For an anniversary Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Kabuto rarely did tributes or allusions to the Kamen Rider franchise. The closest thing we have for tributes is the arrival of the Natives, which takes place 35 years prior to the start of the series and that the Masked Rider Project began on April 3, 1971, the day the first episode of Kamen Rider aired on TV and that some past Rider actors made cameos in the series. Other tributes that I notice in the series is that there are some instances that they are poking fun on the current trend of the Heisei Kamen Rider franchise with having multiple rival Kamen Riders and my personal favorite, the extreme contrasts of drama and comedy.
One of my favorite twists in the series is the relationship between Souji Tendou and Hiyori Kusakabe, which I thought at first Tendou, has this crush on Hiyori and he is just trying his best to make a good impression on her. In Hiyori's case, she has this bad memory of a man that wore a belt that she thought killed her parents during the meteor incident in Shibuya seven years ago. Their fates are slowly intertwined as the series progressed that lead us to one revelation that summed up the series as a whole. This twist is that Hiyori is the Native clone of Tendou's younger sister.
Kagami is what most people think the true protagonist in the series since he is first introduced and second, he is quite an engaging support character and you can easily say a bro amongst others. At one point in the series, he was chosen by TheBee Zecter to become Kamen Rider TheBee but because he cares his friendship to Tendou more than the power of TheBee Zecter, even though Tendou thinks that they are not friends. For at least half of the series, we see him do his best in everything that he can do that seeing he using his whole strength to convince the Gatack Zecter to be his user is one of the strongest points in this series.
To be honest, I didn't expect that after all the Worms are destroyed by the Riders (less Tadokoro who is one of those good Worms), the plan of the Natives is to turn their back on humanity with the help of the ZECT organization to turn everyone into Natives! I find this twist a bit rushed because they never foreshadowed this sort of thing in some episodes. But I guess that is the beauty of this twist, I didn't see it coming. The plot device used on turning humans into Natives is the one most humans least expect that will turn them into one. At the end, our heroes defeated the Natives, Tendou accepted Kagami as his friend and that Hiyori accepted that she is not just a Native, but she is also Souji Tendou's younger sister.
That is why I just love that Gon later regained her memories and decided to once again, tag along with Daisuke. The only thing that bothered me with it is that what happened to Gon's mother after her daughter ran away to join some make-up artist? They didn't explain it even after the series ended as she continues to tag along with Daisuke as seen in the epilogue scene at the last episode of the series.
Tendou's Worm clone, Souji Kusakabe is childish and thinks of Hiyori as his older sister because he doesn't have any other adult figure to look up too. The contrast between Tendou and Kusakabe is well done that I started to like Kusakabe more as a character after they introduced his back story that he is just a result of an experiment conducted by ZECT during the development of the Rider System. His growth from a guy who just wanted someone to take care of him, he became a true hero of justice in the last moments of the series.
Finally, the show's Masked Rider System is really interesting as it gives the Rider a more insect-like feel in the suits. Though at first I hated that the Riders have two forms, the Masked Form and the Rider Form, I started to appreciate it as the series progressed since the suits grew on me. I thought the Masked Form is useless at first because it only made the Rider Form look cooler but because on how Tendou use the Masked Form, it made me realize that it is quite useful in battle after all for the sake of defense. The Rider Form grants the Riders the ability to access a skill called "Clock Up", which makes time slower for the Riders to chase enemy Worms.
Overall, Kamen Rider Kabuto is one fun series to watch, writing wise, it went a bit bonkers and have some questions left unanswered but at least you don't need to watch a movie or think a lot just for the series to make sense to you. The Kamen Rider Kabuto suits are one of the best suits I have seen in the franchise next to the Kamen Rider 555 suits and OOO's full Combo forms. It didn't help that the Masked Rider System is something that the franchise has rarely done and has this really cool Clock Up feature!
After watching the series, I finally understand why this is one of the best shows to introduce someone to the Kamen Rider franchise because it has the best and the worse things that the Kamen Rider franchise has the offer. Best in terms of suit, the action and the character and worse in terms of some of the characters, the story-telling and on the direction the series is going. If there is one thing that I learned while watching the series, it would be that the show doesn't know when it will be serious or not. I mean, the Iron Chef story arc is so crazy that I don't know if I am watching a dark and grim Kamen Rider series that we are first introduced in the first few episodes!
Originally posted on Orends: Range back in December 1, 2012.