Kamen Rider

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Name: Kamen Rider, 仮面ライダーシリーズ, Kamen Raidā Shirīzu
Abbreviation(s): KR, Rider
Creator: Shotaro Ishinomori
Date(s): 1971 – present
Medium: Television, Film, Manga
Country of Origin: Japan
External Links: at Wikipedia
Official Website
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Franchise Installments

The main Kamen franchise consists of the following titles:

Showa Era
Heisei Era
Reiwa Era

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Kamen Rider also known as Masked Rider, is a Japanese media franchise consisting of tokusatsu television programs, films, and manga, created by manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori and inspired by his earlier manga Skull Man. Kamen Rider media generally features a motorcycle-riding superhero with an insect motif who fights supervillains, often known as kaijin (怪人, mystery people).

The franchise began in 1971 with the Kamen Rider television series, which followed college student Takeshi Hongo and his quest to defeat the world-conquering Shocker organization. The original series spawned television and film sequels and launched the Second Kaiju Boom (also known as the Henshin Boom) on Japanese television during the early 1970s, impacting the superhero and action-adventure genres in Japan.[1]

Bandai owns the toy rights to Kamen Rider Japan (and some Asia regions). Bluefin Distribution, a subsidiary of Bandai Namco, distributes Kamen Rider merchandise in North America.[2]

Canon Overview

The Kamen Rider franchise primarily revolving around the eponymous Kamen Rider, a superpowered vigilante who mostly resembles a grasshopper and rides a motorcycle, and their one-man war against an ever-larger malevolent force, usually a terrorist organization bent on world domination. A common running theme in the franchise is that the Rider's power derived from the same source and technology used by malevolent forces, thus forming a moral vow for the protagonists to use this power to fight against evil.

Similar to its counterpart, each series focuses on a different Rider, a new set of characters and a different story set in its own universe, though there been multiple instances of past characters from previous Kamen Rider series crossing over to team up against a common foe.

Kamen Rider has a more loose formula than its sibling Super Sentai. There's a few important elements most series share and everything else is quite flexible.

  1. A Rider's power comes from the same source as their foes.
    • Riders are tragic heroes, often having said power inflicted on them or taking it out of desperation.
  2. A Rider must overthrow the evil that lead to their creation.
    • Most Rider foes are some flavor of fascists; aiming to destroy, dominate, or enslave humanity.
  3. The true power of a Rider is a kind heart and a strong will to use their strength to protect.

The Kamen Riders

The Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー, Kamen Raidā, translated as "Masked Rider"), also known as simply Rider (ライダー, Raidā), is a collective name referring to the eponymous heroes and numerous individuals of the series. Usually resembling a grasshopper-themed masked superhero or a similarly-looking vigilante in spandex, the Riders are enhanced humans with superhuman strength, resilience and agility, specifically modified to fight an entire army. Originally created by the terrorist organization known as "Shocker" as a means of creating super-soldiers, one of these potential soldiers, biochemistry lab student and motorcycle enthusiast Takeshi Hongo, escaped from captivity and has since been fighting against Shocker, often recruiting similar individuals to fight alongside him.

Each Rider, whose appearance varies per series, has a full set of arsenal and equipment in their disposal, coined as the Rider System (ライダーシステム, Raidā Shisutemu), consisting of their Rider Belt (ライダーベルト, Raidā Beruto, also known as a "Driver") (a transformation item that allows a Rider to transform), its associating Rider Items (ライダーアイテム, Raidā Aitemu) (which can be used in conjunction with the Rider Belt to gain access to multiple forms) and Rider Weapons (ライダー兵器, Raidā Heiki) (auxiliary items serving as optional weapon of choice for the Riders), and their mode of transportation known as a Rider Machine (ライダーマシン, Raidā Mashin). A common theme amongst the Riders is that the Rider System's power was derived from the same technology/power source used by the villains, ironically using it fight against evil to such extent. From Kamen Rider Kuuga onwards, each Rider has multiple different forms, often divided into six tiers: the default Base Form (ベースフォーム, Bēsu Fōmu) and its multiple alternate Extra Forms (エクストラフォーム, Ekusutora Fōmu), the Mid-Season Form (ミッドシーズンフォーム, Middoshīzun Fōmu), the penultimate Super Form (スーパーフォーム, Sūpā Fōmu), the optional movie-exclusive Movie Form (映画フォーム, Eiga Fōmu) and the powerful aptly-named Final Form (ファイナルフォーム, Fainaru Fōmu).

Every Rider has a selection of powerful finishing moves, either accessible through their respective Rider Weapons and/or through other forms, though the most commonly-used finishing attack is the Rider Kick (ライダーキック, Raidā Kikku), a dive kick capable of destroying most enemies in a single strike by infusing it with such strength that it causes the opponent to violently explode.

Adaptations outside Japan

Taiwan

In 1975–1976, Tong Hsing Film Co., Ltd. in Taiwan produced a Super Riders series based on the Japanese version.

United States

In 1995, Saban Entertainment produced the first American Masked Rider series after its success adapting Super Sentai into Power Rangers and the Metal Hero Series (VR Troopers and Beetleborgs).

In 2009, a new series, produced by Michael and Steve Wang, was broadcast: Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight, which was adapted from Kamen Rider Ryuki. Although it was cancelled before finishing its syndicated run, it won the first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination at the 37th Daytime Emmy Awards. [3][4]

Unofficial Thailand Adaptation

In 1975, Chaiyo Productions made an unofficial Kamen Rider movie entitled Hanuman and the Five Riders, which used original footage of Chaiyo's Hanuman character, spliced with footage from the "Five Riders Vs. King Dark" movie. However, Chaiyo went ahead with the production without authorisation after Toei denied them permission to make an official movie with them, putting the legality of the movie into question.

References

  1. ^ Takeshobo, ed. (1995-11-30). "BonusColumn「変身ブーム到来!!」" [Bonus Column 'The Henshin Boom Arrives!']. 超人画報 国産架空ヒーロー四十年の歩み [The Super Heroes Chronicles: The History of Japanese Fantastic Televisions, Movies and Videos, 1957–1995] (in Japanese). Takeshobo. p. 85. ISBN 4-88475-874-9. C0076.
  2. ^ "Kamen Rider". www.bluefinbrands.com. Retrieved 6 April 2021. 
  3. ^ "WINNERS: Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts Emmy Awards". June 26, 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  4. ^ "「KAMEN RIDER DRAGON KNIGHT」第37回デイタイム・エミー賞において最優秀スタントコーディネーション賞を受賞! | 東映[テレビ]". 2010-06-29. Archived from the original on 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2010-07-04. [Dead link]