Saban's Masked Rider — A Retrospective | ABC-5 90's American Adapted Superhero Kids Show

Saban's Masked Rider or simply Masked Rider was a syndicated live action show produced by Saban Entertainment (the same creators of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, VR Troopers, Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills, and Big Bad Beetleborgs) and originally aired in Fox Kids block from September 16, 1995 to November 20, 1996. Masked Rider was an American adaptation of the 1988 Japanese tokusatsu show and (the then) ninth entry to the Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Black RX; which so happen to be a direct follow up to Kamen Rider Black (See our retrospective on Masked Rider Black for more details). In the Philippines, the Associated Broadcasting Company abbreviated as ABC-5 (now known as TV5) aired the Filipino-dubbed American series Saban's Masked Rider on a weekend primetime block. Let's go down memory lane and remember Saban's Masked Rider back in ABC Channel 5 here in the Philippines.

Saban's Masked Rider 90's Retro US Show ABC-5 Reto Pilipinas Feature

Saban's Masked Rider - The Story
Saban's Masked Rider Series Plot

In a distant planet called Edenoi was once a flourishing planet until a conquering evil tyrant uncle Count Dregon turned it upside down and now has set his eyes on conquering another planet, the Earth. It is up to the Edenoi Prince Dex to thwart the diabolical plans of his uncle with the help of the powers of the Masked Rider passed on to him by his Grandfather King Lexian.

Upon arriving to Earth, he is adopted and took under the roof of a wrm progresive American family, the Stewarts; headed by the couple Hal (American) and Barabara (Asian) couple living together with their two adopted children Albee (African-American son) and Molly (American teenager). Later on Dex along with the Stewart family was joined by Dex' furry friend which is a cross between a bear and a duck happens to be a dwarf bipedal, Ferbus.

Saban's Masked Rider Opening Theme
Saban's Masked Rider Series Intro

Ah the memories I had with Saban's Masked Rider! It was a bittersweet thing looking back at it now. On a time when a young me was hooked watching Filipino-dubbed tokusatsu shows which most are exported from the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan), this show came and somewhat gave a fresh look at things. It sure was very familiar and yet it has American actors on it. A departure from the usual Asian-centric sentai shows we were exposed to back then. Back then, we didn't have the internet and we were basically at the mercy of the local television networks and whatever foreign shows they managed to get their hands on. They decided to pick this up Fox Kids (American) Saban's Masked Rider rather than the original Japanese Kamen Rider Black RX. Maybe it is a cheaper syndication deal (or probably IS all that), but it was what we were exposed to back then. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was already on television back then, so it wouldn't hurt for a child to get hyped with another American superhero show, right?

Saban's Masked Rider Edenoi's Prince Dex and Pet Friend Ferbus

On a time with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, VR Troopers, and Big Bad Beetleborgs, all of these were perfect for a nerdy child growing up in the 90's. It had (by then) a nice blend of action and silly moments. It had cool transformations and great monsters of the week. If my memory served me correctly, Saban's Masked Rider was aired in the Philippines at around 6:00 PM every Sundays. Well at least that is how I remember it as it is usually dark when I start watching it back then. I usually draw most of the information via Wikipedia, but it doesn't specify the details and history of the local syndication and further details about the show here in our country. Saban's Masked Rider could have aired in ABC-5 at the early 2000, but for now I will be sticking to a late 90's timeline for this feature. Back then, it was mere fun and games; not to mention cool super hero action poses, Masked Rider has all what was needed and it was understood as it was dubbed in Filipino. The cooler parts were the cool action scenes which can be traced more from its Japanese roots rather than its tone down American adaptation.

All the cool stuff from Magna, the talking car to Chopper (reincarnation of Battlehopper from the Kamen Rider Black RX version), the also talking motorcycle are present from its resource material, Kamen Rider Black RX. The only thing that the American adaptation/counterpart offered new is the introduction of Ferbus (which I think is just there to sell plushies, although personally speaking I find him uninteresting), that lighter tone that American kids have been so used to by then (no thanks to obsessive compulsive television censorship), and the somewhat progressive familial set-up of the Stewarts. Everything else is standard Japanese Kamen Rider fair. Oh there also was this special Saban's Masked Rider and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers cross-over episode in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers which was never reference to Masked Rider ever again. XD

Saban's Masked Rider Edenoi's Prince Dex and the Stewart family of Leawood

But as many shows from the past, adulthood and time has somewhat sour the experience. It later came to my attention that its Japanese origin was far superior in terms of tone and story as what earlier showa era Kamen Rider series were all about. Sometimes... no scrap that, most of the time, kids don't want to be treated as kids and just want their superhero kids entertainment as it is; even it ends up being dark and gritty. Hey, it worked for Batman The Animated Series, sow why not on a Masked Rider? Just look at the animation and kids shows nowadays. We (back then as kids) can handle those kinds of topics, so why dumb it down?

Kamen Rider Black RX was the inspiration of the American adaptation of Saban's Masked Rider

Later on, I managed to get my hands on the original source material which featured the same actor and character from Kamen Rider Black, Minami Kohtaro Minami (Tetsuo Kurata) continuing his story as Black RX. Afterwhich I started thinking that everything America touch was doing the original Japanese content a great disservice. Fast forward to many years later, the internet has made it possible for me to grab and finally follow the series which was deprived of us by local television networks and finally got my hands on the far superior Kamen Rider Black RX. I later accepted the fact that America will be America, and Japan will be Japan as they will do their own thing as observed from both Super sentai and Power Rangers series which is still continuing as of this very day (of me writing this).

While doing this episode I also managed to stumble over this Youtube channel that uses the same style used by the guys at Honest Trailers and make their own spin on tokusatsu and shows adapted by America. Check out Honest Trailers - Saban's Masked Rider while it hasnb't been taken down, because believe me Japanese corporations like to do copyright take downs for stuff that is clearly acceptable under the fair use act. I will make a future post about that and our experience here in Retro Pilipinas related to that, for now enjoy:

Saban's Masked Rider Title Logo A Retro Pilipinas Retrospective ABC-5 Philippines

How about you guys, have you watched Saban's Masked Rider? were you aware about the existence of its original source material Kamen Rider Black RX? Did you manage to see and watch them both? Any favorite episodes, memorabilias, characters, or merchandise that you have on the Americanized kids show? Share your thoughts and lets go down on a retrospective about Saban's Kamen Rider in the comments section below:

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