Kamen Rider Hibiki: Quietly being the Worst Heisei Series along with Decade



So I finally got around watching the Last Archived Heisei Rider series after starting in 2012. I purposely saved Hibiki last because I read that the show featured major staff changes midway through the show, which I felt was a bad sign so I waited until the end to watch. Boy was that a good idea because this show would have killed my interest in Rider, if it was the first series that I watched. The show sucked at a level just as bad as Decade and maybe even worse. I'll explain why down below and beware of spoilers if you haven't seen it yet.

The biggest problem with the show is that it lacked direction, it was going nowhere. There was so many things that the show could have focused on but it chose to do stupid crap that made no sense. The designs of the Oni Riders and music motif was all great. I liked the concept of needing to defeat all the Makamou using musical attacks, techniques etc.. I even give props that the majority of the monsters in the show were cgi giants that were defeated by a Rider without the use of a new toy. It made sense in this show compared to other Rider shows later on that just seem to slap on a giant cgi monster fight for sake of selling a toy or reminding viewers that this arsenal still exists. The first half of the show made all of the Takeshi members look like Youkai Hunters which I thought was a neat idea that I haven't seen yet in Rider. But these are the only things that I can praise about this show.

Now onto the cons, it lacked focus on one of the most important things in a Toku show which are the villains. These villains are probably the worst villains in Rider history along with Narutaki. Who are they? Where do they come from? What purpose do they serve? Why are they doing this? Not explained, I watched 48 episodes and they didn't give a damn answer to this looming mystery since episode 1. What we get is a weak twist at the end that just further confuses the hell out of the viewers watching. The Makamou aren't dead, they're still alive, terrorizing and all the Onis are still fighting them!!! So what was the point of watching all of this when nothing changed??? In most Rider series, the mystery of our villains are revealed, but here we get nothing!!

The characters sucked. All the non-Rider characters were boring and annoying at times. Very few of them got any character development at all. Ibuki who is technically the secondary Rider of the show, got no development at all. He didn't change at all and I learned nothing about him. Todoroki and Zanki got more focus and clearly Todoroki should have gotten secondary Rider status. Then there's all the other Oni Riders who were referenced throughout the show and made cameos, which I thought was cool and unique, but again it lead to nothing!!! They never had character arcs and they were weak. I was hoping in the last episode we could get all the Onis posing together like in the opening and having a grand battle with Orochi but nope we get a cop out ending that takes place a year later, where the "final boss" that they were building up to, wasn't even shown on screen, nor did we get an appropriate finale fight with our heroes. It was a big disappointment and pretty sums up all 48 episodes.

I was hoping that the staff changes would salvage the show and made things better but all they did was replace two mysterious black and white individuals with two other mysterious individuals and bring in one of biggest asshole characters to inject some life into the show. Kiriya was made for sake of the chiche rivalry for Asamu, when it wasn't needed. Throughout the whole show, Kiriya was made to be a rotten, douchebag person who clearly didn't deserve to be an Oni. I was hoping that he would become the final villain of the show and turn evil but the writers instead wanted to go with a more happier ending where the undeserving rotten kid gets what he wants, while our protagonist doesn't get anything!!! I read that in the original script Asamu was supposed to be an Oni too but I guess being a Doctor instead of a Band member player (isnt that what he wanted?) was more important.

I could go on forever. The overall show was a mess, that made no sense, it lacked direction, didn't give us any answers to the questions they raised. If any Rider show needs a remake, sequel series, spin-off to make things right, Hibiki needs to be at the top of that list. They could have made Asamu, Hibiki's disciple from the beginning and watch them train, learn and grow together which eventually leads to a passing of the torch sorta thing.

Fans say Decade is one of the worst shows because the story made no sense and didn't give us much answers. Then Hibiki should be one as well because it has the same problems.

Dr Kain

I love how cinematic this show was. It had a lot of great camera work, the use of music and sound, and how atmospheric it looked.

And then all of that changed when the new writers took over. Just absolutely atrocious afterwards. everything that made it good was gone.

Hibiki is far better than Decade because of its first 30 episodes.
Heroes are forever
Dec 8, 2007
The staff changes were what killed it.

It definitely had direction, but the lack of answers are because of the change midway through. The way the show was going before that was with the intention of giving those resolutions. The same goes for character development.
New Member
Jan 7, 2014
Hibiki was a victim of two massive changes.
First, it was not made as a Kamen Rider show but forced to be one.
Then, the original story of the boy's quest of finding himself was then changed halfway into generic Kamen Rider show.
Odds are not good for Hibiki to be a good show.
Extreme Perfect Complete Ultimate !
Aug 28, 2012
I have nightmare when watching hibiki for the first time..you know **** is real, if one saw a makamou walking around
And then comes our badass protagonist with all sort of fighting and training and such, that's quite a huge improvement from the last series, which was ironically, the recent work of the later to be asigned, inoue
After all that good stuff, things seems to be more interesting until above the 30th episode -_-"
All is lost, lost in translation
I suddenly hated hibiki after this, not entirely though coz i understand that it's all because of the sudden staff change, not an idea from the start then make a sudden turn by it's own maker

But yeahh, i glad this is not happening again in recent rider show
Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2012
From what I've read online the Japanese have this idea that everyone should find that one thing they can do and do it to the best of their ability, and not only will it fullfill them it will benefit society as a whole even if not necessarily in a visible way. For a lot of us Westerners who were brought up being told we're special little snowflakes destined to do important things, perhaps it's an attitude that feels a bit "just a cog in a machine", but it's apparently quite a common life philosophy over there.

The show reflects that. Hibiki has a job to do, and he's going to do it to the best of his ability. The people around him support him because that's their role. There are people all around the world doing the same thing in different places, because the MotW are all over the world. They seem to be nature spirits, pushing back as mankind continues to envelop and destroy their environment. The man and woman just seem to tend to the nature spirits; that's their role too. It all links into the idea of Asumu, who's trying to find that one thing he can do (just as many teens around his age would in real life when they're starting to think about what they'll do after school) and find value in it even if it's something ordinary.

Perhaps that's a bit "slice of life" for a genre that's normally about one person doing an important thing. But I found it refreshing (admittedly I never really care about when the franchise strays away from the core parts of it's formula). I kinda like Hibiki's blue collar attitude. When the episode count reached the mid-twenties, I was having some of the most fun I'd got from the KR franchise, so even though it does nose dive towards the end I still look back at it fondly overall. If nothing else, it's probably the only time I really did care about the supporting cast. I wanted to find out whether Hinaka and Todoroki were going to stay together or not, and normally I find Rider romances come across terribly.
Mad Skillz
Feb 25, 2005
Hibiki was a victim of two massive changes.
First, it was not made as a Kamen Rider show but forced to be one.

This is a pretty big misconception.

Bandai and Toei wanted to try something new at first but once it was decided that Kamen Rider would continue in 2005, that's when Hibiki came to life. Kamen Rider Hibiki, the show we got on screen, was always meant to be a Kamen Rider and was put into production as such.

Personally speaking, Hibiki is my favorite Kamen Rider show. Does it have faults? Oh yeah, all over the place. It's still an enjoyable show to watch. I love the characters - they do change, Ibuki goes through this weird fear of dying later on, Todoroki goes from insecure apprentice to Makamou hunting badass and Asumu becomes more assertive in the choices he makes. I can see the claims that the show has no direction but I also think this comes from viewers who aren't too familiar with the slice of life genre from anime, something I felt Hibiki was trying to bring to tokusatsu. It's definitely a very slow pace show but I think we would have eventually had a decent conclusion under the original producer/writer team the show started out with. I think the ending we got was kind of misreading what the series was setting up our characters for in those first 30 eps

Then there's all the other Oni Riders who were referenced throughout the show and made cameos, which I thought was cool and unique, but again it lead to nothing!!! They never had character arcs and they were weak.
The idea here isn't that they were going to be fleshed out characters but characters who existed to show us the depth of the battle against the Makamou and just how many Riders exist in this universe for the purpose of fighting them.
Feb 21, 2015
It was my understanding that many people really loved Hibiki. I haven't seen it yet, so I have no opinion. I do seem to remember that Blade got gutted and re-written part way though, and that seems to be consensus best Rider series on this forum.
New Member
Apr 7, 2011
If you said Kamen Rider Hibiki was the most heartbreaking KR series along with Decade (all that potential....), then I'd agree with you.

But worst? God no. Hibiki was a beautifully shot series with themes that, as TokuPrime already said, would resonate very heavily with Japan's youth. Yes, the last 20 episodes kinda suck thanks to Inoue and Shirakura. But by that point I was already in love with the characters that the show intentionally took its time to develop. It is a very slow-paced series, but that works to its advantage because it doesn't need soap opera plots or love quadrangles. It's no coincidence that the story took a nosedive when those elements were introduced; they simply didn't fit.

Just simply thanks to the first 30 episodes (and some solid moments here and there in the last 18), I cannot call this anywhere close to the worst Heisei Rider series.

The movie does suck pretty hard though.
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Nov 6, 2006
While not my favorite, Hibiki will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first Rider series I watched. It has some pretty different themes and pacing than the other Rider shows, but to me those are the strong points of the series. Plus the suit design was fantastic. Far from the worst Rider series. Of course my taste might be different than a lot of Rider fans too. I didn't particularly care for Den-O and the million movies that came with it, but it seems like a lot of people really love Den-O so go figure.