4 October 2012 | karasamune
Kamen Rider Kiva is a fantastic tokusatsu series. It provides interesting plot twists and great characters. An instant favorite.
Let me start off by saying that Kiva was my first ever Kamen Rider series. However, it remains my favorite, but for reasons other than seniority.
Kamen Rider Kiva is split into two story lines: 1986 and 2008 time periods. Of course, the main story revolves around the 2008 period. That being said, the 1986 period is very important and equally as engaging. The story of Kiva is both engaging and innovative. I was totally addicted to the show, and I was actually devastated to see it was over. Kiva is 48 episodes. I usually consider anime over 30 episodes to be a stretch, but Kiva is long series done right. Seldom did it ever drag. And when it did, it was corrected effectively. Kamen Rider Kiva just refuses to be generic in all aspects of the show. The characters, psychology, the story, and the action are all unique. The story/setting/theme is an A. (I enjoyed it as an A+, but to be realistic, the flaws must be acknowledged. Take the decreased grade with a grain of salt.) Kiva's characters are fantastic. I really love how the show addressed the complex psychology shown in both Nago-kun and Kengo-san. I will not say how in an effort to hide spoilers. However, I have been around the block with quality anime, (Never would I taint myself with the current Big 3 of anime as they just suck. And Kiva being a tokusatsu is irrelevant) and Kiva is the FIRST series to ever address those points that I've seen. Kiva's main character of 2008, Kurenai Wataru has to be the pinnacle of character development in all of Kamen Rider. He starts out as a kid who fears a false allergy to the world due to his social awkwardness to a badass man who...watch to find out. Not only that, but the show doesn't give him the generic trope of later discovering his power. He fights right off the bat. His initial motivation being the voice of a violin. (Watch to understand) Wataru's father, 1986 focus character Kurenai Otoya is a total badass and fun character. Not much needs to be said about him. The designs of the Riders are all badass, but you can determine that for yourselves. The characters/designs are A+ I will say that I am a huge action fan. (My top 5 anime series are: New Getter Robo, Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, s-CRY-ed, Karas, and Sengoku Basara, so that should say something.) Generally, and to start out, Kiva's action scenes were a bit lacking. Overall from the beginning to middle-point of Kiva, the action is about a C+ to a B-. However, the were some incredible scenes that I would dub an A+ during that duration period of the show. Now don't let that boring score fool you. The rest of the show hit me by surprise! I couldn't turn my head without seeing an explosion! I guess I can say that the action went A+ rank when Wataru unlocked Emperor Form. The choreography was heavily improved along with the budget. While the beginning to middle of the series (with the exception of some parts) made it seem like the attacks had no power and were just sparks and knock-backs, the ending episodes made each attack feel like each blow was the impact of a Goldion Hammer! (GaoGaiGar reference) Now, most reviews complain that Emperor Kiva was too overused once it was unlocked. I call B.S. on that! In reality, a hero would not prevent himself from using his final form for the sole purpose of prolonging the fight. If he has the ability, he would attack full-force off the bat! I'm really glad they didn't go with the typical "Only use this power for emergencies." That trope is long overdone and unless there's a force hindering the hero, it's unrealistic. In most shows, I go about wondering why the hero "didn't just do that from the beginning." With Kiva, you may worry not. That unnecessary plot device is a thing of the past! A good ol' ass-kicking awaits Kiva's foe. Let's just leave it at that. Overall, I give the action an A-. Why not an A+ you ask? I had to throw bias aside. The beginning to middle had the action quality of a C+. The end portion was still a stellar A+, and that's all that really matters to me. So again, take the negative side with a grain of salt.
Oh, and the soundtrack is an A+. Not sure how to write a paragraph off of that, so deal with it.
Overall, Kiva has the quality score of an A- due to the fact that it is indeed a great watch, but it still has flaws. Whether you let the flaws affect you is your decision. As for me, I didn't. My personal enjoyment score for Kiva is an A+! Flawed or not, everything else makes up for it! I loved the show, and I really wish there was more. It's been a while since I've been so attached to a series and it's characters.