Kamen Rider: The First
|Kamen Rider: The First|
Theatrical release poster
|Japanese||仮面ライダー THE FIRST|
|Hepburn||Kamen Raidā Za Fāsuto|
|Directed by||Takao Nagaishi|
|Produced by||Kazuo Katō
|Written by||Toshiki Inoue|
|Based on||Kamen Rider
by Shotaro Ishinomori
|Music by||Gorou Yasukawa|
|Edited by||Hiroshi Sunaga|
|Distributed by||Toei Company|
Kamen Rider: The First (仮面ライダー THE FIRST Kamen Raidā Za Fāsuto?, Masked Rider: The First) is a 2005 Japanese tokusatsu superhero film. The film is an adaptation of the television series Kamen Rider, though there are many differences between the film and the original programme; some of these, however, are due to a closer reliance on the original Kamen Rider manga by Shotaro Ishinomori[vague]. Written by Toshiki Inoue and directed by Takao Nagaishi, the film stars Masaya Kikawada as Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1 and Hassei Takano as Hayato Ichimonji/Kamen Rider 2.
The film was released theatrically on December 5, 2005, though it had several early screenings around Tokyo during the previous two months, beginning on October 23, at the Tokyo Film Festival. It was released on Region 2 DVD on April 21, 2006. American anime distributor Media Blasters released the film subtitled-only on Region 1 DVD on April 3, 2007.
The film was produced by Ishinomori Productions and Toei, who have also produced every previous television series and films in the Kamen Rider franchise. It was followed by a sequel, Kamen Rider: The Next.
College student Takeshi Hongo is abducted into terrorist organisation Shocker (Sacred Hegemony Of Cycle Kindred Evolutional Realm), at the hands of a cyborg Inhumanoid (Kaijin) known as the Bat. There, he undergoes painful reconstructive surgery, turning him into an Inhumanoid himself. Unlike the original series, he does not escape prior to mental condition by Shocker, and becomes one of their soldiers, nicknamed "Hopper". He carries out a mission successfully, and meets Shocker's Major Agents, including Dr. Shinigami. Hongo receives his orders— Kill those who have seen Shocker's Inhumanoid soldiers. However, what he doesn't realise is that the two witnesses are the journalist who had interviewed him prior to his kidnapping, Asuka Midorikawa (Rena Komine) and her fiancé Katsuhiko Yano (Hassei Takano). Attacking the two along with Shocker soldier Spider, it is here that Hongo remembers his humanity, and has an epiphany with regards to what he should do. Despite his efforts, Katsuhiko is killed by Spider, and Asuka finds Hongo next to the body. Blaming him for Katsuhiko's death, she begins to follow him, attempting to ascertain why who she thought was a normal college student is a murderer.
Meanwhile, at Shocker headquarters, it is revealed that those who undergo Shocker's treatment need periodic blood transfusions, lest they reject their cybernetic components. Though Hongo seems to lack the need for the transfusions, he is labeled a "traitor" by Shocker and must be destroyed. It is here that Dr. Shinigami reveals his plan to create a second soldier based on Hopper's design to do the job. Hongo, having now abandoned Shocker, visits Tōbei Tachibana, who gives him his motorcycle, the Cyclone. He is then able to defeat Spider. Asuka meets Hayato Ichimonji, who is identical to her fiancé, who she thought was dead. He reveals that "Katsuhiko Yano" was an alias. What he doesn't tell Asuka is that he has been kidnapped by Shocker and turned into the 2nd Hopper. His mission: defeat Hongo at any cost.
The film also features a subplot, interspersed throughout. It involves two terminally ill hospital patients, who get a chance to live after an offer by Shocker. The couple is taken to Shocker's island base, where they laugh and play under the watchful eye of Shocker's sinister bird logo. It is only then that it is revealed that this part of the film has been a flashback, taking place around a year ago. The two had undergone the reconfiguration and surfaced in the current story as Shocker soldiers Cobra and Snake, who branded Ichimonji a traitor for failing Shocker by putting his feelings for Asuka first.
Ultimately, the Riders team up after Bat attempts to kidnap Asuka and turn her into an Inhumanoid, which enrages Ichimonji enough to cause him to turn on his former masters. They defeat Shocker's three cyborg soldiers at their island base, but Shinigami and other Major Agents have survived, and they're already in the fashioning of a new base of operations while plotting a new scheme to eliminate Riders, once and for all.
The Inhumanoids in Kamen Rider: The First are not non-humans as their name would suggest, but rather cyborgs much like the Kamen Riders. The organization's ranks are depicted as having three commanding characters (seen only on screens), as well as several special-class soldiers and unidentified grunts.
- Shocker Staff: Elderly Gentleman (ショッカー幹部・老紳士 Shokkā Kanbu Rōshinshi?): Depicted in the film as the figurehead of Shocker, he is a mysterious elderly man with vampire-like fangs and dons a long black and red cape. During the course of the film, he appears only via satellite on screens in the Shocker headquarters. His physical whereabouts are unknown. He is an adaptation of the original television series' character Doctor Shinigami (死神博士 Shinigami Hakase?).
- Shocker Staff: Lady (ショッカー幹部・美女 Shokkā Kanbu Bijo?): A female commander in the Shocker ranks, she is responsible for the selecting of new Inhumanoid candidates to be inducted into the organization. Like Dr. Shinigami, "Lady" only appears via satellite on screens in the Shocker headquarters, and her physical whereabouts are unknown.
- Shocker Staff: Youth (ショッカー幹部・若者 Shokkā Kanbu Wakamono?): A young male commander in the Shocker ranks, he is responsible for the organization of missions and troop deployment. Like Dr. Shinigami and "Lady", "Youth" only appears via satellite on screens in the Shocker headquarters, and his physical whereabouts are unknown.
- Hopper 1: The brainwashed state of Takeshi Hongo, he is a special-class soldier in the Shocker ranks charged with the carrying out of covert search-and-destroy missions. He later becomes self-aware and defects from Shocker, instead fighting against them as Kamen Rider 1.
- Hopper 2: The brainwashed state of Hayato Ichimonji, he is a special-class soldier in the Shocker ranks charged with hunting and eliminating the traitor, Hopper 1. He later becomes self-aware and begins fighting against Shocker, alongside Hongo, as Kamen Rider 2.
- Spider (スパイダー Supaidā?): A field captain in the Shocker ranks, he is responsible for covert assassination missions, and is behind several "mysterious" deaths prior to and during the course of the film. He is eventually destroyed by Kamen Rider 1's Rider Kick
- Bat (バット Batto?): A field captain in the Shocker ranks, he is responsible for the "recruitment" (abduction) of potential Inhumanoid candidates. He is the only Shocker soldier depicted as being capable of flight. He is ultimately destroyed by Kamen Rider 1 and 2's Double Rider Kick.
- Cobra (コブラ Kobura?): The brainwashed state of Haruhiko Mitamura (三田村 晴彦 Mitamura Haruhiko?), he is a special class soldier assigned to Bat's squadron, and later works independently alongside his romantic interest, Snake. He is mortally wounded by Kamen Rider 1's Rider Kick and dies while holding Snake's lifeless body in his arms.
- Snake (スネーク Sunēku?): The brainwashed state of Miyoko Harada (原田 美代子 Harada Miyoko?), she is a special class soldier assigned to Bat's squadron, and later works independently alongside her romantic interest, Cobra. She is mortally wounded by Kamen Rider 2's Rider Kick, and dies in Cobra's arms.
Several actors in this film have appeared in previous Kamen Rider productions. Hiroshi Miyauchi plays Tōbei Tachibana, a character who has appeared in numerous other Kamen Rider shows, acting as a sort of father figure to the Riders. Miyauchi is known for portraying the title character in 1973's Kamen Rider V3. Hassei Takano, who portrays Hayato Ichimonji (Kamen Rider 2) in the film, also starred as Miyuki Tezuka (Kamen Rider Raia) in the 2002 series Kamen Rider Ryuki. Hideyo Amamoto posthumously reprises his role as Dr. Shinigami through archival footage from the original Kamen Rider series.
The crew of The First also features many returning faces. Director Takao Nagaishi is a longtime tokusatsu director who has helmed several episodes of 2006s Kamen Rider Kabuto. Nagaishi was also an assistant director on the original Kamen Rider series. The film was written by Toshiki Inoue, a popular fixture in anime and tokusatsu screen writing. He has written virtually every theatrical film in the Kamen Rider franchise, as well as all the episodes of Kamen Rider Agito (except for one) and Kamen Rider 555. He also served as a writer on Kamen Rider Kuuga, Kamen Rider Ryuki, Kamen Rider Blade, and Kamen Rider Hibiki. Inoue is the son of the late Masaru Igami, who was the chief writer on the original Kamen Rider series, as well as Kamen Rider V3, Kamen Rider Stronger, and New Kamen Rider.
Differences between film and television
- The movie has a great deal of elements from the original television series that spread across from the beginning to end, although several of these conflict with the film's timing. Hongo Takeshi originally had to ride his motorcycle at high speeds to power his typhoon belt and transform into his Rider form while Ichimonji Hayato was able to power the Typhoon by arm movements. Although Hongo was able to do the same eventually, the movie version can do it from the beginning.
- The Riders' henshin movement is also different from the actual series. In the series, Hongo and Ichimonji perform a series of stylish hand-waving, then jump into the air to complete the transformation. In this movie, they simply open up their leather jackets (or polo shirt, in one of Ichimonji's cases), revealing the Typhoon Belt (and their body armor), then snap on their helmets and faceplates on their heads to transform. These movements are implemented later in the movie, but are mostly just showy poses that have no connection to their transformation.
- Dr. Shinigami appears from the very beginning of the movie, although in the original series, he appeared after the defeat of Colonel Zol, the first Shocker general.
- The character of Hayato Ichimonji was completely rewritten. In the television series, Ichimonji was a photographer who was kidnapped to become Shocker's new Kamen Rider, although he was rescued by Takeshi Hongo before he could be brainwashed; the two were allies from the beginning. In the film, Ichimonji was originally Katsuhiko Yano, the lover of Asuka Midorikawa. Katsuhiko was killed by Spider, and Hongo/Hopper was framed for it. Katsuhiko's corpse was recovered and turned into a cyborg similar to Hongo. His brain was altered to believe he was a man named Hayato Ichimonji in competition for Asuka's affection. Ichimonji originally served as Hongo's enemy, and later a hesitant ally. He disappears at the end of the movie, leaving his helmet on the road.
- Asuka Midorikawa shares the same last name as one of Hongo's professors who had worked for Shocker, Professor Midorikawa. In the original series, it is Professor Midorikawa who saves Hongo before he can be subjected to brain surgery by providing the distraction to allow Hongo to escape, only to ultimately be murdered by the Spider. Asuka also shares a similarity with Professor Midorikawa's daughter, Ruriko; both had witnessed the death of their respected loved ones (Professor Midorikawa for Ruriko, who was her father, and Katsuhiko Yano for Asuka, who was her fiancé) with their own eyes and originally thought that Hongo was to blame for it. The both of them ultimately found out the truth and forgave Hongo.
- Takeshi Hongo (本郷 猛 Hongō Takeshi?): Masaya Kikawada (黄川田 将也 Kikawada Masaya?)
- Hayato Ichimonji, Katsuhiko Yano (一文字 隼人, 矢野 克彦 Ichimonji Hayato, Yano Katsuhiko?): Hassei Takano (高野 八誠 Takano Hassei?)
- Asuka Midorikawa (緑川 あすか Midorikawa Asuka?): Rena Komine (小嶺 麗奈 Komine Rena?)
- Tobei Tachibana (立花 藤兵衛 Tachibana Tōbei?): Hiroshi Miyauchi (宮内 洋 Miyauchi Hiroshi?)
- Haruhiko Mitamura (三田村 晴彦 Mitamura Haruhiko?): Eiji Wentz (ウエンツ 瑛士 Uentsu Eiji?)
- Miyoko Harada (原田 美代子 Harada Miyoko?): Ryoko Kobayashi (小林 涼子 Kobayashi Ryōko?)
- Shocker Staff: Lady (ショッカー幹部・美女 Shokkā Kanbu Bijo?): Mayumi Sada (佐田 真由美 Sada Mayumi?)
- Shocker Staff: Youth (ショッカー幹部・若者 Shokkā Kanbu Wakamono?): Issa Hentona (辺土名 一茶 Hentona Issa?)
- Shocker Staff: Elderly Gentleman (Dr. Shinigami) (ショッカー幹部・老紳士 Shokkā Kanbu Rōshinshi?): Hideyo Amamoto (天本 英世 Amamoto Hideyo?)
- Spider (スパイダー Supaidā?): Itsuji Itao (板尾 創路 Itao Itsuji?)
- Bat (バット Batto?): Kanji Tsuda (津田 寛治 Tsuda Kanji?)
- The Member of the House of Representatives (代議士 Daigishi?): Renji Ishibashi (石橋 蓮司 Ishibashi Renji?)
- The Private Secretary (秘書官 Hishokan?): Hirotaro Honda (本田 博太郎 Honda Hirotarō?)
- Megumi (めぐみ Megumi?): Hitomi Nakahodo (仲程 仁美 Nakahodo Hitomi?)
- Shocker Combatmen (ショッカー戦闘員 Shokkā Sentōin?, Voice): Katsumi Shiono (塩野 勝美 Shiono Katsumi?)
- Opening theme
- "Let's Go!! Rider Kick" (レッツゴー！！ライダーキック Rettsu Gō!! Raidā Kikku?)
- Ending theme
- "Bright! our Future"
- Lyrics: ISSA
- Composition: ISSA & YUKINARI
- Arrangement: YUKINARI & UNAShinji Tanahashi
- Artist: Da Pump
A sequel was produced in 2007 called Kamen Rider: The Next. The film included the rider Kamen Rider V3 who had his own show in 1973, which was a sequel to the original Kamen Rider show. The film is often considered by fans to be one of the most dark, and violent Kamen Rider adaptions in the series. The film was pointed out for its horror elements as well.
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- Official Kamen Rider: The First website.
- Paul "Igadevil" Sullivan, Kamen Rider: The First review.
- Kamen Rider: The First (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Hideyo Amamoto's appearance in the film is only through various pieces of footage recorded before his death in 2003, including several from the original Kamen Rider series.