Kamen Rider Kage
The tone is a mix of comical human characters and a darker storyline involving a race of demonic creatures called Akuma that have been sealed away in a sword for centuries. It is also written in an episode-like format, chapters called episodes and even a promo inspired by the ones airing before new Kamen Rider Series.
An ancient sword is dredged up from the depths of the ocean by fishing boat, believed to be from Feudal Japan and forged by the mythical swords smith Muramasa. However, as its being investigated, a seal is broken and it releases the Devil Kaijin Akuma. The Akuma's goal is to please the High Warrior, their deity that demands they prove their strength, by battle or just causing general destruction. They are lead by King Mao and his Omniscient Council of Vagueness, the Yoso Akuma Rozu.
However, during the first Akuma's attack, he kills the parents of a man named Jarrett Tsuchi. When Jarrett discovers this, he awakens a long dormant power inside him and becomes the Samurai Rider, Kamen Rider Kage. After killing the Akuma, he leaves for five months to train. In the meantime, a woman also met that night by Kage, Karin Akari, becomes the leader of the Anti-Akuma Division of the JSDF, along with her second in command, Eiji Takeo. When Kage returns, Karin is forced to decide whether to help him or follow orders and capture him.
- Action Girl: Karin, she might not fight all the time, but she's tough enough to make a grown man cower in terror.
- Now Jarrett's cousin, Akari, who is Kamen Rider Akarui.
- Badass Biker: It's Kamen Rider, what did you expect?
- Badass Normal: Karin, and Eiji at first, until he gets promoted to Kamen Rider Taiga, though if he can't use the Taiga System, he's far from helpless.
- BFG: Eiji is given a hand held Minigun to wield, Karin keeps a Bazooka in her car.
- BFS: While normal sized to him, King Mao's sword is too big for the average person to hold.
- Big Bad: King Mao, the Elephant Beetle-like leader of the Akuma.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Taiga's Taiga Slayers. Unlike G3's, these are actually far more effective, as they extend directly from his wrists.
- Calling Your Attacks: Kage calls out the names of his finishers. Taiga and Akarui do as well.
- Car Fu: Karin's first encounter with an Akuma ends with him getting hit by her police car.
- Happens again facing Doku.
- Catch Phrase: Kage has "Evil will fall by my blade!" at the start of the fight and typically says "Your Journey Ends Here." after killing the Akuma. Taiga has two, "You fight with honor, I just fight." and "This Hunt is Over" after killing an Akuma, though the latter is used more often. Akarui also has "Crash and burn" after defeating an Akuma.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Akari has a Man Child personality and also has a habit of vanishing into thin air the moment you turn your back on her, reappearing doing something rather childish.
- Cool Sword: King Mao's Muramasa Blade and Kage's Terra Shredder.
- Crazy Prepared: Karin after the five month time jump. She keeps a bazooka in her car. Justified by the fact she lives in a world under attack by monsters.
- Cute Bruiser: Akari, who acts like a young child, has Super Strength and shows it the first time by throwing a mugger into a tree. However, Akarui is more of a Lightning Bruiser.
- Death by Origin Story: Jarrett's parents are killed by the first Akuma. Eiji's family apparently also suffered this fate offscreen.
- Akari has the same background as Jarrett.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Kage's Earth Form gives him the power of Earth.
- Distracted By the Shiny: If you're not watching her, Akari will likely be destracted by something and disappear, unless she's in Let's Get Dangerous mode or Akarui. However, this is more due to her Man Child personality than anything else.
- Elemental Powers: There are four Tribes of Akuma, Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth. Kage also has the elemental power of Earth. He gains the power of Fire with his Inferno Form. Akarui has Wind and Water so far and Taiga has Metal.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: When facing a Water Akuma, Kage had an advantage, but when the Wind Tribe Akuma came around, he was then put at a disadvantage so he has to master his Inferno Form to counter.
- Engineered Public Confession: Used on General Kyo Takashi. Karin has his gloating about his Mix and Match Critter Prometheus recorded and when it Goes Horribly Wrong, threatens to email the clip to every news station in the country and the Prime Minister's office if he doesn't do as she says. Considering he performed likely illegal genetic experments on sentient beings and his creation is presently tearing Tokyo apart, he's left with no option but to do as she says.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The High Warrior makes the Akuma who worship him literally incapable of telling that their actions are wrong.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Akuma may be evil, genocidal monsters whose name literally means devil, but they have an honor code. In episode 7, an Akuma breaks one of the sacred taboos and has his wings taken away, forcing him to fight Taiga to the death. And Venti was being kind, he had every right to kill him on the spot by their laws. They're also sickened by Kyo's Prometheus Project, though mainly due to it tearing the souls of their dead out of the afterlife and trapping them in a manmade weapon.
- Finishing Move: Kage and Akarui have the Element Breaks, supercharged elemental attacks used as a kill move. Kamen Rider Taiga uses more machine-based finishing moves utilizing cards called Metal Cards.
- General Ripper: General Kyo Takashi REALLY wants to capture Kage and destroy the Akuma, even if he has to create something even the Akuma consider an abomination and work with Foundation X.
- Genre Savvy: Anga demands that the Riders be taken seriously and destroyed while they still have a chance before they get too powerful. And no one listens.
- God of Evil: The Akuma worship an entity called the High Warrior as their God...who compels them to murder innocent people and cause mindless destruction to prove themselves to him. On the other hand, his rewards are nothing to sneeze at.
- At least according to the Tenshi, he's only doing this for his own selfish reasons and doesn't even care about the Akuma themselves.
- Good Counterpart: The Tenshi appear to be this to the Akuma. They're very simular to the Akuma but where white armor and are more angelic in nature. They also redeemed Hikaru and gave him a chance to make up for what he did.
- Heel Face Turn: Hikaru, the Roadrunner Akuma, comes to realize that the Akuma's beliefs are false and, after being given a second chance by a mysterous woman, tries to redeem himself for his sins.
- Heel Realization: After being mortally wounded by Kage's Finishing Move and left to die in peace, Hikaru comes to see that his views may be wrong and that Kage's statement that true power came from protecting others may be correct. He then resolves that if he gets the chance. Once he's given the chance, he completely regrets his actions.
Hikarui: We tested our beliefs on the battlefield and he won…so does that mean he's in the right and I'm in the wrong? I must know…what does it feel like? What does it feel like to be a hero? What does true power feel like?
- Homage: The Akuma and Kage themselves have several homage's to Kuuga and the Grongi.
- Humans Are Special: Hikaru believes this after his Heel Face Turn.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Kage and Mao both have katanas as their main weapon.
- Legacy Character: According to the Akuma, Kage isn't the first one to carry his mantle. In fact, the first two Akuma mistook him for the original Kage. May double as a Continuity Nod, Mythology Gag, and/or Shout-Out to Kamen Rider Kuuga, who is also not the first to have that power. Kamen Rider OOO might be getting a nod here too, as there was a previous OOO before Eiji broke the seal that unleashed the Greeed. Of course, YMMV on that.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Apparently a Tsuchi Family trait. Both Jarrett and Akari get very serious when they see someone needing help. According to Akari, this is normal in their family and dates back to at least 800 years ago when they were samurai.
- Man Child: Akari has a very childish personality and is easily distracted (at least not when she goes to Let's Get Dangerous mode).
- Meaningful Name: Akuma means Devil, Kage means Shadow (his mysterious aspect), Tsuchi means Earth and Takeo means warrior. The Fire Yoso Akuma Rozu is named Anga, and yes, he's very angry. Taiga's name means Tiger in Japanese, and he's a Tiger based Rider. Akarui means bright and Akarui has the ability to project powerful bursts of light from her wings. Tenshi is Japanese for Angel and the Tenshi are pretty much the anti-Akuma.
- Megaton Punch: Taiga's Rider Punch normally launches the victim so hard they're imbeded into something.
- Mighty Glacier: Taiga. He's not as fast or agile as Kage, but makes up for it with higher defense and greater power. While not excessively slow, he's still not fast enough to be a Lightning Bruiser.
- Mix and Match Critter: General Kyo Takeshi's Project Prometheus aims to create these to fight the Akuma, out of the Akuma's DNA.
- Mooks: The Anti-Akuma Division use armored troops called Masked Troopers to fight the Akuma, but once Taiga is perfected, they prefer using him to cut down on deaths.
- My God, What Have I Done??: Hikaru gets this after being liberated from the High Warrior, realizing he'd killed and destroyed for a deity that doesn't even care about his own people. He personally visits the graves of his victims to apologize for what he's done to them.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Bull Shark Akuma kills Jarrett's parents, triggering his transformation into Kage.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Akari tends to do this whenever someones attention isn't on her.
- Oh Crap: General Kyo Takeshi gets one when his Mix and Match Critter survives the failsafe, litterally saying Oh Crap.
- A mugger gets another when Akari reveals her Cute Bruiser statis and lifts him off the ground with one arm.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Yoso Akuma Rozu seem to fit this role.
- Now Rao and Avalon Industries seems is another.
- One-Winged Angel: Akuma can earn a second life by exchanging enough Blood Tears to the High Warrior, causing them to revive upon death as powerful Dai-Akuma based off mythical creatures. Once they fill up their Blood Tears again, they can transform into Ascended Akuma, more powerful versions of their base form, in exchange for the Blood Tears and the second life.
- Orcus on His Throne: King Mao and the Yoso Akuma Rozu spend most of their time sitting on their thrones in the bowels of Mt. Fuji. Justified in that Akuma are supposed to go by level of strength when attacking.
- Our Angels Are Different: The Tenshi's name means angel and they have many qualities in common with their namesake, including being hidden among humans and helpping Hikari redeem himself. It's also implied Hikari is being reborn as one.
- Our Demons Are Different: The Akuma's name means Devil and they're supernatural monsters from another universe. However, they don't have a lot in common with them.
- Playing with Fire: The Fire Elemental Akuma. Kage's Inferno Form also gets has the power of fire.
- Reason You Suck Speech: Eiji to Arata:
Eiji: You're a monster. Even as far as you devils go you're a monster! The others do it for the same reason I fight Kage! It's their job! I may hate every last one of them, but at least they don't savor the suffering and innocents! You're a sadistic demon and you're going back where you belong! My only regret is my armor is still damaged from earlier and I can't send you to oblivion myself...
- Religion of Evil: The Akuma's religion requires dieing in battle to get to the afterlife, not so bad, but to please their God, you have to cause senseless death and destruction on a regular basis.
- The Rival: Eiji/ Kamen Rider Taiga to Kage. He doesn't have a personal grudge against him or is seeking a worthy opponent, he's just following orders.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Akuma were imprisoned for 800 years inside Mao's Muramasa Blade until the sword was pulled out of the ocean and they were accidentally unleashed.
- Second Rider: Eiji/Taiga becomes this. Akarui eventually joins in.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: When Kaze-Arata-Gorudoiguru begins insulting Kage and enjoying how far under his skin he's gotten:
Arata: Attacking from behind? That's not like you. (Kage just continues for him without any words) What? No threat? No witty banter about how you're going to stop my rampage in its tracks? Have I gotten to y- (Kage shuts him up with a punch to the face)
Kage: Oh you've gotten to me alright...and you'll soon be wishing you hadn't!
- Super Strength: Akari has this. First shown by throwing a full grown man 15 feet into a tree. She Handwaved it by saying she was used to heavy lifting back home.
- Take Your Time: After becoming Kage, Jarrett takes five months to return to fight the Akuma, leaving the Anti-Akuma forces to pick up the slack. Justified in that there was a mysterious voice training him the whole time so he'd be ready for the fight.
- The Atoner: Hikaru, the Roadrunner Akuma, spends all his time after his Heel Face Turn trying to make up for the senseless death and destruction he caused while evil.
- Theme Naming: Japanese words, all the Riders names are based off Japanese words. The Akuma's first name is their tribe, their middle name is simply a given name, and their last name is the Japanese version of the animal they're based on.
- The Un-Reveal: Kamen Rider Oblivion's true identity is never revealed.
- Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: Taiga tends to fight in this fashion, being rather brutal and resorting to a Groin Attack or two.
Taiga: You fight with honor, I just fight.
- Villainous Breakdown: In the W portion of The Movie War Kamen Rider Oblivion has one starting when Kamen Rider Cyclone arrives to fight him and getting progressively more unhinged after that, going off the deep end by performing a Triple Maximum Drive. He goes from a rather composed Smug Snake to screaming "Die! Die! Die! Die!" while raining energy balls down at W.
- General Kyo has one after he's tricked and humiliated by Karin, throwing a tantrum and flipping over a table in an outright childish display of anger.
- The Voice: A mysterious voice tells Jarrett he needs to train and perfect his Earth element in episode 3, then provides him with the equipment to do so.
- Wham! Episode: Episode 17. Hi-Anga-Doragon, one of the Yoso Akuma Rozu, descends from Mt. Fuji and begins making his plans, the Gecko Akuma reaches level four, Eiji finds out who Kage and Akarui really are, Kage's Torrent Form is revealed, and Eiji pushes the Taiga system so far past it's limits, it's destroyed and puts him in a coma.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Averted after Hikaru and Tao Takashi appear, after which the Akuma are treated with the same respect in death as a human, even getting a hall in the Anti-Akuma HQ dedicated to remembering them.
- Worthy Opponent: One of the main goals of the Akuma is the search for a worthy opponent. Good thing Kage came along.
- You're Insane!: Said by Kamen Rider Joker when Kamen Rider Oblivion does a Triple Maximum Drive in The Movie. He has a point as if Oblivion wasn't already insane, the resulting One-Winged Angel transformation drove him there. Also, Shotaro had already tried a Twin Maximum before in the show and it didn't end well.