What, I like tokusatsu too? Yup. For those wondering “what the hell’s tokusatsu?” Basically, think the original Japanese version of Power Rangers but apply that idea to any hero who transforms in order to defeat an enemy. Kamen Rider is one of them (unlike Super Sentai/Power Rangers, it’s just one hero who meets other heroes who don’t really like each other and even evil riders.
That’s enough of that, on with the review.
Kamen Rider Kiva takes place between two different years: 1986 and 2008. In 1986 Otoya Kurenai is a hopeless romantic who falls for Yuri Aso, a Fangire (that’s what the monsters in this show are called. Basically, super fancy vampires) hunter. In 2008, Kurenai’s son, Wataru, is Kamen Rider Kiva who not only continues the fight against Fangires, but is also trying to find out how to duplicate his dad’s violin which he inherited.
So, how does this show deal with the multiple years’ story? By constantly going back and forth between the two in what seems like every two minutes. This gets old fast. Also, they spend way too much time in 1986 which makes the 1986 side is a LOT more entertaining and better written. It’s fun to watch Otoya blunder his way into getting into Aso’s pants and failing. There’s also a love triangle between them and Jiro, a Wolfen (werewolf.) It may be caliche thing, but somehow everything from Otoya’s hopeless romantic ways, Aso being a badass and Jiro trying to get Otoya away from Aso just works, with some fighting in between of course.
The 2008 side is pretty boring. Wataru just comes off as a vampire version of Kamen Rider Den-O but not as endearing. The other characters I can’t be bothered to remember because they have almost no impact on me due to them not being well written.
Of course, for those wondering how’s the action and SFX in this show. I enjoyed them for the most part. The Kiva suit looks awesome and the Fangire designs are nice and colorful. Kiva’s version of the Rider Kick when the scene changes to nighttime with full moon scene looks amazing, especially with the jingle that plays when he does it. The fight scenes are entertaining but it just seems like the 1986 crowd weakens the Fangire and then Kiva kills them in 2008. I get why they did it like that, but it would’ve been better for Kiva to not fight his dad’s sloppy seconds.
While Kamen Rider Kiva has an entertaining 1986 story and some visually stunning imagery, the overemphasis on the 1986 side makes the 2008 side weak and the main rider coming off as just Den-O deciding to become a vampire one day.