This year, an icon of Japanese superhero turns 50: masked the hero of justice, Kamen Rider, debuted for the first time in 1971. But the Kamen Rider franchise not only celebrates its original iteration in 2021 – and it is not just celebrating in Japan.
Early last year, Toei made welcome, outstanding step to start streaming some of their most beloved classic Tokusatsu series on YouTube worldwide for free, and bring subtitled versions of icons such as Super Sentai, Juspion, and Romfoged Gavan to international audiences, in some cases for the first time ever in official capacity.
A lot of Kamen Rider was conspicuously absent, but perhaps with good reason: around the same time, Toei partnered with Shout Factory to officially bring the original Kamen Rider to a new linear streaming channel in the US, making the show’s very first arrival in the country (well, outside Western adaptations like Sabans Masked Rider and Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, it is).
But now that is about to change. To celebrate the new year and Kamen Rider50th anniversary, Toei announced that the official YouTube account Tokusatsu World will begin regular episodes of English subtitles starting this month. The samples, which will be available internationally in an unconfirmed number of countries, come not only from the original show, but over five decades of Kamen Rider history.
No schedule has been officially confirmed yet, but Toei is currently planning weekly releases “Every Saturday and / or Sunday.” It also hopes to have 1-2 episodes from each Kamen Rider series available on the platform throughout the year – from the beginning of Shōwa, to its revival and Heisei boom in the 21st century, all the way up to modern iterations, including the 2019 century Kamen Rider Zero-One (there is no word on whether we will get anything from the currently aired iteration of the show, the second of the Reiwa era, Kamen Rider Saber).
That is a big step forward Kamen Rideravailability outside the home country. Last year, it already marked a major step for the franchise with its major American debuts of both classics and newer Kamen Rider offers through Shout Factory, but this pressure brings Kamen Rider, one of Toey’s most prominent and successful Tokustatsu series, to an even larger audience, who until now have had to fill their support for the franchise through mostly legally dubious avenues such as fansubs. This is a big leap forward to see more official releases of Kamen Rider all over the world, and a way for people to experience one of Japan’s most iconic superhero series.
Toei Tokusatsu World Official Launch of Kamen Rider the episodes begin January 16th.
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