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Film / Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue

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The Black Sheep of Kamen Rider? Or just covered in dried blood?

If you think this is a run of the mill take on good and evil, go elsewhere.

If not, read on.

Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue is a Darker and Edgier Direct to Video incarnation of the Kamen Rider franchise released in 1992.

It is the story of Shin Kazamatsuri, a simple young man who's experimented on by his father, Dr. Kazamatsuri, and his father's partner, Dr. Onizuka, at the Institute of Super Science Technology. Rather than contributing to a possible cure for diseases as he and his father believe, Shin is instead unknowingly gene-spliced with Grasshopper DNA. This results in him getting the power to become a Grasshopper-monster himself, which the CIA dubs the "Kamen Rider"note . This secret puts him and his loved ones in danger from the Syndicate funding the experiment, the CIA, and Onizuka, who can also transform into a Grasshopper-monster.


While often shunned by Kamen Rider fans due to its apparent Deconstruction nature, Shin Kamen Rider arguably draws heavy influences from Shotaro Ishinomori's original manga interpretation of Kamen Rider, more specifically the Kamen Rider BLACK manga. Sadly, due to lack of interest and the unfortunate death of Ishinomori, it never got past the prologue, leaving the film as a curious example of when early-90's visceral science fiction met a classic Tokusatsu franchise. In recent years, Shin has made several reappearances in the franchise.

Toei Company has now released the film on their official YouTube channel. You can see it here.

Not to be confused with the similarly-named Shin Kamen Rider, an upcoming film based on the original series, directed by Hideaki Anno.

Kamen Rider Shin was voted #14 Kamen Rider in the Showa era, and #87 Kamen Rider overall in NHK's All Kamen Rider Popularity Vote.


This work features examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Shin has sharp claws on his hands and they are sharp enough to leave gashes on the Big Bad's face and severely damage the enemy cyborg. Even attempting to give him a handshake for friendship can be a very painful experience.
  • Action Girl: Sarah Fukumachi, the CIA operative. Over the course of the film she orders a raid on Onizuka's lab (and is the only survivor), saves Shin from a sniping attempt, bursts in on the Nebulous Evil Organization's transport of the transformed Onizuka with a rocket launcher, and most likely would have killed Shin in the climax had an organization helicopter not gotten in the way. Even after being peppered with bullets by the gunners on the helicopter and dodging missiles, Sarah's still has enough strength to to blow the helicopter to kingdom come with the same rocket launcher, only finally passing out once the chopper is downed.
  • All There in the Manual: Shin Kamen Rider is covered with harmful implements, which never get expanded on here, but the Net Movies for The Movie of Kamen Rider Fourze bring it all up, rendering him as a Person of Mass Destruction. To Gentaro's misfortune.
  • Animal Motif: Shin's design is based on the grasshopper, although in a more "realistic" and Body Horror depiction.
  • Anti-Hero: Unlike his predecessors from the line of Showa-era Riders, Shin is not a full-fledged hero since he deals with his own struggles against both the Foundation and the CIA.
  • Artifact Title: Shin doesn't wear a mask, he physically transforms into Kamen Rider, nor does he ride his bike (a Suzuki Bandi 250) in his transformed state.
  • Artificial Animal People: Shin and Dr. Onizoka have been gene-spliced with Animal DNA giving them the ability to turn into Grasshopper-monsters. With all the horrors that entails.
  • Badass Normal: For a given level of normal. With the exception of telepathy, there's no need for any other special powers here. All Shin needs is his strength, stealth capabilities, and claws to defeat the enemies.
  • The Berserker: Dr. Onizuka. Surprisingly inverted with Shin, who, while capable of inflicting horrific damage and violent finishers on his enemies, is for the most part docile until provoked, avoiding confrontation with the CIA after his first transformation, and even embracing his lover Ai Asuka despite his horrific appearance.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: In addition to having sharp claws on his fingers, he also has rows of sharp spikes on his forearms that are used for slashing and his Finishing Move.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Shin's "Finishing Move" is to use his Spine-Cutters on his forearm to cut into his opponent's neck, then rip off their head complete with part of the spine and dripping neon green blood (Eat your heart out, Sub-Zero!) Yes, there actually is a Rider with a more violent attack style than Kamen Rider Amazon. He's also armed with regenerating spikes on his arms, and claws capable of ripping extremely ragged cuts into the bodies of his enemies.
  • Bio Punk: Foundation's work involves creating genetically-modified super-soldiers through intense gene therapy.
  • Body Horror: Yeesh. Gills and Omega wish they could get this level of body horror.
  • Bridal Carry: Shin carries his girlfriend Ai this way at the end of the movie.
  • Creator Cameo: Shotaro Ishinomori is the guy with the afro at the beginning of the movie.
  • Clothing Damage: Befitting the fact that Shin's transformation is entirely biological, rather than simply obtaining the gear of his rider form, his clothing is destroyed during each transformation sequence as his body reshapes itself, though anything not torn in the first half of the sequence disappears in time for the sequence to conclude.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shin killing the Big Bad who just killed his Love Interest. The former is a grasshopper-monster complete with super-strength, sharp claws and ultra-regeneration powers, the latter is a normal human with a gun who just murdered the hero's girlfriend. Yeah...
  • Cut Short: Despite the fact that the title calls it a prologue, Shin never went any further than the one movie. Kamen Rider Decade's comedy net spinoff has Shin asking the Decade cast to help his petition for a sequel, and subsequently finding success and fame only for the whole thing to be All Just a Dream. Poor Shin.
  • Darker and Edgier: Shin is the darkest and grittiest interpretation of Kamen Rider to date barring Ishinomori's own manga works, prior to Kamen Rider Amazons. In fact, it might even surpass those in the level of darkness. Rather than a traditional super-suited human like most Riders, Shin is genetically altered and undergoes a horrifying transformation. The fight scenes are visceral and bloody. And if that weren't bad enough, almost everybody in the film dies. Considering that the Kamen Rider fanbase is normally very supportive of darker installments (Kamen Rider 555, Kamen Rider Gaim, Kamen Rider Build, etc.), the controversial nature of this film amongst the fandom is quite the indicator of what this film is like.
  • Deconstruction: Of the henshin hero genre. Shins transformation is graphic and painful, the monsters are incredibly desaturated in their color scheme, and the amount of gore here would make Kamen Rider Amazon proud.
  • Downer Ending: Everyone save for Shin dies at the end of the film. He then decides to take up arms against the Syndicate and the CIA. All while carrying his pregnant girlfriend's corpse in hopes of saving their unborn child.
  • Fanservice: We get a completely nude scene of the female lead Ai in the shower and swimming naked with Shin, who's also naked.
  • Finale Title Drop: The credits show text identifying Shin as the runaway target of the experiments and as the "Masked Rider".
  • Flower Mouth: The transformed Shin's lower jaw can open and extend into two halves.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: While we do have a Big Bad, the CIA will not hesitate to dispose of Shin if he proves uncooperative.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Shin and Ai's unborn child is revealed to carry the same mutation that Shin received from the experiments and shares a telepathic bond with him.
  • Healing Factor: When transformed, Shin's wounds can begin healing instantly; his armoured skin can knit itself back together in a matter of seconds.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Ai jumps in front of Shin to protect him from the Big Bad. Shin holds her in his arms and she tells Shin that she truly loved him and that it's now up to him to save their unborn child. This causes Shin to grieve for Ai and enrages him towards the Big Bad.
  • Iconic Attribute Adoption Moment: A dark variant. After Shin has defeated Onizuka, the CIA declares him a fugitive, branding him Masked Rider Shin.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifter: Shin, at least initially, has no control over how or when he transforms.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Onizuka's attempts at calling out to Shin for help when his truck gets ambushed by the CIA end with a rocket launcher to the face from the lead operative from the latter, while Shin transforms for the first time and simply watches him die.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Shin gives the Big Bad one that makes Kuuga's beatdown of Go-Jaraji-Da look tame in comparison
  • Oh, Crap!: In the climax, after awakening from a knockout done by Shin, the Big Bad reacts in total fear and freaks out when Shin fully transforms and prepares to attack him for what he did to Ai. He tries to reach for his machine gun, but Shin knocks the machine gun away, leaving the Big Bad at Shin's mercy. Shin doesn't forgive him.
  • Painful Transformation: And HOW! Instead of taking a pose and transforming in a flash akin to his prior Showa counterparts, Shin instead slowly mutates in a horrific, grueling manner as his entire body reshapes itself. It's not very pretty, to say the least.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Shin's eyes are red colored, showing that he is not to be messed with.
  • Papa Wolf: When Shin finds out that his girlfriend was pregnant after she's gunned down by the Big Bad, the results are... Not very pretty in the slightest.
  • Psychic Link: Shin and Onizuka and later, Shin's unborn child have one. It's the reason that for the first half of the film Shin thinks he's been killing people when it's actually Onizuka.
  • Psychic Powers: Telepathy between Kamen Riders.
  • Security Cling / Cooldown Hug: After Shin transforms for the first time, he encounters Ai on the road and she exits her car to run to Shin and give him a comforting hug. Shin gently hugs Ai as well with tears in his eyes.
  • Tainted Veins: A heroic example occurs during Shin's second transformation.
  • Stealth Expert: Shin is actually really good at concealing himself when deceiving the enemy cyborg. He uses his environmental surroundings to hide himself until he can find an opportunity to strike the enemy cyborg in surprise.
  • Super Strength: Shin's physical strength when transformed and untransformed is enhanced because of the experiments. This allows him to jump higher, hit harder, and he can even hurl a chair across nearly the entire length of a parking garage with just one hand.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Meta example: According to Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders Super Spin-Off net movie, Tsukasa and the others acknowledges Shin as the thirteenth Kamen Rider (counting Black and RX separately, who are technically the same character). Guess which one was the scariest, deconstructed the entire concept, and didn't fare so well.
    • The metaness is continued when he makes an appearance during the 13th episode of the webisode series, Kamen Rider Fourze the Net Edition: Everyone, Class is Here!. Wherein he also meets the 13th Heisei-era Kamen Rider... and it doesn't go too well for poor Gentaro despite Shin being more than willing to be friendly with Fourze. Mostly because any kind of interaction with him is hard due to Shin not knowing how powerful he is plus all the sharp and spikey implements on his body.
  • Tranquil Fury: Shin has a pretty intense moment of this when the Big Bad guns down his pregnant girlfriend. He barely changes his facial expression, but it's almost impossible to not know what he intends to do
  • Took a Level in Badass: While Shin is strong in his own movie, in the anniversary movies for Decade and OOO, he fights alongside the other Riders and even gets his own bike, and in All Kamen Rider Generation, where he acts more like a real hero.
  • The Unfought: Onizuka, who's instead killed off by CIA agents, with his cries of pain as he dies triggering Shin's first full transformation.
  • The Voiceless: Shin, but only while transformed. He does make lower growls and roars though. Subverted in later appearances in games and movies, where he's able to communicate in a coherent, albeit gruff voice.