There are only a relative few franchises that can boast over 50 years of history, while still surviving well into the modern age. Many in the English speaking world will know of Doctor Who, or Star Wars, but when it comes to Japan, Kamen Rider is one of the biggest and oldest names around, especially in the superhero genre.

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Kamen Rider is a series that focuses on the titular riders, superheroes who often work alone or In small groups to stop some grand, evil organization. While its sister series Super Sentai was introduced outside Japan as Power Rangers, Kamen Rider never got a worthwhile adaptation, and remains largely Japan exclusive. This means getting into the series can often be a challenge, but luckily most seasons tell their own story, and there are a lot of great jumping on points.


8 Kamen Rider Fourze

In many ways, Kamen Rider and other ‘tokusatsu’ TV shows share a lot of aspects with anime, from mannerisms and gags to themes of friendship and determination. Since anime is such a massive cultural force, these similarities might help ease anime fans into the Kamen Rider world.

Fourze’s use of a traditional high school setting is an aspect of the show that it shares with many anime. The main character Gentaro is also a classic ‘delinquent’ character like Yusuke Urameshi from Yu Yu Hakusho. Even outside its anime links, the focus on space provides a rather popular motif for newcomers to latch onto.

7 Kamen Rider Decade

Kamen Rider is divided into 3 eras; ‘Showa’, ‘Heisei’ and ‘Reiwa’, corresponding to what period of Japan’s imperial rule each season aired under. Kamen Rider Decade aired in 2009, right in the middle of the Heisei era. It’s an anniversary season, which makes it a good place to learn about the series as a whole.

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Particularly, it pays homage to the 9 seasons that precede it in the Heisei era. This era started in 2000, after a 10 year hiatus for the series, so it acts as the series’ first set of modern installments. Decade not only gives newcomers a brief overview of all seasons in the Heisei era, but is also fairly short at only 31 episodes.

6 Kamen Rider x Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen

Kamen Rider and its sister series Super Sentai are very closely linked, sharing an entire broadcast block together and often crossing over in various movies and specials. Super Hero Taisen is one such crossover, mainly featuring Kamen Rider Decade and Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.

While the movie is best enjoyed with knowledge of all the various seasons of both shows involved, these crossover events are also designed to not be too overwhelming to newcomers. Since Decade and Gokaiger are both anniversary seasons that use powers from across their respective series, SHT offers a chance to see a wide range of what both series have to offer while enjoying some great action.

5 Kamen Rider Zi-O

As the final Kamen Rider series to air in the Heisei era, Zi-O is a spiritual successor to Decade in many ways. Just like Decade, it pays homage to previous seasons by allowing its protagonist to access powers from various other Kamen Riders.

Zi-O might be a better jumping on point than Decade, as it aired roughly 10 years later in 2018. This means 10 years of improvements to the series’ visual style, action scenes and grasp on modern technology, making Zi-O much less jarring to modern viewers. This season also features a Terminator-esque time travel plot line that is easy to grasp.

4 Kamen Rider Gaim

Among fans, 2013’s Kamen Rider Gaim is still one of the more popular seasons in the franchise, meaning it can show newcomers some of the best the franchise has to offer. A big part in making Gaim as loved as it is it’s writer Gen Urobuchi, best known for creating Madoka Magica, one of the most iconic anime ever made.

Due to Urobochi’s involvement, the season’s storytelling is somewhat similar to that of an anime, further helping anime fans transition smoothly into Kamen Rider. Gaim also features fruits and samurai as its main motifs, giving it a uniquely appealing range of colorful costume designs.

3 Heisei Rider vs. Shōwa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen

Most of the seasons listed here are from the Heisei era, as it’s the longest running era in the series’ history. Getting into the seasons from the Showa era will likely be quite difficult for many, due to their very visible age and lower production values. They are the beginning of the series however, and are worth at least knowing about.

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While a lot of Kamen Rider movies and specials will feature the Showa riders, Kamen Rider Taisen puts them all in one movie, while pitting them against the Heisei riders. This movie allows newcomers to see the older riders in a more modern context, possibly sparking interest in checking out the older seasons in the series.

2 Kamen Rider Ex-Aid

Each Kamen Rider season needs something to set itself apart from the crowd. Especially in recent years, each season commits to an overall visual motif, whether it be cars, fruit or ghosts. Ex-Aid is a season that chooses to pay homage to video games.

Just like anime, video games are a massive industry, and many fans looking to get into Kamen Rider will have some background in video games. This helps Ex-Aid feel more familiar, even to newcomers. It is also one of the more popular seasons, having even faced off against Pac-Man in a crossover movie.

1 Kamen Rider Geats

For long-running franchises, if the story between entries is more disconnected, sometimes the best place to jump in is the newest entry. Just like starting Pokemon with the upcoming Scarlet and Violet is a perfectly easy way to try the series out, Kamen Rider Geats is an easy way to try this series out.

Geats’ first episode will be airing on the 4th of September 2022, so any newcomers can watch along with it from the start. The season is also going for a battle royale style story, taking inspiration from other battle royales like Fortnite and Squid Game, meaning many newcomers will be familiar with the structure the narrative uses.

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