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Kamen Rider


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I was raised on PBS until the fifth grade. Weep for me, my fellow malcontents, for childhood wonderment was only allowed to be met with Wishbone. Ah, Wishbone, a dog more well-read than the average American adult. Didn’t last very long, but PBS kids programming rarely does.


Anyhoo, because I was denied the bad stuff, I craved it. And no show exemplified that craving more than the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Saban’s happy-go-lucky bastardization of Japan’s Super Sentai’s sixteenth season made itself into the shining beacon of all things I was not allowed to have. Heroes, villains, explosions, martial arts, giant robots – the show was cool. It had a lot of bright primary colors, too, which I hear is all the rage with kids. The villains were inhuman or gruesome or just plain mean. Not only that, but the show’s opening theme remains one of the best metal songs ever written. You know it’s true.


But as I grew up, the Power Rangers went the other way. Even overseas, they became more kid-friendly and more about the power of teamwork than the villain’s plots. I kept up with the show until Lost Galaxy, when they were still pimps, and in space, and fighting a kickass giant insect queen. And then they did this:




and it only got worse from there.


The thing is, the show started to become more about cliché interpersonal teenaged issues with the monsters serving as a stand-in for a mental or emotional hurdle the characters would have to overcome. While that was there in the early seasons to a degree, I was young, and didn’t care, and the issues weren’t the focus so much as the outside threat was – and the monsters weren’t always an allegorical stand-in for the teenage problem of the week. And as the show moved forward, the quality dipped, and I lost touch with what I loved. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered Kamen Rider.


Kamen Rider isn’t about a team of happenstance teenagers, it’s typically about an individual. More often than not, this individual is an adult, or at the least he’s self-sufficient and employed. But the best part for it is that each series self-contains itself – it has an overarching story and character development throughout, and every year a new story begins. There’s no down time, there’s no off season. There is a new episode every week, with very few exceptions, done year round, until the story is done and the new one starts. Each show also has a fresh atmosphere, which extends beyond the “hey they’re in space now,” or “hey by the way it’s those same colors, only they’re magicians, supposedly.”


The latest season of the show, Kamen Rider OOO (Pronounced Os, like Cheerios) is a lighthearted over-the-top production with larger than life characters and a set of enemies that bleed coins. I’m not going to say it’s the height of literary entertainment, but I find it hard to not have a good time watching it. There’s a guy with a rocket launcher, and this guy who’s somehow a rich CEO even though all he does is make birthday cakes, and a carefree drifter cast in the role of the hero. Even though the show’s nothing more than a vehicle to sell toys, it’s still pretty damn fun to watch as an adult, because it captures everything that made Power Rangers great as a kid with the added benefit of blood and the threat of death, as well as more mature storylines that deal with more adult concepts. I’m trying to explain away my love for this idiocy with words, but this video from episode one can probably speak more for me.




Most episodes of most of the recent series can be downloaded from tvnihon.com, and I’d highly recommend this series for anybody who still yearns for the old rush that Power Rangers used to bring. There’s a lot of other installments to be found on that site, not to mention the latest in Power Rangers, if you want to see what I’m saying about how that series has gone down the tubes in the intervening years. Personally, I don’t see me outgrowing Kamen Rider anytime soon. Any series that puts a laser gun in a cell phone or decides that vending machines should turn into motorcycles feels like it’ll be good forever.

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I've heard of this, but knew nothing. I wasn't a fan of Power Rangers (just passed my age range), but know them (wasn't the Black Ranger missing a finger). After watching that video I feel like I took some drug. Some wonderful drug. It has the elements that I like in certain Anime. Fucking lunacy. I will try this... just not when using the internet from my phone. Thanks Mal.

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You should try Shinesman. But if you do, try the dub.

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