- Awesome Music: For all its faults, this films soundtrack is incredible.
- Broken Base: Big time. Some fans appreciate it for being akin to the darker parts of the Showa Era and Shotaro Ishinomori's works, whereas other fans despise it for being TOO dark, pointing that in comparison to entries like Kamen Rider BLACK, the film goes too far.
- Complete Monster: In one of the darkest entries in the franchise, these two are the most vile:
- Iwao Himuro is the paranoid head of the ISS. An uncaring, heartless Bad Boss to his employees, Himuro considers those who refuse to cooperate with his projects as his own enemies, and has them either assassinated or imprisoned. Using his facility as a front for human experimentation, Himuro plans on obtaining financial gain through the mass production of super soldiers to be sold to the military industry. Forcing Shin's father to continue the research after having his former partner "resigned", Himuro denies his permission to not get his son involved, explaining that it was "too late for that". Armed with a submachine gun, Himuro guns down Ai, Shin's pregnant girlfriend, when she takes the bullet for him.
- Giichi Onizuka/Onizuka Rider is one of Himuro's top scientists and secretly a misanthropic Serial Killer. Harboring an agenda of his own, Onizuka sabotages an experiment, altering both his and Shin's DNA, seeking to create an army of human-grasshopper hybrids to overthrow humanity, with him as their ruler. He wants Shin to be his first recruit, once trying to convince him into embracing his violent side. As a Cyborg Soldier Level 3, Onizuka regularly commits murders around the city For the Evulz, primarily targeting lone women. Introduced brutally killing a woman in the middle of the night, Onizuka proceeds to cut the throats of two undercover police officers investigating the slayings, and slaughters the cops who had arrived at the scene. When his secret lab is invaded by the CIA, Onizuka nearly kills the entire squadron, and tries to repeat this when he is indirectly released from containment by a group of agents.
- Cult Classic: Its follow up was never made, it's rarely mentioned by Toei, but fans love it for the wildly different approach and practical effects.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Before Amazons, Shin was seen by some as the worst offender at that time, as the movie mostly runs on Grey-and-Gray Morality and Tragedy.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: What Could Have Been mentions that Shin's transformed state would have been retooled to look more Kamen Rider-like, which is exactly what happened with Ultraman: The Next and Ultraman Nexus, in which Ultraman The Next goes from his gritty earlier forms to his more traditional form as Nexus. (Shin's actor would also appear in Gaia and Mebius instead.)
- Laser-Guided Karma: Onizuka's attempts at calling out to Shin for help when his truck gets ambushed by the CIA end with a rocket launcher to the face from the lead operative from the latter, while Shin transforms for the first time and simply watches him die.
- Memetic Mutation: "Poor Shin"
- Nightmare Fuel:
- See the Bloodier and Gorier example on the main page.
- Shin and Onizuka's entire transformation scene.
- Tear Jerker: The ending theme Forever really makes one feel bad for Shin even more.
- "No matter how short it was, those days were exciting./Forever. I entrust my wishes to eternity./Forever. I entrust my wishes to eternity."
- Ugly Cute: Some people see Shin's transformed state as this.
- The Unfavorite: Shin himself is rarely talked about by Toei, and they sometimes even forget he's even a Rider.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: Shin's transformation is something to behold, and was pulled off in its entirety with practical effects!
- The Woobie: Shin. Poor, poor Shin. By the end of the film, this guy deserves a hug.
- He gave up a promising motorcycle career so that he could participate in an experiment that was supposed to cure disease.
- The experiment also turned him into a Humanoid Abomination. Without him knowing it, nor his consent.
- He has surreal nightmares that seem all too real. This causes him to become a paranoid wreck, as he starts assuming the recent killings around the city are his doing, as well as thinking he's a danger to those he loves.
- People start Gaslighting him, as well as withholding information
- He discovers that Onizuka was the killer, then he gets wrapped up in a government conspiracy
- Then he undergoes possibly some incredibly painful looking Transformation Horror.
- Finally, his girlfriend is gunned down, (He just discovered she was pregnant) by the Big Bad, he undergoes the transformation again out of Tranquil Fury, brutally kills her murderer, and fights another cybernetic experiment. Then he gets hit with a rocket launcher after being captured by the CIA, which kills his father.
- By the end of the film, he's a fugitive, all of his loved ones are dead, and he's also a freak of nature. Poor Shin
YMMV / Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue