Kamen Rider - at the end of Heisei era

Discussion in 'Henshin Justice Unlimited' started by Kamen Rider IXA, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Kamen Rider IXA

    Kamen Rider IXA Lurker

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    We had a thread about Sentai recently, so let's talk about Kamen Riders.
    New Reiwa era is coming, so we're leaving behind Two Phases of Heisei Kamen Riders with 20 series in total (and also various spin-offs).
    Which "phase" of the Heisei era do you prefer? What are your most and least favourite series and why? What do you think of the direction franchise has taken since 2000? What would you like to see in Reiwa era Kamen Rider?
  2. SamuraiEchidna

    SamuraiEchidna Member

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    I actually prefer Phase 2.

    There were some exceptions to be sure, but for the most part, it seems like Phase 1 was defined by rivalries between the title Rider, 2nd Rider, and any other auxiliary Riders from the show. They even made reference to this in Decade, in a subtle way. And while I might be okay with that from time to time, it got really annoying after a while. I began to miss the days when Riders could get along with each other but still have their solo stories. In some ways, I feel like Blade had the best balance. It knew when to make characters be rivals/enemies, but knew when to make them come together as comrades, and most of those times were pretty well explained in the plot of the show. In other shows, like Den-O for example, it just felt Yuto/Zeronos was antagonistic for little to no reason. (Granted, it's been a while. I only saw Den-O once with TV-Nihon's translation. I may need to see it again with a better translation.) And speaking of Den-O, we can't forget how that show become so popular that is had to butt in on a bunch of other Rider's spotlight when Den-O should have ended a while back. I am STILL convinced to this day that Kiva only had a time-travel aspect because of Den-O, and you cannot convince me otherwise that Kiva would have been a LOT better without it. ...Except for the Kiva movie. It was actually handled pretty well in that. But that's the one exception I'll allow.

    Phase 2 was a breath of fresh air. Hardly anyone argues over how great Double was, and I feel like that show really set the tone for future Rider shows going forward. OOO was simple and fun (I thought it was way more fun than Den-O, honestly). Fourze was all about friendship, and maybe it's just me, but I can forgive the school setting since everything else seem to make up for it. Gaim and Ex-Aid both managed to tell very good and gripping stories, despite the silly designs and motifs of the Rider suits. Drive was fun and unexpectedly well written. And to me, Build (and so far, Zi-O) have been the perfect way to conclude the era. The only outliers were Wizard and Ghost. Both of those had very promising beginnings and stayed consistently good for the most part. It was either the latter half or the end of the show that became less than satisfying. But if "kinda-lame" is the only aspect I can bring against the show, then I'll count it as more of a positive. We had a connected universe with the Phase 2 Riders, much like the MCU. And minus a few awkward movies here and there, all signs point to a fitting final act for Heisei Kamen Rider.

    What will Phase 3 entail? Only time will tell. I am hoping that, if the Kamen Rider franchise is still around for many years to come (I've heard some pessimistic rumors about that), they will learn more from Phase 2 than Phase 1. I hope there will be more genuinely good and genuinely fun shows than bad or lame. And I hope the future is filled with bright possibilities! Who knows, maybe some day the old Kamen Rider series (Showa or Phase 1 Heisei) will be legally licensed for home release in America. :)
  3. Dr Kain

    Dr Kain Member

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    I think both phases are equal in quality, though the first phase was superior as far as tone was concerned.

    P1 Good:


    P2 Good:

  4. raden238

    raden238 Member

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    Phase 1 was better to me. They had more memorable storytelling and eccentric protagonists (Tendou and Tsukasa). Phase 2 had its moments but overall just didn't have the same unique and distinctive feel as Phase 1.

    Here is my recommendation/favorites list:
    All Phase 1 shows besides Hibiki.

    Phase 2:
    W, OOO, and Gaim

    These shows should be on a must-watch list for Rider Fans.
  5. Kamen Rider IXA

    Kamen Rider IXA Lurker

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    And here's Japanese opinion on Heisei shows

    A bit surprising in places.

    As for me, I always was a Phase 1 guy. It really appealed to me when I started watching this franchise (which was during Kiva), and while I'm way more critical towards many of series from that time right now, I will still take most of them over the bulk of Phase 2.
    It took me a while to warm up to W, Fourze and Wizard (and frankly only W is what I call a 100% solid series during Phase 2 first half), and I still can't get over how disappointingly dull and boring OOO and Drive were. Gaim is good, but it kinda shoots itself in the foot during second half. Ex-Aid and Build are the ones that both in their own way came closest to being perfect Kamen Rider series for me, but still suffered from big issues which I just can not overlook. I just think Phase 2 in general suffers from being too same-y and gimmicky. Almost every series has to be a light-hearted wacky comedy, full of painfully unfunny jokes and tension breakers. I don't hate Den-O itself (making a full-on comedic series at the time was a welcome change), but I abosolutely hate what it did to the franchise. If not for Gaim, I think we still would be doing "Den-O + W" formula yearly.
    I don't know, I just feel like Phase 1 was more experimental in what it could accomplish with the franchise. There are still no shows quite like Kuuga or Agito, Ryuki was a far cry from either of them, and 555 in turn was equally different from Ryuki. Even less inspired series like Kiva still had things that set them apart from other ones. Kabuto is the only Phase 1 series I could think of that didn't really tried to do... well, anything substantial.
    Phase 2 in comparison feels limited and "controlled" by Toei's desperate desire to turn this franchise into "cool comedy anime". Fourze, Drive and first arc of Ex-Aid are probably the ones that showcase how bad it looks the most.

    We didn't though. Shirakura himself said that all these crossover moves are non-canon and only TV matters (of course, Drive's Taisen is actually in-canon with TV Series, making both it and Kamen Rider 4 (including Takumi's death) canon, but he clearly doesn't care about insignificant things like these).
    And even if they were canon, I'd disagree about them being a good thing. I did a rewatch of all Heisei movies last year and it's clear how little effort went into making these crossovers. One movie Kamen Riders and Super Sentai teams exist in the same universe, next they are from different ones. The whole point of any canon is consistency. Taisens are just Toei's excuse to throw everything at the wall in hope that at least something sticks. So we get hot garbage like GP3 Taisen, which tried to replace V3 with Gary Stue as "the real Kamen Rider Sango" down to the scenes where he effortlessly beats up V3 and Riderman, because isn't he the coolest and strongest Kamen Rider ever? Yeah, no. Screw this shit.
    It all started with Decade and coutntinued throughout the entire Phase 2. Crossovers only started to get good during Ghost/Ex-Aid (and they still had at least one big stinker each), because at that point Toei producers must have caught on that no one cares about endless new cool OP characters and pointless Rider Wars. All people want from these dumb crossovers are cool character interactions and Riders doing shit together. So we got a few decent team-ups (with Heisei Final probably being the best one so far). Unfortunely then Zi-O happened and It feels like we back in early Taisen days again. And since none of these Taisens are canon now, what's the bloody point?
  6. Dr Kain

    Dr Kain Member

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    Except we are clearly shown that OOO, W, and Fourze ARE in the same universe in their own TV series.

    Also, the OOO/Fourze crossover movie was by far the best crossover of the entire Neo-Heisei era.

    Anything with Ghost in its name is instantly dogshit.
  7. Kamen Rider IXA

    Kamen Rider IXA Lurker

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    OOO doesn't really have any connections in the series. We're shown Foundation X developing medals (or something) at the end of W, but it doesn't affect OOO itself or play any role there, The only times W and OOO interact are during events of W Movie and Movie War Core. Both are integral parts of W, but OOO portion of Movie War isn't canon. That's what I mean by inconsistent continuity. With the way Toei usually treats canon, tomorrow they may decide that W and Fourze had different versions of Foundation X for all we know.

    OOO's portion was essentially an Aqua movie feat OOO, which already makes it less than stellar (and OOO is one of those series that really could have used a proper conclusion). Not to mention both Aqua and Nadesico were one-note characters at best and didn't really deserve all the attention (Aqua himself didn't even matter to the overal story in the slightest and you can cut his character entirely out of the movie), especially since they sideline pretty much every character who isn't a MC. I don't hate Megamax or anything, but I never understood why so many people go crazy about it. It's better than Core or Ultimatum, but it's not a particularly high bar. I don't even remember what villian's plan was or anything in particular about him, aside from him being an ex-Foundation X guy. The best thing about Megamax for me is that Sanjo somehow finds a way to make Eiji likeable (instead of his usual obnoxious self) in actual Megamax portion of the movie.

    Ex-Aid and Ghost Heisei Generations Movie was pretty good. I also liked that Legendary Riders' Souls mini-series. It was a fanservice fluff, but still leagues above usual KR crossovers.
  8. SamuraiEchidna

    SamuraiEchidna Member

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    EDIT: Forgot to add this part...
    In some ways, that list does not surprise me. The popularity of Den-O is just something that never really translated all that well for me, but I understand and recognize that it was a thing and managed to sneak its way into early Phase 2 of the Heisei era. I can't really accurately guess the reasons behind the other ones on that list without making a wild guess. I am surprised at the lack of Phase 2 Rider shows, though. Either the Japanese audience is just looking for something different in their Rider shows, or maybe age and availability have something to do with it.

    If the creators can't be consistent about what crossovers are and are not canon, should it even matter? It's all framed in a way that the audience gets to decide for themselves anyways. But since Phase 1 kept driving on crossovers to the point where even I could compare it to the MCU, then I'm going to count it. If they wanted us to know that they were non-canon, then they should have either relegated the crossovers to easily dismissed cameos only, or they shouldn't have even bothered in the first place. There is a time when you have to take what the author says with a grain of salt, even if that means dismissing the author from the works, and this might be one of those times. I'm not going to convince anyone if the crossovers were a good thing or not, all I can do is speak for myself, and I loved it.

    I'll admit, when it comes to things like Kamen Rider crossing over with Super Sentai and other things, that by nature is ridiculous all ready and shouldn't be treated as possibly canon. The only ones that could be considered canon are crossovers between two or more Rider shows. Usually, but not always, those crossovers and cameos tend to compliment each other much better. The only Rider that wasn't from the exact same universe as the other Phase 2 Riders was Build. Though for the most part, they did a proper job of explaining this.
    And even by the end of the show, they merged their universe with the primary Kamen Rider universe so that Build could also be part of it. I'm not sure why they had to make Build the one multiverse outlier like this, but it no longer matters.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019

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