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)
It’s time for another instalment of the Kamen Rider Spotlight, and this time we’re going hardboiled as I look at my all-time favourite Kamen Rider of all time, Kamen Rider Skull!
Mentor to Shotaro Hidari, Soukichi Narumi was a true hardboiled detective, but an incident in dealing with the Spider Dopant led to him becoming a Kamen Rider, as well as isolating himself from his daughter when a miniature Spider Bomb implants in him, which would go off if he ever came in direct contact with the one he loved most. He later took on Shotaro as an apprentice and began solving Dopant related cases as Skull, until his tragic end that also began Shotaro and Philip‘s story as W.
Much of Skull’s tech is later passed down to W, or inspires the creation of similar tech. The Lost Driver that the Skull Memory is inserted into looks like a broken half of W’s Double Driver, and in fact was later passed down to Shotaro so that he could become Kamen Rider Joker in case of emergencies where Philip wasn’t available to transform with him. Like with W, it possesses a Maximum Drive slot that allows Skull to his finisher, the Skull Banisher Rider Kick. Also the Skull Magnum, his personal side arm, would later give inspiration to the creation of the Trigger Magnum, and as such operates in much the same fashion. It also grants Skull an additional finisher called the Skull Punisher.
The SkullBoilder is Skull’s modified Honda CBR1000RR motorcycle. It’s kept inside of the mobile garage, the tank-like SkullGarry, which can be called out with the press of a button on the Stag Phone. Both the SkullBoilder and the SkullGarry would later be reconfigured into W’s HardBoilder and RevolGarry.
It’s also worth noting that Skull has an incomplete form that appeared once: Skull Crystal. It’s relatively the same, except that it lacks the S-shaped crack in the helmet, which would usually be covered by Soukichi’s fedora anyway…and by the way, I would just like to note once again for the record that it’s because of W and Skull that I myself have taken to wearing fedoras myself, as a sign of my everlasting fanboyism to these two Riders.
Well, that’s all for this edition of Kamen Rider Spotlight. Next time, we start and finish at a climax. Ja né!