Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー)
|Original Network:||TV Asahi, TBS|
|Original Run:||1971 - Present|
|Episode Length:||22-24 minutes, Over 1,200+ episodes|
|Description:||The Kamen Rider Series is one of the quintessential superhero franchises of Japan. Created by Shotaro Ishinomori and Toru Hirayama on April 3, 1971, the first series lasted 98 episodes and became a pop culture phenomenon. The cultural impact of the show created the "Henshin (Transforming) Hero Genre", launching a wave of similar shows in its wake and creating a superhero boom in the 1970s and 80s and has been one of the general templates for that genre.
The show's general formula revolves around different young men each season caught in the midst of a battle between an organization of evil monsters, donning a "Henshin Belt" to fight them. This is done by the protagonist either by choice or they are forced to become a Rider due to being surgically altered by the villains into serving them (which usually fails) or thrown into a war they never wanted to be in to protect the ones they love.
The series is martial arts based and one of the signature finishers used to defeat the monsters is the Rider Kick, a flying kick attack that uses energy from their belts which makes the monster-of-the-week explode (though in a few cases, the monsters are not destroyed but reverted to human form or sealed away.). In later series, the Riders can change into different forms to adapt to their opponent's stats or gain new weapons and abilities. This was developed by the show's producers to increase the amount of toy sales.
Despite its toyetic nature, the series is slightly more violent than Super Sentai and geared towards middle schoolers, teens and in rare cases, young adults.
And no, it is not "Japanese Power Rangers"... that came MUCH later (August 28, 1993, a 22 year difference) and is in reality adapted from the Super Sentai Series programs, which have been around since April 5, 1975, four years and two days after Kamen Rider started airing.
|Similar Series:||Super Sentai, Metal Heroes, Kikaider|
|Availability:||The second series, Kamen Rider V3 is available on DVD and the web exclusive series Kamen Rider Amazons is viewable on Amazon Prime for those who subscribe to the service. All other series entries are unavailable for purchase in the United States.|
|Rating (by American Standards):|
(Kamen Rider X, Kamen Rider Amazon, Kamen Rider Kuuga, Kamen Rider Agito, Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kamen Rider 555, Kamen Rider Blade, Kamen Rider Gaim, Kamen Rider Amazons Season 1, Kamen Rider Build)
|Content Labels:||Live Action TV, Entertainment, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Super Hero|
|Violence:||Moderate-High, depending on the series. Martial arts action violence, use of weapons.
|Sexual Themes and Nudity:||Mild sexual themes, use of gay stereotypes in Wizard and Gaim, very mild and brief scenes of nudity. (Kamen Rider Black, Kamen Rider Black RX, Kamen Rider Hibiki, Kamen Rider Kiva, Kamen Rider W, Kamen Rider OOO, Kamen Rider Gaim,)|
|Drugs and Alcohol:|| Yes, in the Showa era there were the occasional scenes of smoking and drinking. This is seldom seen after 555, arguably the darkest series entry in the early Heisei period, although there are brief scenes of drinking in several later series. The only notable reappearance of alcohol in the TV series after that was the non-canon Kamen Rider TV special, Kamen Rider G. G was a superhero powered by a wine bottle and had a wine motif in his design, his secret identity was a sommelier named Goro.
The Dopant Gaia Memories of Kamen Rider W and Zodiarts Astroswitches of Kamen Rider Fourze were an expy for drug use in certain cases when abused by the villains, but this was utilized in a moral and subtle way of telling kids not to do drugs.
Amazons has minor scenes of characters drinking alcohol and using pharmaceutical suppressant drugs, but as this series is geared towards the adult audience of Kamen Rider, this is a non-issue as that show is not meant to be seen by children.
|Crude Humor or Comic Mischief:||Minor|
Film Series General Information
Kamen Rider films:
|Studio:||Toei Company LTD., Ishimori Productions|
|Length:||Run time can be anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours|
|Description:|| The Kamen Rider films are a long-running part of the franchise. While most early films from the Showa era were essentially Directors Cut versions of TV episodes, the films from the 1980s to the present are extensions of the shows they are based on or stand alone films.
A notable black sheep of the film franchise during the Showa era and the series as a whole was Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue in 1993, as fans deem it too violent and dark and strayed away from what they perceived Kamen Rider to be. However, this is what Ishinomori originally wanted his creation to be, dark and tragic.
Early Heisei films are set in "What if?" scenarios, taking place in an alternate timeline or continuity so as to not affect the main events of the TV shows which were still on the air.
Most later Heisei films align in continuity with their respective TV series and aside from the Ryuki Hyper Battle Video, Riders from different shows did not interact with each other during the early years of the new millennium.
The events of cinema history however have changed that with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the The Avengers, Marvel's success being capitalized on by Toei by attempting to create their own superhero universe. This is evident by characters from different franchises making appearances in the Kamen Rider Universe as well as team ups of Riders past and present, and cameos of future Riders who are set to debut in their own shows.
|Similar Films:||Super Sentai vs. Films, Super Hero Taisen Films, Super Sentai Movies, Metal Heroes films|
|Availability:||The reboot film Kamen Rider: The First is available on DVD from Media Blasters. All other film entries are unavailable for purchase in the United States|
(Kamen Rider Shin)
(Most of the films)
|Content Labels:||Live action film, Entertainment, Film, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Super Hero, Japanese Cinema|
|Violence:||Martial Arts action, use of weapons, occasional scenes of blood in some entries.
|Language:||Occasional swearing (in Subtitles)|
|Sexual Themes and Nudity:||Nudity (The Next and Shin Kamen Rider)
|Drugs and Alcohol:||Alcohol is present sometimes in a few films but this is minor and does not happen in more recent entries.|
|Crude Humor or Comic Mischief:||Moderate Comic Mischief (Any film involving Den-O)|
|Episode Length:||22-30 Minutes
|Description:||Masked Rider: A young prince named Dex lived on the planet Edenoi which is under the rule of his evil uncle Count Dregon. Dregon plans to conquer the Earth with his Insectovores to build his great empire. So Dex's grandfather King Lexian bestows upon him the powers of the Masked Rider and sends him to Earth to stop him. He is adopted by the Stewart family and learns to adapt to his new home and fight the forces of the Count as the Masked Rider!
Masked Rider was an unsuccessful attempt by Saban to cash in on the popularity of their shows by buying up footage from Toei's other big franchise, Kamen Rider, and using it to create a spin off of the Power Rangers Franchise.
Using stock footage from the 1989 series Kamen Rider Black RX and from the 90s films Kamen Rider ZO and Kamen Rider J, Saban created Masked Rider. (Kamen means "Masked" or "Mask" so it is a literal translation)
While the series is the first attempt at an adaptation, it is, to this day, not well received by fans and Shotaro Ishinomori himself is said to have hated it. Even Saban seems to deny its existence by going so far as to retcon the series in an episode of Power Rangers Time Force, showing that Masked Rider is only a TV show in the Power Rangers universe rather than a part of it, as shown in the 3 part episode "A Friend In Need".
The Kamen Rider series the show's source material was based on was at a low point in 1995, with no new TV show on the air waves in 6 years and only a trio of movies keeping it alive. Its creator, Shotaro Ishinomori was also suffering from illness caused by Lymphoma and a heart condition which lead to his death 3 years later.
The show is an adaptation of Kamen Rider Ryuki and used footage from that series.
The story involves a young man named Kit Taylor who while searching for his missing father, comes across a deck of cards called an Advent Deck and is then flung into a war with armored warriors called Kamen Riders from the dimension of Ventara, who are commanded by the evil Xaviax. Once he finds a red dragon and eventually makes a contract with it using his Advent Deck, he becomes Kamen Rider Dragon Knight!
While better received by western Kamen Rider fans than the previous adaptation, it was put on the CW 4kids programming block. As 4Kids was synonymous to anime fans with the bad dubbing of shows and poor quality, the show didn't do well in the ratings despite its better quality and was pulled by the network before it could air its final episodes. However, it became the first ever in the Kamen Rider Series, adaptation or otherwise, to win an Emmy Award. (for Outstanding Stunt Choreography)
|Similar Series:||Power Rangers, Big Bad Beetleborgs, VR Troopers|
|Availability:||Neither series has had an official DVD home video release in the US due to licensing issues. Dragon Knight is available in international markets.|
|Content Labels:||Live Action TV, Entertainment, Superhero|
|Violence:||Martial arts action violence, use of weapons.|
|Sexual Themes and Nudity:||None|
|Drugs and Alcohol:||None|
|Crude Humor or Comic Mischief:||Masked Rider: Mild Comic Mischief
Dragon Knight: Minor Comic Mischief
Kamen Rider Battride War, Kamen Rider: Battride War II, Kamen Rider: Battride War Genesis, Kamen Rider SD: Sortie!! Rider Machines, All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation, All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation 2. Kamen Rider: The Bike Race, Kamen Rider (Super Famicom Game), Kamen Rider: Seigi No Keifu, All Kamen Rider: Rider Revolution, Kamen Rider: Climax Fighters
|Description:||Kamen Rider video games have been around since the 1990s and most of the games revolve around one of the central elements of the TV series and films: Martial arts.
However, some games are not full fighting games as the video games tend to experiment from time to time on different mechanics. A few games such as Kamen Rider: The Bike Race focus on racing, others like Super Hero Operations are RPG-based and act as crossovers with other franchises such as Gundam and Ultraman. Seigi No Keifu is an adventure game with fighting mechanics that acts as a crossover with Agito and three Showa Era Riders (V3, Black, and the original Riders, Ichigo and Nigo).
The Ganbaride series focuses on incorporating each season's toy gimmick into its arcade machines as well as selling trading cards, aside from the Nintendo DS portable release Card Battle War, these games are exclusive only to Japanese arcades.
|Genre(s):||Sidescrolling Beat em' up, Racing, Fighting, RPG, Vehicular Combat|
|Playthrough Length:||Anywhere from a half hour to 30 hours, depending on the game genre and format. (Some older games such as ones on the NES/Famicom or Super NES/Super Famicom are shorter in length than modern games.)|
|Security Concerns:||Most games are playable on a home game console or handheld and do not require personal information to use.
Mobile Games have a security risk, as you require an account for downloading, but you need a Japanese account and gift cards in order to purchase them. So risk is minimal if you protect/manage your passwords and accounts and supervise your child.
|Online Multiplayer:||Kamen Rider Bout is a mobile social media game and Batton-Line is a online PC Game, so there is some online multiplayer. Other Games: No|
|ESRB Rating(s):||T (Dragon Knight)|
|PEGI Rating(s):||12 (Dragon Knight)|
|CERO Rating(s):||A (Almost all Kamen Rider Games with a rating), B (Battride War)|
|Content Labels:||Video Games, Entertainment, Sega, Nintendo, Sony, iOS, Andriod. Famicom/NES, Super Famicom/Super NES, Sega CD, Nintendo DS and 3DS, Wii, PlayStation, PS2, PSP, Mobile Games.|
|Violence:||Martial Arts action, Use of weapons|
|Sexual Themes and Nudity:||None|
|Drugs and Alcohol:||None|
|Crude Humor or Comic Mischief:||Mild comic mischief (Kamen Rider SD Games)|
|Price & Availability:|| Normal Retail Price: From $19-$60 to $1,000.
Availability: Kamen Rider Dragon Knight is available for the Nintendo DS and Wii and can be found fairly cheap at retail. Other Kamen Rider games can only be found by buying online and are usually high in price unless you buy from specialty online retailers such as Play-Asia.com. Older games such as the ones from the NES and Super NES library will cost more due to scarcity.
While expensive, in certain cases import gaming has the benefits of higher trade-in and resale value in stores than a local region game due to the collectors market of the gaming community and the profits the store or you the consumer can make by reselling it.
|In-game Purchases:||Battride War: In Game DLC|
|Gambling Elements:||The Ganbaride game series has a slot machine game mechanic and the players collect trading cards, but otherwise, no gambling is in any other games.|
Q: "What's this Showa and Heisei thing you keep talking about?"
A: Showa and Heisei are time periods in Japan of reigning emperors. The Showa Era lasted from 1926 until 1989 with Emperor Hirohito's death and the Heisei Era started in 1989 and continues into the present day, as Hirohito's son, Emperor Akihito, is still alive.
For Kamen Rider fans however, it refers to the run of shows and movies made under Shotaro Ishinomori's supervision and the ones made after his death in 1998. The "Neo-Heisei " Era is a fanterm for the current era, as of 2009, Toei has changed the series scheduling, style and direction to reduce costs and improve the quality of the show.
A good comparison to this in terms of western terminology would be the Comic Book Ages.
Q: "If it's not available here in the US, how do you have a database on it?"
A: By the sheer dedication and determination of fans from across the globe. The western Kamen Rider fandom sadly lives in an unforgiving limbo of never being popular enough to warrant Toei to want to put all the shows on DVD or digital download here in the States and some other countries.
Q: "Why is this a kids show? Seems pretty violent..."
A: While bits of Kamen Rider's content may seem inappropriate at times for kids shows in the eyes of western parents, this is simply a result of cultural differences and moral standards. Plus, "Kids Show" is a loosely subjective term. (Ex. Batman: The Animated Series. despite the appearance of guns in it, is considered a kids show.)
The series, being over 45 years old, is in a constant shift in tone to keep up with the times and have a diverse audience, so what is dark and violent one season might be lighter and more kid friendly the next.
Q: "Isn't this made by those Godzilla guys? I mean, it has rubber suits and all.."
Q: "What's the difference between a Kamen Rider and a Power Ranger? They seem like the same thing..."
A: Kamen Riders, for the most part, have more stylized costumes (Most have round "eyes" on the mask), a belt transformation device rather than a wrist brace or cellphone, and fight human-sized monsters solo or with just one or two other Riders with no giant robots to support them.
Rangers on the other hand wear costumes with single colored spandex, helmets with custom shaped visors and use cellphones and wrist braces to transform. Rangers also work as a team to fight monsters that start out human sized, then grow giant, at which point the Rangers fight the monsters using their robots.