Kamen Rider Kiva Review

A summary and review of the series. Many spoilers.


Just to remind you, there will be spoilers.

Kamen Rider Kiva is the 2008 series of Kamen Rider. Coming in after the previous year’s Kamen Rider Den-O. The premise is of course, totally different than that of Den-O’s.

The story of Kiva is actually split between two timelines, one set in 1986, the other in 2008. The 1986 story focuses on Kurenai Otoya, the father of Kurenai Wataru. While 2008 focuses on Wataru himself, who is the titular Kiva. Here’s what happened!

1986
Yuri (a chick) is a member of a secret organization who hunt down Fangire, a race of soul sucking monsters. While out hunting Fangire, she meets up with the violinist Otoya, who is an unrepentant flirt, self styled ladies man and something of a stalker. Enamored by Yuri, Otoya tries to join the hunter organization in order to get closer to her. He meets a rival in Jiro, who also vies for both a spot in the organization and Yuri’s heart.

Jiro turns out to be a coffee drinking soul sucking werewolf, and try as Otoya might, he can’t convince Yuri or anyone else for that matter, of what Jiro really is. Eventually, this all takes a backseat with the arrival of Rook, an elite Fangire who not only murdered Yuri’s mother, but also wiped out the entire Wolfen clan except for Jiro.

Rook pretty much overpowers them in every confrontation, regardless of whoever is wearing the IXA armor that the hunter group developed, or even when everyone’s working together.

The IXA armor of 1986 allows the user to become Kamen Rider IXA, thus vastly increasing their strength and durability. But there’s a flaw in this version. Prolonged use will result in pain, weakness, convulsions and possibly death. IXA is not for everybody. Consult your physician before use of IXA.

Too bad for Rook, he didn’t read the warning label. In the end, the good guys tricked Rook into wearing the IXA armor and after he overloads, they beat up on him before Yuri uses IXA to finish Rook off.

After that the story for 1986 starts to go downhill. It focuses on Otoya and Yuri finally getting together, but then Otoya becomes enchanted with Maya, a Queen elite Fangire. Maya similarly falls for Otoya, and as Yuri is phased out to focus on Otoya and Maya’s interspecies Romeo and Juliet, King comes into the picture. King is the current wielder of the (Dark) Kiva armor and he’s not really fond of the idea of Queen cheating on him, especially with a human, and eventually resolves to kill Otoya.

At this point, Wataru time travels from 2008 to 1986, and together with Otoya, they commit regicide. Then Otoya dies.

2008
Wataru is a recluse, to the point of being a hikkimori NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). He’s also the mysteeeeeerious Kamen Rider Kiva. And whenever his father’s violin inexplicably plays on its own, he knows it’s due to a Fangire attack. Thus, he transforms/henshins/henkeis into Kiva and kills the Fangire.

Wataru eventually meets with Megumi, the daughter of Yuri, and in turn, meets Nago Keisuke, the current user of the now safe for public consumption IXA. Nago isn’t too fond of Kiva, considering that the previous Kiva was a murderous Fangire, though he tolerates Wataru.

As the story goes, Nago took every opportunity to vanquish Kiva, even nearly succeeding from time to time. But just as he gained the power of the newly improved Rising IXA, he had to travel to the past. There, he fell in love at first sight with Maya, got cock blocked by Space and Time, and upon returning to his own time, finally found out Wataru is really Kiva. Deciding to give Kiva a chance, because he wanted to bang Wataru’s MOM, Nago found himself finally being a likable fan favorite character. So naturally, he becomes relegated to butt monkey status while the previous fan favorite becomes a jerkass. By the end of the series, Nago redeems himself as a credible character while Kengo (the fan fav turned jerkass) pretty much becomes even MORE insignificant than he already was.

While all this was going on with Nago, Megumi is confronted by Rook, who turned out to be only mostly dead. Like Yuri, she chases after Rook, and on the same ep as Yuri finally beating Rook, Megumi finishes him off once and for all. Then she becomes almost as unimportant as Kengo, until it was time for her to help redeem Nago as a character.

As for the star himself? Wataru aka the titular Kiva? He does nothing until the final arc of the show. He falls in love with Mio, the current Queen, who thinks Wataru is a human. She’s also engaged to the new King, who is Wataru’s half brother. She started off as a cute, clumsy waitress in what initially seemed like just a cameo (she was the former female lead in Kamen Rider Faiz), but then became a regular. Toward the end of the series, she found out Wataru was half-Fangire and then turned into a bitch all of a sudden. She wanted Wataru to kill his long lost brother so that they could snu-snu like rabbits, but just like any horror series (and Kiva is certainly a horror themed show), the moment Mio exhibits a lack of chastity, she gets bumped off.

Mio’s death results in Wataru time traveling to 1986 to hand his dad a pack of condoms, but Otoya likes it raw. While Wataru tries to commit suicide by convincing his dad on the virtues of safe sex, King/Dark Kiva attacks, so Wataru and Otoya kill him. Wataru then goes back to 2008 where he and his brother continue their rivalry, until the 1986 King revives and the brothers have to kill him again. After that, Wataru and his brother, Taiga, reconcile.

Nago marries Megumi, but just before the final credits begin to play, Masao, the hobo son of Wataru who looks suspiciously like Otoya, crashes the wedding. Masao, who is Wataru’s son from 22 years in the future, tells of a new enemy, the Neo Fangire, who are launching their attack even as they spoke.

The series ends with all transformable combatants launching a flying kick toward a black hole in the sky.

Review
A good series, it started off strong with really nice music. But pretty much went downhill following the closure of the Rook story arc. It had its good points, but overall, had way too many extraneous elements designed to sell toys, getting in the way. Where they focused on telling the story, it was pretty decent, even if some stories took their time to take off. Part of this was probably due to how 180 the stories went from their previous story arcs. Otoya was totally infatuated with Yuri in the first half of the series, and the total turnaround that saw a listless Otoya going after Maya just didn’t jive.

And as for the main character himself, he pretty much took a backseat until all the secondary characters finished their story. It’s only until the new round of secondary characters came around that Wataru started acting like a main character.

The final arcs weren’t bad, but they pretty much dumped every character they invested character development in, in favor of new or derailed characters. So it’s hard to get behind anybody.

Overall, Kamen Rider Kiva’s a middling series. It’s not bad, but badly focused. It really seemed like they had no frikkin’ idea on what tone to take with the series. Whether to be serious like Kamen Rider Faiz/555, or lighthearted like Kamen Rider Den-O. And the product placement was just all over the place.

2.6 out of 4.0

———————————–
0.0 – 0.0 = I’d pay to get rid of it
0.1 – 0.5 = I’d give it away
0.6 – 1.0 = I wouldn’t take it for free
1.1 – 1.5 = Very Bad
1.6 – 2.0 = Bad
2.1 – 2.5 = Average
2.6 – 3.0 = Good
3.1 – 3.5 = Very Good
3.6 – 4.0 = Excellent

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