Review: How Kamen Rider Fourze Introduced Me to the Other Tokusatsu Franchise (and Helped Fill My Power Rangers Void… Of Course)

With my interest in Japanese tokusatsu at an all-time high after finishing Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, Tensou Sentai Goseiger and now nearing the conclusion of Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, I thought it was about time I checked out the other big tokusatsu franchise.

Kamen Rider Fourze was actually not meant to be my first Kamen Rider season. I had originally wanted to jump into the franchise with the last complete season, Kamen Rider OOO so I could marathon through it. But it just happened to be the same weekend Fourze was premiering so I decided to just check it out first.

Now I’ve been watching the GokaigerFourze pair every week for the last 19 weeks and Fourze has ended up being my introduction into the world of Riders. (The ShinkengerDecade crossover notwithstanding.)

And what an introduction.

Kamen Rider Fourze is a crazy, fun mix of over-the-top slapstick and camp with kick-ass action and intriguing mystery. (And to get the worn out Power Rangers Samurai slam out of the way…) It has that perfect balance that Saban Brands could definitely learn from.

Much like Goseiger, Kamen Rider Fourze may seem campy and childish on the surface, but it balances that with a dark side, a more serious and mysterious undercurrent that works to ground both aspects of the series.

But what I’ve learned so far is that the Kamen Rider franchise has a much different production and style from Super Sentai. A different and unique sensibility that I was pleasantly surprised to find.

Kamen Rider Fourze tells the story of Gentaro Kisaragi, a kind-hearted troublemaker who transfers to Amanogawa High School and aims to make friends with everyone he meets. And it is because of his overly-friendly nature that he becomes Kamen Rider Fourze.

At the school he reunites with his cheerful childhood friend Yuki who introduces him to Kengo. Kengo isn’t much of a people person. After losing his scientist father at a lunar space station, he finds a portal at the high school that leads him to the Rabbit Hutch, the sole remnants of the lunar base his father had worked in. There he finds and learns about the powerful Astro Switches, developed by his father, that are used in the Fourze Driver transformation belt.

And using the Astro Switches and Fourze Driver, Gentaro, Kengo, Yuki and a slowly assembled Kamen Rider Club work to defeat the Zodiarts who have their own Switches they use for evil.

A Different Experience
I enjoy what Fourze brings to the table. I gather that Kamen Rider’s approach to action is very different from Super Sentai. Kamen Rider, at least Fourze so far, seems a little more slick and polished while Super Sentai feels a little more old school and traditional. Which is by no means a knock on either franchise. In fact, I very much appreciate the difference. That uniqueness adds to the enjoyment and excitement of watching.

In addition to the action, Fourze‘s setting is prime for the show’s comedic and sometimes satirical high school hijinks that definitely sets it apart.

I had actually seen a handful of episodes of the one and done (and 2nd attempt at) American Kamen Rider adaptation, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. And like its Japanese counterpart, it set itself apart from the Power Rangers franchise, in part for its ambition.

It was an admirable attempt and that ambition and effort is more than I can say for Power Rangers Samurai. (There I go again.)

I’m In
But back to what’s important. Kamen Rider Fourze has been an excellent introduction into the franchise for me. Kind of like my experience with Samurai Sentai Shinkenger as my first full Super Sentai season, Fourze has given me a great first impression and I am excited for more. With an incredibly likeable (and good looking!) cast, fun, balanced writing, slick production and exciting action, I can fully endorse Kamen Rider Fourze to anyone looking for more tokusatsu fun.

Now on to Kamen Rider OOO. =]

0 thoughts on “Review: How Kamen Rider Fourze Introduced Me to the Other Tokusatsu Franchise (and Helped Fill My Power Rangers Void… Of Course)

  1. Fourze IS childish. It is NOT serious and has NO dark elements. You cant judge the whole franchise just because youve only seen a small portion of the franchise? In fact pretty much all the KR series in the past 5-6 yrs are very similar to power rangers which i find is a disgrace to the older KR series like black, kuuga, agito, faiz and blade which definitely makes fourze look like a show for 3yr olds. If childish shows are what youre into i cant blame you but seriously youre being ignorant if you thin fourze and ooo are serious, have dark elements and a polished story.

    1. Well, i didn’t say Fourze was serious. I said it was slapstick and campy, comedic and satirical. It definitely has a darker undercurrent, you’ve got an evil principal using students as evil experiments/foot soldiers. That’s not childish. But that’s also the same for any Power Rangers or Sentai series. I never said it was a polished story, I said it had a slick, polished production. Its production style is different from Sentai (before Go-busters). A children’s show can have slick production. The only generality I gathered from Fourze about the franchise was that it had a completely different sensibility from Sentai and made me want to watch more Kamen Rider.

  2. I’m a childhood fan of the Kamen Rider series (start was Kamen Rider Black), I agree with everything you just said. Fred’s right on a few points, but however, calling you ignorant about it is a sign that he’s a troll, throughout the entire series of Kamen Rider, it’s story has been ‘lightly’ dark, Black was the one that made stories darker at later series, like Kuuga, Agito, Faiz, Blade, nojt sure about Hibiki. Kabuto is more philosphical and moral, though it did contain dark stories, it’s more moral than philisophical than anything (which is a great!), Den-O just hilarious and it’s been successful in Japan due to it’s timing of it’s comedy. Fourze combines both a lot of Den-O’s comedic timing and the ye old storyline back in the Showa series in a more… high school setting.

  3. I like fourze but kamen rider ooo will always be my favourite it was the first one I ever watched without skipping episodes I mean I like Fourze it’s just it’s the that Ryosuke-chan played Ankh-kun and Shu-San played Eiji but Gen-San is so funny but not when Ankh scared Shotaro by being a floating hand.

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