I'm sure most of you are familiar with Saban's "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers", it was the English language adaptation of Japan's "Super Sentai" series which has been running since the 70s. I don't think I need to say this, but obviously it was a big hit among kids in my generation and generations to come with "Power Rangers Samurai" currently on the air in Nickelodeon right now. This brings me to my question: Why couldn't Kamen Rider find the same success that Super Sentai found in the English speaking countries?
This is not to say that they didn't try, in fact, in 1995, Saban released "Masked Rider" in the States. "Masked Rider" was a series that used footage from the Japanese series "Kamen Rider Black RX" which was made in 1988. Of course, as was tradition with adaptations back then, the original story of Black RX had NOTHING in common with "Masked Rider" as the new series featured a completely rewrite of the plot and origins of Kamen Rider Black RX. I remember watching it as a kid, and the whole thing was odd and at times, confusing. With the main hero being an alien from outer space who came with a wacky pet alien named "Ferbus" who was all sorts of retarded, I just couldn't find much interest in the show.
Sure enough, years later I found out I wasn't alone, with fans of the original citing poor editing and just an overall retarded plot. Of course, I don't expect you to take my word for it, here's a youtube link to the first episode of the series.
"Masked Ri-DURRR" "Masked Ri-DURRR" Still watching it? What the hell is wrong with you? Here's part 2 then:
Rumor has it that Kamen Rider creator, Shotaro Ishinomori, was mad as hell at the adaption and banned any more series from suffering the same fate as Kamen Rider Black RX. Rumor was probably false, because in 2009 "Kamen Rider Dragon Knight" made it's debut on TV.
Interesting enough, they kept the word "Kamen" in the title, the original series being called "Kamen Rider Ryuki" of course. And, judging purely from the trailer above alone, it's a god damn masterpiece compared to "Masked Rider". The series was well-recieved, and even won a day-time Emmy for stunt coordination. It even had a video game released in the states! However, the series never got to air it's finale on TV. So all in all, it just wasn't that successful compared to Power Rangers franchise still running today.
And again, why not? Well, the Kamen Rider series probably doesn't resonate well with kids in english speaking countries probably because it's not goofy enough. It's almost always super serious business in Kamen Rider world! It's much closer to a drama in genre like NBC's "Heroes" then say the wacky camp of 1960s Batman. As for the series future? Perhaps that all relies on the overall success of "Power Rangers Samurai". "Kamen Rider Decade" has a crossover episode with the Samurai Sentai Shinkenger in the Japanese version, and if that episode ever gets adapted into english, we might see more Riders in English speaking countries. But that's a pretty big "MIGHT", I'm not so optimistic about it myself.
Oh well, I really need to get around to seeing "Kamen Rider Ryuki" myself! Have a good evening, folks...