This past weekend, the penultimate episode of Kamen Rider Zi-O aired on Japanese TVs. After 20 years of Heisei Kamen Riders, we’ll be finally seeing the first Reiwa era Kamen Rider, Kamen Rider Zero One this weekend. As a kid, I’d watch Power Rangers, Saban’s Masked Rider and growing up they’d air dubbed episodes of Kamen Rider Ryuki onwards on televisions across Asia.
I’m sure everyone has their favourite amongst these 20 or so Riders. This month for So Japan’s month-end article, I’ll talk about my top 3 favourite Riders, and of course why I like them. There may be a different point of view than your usual Kamen Rider fan but if you don’t like my favourite, well you’re always welcome to share in the comments.
Mind you these are Riders as an individual, and not the TV series itself so while the show may be not…so ideal
Kamen Rider W: Philip and Shotaro Hidari
One of the first Neo-Heisei Riders and probably still my favourite of the bunch. Why have one protagonist, when you can have two! So Philip is the base on the Green right side, he has all the brains whereas Shotaro is the one on the Black right side, who has most of the raw fighting capabilities and brains…sometimes. Philip’s real name is Raito and Shotaro’s surname is Hidari, which means Left in Japanese so it’s really easy to remember.
Having two contrasting protagonists make for a very compelling hero to support and it also helps that the show itself was very structurally sound too. Many Heisei Rider fans are huge fans of the show itself and their very grounded in real character. The form changes are really easy to follow as well! I really liked having a USB as a transforming device too.
And before I leave. FYI, the actor for Philip is none-other than world-famous actor Masaki Suda! Yes our little boy grew up and now he’s famous not just in Japan but all over the world too! And it was all thanks to his debut role in Kamen Rider. Thanks, Kamen Rider!
Kamen Rider Faiz: Takumi Inui
Faiz is still one of my most memorable Kamen Riders mainly because I was in Secondary School while it was airing and i’d religiously watch it every week on TV! Takumi’s not your usual protagonist. He seems more aloof to others and cold at first look but he has a good heart! Since he’s part Orphenoch he tries to stay away from people but he eventually warms up to his friends and fully accepts his human side.
So why I really like Faiz is that his powers aren’t ridiculous but very grounded in science fiction. He doesn’t have any reality-altering powers or some super-giga-final form. He just has his Faiz suit at limiters off with Faiz Blaster Mode. As a Gundam fan, you’ll probably love Faiz for sure.
Recently with the airing of Kamen Rider Zi-O, he made a special two-part return with his buddy Kusaka, who is also Kamen Rider Kaixa. They, Kento Handa and Kohei Murakami even recorded a special album covering the theme song of the series together recently. Awww!
Kamen Rider Decade: Tsukasa Kadoya
Yes, of course, I pick the most over-powered (Oma Zi-O excluded) Heisei Rider on the list. Let’s be completely clear on this before we begin. In no way was the TV series in itself anywhere near the top 10, let alone top 5 of any best Kamen Rider list.
Assuming you have watched Zi-O already, you’re probably hard-pressed to argue with me. Let’s face it: Kamen Rider Zi-O is Kamen Rider Decade Season 2. His character was turned up to 11 for his grand return as the Destroyer of Worlds. Actor Masahiro Inoue used a more badass baritone which gave Tsukasa a little more oomph in the series. Did I mention he got alot better in his acting after 10 years??
And the best part is that he doesn’t even lose a single fight throughout the whole series…until he’s forcefully taken out of the fight of course. Kamen Rider Decade’s basically a fine wine that gets better with age. Just don’t tell him his color is pink.
Share with us what’s your favourite Kamen Rider as we prepare to welcome our newest Rider from this weekend. IWAE!, our newest weekly hero of the first year of the Reiwa Era, Kamen Rider Zero-One!