Saturday, September 8, 2012

Much ado about 'Kamen Rider' 仮面ライダー

The new Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Wizard, kicked off on TV screens here in Japan last Sunday morning in the show's usual 8:00 am timeslot, right before Pretty Cure.

Wizard (far left) took the mantle from Kamen Rider Fourze (the pin-headed hero in the picture, left) - the twenty-second take in a long-running franchise that kicked off in 1971.

That series commemorated the Toei Company show's 40th anniversary as well as the 50th anniversary of spaceflight.

Fourze, a.k.a. hilariously rowdy high school rebel Gentarō Kisaragi, was a barrel of fun.
Gentarō switched into Fourze via a transformation belt to fight monsters called Zodiarts, each of whom was modelled after one of the Western constellations.

Initially completely incompetent, after twelve months of fisticuffs he was quite the hero.

My daughter and I also loved the Kamen Rider before that: Eiji Hino, who took on the mantle of Kamen Rider OOO in the 2010-11 series and fought off villains called The Greeed. Of course, Eiji was aided and abetted by the disembodied arm of a Greeed called Ankh.

Aside from Ultraman and Super Sentai, Kamen Rider is perhaps Japan's best-known tokusatsu series - toku being the term applied to live-action film or TV romps that feature superheroes, martial arts, and much ado about special effects.

Funnily enough, Kamen Rider is also modeled on insects. The whole caboodle was created by manga artist Shōtarō Ishinomori (Cyborg 009) and I would say I'm a fan of the guy. A novel I recently wrote (One Hundred Years of Vicissitude) has a key character paying homage to manga pioneer Osamu Tezuka - but there's a secondary character dedicated to Ishinomori-san.

In that, however, he's called 'Shōtarō-kun' and he collects insects in a bucket.

(Read more of this article @ FORCES OF GEEK).


Japan Australia said...

My son is a huge fan so very much looking forward to seeing this :)

Anonymous said...

Me too.

Andrez Bergen said...

It's not bad - warming up well, and quite fun too.