KR 45th AF: Kuuga: No Pain! The Rider Road to a New Legend! Part 4: Trying to chase down a Bike

Getting Kuuga’s wheels right was another long process, though oddly some designs foreshadowed future Rider Machines.

The first concept was a bike that turned into a flying Speeder Bike with almost Star Trek-like jet nacelles.

Red and Blue? Hmmm…

A car was proposed…

twice in fact. But such an idea was thrown out.

Fans who have observed Super Sentai artwork know this lineart style! It’s Tsuyoshi Nonaka! He proposed that the Rider’s bike have a robot mode on the show. The above one was made when it was in the XV stage of the project.

While this never went anywhere for Kuuga, these drawings could be considered alpha prototypes of what would become the Auto Vajin in Faiz.

This one’s template based on visuals was the New Cyclone, but it could be considered a very early Den-Bird.


Eventually the designers made a good choice…

The ignition key would be one of the throttle grips and be able to be detached to prevent theft or use as a baton weapon.

Hmm..missing something.

There we go!

Then came the Beat Chaser

Once the designs were done, the team went to GasGas, a Spanish motorcycle design company with shops in Japan. They went there to purchase bikes for the prop department to build the Hero bikes. The base models being a pair of Pampera 250s (The model’s light weight allowed the hero bikes to be used for motocross style stunts) 

The powered up versions of both bikes needed a model with enough muscle to carry the extra weight of all the prop molding on it, so a Yamaha V-Max was chosen as the base of the Gouram forms.

Designing the Gouram itself was also a challenge…

A land vehicle/beast mode was proposed at one point. Silly Gouram, you are not a Maximal or a Predacon!

Next time: Finding the Ultimate Form!


As you could tell from my blog, I am a huge fan of Tsuyoshi Nonaka and I’ve always been grateful that I get to see him so often at local events and conventions.  His art is amazing, his dedication in coordinating Bandai America’s Legacy toyline and other toys is admirable, and his “side hobby” in kitbashing various figures and models is just out of this world.  We even ran into him at a Godzilla movie screening in Little Tokyo!

Because he will be moving back to Japan soon, Power Morphicon will be the last time I will see him in a long time.  My friends and I gave him a little gift as a token of our appreciation and got pictures with him and his wife (who is not often seen in photos but is just as much a pleasure to meet and talk to as Nonaka-san himself).  We will miss him dearly, but will hope to see him at the next Power Morphicon in 2016.

Pictured here also are the commissions I have gotten from Nonaka-san over the course of these 2 years, excluding prints that I had also purchased.


Guest of Honor: Tsuyoshi Nonaka

He did some art commissions and sold art prints at the artist alley like he did at PMC. For myself I got a print of the Daizyujin (the framed original was soooo beautiful!) My friend suggested that I take pictures with him holding the Zyuranger keys so I took them out of my ranger key case. As I was taking them out he asked me to hold onto it so he could take a picture!

Before the convention an East Coast friend asked me to get him a sketch of the Mazinkaiser SKL. Luckily Nonaka-san still had time to do some commissions towards the end of the day, since that was the only day I could attend. The finished product was amazing!


With the exception of Porno Graffiti, AX allowed us to take pictures during autograph sessions.

  • Makoto Shinkai (director of Voices of a Distant Star, 5cm Per Second, etc.) …and blurred out my last name for posting online.
  • Kazuhiko Inoue (voice actor of Kakashi, Cyborg 009, Nyanko-sensei, Jerid Messa, etc.)
  • Tsuyoshi Nonaka (mecha/weapons designer for Zyuranger & many 90s sentai series, Mazinkaiser SKL, etc.)
  • Sasaki Keigo (character designer of Ao no Exorcist)
  • Masaaki Yuasa (Director of Kaiba, Key Animation for Crayon Shin-chan)
  • Mari Okada (Screenwriter & Series Composition for Black Butler, Hanasaku Iroha, Rozen Maiden, Vampire Knight, etc.)
  • Nobuhiro Kikuchi (from PA Works; managing director of Angel Beats and CANAAN).