Shinichiro Shirakura, producer for Kamen Rider Zi-O, recently made some interesting comments about the fanbase in the west.
Recently, Toei producer Shinichiro Shirakura has been interacting with English speaking fans, which led to a direct comment about the future of Kamen Rider distribution in the west.
His answer led to some backlash:
I believe there’s no fanbase of Kamen Rider in the west practically.
This was presented in response to a fan asking if there’s enough of a fanbase in the west to allow for distribution, a question he answered seemingly with the intent to just say that Kamen Rider is more of a niche thing in the west. Its wording, however, left a different impression.
Appreciating the fans of Kamen Rider abroad. Honestly, we’ve been merely conscious that, except the extent of Super-sentai fans. Cuz we know the adopting of Kamen Rider to the west has failed again and again, while Super-sentai has succeeded as Power Rangers.
Now I’d like to look for the way how we can serve Kamen Rider franchise worldwide, directly, not being adopted. (or somehow) But we are not go now on. Please give us some more time.
He is not fluent in English, as admitted in a Japanese tweet, so it is surprising to have such a transparent response on a public forum. His intentions seem clear enough, though – Shirakura believes that Kamen Rider has failed to gain as much of an audience as Super Sentai, which has been adapted for the iconic Power Rangers franchise. He seems to show interest in finding a way to provide to overseas fans, although the exact course of action is not clear to him as of yet.
Following this, another fan suggested that Toei should open its Toei Tokusatsu Fan Club internationally, providing translations for most of the shows. The response:
I’m sure that it’s might be breakthrough.
It is not certain what the future holds for Kamen Rider. But between this year’s import of Kamen Rider Amazons and Premium Bandai opening up to overseas buyers, it seems like they are open to the idea of reaching out.