Before the premiere of his third tokusatsu series, Kamen Rider Drive head writer, Riku Sanjo, sat down for an interview with Hyper Hobby.
Hyper Hobby: Kamen Rider Drive seems to be a police story. Having written for a detective story in “Kamen Rider W,” do you feel this is a genre you are good at?
Sanjo: I like to watch them. But when I got the offer for W, honestly, I resisted a bit. Writing something of that genre is quite engaged and difficult, so it wasn’t really something I liked to write. And indeed, writing W required a lot of energy. Producer Tsukada was doing “The Woman of the Crime Lab” so he had lots of experience in creating this type of mystery work and I was able to get a lot of pointers. I then realized just how difficult a mystery series is to create.
HH: And yet…
Sanjo: This time, Producer Oomori let me know from the start that it was going to be a single Rider and that the concept was cars. He said he wanted to portray a Rider that “would stand against difficult times by himself.” Producer Sasaki, from TV Asahi wanted something more episodic and with a very strong “incident” feel. I guess it is to make it feel different than Kamen Rider Gaim, and when I thought of cars and incidents, the police genre appeared naturally. I then told them how a police drama would be what made the most sense.
HH: So you decided to immerse yourself in a difficult situation. Was this with the certainty that you’d succeed?
Sanjo: Since W’s activities involved a lot of foot work, a bike was very fitting. But in the case of cars, they evoked more the atmosphere of “Seibu Keisatsu” (Early 80s police series). Then I thought about what a car-riding hero’s appeal would be and thought of the moments in which he arrives at the scene. With the “There is no time!” feel and stepping on the gas, arriving just in time and things like that, like in RoboCop. An image of the hero bursting through a door, and instead of just steady investigation to find the culprit, chasing after them would play a big part. That is how the concept came to be.
HH: So you say that one of the bases was cars. Didn’t you have a certain resistance to have a Kamen Rider on a car?
Sanjo: Not really. I like Rideron (Kamen Rider Black RX) quite a lot. Also, remember that Kamen Rider 1, Takeshi Hongo, could not transform without Cyclone. He would sometimes use the shockwave of an explosion or the speed of a fall to do it, but normally, he’d need Cyclone to create enough pressure for the helix (Cyclone) in his belt to spin. Cyclone was a transformation tool as well. It was an invaluable thing for the Rider. So, I think there is a similarity with Rider 1’s Cyclone and Tridoron in the sense that Drive cannot really use his full potential without it.
HH: Did you have any disagreements with the producers when creating these scenarios?
Sanjo: Surprisingly, no. Every stage of the creation of the hero and such was cleared quite smoothly, everyone agreeing. I was really surprised when I first got the offer. It hadn’t been that long since Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger had finished and the car concept was something really fresh and new. However, once I get a task I always give my 100%.
HH: What Kamen Rider left an impression in you?
Sanjo: That has to be the first Rider 2 of the original series. With his appearance, things like the rider kick, the transformation poses and many other tropes were established. It is very complete as a show format, as well. Like, Shocker is doing something, then he appears and transforms once, then he fights them and finishes with a rider kick. The action was also well established. It’s 30 minutes of a battle musical you can’t stop watching. Because it had a lot of music. It was really exciting to watch.
HH: So you aim for the same in Drive?
Sanjo: I think it is important to pick up all this details that were revolutionary in their time. The first thing I pictured was definitely him “arriving at the scene.” In the original series, the Shocker monster would run and say “He won’t get this far!” only to find out he had been outrun. I used to think “Cyclone is so fast!” So I wanted to portray something similar, with Tridoron arriving at the scene, tires screeching and then Drive getting out of it.
HH: Anything you want to pay special attention to, story wise?
Sanjo: I wanted to have a bunch of weird and quirky people gather and do things. In W, you had the client come with a request and then the case being solved. In the case of a police drama you can start, for example, with a shootout, so there is more freedom.
All English translations are accredited to The Tokusatsu Network staff members. Please do not repost without crediting and directly linking back to the original Tokusatsu Network article.
Source: Hyper Hobby, October 2014