Thursday, December 29, 2011
Kamen Rider (the Masked Rider)
An index piece on the live action Japanese superhero.
The early tokusatsu character Kamen Rider was a famous part of Japan's super-hero explosion. The 1971 weekly live action series created by Shotaro Ishinomori became a cultural fixture, living on through sequel movies, video games, and toys. Takeshi Hongo, a college student with a motorcycle becomes an insect-themed crime fighter! Think of it as the progenitor of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers craze in America two decades ago! A contemporary program called Super Sentai was actually the basis for that one.
In Japan, however, as with much of the pop culture, novelty's a part of the game. American audiences may develop a decades-long relationship with its super-heroes (like Superman and Batman!), but Japanese superheroes tend to come and go.
Kamen Rider 1 (仮面ライダー１号 Kamen Raidā Ichigō?) is a fictional character and main superhero or henshin character featured in Japanese tokusatsu. He first appeared in the television series Kamen Rider, the first in the famous Kamen Rider franchise of tokusatsu programmes. The primary protagonist of the series, Kamen Rider 1 is a motorcycle-riding superhero modeled upon a grasshopper. One of the most recognizable and iconic characters in Japanese entertainment, Kamen Rider 1 is as easily distinguished as the series itself.
In the original series, he was portrayed by Hiroshi Fujioka, who also performed most of his own stunts. Later, he was portrayed by Masaya Kikawada in the film Kamen Rider The First and its sequel, Kamen Rider The Next, as well as making a cameo of the character on the Cyclone in an episode of Kamen Rider Kabuto. In the movie, Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, Rider 1 is voiced by Tetsu Inada. Kamen Rider 1 will appear again as a main character, alongside Kamen Riders Den-O, New Den-O and OOO, in the 40th anniversary film OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders, Fujioka will reprise his role as the voice of Kamen Rider 1.