Know your Kamen Rider roleplay toys!
What's one thing that Kamen Rider and Star Wars have in common?
Yes, they're both long-celebrated franchises with decades upon decades worth of history, mythos and fans they can proudly claim as their own. But one key thing that both franchises share is that of awesome props and weapons.
Like how Star Wars has its lightsabers and blaster guns, Kamen Rider likewise has its own unique array of gadgets that everyone knows and loves; namely that of Henshin (transformation) belts and weapons. With all these awesome gadgets, it's only natural that there are tons of roleplay toys out there to help any kid (or kid at heart!) to reenact his favourite Kamen Rider's "HENSHIN" sequence!
But there's more than meets the eye to all this however, and no two belts are created equal - even if they're the exact same character's! Allow me to give you this quick walkthrough:
- DX Series
Short for 'Deluxe', the DX series of Kamen Rider Henshin belts is generally your standard, go-to line for the most well-rounded roleplay toy fix.
DX series Henshin Belts are usually regarded as the 'flagship' version of a Rider's roleplay toys, and often pack most, if not all, of the gimmicks and sounds from what you see in the show. From multiple add-ons, to accompanying weapons, and the ever-popular 'power up' to final form!! gadget, the DX series is your choice for the complete experience.
With this in mind, it's no surprise that the DX toys for a particularly popular Rider can get in very high demand. Once a Rider's show is over for the year, many of his DX toys often go out of production, making them hard to find - and extremely expensive. Shop wisely!
- Legend Rider Series
Basically the 'budget' series, the Legend Rider Series (or LRS) is what you'd generally expect - cheaper, often simplified versions of previously released Kamen Rider Henshin belts.
While these belts are often not quite the preferred choice for most collectors due to their stripped down features, the LRS belts are a nice alternative for the budget-conscious and the parent who wants a toy for their child.
On occasion, a LRS release sometimes does a straight re-release of a DX-belt that's simple in nature to begin with - or even adds a new feature that's arguably better than the original DX's!
- Candy Toy series
Called 食玩 (syokugan) in Japanese, these are generally the lowest end of Kamen Rider Henshin belts, and are thus also the cheapest. Sold in convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan, these miniaturised 'belts' are often sold as a small plastic kit with a bit of candy included (thus the name).
While not exactly 'collectible' material, these are a fun little build for kids and adults alike, and can be surprisingly complete too with all the necessary details and attachments.
- Complete Selection Series
The cream of the crop, the Complete Selection series of Kamen Rider Henshin belts are the high-ticket items!
Made purely for the serious, adult collector (and hardcore fan), the Complete Selection belts are meant to fully replicate the look and feel of the prop used in the show, while also having enhanced electronics.
Almost always made from a combination of leather, die-cast metal and intricate moulded details, the Complete Selection belts come packing with improved features, such as more sounds, lights, or even entirely new additions to make them more show accurate!
'CS' belts aren't perfect though - they often focus only on a Rider's 'default' form, which means add-ons from the DX line don't work. They can also command extremely high prices due to their limited availability, normally out of the reach of most collectors' budgets.
But for the die-hard fan, these are the belts worth hunting for during a trip to Japan - don't give up!!