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Athlete/motorcycle daredevil Shirou Kazami was a witness to the doings of the evil Destron (an offshoot of the first Shocker/Gelshocker society from the first show), which subsequently sought to kill him. Young girl Junko Tama also gets involved, and after Shirou took her to his family's house for safety, Destron monster Scissors-Jaguar stumbles onto her and before Shirou's eyes, kills his whole family (his father, mother, and younger sister)! But before Shirou and Junko were about to be killed as well, Shirou's friend Takeshi Hongou, alias Masked Rider 1, comes to the rescue! An enraged Shirou wants to be a Masked Rider just like him and Hayato Ichimonji (Rider 2), but the Double Riders won't allow it (they don't want another cyborg burdened by the loss of humanity), until, that is, Shirou sacrifices his own life to save them from a trap set by the mysterious Leader of Destron in the remains of Gelshocker's old base. With leftover surgery equipment, the Double Riders transform Shirou...Written by
I've always wondered why MASKED RIDER V3 was hailed as one of the best Masked Rider shows by fans! In my honest opinion, the series had far more dimension, and was less convoluted than the first show!
With all due respect, although the first MASKED RIDER (Toei; 1971) had a great concept, great action and good premise, it not only focused on more atmosphere than story content, but most crucially had a major lack of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!!! As a result, you could not feel much for the characters, which end up looking like one-dimensional plot robots (Takeshi Hongou/Masked Rider didn't develop as much as he should). Yeah, you'll have fans saying "It's a great show because it's dark" and other stuff, but being "dark" is far from the point.
MASKED RIDER V3 took great advantage of action, story and character development! This time, not only was everything cool-looking, colorful and action packed, but you could relate with the characters! Sure, Takeshi Hongou brooded over the loss of his humanity after being transformed into a cyborg grasshopper by Shocker (the first show's villains), but there was never really any depth in his character. On the other hand, Shirou Kazami (the show's hero) was hell bent on wiping out Destron (the show's villains) because they killed his whole family!!! In my opinion, Kazami has more depth and dimension than the first two Riders ever did! The same is said for the show's later antihero Riderman, who's basically the Masked Rider equivalent to "Phantom of the Opera," only instead of losing his face and music, he loses his right arm and his old job at Destron! The conflict between him and V3 is quite intense, and even so, you'll still be attached to both characters!
Also, not only that, but the show was allowed to develop itself without any inside problems (which plagued the first show), which makes MASKED RIDER V3 one of the more consistent shows! I'd also suggest skipping over from episode 4 to 41 (the introduction of Destron commander Marshall Armor) for an even more straightforward storyline (and avoid the pointless resurrection of the first two Riders later in the series, which was obviously done for ratings and to keep a franchise going)!
In summary, MASKED RIDER V3 is indeed one of the best Japanese superhero shows! Seek it at all costs!
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