Note: This is an opinion article from Magmix about some of the unique Kamen Rider designs during the Heisei era.
The Kamen Rider series is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Designs that become more unique as time passes are a yearly topic. Kamen Rider designs continue to change and are often met with compliments but also criticism. Looking back at designs that were criticized at first, we can feel how the designs became “cool” among fans.
Kamen Rider’s grasshopper motif is famous. The creator, Shotaro Ishinomori, really wanted to draw the character with a skull motif, but it was considered bad for children. A grasshopper can give off a similar feeling was selected instead.
On the official Ishimori Productions website, it’s stated grasshoppers were chosen because “I want a punch,” or an impactful design. But in the recent Kamen Rider series, there are many “punches,” and many designs that have pros and cons among fans.
In the 50 year history of Kamen Rider, Riders with unique designs often appear. One that became popular known was 2009’s Kamen Rider W. This is considered as “Heisei’s 2nd-period” series until Kamen Rider ZI-O. Before that, Riders had concepts outside of insects, but the design was an orthodox evolution according to the time.
At the beginning of the “Heisei 2nd period,” Kamen Rider W was popular when the silhouette was revealed because it was a simple style. Fans were surprised when the whole body with color was revealed with different colors on each half of the body.
However, Kamen Rider Fourze’s reveal was a hot topic, especially the helmet shape. Since the theme of the show is “Space,” the head has a shape replicating a spaceship. However, at the time, it was ridiculed as a “squid head” or “suppository” on SNS. Over time, many viewers became accustomed to it, and it eventually became a “cool” design. Thanks to Fourze, more fans became receptive to “strange” designs.
Five years after Fourze was broadcast, Kamen Rider Ex-Aid became controversial again. One of the cons was Ex-Aid’s helmet’s eyes.
In Kamen Rider helmets, “compound eyes” similar to insects are often used, but Ex-Aid had its “eyes” drawn onto the goggles, which made it look like a game character. The Level 1 form also used flashy coloring and a unique look that broke the norms.
Whether a design is cool or not is up to individuals, but the popularity also depends on the story. There were many talking about Kamen Rider Ex-Aid.
In 2018, Kamen Rider ZI-O also became a hot topic because it was the last Heisei work, but the helmet had a clock design. The design of the mask expresses a clock with the hands of the clock and the characters “Raida-” in Katakana. The secondary Rider, Kamen Rider Geiz, has “Raida-” written in Hiragana on his helmet. The design was innovative to many.
The change in eye designs could be seen in 2002 with Kamen Rider Ryuki. The Riders had Western knight inspiration with compound eyes peeking from behind a mesh iron mask. Many who grew up watching from the beginning of the Heisei series thought it was a “cool” design.
However, some who enjoyed Showa Riders believed that Kamen Rider Ryuki’s designs were “ridiculous” at the time. Riders of the Heisei era may have had designs that were too unique and make too much of an impact for children.”
Some may have believed that Kamen Rider Zero One returned to more simple roots, but Kamen Rider Saber, which is currently airing, has an unique appearance.
Article Sources MagMix