This article covers the group of Kamen Riders. If you are looking for Kamen Riders in general, see Kamen Rider.
|“||Even if there is no God or Buddha... there is Kamen Rider.||„|
— Kazuya Taki
— The transformation call of most Kamen Riders
The Kamen Riders (仮面ライダ Kamen Raidā, Masked Riders) are a group of (usually) armored heroes who combat threats to the Earth and it's people. They are lead by Takeshi Hongo.
While the term "Kamen Rider" didn't exist until 1971, the concept has existed since ancient times, the earliest example being the Linto warrior known as Riku, who fought the evil Grongi tribe. Riku used the Arcle, a belt with an Amadam stone embedded on the front, to transform into the hero known as Kuuga.
The first person to be called a Kamen Rider, however, was Takeshi Hongo, who, in 1971, was kidnapped by the evil organization Shocker to become a cyborg warrior. Hongo, with the help of a former Shocker scientist, managed to escape, but was pursued by Shocker kaijin. After the professor is killed by a kaijin and the scientist's daughter is knocked out and used as bait, Hongo set out and transformed into an armored hero, killing the kaijin and proclaiming himself Kamen Rider.
Hongo is later joined by Hayato Ichimonji, and the two changes their mantles to Kamen Rider Ichigo and Kamen Rider Nigo, respectively, and became known as the Double Riders. With Ichigo's skill and Nigo's strength, the two crushed Shocker and their evil plans.
Over the years, more people would take up the mantle of Kamen Rider, and fight evil organizations. These people include Kamen Rider V3, Riderman, Kamen Rider X, Kamen Rider Amazon, and Kamen Rider Stronger. These five, along with Ichigo and Nigo, would eventually team up with each other in 1979 as the Seven Legendary Riders to help Skyrider face Neo-Shocker.
The group is lead by Kamen Rider Ichigo, and is governed by the Seven Legendary Riders, along with the Heisei Nine, lead by Kamen Rider Decade, and also composed of Kuuga, Agito, Ryuki, Faiz, Blade, Hibiki, Kabuto, Den-O, and Kiva. Primary Riders (Riders who were the main heroes of their conflict) tend to be higher in rank than Secondary Riders, but this is not always the case; Kamen Rider Knight is relatively high ranking, despite usually playing second fiddle to Ryuki, and Kamen Rider Zangetsu is very high ranking due to his experience and leadership skills.
Aside from ranks, there is also the concept of Double Riders. The concept is that two Kamen Riders agree to work as two man team. The most notable Double Rider pair is the original Double Riders, Ichigo and Nigo, but other notable Double Riders include V3 and Riderman, Kuuga and Agito, Ryuki and Knight, and KickHopper and PunchHopper. The concept also goes beyond merely using two Riders, with the concept of a Rider Sentai (a team of five Kamen Riders, named after Super Sentai, another type of hero group that consists usually of five heroes) being tossed around recently.