Heisei (平成?) is the current era in Japan after the Shōwa period. The Heisei era started on 8 January 1989, the first day after the death of the reigning Emperor, Hirohito. His son, Akihito, succeeded to the throne. In accordance with Japanese customs, Hirohito was posthumously renamed "Emperor Shōwa" on 31 January.
Being completely absent from television during the 1990s, the Kamen Rider franchise was kept alive mainly by stage shows, musical CDs, and the Shin, ZO, and J movies, though many fans classify the movies as part of the Showa series as they treat Shotaro Ishinomori's passing in 1998 as the end of the Showa era.
The Heisei revival of the Kamen Rider Series began with Kamen Rider Kuuga in 2000, this was noted in Kamen Rider Decade (2009), the tenth Heisei era series which initally united the first nine Heisei series, also giving focus on the Shōwa period despite being only 38 years since the start of the series due to Decade's position as the 25th Rider hero.
Aside from the Showa and Heisei era, there is a third era recognised by some fans within the Heisei era, known as the "Neo-Heisei" era, it containing the post-Kamen Rider Decade series installments which started with Kamen Rider W (2009-2010).
Kamen Rider in the Heisei eraEdit
- continued from Kamen Rider in the Showa era
Being completely absent from television during the 1990s, the franchise was kept alive mainly by stage shows, musical CDs, and the Shin, ZO, and J movies, though many fans classify the movies as part of the Showa series as they treat Ishinomori's passing the pinnacle of the Showa era. Toei announced its new project, Kamen Rider, in May of 1999. Kuuga was part of a Kamen Rider revival project that Ishinomori had worked on in 1997, planning for a leadup into the 30th anniversary. However, Ishinomori passed away before he could see these shows materialize. During the summer of 1999, Kuuga became publicized through magazine ads and commercials. On January 30, 2000, Kamen Rider Kuuga premiered to high ratings, introducing rookie actor Joe Odagiri.
Kuuga was followed by the anniversary series, Kamen Rider Agito, which began several trends throughout the Heisei Series: multiple Kamen Riders (Agito featured 4: Agito, Gills, G3, and Another Agito); the ending theme playing during the climactic scene instead of the end credits (this would be briefly broken in Hibiki with Akira Fuse's songs); and the relationship to Honda for the Kamen Riders' motorcycles and other motor vehicles.
The third series in the Heisei era was Kamen Rider Ryuki, which began the relationship with the record label Avex Group and its artists to perform theme songs for the series, such as ISSA of DA PUMP for 555, Nanase Aikawa for Blade, YU-KI of TRF for Kabuto, and AAA for Den-O, as well as the introduction of the group RIDER CHIPS, deemed the official band of Kamen Rider. Using the concept of thirteen Riders, Ryuki took a turn away from previous series, however, resulting in lower than expected ratings. The series and franchise as a whole was helped to continue in large part due to the toy sales of Kamen Rider Ryuki. The next series, Kamen Rider 555 (pronounced Phi's), continued with strong toy sales and slightly lower ratings than Ryuki.
The fifth and six series were plagued with behind the scenes problems. Kamen Rider Blade has become the second lowest rated Kamen Rider series as well as being noted for poor toy sales. The Riders transform using Undead Cards to seal more Undead and power up into various forms. During the course of the series, the main writer and director crew were fired to allow franchise veterans to return as main writers. Kamen Rider Hibiki, the sixth series, became one of the most controversial series in the history of the franchise. Introducing new themes and taking on a different look, while the series broke the chain of each series having lower ratings than the last since Agito, its toy sales were relatively low. As with Blade, a new directing and writing team was brought onto the show during the midterm of the series.
In 2005, Kamen Rider The First was produced. Written by Toshiki Inoue, the film was an original reimagining of both the manga and original television series. Various characters from the original series had their storylines altered to fit the time span of the movie. Masaya Kikawada portrays Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1 and Hassei Takano (previously Miyuki Tezuka/Kamen Rider Raia in Kamen Rider Ryuki) as Hayato Ichimonji/Kamen Rider 2.
In 2006, Kamen Rider Kabuto, the seventh series, celebrated the 35th anniversary of the show. The series brought back many conventional aesthetic conventions of the Kamen Rider legacy with bug-themed designs. The main Riders were Kabuto, Gatack, TheBee, Sasword, Drake, Kick Hopper and Punch Hopper. Kabuto was one of the most successful Heisei-era Kamen Rider series.
The year 2007 brought Kamen Rider Den-O, the eighth series, taking a turn from past Kamen Rider series, introducing a Kamen Rider that is completely unsure of himself. The series makes use of a large vehicle, the DenLiner; a bullet train that can travel through time that also houses weaponry designed to combat the giant versions of Imagin (this series' kaijin) called Gigandeaths. This series only had two Riders, Den-O and Zeronos, but they had multiple forms that they could switch between, similar to BLACK RX, Kuuga, and Agito. Due to the large popularity of Den-O, a second theatrical production, crossing over with the 2008 series Kamen Rider Kiva, was released in theaters April 12, 2008, becoming the top film in its opening weekend. In addition, Animate produced an OVA titled Imagin Anime that features SD versions of the Imagin that are contracted to Den-O and Zeronos that have been featured in the company's other Den-O products. Finally, a third movie, called Saraba Kamen Rider Den-O: Final Countdown with two more new Riders serves as an epilogue to the series. The third original film was the first for any series. Takeru Satoh, the actor who portrayed the lead character of Den-O for the television series and first three films, claims that this is because of the series' comedy.
There was also a sequel to Kamen Rider The First in 2007, entitled Kamen Rider The Next, based on the events of Kamen Rider V3. It featured Kazuki Kato (previously Kamen Rider Drake in Kabuto) portraying Kamen Rider V3). Kikawada and Takano reprise their roles as Hongo/Kamen Rider 1 and Ichimonji/Kamen Rider 2.
In 2009, Kamen Rider Decade, was introduced as a tenth anniversery for the Heisei Era, featuring the title character traveling to other worlds to save them and recover his memories. To commemorate this milestone, Japanese recording artist Gackt was brought onto the project to perform the series' opening theme "Journey through the Decade", and later the film's theme song "The Next Decade". Gackt also jokingly expressed interest in portraying a villain in the show. Also announced in 2009 was a fourth film for Den-O, later revealed to be the beginning of the Cho-Den-O Series of films, starting with the film Cho Kamen Rider Den-O & Decade Neo Generations: The Onigashima Warship. There are two movies that serve as an epilouge: Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker and Kamen Rider Decade: Final Chapter. This series is noted for having the shortest running time as a television series, running for only 31 episodes compared to other series, who have run generally for over 40 episodes. In the March 2009 issue of Kindai magazine, Decade's lead actor Masahiro Inoue stated that Decade was only slated to run for 30 episodes.
Advertisements throughout the months of May, June, and July 2009 built up to the debut of Kamen Rider W who was introduced as the eleventh addition of the Heisei Era, first appearing at the 10th Anniversary Project MASKED RIDER LIVE & SHOW event, and was featured in Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker. The title characters star as detectives investigating crime waves about kaijin known as Dopants in the fictional city of Futo. Like much of the previous entries of the Heisei Era, the titular Rider, Kamen Rider Double, can transform into multiple forms, using devices shaped like USB hard drives called Gaia Memories. The Dopants that they fight are really people that use unrefined Gaia Memories for their own purposes. Double is also the first Kamen Rider to transform from two people at once. This series is also the first instance where the show airs on the same day it's predecessor (in this case, Decade) airs it's finale. The series premiered on September 6, 2009. Continuing into 2010 with Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider W & Decade: Movie War 2010, W ran for a full year from September 2009 to September 2010, instead of January to January. Also in 2010 were the second, third, and fourth films of the Cho-Den-O Series, collectively known as Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider The Movie: Cho-Den-O Trilogy. Along with Den-O and Kabuto, it became one of the most successful Heisei Kamen Rider series.
In late 2010, Kamen Rider OOO was introduced as the twelfth addition of the Heisei Era Kamen Rider Series. The title character is a world traveler that is pulled into a fight with kaijin called the Greeed that was resurrected from a 800-year sleep to find themselves incomplete by such a Greeed, reduced to the status of a forearm, who gives him the means to transform into Kamen Rider OOO. Like Kamen Riders BLACK RX to Agito, and Den-O to Double, Kamen Rider OOO can change forms, but unlike the others, OOO can transform using three Core Medals, special coin-based artifacts based on animals that make up a Greeed's ability to stay alive without falling apart. There are nine Core Medals for each set, three each designated for Head, Arms, or Legs. As so far, OOO has the most transformations in Kamen Rider history, having able to use a possible 126 different combinations of Core Medals.
The year 2011 celebrated the 40th anniversary of the franchise. The festivities included the Kamen Rider Girls idol group, the film OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Rider, released on April 1, 2011, and OOO's successor Kamen Rider Fourze, which references the previous heroes in its characters' names and within the plot. A special crossover film titled Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen was released in 2012, featuring the main heroes from all Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series produced until then.
Heisei Rider productionsEdit
- Kamen Rider Kuuga (仮面ライダークウガ Kamen Raidā Kūga?) (2000-2001)
- Kamen Rider Agito (仮面ライダーアギト Kamen Raidā Agito?, Masked Rider ΑGITΩ) (2001-2002)
- Kamen Rider Ryuki (仮面ライダー龍騎 Kamen Raidā Ryūki?) (2002-2003)
- Kamen Rider 555 (仮面ライダー555（ファイズ） Kamen Raidā Faizu?, Masked Rider Φ's) (2003-2004)
- Kamen Rider Blade (仮面ライダー剣（ブレイド） Kamen Raidā Bureido?, Masked Rider ♠) (2004-2005)
- Kamen Rider Hibiki (仮面ライダー響鬼（ヒビキ） Kamen Raidā Hibiki?) (2005-2006)
- Kamen Rider Kabuto (仮面ライダーカブト Kamen Raidā Kabuto?) (2006-2007)
- Kamen Rider Den-O (仮面ライダー電王 Kamen Raidā Den'ō?) (2007-2008)
- Kamen Rider Kiva (仮面ライダーキバ Kamen Raidā Kiba?) (2008-2009)
- Kamen Rider Decade (仮面ライダーディケイド Kamen Raidā Dikeido?, Masked Rider DCD) (2009)
- Kamen Rider W (仮面ライダーＷ（ダブル） Kamen Raidā Daburu?) (2009-2010) - first series of the "Neo-Heisei" era
- Kamen Rider OOO (仮面ライダーＯＯＯ（オーズ） Kamen Raidā Ōzu?) (2010-2011)
- Kamen Rider Fourze (仮面ライダーフォーゼ Kamen Raidā Fōze?) (2011-2012)
- Kamen Rider Wizard (仮面ライダーウィザード Kamen Raidā Uizādo?) (2012-2013)
- 1993: Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider (Co-production with Tsuburaya Productions)
- 2000: Kamen Rider Kuuga: New Year's Special
- 2001: Kamen Rider Agito Special: Another New Henshin
- 2002: Kamen Rider Ryuki Special: 13 Riders
- 2004: Kamen Rider Blade: New Generation
- 2006: 35th Masked Rider Anniversary File
- 2009: Kamen Rider G
- 1992: Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue
- 1993: Kamen Rider ZO (1)
- 1994: Kamen Rider J (1)
- 1994: Kamen Rider World - 3-D theme park special
- 2001: Kamen Rider Agito: Project G4
- 2002: Kamen Rider Ryuki: Episode Final
- 2003: Kamen Rider 555: Paradise Lost
- 2004: Kamen Rider Blade: Missing Ace
- 2005: Kamen Rider Hibiki & The Seven Senki
- 2005: Kamen Rider The First
- 2006: Kamen Rider Kabuto: God Speed Love
- 2007: Kamen Rider Den-O: I'm Born!
- 2007: Kamen Rider The Next
- 2008: Kamen Rider Den-O & Kiva: Climax Deka
- 2008: Kamen Rider Kiva: King of the Castle in the Demon World
- 2008: Saraba Kamen Rider Den-O: Final Countdown
- 2009: Cho Kamen Rider Den-O & Decade NEO Generations: The Onigashima Battleship
- 2009: Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker
- 2009: Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider W & Decade: Movie War 2010
- Kamen Rider Decade: The Last Story
- Kamen Rider W: Begins Night
- Movie War 2010
- 2010: Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider The Movie: Cho-Den-O Trilogy
- Episode Red: Zero no Star Twinkle
- Episode Blue: The Dispatched Imagin is Newtral
- Episode Yellow: Treasure de End Pirates
- 2010: Kamen Rider W Forever: A to Z/The Gaia Memories of Fate
- 2010: Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider OOO & W Featuring Skull: Movie War Core
- Kamen Rider Skull: Message for Double
- Kamen Rider OOO: Nobunaga's Desire
- Movie War Core
- 2011: OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders
- 2011: Kamen Rider OOO WONDERFUL: The Shogun and the 21 Core Medals
- 2011: Kamen Rider x Kamen Rider Fourze & OOO Movie War Megamax
- Kamen Rider OOO
- Futo: The Conspiracy Advances
- Kamen Rider Fourze
- Movie War Mega Max
- 2012: Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen
- 2012: Kamen Rider Fourze the Movie: Everyone, Space Is Here!
- 2012: Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze: Movie War Ultimatum
- Kamen Rider Fourze
- Kamen Rider Wizard
- Movie War Ultimatum
- 2013: Kamen Rider × Super Sentai × Space Sheriff: Super Hero Taisen Z