For those whom are not familiar with the Japanese Tokusatsu 特撮 (Sci-Fi/special effect) TV Series Kamen Rider「仮面ライダー」, life must’ve been a little dull, a little less exciting, a little gray and boring… not that they’d realized it anyway since one cannot really miss what they don’t know. But that is just another sad story of life…
Originally created by the famous Japanese manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori 石森プロ in 1971, Kamen Riders, these bug-eyed motorcycle-riding superheroes with insect motif and scarfs and puffed up chests and belts and boots, swept Japan with their strange charms of justice fighting various supervillains or kaijin/怪人 whom dreamed of world domination and destruction, and in turn dominated countless Sunday mornings themselves through out the Shōwa era, with a blank slate on television during the 1990s, only to come back in full swing during the Heisei era (that means 2000’s ~now) and ever since captured even more hearts than ever… RIDER KICK!
Needless to say, countless Kamen Rider toys were made and are still being made as we speak. Of the earliest and one of the most valuable, to be exact, are the SOFUBI/ポピー, or soft vinyl toys. Gosh was i CRAZY about those sofubi and still am to this very day!
During the early 1970’s/昭和４０年代, ‘OLD’ BANDAI/旧バンダイ (with the ‘child’ logo as opposed to the current BANDAI ‘text’ logo) was just born from the ashes of its pred·e·ces·sor toy company POPY/ポピー, and had released a full set of 33 sofubi Kamen Rider kaijins + 1 sofubi Kamen Rider Old1 = full set of 34 standard 9″ sized figures along with a mini sofubi set of 55 Kamen Rider mini kaijns 仮面ライダーのミニソフビのセット around 1971 (昭和４６年前後).
I was lucky enough to have seen several complete KR kaijin standard sets during my travels to Japan, tho i never had the means to acquire them… RIDER PUNCH! If i recalled correctly, both times the asking price were around 900,000 円 ~ 1,000,000 円 for each the complete standard set. I’ve never seen a complete set of the KR mini kaijins in person. Recently there’s a full set of these rare gems up on auction in YJ (or Yahoo Auction Japan): 950,000 円 (about $12,250 in today’s exchange rate) for the full 9″ set of 34, and 750,000 円 (about $9,650) for the 1971-ish mini sofubi set of 55…
YIIIIIIH (so the Shockers say!)!!!
The conditions for both sets in the recent YJ auctions are near excellent, considering how difficult it is to acquire them separately and individually. Out of the standard 9″ kaijins, Arikimedesu「アリキメデス」is dead mint unopened; Amazonia「アマゾニア」, Cobra Man「コブラ男」, and Kinokomorugu「キノコモルグ」are tagged with headers; Pirazaurusu「ピラザウルス」has a copy redo tag; Aconitum「トリカブト」has a small crack in one of the corners, no other damage; DeathGod Chameleon「死神カメレオン」has a little loose leg joint; while the highly sought-after Beewoman「ハチ女」, Dokudarian「ドクダリアン」and Tokageron「トカゲロン」are in very good conditions; and the mini kaijins are just BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL…
Well, perhaps one of these days I will get to hold these strange little sofubi dudes in my hands. Having a stronger USD would certain help! But one can always dream. Meanwhile, I cannot be nothing but sort of happy with my UniFive reissues (but why can’t they finish releasing them!?), and here’s a list of all the Kamen Rider TV series along with their broadcast year and the main Kamen Rider of each show, enjoy~
Kamen Rider 仮面ライダー (1971~1973)
Kamen Rider V3 仮面ライダーV3 (1973~1974)
Kamen Rider X 仮面ライダーX (1974)
Kamen Rider Amazon 仮面ライダーアマゾン (1974~1975)
Kamen Rider Stronger 仮面ライダーストロンガー (1975)
Kamen Rider Skyrider 仮面ライダースカイライダー (1979~1980)
Kamen Rider Super-1 仮面ライダースーパー１(1980~1981)
Birth of the 10th! Kamen Riders All Together!! 10号誕生！仮面ライダー全員集合!! Jūgō Tanjō! Kamen Raidā Zen’in Shūgō!! (1984 television special)
Kamen Rider ZX 仮面ライダーZX（ゼクロス）
Kamen Rider Black 仮面ライダーBLACK (1987~1988)
Kamen Rider Black RX 仮面ライダーBLACK RX (1988~1989)
Kamen Rider Kuuga 仮面ライダークウガ (2000~2001)
Kamen Rider Agito 仮面ライダーアギト (2001~2002)
Kamen Rider Ryuki 仮面ライダー龍騎 (2002~2003)
Kamen Rider 555 Faizu 仮面ライダー555 ファイズ (2003~2004)
Kamen Rider Blade 仮面ライダー剣 ブレイド (2004~2005)
Kamen Rider Hibiki 仮面ライダー響鬼 ヒビキ (2005~2006)
Kamen Rider Kabuto 仮面ライダーカブト (2006~2007)
Kamen Rider Den-O 仮面ライダー電王 (2007~2008)
Kamen Rider Kiva 仮面ライダーキバ (2008~2009)
Kamen Rider Decade 仮面ライダーディケイド (2009)
Kamen Rider W 仮面ライダーＷ/ ダブル (2009~2010)
Kamen Rider OOO/Ōzu 仮面ライダーＯＯＯ/オーズ (2010~2011)
Kamen Rider Fourze 仮面ライダーフォーゼ (2011~2012)
fotos by Kusuemon on YJ