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"On a distant and embattled planet called Edenoi, a young prince named Dex is given great powers by his grandfather, the King, and is sent to the planet Earth, to protect it from the advancing evil of Count Dregon and his vicious Insectivores. Once on Earth, he is adopted by a kind family, and learns to live as a human. With his companion Ferbus at his side, Dex is ever-vigilant, ready at a moment's notice to call on his powers to become... Masked Rider."
Saban's Masked Rider is an American television series produced by Saban Entertainment that aired from 1995 through 1996. In much the same way as Power Rangers with Super Sentai, this show was adapted from the ninth Kamen Rider series Kamen Rider Black RX. Like Power Rangers series that have recontextualized the source footage from their original plots, Masked Rider recontextualizes Black RX's footage by using it to fit a Sitcom type show with a more...traditional Sci-Fi premise.
The plot concerned a young alien prince named Dex, sent from a distant planet Edenoi to fight against his wicked uncle Count Dregon and his Insectovores. Having already rendered Edenoi near-uninhabitable, Dregon has turned his attention to Earth.
Dex arrives in a town named Leawood and is adopted by a multiracial American family, dad Hal (white), mom Barbara (Asian Oriental), sister Molly (white) and brother Albee (black). Dex also brought along his pet bipedal duck/bear creature named Ferbus.
Dex was introduced in a three-part episode in the beginning of the third season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but the show itself had no references to that series. Whilst the pilot demonstrated a powerful message about enslavement and environmental damage, and left Edenoi with somewhat of a Downer Ending by the end of the third part, the changes in the series ignored this ending and underused a lot of potentially dramatic material in favor of a more simplistic good versus evil story based on Earth.
The first handful of episodes were fairly comparable to the quality of Power Rangers but it soon dropped fast. The main reason for the criticism includes turning the already Lighter and Softer Kamen Rider Black RX Up to Eleven, making it into even more of a comedic and vapid program.
Until 2009's Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, it was the only American adaptation of Kamen Rider. Still, the show does have a cult fandom and introduced many to the Kamen Rider franchise. Some of the background music was later used in Saban's dub of Digimon Adventure.
The show contains examples of:
- Amusing Alien: Dex has traces of this at times. One example would be that his race, Edenoians, derive from insects instead of apes -- so guess what he answered on an Earth biology test on the subject of human origins...
- Big Bad: Count Dregon
- Bowdlerize: The Electro Saber was made to shoot fireballs as stabbing monsters through the body and out again was deemed "too violent". (Strangely, the nigh-identical Laser Lance finisher in VR Troopers was not altered.)
- Possibly because Masked Rider aired on network television, while VR Troopers aired in syndication, meaning the latter could get away with it due to less restrictions.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Donais, to become the Robo Rider.
- By the Power of Greyskull: "Ectophase Activate!"
- California Doubling
- Catch Phrase: "It'll take a lot more than that to stop Masked Rider!"
- Character as Himself: Ferbus (partially justified as he was an animatronic puppet in the first few episodes before becoming a guy in a suit)
- Cool Car: Magno
- Cut and Paste Translation: A look at the differences and similarities between an episode and its Japanese counterpart can be seen here.
- Gag Dub: Naturally, since the premise of the show is entirely different from Kamen Rider Black RX.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Magno the talking car is introduced, her sultry female voice invites Dex to "feel free to check out the merchandise."
- Green Aesop: One episode deals with one of Count Dregon's servant Cyclopter making a monster out of parts from older monsters that had been destroyed. Once Dex/Masked Rider destroys it, Count Dregon admits that recycling can be most useful at saving money/energy...but notes that all of the materials needed to be sorted and labeled first, and so sends Cyclopter to do it.
- Hero for a Day: Albee accidentally getting Dex's Masked Rider powers.
- Turns out it was just a daydream.
- Hot Mom: Barbara, and to make it even better her catering uniform is a French Maid Outfit
- In The Name Of Edenoi
- Inconsistent Dub: The Masked Rider Warriors (the name given to the Showa-era Riders in the Saban version) introduce themselves with the wrong names. This is because Kamen Rider 2 and Riderman were edited out from the roll call and as a result, the names don't exactly sync-in with the characters actually presented on-screen.
- V3 introduces himself as "Warrior Commander" (Rider 2)
- X introduces himself as V3
- Amazon introduces himself as Riderman
- Stronger introduces himself as Masked Rider X
- Sky Rider introduces himself as Amazon (which has become an internet meme)
- Super-1 introduces himself as "Strongman" (Stronger)
- Only "Warrior Leader" (Rider No. 1) and Z-Cross (ZX) introduce themselves with their correct names. But due to the fact that two Riders were cut from the footage, Sky Rider and Super-1's names were cut out as a result.
- In the Name of the Moon: Dex does this at times. More particularly during the MMPR crossover.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: The three-part Mighty Morphin Power Rangers episodes have not been seen in America for over a decade, and as for the series itself there are very few episodes released on VHS and DVD. Still, there is YouTube. This and The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog are also the only live-action Saban shows currently unavailable on Netflix.
- Kiai: Dex does this. A lot.
- "You shall know the Power of the Masked Rider...and the Power Rangers! EY-YUH! HEY-YUH! HUH! EY-YAH! EY-YAH! HEY-YAH! EY-YAH!"
- "Don't know know it's illegal to impersonate a driving instructor, buddy? Now I'm gonna have to teach you a little lesson! EY-YAH! HUH! EY-YAH! HUH...Uh-hoh!"
- Kirk's Rock: Features prominently in many episodes, just as in related series.
- Narrator: used at the end of each episode over the end credits where he would talk humorously about the events of the episode.
Will Hal's TV quit smoking? Will Dex learn to take a shower without his clothes on? All this and more on the next exciting episode of... Masked Rider!
- Made of Explodium: A literal example, in one episode where a monster with banana weaponry was actually trying to steal a substance called Explodium.
- Name's the Same: "Roborider", the name applied to Shadowmoon, was originally the name for one of Kotaro's forms, which became known as "Super Gold".
- Show Within a Show: an episode of Power Rangers Time Force shows Masked Rider as this. Best to not think about this.
- A few conversations about the episode with a Promoted Fanboy chalks up the Masked Rider television series to be something Dex created when the battles with Dregon were over and he settled on Earth.
- Stunt Double: The show uses Kotaro Minami as this, with Dex dressing up in the same white outfit to blend in with the Stock Footage in some civilian fights. Most probably for budget reasons, since Saban was unable to obtain most of the monster costumes from Black RX. This explains why "Dex" is never seen in the same shot as the monster whenever he wears a different outfit other than Kotaro Minami's. At times, Kotaro's face could be seen during such fights.
- The show also uses Kamen Rider ZO and Kamen Rider J as this for suited fights as well. The close-up shots feature Dex in the RX suit, but the faraway action shots depicts him wearing a completely different outfit.
- Keep in mind, Masked Rider is NOT the first show that uses this method of editing. VR Troopers, and numerous Power Rangers series have used footage of the Japanese actors as doubles for their respective American counterparts. However, the aforementioned budget forced production to use this method very often in Masked Rider.