…Y’know what I haven’t talked about in a while? Kamen Rider. And really, why shouldn’t I? Kamen Rider is one of, if not the, greatest series of the Tokusatsu genre. It’s lasted for four decades (ignoring a television hiatus that lasted from 1989 to 2000), has had crossovers with a number of different series in Japan, including Super Sentai, Ultraman, and Metal Heroes, and has spawned dubs in other countries, including two in English. But, as many people know, one thing that’s needed for an action show is for it to have a kickass opening theme that gets the audience ready for the half-hour that’s about to ensue. Now, other than the opening themes, Kamen Rider HAS had a number of insert themes that are really good too, and I’ll go over some of my favourites later on down the road as well. For now, though, let’s look at my 5 Favourite Kamen Rider Opening Themes, and I think I’m gonna do these in the order in which each season aired, starting with probably the most obvious…
Yeah, you knew this was gonna be up here. While I admittedly prefer the 2000 version of Let’s Go Rider Kick, this is the version used for the official intro, so it’s the one I’m posting. And I’m sure everyone’s wondering what I think of the 2011 cover by Kamen Rider Girls, and…I don’t really have an opinion. I didn’t really care when it was first released one way or the other beyond “Oh, that’s neat, they did a cover for the movie”. I neither really like it, nor am I in the group of people that practically called death down on these women. It’s just a cover, you guys. Get over it. Despite being one of my favourites, though, if I WAS going to rank these, this would probably be near the bottom. No disrespect, it’s just I like the others on this list a lot more. Still, it continues to maintain its position as the definitive Kamen Rider theme. Just, uh, don’t pull a Neo Saban era Power Rangers with us and have a remix of this theme for every season anytime soon, ‘kay?
BLACK! 😀 Okay, while I haven’t watched most of this season, there’s just something about the general aesthetic of Black’s suit that I really love. And dammit all, I LOVE the opening theme to his season. It really gets you in the mood to see this guy lay down some hurtin’ on some Gorgom scumbags. I actually really love the closing theme, too, if we’re being totally honest. That’s why I can’t help but giggle and hum that theme when I watch the net movie for Kamen Rider Decade where all the suit actors are dressed as Showa Era Riders for a race, and Black is just walking like in the end credits. Funny stuff.
YES, for the 150th time, I actually like Kamen Rider Kiva! Honest to God, I don’t get the hate for this series, and I DEFINITELY don’t get the Twilight jabs at it, especially since, while the books had been out for a few years, the first movie didn’t come out until November of the same year Kiva started airing, by which time we’d already had 40 episodes of the series. Really, it just comes off as people being vampired out by that point, and not wanting to give this show a chance. But anyway, getting back to the theme song, I think it’s a really catchy theme, and fits the tone of the series pretty well. Also, good God, the weird-ass imagery. If that didn’t make you wanna watch just to find out what the frak was going on, I don’t know what would do it for ya. Still, as catchy as this theme is, it pales in comparison to the next two on my list, in particular…
FUCK YEAH! I have said before that Kamen Rider W is my favourite season, it has my favourite Rider of all time in Kamen Rider Skull, and Goddamn it, it has probably my favourite opening theme of any Kamen Rider season. It’s energetic, it fits the tone of the series, and the imagery produced gets you ready for this combo of a superhero show and a detective story that balances comedy with tragedy in all the right ways. The only theme I would stack up against it is the last one on this list…
While I don’t think it’s the BEST theme that was produced for OOO, and we’ll talk about THAT later on, the intro theme does exactly as is required: Get your pulse pounding. Granted, with some of the later episodes and some of the more tragic elements of the plot, hearing this energetic and happy theme can kinda result in mood whiplash. And while it’s true that other themes have done this, none quite to the level of OOO. Still, it’s a solid hit, and the opening credits sequence that accompanies the music definitely does a good job of highlighting these three individuals that are caught up in this hectic chase for the Medals.
So, those are my 5 Favourite Kamen Rider Opening Themes. Have a favourite that wasn’t on here? Lemme know in the comments below, and I shall see you guys the next time I talk about Kamen Rider, when I list my 5 Favourite Insert Themes. Ja né!
Have I mentioned how much I love Kamen Rider? *ducks thrown objects* Alright, once or twice. Well, one staple of Kamen Rider that I always like to see them experiment with and upgrade from series to series is the henshin (transform) device, nowadays referred to as Drivers. In a nutshell, it’s a belt (most of the time, anyway) that is used to transform the wearer into their Kamen Rider form. In modern versions, it also unlocks different attacks, power-ups, and form changes to adapt to different opponents. The past few seasons have also used additional items in tandem with the Driver to do these things (cards, medals, rings, etc.). And here are five of my all time favourites here for you all. Oh, and before anyone says anything, the first series I ever watched anything of (not counting Saban’s Masked Rider) was Kamen Rider Kiva, the first season I watched from beginning to end was Kamen Rider Decade, and my personal favourite is Kamen Rider W. So, before anyone accuses me of this, yes, I’m going to be at least slightly biased to the more recent ones. Guilty as charged, let’s get this over with. lol
The personal henshin device of Kamen Rider W, the Double Driver is unique among all henshin devices in that it essentially connects two people into one. It is first strapped onto Shotaro, then a copy appears on Philip. It utilizes purified Gaia Memories, USB port-looking devices that contain the memories of the world. To transform with it, Philip places a Memory in the right side (usually the Cyclone Memory) which causes his consciousness to travel with the Memory to Shotaro’s Driver. Shotaro then plugs it and a second Memory (usually the Joker Memory) in and slides the two apart to form a W shape, thus becoming…
By switching Gaia Memories in and out (Shotaro’s Metal and Trigger Memories and Philip’s Heat and Luna Memories), Kamen Rider W can execute half-changes, turning one side of his body a different colour to reflect the different power-ups granted. Also, a special Maximum Drive slot on the right side is used to allow W to execute a finishing move, accessed by plugging a Memory into said slot. Now, there does exist a Driver similar to this called the Lost Driver, first used by Kamen Rider Skull, that allows a single person to become a Rider that uses the power of whatever Gaia Memory is inserted, but since it works essentially the same, looks the same (minus a plug-in for a second Gaia Memory), and has actually been used by Shotaro and Philip on occasion to become Kamen Rider Joker and Kamen Rider Cyclone, I’m basically grouping it in here.
Kamen Rider IXA is probably my second favourite Kamen Rider, just behind Kamen Rider Skull, and naturally, I really like his Driver too: The IXA Belt. Simply take the Knuckle section, slap it to part of your body (preferably one that won’t hurt like a bastard later), then one it signals that it’s ready, clamp the knuckle back into place to become…
The IXA Belt also comes equipped with its own Fuestles, much like the ones Kiva has. They allow him to hijack Kiva’s weapons, summon his personal vehicle, power up the knuckle section into an attacking weapon, and more. Since the IXA Belt doesn’t lock itself down to a specific user, it means that, in theory, anyone can be IXA. However, that also means that, in practice, only the best for the job could be IXA.
As I said before, MOST Drivers are belts. Here’s an exception: The Diendriver used by Kamen Rider DiEnd. Again, transformation is simple: Insert the DiEnd Kamen Ride Card into the slot on the left side of the gun, load, and pull the trigger, thus transforming into…
Now, wherein Kamen Rider Decade’s Decadriver allows him to assume the forms of other Kamen Riders and mimic their powers, the Diendriver has a different purpose: It summons Riders by having their cards inserted into the slot. Now, whether these are the actual Riders who then do as DiEnd asks, or copies based on their memories that do DiEnd’s bidding, or something else entirely isn’t 100% confirmed. In fact, many times, it feels like they’re one thing, then another thing another time. Like many things in Kamen Rider Decade, they choose not to explain this function too much…which is probably why a lot of people really don’t like that season, because they never frakking explained what the hell was going on most of the time. Still, it’s an awesome Driver/weapon, so I’m not gonna deduct points over that.
The V-Buckle (leave me alone, I don’t know what it’s called in Kamen Rider Dragon Knight) is different among most henshin devices in that it is actually used by a vast number of Riders. Which ones? EVERY SINGLE RIDER from the Kamen Rider Ryuki (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight) series, though obviously one in particular…
There’s an alternate design for the Alternatives, but it pretty much works the same way: Slide the Advent Deck in, and it transforms you into a Rider possessing the powers of said Advent Deck, each one based off a different creature. There’s just something ominous about when one of the Riders from that series drawing a certain card from their Advent Deck, in particular the Final Vent card that allows them to use their finishing move. They make it look as dramatic as possible, especially when they’re about to use it on each other, because you know someone’s about to die (or be Vented in Dragon Knight).
The OOO Driver, belonging of course to Kamen Rider OOO, it can be somewhat complicated to use at times. Basically, slide three Core Medals in, each one in the proper position, and run the O Scanner across all three in sequence to become…
So, why is this complicated? Well, there are seven sets of Medals, plus a few extras found here and there, each colour coded to their set and belonging to different sets of animals (birds, insects, reptiles, etc), and each Medal only works in a specific slot on the OOO Driver, granting a different armour piece to OOO. For example, let’s take my favourite Medals, the red ones. There’s Taka, which is a Head Core Medal, Kujaku, which is an Arms Core Medal, and Condor, which is a Legs Core Medal. To transform, you need Head, Arms, and Legs Medals, and while most of them can be mixed and matched, there’s one set that work entirely as a set only. If you’re missing one, you’re screwed. Plus, there are so many Medals, and at least two extra copies of each Medal, so handling them all can be troublesome. Still, if you can work around it, it’s one of the most powerful Drivers around, as using all three of a specific set grants power equal to the advanced forms of most Riders…although they also can cause you to lose consciousness if you use too much power and aren’t used to it…Yeah, that’s kind of a trade-off. o.O
So, there’s my 5 Favourite Henshin Devices. Got a favourite that isn’t on here? Or perhaps you prefer henshin devices from another series? Drop a line below, and I’ll see you guys next time when I talk about my 5 Favourite Morphers from Power Rangers/Super Sentai. Ja né!
- Kamen Rider Decade (dheoalviansyahgoblog.wordpress.com)
- Decade! Girl (chocojenn.wordpress.com)
- Kamen Rider Craft DX 1.6.2 Mod for Minecraft 1.6.2/1.6.1 (minecrafthd.com)
- Kamen Rider Battride War  Platinum! & Oboro Muramasa (helugame.wordpress.com)
- Gokaiger x Goseiger x Super Sentai: 199 Great Hero Battle (2011) (asianflixs.wordpress.com)
- Tokusatsu Theater at Filmbar (legionofsand.wordpress.com)
- The Legacy of Japan’s Giant Robot Sci-Fi Shows (tested.com)
- Wonderful 101 Trailer Finally Released and the Trailer Looks Redonkulous [Video] (geekosystem.com)
- Obscura Magazine 2013 Summer Issue – The Ultraman Series (freshnessmag.com)
- Film Review: Pacific Rim (rosslangager.com)
Okay, so this hasn’t exactly turned out to be the happiest Halloween ever, but nonetheless I wanted to give you the Kamen Rider Spotlight I promised earlier this month. So today, we look at a Rider whose Spotlight is all too fitting to occur on this day (and I swear, if I hear one Twilight related jab at this guy, I’m not gonna be held responsible what I do in rebuttal, lol): Kamen Rider Kiva.
Kiva is a young man named Wataru. Living on his own, Wataru shy and obsessed with his own hygiene, and while he never lies, he does hide a secret: He is in fact Kamen Rider Kiva, a title passed down from father to child among the race of creatures known as the Fangire Race, beings similar to vampires, but with a stained glass motif, and each belonging to an animal class, being able to take on a monstrous form of said animal. However, because they feed off human life energy, Wataru fights to protect humans, and ends up meeting several friends and allies from all walks of life, be they human, Fangire, or other monstrous beings. His story is of course a bit more complicated than that, but we’re not really here to give complete spoilers to the show.
As I’ve alluded to, most Riders use a Henshin Device in the form of a belt, and Kiva is no different in that regard. However, Kiva’s belt is summoned in a very different manner. His partner, Kivat-bat the 3rd, bites into Wataru’s hand, awakening his Fangire blood and summoning a series of chains that form the Kivat Belt. Once hung from the belt upside-down in true bat fashion, Kivat transforms Wataru into Kiva.
Kiva’s motorcycle is the Machine Kivaa, his own personal variant of the Honda Shadow 750, as built for him by Motobat the 16th. It’s actually a living creature with the brain of a horse installed inside, and has the ability to vanish from plain sight when travelling at higher speeds. Using the Buroon Fuestle, Kiva can upgrade the Kivaa with the Buroon Booster, upgrading its speed and making it capable of multiple motorcycle tricks, and at top speeds creating a field that cuts air resistance on the motorcycle almost completely.
Kiva’s natural form, termed simply as Kiva Form, is a fairly well rounded basic form. He has access to all the Fuestles in his arsenal, and possesses a powerful Rider Kick called the Darkness Moon Break, wherein he kicks the target against a surface so hard that he leaves a indentation in the surface in the form of his emblem.
Garulu Form is formed when Kiva summons the Garulu Sabre. In this form, Kiva is an almost rabid werewolf-like swordsman. His speed is much higher and he fights with a ferocity unseen in his other forms. His mouthpiece can also open to place the Sabre in his ‘mouth’, and then execute the finishing manoeuvre, the Garulu Howling Slash.
Basshaa Form is formed when Kiva summons the Basshaa Magnum. Despite the loss of most of his attack power and agility in this form, his long range attacks and quick analysis of enemy weakpoints can make up for such losses. He can also manipulate the water and rain, creating his finisher, the Basshaa Aqua Tornado.
Dogga Form is formed when Kiva summons the Dogga Hammer. In this form, Kiva’s speed is cut down harshly, but his physical prowess is increased dramatically. He can also see invisible foes and manipulate electricity. His finisher, the Dogga Thunder Slap, creates an effigy of the Dogga Hammer out of lightning that slams into the target HARD.
DoGaBaKi Form is formed when Kiva summons all three of the Arms Monsters weapons, combining the base elements of his Dogga, Garulu, Basshaa, and Kiva Forms. In this form, Kiva’s power is increased to such a high level that he can only assume it for five minutes. Any longer and it can be deadly to him. He can summon any of the weapons in this form, and presumably can use any of the finishers from his other forms.
Demon Imperial Dragon Tatsulot is a small dragon that becomes something of a second partner to Kiva along with Kivat. He also serves as a Henshin Device that allows Wataru to assume Kiva’s Emperor Form and utilize his upgraded finishers in Emperor Form.
Emperor Form is Kiva’s true form, awakened through Kivat and Tatsulot. Because Tatsulot also provides upgraded versions of all of Kiva’s other finishing moves, Wataru eventually grew to use this form over the others, often-times transforming straight to Emperor. On one occasion, Emperor Form was powered up into a berserker form when Wataru’s Fangire blood went out of control. He later receives a weapon called the Zanvat Sword that, when used with Emperor Form, allows him to execute the Final Zanvat Slash.
DoGaBaKi Emperor Form is a very rare form that Kiva has only used once. It requires him to transform using Kivat, Tatsulot, and the Arms Monsters weapons. It possesses the abilities and powers of all Kiva’s forms, but presumably possesses the same limitation as the standard DoGaBaKi Form. His finisher is the DoGaBaKi Emperor Break.
Flight Style is a powerful dragon-like form that Kiva can assume while in Emperor Form. Rarely seen, it gives Kiva supersonic flight, bladed wings, flame breath, and deadly finisher called the Bloody Strike.
Well that’s all for today. Next time on the Kamen Rider Spotlight, we regret nothing as we tighten up, because we got to keep it real and ride on right time when the sun goes up, and remember that time judged all and shout out the power to tearer since anything goes. Ja né!
Well, time for another instalment of the Kamen Rider Spotlight, and for our second Rider, I’m taking a look at one of my all-time favourites, Kamen Rider IXA. Also, I noted that in the past, I hadn’t spent a lot of time covering the additional weapons and vehicles of Kamen Riders, so I will attempt to make up for that in this and future Spotlights.
IXA was the secondary Rider from Kamen Rider Kiva‘s season. Unlike most Riders, a number of people have become IXA over time, including the Wolfen Jiro, Kiva’s father Otoya, Fangire Hunter Yuri Aso, the Lion Fangire Rook, the Spider Fangire Ryo Itoya, Yuri’s daughter Megumi, and Fangire Hunter Kengo Eritate. However, the primary user of the IXA System throughout the show was Keisuke Nago, who at first battles against Kiva until learning his true identity and seeing him as an ally in protecting humanity.
The IXA System is operated with the IXA Belt and IXA Knuckle. By first pressing the Knuckle to another part of their body (Nago typically pressed it in the palm of his other hand) and then sliding it into place on the Belt, a projection of the armour appears in front of the user’s body and then overlaps it, materializing over them.
IXA only has three forms that are seen. The basic, original form is known as Save Mode. Back when IXA was still in the prototype stages, Save Mode was all it had, and it kinda blew. Steam would burst out for no reason, the thing constantly beeped, and it could actually harm the user. These problems would later be fixed as the system underwent upgrades over the years to the point that it also received it’s next form, Burst Mode. Like Kiva, it comes with a Fuestle that unlocks additional power. The Knuckle Fuestle allows IXA to use his primary finishing move with the IXA Knuckle called the Broken Fang.
Burst Mode is so named because it sends of a wave of intense heat that damages everything in the immediate area. It also gives slight upgrades to all areas that Save Mode usually gives increases to. He’s also armed with several more Fuestles, some of which actually allow him to borrow or even outright steal Kiva’s weapons. He also comes equipped with the IXA Calibur, a high powered gun that turns into a sword, because as we all know, guns that turn into swords and vice versa are frigging awesome. His finisher is a high-powered slash called the IXA Judgement.
As is the case with nearly every other Rider in existence, IXA has his own motorcycle. The IXAlion is modified from a Honda CBR1000RR and possesses a max speed of 753 km/h. But if you’re more the type that likes combat vehicles, IXA doesn’t leave you disappointed there either.
The Powerd Ixer is a massive dragon-like crane on wheels. It was originally designed to combat the massive Sabbats or Kiva’s Castle Doran, but has since proven to be a helpful ally to Castle Doran in combat. It flings enemies around, can toss massive orbs at targets, or can even lob IXA himself at opponents for a high-powered Rider Kick.
But when all else fails, IXA has one final trick hidden up his sleeve, or rather his mouth-plate: The IXA Riser, a cellphone that turns into a gun and can also transform IXA into his final form, Rising IXA. This pumps IXA up to maximum strength, able to stand up to the strongest of opponents. Before the end of the series, IXA received a final upgrade that allowed him to bypass his other forms and go straight to Rising IXA, as the enemies were growing too numerous and too powerful for his weaker forms. The IXA Riser grants him his new finisher, a massive shot of energy called the Final Rising Blast. The only downside is that the finisher has one hell of a recoil, knocking IXA on his ass and cancelling out the transformation. IXA later managed to brace himself properly, but until then learned to vault himself off a nearby wall and follow the blast up with a Rider Kick.
As mentioned before, IXA is not locked down to a single chosen user and can technically be used by anyone. Because of that, it means that the one using it has to be stronger, faster, smarter, wiser, and more humane than any other in order to prove he is the one best suited for it, the one true Kamen Rider IXA.
Well, that’s all for this edition of Kamen Rider Spotlight, and I’ll see y’all next time. Ja ne!