Kamen Rider Series

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Kamen Rider Series
Kamen rider eurodata.png
A statue of Kamen Rider 1 outside of Bandai Corporate Headquarters, Taitō, Tokyo, Japan.
Creator Shotaro Ishinomori
Original work Kamen Rider
Films and television
Films See below
Television series See below
Traditional Rangers Strike
Video games Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbaride
Kamen Rider: Climax Heroes
All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation
Kamen Rider: Battride War
Original music Rider Chips, Kamen Rider Girls
Toys Super Imaginative Chogokin
Souchaku Henshin
S.H. Figuarts

The Kamen Rider Series (仮面ライダーシリーズ Kamen Raidā Shirīzu?, translated as Masked Rider Series) is a metaseries of manga and tokusatsu television programs and films created by manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori. The various Kamen Rider media generally feature a motorcycle-riding superhero with an insect motif who fights supervillains often referred to as kaijin (怪人?). 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. Over the years, the popularity of the franchise has grown and the original series has spawned many television and theatrical sequels, and launched the "Second Kaiju Boom" or "Henshin Boom" on Japanese television in the early 1970s, greatly impacting the superhero and action-adventure genre in Japan.[1]


Shōwa era[edit]

Produced by Toru Hirayama (平山 亨 Hirayama Tōru?) and designed by Shotaro Ishinomori, creator of Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider premiered on April 3, 1971. Initially intended to be an adaptation of his Skull Man, Ishinomori and Hirayama redesigned the main character to resemble a grasshopper, supposedly chosen by his son. The hero Takeshi Hongo, portrayed by actor and stuntman Hiroshi Fujioka, was described as a transformed human (改造人間 kaizō ningen?), or cyborg. During the filming of episode 10, Fujioka was thrown off his motorcycle during the filming of a stunt and shattered both of his legs. His character would be phased out until the introduction of another transformed human in episode 14, Hayato Ichimonji as portrayed by Takeshi Sasaki, was introduced. The return of Fujioka and his character Hongo in episode 53 united the two actors and characters, as both Kamen Riders 1 and 2 would go on to appear in every show in the first half of the Shōwa Kamen Rider Series. The continuous run from April 1971 to January 1976 (Kamen Rider, V3, X, Amazon, Stronger) distinguished itself by featuring the recurrent mentor character, Tobei Tachibana.

After a four-year hiatus following the finale of Kamen Rider Stronger, the series returned to television broadcast in October 1979 for two years with The New Kamen Rider (featuring Skyrider) and Kamen Rider Super-1. In these new shows, the role of Tachibana was replaced by a similar character named Genjiro Tani (谷 源次郎 Tani Genjirō?). The broadcast of yearly new shows ended briefly in the 1980s, punctuated by the airing of the Kamen Rider ZX special, Birth of the 10th! Kamen Riders All Together!! in 1984 which became the last project in the franchise to be produced by Hirayama.

In 1987, Kamen Rider Black premiered and was the first series that neither indicated nor hinted at any relationship with its predecessors. Black was also the first show in the franchise to feature a direct sequel, Kamen Rider Black RX, the basis of Saban's Americanized Masked Rider. RX's finale showed the ten previous Riders return to help Black RX defeat the Crisis Empire. Kamen Rider Black RX was the final show to be produced during the Shōwa era, with the franchise only resuming production by the end of the 20th century. A manga of Kamen Rider Black acted as a novelization and reimagination of the Black/RX series' continuity.

Being completely absent from television during the 1990s, the franchise was kept alive mainly by stage shows, musical CDs, and the Shin, ZO, and J movies. Although these were conceived and released during the Heisei period of Japanese history (the reign of Emperor Akihito which began in 1989), these three works of fiction are included amongst the Shōwa period works by fans and by the production company, as evident in their protagonists' inclusion amongst the Shōwa Riders in the 2014 film Heisei Riders vs. Shōwa Riders: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai

Heisei era[edit]

Kuuga to Decade[edit]

Toei announced its new project, Kamen Rider Kuuga, in May 1999. Kuuga was part of a Kamen Rider rebirth that Ishinomori had worked on in 1997, planning for a leadup into the 30th anniversary. However, Ishinomori died before he could see these shows materialize. During the summer of 1999, Kuuga became publicized through magazine ads and commercials. On January 30, 2000, Kamen Rider Kuuga premiered, introducing rookie actor Joe Odagiri. Kuuga was followed by the anniversary series, Kamen Rider Agito, which began several trends throughout the Heisei Series: multiple Kamen Riders (Agito featured 4: Agito, Gills, G3, and Another Agito); the ending theme playing during the climactic scene instead of the end credits (this would be briefly broken in Hibiki with Akira Fuse's songs); and the relationship to Honda for the Kamen Riders' motorcycles and other motor vehicles.[2] Following Agito, Kamen Rider Ryuki began the relationship with the record label Avex Group and its artists to perform theme songs for the series, such as ISSA of DA PUMP for 555, Nanase Aikawa for Blade, YU-KI of TRF for Kabuto, and AAA for Den-O, as well as the introduction of the group RIDER CHIPS, deemed the official band of Kamen Rider.

In 2005, Kamen Rider The First was produced. Written by Toshiki Inoue, the film is an original reimagining of both the manga and original television series. Various characters from the original series had their storylines altered to fit the time span of the movie. Masaya Kikawada portrays Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1 and Hassei Takano (previously Miyuki Tezuka/Kamen Rider Raia in Kamen Rider Ryuki) as Hayato Ichimonji/Kamen Rider 2. This was followed in 2007 by Kamen Rider The Next, an adaptation of Kamen Rider V3, starring Kazuki Kato (previously Daisuke Kazama/Kamen Rider Drake in Kamen Rider Kabuto) as Shiro Kazami/Kamen Rider V3 with Kikawada and Takano reprising their roles.

The year 2007 brought Kamen Rider Den-O, the eighth series, taking a turn from past Kamen Rider series, introducing a Kamen Rider that is completely unsure of himself. The series makes use of a large vehicle, the DenLiner; a bullet train that can travel through time. This series only had two Riders, Den-O and Zeronos, but they had multiple forms that they could switch between, similar to Black RX, Kuuga, and Agito. Due to the large popularity of Den-O, a second theatrical production, crossing over with the 2008 series Kamen Rider Kiva, was released in theaters April 12, 2008, becoming the top film in its opening weekend[3] and grossing 730 million yen.[4] In addition, Animate produced an OVA titled Imagin Anime that features SD versions of the Imagin that are contracted to Den-O and Zeronos that have been featured in the company's other Den-O products. Finally, a third movie, called Saraba Kamen Rider Den-O: Final Countdown with two more new Riders serves as an epilogue to the series. The third original film was the first for any series.[4] Takeru Satoh, the actor who portrayed the lead character of Den-O for the television series and first three films, claims that the series' success was because of its comedy.[5]

The 2009 series Kamen Rider Decade serves as an anniversary series being the 10th of the Heisei run. To commemorate this milestone, Japanese recording artist Gackt was brought onto the project to perform the series' opening theme "Journey through the Decade", and later the film's theme song "The Next Decade". Gackt also jokingly expressed interest in portraying a villain in the show.[6] Also announced in 2009 was a fourth film for Den-O,[7] later revealed to be the beginning of the Cho-Den-O Series of films,[8] starting with the film Cho Kamen Rider Den-O & Decade Neo Generations: The Onigashima Warship. In the March 2009 issue of Kindai magazine, Decade's lead actor Masahiro Inoue stated that Decade was only slated to run for 30 episodes.

"A new ten-year project"[edit]

Advertisements throughout the months of May, June, and July 2009 built up to the debut of Kamen Rider W,[9] who first appeared at the 10th Anniversary Project MASKED RIDER LIVE & SHOW event,[10] and was featured in Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker. The staff of W made note that they planned on making a brand new 10 years of Kamen Rider, differentiating subsequent series from the Kuuga through Decade period, including a new broadcasting period going from September of one year to approximately August of the next (2012's Wizard would last until the end of September 2013, and Gaim began in October 2013). The hero of Kamen Rider W is the first Kamen Rider to transform from two people at once.[9] The series premiered on September 6, 2009.[11] Continuing into 2010 with Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider W & Decade: Movie War 2010, W ran for a full year from September 2009 to September 2010, instead of January to January. Also in 2010 were the second, third, and fourth films of the Cho-Den-O Series, collectively known as Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider The Movie: Cho-Den-O Trilogy.[12] Late 2010 brought the series Kamen Rider OOO to television after W's finale, and the year 2011 celebrated the 40th anniversary of the franchise. The festivities included the Kamen Rider Girls idol group, the film OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders, released on April 1, 2011, and OOO's successor Kamen Rider Fourze, which references the previous heroes in its characters' names and within the plot. A special crossover film titled Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen was released in 2012, featuring the main heroes from all Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series produced until then.[13]

With Fourze's run complete in 2012, Kamen Rider Wizard premiered, with its protagonist becoming the first Kamen Rider to use magic as his powers.[14] Wizard is also noted to have the first homosexual character and cast member, with Kaba-chan a regular member of the cast.[15] The year 2013 also saw the release of Kamen Rider × Super Sentai × Space Sheriff: Super Hero Taisen Z, a sequel to 2012's Super Hero Taisen that added the revived Metal Hero Series characters from Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie and other characters created by Shotaro Ishinomori that appeared in Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze: Movie War Ultimatum to the cast.

On May 20, 2013, Toei filed for several trademarks on the phrase Kamen Raidā Gaimu (仮面ライダー鎧武(ガイム)?).[16] The official reveal of Kamen Rider Gaim took place on July 25, 2013, revealing a Sengoku period and fruit-themed motif to the series' multiple rival Kamen Riders and Gen Urobuchi as the series' main writer.[17][18] The third entry in the Super Hero Taisen movie series, Heisei Rider vs. Shōwa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai marked the 15th anniversary of the Heisei Kamen Rider era and revolved around a conflict between the 15 Heisei Riders and the 15 Showa Riders with an exclusive character, Kamen Rider Fifteen, and a cameo appearance by the ToQgers and the Kyoryugers. It also marked the start of a yearly Haruyasumi Gattai Supesharu (春休み合体スペシャル?, Spring Break Combined Special) that involves each year's current Kamen Rider teaming up with the current Super Sentai team in a story that ties into that year's upcoming entry in the Super Hero Taisen movie series. Gaim was followed in 2014 by Kamen Rider Drive, who became the first Kamen Rider to use a car rather than a motorcycle as his mode of transportation.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27] The fourth Super Hero Taisen, Super Hero Taisen GP, marks Kamen Rider 3's first ever live action appearance, after his last appearance in a Showa Kamen Rider manga. The year 2015 saw the introduction of Kamen Rider Ghost. In 2016, the Kamen Rider Series will mark its 45th anniversary, and Toei is celebrating it by releasing the film Kamen Rider 1 on March 26, 2016.[28] It is the first in a series of films to commemorate 2016 as "Superhero Year", with more films to be released throughout the year for Kamen Rider and the Super Sentai Series, which will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. As part of Superhero Year, the web television series Kamen Rider Amazons began to stream on Amazon Video in April 2016.


A 205 series train on the Senseki Line with Kamen Rider, and other Shotaro Ishinomori characters livery. The Senseki Line has a terminus in Ishinomori's home town of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.

TV series[edit]

The following is a list of the 26 Kamen Rider Series (and one television special part of the canon) and their years of broadcast:

Shōwa era series
Heisei era Phase 1 series
Heisei era Phase 2 series

Television specials[edit]

Shōwa era
Heisei era Phase 1

Theatrical releases[edit]

Shōwa era
Heisei era Phase 1
Heisei era Phase 2

V-Cinema releases[edit]

V-Cinema releases began appearing during the Heisei era of the franchise and serve as special movies focusing on Secondary Riders and storylines. The "Hyper Battle Videos" are special episodes included with Televi-Kun magazine that serve as a series recap relating to Rider abilities and the Rider showing off an exclusive power within the special. These are often paired on the DVD with their Super Hero Time counterparts from Super Sentai.

Heisei era Phase 1
Heisei era Phase 2
  • 2011: Kamen Rider W Returns
    • Kamen Rider Accel Chapter
    • Kamen Rider Eternal Chapter
  • 2015: Gaim Gaiden
    • Kamen Rider Zangetsu Chapter
    • Kamen Rider Baron Chapter
  • 2015: Kamen Rider Gaim Gaiden 2
    • Kamen Rider Duke Chapter
    • Kamen Rider Knuckle Chapter
  • 2016: Kamen Rider Drive Saga
    • Kamen Rider Chaser Chapter
  • 2016: Kamen Rider Drive Saga 2
    • Kamen Rider Mach Chapter
    • Kamen Rider Heart Chapter
Hyper Battle Videos
  • 2000: Kamen Rider Kuuga: vs. the Strong Monster Go-Jiino-Da
  • 2001: Kamen Rider Agito: Three rider TV-kun Special
  • 2002: Kamen Rider Ryuki Hyper Battle: Kamen Rider Ryuki vs. Kamen Rider Agito
  • 2003: Kamen Rider 555: The Musical
  • 2004: Kamen Rider Blade: Blade vs Blade
  • 2005: Kamen Rider Hibiki: Asumu Henshin: You can be an Oni too
  • 2006: Kamen Rider Kabuto: Birth! Gatack Hyper Form!
  • 2007: Kamen Rider Den-O: Singing, Dancing, Great Time!!
  • 2008: Kamen Rider Kiva: You Can Also be Kiva
  • 2009: Kamen Rider Decade: Protect! <The World of TV-Kun>
  • 2010: Kamen Rider W: Donburi's α/Farewell Recipe of Love
  • 2011: Kamen Rider OOO: Quiz, Dance, and Takagarooba!?
  • 2012: Kamen Rider Fourze: Rocket Drill States of Friendship
  • 2013: Kamen Rider Wizard: Showtime with the Dance Ring
  • 2014: Kamen Rider Gaim: Fresh Orange Arms is Born!
  • 2015: Kamen Rider Drive Hyper Battle:
    • Type TV-KUN: Hunter & Monster! Chase the Mystery of the Super Thief!
    • Type HIGH SPEED! The True Power! Type High Speed is Born!
Web series
  • 2015: D-Video Special: Kamen Rider 4
  • 2016: Kamen Rider Ghost: Legendary! Riders' Souls!
  • 2016: Kamen Rider Amazons

Adaptations outside Japan[edit]


In 1974, Chaiyo Productions in Thailand produced the Hanuman and the Five Riders movie, however Toei does not see this as an official production, due to Chaiyo using footage of the movie 5 Riders vs. King Dark without their authorization.[citation needed]


In 1975 to 1976, the Tungstar Company Limited in Taiwan produced the Super Riders series based on the Japan version.

United States[edit]

In 1995, Saban produced the first American Masked Rider series after his success adapting Super Sentai into Power Rangers and the Metal Hero Series (VR Troopers & Beetleborgs). In 2009, a new series was broadcast, produced by brothers Michael and Steve Wang.

Saban's Masked Rider
Airing from 1995 to 1996, Masked Rider was presented as a spin-off of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and utilized footage from Kamen Rider Black RX in addition to the films Kamen Rider ZO and Kamen Rider J.[citation needed]
Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight
Airing in 2009, Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight was adapted from Kamen Rider Ryuki, and while it was cancelled prior to finishing its syndicated run, it won the first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination at the 37th Daytime Emmy Awards.[29][30] The series was also exported back to Japan where it is shown on Toei's pay-per-view channel and later shown on TV Asahi.

Homages and parodies[edit]

The Kamen Rider franchise has been parodied in various productions, both in and outside Japan. One of the main trademarks being parodied is the Kamen Rider henshin (transforming) pose. In video games, Skullomania (from Street Fighter) and May Lee (from King of Fighters) are some examples of Kamen Rider parodies, as well as Viewtiful Joe. In anime, various aspects of Kamen Rider are noticeable like Mashiro Kuna of Bleach. Other anime examples include Fair, then Partly Piggy, My-HiME and its sequel My Otome, Dragon Ball Z, and Franken Fran; either being used as a comical parody or homage. In the Crayon Shin-chan series, the title character interacts with a few Kamen Riders in cross-over specials. Detective Conan has a recurring TV series the detective boys like to watch called Kamen Yaiba. In live action, known parodies of the Kamen Rider series include "Kamen Renaider" (by SMAP's Takuya Kimura and Shingo Katori), which is a parody skit of Ryuki, "Kamen Zaiber" a parody of the original; "Kamen Norida" by the Tunnels, a parody of Kamen Rider 1 and the first series; "Kamen Rider HG" Hard Gay's parody of the original for a Japanese TV show; and "Ridermen" a short skit of a man called Ridermen (an obvious parody of the Riderman) on the set of Kamen Rider Kuuga.

Akimasa Nakamura named two minor planets in honor of the series: 12408 Fujioka, after actor Hiroshi Fujioka, known for his portrayal of Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1,[31][32] and 12796 Kamenrider, after the series, itself.[31][33]


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External links[edit]

TV Asahi[edit]