Kamen Rider is a Japanese superhero metaseries. In short, it started out with a single series, which has resulted in a full-fledged multi-media franchise inspired by that initial concept. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that Kamen Rider has had a huge influence on the Japanese view of superhero media. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Kamen Rider:
1. The First Series Was Supposed to Be Based on Skull Man
The first Kamen Rider series was supposed to have been based on the Skull Man manga. Said manga stood out in that its titular character was one of the first antiheroes to be seen in manga – a mutant who was willing to kill innocents in the pursuit of those who killed his parents.
2. Skull Man Proved to Be Too Dark
It isn’t uncommon for children’s TV shows to handle dark subjects. However, Skull Man proved to be both too dark and too gruesome, meaning that the two series went their separate ways. For example, the manga ended with the titular character and his entire family being burned to death because it turned out that the one who killed his mutant parents was his grandfather, who had become fearful of their strange experiments that possessed the potential to destroy old humanity. As such, the grandfather welcomed being hunted down by his grandson because that would enable him to catch his grandson in a fatal trap, thus ensuring that he could never go down a similar path. However, it is clear that the grandfather isn’t exactly happy about the whole horrible situation, seeing as how he goes out with a lament that his family was born in the wrong era.
3. One of the Most Important Changes Was Visual
One of the most important changes was visual in nature. In short, the protagonist’s costume was changed to something inspired by grasshoppers. As a result, insect motifs have become a long-running tradition in the various Kamen Rider series.
4. A Motorcycle Accident Caused a Sudden Change of Plans
Besides insect motifs, the heroes of the various Kamen Rider series are also known for riding motorcycles. Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident during the filming of the first series resulted in the actor playing the hero needing to take a long break to heal, which is why the first series had not one but two heroes. Both started showing up on the screen once the initial actor managed to recover from the motorcycle accident.
5. The Series Is Continuing in the Present
There are still Kamen Rider series and other media being produced in the present. For those who are curious, this means that there are now 29 series as of 2018 and 2019, which is likely to increase in number in the time to come.
6. Current Series Is Kamen Rider Zi-O
The current series is Kamen Rider Zi-O. In short, it is focused on a high school student named Sougo Tokiwa, who has been told that he is destined to become the cruel dictator who rules over the future. Sougo is not keen on this, which is why he seeks to change his destined course.
7. Sougo Is Untrained but Cunning
On the whole, a lack of knowledge of past Kamen Riders means that Sougo isn’t exactly the best-trained hero in the Kamen Rider franchise. However, he possesses plenty of cunning, which is enough to provide him with an edge of his very own.
8. There Have Been Non-Japanese Adaptations
The Kamen Rider series has been popular enough for companies in other countries to make adaptations. For example, there have been a number of Taiwanese adaptations. Likewise, Saban made a go at it in 1995, which was following its success with turning the Super Sentai series into the Power Rangers series.
9. There Is an Unofficial Thai Adaptation
Speaking of which, there is an unofficial Thai adaptation, which came into existence because Chaiyo Productions decided to go ahead with said project even when the people behind the Kamen Rider series declined to do an official movie with them.
10. Lots of Parodies
Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of Kamen Rider parodies in Japanese pop culture. For example, the Kamen Rider transformation pose shows up in everything from anime to video games. Similarly, there are characters from other series that are straight-up homages, with an excellent example being One Punch Man’s Mumen Rider.
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