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File:KamenRider555Faiz 7416.jpg

 "Open your eyes for the next Faiz."

The 2003-2004 series of Kamen Rider and the fourth Heisei Era series.

In the future, the Smart Brain megacorporation has achieved almost global dominance of the electronics and vehicle industry. However, their true goal is to Take Over the World by forcing mankind to the next stage in their evolution: the Orphenoch.

A young man named Yuji Kiba is involved in a terrible car accident, falling into a coma for two years and eventually dying. However, moments later he comes Back From the Dead, reviving as the Horse Orphenoch. Awakening to a world where his parents are dead, his career has been given to another man, his possessions have been stolen and sold by greedy relatives and his fiance has married his former best friend, he goes mad with grief and goes on a killing spree. He is stopped by the mysterious Smart Lady, the mascot character of Smart Brain, who gives him a new home and purpose; one that he soon comes to rebel against...

Mari Sonada is an orphan who receives a Smart Brain briefcase and motorbike from her stepfather in Tokyo. On her travels she encounters the Stoic drifter Takumi Inui, and a mixup with their bags causes him to pursue her. Soon afterwards, Mari is attacked by an Orphenoch who is after the contents of the briefcase: the Faiz Gear. Putting on the Faiz Driver, Mari attempts to transform but is rejected by the belt. In desperation she puts it on Takumi, and he successfully transforms into Kamen Rider Faiz...

What unfolds is a saga between two men on different sides of the same war: friends as Takumi and Yuji but fierce rivals as Faiz and the Horse Orphenoch. Things become more complex with the arrival of Masato Kusaka, a fellow orphan and wielder of the Kaixa Gear, who holds a deep infatuation with Mari and is not shy about disposing of any romantic rivals. The trio of belts is completed with the arrival of the Delta Gear, which can be used by anyone. Opposing them is Smart Brain's strongest four Orphenoch, Lucky Clover, whose objective is to seize all three Gears and awaken the mysterious Orphenoch King.


This series contains examples of: Edit

  • Alternate Continuity - The Movie, which poses the question "What If the Orphenochs did rule the world?"
  • Always Chaotic Evil - Notably subverted. Orphenochs aren't evil by default and Smart Brain is the true evil of the series and the Orphenochs have little choice in the matter, as Orphenochs who refuse to do as Smart Brain orders are marked for death or tricked into serving them.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too - How Murakami convinces Mr. J - now down to his last "life" - to go out and fight again.
  • Anti-Hero - Masato Kusaka is normally a Type IV, but he eventually sinks to Type V by episode 30.
  • Anyone Can Die - Doesn't mean they necessarily stay that way, though
  • Aside Glance - Kaido gets one when he's rescuing Keitaro and a small boy from a burning building.
  • Back From the Dead - Every Orphenoch, but one non-Orphenoch example is Mari Sonada, who is killed in the latter half of the series but brought back to life after Takumi makes a Deal with the Devil.
    • Pretty much every recurring character not named Keitaro or those two cops have already died once.
  • Bad Guy Bar - Club Clover, the meeting place of Lucky Clover, with one of them moonlighting as the bartender.
  • Bastard In Sheep's Clothing: KUSAKA.
  • Bastard Understudy - Kaido would get one in Yoshio Kobayashi, the Rabbit Orphenoch. Interestingly, the actor who played Yoshio would go on to play another Bastard Understudy in Kamen Rider Kabuto.
  • Beware the Nice Ones - Yuka Osada in spades. Later on, Kiba after his Face Heel Turn.
  • BFG - The Faiz Blaster, when it's not a BFS.
  • BFS - The Orga Stlanzer, when its Exceed Charge activates. The Faiz Blaster also qualifies whenever it's not a BFG.
  • Black Dude Dies First - Mr. J is the first of the Lucky Clover to go.
  • Brand X - Smart Brain.
  • Broken Bird - Osada Yuka, literally.
  • Brought Down to Normal - Happens multiple times when a character has his Rider Gear stolen (and used) by a bad guy.
  • Butt Monkey/Double Standard - Keitaro in episode 41 at least. The fact it's presented as a comedy moment makes it even worse.
  • Cassandra Truth - Takumi, whenever he tries to explain to anyone that Kusaka is a scheming sociopath. Naturally, they all assume that Takumi is just jealous.
  • Chekhov's Gun - "The King's sleep is long".
  • Chekhov's Gunman - Suzuki Teruo
  • Chew Toy - Itsuro Takuma, who became Kitazaki's bitch once the latter showed up. He later got revenge.
  • Cloudcuckoolander - Naoya Kaido, the Snake Orphenoch and eccentric to the point of insanity.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive - Kyoji Murakami.
  • Creepy Child - Teruo, the Arch Orphenoch/Orphenoch King.
  • Darker and Edgier - Taken to new heights in the novel, Rape as Drama (Kusaka's raping of Mari, Yuka getting pregnant by Keitaro and Yuji beating the shit out of Kusaka for that)
  • Dark Messiah: The Arch Orphenoch/Orphenoch King.
  • Deadly Upgrade - The Kaixa Gear kills most of its wearers after one use. The Delta Gear's power is addictive.
    • This comes with every belt EXCEPT the Faiz Belt. Anybody whom is not an Orphenoch who tries to use some Rider Gears will eventually kick the bucket once their Orphenoch DNA runs out. Even full Orphenochs will face the same fate when using the Rider Gears. On the other (non-canon) hand, the movie versions of the belts do not uphold that rule as the Gears have been perfected. Also, the movie version features 2 belts that were truly perfected meaning that humans cannot use them whether they use trickery on it or not.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Mari for most of the first episode plays as this, until she had to transform. Then Takumi comes in...
  • Devil in Plain Sight - Masato Kusaka. A thousand times Masato Kusaka.
  • Disappeared Dad - Hanagata, Mari's stepfather.
  • The Dragon - Kitazaki, (appropriately) the Dragon Orphenoch.
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower - Well before appearing in the series proper, Faiz's Blaster Form was shown in Paradise Lost, first presented as a previously unseen piece of equipment. It was shown again during the final battles, with Takumi eventually using it to turn around a losing battle against Kamen Rider Orga and build up hype for it when it appeared in the series proper.
  • Enemy to All Living Things - Kitazaki, who turns living beings to ash by touch.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks - the Kamen Rider Decade Net Movies have revealed that the Faiz suit was partially inspired by sharks. Note the sawtooth-looking mouthpiece and fin-like antennae.
  • Faceless Goons - The Riotroopers.
  • Fallen Hero - Yuji Kiba.
  • Fetish Fuel Station Attendant - Smart Lady.
  • Four Is Death - Lucky Clover again.
  • Genki Girl - Smart Lady. Lampshaded when one of her co-workers comments on just how annoying her super-happy act is and how she never turns off.
  • Go Out with a Smile - Masato Kusaka does this after getting served by Kamen Rider Psyga in the movie.
  • The Gunslinger: The Delta Blaster.
  • Heroic Neutral - At first, Takumi has no real concerns with fighting Orphenochs and is just trying to live his life. Still, in a crisis he'll actually deal with it rather than run away.
  • Homage - The Orphenoch forms of the Lucky Clover members were based on the monster forms of the Hakaider Corps. of the live-action Kikaider 01, mostly by sharing their animal motifs [1]. The clear dome on the Rose Orphenoch's head was also inspired by Hakaider, whose helmet had a Brain In a Jar.
  • Humans Are Bastards - Save for Mari and Keitaro, EVERY Human that Yuji and Yuka meet plays this straight and it eventually is the basis for Yuji's Face Heel Turn
  • I Coulda Been a Contender - Naoya Kaido, who had a promising future as a guitarist before his hand was crushed in an "accident".
  • I Just Want to Be Normal - Shuji Mihara, who eventually accepts the call and becomes the Delta Gear's primary user. Also Itsuro Takuma decides to live out the rest of his "life" as a human in the finale.
  • Interspecies Romance - Played straight with Keitaro and Yuka. Takumi and Mari could count as well.
  • It Only Works Once - "The world isn't generous. Henshin One-Shot only works for one shot."
    • And when it fails, it doesn't fail the way we've come to expect. The Kaixa Gear itself disintegrates, rather than Keitaro.
  • Jerkass - Masato Kusaka, on so many levels.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Naoya Kaido, on so many levels.
  • Jumped At the Call - Keitaro wanted to, but unfortunately the call didn't want him. Mari also tried to henshin into Faiz more than once, but never succeeded.
  • Just Eat Gilligan - After Lucky Clover spend weeks trying and failing to steal the Rider Gears through force, Kaido and his protege Yoshio succeed in their first attempt by impersonating police officers and tricking the protagonists into giving up the Gears.
  • Karma Houdini - Saeko Yageyama, who killed Yuka, and in doing so was resposible for the death of Kiba, as that set off his Heel Face Turn. Yet she's alive and well at the end of the series, if you call being insane, trapped in Rubber Suit form and possibly immortal "alive and well".
    • To say nothing of Kaido, who wears the Faiz gear on Smart Brain's behalf early on, is the only Riotrooper to survive, and gives the Faiz and Kaixa Gears to Lucky Clover. He's the only one of the three Renegades to survive, even though being the only one who did not become an Orphnoch naturally (as opposed to being "sired"), and therefore supposedly weaker.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch - Yuji Kiba killing Masato Kusaka with the Kaixa Gear, which cemented his Face Heel Turn and new position on the Sorting Algorithm of Evil.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler - Decade, the Decade net movies, and plenty of signature banners/avatars do not shy away from how Takumi is the Wolf Orphenoch.
  • Left the Background Music On - President Murakami's scenes in his office at Smart Brain HQ always include Ominous Latin Chanting, but it's not until an underling walks in and the audience needs to hear the following conversation that we realize he's listening to the BGM on a CD player while working or drinking wine.
  • Love Dodecahedron - Played with and lampshaded in the first episode of the pizza house story arc (which leads to the debut of Faiz Accel and the unofficial "Flu Orphenoch").
  • Love Makes You Crazy - Two words: Masato Kusaka
  • Lyrical Dissonance - The opening theme. It starts out sounding like it's going to be a fairly upbeat, techno-laden song, and, well...See for yourself.
  • Macross Missile Massacre - Pretty much what The Jet Sliger and Side Basher was made for Just so you know the Jet Sliger is a jet powered bike with a laser cannon on it's front and the Side Basher is a motorcycle that transforms into a walking weapons platform.
  • Man Behind the Man - In the Non-Serial Movie, Smart Brain is shown as truly being run by three guys seen as blurry faces on hologram screens. All of them are played by longtime Toku Big Bad voice actors who've been menacing Riders and Rangers since The Seventies. (One of them is Goro Naya, which is really interesting, given the recent Sure Why Not about every Naya-voiced "[Organization Name]'s Great Leader," no matter how different-looking from the last or or clearly dead by the end, being the same guy.)
  • Merchandise-Driven - Sure, you have commercials promoting replica Faiz belts and Kaixa weapons. But did you know they also had Faiz HOT DOGS, AND CURRY?!? Yep, that's further proof that Toei makes bank with the Kamen Rider franchise.
    • Within the ranks of Kamen Rider merchandise, complete sets of Rider Gear are some of the most expensive items. And those are just the original toys--there are also more professional types for adult fans which regularly net over a thousand dollars if you can actually find them.
  • Moral Dissonance - Of the "Batman and Joker Immunity" variety. Riders with no problem with killing keep sparing Sawada over and over despite his favorite hobby being killing sprees to the point of the other villains actually telling him to cut back. They know what happens every time they let him go. Yeah, he was your friend waaay back when... but so were some of his victims.
  • Morality Pet - Kaido had one in Teruo, before it turned out the latter was the Orphenoch King.
  • Multiform Balance - Faiz is the only Rider to have more then one form.
  • Musical Episode - The Hyper Battle Video.
  • Mythology Gag - The Orphenoch King was clearly designed with the Old Gen Kamen Riders in mind, Scarf of Asskicking and all.
    • The Faiz Edge being a sword with a motorbike handle as a handle evokes Kamen Rider Kuuga; Kuuga's Titan form typically used his bike handlebar to transform into his sword.
    • There's a lot of old-school KR in this series. The Riotroopers are basically the new Shocker Riders (there are even six of them! Gold armor to go with the Shocker Riders' gold gloves and boots, no less.), and a lot of the technology is classic Rider attacks we willingly suspended disbelief for given a reason to work that way, Batman Begins style. And while it's a bit of a stretch, the Orphenochs are reminiscent of some of the unwillingly-enhanced former human monsters from the old days: All of them were normal people to begin with, a fact the plot gives due attention to, except when it doesn't. Most didn't want the change, and once it happened, some became monsters, some remained themselves and were forced to do things they don't want to by the organization, and a precious few defied the organization and lived to tell. The main Rider is the prime example of the latter. And not everyone survives the conversion process (though Shocker didn't seem to have to kill hundreds to get one monster out of it.)
    • When Kusaka sees Hanagata again for the first time and demands to know what's going on, he tells him to fight, and keep fighting and winning (and we hear that repeated a few times) and it sounds very much like Shiro Kanzaki. To really hammer it in, when Hanagata steps out in Goat Orphenoch form, we hear the mirror world noise.
  • Never Trust a Trailer - This trailer seems to portray Takumi as a villain and Mari as Faiz. The show, not so much...
  • Oops I Did It Again - And again. And again. And again.
  • "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase: "Open your eyes for the next Faiz".
  • Only Mostly Dead - Mr. J, who had three "lives".
  • Orphanage of Fear - Though the Ryuusei Orphanage wasn't that bad on its own, all of the orphans were eventually killed and used as guinea pigs in Smart Brain experiments.
  • Out, Damned Spot! - Masato Kusaka.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Orphenochs are essentially zombies in a sense. Back From the Dead? Check. Power to infect others? Check. They have also been compared to vampires, until the true vampires of Kamen Rider came along.
  • Peace and Love Incorporated - Smart Brain.
  • Poor Communication Kills - At one point, Takumi and Yuji are on the verge of either clearing up a major misunderstanding or becoming even worse enemies. It all hinges on their two easily-distracted friends delivering messages (of the "Tell him I said..." kind) to the other person accurately. Guess what happens.
    • The series is full of this trope. The fact that Takumi and Yuji only meet both transformed or both untransformed for quite a while, and them having an increasingly awkward relationship thanks to horrible coincidences both help this along, but this problem - among others - would be so much simpler if not for the protagonists having abysmal communication skills.
    • This trope is a recurring theme in the work of Toshiki Inoue, who wrote every single episode of Faiz. Inoue used to be subtle about it (e.g. in Kamen Rider Agito); it reached Plot Tumor status in Faiz, and it became an even bigger Plot Tumor in Kamen Rider Kiva.
    • This trope is an inadvertant result of Japanese culture more than anything. They are pretty big on not just telling people about your personal problems, because it makes you seem like you're being imposing (or worse, trying to push your problems onto other people). Due to this, big misunderstandings are common.
    • There's a world of difference between that and just walking off rather than saying "I'm not a traitor to humanity, I helped that Orphenoch because she saved my life" the fifth or so time your friends ask you why you attacked another Rider. Numerous such examples exist, to the point where the series would be half as long without them.
  • Power Trio - Faiz, Kaixa and Delta, with the roles switching depending on who is wearing each Gear.
    • Freudian Trio - In terms of the main users of the Rider Gears.
      • Ego - Takumi
      • Superego - Kusaka
      • Id - Shuji
  • People Jars - In The Movie, Murakami is a head in a jar.
  • Perky Female Minion - Smart Lady.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown - Because the human body cannot withstand such rapid evolution, continued transformation into an Orphenoch will eventually lead to the Orphenoch's destruction. Also, Masato undergoes this when the Orphenoch DNA powering his Kaixa Gear starts to run low.
    • Kamen Rider Delta goes through something like this after leaving Kitazaki's hands. It's more a case of less powerful users, really.
  • Premature Empowerment - Mari forces the Transformation Trinket on Takumi before he has any idea what's going on. Also applies to anyone who revives as an Orphenoch after being killed by another Orphenoch.
  • Psychotic Smirk - Masato Kusaka, which gradually morphs into a Slasher Smile.
  • Punny Name - The titular rider, sort of. One of the ways you can read his name is 555, as seen in the show's logo. 555 is also what has to be typed into the phone used to become Faiz. The pun comes from the fact that 555 is the Japanese equivalent of 911, and thus the titular rider both has to dial for emergency aid to transform, and IS essentially emergency aid for dealing with Orphenochs.
    • Pretty much all the Riders qualify, as the numbers associated with each are tied to their name (e.g., Kaixa and 913[2], Delta and 333 [3])...
  • The Quiet One - Yuka Osada, the Crane Orphenoch.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad - Lucky Clover
    • Badass Bookworm - Itsuro Takuma, the Centipede Orphenoch.
    • Omnicidal Maniac - Kitazaki, the Dragon Orphenoch.
    • Scary Black Man - Mr. J, the Crocodile Orphenoch.
    • The Vamp - Saeko Kageyama, the Lobster Orphenoch.
    • Enigmatic Minion - Aki Sawada, the Spider Orphenoch, who replaced the deceased Crocodile Orphenoch after a long "we need a new fourth member so our name isn't ironic" storyline.
  • Really Gets Around - How the belts end up being used, especially Delta.
  • Redemption Equals Death - Yuji Kiba.
  • Rhino Rampage - Variant: The movie-only Elasmotherium Orphnoch rampages, with Kiba/Orga as one of its victims.
  • The Rival - Too many rivalries to count.
  • Refusal of the Call - Takumi had no interest in being Faiz. Unfortunately for him, a series of coincidences and mistakes throws the Faiz Gear back into his hands again and again until he gives up.
  • Satchel Switcheroo - The first two episodes are built around this trope.
  • The Scrappy - In-universe example: Smart Lady, at least for Smart Brain's employees.
  • Scaramanga Special - The various Rider Gears.
  • School for Scheming - The Ryuusei Orphanage, which doubled as a school.
  • Shoe Phone - The items making up the Gears are disguised as mundane items: cellphones, cameras and binoculars to name a few.
  • Shout-Out - Kaido's classic Kamen Rider henshin pose, complete with sound effect, just before saving Teruo from some bullies. It's especially brilliant because while Takeshi Hongo is a little before young viewers' time, it was also Shinji's pose in Kamen Rider Ryuki.
  • Slasher Smile - Masato Kusaka plays this trope straight, but most notably in Episode 30 after he uses the Faiz gear to sabotage Kiba's and Takumi's friendship. And when Kusaka smiles, it's down right scary.
  • Smug Snake - Masato Kusaka.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The soft, beautiful guitar playing of Kaido as Inui fights the Scarab Orphnoch and Yuji fights Owl Orphnoch/Kaido's Professor.
  • Spell My Name with an "S" - There are three ways to spell the show's name (which is also the main Rider's name), all of which are official. The show's logo gives both "555" and "Φ's" next to the katakana. TV Asahi's website and the official merchandise spell it as "Faiz".
    • The show is "555" in Japanese, "Φ's" when translated into English, and the Rider is "Faiz", all of which are Faizu in Japan.
    • Kamen Rider Decade, which gave us official English spellings of pretty much every Rider ever, identifies him as "Faiz".
  • Spot the Imposter - In a subversion, Yuji often fails to notice when the Faiz Gear has switched hands and assumes that it's always the same person under the mask.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers - The moment Keitaro and Yuka hooked up, you knew their sweet relationship was going to be sabotaged by Orphenochs who found out. And then Keitaro finds out that Yuka's been killed by Orphenochs... Oh boy... sniff.
  • Stuffed Into the Fridge - Yuka Osada, whose death sparks Yuji's breaking and Face Heel Turn, again.
  • Super Prototype - The Delta Gear, being the first Gear created, is the most powerful but also has the least number of gadgets.
    • The Riotroopers are the production models of the Rider Gears and much weaker. Also, Psyga and Orga in The Movie are the newest model, and while both are much stronger than Faiz's basic form, Faiz Blaster is stronger than them both despite being a much older model.
  • Super Speed - Faiz Accel/Axel Form.
  • Surprisingly Good English - Leo/Kamen Rider Psyga from The Movie, played by America-born Hongkong-based actor Peter Ho, speaks perfect English. According to legend his Japanese was so bad that the director told him to stick to English.
  • Swiss Army Weapon - The Kaixa Blaygun and Faiz Blaster Form's Faiz Blaster.
  • Sympathetic POV- A unique thing about this series is how much time is spent on the monster's motivation, almost all of them get a day in the limelight and expand on their motivations. Your Millage May Vary on how sympathetic they actually are.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky - Masato Kusaka.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: the plot of both games- The Ryuusei Orphanage reunion.
  • Theme Naming - The Riders in this season derive their names from Greek letters: Faiz = Phi, Kaixa = Chi, Orga = Omega, Psyga = Psi, and Delta is pretty obvious. Word of God says the Riotroopers represent Omicron, while the stage shows introduce Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, and a scan of an "in-universe" Smart Brain catalog from Paradise Lost depicts the Neo-Alpha, police and rescue-use Seeda (Theta) and the civilian sporting-use Pyron (Pi).
  • Transforming Mecha - Autovajin, which could transform from a bike into a support mecha. And The Side Basher which transforms into a 20 foot tall robot with a right arm that launches Missiles that split into MORE missiles... Really.
  • Tron Lines - On all of the Rider armors. All There in the Manual states they're the channels through which "photon blood" passes through, hence the look of the transformation: once the lines are filled in and the circuit is complete, the suit appears.
  • Tsundere - Mari Sonada.
  • Villain Song - The Smart Lady gets several in the Hyper Battle DVD.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting - Orphenochs, once awakened, can shapeshift at will.
  • The Virus - Orphenochs are created in one of two ways: either a human dies and naturally becomes one, or they are murdered by an existing Orphenoch, in which case there is a chance that they revive as an Orphenoch.
    • A very small chance. Hundreds of victims turn to dust for every one that turns into an Orphenoch. Most Monster of the Week Orphenochs do their murdering by the siring method, with no fear of their victims turning into a stronger monster and kicking their butts. Kaido was the only time we've seen it work with our own eyes, and none of the others in the main cast were sired.
  • Wham! Episode - Episode 34. People never saw the twist involving Takumi Inui's true identity as an Orphenoch coming.
    • It's actually pretty obvious when you consider episode four - after Mari and Keitaro both fail and the Orphenoch uses it saying "Not just anyone can transform". That alone is sufficient reason to be suspicious. Especially given Faiz's dark tone and the Continuity Nod, it's not unreasonable to assume "Our hero is the monster" like in Showa series of old.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist - Keitaro Kikuchi.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity - The Delta Gear, which can be used by anyone but whose power is highly addictive... until the end of its introduction arc, after which its critical flaw is handwaved away.
    • Even in its introductory arc, it was stated that some could use it safely. Mihara's just one of the lucky ones.
  • Wolf Man - Takumi Inui, the Wolf Orphenoch.
  • Yandere - Masato Kusaka, who is practically a male version of this.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Movie shows the scenario of what if the Orphenochs took over 99.9% of the world. (The answer is, it sucks to be a human in that world, but the Orphenoch majority lives pretty much like we do.)

Notes

  1. That's a centipede, an alligator/crocodile (both "wani" in Japanese), a dragon, and a lobster/shrimp (both "ebi" in Japanese), just for reference.
  2. Pronounced "kyu-ichi-san" in Japanese, which is apparently "close enough" to "Ka-i-za."
  3. The Greek letter delta is shaped like a triangle, which has three sides