Kamen Rider Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary With a New Movie, Anime Series, and More

Illustration for article titled Kamen Rider Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary With a New Movie, Anime Series, and More
Image: Toei Productions

It’s been 50 long years since Takeshi Hongo put on the grasshopper-themed mask and fought the terrorist organization Shocker. Since there, that have been more than 30 TV Kamen Rider series, over 60 movies, and countless specials, videos, and more. Now, for the Japanese superhero franchise’s 50th anniversary, Kamen Rider is doing something new—or should I say, “shin”?

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Shin is the Japanese word for “new,” so I suppose either is fine, but Shin Kamen Rider is the title of the upcoming movie which will be written and directed by Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno, who’s also known for writing and directing Shin Godzilla with Shinji Higuchi, and will be making a Shin Ultraman movie with the director as well. (The man likes his Shins, especially considering that in Japan, the Evangelion rebuild movies are released under the Shin Evangelion banner.) We don’t really know anything about it other than it’s obviously a reboot, it’s been in production for six years and, thanks to the pandemic, is now due out in 2023. We do, however, have this utterly rad poster for it:

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Image: Toei Productions

However, that’s not all that’s shin! Kamen Rider is also getting its very first anime series! Fuuto PI will air simultaneously in Japan and on the anime streaming service Funimation in summer 2022. It’s an adaptation of the 2017 (and still going) manga of the same name, which is itself a sequel to the 2009 TV series Kamen Rider W (pronounced “double”). Fuuto refers to the name of the windmill-filled city the show is set in, where private investigator Shotaro Hidari works when he’s not fusing with the mysterious Philip to become Kamen Rider W and save the day.

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Image: Toei Productions

There’s also a new spinoff series in the form of Kamen Rider Black Sun, a reboot of the 1987 series Kamen Rider Black. Directed by Kazuya Shiraishi, it sounds like it’s going to be dark and gritty—the official site says it “aims to appeal to adult viewers” in the vein of the recent Kamen Rider Amazons. The original series was already rather tragic, as it featured two stepbrothers who get kidnapped by a criminal cult, cyborgized, and brainwashed. However, one escapes the latter bit, and vows to save his brother as Kamen Rider Black—while the other becomes the cult’s most powerful warrior.

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Finally, Shout Factory has announced two new Kamen Rider shows are coming to its “Tokushoutsu” streaming service, 2002's Kamen Rider Ryuki and last year’s Kamen Rider Zero-One. These are two interesting choices, partially because Ryuki got a U.S. adaptation as Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight in 2009, but mostly because Zero-One came out in 2020—it’s effectively brand-new, but most of the Kamen Rider series Shout’s been airing have been classics, i.e. old. The streamer getting its hands on a recent series could be a sign of more good things to come, especially since Shout will also release Zero-One on Blu-ray.

Overall, it’s a hell of an anniversary party for the masked heroes. It’s only a shame we won’t be getting the biggest present until 2023.

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Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

DISCUSSION

I’ve been wondering something. is Kamen Rider in a trench coat a thing that’s been done before or is it new imagery?