SOUCHAKU-HENSHIN KAMEN RIDER SERIES
Bandai Chogokin Armor Transformation Masked Rider Ryuki Series (c.2004-2005)
In 2002, new Masked Rider series called Ryuki made its debut in Japan. Ryuki was quite a change from not only the old Riders but even from the modern one like Kuuga and Agito. In Ryuki, Kamen Riders were creation of The Mirror World and each Riders were bound to the monster via contract. Due to this Riders and Monster concept, Bandai decided to market the new figures series as R&M (Rider and Monster) line with 5" articulated figures of Kamen Riders along with the monster companions. The new 5" line however was no longer part of the Chogokin Souchaku-Henshin series instead the Riders figures in R&M were simple plastic action-figures without any removable metal armors. Many collectors were sadden by the end of SH series due to the toys format change. The reason was probably the inclusion of the monster figure, for Bandai to make R&M line into Chogokin line, the price would have been prohibitive. (Keep in mind these toys are meant for kids).
When Ryuki ended in 2003 and new series called Kamen Rider FAIZ (555) debuted, Souchaku-Henshin fan's hopes were dashed again when Bandai decided to sell the new FAIZ series yet again as plastic only action-figures line and worst yet the size had been greatly increase to over 6" and now even the figures were not in the same scale as SH series. There was however reason for yet again another format change. The new lines of FAIZ called S-RHF series were made bigger because Bandai want them to be compatible with the RH series of Masked Rider toys. (The RH series were limited articulation vinyl figures of Kamen Riders that stood about 6" in height) This was because FAIZ story line evolved around the Ophanoch (super evolve human) and it was much cheaper to produced the Ophanoch as RH figures than doing full series of action-figures. (Bad guys toys don't sell well in Japan either).
It seem that SH series had really come to an end, when Blade series was debuted in early 2004. The new figures were smaller micro-size 4" in height and sold in playing card cases. (The series new gimmick). However, in a surprise move, Bandai decided to revive the Souchaku Henshin series and in June of 2004 released the first two new figures for SH line - Masked Rider Faiz and Kaixa from FAIZ series. It was actually these two figures that got me into collecting SH series. When I saw these figures on-line, I asked my friend Jay P. about them since he is a big Masked Rider fan and collector. Jay highly recommended the line to me as he know the type of toys I like. (Microman figures and Henshin Cyborg). I was quickly hook on the SH line and here I am with shelves full of these toys and this website. With Bandai planning to go back and do the SH format for the two series they skipped (Ryuki and FAIZ) along with the new Blade series, it seem SH Masked Rider series has finally returned (and will be here for sometimes yet if Bandai decided to do all the Kamen Riders from Ryuki).
KAMEN RIDER RYUKI SERIES (2004-2005)
GD-70 Kamen Rider Knight (11/04)
GD-71 Kamen Rider Raia (11/04)
GD-77 Kamen Rider Ouja (1/05)
GD-78 Kamen Rider Gai (1/05)
GD-80 Kamen Rider Zolda (3/05)
GD-81 Kamen Rider Imperer (3/05)
GD-82 Kamen Rider Odin (6/05)
GD-83 Kamen Rider Verde (6/05)
EX-01 Mirror Monsters Set 1 (7/05)
GD-91 Kamen Rider Tiger (10/05)
GD-92 Alternative (10/05)
EX-02 Mirror Monsters Set 2 (11/05)
GD-94 Kamen Rider Ryuga & Femme (12/05)
GD-XX Alternative Zero (Hyper Hobby Exclusive) (3/06)
EX-03 Mirror Monster Set 3 (3/06)
EX-04 Mirror Monster Set 4 (5/06)
EX-05 Mirror Monster Set 5 (12/06)
DX RIDER MACHINES (2002)
The Souchaku Henshin line was actually on hiatus during Ryuki series and Bandai instead released R&M (Rider and Monster) series for Ryuki line which consisted of 5" Masked Rider figure without the die-cast removable armors and the companion monster. Bandai released DX Rider Shooter as part of the R&M line, since the bike was compatible with R&M figure, it also compatible with the new Souchaku Henshin Ryuki series.
R&M SERIES (2002)
R&M or Rider and Monster Series was the action-figures line for Masked Rider Ryuki that replaced the Souchaku Henshin series. Since the figures from R&M were done in the same scale (5") as SH series (actually the new SH Ryuki series recycled many parts from R&M figures), the Monsters from R&M set were now also fully compatible with the new SH Ryuki line. The R&M series was recently reissued for Hong Kong and Asia market (at much lower retail price) in 2004 so if one was looking to add the companion Monsters for SH Ryuki figures, the one from R&M line would do just nicely.
R&M1 Ryuki & Dragreder
R&M2 Knight & Darkwing
R&M3 Zolda & Magnugiga
R&M4 Ouja & Venosnaker, Evildiver, Metalgelas
R&M5 Survive Knight & Darkrider
R&M6 Survive Ryuki & Dragranzer
R&M7 Odin & Gold Phoenix
R&M8 Tiger & Destwilder
R&M EX Ryuga & Black Dragreder
Knights and Dragon?
Masked Rider Ryuki was probably the most radical of the new Rider shows. The premise of the show was more like those dueling anime (Gundam G, Yu-Gi-Oh) than a Masked Rider story. However under the overblown fluff (to attract kids), the show was quite good. The story get bog down for me a bit in the middle (and then I got sidetrack watching FAIZ) but picked up toward the end. The designs of Ryuki Riders was another controversial with old fans. The grill face look of the main Riders among other things really draw some heated debates. I rather find the new look refreshing especially they well suited to this rather bizarre series (from normal Rider stories).