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Kamen Ranger’s Ramblings: Mask or Helmet?

Now it might seem silly to even debate this point. The title of the show is “Masked Rider” after all. However, this has been something that’s bugged me slightly ever since Samurai Flamenco brought it up in the first episode: Is Kamen Rider’s mask actually a mask or is it a helmet?

The definition of mask in this context refers to something that covers all or part of one’s face and while a Kamen Rider’s “mask” certainly does that it doesn’t stop there. The whole of their head is covered by a protective layer which would also make it a helmet.

Now we can argue this point back and forth but what does it mean either way? Well, if a Kamen Rider’s mask is actually a helmet then they’ve been lying to us all and can they really be considered true heroes of justice if that’s the case?

On the other hand if it really is just a mask then they’re riding motorbikes without a helmet and as Samurai Flamenco points out. This is hardly fitting behavior for a hero and doesn’t set a very good example.

Then of course we have Riders like Shin and Hibiki who don’t wear either, though in Shin’s case he doesn’t really ride a bike and neither of them are that well liked either so maybe they’ve already received their punishment for their heinous crime. We may have gotten those Shin Kamen Rider sequels if only he’d have obeyed traffic safety laws…

There’s also the issue of how Kamen Riders even see out of their masks. Both versions of Birth seemed to have an Iron Man style set up in theirs but Heads-Up Display (HUD) was hardly a thing in the Showa period and those big compound eyes don’t make for the clearest of viewing mediums – unless you want to see several dozen of the one thing you want to look at.

So what do we take away from this conundrum? Is it that sometimes even heroes have to blur the lines of morality at times to preserve peace? Or is it that “Masked Rider” Sounds cooler than “Helmeted Rider” and it’s best not to read too deeply into a kid’s show?

It’s probably that last one.

What did you think of this ramble? Do you consider it a mask or a helmet? Let us know in the comments.

[Photo Credit: Viofitz]
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Kamen Ranger’s Ramblings: Improving Ex-Aid

I’ve made no real secret of my initial dislike of Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. I was put off by the aesthetic of the show and I let that colour my enjoyment of the series as a whole which was a mistake; I ended up kind of liking it. 

However, the series is not without its flaws and I feel the series could have been so much better if it was significantly restructured and so I’m going to tell you exactly how I’d have made the show given the opportunity.

First of all, I’d have done away with the medical aspect of the series. It never really meshed well with the video game inspired aspects for me and just seemed out of place. Instead, I’d embrace the video game aspect entirely. I would have the Riders engaged in some kind of elaborate LARP/blood game not unlike the Gurongi in Kamen Rider Kuuga. The Riders would be forced into competing against the Bugsters in a real life video game to earn points, level up and defeat higher ranked Bugsters until they faced off against the final boss. Essentially, I’d be expanding the Kamen Rider Chronicle storyline arc into a whole show.

The Ride Player suits should have been the Riders’ level 1 form or maybe a level 0 form if we have to have those super deformed suits. After managing to defeat a Bugster boss, the rider can take the EXP earned and would then be able to invest the points into choosing equipment and stats which would effect their unique Kamen Rider form. And most importantly, they’d all be equipped with bikes or else the title of Rider wouldn’t make sense (that always bugged me).

I feel that as a premise this would make for a stronger foundation than a medical drama/video game superhero show that the Ex-Aid we have tried to be. What we got wasn’t bad but it could have been used to greater effect and it’s a shame we won’t get that. Either way I’m just glad I won’t have to see neon pink helmet hair for a while. 

What did you think of Ex-Aid? What do you think of my proposed premise? Do you think it’s better or worse than what we got? Let me know in the comments.  

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Kamen Ranger’s Ramblings: Ranger Powers?

What Powers Do Rangers Have Anyway?

We’re all familiar with the Power Rangers, or at least if we’re on this site we should be. Teams of technicolor heroes who fight aliens demons and monsters to protect those who can’t. Sounds a lot like another show… International licensing aside though one question has bothered me since I first started watching the show: What powers do the Rangers actually have?

In the west, our comic book superheroes have very clearly defined powers, Wolverine has super senses, super strength, regeneration and bone claws. The Flash can run at ludicrous speeds and Arm Fall Off Boy’s limbs come off. The Power Rangers on the other hand tend to be a bit more vague on that front. It’s clear that they are “powerful” but they rarely go into more detail than that. They seem to have increased strength and agility but, depending on the team, they go back and forth as to whether this is something they’re imbued with or something to do with the suits or morphers exclusively.

There are of course civilian powers in some seasons, like SPD and Dino Thunder, which give the Rangers an additional power for use in costume or more usually outside of costume, such as the ability to release super screams or multiply yourself repeatedly. These aren’t the norm though. In some shows, the powers the Power Rangers have really just seem like increased durability and the ability to bleed sparks when shot. Since we never see them performing feats above that of a skilled martial artist, it further confuses the issue of what exactly their powers are.

I’ve not yet managed to read the Justice League/Power Rangers crossover comics but maybe that will help clear some things up; so long as one side doesn’t end up jobbing, just to make the other side look cooler (as has been known to happen in crossovers like this).

Perhaps it doesn’t matter what their specific power-set is. After all, most Kamen Riders have official stats for their abilities and they don’t really seem right. I’m not sure Kamen Rider Drive has the kicking power of 10.4 tonnes, then again I’ve never seen a kick induced explosion under lab conditions so I’m not sure where the benchmark is.

One thing’s for certain though. As a team the rangers are much more powerful than they are alone and are able to overcome any obstacle together. Perhaps teamwork is their true power? Or is that too corny even for Power Rangers?

What do you think about the Rangers’ powers? Do you think they should be more specific? Do you like civilian powers? Let us know your opinion in the comments.