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"The train of time: DenLiner. Will its next stop be the past? The future?"
The 2007-2008 series of Kamen Rider and the eighth installment in the Heisei Era.
Ryotaro Nogami is the unluckiest guy in the universe. But his life changes on the day he stumbles across a mysterious train pass that allows him to board the DenLiner, a Cool Train that travels through time.
Just as he is recovering from the shock of this, he is suddenly possessed by a monster known as an Imagin: shapeless creatures from the future that take on forms based on the ideas within their host's imagination. The Imagin make contracts with their hosts to gain physical bodies, offering to grant them a single wish. Once this is fulfilled, they can then use their host as a gateway back through time, aiming to destroy the past to seize control of the future.
However, it turns out that Ryotaro is a Singularity Point, a person immune to any changes to the timeline and able to resist the possession of his Imagin. He is soon corralled by Hana, a mysterious passenger of the DenLiner, into using his power as a Singularity Point and his Rider Pass to transform and fight the hostile Imagin invaders as Kamen Rider Den-O.
While Den-O's base form (Plat Form) is incredibly weak, Ryotaro can relinquish control of his body to an Imagin who has possessed him and power up. His first Imagin, a Hot-Blooded Boisterous Bruiser called Momotaros, transforms Den-O into the red Sword Form. Together, They Fight Crime.
The plot thickens when Ryotaro discovers that Yuuto Sakurai, his sister's missing fiance, is hiding in the past for reasons unknown, and somehow linked to the Imagin attacks. Just as Ryotaro goes to confront him, he is stopped by none other than a younger version of Yuuto Sakurai. This version of Yuuto is brash and cocky, bringing with him his own Time Train called ZeroLiner and the ability to transform into Kamen Rider Zeronos.
Though it had average television ratings, Den-O proved to be a massive hit in Japan, spawning multiple character song CDs, a Spin-Off anime starring the Imagin and eight movies, which is practically unheard of for a series that was only designed to last a year. The movies are:
- Ore, Tanjo! (I'm Born!): A rare aversion to the Kamen Rider tradition of one Non-Serial Movie per series, this film caps off the show's second act and revolves around the time-traveling bandit Gaoh and his theft of the DenLiner, which he wants in order to find the forbidden "God's Line" and the powerful Time Train resting at the end. The series spends a couple of episodes teasing at the movie just before its release, then dedicated the next episode after the film's opening to dealing with the aftermath.
- Climax Deka: Set after the series, this movie sees Team DenLiner setting up a detective agency when a rogue Imagin, Negataros, steals the Owner's Liner Pass and begins forming an evil organization. Nominally a Crossover with Kamen Rider Kiva, the "crossover" is limited to a couple of brief scenes featuring Wataru and a Big Damn Heroes appearance by Kiva near the end of the final battle.
- Farewell Den-O: Final Countdown: The DenLiner crew must contend with the villainous Shiro and his minions, including Kamen Rider Yuuki. With Yuto injured and Ryotaro MIA (possessed by the Ghost Imagin and forced to be Yuuki), the crew must turn to Kotaro, Ryotaro's Grandkid From The Future, AKA New Den-O, who doesn't exactly think too highly of Gramps or his Imagin partners.
- Cho-Den-O and Decade: The Onigashima Battleship: The first in the Cho-Den-O film series, this movie ties directly into the Den-O arc of Kamen Rider Decade and sees the DenLiner crew, with brief support from Tsukasa Kadoya/Decade, battling a pair of Oni brothers/rogue Kamen Riders who seek to uncover a legendary and powerful battleship. Also features nominal cameos by Kiva characters, (something of a nod to Climax Deka, also supposedly answering a few continuity issues with the aforemention Decade) as well as Riders from Agito, Ryuki and the Kabuto Non-Serial Movie summoned up by Decade's rival Daiki Kaito/Diend.
- Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider The Movie: Cho-Den-O Trilogy: Three separate feature length films released in the span of a month, each one attempting to resolve plot points for a different set of characters, none of them are Den-O himself;
- Episode Red: Zero No Star Twinkle focuses on Yuto being forced to choose between two jobs equally important to protecting the timeline - preserving his future self's relationship with Airi, and stopping an Imagin from stealing the DenLiner.
- Episode Blue: The Dispatched Imagin is NEWtral focuses on New Den-O and his relationship with his Battle Butler Teddy, while having them battle a new Imagin and deal with a young woman and a supposedly Evil Twin.
- Episode Yellow: Treasure DE End Pirates focuses on...Diend, who thanks to Imagin possession, has stolen the DenLiner, but is pursued by Kamen Rider G Den-O, a new Rider who resembles a Metal Hero. This film gives Diend his own Complete Form to make a spectacle of the situation.
- OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Rider: A Reunion Show, although, differently from Climax Deka and Cho Den-O and Decade, the other titular stars are main characters too. This time around sees the DenLiner crew, led by New Den-O, teams up with Kamen Rider OOO, Kamen Rider 1 and Kamen Rider 2. All main Riders and also many secondary Riders also appeared for the series' 40th year Milestone Celebration.
From start to finish, the Character Page is always at a climax!
This series has examples of...
- Arc Words: "The past should give us hope."
- "Climax Scene" for the episodes leading into the first movie, which, in the "aftermath episode", also brings us the Climax Form.
- Badass Family: The Nogami family, giving us two Den-Os (Ryotaro and Kotaro), Zeronos/Yuto, and Badass Normal Hana. Airi, not so much, but hey.
- Be Careful What You Wish For
- Big-Budget Beef-Up: the last few eps.
- Bigger Is Better: the Onigashima Battleship is huge. Comparing it to the DenLiner is like comparing Daijinryu to a normal Zord.
- Calling Your Attacks: Used, parodied, subverted and more.
- The Cameo: Kiva's Arms Monsters return the favour in the very next Den-O movie. Mimicing Kiva's lesser importance in the previous crossover movie, they don't make sure that you notice.
- Cash Cow Franchise: Den-O has been living on well beyond the year-long expectancy of its fellow Rider series, and doesn't look to be dying anytime soon.
- Lampshaded in the opening Imagin skit in Farewell, Den-O.
"Well, for all the talk of 'Last' and 'Farewell', it's always common practice to make a sequel, isn't it?"
- Combining Mecha: While not as large as a Sentai mecha, the time trains fulfil the same function.
- Cool Train: the DenLiner, ZeroLiner, GaohLiner, and KingLiner.
- Creation Myth: Invoked in the first Movie, as Gaoh is after a traintrack that goes to the beginning of time.
- Crossover: In the movie Climax Deka, the show was briefly crossed over with the 2008 series, Kamen Rider Kiva. The fourth Den-O movie takes place after its story arc in Decade and has cameos by the Arms Monsters from Kiva.
- Also, Shin Chan.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Ore, Tanjou! has Gaoh's minions easily falling against Wing (in a separate battle), Rod, Ax, and Gun Forms. Sword Form, on the other hand, was the one in trouble, since he was facing Gaoh himself...
- Dancing Theme: The Taros and Deneb (and Kivat in the Crossover movie) can be seen dancing to "Climax Jump" at the end of the opening credits.
- Deadly Dodging: at the beginning of Episode Yellow, the Taros surround the possessed Kaito, he dodges, and the Imagin all hit each other in a Cross Counter.
- Demonic Possession: A more benevolent version, and the only way the Taros can interact with the physical world. Played for humor in Climax Deka, where Momotaros is accidentally shunted into Wataru Kurenai's body; In the fourth movie, the Taros possess the Arms Monsters as well as DiEnd-summoned copies of G3, Caucasus, and Ohja. Tsukasa/Decade himself gets possessed by all four Taros Imagin and Sieg, while Yusuke/Kuuga is possessed by Momo and Natsumi gets possessed by the other three main Imagins at different points.
- Everyone Is Related: By the end of the series we learn that most of the primary human cast is related - Yuto is Airi's future husband, and Hana is their daughter, making her Ryotaro's niece. And of course, we have Kotaro in the later movies.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: a minor character in Ore, Tanjou! that helps Hana infiltrate Gaoh's fortress.
- Four Is Death
- Four-Temperament Ensemble --> Lucky Seven
- Gratuitous English: Among others: "Full Charge!", "Charge And Up!"
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Taros, Sieg and Deneb have no problem protecting the timeline from their kin, even if it means that if the Imagin race are successfully defeated, it would mean the end of their own existence as well. Prior to the final battle, Kai himself calls them out on this, asking them if it's okay for them to disappear for the sake of the humans. The one who had the problem for this setup was instead Ryotaro, leading him to go Achilles in His Tent, and even have a brief falling out with his partners.
- Hey, It's That Guy!
- Most obviously, Yuto is played by Yuichi Nakamura, who was The Scrappy Kyosuke Kiriya in Kamen Rider Hibiki.
- Todoroki appears as a ninja squad leader in the first movie.
- Naomi is portrayed by Rina Akiyama, who also played Mana Kazaya in Kamen Rider Agito.
- Suzuki, the detective who helps the team in Climax Deka, is played by Ryota Murai, who would go on to play Yusuke Onodera/Kuuga in Kamen Rider Decade. Additionally, his father is Hajime Aikawa/Chalice.
- Yumi Saito, one of the Imagin contractors in episode 7-8, is played by Hitomi Kurihara who is also the Bunny Ears Lawyer in Kamen Rider Ryuki, also the Smart Lady from Kamen Rider Faiz.
- Saizo from the first movie is Shuichi Tadokoro from Kamen Rider Kabuto.
- Most obviously, Yuto is played by Yuichi Nakamura, who was The Scrappy Kyosuke Kiriya in Kamen Rider Hibiki.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Momo/Ura/Kin/Ryu = Duo Maxwell/Gin Ichimaru/Hidan/Lavi. No, not kidding here. And we haven't even mentioned that Deneb sounds kinda like Jiraiya.
- For bonus coincidence points, note that Momo's voice, Toshihiko Seki, also did the Japanese dubbing for (the tenth incarnation of) a certain Time Lord...
- Sieg is voiced by Shinichiro Miki.
- Corrolary to the aforementioned Masaki Terasoma connection regarding Kintaros, we should not forget that this guy also voiced SHADOW MOON!
- Kohana is Empress Tianzi. Say it with me now: "XIN-KEEEEEE!"
- Negataros is voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa.
- Hypocritical Humor: in Episode Red, the Piggies Imagin and Den-O (as Climax Form) throw insults at each other for Sharing a Body . In the end, however, they both agree that the whole concept was gross.
- Also, earlier in that same movie, Urataros corrects Deneb for callimg him "Kametaros", then proceeds to call Deneb "Odebu", only to ignore Deneb's own correction.
- In Episode Yellow, Momotaros (in Climax Form) derisively says "What's with that form?" when he sees Diend's Complete Form.
- Identical Grandson: In the third movie, Airi, Miura, Ozaki, and supposedly older Sakurai's ancestors in 1729 are played by the same actors.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: Ultraman Taro of the Ultra Series appears in the last episode of the third Imagin Anime.
- In the Style Of: "Double-Action" again. And again. And again...
- Irony: the premise of the Cho Den-O trilogy: the films shine the spotlight on Zeronos, New Den-O and Diend, shoving Den-O himself in a supporting role instead. 
- Jackass Genie: Sure, the Imagins will grant your wish... But they'll always choose the interpretation of it that will cause the most harm to you and others. Example : "I want to play soccer again!" "Okay, I'll just put the other players into hospital!" Though this could be justified due to the fact that they're not actual wish-granting genies, and thus try to find any loophole they can to render the contract "complete" and thus allow them to travel to the past.
- Jidai Geki: in the first, third, and fourth movies.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Episode Yellow; not only do the previous two movies focus on a Rider from Den-O, but they also involve an Imagin (outside of the Taros) as an important part of the plot. Instead, Yellow not only focuses on a Rider outside the series, but there was barely any Imagin involvement at all . Not unless you would count Eve...
- Leitmotif: All the belts make some kind of music during transformation, but the big-band themes in the soundtrack fit this trope closer.
- Lighter and Softer: This trope is the reason Den-O is so popular.
- Meaningful Name: "Den-O" is written with Kanji, instead of Katakana, using the characters for "(Electric) Train" and "King".
- Also, the Imajin-less "Plat Form" is both this and, as stated at the start of the article, an Incredibly Lame Pun. Y'know, seeing as it serves as the platform of all the other forms and all.
- A couple in Chou Den-O Episode Yellow:
- G Den-O is partnered with the first artificially-created Imagin - instead of naming it Adam, it's named Eve, who was responsible for the great fall from Eden.
- It's heavily implied that G Den-O's mother was barred from ever seeing him because his aristocratic family didn't approve of her background. She's named Sayuri.
- Mecha Expansion Pack: in a technical sense, the KingLiner for the DenLiner.
- Mechanical Monster: what the GaohLiner comes across as.
- The Movie: Den-O has eight feature length films , with the most recently-announced as a Milestone Celebration for 40 years of Kamen Rider.
- Mundane Utility: The DenLiner is, and always has been, a passenger train (time-traveling, yes, but you get the point).
- Negative Continuity: Between the movies; Climax Deka ends with the group deciding to keep their detective agency open; Final Countdown makes no mention of it, and Onigashima Battleship might not even be in the same continuity as the rest of Den-O due to being a Decade Alternate Universe.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: Averted and used straight.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Towards the end of the TV series, the show decided to throw out the rule book on how exactly the Den-O system (and Imagin possession) work, and instead run on Rule of Cool. By the time of the crossovers, there seem to be no rules: the core Imagin can freely possess and un-possess anyone at will, and can even transform into Den-O without a human host.
- Paper People: the style of the Imagin Anime shorts. Gets outright self-aware in one episode.
- Prop Recycling: The Mooks in Onigashima Warship are Gelnewts from Kamen Rider Ryuki; in an amusing crossover with Real Life Writes the Plot, Detail of Heroes explains that this is entirely because the makers of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight ordered Gelnewt costumes in bulk to use as the Mook in their series.
- Rearrange the Song: Den-O is known for this. "Double-Action" and "Climax Jump" have been remixed several times.
- Retcon: The Chō Den-O Trilogy changes the rules on Imagin time travel from the show, now saying that if an Imagin successfully travels to the past, the act will destroy the contractor's past self (via dissolution into sand).
- Reunion Show: Kamen Rider Den-O & Kiva: Climax Deka.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: A very important plot point; all Singularity Points essentially have this.
- Rule of Cool: Again, Riders on horseback.
- Not until Kamen Rider OOO will you see all forms of a single Rider transforming and fighting side by side.
- Rule of Funny
- San Dimas Time
- Series Continuity Error: Final Countdown has Kohana literally hand out about a half-dozen spare Rider Passes (and, by extension, Den-O Belts) to the Taros in order to let them participate in the Battle Royale With Cheese. This screws up the plot of Chou Den-O Episode Yellow, where Den-O losing his pass to Kaitou is treated as something terrible.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: A rather confusing one, actually, as there are only certain things that can be fixed and it seems the only way you're allowed to do it is if you're stopping an Imagin in the process. Several times, someone in the group alters the past so that the person never made the Deal with the Devil with the Imagin in the first place, negating the wish altogether along with all the damage the Imagin caused, including what normally would've been erased for good. While things will continue as they originally did in these cases, the Victim of the Week normally comes off much happier for it. For example, a man who originally missed his band's recital and blamed himself, becoming obcessed with getting enough money to make it big had time altered so he did make the recital but his band still didn't make the cut. However, the man was now trying to make his way to the top through his own talent and hardwork instead of buying his way there and was much happier than in the original timeline.
- Shared Universe: Climax Deka seems to indicate that Den-O and Kiva are set in the same 'verse, just like Kuuga and Agito. This was compounded in Onigashima Battleship with the random cameo appearances of Kiva's Arms Monsters.
- Shout-Out: The similarities between Sieg and Kamen Rider Odin are more than subtle.
- And Momo, Ura, Kin and Ryu have horns arranged in a manner resembling Hibiki, Ibuki, Todoroki and Sabaki respectively.
- Not sure if it's a shout out or would be classified as something else, but there's a very obvious parallel between Den-O and Juken Sentai Gekiranger. In Gekiranger, the team is made up of 5 people in Red, Blue, Yellow, Purple, and White. In Den-O the team is made up of 1 person with other people in him corresponding to the colors Red, Blue, Yellow, Purple, and White (for Wing Form). Also, in both shows, The Rival has the colors Green and Black related to them in some way.
- Interestingly, both shows aired alongside each other. An announcement of a Geki/Den-O joint promotion even ends with the five Gekiranger mimicking the poses of their respectively colored Imagin. As if returning the favor, the Imagin would later appear in promos for the Kiva Movie, but mimicking the Catch Phrases of the next Sentai, Engine Sentai Go-onger, resulting in...this.
- As pointed out in the design book Imagin: Say Your Wish..., the first few enemy Imagin correspond to Riders from Kamen Rider Ryuki: Bat to Knight, Chameleon to Verde, Crust to Scissors, Crow to Odin, Rhino to Gai. Additionally, as mentioned under Actor Allusion, the Cobra Imagin is designed to resemble Ohja, and is also voiced by the same actor.
- According to Re:Imagine - Detail of Heroes 03, the villains from Onigashima Battleship are modeled Riders 1 and 2 (Goludora) and V3 (Shilubara).
- They also not only draw upon the gold and silver-themed heroes of Garo, but transform the same way.
- Teddy displays the Newtype Flash when protecting Kotaro from bad luck.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Den-O skews very idealistic; out of all the Imagin contractors, all but one or two are good people whose wishes were well-intentioned (or only slightly misguided, but they see the light at the end of the arc). Yuto initially thinks Ryotaro is soft for putting so much effort into helping the victims rather than just fighting the Imagin, but eventually comes around to the DenLiner crew's way of thinking. Even when Sakurai disappears into the timestream at the climax, it's treated as a temporary separation rather than Killed Off for Real.
- Spin-Off: "Imagin Anime"
- Swiss Army Weapon: The DenGasher and ZeroGasher both have the ability to change into different weapons with a little bit of parts-shuffling. Naturally, their toy counterparts can do the same.
- Theme Music Power-Up
- Time Police: what the DenLiner crew see themselves as. Later, in Episode Yellow, an officer from an actual time police appears, G Den-O.
- Time Travel
- Timey-Wimey Ball: "Memories are Time", which is a plot point on several occasions.
- Too Long; Didn't Dub: A source of controversy in the fandom is subbing group TV-Nihon leaving as many honorifics as they can in the subs. While it wouldn't be too surprising for Japanese-themed series like Shinkenger, expressions like "cow-san-tachi" (seen in the Imagin Anime) can be jarring for fans with a minimal knowledge of Japanese.
- V-Formation Team Shot: SIX Den-Os plus Zeronos in Final Countdown.
- Victim of the Week: Common for Kamen Rider, to the extent that future series like Double and OOO have adopted it. Even the multitude of Den-O movies uphold this tradition, so much that some unexpected examples turn up (young Ryotaro in Ore Tanjou, young Yuuto in Onigashima Battleship, and even G Den-O in Chou Den-O Episode Yellow.)
- Villain Protagonist: All of the Taros's (minus Kin) start out as this.
- Villain Team-Up: Climax Deka, where Negataros recruits several Fangire into his evil organization.
- Wham! Episode: #39: after some usual hijinks for most of the episode, we then get treated to a past version of Yuto actually being killed by the Snail Imagin, causing the present Yuto to disappear.
- Wham! Line: what sets off the Darker and Edgier tone of the final leg of the series:
Kintaros: Your wish has been granted.
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: One episode of Imagin Anime shows the Taros' as producers at Toei, and they end up haphazardly creating their own series.
- Widget Series: The crowning example within the Kamen Rider franchise.
- the Piggies Imagin with his siblings
- Fans did complain about Den-O becoming a Cash Cow Franchise, after all...
- there is one, but it's only to kickstart the plot
- three of which premiered as an anthology