's sister, thus making getting revenge her reason for becoming Kamen Rider Femme; Asakura would later use a child as monster bait, with him willing to let her be killed to fuel his thrill for carnage. To top it all off, he kills his own estranged brother by feeding the latter to his Contract Monster, Venosnaker. Revived in 2017 by Foundation X, Asakura leads the Beast Rider Squad and terrorizes the Cyber Rescue team, beginning his new series of crimes by murdering a police officer and beating Satsuki until both of her arms were broken. Confronted by Emu Hojo, Asakura pushes his head into a bucket of glass and uses two of his comrades as Human Shields during his battle against Hiiro Kagami, killing them. Brought back in 2019 as one of the six returning veterans to participate in the new Rider Fight, Asakura is "thrilled for the party to start again" and shows his improved combat skills by killing Tozuka, Ren and Goro, whom he had promised to kill for last if he kept cooking for him. Asakura's evil is so great that it lives on in the franchise, with Asakura acting as a Fountain of Expies for numerous other villains.
      • In the novel adaptation by Toshiki Inoue, Takeshi Asakura/Kamen Keiyakusha Ouja is even more depraved than his original counterpart. Killing his mother when he was still an infant, Asakura graduated into a Serial Killer by the age of six, killing two other children specifically on their birthdays and two counselors. Living in a homeless colony where he was idolized by the people, Asakura repeatedly stabbed the village's elder in the head and committed a killing spree targeting those who loved him, mutilating a man even after the latter had hugged him. While hiding, Asakura attacked a group of children with an ax and hung the bodies of five police officers from tree branches. Arrested for killing countless victims, two of which were Miho's parents, Asakura accepted the offer of becoming a Contractor merely because it gave him an opportunity to torment people without having to worry about consequences, going as far as to remove Raia's intestines. After barricading himself inside a convenience store, Asakura brutally murdered the staff members and customers, dismembering their bodies afterwards. Destroying lives simply because people smelled horrible to him, Asakura was a heartless savage who wished to fight for eternity.
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    • Jun Shibaura/Kamen Rider Gai is a rich, Machiavellian college student and a Psychopathic Manchild who sees people's lives as tools to satisfy him. Recreating the Rider Fight in the form of a computer game that would send subliminal messages to players, Shibaura convinced his own colleagues to participate, always recording the loser getting brutally killed in the process. Putting himself in the position of ORE Journal chief editor, Shibaura planned on spreading city-wide violence by sending his program to their subscribers. In his last act of malice, Shibaura kidnapped Yui to reunite the Riders in order to make a "Rider Party" where he could see them fighting each other in his own definition of the ultimate game. Brought back in 2019 as one of the six returning veterans to participate in the new Rider Fight, Shibaura leads an alliance of like-minded sociopaths to crush Shinji's opposition and develops an obsession for Tezuka, taking advantage of his fuzzy memories to become his lover, making him betray Shinji by feeding Ishida to Evildiver. To celebrate his victory, Shibaura stabs his friend to death and casually eats barbecue with the bloodied knife before sleeping with Tezuka, fantasizing about how killing his romantic partner would be a "passionate way of expressing our love".
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    • Masashi Sudoh/Kamen Rider Scissors is a detective who uses his position to cover up his illegal acts. Asked for a larger share of the profits by his partner, Sudoh kills him and plasters him into the wall of his own shop to hide the evidence. When Shiro Kanzaki offers him an Advent Deck, Sudoh agrees in order to use the Contract Monster he's given, Volcancer, to feed it anyone who knows of his crimes, doing so to countless people who've come too close. He later attempts to kill a reporter inspecting his shop and Shinji Kido after he offers peace, along with anyone close to him to keep them quiet and hold Yui hostage from Shiro. With his crimes discovered, Sudoh follows it up by feeding two cops attempting to arrest him to Volcancer before he succumbs to the same fate as them. In spite of having little screentime, Sudoh was the first demonstration that some Riders were selfish people with only their own interests in mind, willing to stoop to absolute lows.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Most of the riders are assholes, the main character can almost never tell when he shouldn't trust somebody, and the riders who are good will likely die with everyone else. Not to speak about how this is the only series when you can't seriously blame anyone for trying to kill you, simply because that's the way things are supposed to be. Ironically, Shiro realizes that in the end, the cycle he's created will just cause more pointless despair, and uses the Time Vent to prevent the entire war altogether.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Asakura remains a popular villain in the Rider franchise. Up until Kitaoka's return in Chou Super Hero Taisen, he's the only Ryuki Rider to reappear in future installments with the original actor reprising his role, whether it's voice only (Decade) or in person (Ex-Aid).
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Odin was the subject of a lot of them due to his importance in the plot, the lack of direct explanation as to who or what he was (until the final episode) and certain promotional scans (such as one with him holding all three Survive Cards in his Gold Visor).
    • Dark Shinji AKA Kamen Rider Ryuga's entire existence is this. Why does only Shinji have a Mirror counterpart, do other characters have Mirror counterparts with their own dark(er) Rider form, is he a different kind of Mirror Monster or does Shiro Kanzaki have something to do with him.
  • Evil Is Cool: Asakura is, undeniably, a complete and utter bastard. The series is perfectly aware of this and basically lets him go wild doing whatever he wants, whenever he wants when he's on screen. Fans love him for it.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One hallmark of Kamen Rider and all Toku in general is the "Blind Idiot" Translation subtitles on bootleg Hongkong DVDs, so much that some characters get new names. Goro in particular keeps getting called 'Inagaki', presumably because he shares the pet name 'Goro-chan' with Inagaki Goro of the immensely popular boyband SMAP. Fast forward 6 years to 2009, and the real Inagaki Goro lands the role of (the non-canon) Kamen Rider G.
    • In a similar vein, Ren gets called 'Len' or 'Lian' a lot in the early eps of the bootleg DVDs. Kamen Rider Dragon Knight picked Len eventually.
    • Also of note is how Asakura's name was completely and senselessly altered to "Miyako".
    • Perhaps the funniest bad translation is when Zolda summons his giant side-held cannon. His visor calls out, "Shoot Vent!" The subtitle for that line? "Jet Plane Landing!" Well, the cannon's sorta jetplane shaped if you squint.
    • As noted above, a lot of people began comparing this to Madoka Magica. Apparently someone at Toei took note of this, since the writer for Madoka Magica would end up writing Kamen Rider Gaim.
    • During the concept phase, the designer of the mirror monsters created concept art for a Raia Survive form (which would've been used by Tezuka had he not given up the card in the series proper), along with a design of a rider who was contracted to Guldthunder, which (presumably) would've been what Yuichi Sato (who was killed by Guldthunder in the series proper, and whose death resulted in Tezuka becoming Raia) would've become had he not refused. The unused rider's name? Kamen Rider Blade.
    • The mirror world plot element is a bit more amusing since Yasuko Kobayashi would later go on to write the anime adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, which not only features 2 Stand users who have powers based around a mirror world, but in Stardust Crusaders, one of the heroes (Kakyoin) says that there is no such thing as a world inside a mirror. One can't help but wonder if Kobayashi found it amusing to write Kakyoin saying that line. For that matter, the 5th part of the JJBA anime, Vento Aureo (which Kobayashi also wrote) also features a mirror world.
  • Hollywood Homely: Asakura looks WAY too healthy and clean for somebody that's been homeless since childhood.
  • Ho Yay: Kitaoka and Gorou. Especially in their song, "Dear Friend", found on the soundtrack.
    • In episode 30, while arguing with Kitaoka, Shinji insists that he can tell whether or not someone is telling the truth by looking at their eyes, to which Kitaoka responds by telling Shinji to take a good hard look at his. Shinji does, all while continually getting closer. And closer. And closer. He even tilts his head.
  • Idiot Ball: In episode 25, Asakura, who by this point has already established a reputation for being extremely evil, tells Reiko that he might be able to change if he was to reunite with his brother. Reiko, who is normally one of the smartest and most competent characters on the show, honors his request without question and tracks down his brother (much to said brother's chagrin). When they do reunite, Asakura doesn't change at all and instead feeds his brother to his Contract Monster.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Mitsuru may have been greedy, a backstabber when it came to deals, and only kept fighting for his selfish desire of happiness, but for most of his life, he never felt happy due to his father disowning him, unknowingly signed his own death sentence thinking he could use it to earn some money, and is hated by just about everybody else. And when he seems to have finally gotten a happy life with a girlfriend without killing anyone, Kanzaki dragged him back in even after he forfeited, and gets killed in the Mirror World while futily trying to call out to said girlfriend after being betrayed by his friend.
  • Love to Hate: Asakura, he's a serial killer who fights and kills for his own enjoyment which is what the audience loves about him especially since unlike the two villainous riders before him, he truly is competent threat who managed to keep surviving until the last episode.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Kitaoka runs on the stuff. Several riders would have similar traits or be outrightly alikened to him. Asakura would have couple moments too, showing that he can be quit cunning despite his barely even Hair-Trigger Temper and insanity. And yeah, other insane yet cunning riders would be alikened to him too.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Kamen Rider Scissor isn't treated well by the fandom at all. Not only is he alive for two episodes total and killed off for the sole purpose of demonstrating the consequences of breaking the Mirror Monster contract, his Deck is a gimped version of Shinji's (His Sword Vent is replaced by his short bladed Scissors-Visor, his Guard Vent only has one shield instead of two, his Strike Vent has no ranged attack...), and his Final Vent is a little more than using his monster to perform a cheerleader flip. Oh, not only that; at two episode appearances, Scissors (along with Grant/Camo from Dragon Knight) also holds the distinction of being the Rider who appeared in the TV series with the shortest appearance time in the entire franchise.
    • Kamen Rider Gai/Jun Shibaura is also this in an extent, as he is mostly remembered for being Ouja's meat shield before his death.
  • Memetic Mutation: TATAKAE (The Japanese word for fight) is commonly used by the fanbase to refer to this series due to its premise and heavy use of the word.
    • A more recent meme is "Ryukirolling", editing scenes from movies and TV shows that involve glass breaking and making them transition into the Ryuki opening, somewhat like Skyrim's infamous cart ride.
  • Misblamed: A lot of people will point towards this series (specifically, Episode Final) as where the "Female Rider Curse" began. However, the curse arguably actually has roots as far back as Kamen Rider Stronger; even if you only look at the Heisei era, Shouichi's sister from Kamen Rider Agito, even though she was a Posthumous Character, predates Femme. If you want to blame Episode Final for something, blame it for starting the trend of killing off heroic movie-exclusive riders - up until the Neo Heisei era with Kivala, New Den-O stood out like a sore thumb for not succumbing to this cursenote . On top of that people who complain about the "Curse' forgot what Ryuki is about so Femme's death is actually a more justified example compared to the others.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Sudo firmly cements his villainy after taking advantage of Shinji's trust and getting information on Ren, he sics Volcancer on Ren. Later he revealed to have crossed it before he ever appeared given that he routinely sicked Volcancer on anybody he didn't like.
    • Jun already showed himself to a bastard, but he managed to one up himself when he planned to use ORE journal to set up a nation wide version of his deranged game that drove people to murder each other.
    • As a child, Asakura set fire to his own house and killed his parents in attempt to kill his little brother because he found him annoying.
    • Tojo crosses it when he kills Kagawa, believing that sacrificing those closest to him made a hero.
  • Narm:
    • Verde's Final Vent is one of the nastiest: with his chameleon monster's tongue acting as a bungee cord, he drops in on his opponent, grabbing him upside down, then bungees back up, flipping around twice before SMASHING his opponent head first into the concrete. Then the dust clears and we see the victim's legs still sticking into the air for a bit before toppling over. ...Yeah.
    • Sometimes the result of Special Effects Failure - watch in ep 39 as Ren is dramatically HANDED his BFS weapon from offscreen.
    • When the maggot monsters are about to molt and evolve into more powerful creatures, the first thing they do is... jerk around like they're in Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'.
    • The Kanzaki parents as described by Yui are so cartoonishly evil they come acrosss as caricatures rather than real people.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Sudo's death where he gets eaten alive. Onscreen.
    • The entire existance of the Mirror World and its inhabitants. For more details look below at Paranoia Fuel.
    • Yui's and Kanzaki's parents locking their children up in the attic aad keeping them there even when Yui got sick which lead to her death.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Behind every reflective surface (Mirrors, windows, any body of water, YOUR FRICKING COMPUTER SCREEN) is a monster... wait, I mean an army of monsters that is just waiting to have you for dinner. They will pull you through the portal into the Mirror World, and kill you, leaving no trace behind and making it impossible for anyone to figure out how you were killed. If by some fluke you avoid the initial attack, they will not just try for someone else. They will keep hunting YOU down specifically until they get you. Also, the Mirror World is very hostile to those not native to it, and if you are there for too long, you will dissolve and die anyway (if you haven't already been eaten)note . Pleasant Dreams.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The show, specifically its idea of Riders fighting each other to the death has unfortunately been hit with this - when it was made, it was done so with open contempt for the ideals the franchise was based on. Future takes on the idea have arguably been better, due to respecting the franchise's ideals and origins. And that's not even getting into screenwriter Shoji Yonemura's rampant Author Appeal for Let's You and Him Fight through Super Dickery in the Super Hero Taisen movies, which degenerate the idea into thinly-veiled excuses for Intra-Franchise Crossover slugfests and drag Super Sentai (and in one case, the Space Sheriffs) into the mix - mind you, in that case, it's not that the movies do the concept betternote , but rather, said Author Appeal that makes this trope go into effect even harder. While Ryuki is still well-liked amongst most who have seen it, it's not uncommon for people who saw a later series that featured the concept before watching Ryuki (i.e., Blade, Kabuto, Gaim) to find Ryuki to be lackluster.
  • Signature Scene: Ryuki activating his Survive card for the first time is considered one of the most memorable scenes of this series thanks to the drama and action surrounding it complete with Revolution playing in the background.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Ryuki got hit by this HARD. Make no mistake, fans revere it today, but when it came out a lot were caught off-guard by the extremely dark tone of the series. But Ryuki codified two important tropes that would be used later in the Heisei era: Talking Transformation Trinket and card-based powers and weapons. The former was ESPECIALLY significant since it added a lot of entertainment and character to each Henshin, while the latter influenced Kamen Rider Blade and Kamen Rider Decade.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Asakura is an Ensemble Dark Horse as the archetype evil rider of Heisei era, but considering just how evil he is everybody in the show hates him.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: At first, Yui can be this with her rather flat chest and Boyish Short Hair. That is, until her voice is heard.
  • Vindicated by History: It was one of the most controversial Rider shows out there for the concept of Riders fighting each other and the grey morality in many characters. Now, gradually more fans of Ryuki are speaking up, appreciating how it influences many of the later shows and doing something different while respecting the concept of justice from the past Kamen Rider shows. Even detractors will admit that there are plenty of worse shows than Ryuki, both before and after.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Being one of the early Heisei Rider shows, there's no way that it avoids this. The Riders fight and kill each other, the only truly redeemable characters of the main cast are Shinji and Yui, and literally every main character dies. Not to mention, in Episode Final, Yui commits suicide on-screen in an attempt to stop the Rider War.
  • The Woobie: Yui. Let's count the ways, shall we? She and her brother spend their early childhood locked up in their home by their own parents, with nothing but drawing and a not-so-imaginary world to comfort them. She's also mercilessly teased by other kids for her ability to see monsters. Then, she suddenly dies at age seven, and is replaced by her Mirror World self in her brother's Deal with the Devil. Following their parents' deaths, she and Shirou are forcibly separated. Twelve years later she finds out that she's not even real, she's only living on borrowed time and will disappear forever once she turns twenty, and that her brother is perfectly willing to manipulate twelve people - two of which are her closest friends - into killing each other in his mad scheme to save her. And that her drawings with her brother are what became the Mirror Monsters that are snatching people away and devouring them in seconds. She then gets to find all this out by being targeted for death by those who've worked it out, snatched by monsters, and finding herself starting to disintegrate at times. And it can all only be settled by convincing her brother to let her death stick. The final scenes make it clear that to the world, Yui died long ago and stayed that way. (Her grandmother is all alone in the tea-house, and there's a picture of Shiro and Yui as kids.)

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