In part two of this special interview with Kamen Rider Black Sun staff members, they discuss the charm of characters like Shadowmoon and Bilgenia as well as the type of production they want to make.
(Read part one of this interview here.)
How to Meet Fans’ Expectations
How did you feel about the fans’ responses when Kamen Rider Black Sun was announced on April 3?
Taguchi: I knew Higuchi was involved, but I hadn’t been offered to come on the project yet, so it was rather exciting!
Shiraishi: For me, it was the biggest reaction out of any production I’ve been involved in. It’s easy to say it’s because of Kamen Rider‘s 50th anniversary, but it’s still producing episodes weekly for children, even now. That’s just amazing. And could I really be part of such of an immense franchise? I could really feel the pressure after the announcement. I noticed a lot of murmuring on social media, so I feel obligated to deliver a production that I can be proud of.
Higuchi: I hadn’t been introduced to the rest of the staff yet, so I saw the announcement as if I wasn’t involved. But that same day, I didn’t think Mr. Shirakura would announce Shin Kamen Rider. “So that’s what you were hiding, Mr. Shirakura!” I thought. (laughs)
Shiraishi: Now that Mr. Higuchi and Mr. Taguchi are revealed, does that even lighten the pressure at all? (laughs)
Heightened Expectations from Director Shiraishi Living up to “Black”
Have your impressions of Kamen Rider Black changed rewatching it now from when you first watched it?
Shiraishi: It came out in 1987, right? I was in junior high school, but I don’t remember much from then. I watched it to prepare for Kamen Rider Black Sun,and it seemed to be a bitter story. Perhaps it’s Shotaro Ishinomori’s imagining, but I really felt the sadness in the story.
It’s very human that Black and Shadowmoon are two brothers and fated rivals. In fact, that implies the presence of two main characters, right? And within the worldview, the Golgom are not just an evil organization. Their circumstances are complex, and I want to include that element of intrigue in Kamen Rider Black Sun.
And I still contemplate if it really ended happily because there’s that lingering bitterness. At any rate, there’s a reason why “Black” is in the title, and I want to make sure it carries weight.
Higuchi: I mentioned this earlier, but the night time shots were so impressive, especially because it was during a time without digital compositing. Just seeing the three High Priests pop against the night of Shinjuku! Looking back on it, there are probably a variety of compositions you could do with it now. The style of the Kamen Rider series has changed, but I’m thinking of how to draw from that. You can think of Kamen Rider Black as a bridge between the worlds of the preceding Kamen Rider series and the Metal Hero series, so looking at it now, it works very well as a kind of missing ring.
Within the reality Mr. Shiraishi is sculpting, how will he draw on Kamen Rider Black? Of course, not only that, but how well can he infuse it into something that has leapt even further? I’ve my eye on this amazingly symmetrical-seeming theme. But we really have to do this right. Why? Because without context, we won’t reach Shadowmoon. Wait, is it okay to talk about Shadowmoon appearing? Well, not that there’s any reason for him not to appear. (laughs)
First off, if we don’t solve Kamen Rider Black’s existence, I don’t think we’ll get to Shadowmoon. Or, put another way, once we establish Kamen Rider Black, then we can introduce the well-loved Shadowmoon.
The cool side really does come from Shadowmoon. People really like his kind of character. In that regard, working on him will be very easy, or at least, it will be clear how to work on him.
Taguchi: When Kamen Rider Black was airing, I know I was 7, but I don’t remember that age very well. I just have this image that the Golgom High Priests were really creepy, and I liked how creepy the monsters were every week. At that time, Hollywood special effects were all the rage, and I was under the impression that suits were carefully made. Upon rewatching episodes, the monster suits really are very cool. I think it’s just so great, and even now as the special effects director, I want to make cool scuplts, and they’re an important aspect that musn’t be overlooked.
From Shadowmoon to Higuchi’s Favorite Bilgenia. Will He Also Appear in Black Sun?!
Are there any episodes or characters from Kamen Rider Black that have stuck with you?
Shiraishi: I get the strong sense that there are many Shadowmoon fans. During the campaign for Korou no Chi LEVEL 2 (2021), interviewers came up to me telling me how they were looking forward to Kamen Rider Black Sun and how they like Shadowmoon. They were probably drawn to his transience given his tragic backstory and how infrequently he appeared in the beginning.
My favorite episode is probably the one with the whale monster. I really like how it somehow became friends with Kamen Rider Black. (laughs)
Taguchi: My memory’s fuzzy, but I had SD figures of Kamen Rider Black RX and Shadowmoon with eyes that lit up if you press the back of their heads. I really liked them, so I put them in the most visible spot of my room. Obviously it was probably because I was a child, but there’s something fascinating about Shadowmoon. Kinda like what Mecha-Godzilla is to Godzilla, maybe? I like how the green lights up, you know? Even now, that Shadowmoon figure decorates my current home.
Higuchi: Watching the whole show again, it’s Bilgenia that’s got my heart. He’s the only one with a different outlook, but how did he get that way? I want to see that. The Golgom monsters have an animalistic realism to them, but I don’t understand Bilgenia. I remember feeling very uncomfortable with how his story was explored, but he gradually grew on me. It’s not good to side with the villains, but I felt sad for them at their end, more so than pity. I want Bilgenia to make a comeback. That’s my dream.
A Production That Speaks to Current Societal Problems
What kind of production do you want Kamen Rider Black Sun to be?
Shiraishi: As a form of entertainment, I want it to be interesting, but I also want some layers of present times built in.
While it is a hero production, there’s something that’s been lost to the darkness of modern day, something everyone needs to think about but have been unable to do so. It doesn’t have to exactly reflect the world, but it is made so people feel that way. I will do my utmost to make this a piece that makes people think about current social issues in Japan.
Higuchi: Regarding the appeal of the script, it will be something we haven’t had before. This is the first time I’ve been involved in a full-scale Toei production, and I think Toei is the only company that could make this. After all, Toei has made productions about societal issues that must be faced or things lacking in society. I don’t mean a group that is simply evil like Shocker from the first Kamen Rider. Something with historical context to give the story more weight. I’m very excited to see how a Shiraishi-directed Kamen Rider production will cut into corrent societal issues.
Taguchi: The worldview is really something when you read the script. As the special effects director, this is a surprisingly big responsibility because if depictions with the visual effects are done poorly, it ruins the whole perspective. But I’m determined to do this right!
You’ve started a crowdfunding campaign for Kamen Rider Black Sun. How do you plan to reward donors?
Shiraishi: It’s thanks to the fans that the franchise has continued for 50 years. For this campaign, we don’t want to just collect money. We’ve set it so donors can be part of the production. I want us to be make this show together. In addition, Kamen Rider Black Sun isn’t just a story of the hero. It’s also of the monsters, so we can have multiple characters fans can latch onto.
Those characters will come from the campaign, and I hope some fans can enjoy that.
A message for the fans, please.
Higuchi: Finally, Director Shiraishi will move mountains. He, who has sunk his fangs into the darkness of society through his work, has finally set his sights on heroes and monsters, on our beloved tokusatsu productions. Just what will he create? I’m looking forward to this too. At this very moment, it is with the greatest joy and pride that I am working with these men. I can’t wait to see what we make together. Please look forward to it.
Taguchi: Every year, new Kamen Rider series are being made, and it feels like so many patterns have been used up. However, though Kamen Rider Black Sun is being made within that general framework, there will be elements that haven’t been seen before. I hope you’ll look forward to it.
Shiraishi: Kamen Rider Black Sun should be an entertaining piece that adults can watch but also that children can watch. I’ll have my brain running on all gears, so look forward to it. It’s going to be interesting! Thank you for your support!
Source: Kamen Rider Black Sun Homepage