A Look Back on Experimental Concepts in Kamen Rider Kuuga
Obviously Kamen Rider Kuuga should always be remembered by fans as that experimental show that was a huge success despite some shortcomings and what really triggered a revolution. I find Agito better than this successful experiment but it would be wrong not to give this show its credit. Now for the stuff that was tried on... by Naruhisa Arakawa the head writer (his first headwriting job was here), Toshiki Inoue as a sub-writer (but too bad he later faltered after the success of Agito) and producer Shigenori Takatera as an experiment that was done with utmost care with some mistakes to learn from. Just my thoughts on how the season itself was starting to write, "How should Kamen Rider be written" and can serve as a guide for newbie writers, in fact I feel like I need to rewatch this series:
The way the hero handles through ALL of his forms.
Unlike Black RX where the hero seems to learn things immediately, here the hero must learn to control the new power. While it's a bit slower, but it does add some drama. So pretty much, Kuuga's experiment on this was pretty much successful henceforth most Riders followed that kind of pacing. Some of them were improved overtime with a little faster pace but Kuuga started the whole trend.
The way weapons were used.
In typical Tokusatsu, the heroes had their weapons materialized in their hands. In Kuuga, the experiment was to, "What if the hero needed to get some object to materialize into their weapons?" Well I thought that wasn't a very good concept but there was no harm done in trying it since it wasn't a stupid idea either, it's just that I felt like that personally it can be too inconvenient for the hero. But still, I guess this could work itself again in any future Rider. I was thinking should this be done again? I am pretty mixed on this since I think this was a weak point of the show but hey, at least it doesn't corrode the overall quality! So yeah, I won't mind seeing this one again either even if I'll always think it's a weaker side.
You could talk about how the whole show started with the idea of getting the friends more involved than they were in Showa.
Though that whole concept was starting to bloom in Black RX but Arakawa managed to take the experiment to a new level. And guess what, the concept is apparently well-received! In Kuuga, everybody got so involved in the whole battle with the Grongi at a very proper pace! I would say Kuuga's ending of being an epilogue ending rather than the tradition was probably an experimental thing which was not done again. But there was really no harm in trying to do that kind of ending, at least it was still written to wrap things up.
The villains and how they operate.
Yup I'll credit the whole series of Kuuga for this change in villains. The Grongi were the beginning of the whole, "No more silly plans like turning babies into eggs, trapping children in a school so the hero shows up, turning humans into plants, etc." which managed to distinguish Super Sentai from Kamen Rider in terms of villain plot which the Showa era wasn't able to do. What this did was obvious- it turned Kamen Rider into an action drama genre with the right pace with all the suspense factor though later Kamen Riders had some better or worse villain plots. In most of Kuuga, most battles with the monsters took two episodes to finish and most episodes were left with a cliffhanger like your regular action drama filled with heart pounding suspense of what in the world could happen next and who's going to die next. Later though, pacing can change a little bit slower or faster depending on what is needed but being careful not to snail pace.
Overall, Kamen Rider Kuuga really was pretty much a successful experimental season that writers can look for to review some basic skills in drama writing or for newbies to watch and learn something of what to do (this show has a lot) and what not do (this show has a few). I'd also dare say that without Kuuga, I don't think Agito would be able to be what it is since I view Agito as finishing what Kuuga wasn't able to do during its time.