Available to purchase on Amazon USA and Stream
Kamen Rider Kuuga is all revved up and ready to soar! With this 10th instalment of the franchise, fans can now watch how different the Heisei era ups the ante. There’s a darker element to this work and I like it! Some say it takes even more cues from American cinema with the villain design, but I feel it keeps some key aspects of what makes tokusatsu special.
That’s because half the threats are familiar. One is an angry man-spider of sorts, and another, a Predator. But for the hero, Yusuke Godai, he’s not feeling too in over his head when he dons the belt to make him the next Kamen Rider! He’s curious about the appearances of two strange emblems (they’re a different kind of logo that reminds me of the Decepticons and Autobots from Transformers) appearing on various artefacts, and to figure out what’s going on means digging around.
I’m a complete sucker for any series which delves into pre-history, and apparently, what we learn from the flashbacks is that the arrogant monster transforming Grongi Tribe terrorized their neighbours, the Linto. It was an ongoing issue until one brave soul gained the power of the Kuuga. Just who or what that isn’t made clear at the start, but it’s been identified that he who welds it is the leader. The force from the past sent the enemy running, and they’ve been biding their time to return to threaten modern Japan.
But winning the day isn’t easy. Although the leader of the Grongis was imprisoned in a cave, he wasn’t dead! When his corpse is discovered and looks fresh, it’s only a matter of time to see him awaken.
The forty-nine episodes will keep me going for a while, and I’m still not finished watching. This story has a lot of supporting characters, and this aspect has me thinking I’ll have to keep tabs to see how it all comes together. In what’s terrific is in how the series as a whole plays with various well known horror movie tropes. And as for who the feminine-looking Predator is, I am wanting to know more. This series has a lot of characters to keep track of, and I’d rather take my time enjoying this series and losing track of who is important. For example, Kamen Rider Kuuga isn’t going it alone in his task. He has a lot of allies to help!
At the time of writing, I’m on disc two of seven. and there’s seven episodes per disc, at 24 minutes each. Kamen Rider Kuuga is epic and I feel what’s I learned so far isn’t enough.
The amray case is a wonderful keepsake, but I find the discs can easily come loose. As for the quality of the transfer, the video looks even better upscaled to 4K. As a result, it’s easy to notice how much effort was spent with the set design, and that’s okay. This series was broadcast in early 2000, and none of that age shows.
As for where is a good jumping in point for this franchise, I say Kamen Rider Kuuga is an excellent place to start. Not only is it the first from this era to get involved in, but also, TV Asahi and Toei are knocking it out of the park with higher production values and more investment in making quality television.
4 Kamens out of 5