fbpx

Rider

Three New Kamen Rider Projects Revealed

Greetings, geeks of all ages! As previously reported, three new Kamen Rider projects were teased before the start of Rider Week. But now, these projects have been revealed! All three Kamen Rider projects are projected for release after 2021, with the earliest release set for Spring of 2022.

The Continuing Adventure of Kamen Rider W

Fuuto PI Poster
Fuuto’s Private Investigators, Philip and Shotaro

First, we have the anime adaptation of the Kamen Rider W (Double) manga sequel, FUUTO PI. Set to continue the story of W, FUUTO PI begins when a mysterious young lady appears as a new evil casts its shadow over the windy city of FUUTO. As strange new cases continue to pop up all over the city, Shotaro and Philip come together to solve them while protecting the city as its guardian, W. FUUTO PI is a buddy cop drama made to appeal to an older audience. Furthermore, Funimation will handle international distribution of the series.

In my previous article, I stated my hope that one of the projects would be an anime adaptation of one of the manga. Now, with the announcement of the FUUTO PI anime, I’ve gotten exactly that. I am over the moon, as W is one of my all time favorite Kamen Rider series.

Return of the Century King

Kamen Rider BLACK SUN Logo
BLACK SUN Logo

Next, we have a reboot of the Showa era show, Black. BLACK SUN is currently slated for launch in Spring of 2022, with Kazuya Shiraishi directing the series. As a retelling of the original story, BLACK SUN promises to deliver a fresh take on the classic story. In the original, a mysterious being known as the Creation King rules over the criminal organization Gorgom. Kohtaro Minami and his stepbrother, Nobuhiko Akizuki are chosen as the Century Kings. These Century Kings are fated to fight to become the Creation King’s successor. Kohtaro is transformed into the Century King “Black Sun”. During the conversion process, he escapes from Gorgom’s clutches before he can be brainwashed. Vowing to fight against this criminal organization, Kohtaro takes up the role of Kamen Rider. Now, Kamen Rider Black must fight against the organization and the evil Shadow Moon.

As of right now, not much else is known about the series. However, as we get closer to release, more news regarding the series should drop. I will keep you posted as more updates come.

Revival of The First

Shin Kamen Rider Teaser Image
Shin Kamen Rider Teaser Image

Lastly, we have the announcement of the Shin Kamen Rider film, set for release in March of 2023. Not much is known about the film other than the director attached to the project, Hideaki Anno. Best known for Neon Genesis Evangelion, Anno has worked on other big Tokusatsu reboot films. The first is Shin Godzilla, released in 2016. Second is the upcoming Shin Ultraman film, slated for release sometime this year. Anno himself has said that he was a big fan of Kamen Rider growing up, so I’m sure he will do his best to deliver a movie that represents Kamen Rider as a whole.

Rider Week is off to a great start with the reveal of these three projects. I can’t wait to watch these new series as they come, and I hope that these new projects will bring in many new fans to the series as well. That’s it from me, ciao~

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to allagesofhr@gmail.com

Zachary Jucutan is a staff writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him @JohnnyJoestar1

Rider Week to Celebrate Kamen Rider 50th Anniversary

Greetings, geeks of all ages! April 2021 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Kamen Rider franchise. To celebrate, Team Rider and Toei Tokusatsu World Official will have a Rider Week event from April 3 to April 10. It will be an exciting week for any and all fans of Kamen Rider the world over. The entire week will feature many events, such as livestreams and movie premieres with special guest appearances. More details will be announced soon, though other projects have been teased as part of Rider Week.

New Projects to be Announced on Rider Week

Not too long after the announcement for Rider Week, Toei unveiled a teaser for three new projects. A new website has timers for all three projects. The timers are counting down to Saturday, April 3, which is the start of Rider Week. There is a lot of potential for what these new projects could be. For those unaware, the Kamen Rider series has manga series as well. The original Kamen Rider manga written by the creator himself, Shotaro Ishinomori, is officially available through Comixology. There is also the Kamen Rider SPIRITS manga, which has not seen official release outside of Japan yet. Currently, there is a manga tie-in series Kamen Rider W: Fuuto Detectives. Personally, I think an anime adaptation of any of the manga would be a great idea. Should they adapt SPIRITS, it would be a great way to introduce international viewers to the Showa Riders.

However, one of my biggest hopes for these projects is an official international release of some kind. Be it more officially subtitled releases for past series or simultaneous subtitled releases for current series. Another possible project could be a new English adaptation of Kamen Rider in the west. The last American adaptation of Kamen Rider, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, unfortunately did not do very well. While the show itself was of good quality, the marketing and the fact that the final few episodes did not air on television hurt its reception in the west. In any case, I’m looking forward to the official announcements of these projects on April 3rd.

In short, this coming Saturday, April 3rd, marks the start of Rider Week and a slew of events in celebration. Moreover, new projects are on the horizon with official announcements to start off the celebration. A truly exciting time to be a Rider fan. If you want to start collecting the merchandise, check out Team Kamen Rider over at Bluefin Brands. You can also purchase their merchandise through their partnered retailers listed on their site. Likewise, check out Toei Tokusatsu World Official over on YouTube to watch full episodes of different Tokusatsu series. They recently uploaded the Kamen Rider J and Kamen Rider ZO movies with official English subtitles. If this article is your introduction to the franchise, feel free to read my article on Tokusatsu and Kamen Rider here to learn more about it. That’s it from me, ciao~

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to allagesofhr@gmail.com

Zachary Jucutan is a staff writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him @JohnnyJoestar1

Kamen Rider Saber and Zero-One Movies Releasing in April

Greetings, geeks of all ages! Exciting news for fans of Kamen Rider Saber and Zero-One. We finally have a date for the official Blu-Ray/DVD release of the Winter Movies. After the theatrical release on December 20th, the Blu-Ray/DVD Collection will be released on April 21st.

Kamen Rider Zero-One: REAL X TIME

Kamen Rider Zero-One Movie Poster

Synopsis

“If God created the world in 6 days, then I will destroy it in 60 minutes and create paradise.” A sudden, large-scale, global terrorist attack begins when the mysterious S, Kamen Rider Eden, appears with thousands of supporters at his side. As the world around them falls into chaos, Aruto Hiden stands up against S. Together with Isamu Fuwa, Yua Yaiba, and their allies, they transform into Kamen Riders to fight the enemy while uncovering the truth behind the incident. Who is the unbelievably powerful S? What is the paradise that he is trying to create? Overcome the boundary between humans and AI and save the world in 60 minutes!

Runtime: 80 minutes

Cast

Aruto Hiden/Kamen Rider Zero-One: Fumiya Takahashi
Isamu Fuwa/Kamen Rider Vulcan: Ryutaro Okada
Is/As: Noa Tsurushima
Yua Yaiba/Kamen Rider Valkyrie: Hiroe Igeta
Jin/Kamen Rider Jin: Daisuke Nakagawa
Horobi/Kamen Rider Horobi: Shuya Sunagawa
Gai Amatsu/Kamen Rider Thouser: Nachi Sakuragi
Ikazuchi: Daichi Yamaguchi
Naki: Satsuki Nakayama
Jun Fukuzoe: Kazuya Kojima

S/Kamen Rider Eden: Hideaki Ito
Bell/Kamen Rider Abaddon: Seiji Fukushi
Akane: Hirona Yamazaki
Moore/Kamen Rider Abaddon: Mei Hata
Lugo/Kamen Rider Abaddon: Yu Koyama
Buga/Kamen Rider Abaddon: Hirooki Goto
Makio Nodachi: Akira 100%

Kamen Rider Saber: The Phoenix Swordsman and the Book of Ruin

Kamen Rider Saber Movie Poster

Synopsis

The sealed Book of Ruin is unleashed by the mysterious Immortal Swordsman. As darkness flows out of the book, the Real World and the Wonder World are swallowed up and at risk of destruction. Touma, alongside the members of the Sword of Logos, must fight the Immortal Swordsman and stop the crisis. What will befall Touma and the world as the end draws near?

Runtime: 22 minutes

Cast

Touma Kamiyama/Kamen Rider Saber: Shuichiro Naito
Rintaro Shindo/Kamen Rider Blades: Takaya Yamaguchi
Mei Sudo: Asuka Kawazu
Kento Fukamiya/Kamen Rider Espada: Ryo Aoki
Ryo Ogami/Kamen Rider Buster: Yuki Ikushima
Ren Akamichi/Kamen Rider Kenzan: Eiji Togashi
Tetsuo Daishinji/Kamen Rider Slash: Hiroaki Oka
Tassel: Les Romanesque TOBI

Bacht/Kamen Rider Falchion: Masashi Taniguchi

With the official release of the movies coming soon, I’m looking forward to the chance to finally see them. As I don’t live in Japan, I did not have the opportunity to see it in theaters. Thankfully, with the home release a mere month away, it won’t be too much longer before I can. Kamen Rider Zero-One is one of my favorite seasons, and the movie looks to be an excellent conclusion to the story of the series. As for Kamen Rider Saber, while it started out rough, the show has become better as it entered its second arc. Hopefully the show can keep up the pace and deliver a great story with amazing action.

That’s it from me, ciao~!

Masked Justice: Kamen Rider Cosplay Feature Part 2

Greetings, geeks of all ages! We find ourselves in a new year, which means more opportunities for us to grow and change. Another year of life to be passionate about the things we love and care for. To that end, I want to start the year by sharing even more Kamen Rider related cosplay. I hope that seeing these incredible cosplay and seeing what is possible inspires you to go out and make your own cosplay. It doesn’t have to be Kamen Rider related, but if it is, please let me know. I might end up featuring you in one of these articles.

The thumbnail is taken from @gomazarashi1110 on Twitter with the following credits:
Zero One: @gomazarashi1110
Vulcan: @kagechamasan
Valkyrie: @riodribe
Is/Izu: @hk_616
Photography: @frari_brari

As I did before, links to the social media accounts of these cosplayers, as well as photographers and prop makers (if credited) will be linked at the end of their respective sections. Also, if you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out the previous article here.

Break Down

Our first entry here is a Rider from the first season of the Reiwa era, Zero One. This is the Humagear bent on bringing an end to the human race. This is Horobi, one of my favorite Riders in Zero One.

Horobi Cosplay 1
Horobi Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Horobi: @kiryu410
Photography: @guy_ferd
Attache Arrow prop maker: @nazca02

Sarutobi’s Ninja Tales

Our next entry comes in from the current season, Saber. While the show itself has been, shall we say, less than spectacular, the suit designs are still on point. There is no better example than Kenzan’s suit design. As our resident hyperactive swordsman with zero patience, Kenzan sounds an awful lot like a certain ninja protagonist.

Kenzan Cosplay 1
Kenzan Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Kenzan: @NanaRein8859
Photography: @nizimophoto

Advent

Here we have something of a rarity in Kamen Rider: A female Rider. This is the very first female Rider in Kamen Rider history, Femme. She first appeared in the movie for Ryuki. While her appearance was limited to the movie, she has left a lasting impact on the fandom.

Femme Cosplay 1
Femme Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Femme: @frari_brari
Photography: @ura_shishimai45

Cobra! Cobra! Evol Cobra!

This here is probably one of my favorite suit designs of all time. Now, for people who are watching Build along with Kat and Tat, you have just seen this Rider pop up. If you’re watching it on your own time, do be warned that this does spoil a major villain from later in the series. Featuring a darker version of the main hero’s color scheme, we have Evol. He truly is, in my opinion, one of the greatest villains in all of Kamen Rider.

Evol Cosplay 1
Evol Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Evol: @fan_alain

“It’s Show Time!”

This entry features Psyga, a character that comes from the Faiz movie, Paradise Lost. This is another great suit design with another fun character. For some reason or another, he is the only character that speaks in fluent English for his appearance. I’m not sure why they would have him respond to Japanese speaking characters in English, but hey, I’m not going to question these things too much.

Psyga Cosplay 1
Psyga Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Psyga: @kazenowing
Base Suit & Belt Production: @futureoftgm
Psyga Phone Screen Data Label: @RADAsan_DCD
Project Lead, Armor & Photography: @sht_raito

Rider Time!

Rejoice, for the birth of a new king! Here, we celebrate the great King of Time and Space, Zi-O. The 20th Rider of the Heisei Era and the final one to be introduced before the start of the Reiwa Era. While his season doesn’t really focus on him as much, Zi-O is a fun season overall.

Zi-O Cosplay 1
Zi-O Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Zi-O: @Kirarman13
Photography: @reiji_cp

Rising Hopper!

Following Zi-O, we have the Rider that comes after him. Reiwa’s own number one, Zero One. Zero One is a fantastic season of Kamen Rider and a great way to start off the Reiwa Era. I highly recommend it as a first season to jump into.

Zero One Cosplay 1
Zero One Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Zero One: @gomazarashi1110
Photography: @reiji_cp

Conclusion One

Now, let me preface this next entry by saying that this is something of a spoiler for people who are watching Zero One. However, allow me to proffer that, while it is a spoiler seeing the suit design, it doesn’t spoil the plot of the show in any way. It is two very different things seeing the suit and knowing who is in the suit. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at this amazing cosplay of Ark One. This mysterious villain appears to be a dark mirror of Zero One, mocking both his and his grandfather’s dreams by taking on the mantle of Kamen Rider. Who is it beneath the mask, and what in the world could this villain want?

Ark One Cosplay 1
Ark One Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Ark One: @kurotoabcd
Photography: @guy_ferd

Rider Henshin!

Now, this last one has been featured before, however those were only suit test pictures from when he completed the suit. These pictures uploaded just the other day, so I figured it’d be a nice way to present the update. Here we have the S.I.C. Kamen Rider Ichigo cosplay from the last article. If I didn’t praise the design of the suit enough last time, let me reiterate: this suit looks absolutely incredible as a full-blown suit.

S.I.C. Ichigo Cosplay 1
S.I.C. Ichigo Cosplay 2

Kamen Rider Ichigo (S.I.C. ver.): @ZONLEE9

This wraps up another Kamen Rider cosplay feature. I sincerely hope you enjoyed these cosplayers and that these have inspired you to go make your own. I myself have been looking at these and have been looking into getting started on making my own cosplay. Though, since I’m about to move places, haven’t started anything yet. But, when I do start, I will be sure to let you all know. I’ll write out the details of the process in an article and potential guide at some point in the future. Anyways, take care, hope you enjoyed, and until next time. Ciao~

See you next Rider Time~

Kamen Rider Series Getting Select Official English Release

Greetings, geeks of all ages! And rejoice, for the dawn of a new age! Apologies, I couldn’t resist channeling my inner Woz. However, this is exciting news for Kamen Rider fans outside of Japan. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Kamen Rider franchise. As such, Toei has announced that they will be posting episodes of different series for free with official English subtitles. You can read the official press release here on Toei’s official website.

In summary, starting on January 16, 2021, they will be releasing select episodes from each season of Kamen Rider. These will be posted on their official YouTube international channel Toei Tokusatsu World Official, with additional releases happening every Saturday/Sunday. Once again, they will have official English subtitles.

Now, while this is not an official release for the full series of each, this is an excellent starting point. Kamen Rider has been garnering a good amount of attention lately. I’m hopeful that, should this get enough attention, that Toei will start to license more official releases of all of the Kamen Rider seasons. So far, we only have 3 officially licensed releases for seasons: the original Kamen Rider, Kamen Rider Kuuga, and Kamen Rider Amazons, released overseas as Amazon Riders.

Learn More

If you’re a first time reader and are not familiar with Kamen Rider or Tokusatsu in general, consider reading my introductory Tokusatsu 101 article here. Or, if you want to know more about the different eras of Kamen Rider, read my article here.

I hope you’re excited as I am, fellow geeks. This is a big deal and I sincerely hope that this leads to even more official releases down the line. That’s all from me, ciao.

See you next Rider Time~

Wearing the Mask: Kamen Rider Cosplay Feature

As a fan of Kamen Rider, I have always held an appreciation for people capable of making Cosplay. Even more so when they can create armor that looks like it came straight from the set. I certainly hope to join their ranks one day, but for now, I’ll be content looking at the Rider Cosplay they create. So please, allow me to share some of my favorite Cosplays with you. Links to the cosplayer’s and photographer’s social media will be provided whenever they are available.

The thumbnail comes courtesy of Showtime HERO, taken at Indonesia Comic Con.

Mist Match! Cobra!

Our first cosplay is of a character I’m sure many people should recognize if you’ve been watching Build alongside Kat and Tat (consider supporting AAOG on Patreon to get access to their Build reactions if you aren’t already). The resident smug snake of the show, Blood Stalk. Personally, I’m a big fan of him specifically because of his personality. He’s so nonchalant and smug, it’s great.

Blood Stalk: @kuro_craftsman
Photography: @Xperia_rmZ on Twitter & Instagram

Rider Henshin!

A preface for our next entry: this suit is actually based on an action figure series known as the S.I.C. series (stands for Super Imaginative Chogokin, later became Superior Imaginative Chogokin). These figures are made to look more monstrous/organic and they look absolutely amazing. This one in particular is based on a figure of the original Kamen Rider released in 2014, and I am such a huge fan of how the full-sized suit looks.

New Kamen Rider Ichigo (S.I.C. ver.): @ZONNYTHELEE

Secretary Model

While not specifically a Rider, I couldn’t pass up on including this one. Our lovely Humagear waifu, Izu. Or Is, if you want to use the official spelling.

Izu/Is: @hiistoryofmusic
Photography: Mr. Kong

Rabbit/Tank and the Destroyer of Worlds

Here we have two Rider Cosplays side-by-side. We have Build, the 19th Rider of the Heisei Era, alongside Decade, the 10th Rider of the Heisei Era.

Kamen Rider Build: @shotalaw_waaay
Kamen Rider Decade: @RADAsan_DCD
Photography/Filming: @sht_raito

Let’s go, go, go!

Here we have another non-Rider character Cosplay. This time, it’s the delinquent Imagin Momotaros. He’s a great character and extremely popular. Fun fact: Momotaros’ VA in the show is also the voice for Kibutsuji Muzan from Demon Slayer.

Momotaros: @fuuuuuuraibou

Orange Arms! Through the flowered path, on stage!

Here we have yet another example of an S.I.C. based Cosplay of a Rider. This time, we have our Orange Samurai Gaim being represented here. Honestly, this is one of my favorite S.I.C. figures. The armor design for Gaim here is spectacular and a great show of how good the S.I.C. line really is.

Kamen Rider Gaim (S.I.C. ver.): @tp_a0

Cyclonerise! Rocking Hopper!

Our last entry for this Cosplay Feature will be one of the movie-exclusive Riders. This is Ichigata (meaning Type-1) from the Zero One movie “Reiwa: The First Generation”. Honestly, Ichigata is one of my favorite movie Riders of all time, easily getting into my Top 5 movie Riders.

Kamen Rider Ichigata: @kamitani5112
Photography: @reiji_cp

I really am appreciative of all the hard work and effort that these Cosplayers put into creating these costumes. It’s so impressive how close they can get to making it look exactly like it does in the show. Or, in the case of the S.I.C. cosplays, capturing all of the details of the figures. I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse of the World of Tokusatsu Cosplay, because I fully intend to showcase more of these Cosplays.

If this is the first Article of mine that you’re reading, welcome, and consider reading some of my other Kamen Rider-related articles. You can read my 2-part article on all of the Heisei Era Seasons of Kamen Rider here and here.

See you next Rider Time~

Tokusatsu 101: Seasons of the Heisei Era – Part 2

Greetings, geeks of all ages! I am your guide through the wonderful world of Tokusatsu, Zach J., TD. (not a real doctor). Last we left off, I gave simple summaries on the first ten seasons of the Heisei era as well as personal thoughts and ratings. This time, I’ll be continuing with the synopses and ratings with the remaining 11 (technically 12) seasons of the Heisei era. A fun little tidbit is that from this point on, we’ll be covering the Neo Heisei era. Also known as Heisei Phase 2, this marks a shift in the production and marketing of Kamen Rider. Before, all of the Kamen Rider titles used the translation of Masked Rider as part of the English text for the title. But beginning with W (Double), Toei officially started using Kamen Rider as the English text for each season’s title. Now then, enough rambling, let’s do this!

2009: “We are the two-in-one Kamen Rider”

Neo Heisei Poster for W (Double)
Philip and Shotaro Hidari posed behind their combined form, Kamen Rider W (Double)

Somewhere in the windy city of Futo, criminals are being sold mysterious devices known as Gaia Memories by the Sonozaki family. These devices allow them to transform into monstrous forms known as Dopants and terrorize the city at large. It is up to hard-boiled detective Shotaro Hidari and his mysterious partner Philip to protect the city from the Dopant menace. Together, they fight as one as Kamen Rider W (Double). Shotaro and Philip must work together to stop the Sonozaki family and keep the Gaia Memories off the market.

As the first season of the Neo Heisei era, W knocks it out of the park with excellent characters and a well written plot. Not to mention that, as a detective season, the crime solving parts of the episodes are fun to follow. Perhaps one of the shortcomings of the season is that one of the characters can come off as annoying. Considering that she appears in practically every episode, you either learn to love her or at the very least tolerate her appearances on screen. However, that aside, W is still a great season and a must watch in my books.

Personal Rating: 10/10, a must watch

2010: “I’ll transform!”

Neo Heisei Poster for OOO
Kamen Rider OOO surrounded by Core Medals

Mysterious medal-based monsters known as Greeed have been reawakened. Feeding off of human desire, they create minions called Yummys to do their bidding. The homeless traveler Eiji Hino is met by a mysterious disembodied arm that calls itself Ankh. In a bid to defeat the other Greeed, Ankh gives Eiji the OOO Driver and a set of Core Medals to allow him to transform into Kamen Rider OOO (pronounced Ohs, as in multiple O’s in a row).

A great season followed up by yet another great season. OOO is another season that has excellent characters and great designs. The story of OOO is another example of the great storytelling potential of Kamen Rider as a series. Not to mention that the relationships created between the characters is engaging and makes you want to see where the next episode takes them. The Neo Heisei era starts off with two great seasons in a row. Can it go for three?

Personal Rating: 10/10, a must watch

2011: “Youth, switched on! It’s space time!”

Neo Heisei Poster for Fourze
Kamen Rider Fourze in space with the Rocket Module active

At Amanogawa High School, the usual flow of things is disrupted by the arrival of the new transfer student Gentaro Kisaragi. Upon introducing himself to his new classmates, he declares that he will befriend everyone. However, shortly after his arrival, the school finds itself under attack by a strange monster. Left with few options, his old childhood friend gives him the Fourze Driver and a set of Astro Switches to transform into Kamen Rider Fourze (pronounced FOUR-zay). Now he must battle against these monsters and uncover the mystery behind these Astro Switches.

For the third season in a row, the Neo Heisei era produces yet another great season. Perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for the high school delinquent types of characters, but Gentaro ends up being one of my favorite Riders of all time, with only a select few standing above him. The season itself is much more light-hearted in general, essentially being a high school drama about the power of friendship. However, this makes Fourze a refreshing season and an excellent entry into the Rider series.

Personal Rating: 10/10, a must watch

2012: “It’s showtime!”

Neo Heisei Poster for Wizard
Kamen Rider Wizard and his Magic Rings

A strange ritual on the day of a solar eclipse brought forth monstrous creatures known as Phantoms into the world. In order to do so, a large number of Gates, humans with high magic potential, had to be driven to despair. Haruto Souma, a Gate that survived the ritual, was given the WizarDriver and a mysterious girl by a wizard dressed in white. Now, acting as the final hope of mankind, Haruto becomes Kamen Rider Wizard to defeat the Phantoms.

Unfortunately, Wizard falls short of the mark as far as Kamen Rider is concerned. Much of the issues I have with Wizard stems from the main character himself. Wizard is rather boring and doesn’t really grow much as a character throughout his journey. Not to mention some of the other characters end up being rather lackluster due to the less than stellar writing of the season. One of the best characters of the season ends up being the secondary Rider, which is unfortunate since Wizard had a lot of potential as a character.

Personal Rating: 5/10, an okay season, but feel free to skip it

2013: “The Warring Riders Era!”

Neo Heisei Poster for Gaim
Kamen Rider Gaim posed in front of Baron, Ryugen, Zangetsu, and Gridon

The Yggdrasill Corporation has turned the bustling city of Zawame into something resembling a castle town. In order to distract from that feeling, young dancers group together and start dancing on stages around the city. As the dance groups begin to compete with one another, they start playing the Inves Game, played by summoning Inves through devices called Lockseeds. One day, Kouta Kazuraba, a former dancer for one of the teams, stumbles upon a mysterious belt and a special Lockseed. Kouta uses these to transform into Armored Rider Gaim (pronounced Gime, rhymes with lime). Little does he know that there is more to these games than he is aware of.

Gaim is quite possibly one of the best seasons not only of the Neo Heisei era, but all of Kamen Rider. This season is a well written coming of age story that allows all of its main characters to grow in a significant manner throughout the story. The relationships between characters is covered brilliantly and the shift in these relationships is riveting to watch. A tale full of emotional depth and growth, Gaim is absolutely a must watch. If you still need further convincing after all of that, the head writer for this season is none other than Gen Urobuchi, who famously wrote the story for Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, and the first season of Psycho-Pass. So, if you enjoyed any of those shows, you will without a doubt enjoy Gaim.

Personal Rating: 10/10, a must watch

2014: “Start your engine!”

Neo Heisei Poster for Drive
Kamen Rider Drive with some Shift Cars and his Ride Machine, the Tridoron

One night, during an intense chase between the cops and some criminals, a strange phenomenon occurs. Everything slowed down in its tracks, the people, the people, animals, and even the pouring rain. During this strange occurrence, elite cop Shinnosuke Tomari’s partner is injured and hospitalized. Now demoted to a Special Investigations Unit that investigates these Slowdowns, Shinnosuke finds himself stuck in a rut. However, he is soon recruited by the AI within the Drive Driver and transforms into Kamen Rider Drive. Now he fights against the cybernetic menace of the Roidmudes, the beings responsible for the Slowdowns.

Drive is a solid season overall, featuring a strong cast of characters and great villains that you love to see on screen. While not as bleak as the previous season, Drive does feature its dramatic moments as well as a slew of comedic moments. One of my bigger gripes with this season is that, despite featuring a clearly competent female character that is capable of fighting, they do not let her become a Rider. That is mostly a personal complaint, but still one that I have. Other than that, while still a great season as a whole, the ending does leave a little to be desired.

Personal Rating: 8/10, a great season to watch

2015: “Life, burn bright!”

Neo Heisei Poster for Ghost
Kamen Rider Ghost with the Ghost Parkas of the Heroes Musashi, Newton, and Edison

Takeru Tenkuji, an aspiring Ghost Hunter, lives his daily life at the Daitenku Temple with the other monks and trainees. On his 18th birthday, he receives a mysterious eye-shaped trinket called an Eyecon from his late father. Upon receiving it, he begins to see ghosts and other ghost-like entities called Ganma. When these Ganma attack his friends, he boldly fights them. However, this proves to be his undoing as the attacking Ganma kill him. After his untimely death, he is met by a strange Hermit who gives him the Ghost Driver as well as a quest: Gather the Eyecons of fifteen heroic spirits in 99 days in order to come back to life or disappear forever. Now, Takeru returns to his friends to defend them as Kamen Rider Ghost and gather the fifteen heroic spirits.

Despite the excellent designs of the suits and Ghost Parkas of Ghost, this season is widely considered to be the worst season of Kamen Rider to date. The story is so poorly handled, later parts of the story actually negate the urgency presented in earlier episodes. And while his suit design is actually one of my all-time favorites, the main Rider is a boring character that basically gets new powers as the plot requires it. It doesn’t help that the head writer for the season wrote less than half of the total episodes, so the general direction of the season most likely was not well coordinated.

Personal Rating: 3/10, I suggest you skip this one.

2016 Reboot: “The hunt begins”

Neo Heisei Poster for Amazons
Kamen Rider Amazon Omega crouched in front of Amazon Alpha

Unbeknownst to the public, strange creatures are popping up within the city and devouring humans. These man-eating monsters are known as Amazons. Nozama Peston is an Amazon hunting team that disguises themselves as a pest removal service to the public. They travel around the city and exterminate whatever Amazons may pop up. Meanwhile, Haruka Mizusawa is a meek and frail young man, confined to his home due to a medical condition. One day, after not taking his medicine, an odd instinct awakens in him and he transforms into an Amazonz. He is met by the mysterious Jin Takayama, who puts on a strange belt and transforms into Kamen Rider Amazon Alpha. Just what are these strange creatures, where did they come from, and why were they created?

Amazonz is the first web series for Kamen Rider that is directed at an older audience. As such, Kamen Rider Amazonz is a much gorier and serious affair compared to other seasons. I find that this reboot of a Showa era season is very successful as a season targeted at older audiences. The attacks are appropriately vicious and the story doesn’t have to dance around the gore with explosions. Amazonz is split into two thirteen episode seasons, with the end of the story being told in a movie that has yet to be officially released outside of Japan. However, if you are interested in watching Amazonz, both seasons are officially available through Amazon Prime Video as Amazon Riders.

Personal Rating: 8/10, a great season to watch

2016: “Game start!”

Neo Heisei Poster for Ex-Aid
Kamen Rider Ex-Aid with Brave, Snipe, Lazer, and a mysterious black Ex-Aid behind him

A new type of virus called the Bugster Virus has slowly started to spread throughout the public. A person infected by the virus releases a Bugster, video game virus, into the real world. In order to fight this, the Gamer Driver was created to combat the Bugsters released by infected patients to cure them. Hojo Emu, a pediatric med student, is also a genius gamer known as “M”. Using the Gamer Driver, he transforms into Kamen Rider Ex-Aid and uses his video game-based powers save his patient’s lives.

Ex-Aid is another fun season that features a colorful cast of characters. The story is presented as a doctor drama with a side of video game antics. In all honesty, I did not expect much going into this season. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the story got into its serious moments. All in all, Ex-Aid is a good story with some fun characters.

Personal Rating: 8/10, a great season to watch

2017: “Let’s start the experiment!”

Neo Heisei Poster for Build
Kamen Rider Build back-to-back with Cross-Z surrounded by Full Bottles and Guardians

10 years ago, man made its first successful mission to Mars. When the astronaut returned, he brought back a mysterious box. Now called the Pandora Box, the box split Japan into three different sections. These sections were divided by the Skywall, a mysterious wall created by the box. Now, the government has hired the prodigious physicist Sento Kiryu to solve the mystery of the box. However, while Sento solves the mystery of the box, he must also uncover another mystery: The mystery of his own past. The only memory he has to go on is a mysterious figure dressed like a bat. After Ryuga Banjou, a convict, escapes from a strange laboratory, Sento comes one step closer to solving his own mystery. He transforms into Kamen Rider Build in order to uncover the truth behind the mysterious creatures called Smash and his own past.

Another excellent season of Kamen Rider in terms of story, characters, and design. As a story following a brilliant physicist uncovering mysteries left and right, the show does a good job of answering questions while raising new ones. Naturally, as the story progresses, these new mysteries lead to yet more mysteries until the final arc of the story. Of course, what really ties this season together is the relationships between the characters. On top of that, Build has my favorite villain in all of Rider. All in all, a great season overall, even though certain episodes drag on parts that I feel are unnecessary.

Personal Rating: 9/10, highly recommended

2018: “Rejoice, for the birth of a new king!”

Neo Heisei Poster for Zi-O
Kamen Rider Zi-O and Geiz surrounded by the past Heisei Riders

Sougo Tokiwa is a high school student who has one goal: to become king. His peaceful high school life is suddenly disrupted when a mysterious flying machine starts following him around. As it attacks him, another flying machine interrupts and saves Sougo. The pilot takes him into her machine and introduces herself as Tsukuyomi, who has come from 2068 to prevent a terrible future: A future ruled by the overlord Ohma Zi-O, Sougo’s future self. After the appearance of a strange being known as an Another Rider, another person calling himself Woz appears at Sougo’s side. He presents him with the Time-Space Driver to transform into Kamen Rider Zi-O (pronounced Zee-Oh, like saying the letters Z and O). In order to prevent the future that he has been told, he vows to become the kindest, most beloved overlord with his newfound power.

As another anniversary series, Zi-O is something of a mixed bag for me. While Zi-O does some great tributes to earlier seasons, it also has some not so great tributes as well. A lot of the plot is also somewhat disjointed as it tries to work around the schedules of available actors so that they can comeback for an appearance. While it is greatly appreciated to see these characters comeback, the story does suffer from it. Ultimately, while enjoyable, this season is on the lower end for me.

Personal Ratings: 6/10, a fun season, but suffers from too much clutter.

Final Thoughts

Whooo, we did it. That was all of the Heisei Seasons of Kamen Rider. I really do hope that reading through these has convinced some of you to give Kamen Rider a shot. As a fan of the series, it is my sincere wish that you give the show a try. These stories are wonderful tales of Justice that follow these colorfully dressed Karate Bugmen. If nothing else, just give at least one season three episodes. If it doesn’t hook you, that’s just fine. At the very least you gave it an honest try. Anyways, that’s it from me for this article. I hope you’ll join me again sometime for the next article in my series. For my next topic, I’m thinking of going into the Super Sentai series. That’s subject to change, but we’ll see. Anyways, this is Zach J., TD (not a real doctorate) signing off.

See you next Rider Time~

Tokusatsu 101: Seasons of the Heisei Era – Part 1

Greetings, geeks of all ages! It’s me, Professor of Toku (self-proclaimed), Zach J., TD. (not an actual title). If you’re reading this, that means you’re back for another exciting installment of the Tokusatsu 101 series. Or, this is the first article of mine that you’re reading. In which case, welcome and consider reading the other entries in this series. This article will be talking about the Seasons of Rider in the Heisei Era.

In the last article, I gave a rundown of the different Eras that Kamen Rider is split into. It was a long, but necessary explanation. This time, it will be giving you simple synopses of the Seasons of the Heisei Era as well as my personal ratings. This will be done in two parts as there are 21 (technically 22) seasons to cover. I will not be covering the Showa Era mostly because the shows are not as readily accessible in decent quality. The only one that is readily available for streaming is the original Kamen Rider from 1971. If you’re interested in watching it, you can officially watch it at Shout Factory TV through their TokuSHOUTsu channel. Also, I will not be covering the Reiwa Era seasons as the second one is still ongoing. Now then, let’s do this!

2000: “A new hero, a new legend”

Season Poster for Kuuga
Kamen Rider Kuuga in his Mighty, Dragon, Pegasus, and Titan Forms.

In the year 2000, an archaeological dig uncovers an ancient tomb hidden in the mountains. Inside, a mysterious belt is discovered alongside a warning. The team that discovered the tomb is attacked by a strange monster shortly after. When this unidentified lifeform follows after the belt and attacks the investigators, professional dream chaser Yusuke Godai puts on the belt and transforms into Kamen Rider Kuuga. Now he must face off against these unknown creatures and solve the mystery of their appearance.

For the first entry of the Era, it is a pitch perfect start. The story is well told and maintains a good pace throughout, with an excellent ending. The tone of Kuuga is more dramatic when compared to previous seasons. And while they are archaic, the visual effects for the time are great and well put together. My only real gripe is that it only features a single Rider throughout, though that’s a personal nitpick rather than an actual knock on the season. Still, if you’d like to watch Kuuga, you can officially watch it over at Shout Factory TV via their TokuSHOUTsu channel.

Personal Rating: 10/10, a must watch.

2001: “Awaken the soul”

Season Poster for Agito
Kamen Rider Agito alongside G3 and Gills

Shoichi Tsugami does not remember anything of his past. He has no recollection of where he came from or how he got to where he is. However, when he finds himself around the mysterious creatures called Unknown, he transforms into the equally mysterious Kamen Rider Agito (pronounced AH-gi-toe). What are these creatures? How did he obtain these powers? What does it mean to have these powers? Shoichi must find the answers to these mysteries and many more as he goes on his journey of discovery.

Another excellent entry in the series, Agito is a well made season with good use of practical and special effects. The story itself maintains a good balance of drama and comedy, as well as a good sense of mystery. Not to mention, the Rider designs in this season are well done. I am partial to how they handled G3 as a man-made Rider that has to take the time to actually equip the armor rather than transforming with a belt.

Personal Rating: 9/10, highly recommended

2002: “Those who don’t fight, don’t survive”

Season Poster for Ryuki
Kamen Rider Ryuki with his Contract Monster, Dragredder, alongside Kamen Rider Knight

In a parallel world, an unseen war is being fought. A Rider War, fought between thirteen chosen Riders, rages on. As the battle goes on, journalist trainee Shinji Kido investigates a missing persons case. This investigation eventually leads him to being pulled into the Mirror World and right into the fray. Now, after making a contract with the mysterious dragon Dragredder, Shinji transforms into Kamen Rider Ryuki and must fight in the Rider War or become another casualty.

This season introduces the concept of Rider Wars into the series, as well as having Riders being the main villains of the show. While the concept is fresh and the idea is well fleshed out, the season loses steam towards the end. And though the season is filled with great moments, it ultimately falls short when it comes to the ending.

Personal Rating: 7/10, fun to watch.

2003: “Running instinct”

Season Poster for 555 (Faiz)
Kamen Rider 555 (Faiz) and his motorcycle/mech Auto Vajin

The world is beset by the appearance of the Orphnochs, monstrous creatures that begin targeting the human populace. Major tech conglomerate Smart Brain has developed a series of power suits called Rider Gear. Before they can be put to use, they are stolen by the company’s former chief. When one of the chief’s foster children is attacked, lone wolf Takumi Inui is dragged into the fight. Donning the Rider Gear, he transforms into Kamen Rider 555 (pronounced Faiz, alternatively rendered Kamen Rider Φ‘s). Now he must battle against the Orphnochs in order to keep humanity from being wiped out.

This season is a more serious drama/soap opera type of season, with much of the focus being on the characters and the relationships between them. However, while the character focus is appreciated, there are plot holes that drag down the quality of the season. That said, I still enjoy this season quite a bit. The bleak tone of the season and overarching plot are handled well.

Personal Rating: 7/10, fun to watch.

2004: “Take the trump card of fate”

Season Poster for Blade
Kamen Rider Blade holding the Blay Rouser with Chalice and Garren depicted as Cards

Long ago, a massive battle known as the Battle Royal was fought among fifty-two creatures known as the Undead. After a hard-fought battle, the Human Undead stood as the victor. With the battle over, the Undead were sealed away as Humans prospered. In present day, archaeologists discover the sealed Undead and release them, beginning another Battle Royal. To keep humanity safe, the organization BOARD has developed the Rider System. Now, the new recruit Kazuma Kenzaki transforms into Kamen Rider Blade to stop the Undead and seal them away.

Blade as a season is full of ups and downs. The first half of the season is not particularly well done, with many memes and jokes revolving around many of the earlier moments. However, starting with the second half, the season becomes much better. The production staff shifted the season to make it more serious in tone, with the ending of the season being one of the best in all of Rider. That said, it does take thirty or so episodes to get into the better part of the season. While I still enjoy the season, memes and all, it is difficult to ask someone to keep watching to get to episode thirty-one for the best parts of the show.

Personal Rating: 8/10, a great season to watch.

2005: “To us, there are heroes”

Season DVD Cover for Hibiki
Kamen Rider Hibiki with his young apprentice in the background

Deep in the mountains, there exist different types of Kamen Rider: Oni. These Oni, masters of combat with sound, defend humanity from the threat of the man-eating Makamou. One of the Oni, Kamen Rider Hibiki (pronounced HEE-bee-key), meets a young boy who wishes to learn from him. While this young boy transitions into high school life, he seeks the advice of Hibiki. Forming a strange master-apprentice relationship with the boy, Hibiki must defend the world while teaching a young boy about the pains of growing up.

If the description sounds like a mess, that’s unfortunately because this season is one. Due to many production issues behind the scenes that led to a major staff change, the quality of the season suffers greatly. The season itself has an interesting concept in presenting Oni as Kamen Rider that fight using musical instruments. However, the overall quality of Hibiki suffers from trying to balance what ends up being three shows at once. Ultimately, while parts of it are enjoyable, this season is easily one of the worst in the series.

Personal Rating: 4/10, don’t force yourself to watch the whole season if you don’t want to.

2006: “Walk heaven’s path to rule over everything”

Season Poster for Kabuto
Kamen Rider Kabuto Casts-Off his armor, with ZECT Troopers standing behind him

Seven years ago, a meteorite landed in Japan, bringing along with it extraterrestrial passengers. The Worms, bug-like monsters capable of mimicking people near-perfectly, now threaten the daily lives of the people. In order to combat this menace, the military technology company ZECT creates new gear called Zecters. These Zecters harmonize with their users to transform them into Kamen Riders capable of fighting against the Worms. The man who walks the path of heaven, Soji Tendo, harmonizes with the Kabuto Zecter to transform into Kamen Rider Kabuto (pronounced KAH-boo-toe).

This is the season that introduced me to the Kamen Rider series. It was the discovery of this show that led me down the path of becoming a TD (not a real doctorate) and changed my life forever. If you had asked me ten years ago, I would rate this show a perfect ten out of ten. However, as I’ve grown up and become more versed in storytelling, I can say that this season is not without issue. What ultimately brings down the rating of this season is the main rider himself. While he has excellent moments as the hero of the story, he is very much a boring, invincible hero that doesn’t change much over the course of the season. That said, while he himself doesn’t change much, he influences many of the characters around him, leading them to great change over the course of the story.

Personal Rating: 8/10, a great season to watch

2007: “Traveling through time, here I come!”

Season Poster for Den-O
Kamen Rider Den-O in his Sword Form standing in front of the DenLiner, the train of time

Imagin, beings capable of traveling through time by granting people wishes, seek to change the past and destroy the future. Ryotaro Nogami, a terribly unlucky young man, one day finds a strange train pass lying in a nearby gutter. Soon after, he is possessed by one of the Imagin. This red devil-like being tries to coerce him into making a wish, but ultimately ends up fighting alongside Ryotaro, who transforms into Kamen Rider Den-O to fight against the Imagin. The train from earlier, the DenLiner, takes both him and the Imagin in as passengers. Together, they must stop the other Imagin from running rampant and destroying the future.

This is easily one of the most popular seasons of Kamen Rider. Den-O as a whole is much more light-hearted when compared to previous entries in the series. But while the comedy is much more prevalent, this does not mean that there are no dramatic moments. In fact, the excellent balance between drama and comedy is what makes this season so hugely popular. The overarching story is handled well, the character’s interactions are fun to watch, and the growth of the relationships between characters is incredible.

Personal Rating: 10/10, a must watch.

2008: “Wake up! Break the chains of destiny!”

Season Poster for Kiva
Kamen Rider Kiva with his leg poised, ready to deliver his finishing move

Lurking hidden within society, there are creatures known as Fangire. These monstrosities consume the life force of humans in order to survive. In 1986, a lone Fangire Hunter hunts the monsters down to protect humanity. One day, she comes across Otoya Kurenai, a master violinist and ladies man. This leads him to get entangled in the battle against the Fangires. Twenty-two years later, Otoya is missing, leaving his reclusive son Wataru to pick up the fight in his stead. Now, Wataru fights against the Fangire menace as Kamen Rider Kiva alongside Kivat-Bat the 3rd.

This season is interesting, though a bit difficult to follow if you don’t pay close attention to the story. The story follows both father and son during their respective time periods, 1986 and 2008. While the general plot line is difficult to follow, the characters and their relationships are fun to watch. However, this is not a season you can play in the background while doing something else and still follow along with the story. Not to mention that jumping between two different time periods constantly makes the pacing seem a little too fast since we as the audience have to follow two different heroes.

Personal Rating: 6/10, a fun season, but suffers from too much clutter.

2009: “Destroy everything, connect everything”

Season Poster for Decade
Kamen Rider Decade, who can take the forms of the 9 previous Riders

Tsukasa Kadoya is a young photographer who somehow cannot take photos correctly. Every time he does, the photo comes out distorted and blurry. He has no memories of why that is or how he ended up where he is. However, his peaceful life is forever changed when strange curtains of light start appearing out of nowhere. These curtains of light cause turn out to be signs of several worlds joining as one. In order to keep this from happening and destroying the world, Tsukasa transforms into Kamen Rider Decade. However, Decade is heralded as the Destroyer of Worlds. What truths are hidden away by his lost memories? Is Decade the savior of the world, or the destroyer?

This season celebrates the ten year anniversary of the Heisei Era of Kamen Rider. As such, Decade focuses on interacting with the past Riders and celebrating each season. Unfortunately, this is another season plagued with many production issues. All of these production issues led to Decade being one of the shortest seasons of Rider at the time, coming in at a mere thirty episodes during its original run. When the season was re-run, the final episode was recut and edited to become two episodes, bringing the final episode count to thirty-one. These production issues, along with the plot problems of the story itself, leads to Decade being on the lower end of the scale for me.

Personal Rating: 5/10, an okay season, but feel free to skip it.

Aside

Woo, okay, that was a lot to cover. I hope you’ve been sticking through with me for the entire article. There’s a lot of stuff to cover and even more things to cover for the next article. So please, join me next time when I cover the second half of the Heisei era seasons! It’ll be a fun one, I guarantee it.

See you next Rider Time~

Tokusatsu 101: Eras of Kamen Rider

Greetings, geeks of all ages! Welcome back to Tokusatsu 101, your introduction to the wonderful world of Toku and Kamen Rider. I am Zach J., TD (not an actual title), your guide throughout this series of articles. Last time, I explained the genre of Tokusatsu and gave a basic overview of Kamen Rider. In this article, we’ll be going over the different Eras of Kamen Rider. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get cracking!

The Imperial Calendar

Before I explain the different eras, I must explain what the division of eras is based on. In Japan, they have their own calendar called the Imperial Calendar. This is based on the current reigning Emperor of Japan. In anime and other Japanese media, I’m sure you’ve heard references to different periods of time. Most notably, Demon Slayer takes place during the Taisho Period. There are many different Periods of time that are commonly referred back to, such as the Edo Period, the Sengoku Period, and the Meiji Period. It is these different periods of time are what make up the Imperial Calendar. Currently, there are three eras that concern us when talking about Kamen Rider: the Showa era, the Heisei era, and the Reiwa era.

Humble Beginnings

The Showa era, the era of Emperor Hirohito which went from 1926 to 1989, is the first era of Kamen Rider. The first Kamen Rider debuted in 1971, and marked the start of a cultural phenomenon in Japan. The story begins when biochemistry student Takeshi Hongo is kidnapped by the evil organization Shocker and turned into a cyborg. He escapes their clutches before they can brainwash him into obeying them. This proves to be their undoing, as Hongo now devotes himself to fighting Shocker wherever they appear as the Kamen Rider.

After this first season, we would get 9 more seasons of television during the Showa era. Including Black RX, which was being filmed during the transition from the Showa to the Heisei era, and the 3 films that were made in the 90s, the Showa era has 15 main Riders (technically 14 since Black and Black RX are the same person). They are counted as Showa Riders even though they were not produced during the era itself.

Return of the Rider

The Heisei era, the era of Emperor Akihito which went from 1989 to 2019, marks the return of Kamen Rider. After the last film produced for the Showa era in ’94, there would be no new Riders until the new millennium. In 2000, Kamen Rider made its triumphant return with Kamen Rider Kuuga. After unearthing an ancient tomb, a group of archaeologists find themselves under attack by a strange creature. This unidentified lifeform follows them when they take. In order to fight this monster, Yuusuke Godai dons the belt and becomes Kamen Rider Kuuga.

Since 2000, there has been 1 season of Kamen Rider a year, every year. This means that the Heisei era has 20 seasons of Riders. Every production has a new crew that leads the charge and oversees each season. Alongside each season, they also produce 1 to 2 movies with that years’ Rider. If a season is popular enough, it will also receive extra side productions well after the season is over. For instance, Kamen Rider Gaim, which finished airing in 2014, is receiving a new Gaiden production in the near future.

The Reboot Riders

During the Heisei era, 2 separate reboots that aren’t counted towards the Heisei Generation Riders were made. There are 2 films that reboot the original Kamen Rider, with Kamen Rider V3 appearing in the second film. These reboot films are much darker in tone than their original counterparts. Kamen Rider The First is a Sci-Fi Action flick, while Kamen Rider The Next is mainly a Horror film. While I am not a fan of the muted color palette of the films, I am a huge fan of the updated suit designs.

The second reboot project is Kamen Rider Amazons, which is available on Amazon Prime Video in the west as Amazon Riders. Compared to regular seasons of Rider, Amazons is bloodier and more violent. Imagine if Tokyo Ghoul was a live-action show involving men in suits fighting each other. The story of Amazons unfolds across two seasons and a final film. I absolutely love Amazons and would highly recommend it if you’re a fan of Tokyo Ghoul.

New Age of Heroes

Now, we find ourselves in the Reiwa era of Kamen Rider. The Reiwa era, the era under Emperor Naruhito which began last year, is the current era of Japan. With the changing of Emperors comes the dawn of a new era. As such, the generation of Reiwa Riders starts with Zero One, which debuted on September 1st, 2019. In a new age of technology, artificial beings known as Humagear have become a large part of modern society. Humagear are capable of performing any tasks associated with their designated roles. After his grandfather passes away, Aruto Hiden has the responsibilities of a Tech CEO thrust upon him. In order to protect the Humagear his grandfather created, Aruto assumes the role of Kamen Rider Zero One.

As of the writing of this article, we are only 7 episodes into Kamen Rider Saber, the current season.

Issues in Continuity

In regards to continuity, most seasons of Rider are standalone with little to no crossover. The first five seasons of the Showa era are the exception, as they are closely interconnected. There are only a few instances in the Heisei era of the stories being connected. Even then, those instances are little more than a brief mention of a previous Rider. It’d be more accurate to call it an Easter Egg for fans who have seen that season of Rider than it is an important plot point. The other instance of series crossover besides the movies is a cameo of the Rider from the next season. Starting around the second half of the Heisei era, the Rider of the upcoming season will cameo in the last episode of the current one.

However, there are specific crossover movies that brings together two or more seasons of Riders. These crossovers typically release during the winter time of each season, with later movies being loosely canon to the season it’s tied to.

Boy was that a slog, but I’m glad you got through the entire article and made it all the way here. Congratulations! You don’t really win anything here, but hey, thanks for reading all the way through this article. I know it’s a bit of a long one, but that’s only because there is so much history to cover when it comes to Kamen Rider. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability. Tune in next time when I give generic summaries of the Heisei era seasons and give my recommendations for which ones are good to start on.

See you next Rider Time~

Tokusatsu 101: Intro to Tokusatsu and Kamen Rider

Greetings, geeks of all ages! Tokusatsu is a genre that I, as a geek, am absolutely in love with. As Kat and Tat have started reacting to Kamen Rider, I think it is appropriate to teach everyone here about Tokusatsu. So allow me to be your guide and show you the greatness that is Kamen Rider. I am Zach J., TD. (not an actual title), self-proclaimed Professor of Tokusatsu.

The Tokusatsu Genre

I’m sure the first thing you want to know is this: “What in the world is Tokusatsu?” Simply put, Tokusatsu is a genre of live-action media that heavily uses special effects. The term “Tokusatsu” is a contraction of the phrase “特殊撮影 [Tokushu Satsuei]” which can be translated as “Special Effects Filming”. Typically speaking, most productions of Tokusatsu are either Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, or a mix of all three. A very famous example of Tokusatsu is the Godzilla film series. The original movies all involved making special sets for men in rubber suits to destroy as kaiju.

There are many different Toku shows out there, with some of them having American adaptations. The most successful example is Power Rangers, the adaptation of the Super Sentai series. However, there were many other attempts to bring Toku shows to the West. If you grew up in the 90’s, I’m sure you were at least aware of VR Troopers, Big Bad Beetleborgs, and Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad. These shows were adaptations of Kikaider, the Metal Heroes series, and Gridman respectively. Naturally, Kamen Rider also had two American adaptations in Masked Rider and Kamen Rider Dragon Knight.

Genealogy of Justice

There are a great number of Toku shows to talk about, but today we will focus on Kamen Rider. So, what exactly is it about? To put it simply, Kamen Rider is a series that explores the idea of justice and the choice to uphold it, regardless of origin. From the very first season to the current season, the main story theme remains the same. Whether you’re a brilliant physicist, a wannabe hard-boiled detective, or a humble novelist, it is your choice to use your power to fight for what you believe in.

Each season tackles the theme of justice with different motifs and story devices. One season revolves around the misadventures of a young man down on his luck. He is frail and timid, but through his journey finds strength and confidence as he defends the people around him. Another season centers around rival groups of dancers trying to become the best at what they do. However, as the story continues, they find themselves trapped in a battle that risks the very fabric of reality. They must learn to deal with the grim realities of the world or become victims of it. Whatever the themes are, I’m sure there is a season that will appeal to you.

The Man Behind The Mask

Kamen Rider is the brain child of Shotaro Ishinomori, a man many revere as the King of Manga. Known for his high-speed drawing style, Ishinomori is responsible for creating Kikaider, Inazuman, and the Super Sentai series. He dedicated his life to the creation of many series, writing over 128,000 pages of manga in his lifetime. This feat was recognized posthumously by Guinness World Records for Most Comics Published by a Single Author. Without a doubt, he has made huge contributions to Japan’s pop culture, creating two of its biggest superhero franchises.

Influence on Japanese Pop Culture

Today, Kamen Rider is undeniably a large part of Japanese culture. Without a doubt, Kamen Rider is the gold standard of superhero in Japan. It has been referenced in many anime, video games, live-action dramas, and even western animation. Kamen Rider has made a handful of actors very popular in Japan. Most notably Takeru Satoh who played the hapless Ryotaro Nogami in Kamen Rider Den-O, Masaki Suda who played the mysterious amnesiac Philip in Kamen Rider W (pronounced Double), and Sota Fukushi who played the high school delinquent Gentaro Kisaragi in Kamen Rider Fourze (pronounced Four-zay).

However, perhaps the biggest thing going for the series is its endless supply of merchandise. Ranging from action figures to clothing and even candies, merchandise for the show is everywhere. Something that I have gotten into collecting is the role-play toys and gimmick items. These lovely little items allow you to act out the transformation sequences and finishers from the show. And while it is expensive, it is a price I will gladly pay to support the series I love.

There is so much more to cover with Kamen Rider, and I intend to cover it. Over the next several weeks, I will write out more in this series of articles I am dubbing Tokusatsu 101. Stick around for the next part of this article series in which I will cover the Eras of Kamen Rider and the continuity of the seasons, or lack thereof.

See you next Rider Time~