SciFi Japan

    Kamen Riders Conquer the 3-D Box Office in Japan!

    Author: Kevin Grays Official Movie Site:

    The second big screen motion picture film adaption of the popular KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE (Kamen Raidaa Daburu, 2009) TV series was released in Japanese theaters on August 7, 2010. Following the earlier triple feature crossover KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE & DECADE: MOVIE WAR 2010 (Kamen Raidaa × Kamen Raidaa: Daburu ando Dikeido Mubi Taisen Nisenjuu)— all released together back on December 12, 2009— Toei Company scored big with one of their greatest hits yet! As the first major new technology 3-D film in the vast Masked Rider series, KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE FOREVER: A TO Z - THE GAIA MEMORIES OF FATE (Kamen Raidaa Dabaru Forever: A to Z- Unmei no Gaia Memori, 2010) was the showpiece of 460 screens in Japan; 273 were in 2D and 187 focused on the full 3-D effect. The movie was a phenomenal smash throughout Japan from the very first day of its release, landing 2nd place in the top box office spots nationwide. Falling only to 3rd place in the weekends to follow, this movie also averaged a 4.58 score out of 5 based on critical reviews compiled by Yahoo Japan. The setting for KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE FOREVER: A TO Z - THE GAIA MEMORIES OF FATE took audiences back into the world of KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE (2009), developing the basic plot from events that ran through episodes 44 and 45 of the show, focusing on the invasion of Futo city by a special mercenary force of terror called NEVER. In the complex multiverse mythology of the Masked Rider franchise, KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE (also known as KAMEN RIDER W) was the 11th series in the newer Heisei run of the show and the 20th Masked Rider saga overall. Following MASKED RIDER DECADE (Kamen Raidaa Dikeido, 2009), KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE premiered on September 6, 2009, to conclude another successful season on August 29th of 2010. Fondly remembered as "The Heisei Generation KAMEN RIDER 10th Anniversary Project", this strange Rider emerged from an ecologically harmonious environment out of the "Windy City" or Futo. Futo was far from perfect, however. The Sonozaki Family took rule of a criminal syndicate to profit from the selling of Gaia Memory devices for use in illegal endeavors. Harnessing power from them to become Dopants, monsters powerful enough to crush the local police, the Sonozaki creatures grew into the greatest threat to the freedoms of Futo. Detective Shotaro Hidari (Renn Kiriyama) was investigating their trail of bizarre crimes with his boss, Sokichi Narumi (singer/actor Koji Kikkawa) and discovered that a dangerous toxin related to the overuse and addictions of the Gaia Memories could cause a rare, lethal form of insanity. But Hidari was unaware of the even more mysterious secret identity of his boss— that of Kamen Rider Skull— before a frightful relationship between The Narumi Detective Agency, the Sonozaki Family, and the terrible Gaia Memories became obvious. Narumi`s murder along with the rescue of another mysterious young man that he named Philip (Masaki Suda) grew into yet another mystery.

    Philip`s hold on his own Gaia Memories left Hidari no choice but to work with the stranger. The two men found that they could combine the powers of the Cyclone and Joker Gaias with tThe Double Driver Belt to transform into one powerful identity to defeat the Sonozaki monsters. So, in crisis after crisis, Hidari and Philip must come together as The Double Masked Rider, "W" (as in "Double-You") to protect Futo. Later, they are occasionally joined by investigator Ryu Terui (Minehiro Kinomoto), bringing his own secrets into the mix as Kamen Rider Accel. Of the many tie-ins to KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE, Toei studios worked with several Planetarium foundations and science museums in Japan to carry the ecological and illegal drug fighting themes of KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE into and educational arena for children with a special program called KAMEN RIDER: THE FEARFUL GLOBAL WARMING PROJECT (Kamen Raidaa Kyoofu no Chikyuu Ondanka Keikaku, 2010). And once again, as is all too common in the Masked Rider legend, the evil masterminds behind these global disasters are revealed to be agents of the super-terrorist organization that created the original Riders, Shocker! In the groundbreaking KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE FOREVER: A TO Z - THE GAIA MEMORIES OF FATE, The NEVER mercenaries are led by Katsumi Daido, a madman in pursuit of the 26 foundation X Type 2 Next Generation Gaia Memories. With an all-out assault on Futo, NEVER steals the T2 Eternal Memory which Daido needs to complete his metamorphosis into Kamen Rider Eternal. Once the 26 memory slots are filled, he can use The T2 Zone Memory to power up into his strengthening armament mode with The Eternal Wave Aura, giving him the ability to execute the ultimate NEVERending Hell Rider Kick in maximum overdrive! Interpol investigator Maria S. Cranberry (actress, model, and popular Japanese singer Aya Sugimoto) joins detective Hidari and Philip in the investigations against The NEVER terrorist cell. When Philip is captured, Hidari loses that half of his ability to become the Double Masked Rider. He must use The T2 Joker Memory with Kamen Rider Skull`s lost Driver Belt in a unique formation to continue the fight as the lone Kamen Rider Joker. Normally, it was Philip sending his conscious mind into the right side of the body of Kamen Rider Double that gave a spirit of cohesive direction to this unusual Masked Rider. In the trap of NEVER, Philip becomes a principle tool in their evolving evil as his true relationship to the Sonozaki Family and the identity of Katsumi Daido come into focus.

    Also introduced in the film is Eiji Hino (Shu Watanabe), the young drifter who appears to retrieve a strange red coin that brings him into surprise battle against The Dopants. The coin is a rare medal that must be combined with two others so that Hino can acquire the ability to transform into yet another Rider, Kamen Rider OOO. Thus begins the direct lead into what becomes the next Masked Rider series for Japanese television; KAMEN RIDER OOO (Kamen Raidaa Oozu), which premiered September 5, 2010. The three O`s are a reference to the Japanese word for "King (Oh)" used three times to carry us over through the mystery of the three coin medallions that Hino needs to become the new Masked Rider of three kings (often pronounced as Kamen Rider Ohhzz). He is already the unlikely hero of another battle against monsters known as The Greeed, one of which having tried to use him as a pawn in its attempt to steal all of the power medallions. The three medals represent specific animals that must be combined to give this Rider his body. But he must fight for it as the monsters reawaken from 800 years of hibernation and search for the medals to bring the predestined multi-king, God of infinity, into existence. Directed by Mr. Koichi Sakamoto, the former stunts performer and producer best known for his work as the executive producer on the POWER RANGERS programs, KAMEN RIDER DOUBLE FOREVER: A TO Z - THE GAIA MEMORIES OF FATE was produced in Japan by Toei Company and Ishimori Productions as the first full modern 3-D movie to take advantage of trends to following the success of James Cameron`s blockbuster, AVATAR (2009). Released as a double feature with a big screen adventure if Japan`s latest Super Sentai series, TENSOU (Heaven`s Celestial Armament) SENTAI GOSEIGER— wherein the extradimensional Gosei Angel kids confront the Warstar enemies that destroyed their Heaven`s Tower bridge between the different worlds to stop several meteor and natural disasters— KAMEN RIDER W FOREVER: A TO Z - UNMEI NO GAIA MEMORI was a smash hit that took the lead away from Japan`s other major studios. Shinichiro Shirakura, Toei`s studio executive in charge of the hit Masked Rider series told the press, "We made a thorough study of the 3-D shooting and editing process. The studio staff and film crew members conducted a number of tests using special cameras in advance of actual shoots. At first, Toei planned to use the 3-D format only for parts of the movie, but eventually decided to use it for everything after some trial and error." American releases like AVATAR, TOY STORY 3 (2010), and ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010) forced the Japanese film industry to finally dispell early doubts about jumping into such high-cost production. Scrambling to play catch-up, all of Japan`s leading studios are now moving as fast as they can to produce three-dimensional movies of their own with the latest state-of-the-art technologies. Toho co., and Shochiku Studios have already gone public with plans to enter the competition. Shirakura said, "People at the rival Japanese studios told us that they were amazed at how fast we at Toei completed a 3-D film like this. Shoots began in April and took two months, followed by editing that was completed in another month." Teasers for another set of Masked Rider crossover films have already announced the coming of a new, evil, computer regenerated Masked Rider. Created from the memories of the old Riders, Kamen Rider Co.R.E. has been promoted as the first entirely CG-realized Rider. Slated for release in Japan on December 18, 2010, this new triple feature KAMEN RIDER OOO & W FEATURING SKULL: MOVIE WAR CORE (Kamen Raidaa × Kamen Raidaa Oozu ando Daburu feat. Sukaru: Mubi Taisen Koa) will also offer expansion on the origins of Kamen Rider Skull along with the teaming up of Kamen Riders Double and OOO.

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