Back before Saturday Night Showcase had a logo I brought you Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, the second attempt to give the Kamen Rider franchise the Power Rangers treatment, though this one wasn’t produced by Saban Entertainment. It also didn’t have the restrictions FOX forced on Saban when the parent groups went nuts about kids playing Power Rangers, as if kids never got hurt playing good guy/bad guy when they were kids. The show ended up being more action-based with a deeper plot, a running storyline, and just overall was much better. Too bad 4Kids and CW For Kids didn’t do a good job airing it, the final two episodes only airing online and still doesn’t have a full series home video release as far as I know, at least in the US.
However, tonight’s Showcase comes from the official Toei YouTube channel for their tokusatsu library and features the show Dragon Knight‘s action footage came from, Kamen Rider Ryuki. The two stories are almost completely different. There’s still a mirror world where monsters suck people into their reflective surfaces, only now we know it’s to feed. There is still a war between the mirror Kamen Riders, who make contracts with certain monsters, only it has nothing to do with mirror universe counterparts or an alien invasion. Our hero is Shinji Kido, intern for an online news site, who is dragged into the war when he finds a mysterious card deck in the home of a missing man, part of the site’s investigation into a strange rash of missing people. Only he has his reflective surfaces all covered. Shinji and his US counter part Kit Taylor couldn’t be more different but both are in over their heads. At least Kit wasn’t the only one looking to protect the monsters’ victims. Tonight I bring you the first two episodes of Ryuki from the Toei Tokusatsu World YouTube channel so we get to see Shinji get his colors. (In hindsight I probably should have done the same for Dragon Knight but I was still relatively new to this back then.
Turn on the closed captions to get the subtitles if you don’t understand Japanese and enjoy.
I notice that unlike the US version, this looks more like it was filmed with a video camera instead of the more TV/movie type camera used by Adness Entertainment for Dragon Knight. It makes the Japanese version look a bit cheaper frankly, and that seems to be how a lot of the modern Kamen Rider shows look. At least the effects aren’t too bad for 2002. Toei has gotten good at superhero show effects versus most US superhero live-action shows.
Toei Tokusatsu World Official will be slowly releasing the series, like they do with their other toku shows. There are other Kamen Rider shows coming out at the same time. I already showcased the original when Shout Factory released their subbed version of episode one. They also put out a few others I will be showing off this month…except for Kamen Rider Amazon. That show’s a bit too violent and freaky (in a bad way) for me. Stay tuned for more costumed dudes on motorcycles.