Finally, here are the fan reactions to the Heisei Kamen Riders (minus Kuuga, since I covered him in a previous post).
Kamen Rider Agito aired in 2001 with a total of 51 episodes. Coming hot off the heels of the massively successful Kuuga, Agito pretty much sets the tone for the Heisei Riders. The Heisei Riders were shows with very complex plots and mysteries that were shot on video instead of film and had lots and lots of drama in them, while often starring a cast of rather quirky characters. Heisei Riders were also known to experiment with lots of different kinds of styles and motifs, making each season very different from one another. While the franchise still maintains some traditions, each season in the Heisei Era is very different from one another. Agito continues to use the detective and police aspects that were used in Kuuga, while also adding in an ancient war between gods as a twist. Agito is notable for being one of the more "adult" seasons, featuring stuff like alcohol and tobacco on a very regular basis. Agito is also notable for starring three main Riders instead of just one. Agito was very well received by fans and is considered by many to be one of the best Rider seasons of all time, rivaling Black and Kuuga. Agito was praised for it's strong writing, characters, pacing, and very complex plot.
Kamen Rider Ryuki aired in 2002 with a total of 50 episodes. Kamen Rider Ryuki completely deviated from several traditional Rider concepts in terms of storytelling. Instead of the story focusing on a single Rider, Ryuki's story was instead about a battle royal where a total of 13 Riders were involved. Kamen Rider Ryuki is a season that fans are divided over. There were fans who hated Ryuki for it's "bizarre/different" concept and writing styles, saying that Ryuki "should've been something else" in terms of how it was handled. While other fans love Ryuki for it's innovative concept, well-written stories and characters, and by still carrying out the true meaning of what it means to be a Kamen Rider. So overall, Ryuki seems to be an acquired taste which results in a love it or hate it.
Kamen Rider 555 (Faiz) aired in 2003 with a total of 50 episodes. 555 went back to the concepts that Agito had started and continued on from there. 555 was notable for being one of the most depressing (if not THE most) Rider seasons ever. Having tons of intense drama with no breath of fresh air in sight. 555 had an even more complex story than Agito, with it's many layers of plots. 555 also moved very quickly, with each ep ending with a cliffhanger. 555 has a lot of solid fans. Though a lot of fans have issues with some of 555's plots as well as the controversial quality in 555's writing.
Kamen Rider Blade aired in 2004 with a total of 49 episodes. Blade continued the style of writing that 555 had going on for it, except it's plots weren't as complex and it paced itself more slowly. These differences often put 555 fans and Blade fans at each other's necks. xD But yeah, 555 and Blade often tend to have a bit of a rivalry due to their differences.
Kamen Rider Hibiki aired in 2005 with a total of 48 episodes. Kamen Rider creator Shotaro Ishinomori before his death had created the plans to a work known as Ongeki Hibiki. Sadly, Ongeki Hibiki never materialized due to Ishinomori's passing. However, in 2005, Ishinomori's work on Ongeki Hibiki was picked up and turned into a toku. However, at the last minute, the name "Kamen Rider" was slapped onto the title (also cause Hibiki did a "Rider Kick" in the first ep). Apparently, Blade was supposed to be the last Rider season, but apparently Rider was just too marketable for Toei to give up on. So as a result, we get Kamen Rider Hibiki. Hibiki was vastly different from every other Rider series (as it wasn't meant to be a Rider series at all). Hibiki focused on more mystical themes like Oni. Hibiki's story also focused more on character interaction and development than any other Rider series had ever done, giving the story a much more character driven plot. However, as the series progressed, Hibiki did start gaining traditional Rider traits, which helped the show be more comparable to the other seasons. Like Ryuki, fans are also divided with this season. The people who dislike Hibiki dislike it for not traditionally being a Rider series and for having a much slower moving plot. While fans love Hibiki for it's great innovation, outstanding cast of characters (debatably one of the best in the franchise), and giving training lessons and stories that perfectly explained what it truly meant to be a hero, possibly much better than any other Rider season executed. So yeah, like Ryuki, Hibiki is a love it or hate it.
Kamen Rider Kabuto aired in 2006 with a total of 49 episodes. This season celebrated Kamen Rider's 35th anniversary. Kabuto is notable for a taking a bit of a more comedic turn where the Kuuga-Hibiki run was much more serious (with a touch of B horror elements). Kabuto was a very popular season, as fans loved it's innovative concepts like the Clock Up fighting system. However, some fans complained about Kabuto having a messy plot. Overall, Kabuto has a solid fanbase.
Kamen Rider Den-O aired in 2007 with a total of 49 episodes. Den-O was noticeably more comedic compared to most Rider series, as well as starring a main character who lacked confidence, compared to the more confident Riders of the past. Den-O also brought in the concept of mecha (the Den-Liner), time travel plots, and the concept of "possession" which is what was used for Den-O to obtain his powers (via Imagins). Den-O's concept was very original and very "catchy" that it caught on to fans very quickly, proving to be one of the most popular Rider seasons of all time, even going so far as to be iconic in Japan (particularly the Imagins). Den-O was so popular it spawned a second movie!... no, three movies... four... five, six, seven... eight! xD Yup, Den-O movies are still being made to this day due to it's popularity. However, while fans love Den-O a lot, the movies have ranged from mixed to very negative reception amongst fans (despite their success). Fans often love the first three movies. But starting with the fourth, the movies were branded as a series known as Cho Den-O, starring a completely new character, replacing the original Den-O. Like I said, the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th movies have been met with mixed to negative feelings amongst fans. So much to the point where fans would rather not involve Cho Den-O with the original Den-O.
Kamen Rider Kiva aired in 2008 with a total of 48 episodes. Kiva had a monster and music motif going on for it, involving vampires, werewolves, dragons, etc, with musical instruments, notably the violin. Kiva continued using the various concepts of Den-O like the powers of possession and time travel (though to a lesser extent), and starring a main character who lacked confidence. Kiva was unique in the fact that it followed two separate sets of stories, each with their own sets of characters. One taking place in the year 2008 while the other took place in 1986. The show would alternate between the two eras. Kiva was a season that fans felt divided over. Kiva had a lot of plots that many viewed to be written in a controversial matter. Thus, this season often tends to be a love it or hate it.
Kamen Rider Decade aired early in 2009 with a total of 31 episodes. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Heisei Riders, Decade used the concept of traveling to the previous nine worlds of the Heisei Riders, while having the powers of all the Heisei Riders. Decade was quite popular when it first aired. However, as Decade progressed, it was met with extremely negative reception amongst fans, due to the show having controversial characters, terrible writing, and tons and tons of plot holes. The debate over Decade's quality has been something that fans can tend to talk about for quite some time. The last episode of Decade ended on a cliffhanger, which made fans to have to watch it's movie to see the ending, three months later. The movie was greatly criticized by most fans and considered by many to not be worth the wait. Overall, Decade did not have a very good reputation amongst fans.
Kamen Rider W started in the middle of 2009 and ended in the middle of 2010, with a total of 49 episodes. W used the concept of having two people in one becoming the main Rider. W brought in a completely new set of writers who handled very new concepts and styles with a really good cast of characters, which helped W feel fresh compared to Decade. W proved to be very popular with fans.
Kamen Rider OOO started in the middle of 2010 and will end in the middle of 2011. Succeeding W, OOO utilizes the concept of using three special medals and inserting them into his belt to achieve three different powers in one. As of now, OOO is a little more than half way through it's run. So far, OOO has had a pretty solid fanbase. Though it does tend to be compared to the success of W quite often.
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