Looking Ahead – Kamen Rider Fourze
Next Sunday, the current Kamen Rider season, Kamen Rider OOO, comes to an end. Like every year, I’m both sad to see the on-going series wrap up and excited to see the next installment of the super-hero franchise. The new Rider is a celebration of the franchise’s 40th anniversary and a loving homage to the heroes that came before.
Enter: Kamen Rider Fourze.
We know a fair amount about Fourze at this point. The main character’s a high school punk named Gentaro Kisaragi, who attempts to make friends by forming a Kamen Rider club. A fellow classmate, Kengo, hands him the Fourze Driver, a belt that allows him to transform into our hero so he can fight off this season’s enemy, the Zodiarts.
Fourze also honors the 50th anniversary of spaceflight with a Rider design that’s equal parts spacesuit and space-shuttle. His belt is a beautiful monstrosity. It’s made to resemble a spaceship’s cockpit, complete with a monitor and four “Switches” that allow Fourze to equip a variety of weapons – from an oversized drill on his leg to a giant rocket on his arm.
These early details – the suit design, the high school setting, the fact that their headquarters is a lunar base accessed through Kengo’s locker – imply that Fourze is going for a lighter tone right from the start. I’m optimistic about this choice, as this should be a series that focuses more on the fun of the concept. Schoolyard drama would feel out of place in a Kamen Rider series, and could lead to the tonal schizophrenia that plagued Decade and Kiva.
These concerns aside, I do love the sheer over-the-topness (that’s a word now) of Fourze’s design and the show’s potential for literal rocket punches and drill kicks. If it can keep some tonal focus, it’ll be a fun way to celebrate forty years of justice.
Look forward to Kamen Rider Fourze, airing on September 4th.