To mark the long-awaited launch of Shinji Higuchi and Evangelion mastermind Hideaki Anno’s Shin Ultraman in Japan this week, Toei has released a new trailer for Anno’s next project in the now-apparently-shared-reality that is the Shin Japan Heroes Universe, Shin Kamen Rider. Made to mark the 50th anniversary of Shotaro Ishinomori’s legendary Tokusatsu superhero series, Shin Kamen Rider acts as a complete reboot of the very original show, following the young Takeshi Hongo (The Last Samurai’s Sosuke Ikematsu) as he is transformed into an enhanced cyborg agent of the evil organization Shocker—only to turn against them and use his power for justice as the masked hero Kamen Rider.
If our first look at Shin Kamen Rider in action late last year was a loving testament to Anno’s fascination with the series—a show he’s been obsessed with alongside Tokusatsu icons like Ultraman since his youth—with a shot-for-shot remake of the original series’ opening, then this new trailer is something altogether different, yet still familiar in just how evocative it feels of that classic ‘70s TV vibe. There’s no triumphant theme song here blaring “Rider, jump! Rider, kick!” as Hongo races through quarries on his bike—we’re given no dialogue, just mysterious, unsettling isolated shots of Hongo in and out of action as Kamen Rider, his ally Ruriko Midorikawa (Ace Attorney’s Minami Hamabe), and villainous agents of Shocker, including the very first monster Hongo faced in the show, the Man Spider. There’s even a few glimpses of the second Kamen Rider, Hayato Ichimonji (played by Tasuku Emoto), suggesting Shin is going to cover a lot of ground from the original Kamen Rider in its runtime.
But despite the uneasy vibes of the trailer, there is still some of that delightful retro flare, framed in a modern eye. The action feels very much like classic Kamen Rider in the glimpses we get of it, and the villainous costumes feel like the aesthetic of the seventies just given a contemporary budget. Anno, it seems for better or worse, is keen on making something that feels as much like the original Kamen Rider as possible, rather than something subversive akin to what we saw him and Higuchi do with Shin Godzilla (and now Shin Ultraman) too. We’ll have to wait and see if that plays out the more we get a look at the movie, but hey: we’re not gonna say that’s a bad thing right now, either.
Shin Kamen Rider will hit Japanese theaters in March 2023.
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