Why I Prefer Most New School Kamen Riders Over Most Old School Kamen Riders
I usually prefer old school Super Sentai (depending on which era) while I like Kyuranger's new writing formula. I thought about new school Kamen Rider and why I don't even feel that generation gap. The Heisei era is pretty much a new era where Kamen Rider Kuuga is pretty much an ambitious "reboot" of the Kame Rider franchise. It redefined how Kamen Rider will be written. No more stupid villains who rant nonsense about how they'll take over the world with convoluted plots. Kamen Rider has become more of a J-Drama since Kuuga up to present. While the Showa era is honored but the new era is pretty much a redefined version of Kamen Rider. Not all Kamen Rider series are perfect and I admit that I still think Kamen Rider Decade was really a weak point in the Kamen Rider franchise but I admit that post-Decade series are still good in their own way.
I decided to watch more of the old school Kamen Riders to check out how they did. I grew up watching Kamen Rider Black. Kamen Rider Black RX is still miles above Saban's Mashed Rider which I think both Toei and Saban are probably still regretting why they even let it exist. I decided to watch Kamen Rider Amazon, Kamen Rider Stronger and Kamen Rider Super-1 but none of them really give me that much satisfaction as new school Kamen Riders. Sure I grew up with watching Gorgom make really deadly but also very convoluted plans to take over the world but that didn't set much of a standard with Super Sentai villains. Another issue I might have is that sometimes you needed to watch the predecessor to understand the successor. Most Kamen Riders back then were usually united under the favorite punching bag of the Heisei era... the Great Leader or should I say the now Great Loser of Shocker.
So I didn't really watch everything in order from Kuuga up to Kamen Rider EX-AID according to the year of release. My first major return to the Heisei era was Kamen Rider Den-O. I didn't originally want to watch the Heisei era all because of some Showa snobs. Heck, I feel like I'm usually guilty of letting other people's critiques judge my views. Then I started picking up one after the other. I watched Decade and it just was a weak point but most of the series before it and after it are pretty good. There was much of a struggle with how to do Kamen Rider's new writing formula. Fortunately, we have some fixings like how I think Kamen Rider Drive a better detective based Kamen Rider series than Kamen Rider W. I think Kamen Rider Fourze knows how to have more fun than Kamen Rider Den-O. I still even think that Kamen Rider Gaim managed to improve what Kamen Rider Ryuki started.
I still think of this excerpt from Japan Info with what it says about Kamen Rider:
With different themes for every installment, Toei made the story line quite dramatic with unexpected events and plot twists to cater to older audiences, while at the same time making the series as educational as possible so that the kids in the audience will learn something after watching the series. Taking latest Kamen Rider GHOST as an example, the theme of Rider power-ups (a Rider’s special abilities) have been based on famous historical beings (eg. Newton, Edison, Robin Hood, Nobunaga, etc.) Audiences can also easily fantasize to be one of them by purchasing the rider’s belt and buckle from their neighborhood toy store. Many hardcore fans (especially the older ones!) also like to purchase them as a collection item.
The Rider series is suitable for all age groups due to its dramatic story lines. It is also cool, colorful and has fun computer generated images that can entertain anyone. The creativity of the writers and directors with plot twists and their ability to incorporate different aspects while sticking to the original theme makes the series a success, and one to look forward to every year.
The Heisei era Kamen Riders have more dramatic storylines. No, I don't care too much about fun CGI since if I did, I wouldn't enjoy the old school Super Sentai better where CGI is still not as good as it is today. It's all about how the plot gets carried out. I think the Showa era Kamen Riders didn't have much of that. Sure, some of them were serious like how Black faces the reality that his foster brother is now the evil Shadow Moon or how Black RX still has some sad themes going on even if it's less serious. But I thin that new school Kamen Rider just improved a lot of what Black and Black RX started. Black RX may not be as good as Black but I thought that having Reiko and Joe getting involved in fighting Crisis in the later half is a pretty good idea. The Rider's friends are no longer in the sideline and the Heisei era improved on all that. Kuuga was just the start. Not everyone of of Kuuga's friends fought with the Grongi physically but they all helped him one way or another.
On the other hand, I could still bother to take the "How much of the Showa era have you seen?" challenge. I still want to ask myself and others that question. But mostly with myself since I've only seen a very small fraction of the Showa era. It's just that I feel like the writing formula of Kamen Riders from Kuuga up to present work a better charm with me.