The Seven Highly Nightmare Fueled Heisei Era Kamen Rider Series!

In the past, I remembered watching Kamen Rider BLACK and there was a lot of scary stuff in that show. There were the Gorgom monsters which didn't look too much like rubber suit villains. There were a great deal of scary stuff to think about. I can't forget the times I hid under the blanket when there were some scenes that were really generous amounts of nightmare fuel. Its sequel Kamen Rider BLACK RX may have been lighter and softer but some Crisis Empire scenes were still all that scary.

Now it's time to explore the Heisei era Kamen Riders. While some of the Heisei era Kamen Riders are on the lighter and softer side, it wasn't always like that. Sure Super Sentai went more on the fun side since Gaoranger but Timeranger was anything but lighter and softer. I could name at least seven series that really had high amounts of nightmare fuel!

Warning: Reader's discretion is advised. Some Kamen Rider series aren't as warm as friendly as they are today! Read at your own risk!

Kamen Rider Kuuga

Kamen Rider Kuuga was the beginning of the new era of Kamen Rider. In spite of not having some of the Showa era's elements there were some things you can't ignore. Kuuga is a very nightmare fueled show with lots of blood and death. The Grongi are a more dishonorable version of the Yaujta from the Predator franchise. While the Predators only hunt down the strong and acknowledge their opponents, the Grongi don't acknowledge any honor at all. They'll play games with the weak in their ruthless game. One game has the Grongi killing children to pregnant women all the while blending in with everyone as humans to avoid immediate detection. Just watching Kuuga makes one think, "Is that supposedly a child's show in Japan?" It's incredibly mind-boggling that how the same Naruhisa Arakawa who served as the head writer for Bakuryu Sentai Abaranger, Tokosou Sentai Dekaranger and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger made a name for himself writing the super serious Kamen Rider Kuuga.

Kamen Rider Agito

The nightmare isn't over and Kamen Rider Agito proves it. The new series has a series of complex mysteries to the events. The Unknown (actually the Lords) have been killing certain people left and right but what for? Then you realize that the Lords aren't targeting everyone as there's a much deeper reason behind their actions. The show tries to be more complex with its mysteries especially the movies behind the actions of the monsters of the week. Who are they killing and what are they planning to do? Then it turns out that everything has to do with the cycle of human evolution as the whole enemy has to do with a struggle against fate itself.

Kamen Rider Ryuki

I know that I love Kamen Rider Gaim above this show and way above it. But I can't ignore Kamen Rider Ryuki as the real culprit behind how it ended weren't the writers but executives. The show starts with the phenomenon of Mirror Monsters and mysterious disappearances. Then you have a real conflict among Kamen Riders who have a motive for joining the Rider War. The show just gets more and more conflict which may have risen above its predecessors that parents started to freaking complain about what's going on. The show also introduced other horribly evil characters like Takeshi Asakura/Kamen Rider Ouja who's almost like Sword Saint Bilgenia with the Kingstone from Kamen Rider Black. Sad to say, too many executive meddling gave the show a bad wrap up that it's as if the alternate ending was written because of all the angry audiences.

Kamen Rider Faiz

Well people know I don't like this show as much as Agito but I can't deny this show still has the generous nightmare fuel going on. The Orphnochs may look "dull and gray" but I feel like it gives them the gargoyle feel. There's still many deaths involved, there's that really annoying Masato Kusaka who'd do anything for power, there's all those frightening scenes involving humans mutating into Orphnochs accompanied by the conflict between the two. For a mutant/human war, the series exceeds the PG-13 rated X-Men films in terms of violence when the show is primarily for children. It's a show starting to fall apart but I can't deny that I do enjoy the part of the human/Orphnoch war myself.

Kamen Rider Blade

While the show can get criticized for its weaker acting than previous seasons but I don't deny the nightmare fuel of the Undead. Yes, they're Undead and it's real nightmare fuel for this whole season. The Undead can't be destroyed and they have to be locked in the cards again. There's also the problem of how the Undead operate as they can also blend among normal people. They start killing sprees here and there. Worse, you can't kill them. How scary is that?

Kamen Rider Hibiki

Okay, I said I think Kamen Rider Ghost can be more interesting than this series but I can't deny the Makamou do have their own fair share in this list. While I find most of the characters boring but the Makamou just attack when you least expect it. There's a budget for the giant monsters and the creatures. Sad to say, Kamen Rider Hibiki's pretty boring on the first half, Toshiki Inoue did try to add conflict in the second half but left it with his worst possible finale. EVER!

Kamen Rider Kabuto

The one-shot wonder of Shoji Yonemura. As much as I find Souji Tendo annoying with his high and mighty attitude, I still enjoyed the Worms plot. The Worms feel like more intelligent and sentient versions of the Xenomorphs from the Aliens franchise. They may not be the Xenomorphs but they were done so well it's scary. The Worms plot really makes you think who's worse between humans and worms as the show progresses. It really scares us with the reality of how evil humanity can get as Masato Mishima even exceeds the Worms towards the finale.

Closing thoughts

After Kamen Rider Kabuto, we started settling for lighter and softer. Kamen Rider Den-O had less scary foes with the Imagin. Kamen Rider Kiva was more a Danny Phantom type of Kamen Rider than a nightmare fueled one. Kamen Rider Decade was so numb that well, I'd say I won't want to watch it all over again. A lot of Kamen Riders today have probably taken the lighter and softer as part of innovative writing to survive as maybe, just maybe there's been too many parental complaints in the past or a lot of bad events may have happened.

Does a less scary Kamen Rider series mean it's not good? Not at all. Kamen Rider Ryuki may have all the nightmare fuel but Kamen Rider Gaim was able to do better. Kamen Rider Kiva may be a world full of rainbows and teddy bears but I think it's better than Kamen Rider Ghost. My preference for darker and edger and lighter and softer isn't based on the nature of the show alone but also on my mood or if the show's writing appeals to me.


  1. The last of the Ishimori inspired Cyborg Riders was J but ZO was closer. Kuuga marks the return of the dark and mysterious world of Kamen Rider. Replacing the cyborg motif is the henshin trinket or nick nack that imbues our hero with the power of the Rider.
    At that point it was fun, exciting and worth every episode and the wait for it. And for me, the Rider series was better and out did any of the Sentai series during the 2K.
    Though it wasn't the hard core Cyborg Riders but at least the heroe's was serious and some what brooding.
    It was incredible to know that the roster was growing from year to year and we too where getting old too.

    Sad to say I really really don't follow Rider anymore after W. I keep up with the news but what kills it for me is the over stuffing of the trinkets and powers. It all started with OOOs and Ghost doesn't really help change the fad.

  2. Got so into talking about what is now we do have some thing in common with these series.....

    1. Kuuga- it is the return of the Rider series for a new decade and era. And out is the successful metal hero series that became something cute and dreadful like Robocon!?!?!

    Before he became Japan's Johnny Depp, Joe Odagiri was a new comer and for me he was no Hiroshi Fujioka or Tetsuo Kurata. It was Odagiri's idea to make Godai as cheesy and annoying as possible to make the series work. After 39 episodes, Odigiri became a hot actor and never look back at Kamen Rider alone. His way of saying fuck you to everybody in the world.
    The series was new as it used video tape for filming instead of the classic 35mm. It was also violent as hell, with blood and plenty of violence. It gotten better and better until the space between with the meeting of Dakuba which ended with a bloody trade of punches and ambiguity.

    2. Agito The sequel to Kuuga set around 2 years or so, they amped it up with a crew of three Riders, tv special, a theatrical movie more Riders and a successful 51 episodes. Toei was doing very good in 2001. G3/G3-X is the return of a hitch Rider since Black/Roborider!

    3. Ryuki- Based on Yu Gi Oh, Digimon, Pokemon and Battle Royal. This series sole Intel of a game of death them and bored fans or just don't get it. With 13 Riders which was a lot still did not boost ratings.It almost was considered for cancellation but however it gained a fan following and became a favorite.

    4. 555(Faiz🚫)- after the Battle Royale was going to end the franchise
    old school Rider series was added once more to keep the interest intact. 555 is getting hi tech in the suit design! Keeping the violence as high as the Nikei stock market. It was entertaining until the point of what a Orphenoch is is changed and things are too cliche' also redirecting the antagonist of the Arch Ophenoch didn't help as well. For me it was exciting to a let down.

    5. Blade(♠️♦️♥️♣️)- felt like it was a blend of Kuuga and Ryuki. Some fans hated it but I thought it was good story telling and I was not bored.
    At this point I wasn't going to stop,

    6. Hibiki- this series wasn't meant to be a Rider series but TOEI was persistent . It is entertaining as it was atmospheric but it was boring no doubt. The point being the main character isn't about the Riders but it's about Isamu, a teenage High schooler who is uncertain about life. I thought it was a Rider series not James Age 15. The show was for sure very turbulent as it brought out a change of two writers and they do not get along!!! I thought the second half was entertaining as the Makoumo is attacking the City and this series was to have 12 Riders total to appear but it all changed as the series was quickly rushed to end it.
    I do like the zoning Rider designs.

    7. Kabuto- this is when TOEI out did themselves with the alien take over and Rider Technology is what is used as a weapon. The best in hi tech Rider design and the final of a dark a Rider series. It was a perfect 11!

    1. And to add it is certainly a end of a era and they don't make shows like that again!


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