Kamen Rider

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Kamen Rider
Kamen rider eurodata.png
A statue of Kamen Rider 1 outside of Bandai Corporate Headquarters in Taitō, Tokyo
Created byShotaro Ishinomori
Ishimori Productions
Toei Company
Original workKamen Rider
OwnerIshimori Productions
Toei Company
MBS/NET (1971–1975, up to Amazon)
MBS/TBS (1975-1989, from Stronger up to Black RX)
TV Asahi (2000-present)
ADK (2000-present)
Films and television
Film(s)See below
Television seriesSee below
TraditionalRangers Strike
Video game(s)Kamen Rider Battle: Ganbaride
Kamen Rider: Climax Heroes
All Kamen Rider: Rider Generation
Kamen Rider: Battride War
Original musicRider Chips
Kamen Rider Girls
Toy(s)DX Henshin Belts
Complete Selection Modification
Super Imaginative Chogokin
Souchaku Henshin Series
S.H. Figuarts
Rider Kick's Figure Series
Mainly sponsored byBandai
Seiban Ltd. (for Seiban-branded backpacks)
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company (for Oronamin C)
Official website

Kamen Rider (Japanese: 仮面ライダーシリーズ, Hepburn: Kamen Raidā, translated as "Masked Rider"), also known as Masked Rider, is a Japanese metaseries / media mix of tokusatsu television programs and films, and manga, created by manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori. The Kamen Rider media generally features a motorcycle-riding superhero with an insect motif who fights supervillains, often known as kaijin (怪人, mystery people).

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. Its popularity has grown; the original series spawned television and film sequels and launched the Second Kaiju Boom (also known as the Henshin Boom) on Japanese television during the early 1970s, impacting the superhero and action-adventure genres in Japan.[1]

Bandai owns the toy rights to Kamen Rider Japan (and some Asia regions). Bluefin Distribution, a subsidiary of Bandai Namco, distributes Kamen Rider merchandise in North America.[2]

Series Overview[edit]

The Kamen Rider franchise primarily revolving around the eponymous Kamen Rider, a superpowered vigilante who mostly resembles a grasshopper and rides a motorcycle, and their one-man war against an ever-larger malevolent force, usually a terrorist organization bent on world domination. A common running theme in the franchise is that the Rider's power derived from the same source and technology used by malevolent forces, thus forming a moral vow for the protagonists to use this power to fight against evil.

Similar to its counterpart, each series focuses on a different Rider, a new set of characters and a different story set in its own universe, though there been multiple instances of past characters from previous Kamen Rider series crossing over to team up against a common foe.

The Kamen Riders[edit]

The Kamen Rider (Japanese: 仮面ライダー, Hepburn: Kamen Raidā, translated as "Masked Rider"), also known as simply Rider (ライダー, Raidā), is a collective name referring to the eponymous heroes and numerous individuals of the series. Usually resembling a grasshopper-themed masked superhero or a similarly-looking vigilante in spandex, the Riders are enhanced humans with superhuman strength, resilience and agility, specifically modified to fight an entire army. Originally created by the terrorist organization known as "Shocker" as a means of creating super-soldiers, one of these potential soldiers, biochemistry lab student and motorcycle enthusiast Takeshi Hongo, escaped from captivity and has since been fighting against Shocker, often recruiting similar individuals to fight alongside him.

Each Rider, whose appearance varies per series, has a full set of arsenal and equipment in their disposal, coined as the Rider System (ライダーシステム, Raidā Shisutemu), consisting of their Rider Belt (ライダーベルト, Raidā Beruto, also known as a "Driver") (a transformation item that allows a Rider to transform), its associating Rider Items (ライダーアイテム, Raidā Aitemu) (which can be used in conjunction with the Rider Belt to gain access to multiple forms) and Rider Weapons (ライダー兵器, Raidā Heiki) (auxiliary items serving as optional weapon of choice for the Riders), and their mode of transportation known as a Rider Machine (ライダーマシン, Raidā Mashin). A common theme amongst the Riders is that the Rider System's power was derived from the same technology/power source used by the villains, ironically using it fight against evil to such extent. From Kamen Rider Kuuga onwards, each Rider has multiple different forms, often divided into six tiers: the default Base Form (ベースフォーム, Bēsu Fōmu) and its multiple alternate Extra Forms (エクストラフォーム, Ekusutora Fōmu), the Mid-Season Form (ミッドシーズンフォーム, Middoshīzun Fōmu), the penultimate Super Form (スーパーフォーム, Sūpā Fōmu), the optional movie-exclusive Movie Form (映画フォーム, Eiga Fōmu) and the powerful aptly-named Final Form (ファイナルフォーム, Fainaru Fōmu).

Every Rider has a selection of powerful finishing moves, either accessible through their respective Rider Weapons and/or through other forms, though the most commonly-used finishing attack is the Rider Kick (ライダーキック, Raidā Kikku), a dive kick capable of destroying most enemies in a single strike by infusing it with such strength that it causes the opponent to violently explode.


Showa 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 as an adaptation of Ishinomori's Skull Man. He and Hirayama redesigned the main character to resemble a grasshopper. The hero Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider, played by actor and stuntman Hiroshi Fujioka, was described as a transformed human (改造人間, kaizō ningen) (cyborg). During the filming of episode 10, Fujioka was thrown from his motorcycle during a stunt and broke both legs. His character was temporarily phased out until the introduction of another transformed human, Hayato Ichimonji/Kamen Rider 2 (played by Takeshi Sasaki) was introduced in episode 14. Hongo (Fujioka) was reintroduced in episode 40, and by episode 53, had fully replaced Ichimonji's character until the two were united in episodes 72, 73, 93, 94 - and series finale - episode 98. The series from April 1971 to January 1976 (Kamen Rider, V3, X, Amazon, Stronger) included a recurring mentor, Tobei Tachibana.

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

Kamen Rider Black premiered in 1987, the first series not hinting at a relationship to its predecessors. Black was the first show in the franchise with a direct sequel: Kamen Rider Black RX, the basis of Saban's Americanized Masked Rider. In RX's finale, the ten previous Riders returned to help Black RX defeat the Crisis Empire. Kamen Rider Black RX was the final show produced during the Shōwa era, with the franchise resuming production by the end of the 20th century. A manga of Kamen Rider Black was a novelization and reimagination of the Black-RX series' continuity. Absent from television during the 1990s, the franchise was kept alive by stage shows, musical CDs, and the Shin, ZO, and J films.[citation needed]

Heisei Era[edit]

Phase 1[edit]

Toei announced a new project, Kamen Rider Kuuga, in May 1999. Kuuga was part of Ishinomori's 1997 Kamen Rider revival in preparation for its 30th anniversary, but he died before the shows materialized. During the summer of 1999, Kuuga was promoted in magazine advertisements and TV commercials. On January 30, 2000, Kamen Rider Kuuga premiered with newcomer Joe Odagiri.[3] Following Kuuga's 2001 sequel Kamen Rider Agito, the series deviated into a series of unconnected stories starting from Kamen Rider Ryuki in 2002 to Kamen Rider Kabuto in 2006.

In 2005, Kamen Rider: The First was produced. Written by Toshiki Inoue, the film reimagines the manga and original television series and characters from the original series had their storylines altered to fit the film's time span. Masaya Kikawada played Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1 and Hassei Takano (previously Miyuki Tezuka/Kamen Rider Raia in Kamen Rider Ryuki) was 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 and with Kikawada and Takano reprising their roles.[citation needed]

The eighth series, Kamen Rider Den-O, followed in 2007. It differed from past Kamen Rider series with the main protagonist being unsure of himself and uses a large vehicle, the DenLiner: a time traveling bullet train. Although the series has only two riders (Den-O and Zeronos), they have multiple forms similar to Black RX, Kuuga, and Agito. Due to Den-O's popularity, a second film crossover with the 2008 series Kamen Rider Kiva was released on April 12, 2008. The top film in its opening weekend,[4] it grossed ¥730 million.[5] In addition, Animate produced an OVA, Imagin Anime, with SD versions of the Imagin. A third film, Saraba Kamen Rider Den-O: Final Countdown (with two new riders) serves as a series epilogue.[5] According to Takeru Satoh, who played the titular protagonist in the television series and first three films, Den-O was successful because of its humor.[6]

The 2009 series, Kamen Rider Decade, commemorated the Heisei run's 10th anniversary with its protagonist able to assume the forms of his predecessors. Japanese recording artist Gackt performed the series' opening theme, "Journey through the Decade", and the film's theme song ("The Next Decade") and jokingly expressed interest in playing a villain on the show.[7] Also announced in 2009 was a fourth Den-O film[8] (later revealed as the beginning of the Cho-Den-O Series of films),[9] starting with Cho Kamen Rider Den-O & Decade Neo Generations: The Onigashima Warship. In the March 2009 issue of Kindai magazine, Decade star Masahiro Inoue said that the series was scheduled for only 30 episodes.[citation needed]

Phase 2[edit]

Advertisements in May, June, and July 2009 promoted the debut of Kamen Rider W,[10] who first appeared at the 10th-anniversary Masked Rider Live event[11] and was featured in Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker. The staff of W said that they planned to make 10 more years of Kamen Rider, differentiating subsequent series from the Kuuga through Decade period (including a new broadcast season from September of one year to about August of the next). The hero of Kamen Rider W is the first Kamen Rider to transform from two people at once,[10] and the series premiered on September 6, 2009.[12] Continuing into 2010 with Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider W & Decade: Movie War 2010, W ran from September 2009 to September 2010 instead of from January to January. 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, were also released in 2010.[13] Late 2010 brought the series Kamen Rider OOO to television after W's finale, and 2011 observed the 40th anniversary of the franchise. Festivities that year included the Kamen Rider Girls idol group, the film OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders (released on April 1) and OOO's successor, Kamen Rider Fourze, which references the previous heroes in its characters' names and its plot. A crossover film, Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen, was released in 2012 featuring the heroes of all Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series to date.[14]

With Fourze's run complete in 2012, Kamen Rider Wizard premiered; its protagonist was the first Kamen Rider to use magic.[15] Wizard additionally had the first homosexual character and cast member with Kaba-chan.[16] Kamen Rider × Super Sentai × Space Sheriff: Super Hero Taisen Z, a sequel to 2012's Super Hero Taisen with the revived Metal Hero Series characters from Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie and other characters created by Shotaro Ishinomori appearing in Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze: Movie War Ultimatum, was released in 2013.[citation needed]

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)).[17] Kamen Rider Gaim previewed 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.[18][19] The third entry in the Super Hero Taisen film 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 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) involving each year's Kamen Rider teaming up with the current Super Sentai team in a story tying into that year's entry in the Super Hero Taisen movie series. Gaim was followed in 2014 by Kamen Rider Drive, the first Kamen Rider since Kamen Rider Black RX (who also used a motorcycle), to use a car instead of a motorcycle.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28] The fourth Super Hero Taisen, Super Hero Taisen GP, marks Kamen Rider 3's first live-action appearance after the Showa Kamen Rider manga. Kamen Rider Ghost was introduced in 2015. In 2016 the Kamen Rider series celebrated its 45th anniversary, and Toei released the film Kamen Rider 1 on March 26, 2016.[29] Kamen Rider Ex-Aid was introduced in 2016 and was the first Rider series to have a character, Kiriya Kujo, portray the main Rider's motorcycle. A Movie War film known as Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legend Rider was announced for December 10, 2016, featuring Bandai Namco Entertainment's original character created by Namco prior to merging with Bandai in 2006, Pac-Man. Following up Ex-Aid's finale, Kamen Rider Build premiered on September 3, 2017.[30] The twentieth and last series of the Heisei era, Kamen Rider Zi-O, which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Heisei era, premiered on September 2, 2018. On December 22, 2018, a film commemorating all the Riders of the Heisei Era titled Kamen Rider Heisei Generations Forever premiered in Japanese theaters.

Reiwa Era[edit]

On May 13, 2019, Toei filed a trademark on the phrase Kamen Rider Zero-One (仮面ライダーゼロワン, Kamen Raidā Zerowan), which premiered on September 1, 2019.[31] It is followed up by Kamen Rider Saber (仮面ライダーセイバー/聖刃, Kamen Raidā Seibā) on September 6, 2020, which is followed by Kamen Rider Revice (仮面ライダーリバイス, Kamen Raidā Ribaisu) on September 5, 2021. Neon Genesis Evangelion director Hideaki Anno was announced as the writer and director of Shin Kamen Rider, a movie in commemoration of the Kamen Rider series' 50th anniversary. It is planned for release in 2023.[32]


Main series[edit]

Urban train with a Kamen rider on the front
A 205 series train on the Senseki Line with Kamen Rider and other Shotaro Ishinomori character livery. The Senseki Line has a terminal in Ishinomori's hometown of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.

The following is a list of the Kamen Rider series and their broadcast years:

Television specials[edit]

Theatrical releases[edit]

V-Cinema releases[edit]

Direct-to-video releases, films focusing on secondary riders and storylines, began appearing during the franchise's Heisei era. Hyper Battle Videos are episodes included with Televi-Kun magazine.

  • 1992: Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue
  • 1993: Kamen Rider SD – Only anime adaptation
  • 2011: Kamen Rider W Returns
    • Kamen Rider Accel Chapter
    • Kamen Rider Eternal Chapter
  • 2015: Kamen Rider Gaim Gaiden
    • First Part
      • Kamen Rider Zangetsu Chapter
      • Kamen Rider Baron Chapter
    • Second Part
      • Kamen Rider Duke Chapter
      • Kamen Rider Knuckle Chapter
    • Third Part
      • Kamen Rider Zangetsu Chapter (Stage Show 2019)
      • Kamen Rider Gridon VS Kamen Rider Bravo Chapter (2 Special 2020)
  • 2016: Kamen Rider Drive Saga
    • First Part
      • Kamen Rider Chaser Chapter
    • Second Part
      • Kamen Rider Heart Chapter
      • Kamen Rider Mach Chapter
    • Third Part
      • Kamen Rider Brain Chapter (2 Special 2019)
  • 2017: Kamen Rider Ghost Re-Birth: Kamen Rider Specter
  • 2018: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid Trilogy: Another Ending
    • Brave & Snipe Chapter
    • Para-DX with Poppy Chapter
    • Genm vs. Lazer Chapter
  • 2019: Kamen Rider Build New World
    • First Part
      • Kamen Rider Cross-Z Chapter
    • Second Part
      • Kamen Rider Grease Chapter
  • 2020: Kamen Rider Zi-O Next Time: Geiz Majesty
  • 2021: Kamen Rider Zero-One Others
    • Kamen Rider Metsuboujinrai Chapter
    • Kamen Rider Vulcan & Valkyrie Chapter
  • 2022: Kamen Rider Saber: Trio of Deep Sin

Hyper Battle videos[edit]

  • 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: Transform Asumu: 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!
  • 2016: Kamen Rider Ghost Hyper Battle:
    • Ikkyu Eyecon Contention! Quick Wit Battle!!
    • Ikkyu Eyecon! Awaken, My Quick Wit Power!!
    • Truth! The Secret Of Heroes' Eyecons!
  • 2017: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid "Tricks"
    • Kamen Rider Lazer
    • Kamen Rider Para-DX
  • 2018: Kamen Rider Build
    • Birth! KumaTelevi!! VS Kamen Rider Grease!
    • Kamen Rider Prime Rogue
  • 2019: Kamen Rider ZI-O: Kamen Rider Bi Bi Bi no Bibill Geiz

Web exclusive[edit]

  • 2015: D-Video Special: Kamen Rider 4
  • 2016: Kamen Rider Ghost: Legendary! Riders' Souls!
  • 2016–2017: Kamen Rider Amazons
  • 2017: Kamen Sentai Gorider
  • 2018: Kamen Rider Build: Raising the Hazard Level ~7 Best Matches~
  • 2019: Kamen Rider Zi-O Spin-off
    • Rider Time: Kamen Rider Shinobi
    • Rider Time: Kamen Rider Ryuki


  • 2016: The Legend of Hero Alain
  • 2017: Kamen Rider Snipe: Episode ZERO
  • 2018: ROGUE

Adaptations outside Japan[edit]


In 1975–1976, Tong Hsing Film Co., Ltd. in Taiwan produced a Super Riders series based on the Japanese version.

United States[edit]

In 1995, Saban produced the first American Masked Rider series after its success adapting Super Sentai into Power Rangers and the Metal Hero Series (VR Troopers and Beetleborgs).

In 2009, a new series, produced by Michael and Steve Wang, was broadcast: Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight, which was adapted from Kamen Rider Ryuki. Although it was cancelled before finishing its syndicated run, it won the first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination at the 37th Daytime Emmy Awards. [33][34]

Unofficial Thailand Adaptation[edit]

In 1975, Chaiyo Productions made an unofficial Kamen Rider movie entitled Hanuman and the Five Riders, which used original footage of Chaiyo's Hanuman character, spliced with footage from the "Five Riders Vs. King Dark" movie. However, Chaiyo went ahead with the production without authorisation after Toei denied them permission to make an official movie with them, putting the legality of the movie into question.


Bandai Namco merchandise sales
Fiscal period Sales Ref
April 2002 to March 2012 ¥149.2 billion ($1.87 billion) [35]
April 2012 to March 2013 ¥34 billion ($426 million)
April 2013 to March 2014 ¥30.7 billion ($315 million)
April 2014 to March 2015 ¥26.2 billion ($247 million)
April 2015 to December 2020 ¥148.7 billion ($1.45 billion) [35][36]
April 2002 to December 2020 ¥388.8 billion ($4.308 billion)
Licensed merchandise sales in Japan
Period Sales Ref
April 1971 to January 1976 (est.) ¥50 billion [37][38]
February 1976 to December 2002 ?
2003 ¥22 billion [39]
2004 ?
2005 ¥22.9 billion [40]
2006 to 2009 ?
2010 ¥64.52 billion [41]
2011 to 2017 ?
2018 ¥40.01 billion [42][43]
2019 ¥21.08 billion [44][43]
Total known sales ¥220.51 billion ($2.558 billion)

Homages and parodies[edit]

The Kamen Rider franchise has been parodied in and outside Japan. One parody is of the Kamen Rider henshin (metamorphosis) pose. In video games, Skullomania (from Street Fighter) and May Lee (from The King of Fighters) are examples of Kamen Rider parodies. In anime, examples include Fair, then Partly Piggy, My-HiME (and its sequel, My Otome), Dragon Ball Z, and Franken Fran as a parody or homage. In the Crayon Shin-chan series, the title character interacts with Kamen Riders in crossover specials. Detective Conan has a recurring TV series the detective boys like to watch, Kamen Yaiba. In One Punch Man, the C Class Hero Mumen Rider is a parody, being an ordinary man in a world of superhuman beings, riding a bicycle rather than a motorcycle. However despite his weakness he is extremely heroic and his actions form a counterpoint to his parodic character conception.

In live action, parodies include "Kamen Renaider" by SMAP's Takuya Kimura and Shingo Katori, a parody of Ryuki; "Kamen Zaiber", a parody of the original; "Kamen Norider" 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 with a man called Ridermen, a parody of the Riderman on the set of Kamen Rider Kuuga.

Akimasa Nakamura, a Japanese astronomer named two minor planets in honor of the series: 12408 Fujioka for actor Hiroshi Fujioka, known for his portrayal of Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1,[45][46] and 12796 Kamenrider for the series itself.[45][47]


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External links[edit]

TV Asahi[edit]