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"Awaken that soul!"
The 2001-2002 entry in the Kamen Rider franchise, and second in the Heisei Era.
Following the Kuuga Incident from last year, the Metropolitan Police Department commissioned their best technical geniuses to create an effective countermeasure should their city ever be plagued by monsters again. The result was the Generation 3 (G3) Powered Armor, worn by capable-but-klutzy police officer Makoto Hikawa. In response to these supernatural creatures, codenamed "Unknowns", the G3 Unit is sent out to protect the city. They find an uphill struggle ahead of them not just against the Unknowns but against those within their own police department who would seek to use the G3 System for their own gain.
Ryou Ashihara had a promising career as a swimmer until a near-fatal car accident. He began to swim again once he had healed, only to find that his body had undergone a metamorphosis, one that would drive all of his former friends and confidants away from him. After this, he receives a letter containing a list of passengers from the Akatsuki-Go cruise liner: the same cruise liner that his father boarded shortly before committing suicide. Ryou resolves to uncover the reason why his father committed suicide, driven by his loneliness and the new power he has attained: to transform into the feral creature known as Gills.
Shouichi Tsugami is a man without a past. Months ago, he washed up on a beach with no memory and an empty envelope addressed to himself. Taken in by the Misugi family, he enjoys nothing more than a simple life tending a vegetable patch and looking after the household. However, when an Unknown is about to attack a human, he feels an overwhelming compulsion to go to their defence, summoning a mysterious power he knows nothing about but holds the key to everything: the ability to transform into Kamen Rider Agito.
This show links the stories of all three men together as they attempt to uncover the mysteries surrounding the Unknown and the source of the Agito power, clashing not only with the Unknown but with their own insecurities, pasts, and with each other.
Apart from the common Kamen Rider tropes, this show contains examples of:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade - G3's GS-03 "Destroyer" and G3-X's GK-06 "Unicorn", a vibration arm-sword and handheld knife.
- Abusive Precursors - The Overlord of Darkness. Though to be fair, he's more afraid of humanity overpowering him than outright evil.
- All Your Powers Combined - Agito Trinity Form.
- Back From the Dead - Ryou Ashihara
- Badass Normal - G3/G3-X. They're just normal humans wearing a high tech battle suit, and yet still manage to kick butt. Infact, in a way, this gives him some added benefit, as the Lords are forbidden from killing a normal, non-evolved human or the Overlord will kill them.
- Boring but Practical - G3/G3-X compared to most other Riders. He can't transform and has to put his suits on like a normal person and is armed with guns instead of supernatural weapons. However, his suits do exactly what they were designed to; keep the user alive and fight the Unknown. In fact he has the highest defense of any Rider in Agito.
- BFG/GatlingGood - The G3-X System's GX-05 "Cerberus", roughly the length of the suit actor's leg. It can even launch grenades.
- Big Bad - The Overlord of Darkness.
- Blade Below the Shoulder - G3's GS-03 "Destroyer" is an arm-mounted vibration sword. Strangely, it's also a Deconstruction of the trope, as it's inherent design makes it inaccurate - the hilt is the size of the user's forearm, which makes it that much easier to grab.
- Blessed with Suck - getting psychic powers in this world (themselves typically not particularly useful) = marked for death by the Unknowns.
- Brand X - Averted with G3's Guardchaser - it's apparently made by Honda in-universe. Which makes sense; it's a souped-up cop bike.
- Broken Pedestal - Houjou and Ozawa's mentors are both examples of this trope. Houjou's mentor turns out to be a murderer, and Ozawa's mentor has a long-standing grudge against her. For once in his life, Houjou actually does the right thing and turns in his mentor. Ozawa's mentor, however, gives her a chip limiting the G3-X to controllable limits.
- The Cameo - Hiroshi Fujioka appears in Project G4 as the MPD superintendent general and briefly interacts with Shoichi, showing approval for the young man.
- Canis Latinicus - All the Unknowns except the El have Latin genus and species names. The Latin is surprisingly good (maybe not quite perfect, but still...). The genus names sometimes come from real genera, while the species names are usually meaningful Latin words (and the genus names sometimes also fall under this). The given katakana spellings indicate a surprisingly good knowledge of Latin pronunciation.
- Combat Tentacles - Gills has these.
- Continuity Nod - the G3 suit was originally designed to fight Grongi. In fact, it looks like a robotic version of
KuugaUnidentified Life Form #4 and is referred to as such. SIC Hero Saga ups the reference by showing the G-1 as looking near-identical to Kuuga.
- G3's bike, the Guardchaser, also takes its name from Kuuga's Try/Beatchaser.
- Cosmic Plaything/Yank the Dog's Chain: The universe seems bent on making Ryou's live as full of suffering as possible. Whenever it seems it will get better for him, it's just going to last for a really short while before his life get worse again. Hell, in the epilogue, he is the only one who is shown without friends or family and only has a puppy as his companion in Walking the Earth. Poor guy....
- Crazy Prepared - Dr Kino carries a set of surgical tools on his person at all times.
- Creation Myth
- Dark Is Not Evil - The Overlord of Darkness isn't exactly evil, just afraid humanity will overpower him and trying to wipe out those who could do so. And in the end decides to let mankind move on.
- Deadly Upgrade - The G4 Armour from The Movie. G3-X as well, but only initially.
- Determinator - Hikawa. When your Powered Armor is thoroughly outclassed by both your enemies and your allies, you have to be a Determinator just to stay in the game.
- Deity of Human Origin: According to spinoff materials, the Overlords have actually originated from the Linto Tribe, who were the ancestors of humans.
- Delayed Reaction - The Lords, at least early on, tend to have this when they're killed by Agito's Rider Kick. In one instances, the Lord in question stands up, brushes herself off and laughs...then explodes suddenly. G3's Salamander gets this as well on one monster as well. The only Rider whose finisher seems unable to get this is Gills, but in his case it probably has to do with the long blade driven about an inch or two into their shoulder.
- Devil but No God - The Overlord of Light was killed by the Overlord of Darkness. But the former got the last laugh by implanting humanity with the Seed of Agito so that they might surpass the control of the Overlord of Darkness. Though to be fair, the Overlord of Darkness isn't exactly evil, he just was afraid of humanity and never truly understood them.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? - In episode 46, Shouichi decks the Agito-verse's equivalent of God. This leads him to decide humanity is too dangerous to keep around anymore... And in the final episode, he tops it off with a Rider Kick.
- Disposable Woman
- Distant Finale
- The Dragon - El of the Water. The other two El Lords may qualify as well.
- Elemental Powers - Each of Agito's forms have one.
- Even Evil Has Standards - The Unknown will only kill humans who have the potential to become Agito. One Unknown that kills an ordinary human is later forced to kill itself.
- Evolutionary Levels
- Face Heel Revolving Door - Kaoru Kino is introduced as a mentor figure, pulls a Face Heel Turn when he decides to kill all the other Agito, and eventually pulls a Heel Face Turn when he has a change of heart.
- Fragile Speedster - Gills fits under this archetype the most.
- Fun with Acronyms - SAUL, the Squad Against Unidentified Lifeforms, invokes yet more Rule of Symbolism.
- God: The Overlord of Darkness
- God Is Dead: Sort of. Only one of the two is. Also, at some point Overlord of Darkness did physically "die", so he sealed his DNA into a giant puzzle.
- God Is Evil/Satan Is Good - The Big Bad, the Overlord of Darkness is actually the creator of humanity, who sees them as his pets. His ancient adversary, the Overlord of Light, is the Trickster who gives humanity the means to free themselves from control of the Overlord of Darkness.
- God Is Flawed: While Overlord of Darkness isn't actually evil, he has little understanding of humanity.
- Gone Horribly Right - The problem with the G3-X's AI isn't that it doesn't work: instead, it works too well; it's so perfect that only a perfect man can keep up with it.
- Grappling Hook Pistol - averted: the GA-04 "Antares" fits on G3-X's arm like an Arm Cannon and looks mechanically plausible. But he doesn't use it to Building Swing; instead using it to keep a fast Unknown from running away from its GX-05-related death.
- Evolutionary Levels: The entire premise of the series, the Overlord of Light gave humans the ability to evolve into something that could overpower the Overlord of Darkness someday.
- Harmony Versus Discipline - Shouichi is Harmony, Hikawa is discipline. This becomes a plot point during the G3-X arc, as Shouichi's harmony works better with the G3-X's AI than Hikawa's discipline.
- Healing Factor: Gills, somewhat. He shows able to regenerate some injuries, particularally when the Ant Lord Queen tears his arm off; transforming into his Super Mode causes it to regenerate.
- Healing Hands - Mana, of all people, turns out to have this, but she burns it, and the rest of her Psychic Powers, away when she revives Ryou, curing his Rapid Aging in the process.
- Heel Realization - In the end, the Overlord of Darkness finally realizes that his assault on humanity may have been misguided and decides not to destroy them.
- Henshin Hero - Averted with the G3 and its cousins, who, unlike most Riders, cannot "henshin" but must don their armor the old-fashioned way. (see Homage)
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Houjou despite being a jerk, does seem to genuinely have one from all the Pet the Dog moments he has (see below).
- Homage - The G3 System and related department (SAUL) is similar to an older Metal Heroes show, Blue Swat (right down to the need for a support van), while using arm weaponry not far removed from that of Riderman. The competing V-1 system goes further, visibly resembling Space Sheriff Gavan and using a surviving Blue SWAT prop as its main weapon (the customized Dictator handgun).
- Humans Are Special: In the finale, the Overlord is convienced of this and decides allowing humanity to evolve isn't such a bad thing.
- Immune to Bullets - The Unknowns, most of the time. Makoto is very surprised to find this out the first time since the G3's GM-01 "Scorpion", while likely averting this trope against the Grongi, packs more power than a rifle.
- Karma Houdini - Houjou, who, despite having been a total dick throughout the series, escapes with his ass unkicked. However, he is satisfyingly cowed the first time he fights an Unknown. The assholery ends there.
- While he is an ass, he never quite does anything that would make him a bad cop.
- And he does get a few Break the Haughty moments for being an asshole. He even gets a What You Are in the Dark moment when he learns about a case-breaking clue in a murder. He was forced to decide if he should keep quiet about it and let the G3 Unit be reformed as he wanted, or make the murderer face justice and give the G3 Unit another break as a consequence. He choose the latter. So the Karma Houdini trope is voided. Not to mention the pet the dog moments (see below).
- The Ladette - Sumiko Ozawa is exceedingly blunt, making it a point to slag off anyone she has a problem with to their face. She's also a heavy drinker; in one episode, she had no less than seven pints of beer in one sitting, and she didn't come off as even slightly drunk afterwards. Then you add the fact that she's got some aspects of Wrench Wench (with her being the creator of the G3 System and all)...
- Best part? She designs the G3-X pretty much immediately after drinking the 7+ pints of beer. And this is a kid's show!
- Laser-Guided Amnesia
- Locked Room Mystery - Every murder by the Unknowns. Except there's never a lock, and only rarely do they happen indoors.
- Lucky Charms Title - Agito is spelt "AGITΩ" in the show and all official merchandising.
- Meaningful Name: The villains of the show have a double meaning. Their first meaning, the Unknown, as in their motives at the start of the show were unknown. Their second meaning comes when the show digs deeper in their story. The Lords, fit their very power.
- Metaphorgotten - In episode 32, Hikawa tries to explain to Professor Misuki why he should go easy on Mana, but the Professor takes his comparison and runs with it.
Hikawa: No, no violence! You have to treat girls like glass goods.
Misuki: Glass goods... But, how much is this glass good?
Misuki: There are various types of glass goods. You care for them depending on their value.
Hikawa: That's... Maybe she's about 50,000 yen?
Misuki: You'd only pay 50,000 yen for Mana?!
- Mid-Season Upgrade - After the G3 is torn apart by Gills, it gets rebuilt as the better, stronger G3-X equipped with More Dakka and one hell of an AI.
- The Movie: Notable for being the first Kamen Rider movie to tell its own story (and pretty much started the tradition of Heisei Rider movies to be set in an Alternate Continuity until, arguably, Kabuto or Den-O), and for introducing the concept of movie-exclusive Riders (in this case, G4).
- Multiform Balance - Agito's forms:
- My Name Is Not Durwood - Type C: As a Running Gag, Shouichi will often refer to other characters, particularly Hikawa, as "Kongouji".
- In the movie, this is reversed onto Shouichi. In a brief scene, he's stopped by someone when he leaves a restaurant. The person has mistaken him for an old classmate named, you guessed it, "Kongouji".
- Milestone Celebration - This series was made during Kamen Rider's 30th anniversary and contain homages to past Kamen Rider Series. Some of the monsters are based on old villain's, and you can make the case the lead riders themselves are based on previous Kamen Riders. It also homages the Metal Heroes series which Kamen Rider took the place of and incorporated some concepts.
- Mythology Gag - Not only is Another Agito's design meant to invoke the Showa Kamen Riders (it even comes with a Scarf of Asskicking of sorts), but his motorcycle resembles the one used by Kamen Rider Black.
- Ominous Latin Chanting
- Our Angels Are Different - Ones who would protect you from monstrous humanoids, but kill those with a potential superpower.
- Palette Swap - Several of the Unknowns, typically to show that they're related somehow.
- Pet the Dog - Despite being a selfish Jerkass, Houjou has two Pet the Dog moments:
- When Houjou discovers his mentor is a murderer, he turns the guy in despite the massive amount of respect he has for his mentor.
- When Hikawa starts going blind from stress, Houjou acts as Hikawa's eyes to help him fight an Unknown, with no apparent ulterior motive.
- Phlebotinum Breakdown - Gills' transformations cause rapid cellular delay, greatly shortening Ryou's lifespan.
- Physical God - The Overlords.
- Poor Communication Kills - Ryou/Gills thinks Agito is responsible for the death of his girlfriend, and goes after him at every chance. Ryou and Shouichi are unaware that the other is Gills/Agito, but are familiar with each other. Rather thoroughly averted (especially when compared to Kamen Rider Faiz) when they finally find out - Ryou's reaction is a surprised "You're Agito?!", followed by forgiveness and cooperation.
- This was the first season with Toshiki Inoue (who is a signature user of this trope) as the head writer, after all.
- Powered Armor - G3, G3-X, G3-MILD, V1 and The Movie's G4. They're heavy armor over an artificial muscle suit.
- Power Degeneration - a side effect of transforming into Gills, in the form of post-fight Rapid Aging. Healed out of existence (as a side-effect, apparently) when Mana revives Ryou.
- Prop Recycling - the V1 System. Solbraver's helmet, Jiban's body, Tryjacket legs, and a BM-01 Dictator for a gun. All painted metallic silver.
- Psychic Powers - Mana is an ESPer. Most of those who have the potential to become Agito are telekinetics, and the rest are ESPers like Mana.
- Rule of Symbolism - So, so much. Most notably the Unknowns, who have wing-like protrusions from their backs and halos flashing above their heads when they want to summon a weapon or right before they die.
- They even cross themselves to ask their Overlord for permission to sin before they kill someone, and the highest-level Unknowns are called the El (a Hebrew name for God).
- Sealed Evil in a Can - Or rather, sealed DNA in a can.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog - Saeko Shinohara
- Shout-Out - G3-X's red eyes and mouth guard are apparently called the Red Eyezer and Perfecter after similar parts on Kamen Rider X.
- So Last Season - The G3 proves to be largely ineffective against the Unknown because it was made to fight the Grongi from Kamen Rider Kuuga. It gets a minor upgrade, after which it is more effective, eventually destroying an Unknown with a couple of grenades.
- Stone Wall - G3 isn't initially effective against the Unknowns, but it definitely keeps the wearer(s) alive (in fact, the Generation Series has the best defense of all the Riders in Agito). G3-X, on the other hand, is more of a Lightning Bruiser.
- Super Mode - Gills Exceed, Agito Burning Form and Shining Form.
- Superpower Lottery - The various powers gained by people before they complete their evolution into an Agito. Frequently of the Blessed with Suck variety.
- Super Prototype - G3, as it turns out (while also a subversion - it's the only G series unit we see until G3-X comes out). The base of every G unit afterward, and stronger than the production (prototype) G3-MILD.
- Theme Music Power-Up - Played straight.
- The Day the Music Lied - Occasionally, an enemy will counter one of Agito's finishers and start beating him up, at which point the theme music just cuts out entirely in mid-song.
- Transforming Mecha - Though not technically a mecha, Agito's bike transforms into a hoverboard.
- Unstoppable Rage - somewhere between this and Super-Powered Evil Side is the original G3-X AI. Hikawa actually goes unconscious from the stress it puts on him, while the G3-X goes on beat up Houjo in the V-1 suit, kill an Unknown, and nearly shoot Agito.
- Agito's Burning Form opperates on this. The angrier Agito gets, the more powerful he becomes in the form.
- Weapon of Choice
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? - Shouichi eating a salad, accompanied by the more Hot-Blooded theme of the season. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue