In part two, we are entering the mid-Heisei era. By now the franchise was no longer in danger of cancellation, and people started to experiment with the early Heisei formula and having some of the more colourful and weird riders. The mid-Heisei era is home to a very varied and experimental set of shows, where it seems the focus on toy sales was increased. Though it stayed in the same timeslot, and for the same demographic, the shows starts to seem aimed at younger kids, becoming more colourful and light-hearted. The first of the shows, Hibiki, eve got a new creative team midway through the season, making the monsters less frightening and taking the show closer to the normal Kamen Rider norm in an effort to boost toy sales.
There are no longer any common themes with the beginnings, some go the classic Heisei route with threats and bikes, others ignore it.
Kamen Rider Hibiki
First appearance: Not until five and a half minutes in as we are introduced to the main protagonist (a young boy) first. Hibiki is shown from a distance, on a ferry, making up a song about the dolphins he is watching playing in the ocean. It is a wide shot, and he is wearing sunglasses too, making him even more a distant image of cool. Notably, this is the first intro where we do not immediately see a bike, in fact he doesn’t even has a license for most of the show. People drive him places.
First action: Throwing himself over the railing of the ferry to save a small child that slipped and fell when he tried to watch the dolphins too.
The Implication: Hibiki will never hesitate to risk his life to save you.
Kamen Rider Kabuto
First appearance: Nearly nine minutes in, we are introduced to the secondary rider and the paramilitary subplot first. Tendou is an innocent bystander in a fight between the secondary rider and a pickpocket. He first appears as a hazy silhouette, only coming into focus when he is attacked. For most of the show, the secondary rider is treated as the main protagonist, in fact he is the one who has the bike in this scene.
First action: Not even bothering to dodge when the knife almost slits his throat, then having a speech about how good he is while subduing the robber without even crumbling his tofu.
The implication: Tendou Souji is as ridiculously skilled as he is obnoxious.
Kamen Rider Den-O
First appearance: This is the first show to not introduce the threat before the credits, we just see a glimpse of the Denliner and then Ryotaro rubbing his eyes as glowing sand slowly drifts down from the skies. As the camera pulls away we realize that he is stuck with his bike in the top of a tree and gets a short flashback to the improbable events that led to that situation. The bike is in fact a bicycle this time around.
First action: Being helped out of the tree by a kindly man with a ladder, who points out that some people have the worst luck.
The implication: Ryotaro Nogami really has the worst luck, but manages with the help of kind people.
Kamen Rider Kiva
First appearance: Right after the credits we see Wataru examining a door that had been scarred by a monster attack decades years earlier. We don’t see his face since he is covered up in mask, goggles and protective clothing. There is no bike present in this opening.
First action: Trying to steal some fish that a cat is eating, being bullied into apologizing to the cat by one of the female leads. He doesn’t speak at first, he just has his notepad with various responses he keeps flipping through.
The implication: Wataru Kurenai is keeping himself apart from the world as much as possible, but other people force him to interact with it.
Kamen Rider Decade
First appearance: Pre credits, as a threatening, glowing apparition in the dream of the female lead. He is the last one standing, hovering over a desolate battlefield littered with dead Kamen Riders and monsters. In fact, he is introduced as the threat for the show.
First action: Tsukasa is taking pictures in the park, and is confronted by a group of yakuza that didn’t like that the pictures he took of them looks like crap. They attack, but he doesn’t even fight, just dodges their punches while pondering his failed pictures. There is a bike present, he has put a ‘Let me take your picture’ sign on it.
The implication: Kadoya Tsukasa might be highly skilled, but as he says himself, it is hard to capture the world and he will continue to try until he can do it right.