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Creator / Shotaro Ishinomori

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You're looking at the man responsible for the creation of both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai.

Shotaro Ishinomori, born Shotaro Onodera, (January 25, 1938 – January 28, 1998) was one of the most influential men in Japanese entertainment, being dubbed "the King of Manga" and held the title in drawing more comic pages than any other manga author. In his youth he was the president of a manga study group and got his first big break working as an assistant to Osamu Tezuka himself (who famously remarked that Ishinomori, then going by the name Onodera, resembled a talking potato) on the Denkou The Invisible Robot story in Astro Boy. On the manga and anime side, he created Cyborg 009, which was one of the first animated super-teams.

But more famously in the west, he created Kamen Rider, one of the major live-action Tokusatsu franchises. KR was based on Ishinomori's Skull Man manga, which was eventually remade by his protege, Kazuhiko Shimamoto, who was specifically commissioned to do so. He also created Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, launching the Super Sentai franchise, which stands alongside Kamen Rider as a major live-action Toku franchise, though he had little to do with it after J.A.K.Q. Dengekitainote .

Due to the large number of superheroes he created, many of them were much grimmer and more "realistic" than what the competition was putting out at the time while still retaining an endearing sense of over-the-top garishness, he is often considered to be the Japanese equivalent of Stan Lee.

Also, he was known as "Ishimori" until 1986, supposedly due to a misprint that stuck.

In 2007, he was posthumously awarded the Guiness World Record for most comics published by a single author.

A fictional incarnation of Ishinomori, played by Fuku Suzuki, appears in the 2021 film Kamen Rider Saber + Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Super Hero Senki, a Milestone Celebration for both Kamen Rider and Super Sentai.

Notable Ishinomori Series:

Commmon Tropes in his works:

  • Author Avatar: In his manga Ishinomori would often pop up as a super-deformed, round headed bald character, sometimes as a Creator Cameo or as this trope. In some cases he would draw himself slightly more realistically, like in the 1978 manga ''Peeping through a fusuma'', where he appears in the prologue and epilogue As Himself to provide the Framing Device for the series, or in his 1994 comedic adaptation of the Kojiki, in which he appears for a couple of panels to make an Aside Comment about a particular moment of the story, leaving O no Yasumaru confused about what just happened.
  • Creator Cameo:
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Ishinomori apparently had a thing against transhumanism. While several of his manga do feature cyborgs as the heroes, they usually had their powers forced upon them by evil-doers and tended to grapple with their humanity because of it, while the villains often-times willingly underwent cybernetic procedures to gain more power at the cost of their humanities.
  • Darker and Edgier: Most of the manga adaptations wrote of the Toku series he helped create tended to be darker and more serious than their TV counterparts.
  • Henshin Hero: The undisputed king of this trope.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Who needs radioactive spiders or cosmic rays when there's tons of perfectly "realistic" ways to give your heroes superpowers? Like lots and lots of transistors.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Played with in quite a few of his works. Most of time, while his works greatly acknowledged that humans are capable of evil, humanity as a whole is presented as something ultimately good and the originator of evil in the story is usually an inhuman force that corrupts humans with promises of power. Effectively, Ishinomori recognized that the worst thing humans could do is forsake their human qualities and embrace their worse impulses.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: A recurring theme in many of his works, starting with 009, Ishinomori could be considered the patron saint of this trope.
  • Playing with Syringes: By the same token, his bad guys tend to resemble the stars of a Medical Fetishist's wet dreams.
  • Reused Character Design: While each manga drawn by Ishinomori sported a Cast of Snowflakes, he also tended to reuse quite a few character models through his various series, with the doctor Gilmore, 004 and Jun lookalikes being the most recurring and recognizable ones. Partially justified due to the sheer quantity of stuff he drew in his career, and by how it would also be a visual cameo of his style.
  • Saintly Church: Ishinomori's depictions of Christianity were always very respectful.
  • Same Face, Different Name: In 1959 he illustrated a few shoujo manga using two different aliases - the first, Kintoki-san, as Teiko Minami, and another couple of short stories (Tai-chan and Sei-chan) under the name Asuka Izumi. Two years prior, in 1957, he illustrated a manga written by Fujio Akatsuka, Sono kamen wo tore! (Take off that mask!), which they signed with the portmanteau name Fujitaro Ishizuka.
  • Shout-Out: Modern Kamen Rider series occasionally reference the franchise creator:
    • Yuusuke Onodera, the new Kuuga in Kamen Rider Decade, has Ishinomori's original surname; Shotaro Hidari, the hero of Kamen Rider Double, obviously shares his first name.
    • Kamen Rider Fourze did this in a broader sense; each of the show's movies featured a re-imagining of one or more of Ishinomori's famous characters, usually as villains. In Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Fourze & OOO: Movie War Mega Max it's the Galaxy Kingnote , in Everyone, it's Space Time! it's the Space Ironmen Kyodain and Daitetsujin 17note , Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze: Movie War Ultimatum has a three-fer with new versions of Inazuman, Poitrine, and the Akumaizers, and in Kamen Rider Heisei Generations FINAL: Build & Ex-Aid with Legend Riders it's Dark General Gaburin from Kyodainnote .
    • Movie War Ultimatum also has its theme song "Forest of Rocks", whose title is a direct English translation of "Ishinomori".
    • In Kamen Rider Ghost, Ishinomori is one of the historical figures that Ghost can draw power from (potentially, anyway; the Ghost Driver is programmed for it but Drivers always have extra sounds that are never used in the show). A minor character is also named Onodera, the same as Decade's Kuuga was.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O has a more oblique and unintentional reference, as protagonist Sougo Tokiwa's name in Eastern format resembles Tokiwa-sō, an apartment building famous for being the living quarters of several legendary mangaka including Ishinomori himself. According to the producers, this wordplay was just a neat coincidence and not a conscious decision.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Most of Ishinomori's works tend to be in-between. With some leaning on the idealistic side (Cyborg 009, the Showa Kamen Riders, and Sabutori Ecchan), and some leaning towards cynicism (Skull Man, and the Kikaider manga).
  • Transhuman: Quite a few of his works deal with this. Usually it's used to either emphasize a villain's cruelty by showing them having cast aside their human qualities as a means to gain power over their fellow man, or to demonstrate humanity as a transcendent concept by having the hero hold onto their humanity in spite of their forceful transformation.
  • War Is Hell: The majority of Ishinomori's works tend to demonstrate that war is a terrible thing, and is not afraid to show the horrors and consequences of warfare.