It appeared that Saban Entertainment had attempted to do it again. Just
as they made Mighty-Molphin Power Rangers
and VR Troopers
top hits, now they attempted the same success with their third new series
called Masked Rider.
The series debuted in the fall of 1995
on the Fox Television Network, in a Saturday morning time slot. Masked
utilizes footage from the famed original Toei productions Kamen
and Kamen Rider RX
, splicing in new footage of American
actors in between fight scenes, a practice already familiar to viewers of
Rangers and Troopers. Unfortunately, I cannot give Masked Rider
good review. In fact it is the most uninspiring series in the entire Saban
catalog, the worst example of the bastardization of a Japanese original.
combines a serious Japanese story with American TV situation
comedy; a deadly combination which results in a confusing mess that could
make long-time fans of the Japanese genre violently ill.
The series tells of the adventures of a young prince from another planet.
The prince, Dex (played by T.J. Roberts) is given powers by his grandfather,
and sent to Earth. Upon arrival on Earth, Dex is adopted by a kind family,
and is taught to live like an
Earthling. At the same time, his powers allow
him to transform into the Masked Rider, to battle Count Dregon and his invading
army of marauding insectoids. Unfortunately the American footage doesn't
help one bit, not only do they not match the Japanese action scenes, but
they are attempts at poor comedy at the same time. The acting is terrible,
similar to that of lower-budget sitcoms like Small Wonder. The music
is pathetic too, as is the new Masked Rider costume. Even worse, the action
scenes, a prominent part of the original series, have been cut down severely.
One more example of American pressure groups leaning on producers to cut
down violent programming.
Finally, the addition of that funny furball Ferbus creature reminds me of
the Ewoks, and adds nothing but silliness to the show. Why Toei sold out
to Saban is beyond me, letting the U.S. company turn their shows into such
monstrous parodies. What would Japanese fans think if they saw this show?
I don't even want to ask! You know the saying; "if it ain't broke, don't
fix it!" Saban, in trying to "fix" Masked Rider
, wound up making it
worse; something worthy of Barney the Dinosaur
. Fortunately, the series
only lasted one and a half seasons. Besides, the original Japanese
adventures of Kamen Rider
are available on video, and are highly recommended
for the serious fan.