Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: Kamen Rider

Kamen Rider is a tokusatsu superhero television series and weekly science fiction manga created by manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori. It debuted on television on April 3, 1971, and ran until February 10, 1973 (98 episodes). The series has evolved into a franchise with many subsequent annual iterations. The cultural impact of the series in Japan resulted in astronomer Akimasa Nakamura naming two minor planets in honor of the series: 12408 Fujioka, after actor Hiroshi Fujioka, known for his portrayal of Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider 1, and 12796 Kamenrider, after the series itself.

The series takes place in a world plagued by Shocker, a mysterious terrorist organization. To further its plans for world domination, Shocker recruited its agents through kidnapping, turning their victims into mutant cyborgs and, ultimately, brainwashing them. However, one victim named Takeshi Hongo escaped just before the final brainwashing. With his sanity and moral conscience intact, Hongo battled Shocker’s minions as the grasshopper-themed altered human superhero Kamen Rider. Another victim of the altered human process, freelance photographer Hayato Ichimonji, became Kamen Rider 2 after Kamen Rider, who renamed himself as “Kamen Rider 1”, saved him from Shocker’s brainwashing. Assisted by motorcycle race team manager Tobei Tachibana and FBI agent Kazuya Taki, the Kamen Riders fought in both solo and partnered missions against Shocker and its successor organization, Gel-Shocker.

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