Den-O Logo8AM Sunday morning, the new Kamen Rider show started up here in Japan, since Kabuto finished up last weekend. This year we have Kamen Rider Den-O (仮面ライダー電王) where Den-O translates to ‘Electric King.’ So far it seems like the plot involves a time traveling train, monsters possessing humans, multiple personalities, and dimensional portals. Just like most Japanese kids TV shows! The title character is a guy named Ryotaro, who is a total wuss. Everything about him, including his voice, is just pure submissive loser. Not much of a hero, right? Oh but wait, he is possessed by an “Imagin,” one of the group of monsters/bad guys in the series who are traveling through time to change things in order to make the present and future better for themselves. Ryotaro is apparently the “chosen one,” which means he has some kind of control over the Imagin within, and also he can transform into Den-O with a henshin belt and a special train pass. Yes, his belt theme is based on Suica train passes. He swipes it over the belt and stuff happens.

The Imagin who has possessed Ryotaro doesn’t care about obeying orders or changing the future; he just wants to fight, regardless of the opponent. So, this coincidentally goes along very well with his host, who can transform into a Kamen Rider with all kinds of crazy weapons and stuff. They’ll go ahead and fight Imagin all over the place. When the Imagin takes over Ryotaro’s body, he goes slightly Super Saiyan; his hair style becomes more vertical and gains a red stripe. His voice also changes from ‘prepubescent girl’ to ‘crazy mofo,’ and he gets a lot stronger to boot. According to a short scene in the opening credits and the official website, it looks like Ryotaro will also be possessed by a bunch of other Imagin later on, which will then help him achieve different Rider forms. The standard/normal form (what was in the first episode) is Sword Form, and he should be getting Axe Form, Rod Form, and Gun Form sometime over the next few months. In addition to presumably different monsters and voices for each of these personalities/forms, there will also be different styles of dress, as you can see here. So far, the red Sword Form Imagin will wear a leather jacket. There will also be, I guess, businessman, samurai ruffian, and crazy crackhead covered in spray paint.

guy in the center is a wuss

When Ryotaro first transforms with the magic Suica, he is in a very basic skeleton form:
hot chick on the left

That form, of course sucks, in part because the ‘real’ Kotaro with the girly voice is in control. So to change forms and let the Imagin take over, he presses the red button on his belt and swipes his train pass again. More armor appears, and he is transformed into the red Sword Form. The monster is in charge now, voice and all. This is the ‘standard’ form of the series, so we’ll be seeing this one the most:
Sword Form

This post is already nerdy as it is, so I’m going to go for broke and show you the upcoming Axe and Rod forms:
Axe and Rod forms

The show wasn’t bad; I’ll be keeping up with it throughout the broadcast. The only major complaint I have is the CG for the DenLiner train; it looks absolutely horrible. All the recent Kamen Rider shows have had this problem. The costumes, stunts, etc all looks pretty good, but most of the major CG they use looks awful. Far too cartoony and not realistic enough to fit with the rest of the show (well, not realistic, but you know what I mean). Every time they showed a shot of the DenLiner I had to just shake my head. It was the same with Hibiki when the terrible CG monsters showed up. Ah well.

Kamen Rider Den-O official site (TV Asahi)
Den-O promo and trailer (YouTube)
Den-O opening title sequence (YouTube)