Gen Urobuchi, Kamen Rider Gaim’s head writer, reveals how he got the chance to work on Kamen Rider, and contrary to popular belief, Gaim’s Rider Battle does not take inspiration from Kamen Rider Ryuki.
Hyper Hobby: How did you get the chance to work on Kamen Rider Gaim?
Gen: It was actually Tomokazu Sugita (Kivat Bat III) who introduced me into Takebe, the producer. We ended up going out for a drink and all of a sudden we started talking about job opportunities.
HH: What made you accept the job then?
Gen: I immediately thought, I have to accept this offer! I really wanted to take on a new challenge. I’ve been writing anime for so long, I’ve gotten so used to it. But writing a tokusatsu show is so completely different, I thought it would be a good choice.
HH: Do you think this experience will be different from usual?
Gen: Hmm, how should I say this? Tokusatsu definitely has its unique charm. There are certain things that you can only express through tokusatsu. We’ll see how it goes.
HH: How do you feel about tokusatsu in general?
Gen: I love the Space Sheriff series, especially Gavan. There’s also Kamen Rider Black that I used to watch in high school.Especially the Kamen Rider Black manga by Shotaro Ishinomori himself. It wasn’t exactly targeted towards kids and that final scene was so amazing.
HH: What is your general idea on Kamen Rider?
Gen: I really like the whole using evil to fight evil idea. The early Riders were remodeled by Shocker to fight for evil, but instead they used that “evil” power to fight for justice instead. The power itself might be evil, but it’s all up to how it’s being used. This is present in most of the Riders.
HH: So will you be incorporating this in Kamen Rider Gaim?
Gen: Well, Gaim is using fruits. It’s kinda hard with fruits. Fruits aren’t really evil, are they?
HH: Does this mean that the fruits will be “evil” in some way?
Gen: I can’t say anything just yet. But they are most certainly dangerous fruits. We thought of having fruits, locks and armored warriors as the themes very early on. It was hard to include all three, but we couldn’t just scrap one of them either. Some aspects have been diminished though.
Gaim certainly does look like a samurai from the Sengoku era, but several aspects of that have been dropped, like the poetic literature from that era. Takebe’s image of Gaim included a lot of that, but we thought it would be too early for that kind of stuff. So we needed something to fill in. It just so happened to become fruits. Just because it’s called Sengoku Driver doesn’t mean it’s from the Sengoku era.
HH: Since Takebe offered you this job, has she made any special requests?
Gen: Yup. She told me she wanted to return to early Heisei series. Kuuga, Agito, Ryuki and Faiz in particular.
HH: How different is to write anime and tokusatsu?
Gen: It’s very different. The lines can’t be too long. In anime,Â it’s quite alright to give them longer lines, which I’m too used to doing.
Things are expressed differently with real people. For example Yutaka Kobayashi’s character, Balon, would be completely wasted if this was an anime. He does a very good job with the facial expressions, this is nearly impossible to replicate in anime.
HH: Have you taken any inspirations from types of media for Gaim?
Gen: Hmm, not really. I’m writing Kamen Rider for the first time after all. While I’m creating something new, I don’t want to stray away too much.
However, you might see some throwbacks to my favorite, Kamen Rider Black. The whole Rider Battle is actually because of Kamen Rider Black. I loved how Black fought Shadowmoon, his own step-brother. I want to create the same excitement I got for the newer generation.
HH: Oh, so the Rider Battle is based on Black’s relationship with Shadowmoon. And here I thought it was based on Kamen Rider Ryuki.
How has the reaction to you writing for Kamen Rider been so far?
Gen: Kamen Rider Ryuki did however help us determine how many Riders we would have. I wasn’t in Japan when it was announced. But I remember people retweeting an old tweet I wrote years ago about how happy I’d be to write for Kamen Rider.
HH: Finally, how different will Gaim be?
Gen: One thing is that Takebe told me not to go with the two part episode formula. There was no point in letting a monster get away one episode only to immediately die afterwards.
Special thanks to Berty for scanning the magazine for us!