Kamen Rider ZX
, the tenth hero to inherit the Kamen Rider
name, bears the distinction of being the first Rider who did not debut in a TV series. After the end of the previous series, Kamen Rider Super-1
, the Kamen Rider franchise was once again taken off the air. Following a fan campaign for a new series, Ishinomori decided to introduce a new Kamen Rider anyway without a TV series. ZX made his debut on July 1982 in an illustration published by Japanese magazines such as TV Magazine
and TV Land
, in which he was introduced without an official name at the time as the "Tenth Rider". After a year-long multimedia campaign that included a contest to decide the name, a radio drama that was broadcast by All-Night Nippon (starring Akira Kamiya
as the voice of the Tenth Rider), the live unveiling of the character and his official name, photo stories that were published in various magazines, a few tie-in manga versions and even stage shows, ZX eventually made his live-action debut on January 3, 1984 in an hour-long special titled Birth of the Tenth! Gather All Kamen Riders!!
Ryo Murasame, was captured in the Amazon Jungle along with his sister Shizuka by the evil Badan Empire. Badan's agents murder Shizuka, then transform Ryo into an elite-agent of evil
known as ZX. Initially Brainwashed and Crazy
, Ryo miraculously regains his sanity and escapes Badan. He then encounters three strangers whom he initially assume to be enemies. In reality, they are Riders V3, Super-1, and Riderman, who take him to meet the other Kamen Riders and welcome him to their fold. Afterwards, he joins them in battle, calling himself Kamen Rider ZX.
The manga Kamen Rider SPIRITS
is an alternate take on the ZX story. The crossover film Heisei Rider Vs Showa Rider Kamen Rider Wars Featuring Super Sentai
(released on the 30th anniversary year of ZX) puts a large focus on ZX, with the return of both Ryo and the Badan Empire.
This work features examples of:
- All There in the Manual: By itself the TV special feels like it's missing large chunks of exposition, but it's only the last part of the media campaign mentioned above.
- Backup Twin: ZX's nemesis, Ambassador Darkness, is the twin brother of Ambassador Hell from the original Kamen Rider.
- They're "cousins" in Spirits.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Ryo was initially this, but he snaps out of it after an accident.
- Clip Show
- Death by Origin Story: Poor Shizuka.
- The Empire: The Badan Empire.
- Hidden Weapons: ZX has an electric rope in his belt, explosive shuriken on his shoulder pads and grenades in his boots.
- It's Pronounced Tro-PAY: Spoken as "zet cross", not "zee eks".
- Let's You and Him Fight: How Ryo meets the rest of the Riders.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Tiger-Roid/Tiger Robot, a walking mashup of man, tiger and BFG.
- ZX himself, as he is an insect-themed cyborg ninja.
- Reunion Show
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- The Man Behind the Man: After Ambassador Darkness is killed, an evil spirit behind Badam and every previous organization reveals himself. Surprising absolutely no one, it's Great Leader again.
- What Could Have Been: His TV special was intended to generate interest for an ongoing ZX TV series, but nothing came out of it.
- Women in Refrigerators: Shizuka. A rather extreme example, as she's killed off just seconds after being introduced in the opening narration. We don't even see her before she dies.