Top Kamen

There was a recent attempt to revive the Kamen Rider franchise (or to bring it to American audiences' attention,) and I don't know how successful it has been, but from what little I saw of it, it didn't really speak to me. Forget uber-armored dragon and bat themed dudes, when I think of Kamen Rider I think of guys like this:

This vinyl figure is Kamen Rider J, made by Bandai Japan in 1994.

When I was in the first grade I had a friend who had family in Japan, and they would always mail him vinyl Kaiju and other Japanese characters from Godzilla to Ultraman to Kamen Rider. Kamen Rider always fascinated me because these guys looked like insect based superheroes - a hit concept for sure, just ask Stan Lee.

I don't think I've ever actually watched an entire Kamen Rider episode, but the gist is that these grasshopper helmeted guys ride motorcycles and defeat similarly rubber-suited foes. What's not to love?

Kamen Rider J is a "newer" version of the Kamen Rider, which originally debuted in Japan in 1971. His costume has evolved but still retains enough of the original concept to be immediately recognizable, and of course the vinyl platform, with a whopping three points of articulation (waist and shoulders) is exactly what I remember my friend having when we were kids.


  1. I've... never actually heard of Kamen Rider. I keep seeing toy reviews of them, but no idea what they are.