Tokusatsu 101: Episode 1, Kamen Riders.
You’re probably thinking “Wait a minute, why does LDSTRM posting an article about some lame wimpy kid show?” if you’re one of those people, leave the page now, Google the word ‘Tokusatsu’, and after a few minutes go back to this page and continue reading this. If you’re not, lets carry on then shall we? NO, Tokusatsu is not some lame kid shows with uncountable explosive and cliche story line. Tokusatsu in definition, is any live-action film that features a transforming superheroes. But now Tokusatsu is a trend, a history, a legacy that have been passed through generations.
I may sound silly but the history of Tokusatsu shows are remarkable. There are many kinds of Tokusatsu, like I said in the beginning. Lets start off with the Kamen Riders. The Kamen Rider was born from the mind of Shotaro Ishinomori, one of Japan’s finest sci-fi writer. The Kamen Rider was based on a quite beatiful philosophy if might say, it is based on the balance between the power of nature, the power of the human itself, and the power between justice and evil. With such a strong philosophy, the show started itself with this dudes over here.
On the right, is the world’s first and most iconic Kamen Rider, Kamen Rider Ichigo, and on the left is the next Kamen Rider after him, Kamen Rider Nigo. The balance between nature and human being is, represented by the grasshopper like helmets, this style is then used for all of the Kamen Riders after them. This iconic shape also strongly symbolizes a classic or authentic Japanese Hero. What makes the Kamen Riders different from Superman and Batman, is that they use a device or power to make transform them from human, to Rider. In the Kamen Rider case, the rider belt is the most famous transforming device ever. Ever. Ever.
The Kamen Rider story is always different from one series to another. Their fighting moves are legen, wait for it, dary. Their signature finisher move is of course the rider kick(RAIDA KIKKU if you want to add some more adrenaline and expression to it). Every Kamen Rider, no matter how awesome their weapons are, their ultimate finisher move is always the rider kick. Besides there’s only 2 steps to do a rider kick. Step 1, pose and jump, start screaming “RAIDAAAA….”. Step 2, extend your left or right leg into kicking pose, positioned your body into a horizontal kicking stance and continue your screaming “KIIIICCCKK!”. Easy, ain’t it?
Through 40 years of development, the Kamen Rider series have experienced many ups and downs and also some major developments. To categorize the new and old series of Kamen Riders, fans and also the company that made them in the first place, Toei, divide the Kamen Rider era into 2, Showa (classic) Era and the Heisei (modern) Era. The Showa Era includes the first two Kamen Riders Ichigo and Nigo, and also the last 3 Showa riders that only appears in their respective special movies, they are Kamen Rider Shin, ZO, and J. There are several ways to distinguish between the riders of the two era. First and most recognizable is the scarf. Almost all Showa rider wore scarf, until it is removed on Kamen Rider Black and Black RX. Next is of course the costume design. Showa Riders are strongly themed and based on insects, but the Heisei riders are based on everything. Take a look at this
The picture is above is 2009’s Kamen Rider, Kamen Rider Kiva. As you can see from the design it is not very bug-like. The series was based and horror and vampire, that is why Kiva have wide bat-shaped visors and wings on his right leg (for the RIDER KICK!). Next is example is from the newest Kamen Rider
This is the newest Kamen Rider, his name is Fourze (read; four-zeh). Fourze was born on the 40th Anniversary of the Kamen Rider series, and to celebrate Yuri Gagarin’s visit to the outer space. That is Fourze’s design is based on space utilities or maybe vehicles. Just look at that ridiculous rocket-shaped head. You might want to face palm yourself after seeing this but after watching the series, you’ll be running around with your hands up, blabbering around about space and star constellation.
Besides the costume there is the belt, the belt is the most important thing for a Kamen Rider. All main Kamen Rider uses belt as their device for transforming. Although several other riders uses other devices like gun or watch. The transformation of the belt is somehow perpendicular with the development of design. Check this out
This is Kamen Rider OOO’s henshin belt, Kamen Rider OOO is the 2010 Kamen Rider which based on greed, power, and medals. To transform OOO needs 3 different kinds of core medals, and then scanning them to transform. This concept of henshin is really different from the past rider which was simply using inner strength and power to magically appear the belt or transform.
Next is their story. Among the other Tokusatsu shows, Kamen Rider is probably the only show that features a more dramatic serious storyline and complexity than the others. Each series have their own main problem, their characters are getting more complex and bounded to the story background even more. One of the best character in all of the Kamen Rider series is Ankh. The Greeed from Kamen Rider OOO that somewhat a partner, but also a traitor, and also an enemy. Kamen Riders are not meant to be consumed strictly for children, but for all ages. That is why among the others, in my opinion, Kamen Rider is the most global and the most appropriate Tokusatsu shows to be consumed by everyone.
NEXT TIME ON TOKUSATSU 101: EPISODE 2, SUPER SENTAI.
Like this post and leave any comments below. Thank you so much for reading, and we’ll post something exciting soon!