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 "One who does not fight will not survive."


The 2002-2003 entry in the Kamen Rider franchise, and third in the Heisei Era.

Shinji Kido is a young, highly excitable Intrepid Reporter for the online news website ORE Journal. Whilst investigating a series of seemingly random disappearances, he stumbles across a mysterious card deck at the home of one of the victims. After picking it up, he finds that he is able to see hostile monsters living inside of reflective surfaces, and is soon sucked through into the Mirror World: a parallel universe that serves as the home for the monsters and battleground for the Kamen Riders.

He soon meets up with two people involved with this strange otherworld: Yui Kanzaki, a young girl looking for her missing brother, and her partner Ren Akiyama, a longcoat-wearing, Harley-riding stoic Badass who has a card deck of his own and can use it to transform into Kamen Rider Knight. Despite the warnings of Ren and Yui, Shinji decides to make a contract with one of the Mirror Monsters to gain its power and fight as Kamen Rider Ryuki to protect the innocent. However, he has unwittingly entered into something far greater...the Rider War.

Thirteen Advent Card decks have been created for thirteen Kamen Riders, and There Can Be Only One. The mastermind behind the Rider War is Shirou Kanzaki, Yui's missing brother, and he offers to grant a single wish to the last Rider standing. Shinji is determined to stop the in-fighting between the Riders and concentrate on eliminating the threat of the Mirror Monsters, but Ren is equally determined to have his wish granted, and he isn't the only one. Ideals and friendships clash on and off the battlefield as the pressure of the war grows and the Riders are eliminated one by one.

The series consists of the following installments:

The series was adapted for Western audiences in 2009 as Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. In 2018, the series received a continuation during Kamen Rider Zi-O's run titled "Rider Time: Kamen Rider Ryuki".

Due to the large number of Kamen Riders, it has a Characters page.

This series contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Keiichi Wada plays the original Ryuki in 13 Riders. Not the first time he had a red Chinese Dragon at his command.
  • All Just a Dream — The Hyper Battle Video.
  • Alternate Continuity — The TV series, the 13 Riders special and The Movie all exist in their own continuities. This is a result of Shirou Kanzaki's overuse of the Reset Button. The TV series is actually his final attempt to do it again.
  • Animal Motifs: The contracted Mirror Monsters, and by extension, the Riders they contract with.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: When Asakura discovers that he has failed to kill his nemesis, Kitaoka, it prompts him to charge out in a suicidal rage and get killed by the police.
  • Anyone Can Die. And does.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Zolda and Tiger's Final Vents. For the former, it's Game Breaker status is mitigated by a long build-up time that leaves him wide open to attack, and the fact that despite being able to wipe out large numbers in one go, he never manages to kill anyone with it. The one character who takes it head on is badly injured, but survives... and is killed by another rider moments later. For the latter, despite being affectionately named the "Ultimate Punking Vent by this troper, it's demonstrated that the gap between when Destwilder attacks and Tiger finishes the enemy off is a wide enough period of time for an aware rider to escape and survive (as both Asakura and Kitaoka managed to do).
    • Some of the Visors used by the Riders. While some are dual purpose weapons and card scanners or are easily accessed, Ouja and Odin have large staffs that look cool but they don't use at all in combat and must we pulled out of Hammerspace just to be used. By contrast, Ryuki just slides a card into a gauntlet on his arm and done.
    • Some, however, are Awesome and Practical: when your card reader is also a weapon, you don't have to fumble with cards while being attacked in order to do battle.
  • Back From the DeadYui Kanzaki, and this is the driving force behind the entire story.
  • Big Damn Heroes — Shinji gets a few, including one in the first few episodes where he saves Ren from Volcancer after it turns on and consumes Scissors.
  • BFG — Zolda loves these, as he has two: two shoulder-mounted rocket launchers and an artillery cannon that's three times as long as he is high.
  • BFS — Kamen Rider Knight's Dark Lancer is almost six feet long.
    • Alternative's sword also qualifies.
  • Bittersweet EndingThe real ending has Shirou Kanzaki pressing the Reset Button again, only this time, he and Yui die in that reality
  • Blessed with Suck — Becoming a Kamen Rider means you gain cool powers, but you're also bound to fighting the other Riders and monsters, and if you stop fighting, your contract monster eventually eats you.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: See Reverse Funny Aneurysm below. A full list about halfway down this page.
  • Bolivian Army EndingThe ending of The Movie, and one of the possible endings of the Special.
  • Bond Creatures — The Mirror Monsters that are neither monsters of the week nor under Kanzaki's direct control.
  • BrainwashedThe Odin Advent Deck turns the user into Kanzaki's puppet.
  • Breakable Weapons — Shinji's weapon in his "Blank" form (before he becomes Ryuki) is a pathetic thing that breaks after one hit.
  • Captain Ersatz — Ren Akiyama/Kamen Rider Knight bears more than a few thematic resemblances to a certain other Dark Knight. Not that we're complaining.
  • Cameo — Several members of Kamen Rider Agito's cast, including three of the Riders, appear in Episode Final.
  • Canon Foreigner — Kamen Rider Abyss, who is exclusive to Kamen Rider Decade.
  • Card Battle Game — Each Rider uses Advent Cards to activate his/her powers.
  • Cardboard Prison — Asakura breaks out of jail multiple times.
  • Cassandra Truth — Episode 28 has Shinji reappearing in past episodes, and all his attempts to warn everybody of the future are promptly ignored.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder — Toujou, Sano.
  • Cool Sword — Ryuki, Knight, Ohja, Odin, Femme, Ryuga and Alternative each have one of these.
  • Darker and Edgier — Even within the Kamen Rider franchise as a whole, Ryuki is one of the darker entries, holding the highest body count of major characters in the whole franchise.
    • And though fairly passe now, it was the first series that used officially recognized 'evil' Kamen Riders (as opposed to the Shocker Riders/Shadowmoon/Another Agito who weren't officially considered Kamen Riders).
  • Deadly Game — Jun Shibaura/Kamen Rider Gai, who creates a video game based on the Rider War that soon spills over into real life.
  • Deconstruction — of the ensemble Henshin Hero genre. See Five-Man Band below for one example.
    • The series also deconstructs Beat'Em Up games.
    • It also deconstructs the Mons. Let's say you form a contract with one of them. Great! Now you can use their body parts as weapons to fight people who also use their monster's body parts to fight. You also have to fight other monsters to give your monster something to eat, unless you come to the conclusion that you can simply feed people to your monster (as Scissors and Ohja prove). If you don't fight the monsters? Then your monster gets hungry and decides to eat you. It also happens if you don't even want to fight or you're forced not to. Or even if your Advent Card (the one you use to sic your monster on other people) or Deck (the thing you use to transform) get broken. And it's not like there's a good chance your monster will even be loyal to you anyways. Especially if you have two other monsters working for you that you snagged off their dead masters, or you just happened to luck out and contract a monster that comes in herds. Wow.
    • There's also a deconstruction of the Let's You and Him Fight and Conflict Ball tropes. Whereas in other Kamen Rider shows, they fight each other for different reasons or misunderstandings, here they have no choice but to fight each other. The entire point of the show is to stop the fighting.
    • Phlebotinum Rebel, one of the central tropes of the Kamen Rider franchise, is also deconstructed, as attempting to use the Advent Decks against Shirou and his aims is doomed from the outset due to the fact that he reserved the most powerful Advent Deck for his own use by perfectly brainwashed drones. Not to mention that he can just time travel if things get to hairy.
      • Thirteen Riders took this trope to hell. Not everyone supports Shinji's attempts to stop the fighting and it resulted in all the remaining riders (about 9 of them) teaming up to kill him and Ren. And in the alternate ending, where he did stop the fighting, Shiro simply resets time and has the fight happen all over again.
  • Deflector Shields — The Seal Advent Card, which protects the wielder from the attacks of a Mirror Monster in the real world.
  • Diving SaveSatoru Toujou meets his end in this way to save a father and son.
  • Doppelganger Spin — Knight's Trick Vent. Jumps between this and Doppelganger Attack; sometimes the clones physically existed and would attack, but other times they were just distractions that would vanish when hit.
  • Elemental Powers — Some of the Riders have one.
  • The End of the World as We Know It — What happens if the Rider War runs on for too long.
  • Everybody Lives — The true ending of the series.
  • Eureka Moment: Megumi unknowingly gives Reiko one that leads her to realizing the connection between the disappearances and mirrors, and ultimately to the truth about the Rider War. Comically enough, while doing so, Megumi actually missed the opportunity to learn the truth much sooner.
  • Everything Fades — Riders' corpses evaporate after a short while.
    • Or, in a slightly more horrifying example, a Rider who reverts to human form in the Mirror World is stuck. For about five minutes until their body dissolves.
  • Evil TwinKamen Rider Ryuga and his Contract Monster, Dragblacker.
  • Extreme Omnivore — Asakura claims to have developed this trait to survive on the streets. Later on we see him take Kitaoka's seafood spaghetti and finish it, oyster shells and all.
  • Eyepatch of Power — Reiko gains one out of nowhere in episode 5; a possible case of Written in Infirmity, as she mentions in-show that she contracted pinkeye.
  • Fan Service — Megumi. That is all.
  • Five-Man Band — A very rare case of the supporting characters (ORE Journal) instead of the actual 'heroes' (Kamen Riders) fitting this trope:
  • Flash Step — One of Odin's abilities. Also, Femme gains this with her Guard Vent.
  • Giant Enemy Crab — Scissors' contract monster, Volcancer.
  • Gratuitous English: Okubo spouts this on occasion, but not as much as the Riders' Visors do.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tezuka, Toujou, Shinji and Gorou.
  • Heroic BSOD — Both Shinji and Ren go through these at various points in the story. Asakura has a Villainous BSOD of sorts at the end.
  • Hey, It's That Guy! — Does anybody remember that Takashi Hagino (a.k.a. Takeshi Asakura) was the hero in Changerion? Doubt it.
  • I Call It Vera — Shimada names her iMac 'Amaryllis' and her laptop 'White Milky'.
    • Megumi tries to rename the laptop "Gosaku". Shimada does not approve.
      • Neither did the laptop.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender — The original holder of the Raia Advent Deck was Yuichi Saito, a pianist who had suffered a career-ending injury; his wish would have been to repair the damage to his hands, but he refused the call.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Asakura does this frequently. Whenever he is caught by police, he always finds a way to get his deck back and/or get Venosnaker to help him out. Highlight to his escape from a heavily escorted police wagon.
  • Identity Impersonator — Two fake decks were made for Kamen Rider Tiger so no-one would know who was behind the mask. In a later example, Gorou takes Kitaoka's place as Zolda when the latter finally succumbs to his cancer.
  • Improbable Weapon User — Most notably Raia, Imperer and Verde.
  • Irony — Despite the fact that Raia's Contract Monster, card visor and weapon all contain the word "Evil", he is not actually evil himself.
  • Ironic Echo: In the very first episode, Yui walks right up to Shinji and asks: "Are you a Kamen Rider?" (He wasn't one yet, but he had found the deck) Flashforward 48 episodes later, and after Yui has faded away, Reiko, who has seen Shinji transform and enter a mirror, and learned who the Riders are, as well as nearly everything important about the rider war, asking him the exact same question.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
  • Kick the Dog — Kitaoka faking his own death (well, Zolda's death) at the hands of Technical Pacifist Shinji (which sends him straight into a Heroic BSOD) was the moment that really established him as a total dick.
    • Even Asakura feels the need to hammer this one home, about halfway into the series; he asks Reiko to help him meet with and reconcile with his brother Akira, his only surviving family after a fire claimed the lives of their parents — then announces that he was the one who started the fire in the first place, and proceeds to finish the job by feeding his brother to Venosnaker.
    • Kagawa's personal policy, which he tries to teach Shinji — to be a hero, kick one dog if it means saving ten. Shinji believes otherwise.
    • Non-human example: Darkwing put Eri into a coma before the start of the series, and after she regained consciousness, it went after her again.
  • Laser-Guided AmnesiaRen Akiyama undergoes a spot of this, which serves as helpful exposition into his backstory.
  • Meaningful Name: The Survive cards are handed out to riders so they can survive most of the fights.
  • Morality Pet — Goro acts as the foil to Shuichi's Jerkass behavior, never attempting to hide it once. Yui is this to Ren.
  • Multiform Balance
    • Joke Character: Blank Form, when a Rider does not posses a Contract Monster. The only Riders to have assumed this form is Ryuki and Ouja.
    • Jack of All Stats: All of the Rider's default form, as well as the only only one to most of them.
    • Super Mode: Ryuki and Knight's Survive Forms.
  • Multiple Endings — The 13 Riders TV special that allowed viewers to phone in and choose one of two endings. The Bolivian Army Ending where Shinji decides to fight won.
  • Mythology Gag — Most Kamen Rider series feature a spider monster in the first episode; Ryuki raises the bar with a Giant Spider that comes back to life once.
    • Also, the second encounter is often a bat. Guess which Rider Shinjy meets first.
    • Goro sometimes does Rider 1's and Agito's henshin poses as part of his Red Herring routine.
    • The Double Rider Kick appears a few times — once at the end of the Hyper Battle Video (Ryuki and Agito), and once when Shinji and Ren have to fend off a Mirror Monster unmorphed.
    • A minor design gag — Ryuki's eyes, Knight's mouthpiece, and Zolda's antennae all evoke the original Rider.
    • Though the whole routine isn't the same, Shinji and Ren's henshin poses incorporate those of Rider 1 and Rider 2, respectively.
  • Name's the Same: There is a Rider War in Decade.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast — Ouja's fusion monster is called Genocider.
    • Subverted with Evildiver, who belongs to one of the good guys at first.
    • When you deal with a final attack called End of World, you know that it's in your best interest to keep out of the area.
  • No Body Left Behind — Those who die in the Mirror World disintegrate into nothing.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup — Used straight and averted; Kanzaki keeps the blueprints of the Advent Decks to himself but before he could do so, Kagawa read his work and used his Photographic Memory to reproduce it.
  • Not Quite DeadKamen Rider Odin, three times.
  • Note to Self:: After Odin's Time Vent has caused him to relive the entire Rider War up to that point, including the deaths, Shinji uses this tropes. Hundred of Postit notes in both his room and his office (to the frustration of Yui and Ookubo) all with the same words: Punch where there's Golden Feathers. It lets him score the first hit on Odin at that point...... And has no effect.
    • The punch may not have caused damage, but it proved to Shinji that he could fight against Odin and the time loops, even if the only real change he could make was landing a punch where he couldn't before.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase: The quote atop the page (or in Japanese, tatakawanakereba, ikinokorenai!).
  • Ontological Inertia — Shinji discovers this the hard way, and later Shiro Kanzaki comes to realise it too.
  • Out of Character — Played for comedy in the Ryuki VS Agito special. Ryuki, Knight, Zolda and Ouja team up against an evil Agito. The latter 3 act like stereotypical heroes of justice, despite the fact they act very selfish in the real series. Lampshaded by Shinji when even Ouja, an axe crazy murderer, proclaims he is a fighter of justice. In the end, the whole sequence is revealed to have been a dream, much to Shinji's dismay.
  • Pet the Dog — Even Asakura of all people gets a chance, when he saves a small girl from 3 bug-like Mirror Monsters. Admittedly it was just so he could destroy them himself, but still. It's worth noting that the initial rumors only mentioned 'three monsters', making Asakura a prime suspect of sorts (because he had contracted Jun's and Tezuka's monsters as well after killing them), but Shinji and Ren gave him the benefit of the doubt.
    • An offscreen version takes place earlier in the series, when Kitaoka helps out another little girl by paying for her mother's surgery. There's some kind of pattern here...
      • Sort of a pattern. See Diving Save above for an example with a little boy.
  • Phantom Zone — Mirror World.
  • Power Copying — Ryuki Survive's Strange Vent card always transforms into a copy of the next card his opponent will use.
  • Power Levels: Each Advent Card has a listed Attack rating in multiples of 1000.
  • Prop Recycling: The story arc where Gai debuts involves students killing each other while wearing masks that belonged to the Mooks from Jikuu Senshi Spielban. Western viewers will recognize them as the Skugs from VR Troopers.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Raia.
  • Recap Episode: Episode 28, sort of. Time Vent's use effectively recaps the story to that point.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Shinji and Ren.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Toujou.
  • Reset Button: Time Vent.
  • Reset Button Ending: Happens at least three times, probably more.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Because he was never chosen by Shirou Kanzaki, Shinji is the only one who can resist the memory-erasing effects of Odin's Time Vent.
  • Running Gag: In the second episode, Shinji racks up a 50,000 yen debt to Ren after Yui smashes a store window to save his life, and Ren volunteers to pay for it. This debt is constantly increasing throughout the series: Ren's itemised bill includes charges such as "Keeping Me Awake Fee" and "General Annoyance Fee".
  • Say My Name: "Yui."
    • Miho/Femme's "ASAKURA!!!" in Episode Final.
    • A hilarious example by Shinji: "RON!!"
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Shirou Kanzaki attempts to do this multiple times to get the ending that he wants. While he is successful in altering inconsequential details, he never manages to save Yui or prevent Shinji from becoming a Rider.
  • Shout-Out: Ren's first memory on recovering from his Laser-Guided Amnesia (see above) is an image on a woman in a white dress on a beach, just like Shoichi (they were actually Ren's girlfriend and Shoichi's sister respectively).
    • Shiro Kanzaki went by the name Shiro Takami when he studied overseas — both names allude to Shiro Kazami, better known as Kamen Rider V 3.
    • The transporting of Asakura in ep 36 reminded this troper an awful lot of Silence of the Lambs — only they didn't put a muzzle on him till ep 40. And just to hammer it home, he stages another jailbreak by swapping places with his victim, strapping the victim into his Hannibal chair while he himself gets carted out on a stretcher.
    • And the effect of Freeze Vent on CGI monsters like Genocider looked an awful lot like Duke Org Loki's freezing-and-capturing of the Power Animals in Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger.
    • One way to distinguish between the two Alternative Riders is the silver stripes on Alternative Zero, a reference to the primary difference between the first two Kamen Riders (Hayato Ichimonji's suit had the silver stripes).
    • Shinji and Ren have Rider #1 and Rider #2's poses, respectively.
  • Stepford Smiler — Mitsuru Sano (Kamen Rider Imperer).
  • Summon Magic — The Advent Advent Card summons that Rider's Contract monster.
  • Superpower Lottery — You've got Zolda with the Game Breaker Final Vent, you've got Ouja who gets three monsters, you've got Imperer who has a herd of monsters, you've got Odin who was designed to win the Rider War and then you've got Ryuki, who needs to use up one card to summon a serviceable hand weapon. Lampshaded when Raia chooses to use Copy Vent to 'borrow' one of Ryuki's weapons rather than use his own.
  • Swiss Army Weapon — Ryuki Survive's Drag Visor-Zwei and Knight Survive's Dark Visor-Zwei.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill — Zolda's Final Vent, aptly named "End of World"
  • These Hands Have Killed — Ren does this after he kills Kamen Rider Odin in self-defense.
    • Shinji, after he thinks he's killed Zolda.
  • This Is a Drill — Knight's Final Vent.
  • Time TravelScads of it. The metaplot is impossible to understand until you unravel all the twisted continuities created by all the time travelling.
  • Transforming Mecha — Dragreder and Darkwing evolve into Dragranzer and Darkraider, which transform into Cool Bikes.
  • Upgrade Artifact — Played straight and subverted. When Shinji becomes Ryuki he suddenly gains the knowledge of how to hold a sword properly, how all his new abilities work and how to perform one hell of a flying side kick. However, as far as his general combat technique goes he's useless when he first becomes a Rider and only marginally improves when he upgrades to Ryuki. He slowly gets better as the series progresses; by the end his fighting skills are up there with the best of them.
    • Played even straighter with the other Riders. Kitaoka is a terminally ill, golf-playing lawyer. Shibaura is a computer nerd. Kagawa is a mild-mannered middle-aged academic. Only Ren (bar room brawler), Sudou (hardened cop) and Asakura (psycho outlaw) have plausible fighting skills.
      • Then again, those Riders are never shown to have good hand-to-hand skills. Kitaoka sticks to ranged combat and is woeful at hand-to-hand. Shibaura and Kagawa's deficiencies are made up by the sheer power of their armour.
  • What Could Have Been — Miyuki/Kamen Rider Raia was the original owner of the Survive Shippu card, but willingly gave it to Ren. Since then, Toei has released art and figures of what Raia Survive and Exodiver, the Survive version of Evildiver, would have looked like.
  • ~What Do You Mean, It's Not Awesome?~ — Watch as Shimada sets up her laptop in the cafe like an assassin assembling a sniper rifle. "Click...on...Send!"
    • Also, Megumi and Gorou's "standoff" in Episode 30.
  • The Worf Effect — Played straight with most of the Riders' debuts, such as when Zolda breaks out his Final Vent for the first time against both Ryuki and Knight. Subverted when the maggot monsters' first battle after evolving into a more powerful form is with Ohja — and he tears through a whole mob of them to start with.
  • Zerg Rush — Imperer's Final Vent. Also the swarms of maggot monsters towards the series finale.