It's always refreshing (and easy on the wallet) when any of the Kamen Rider shows get a home release outside of Japan. Although, this isn't one of those times. Today, I'll be covering some home media releases of one of the English Kamen Rider series. Don't worry, it's not Masked Rider... Yet! No, it's Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. A show that should've had a complete DVD box set in America, but it didn't. Instead, we got two volumes released on DVD in Germany. Okay, they came out in Japan too but those releases are crazy expensive. The German releases can be found for cheap and they are in English. How are these releases? Find out in this special edition of Kaiser Sensei's Kamen Rider Summary and Reviews. (Click on "Read More" to read the full review).
Kamen Rider Dragon Knight is a show about a young adult named, Kit Taylor. Kit is not having a good day, he got arrested for shoplifting, he is moving out of his foster home, his father is missing, and worst of all, it's his eighteenth birthday. Wait, turning eighteen isn't bad! While he is waiting in the main hall at his local jail, Kit hears his fathers voice telling him to, "search for the dragon". What could this all mean? Kit finds the answer when he visits his father's workshop and finds a deck of mysterious cards. Sadly, this causes more trouble for Kit because this card deck is an item that is sort after by the bad guys.
Kit now sees evil aliens from an alternate dimension, aliens that are after his deck. These aliens aren't the only ones after his deck because there's a guy named Adam, who is also after the deck. Don't worry, Adam is one of the good guys and is also a Kamen Rider. After being attacked by weird giant metal animals, Kit activates his deck to become a Kamen Rider himself and after accepting the dragon, Kit becomes Kamen Rider Dragon Knight. Adam was hoping that this wouldn't happen because now Kit is caught up in the war between the good Kamen Riders and the evil Xaviax.
They also have a friend named, Maya. She is a reporter for a conspiracy website and this Kamen Rider business is her golden ticket to fame. Sadly, she too is a target. Speaking of targets, Xaviax not only has an evil army, he also has given the power of the Kamen Rider to select people to take out Dragon Knight. Oh, if any of the Kamen Riders are defeated in battle, they get sent to another world where they'll be trapped forever. No! Not the Shadow Realm! Although, it is pretty close to being that. All this and more in the exciting first two (and only) volumes of the German DVD releases.
Yeah, summing up the story into a few short paragraphs is a bit rough because there's a lot that goes on in this series. The story in this isn't very deep but it is still very entertaining and interesting nonetheless. I like how it is one huge continuous story rather than a monster of the week kind of deal. I also liked how the actions meant something in this show, adding some interesting drama to the mix. It's not all rainbows and gingerbread men when the battle is over.
The acting is a little cheesy but it isn't anything that will make you cringe and fall over with cramps. It's comparable to a lot of teen dramas that you'll also find on TV and streaming services. Even so, the characters are pretty decent. You really want to see the heroes save the day. There are no cheesy comic relief characters here, all of the characters are serious and mature. The action is very exciting and it is not as restricted as Power Rangers. You see attacks to all parts of the body, baddies actually trying to kill the heroes, and unpredictable stuff that'll make you question which side is going to win. I got really caught up in the story and action to where I forgot that I was watching a super hero show. As corny as that sounds.
The parts that bothered me was when they used stock footage from Kamen Rider Ryuki (the show that this English version is based on), you can really tell because it is incredibly aged. You can really see the huge jump from the start of the 2000s vs the end of the 2000s. It's very distracting for many reasons. There's also a lot of lens flare in the stock footage, it got sooo bad in one scene, I felt like that I had to wear my sunnies. A lot of the special effects haven't aged very well, the CG is dated by todays standards which is a normal thing to happen. I wouldn't say that they were bad though, they were fun to look at. What wasn't fun to look at were some of the explosions, they looked ultra cheap, like seeing a fire GIF off of an old Angel Fire website. The music isn't anything groundbreaking but it does go well with the show and help adds to the atmosphere.
The costumes for the kamen riders looked fantastic though and I just loved the details and all of the different designs, even if they do look like hard plastic action figures come to life. The rest of the costumes look outdated, even by late-2000s standards. It looked like a show filmed in the year 1998 rather than 2008 and yes, I am aware that this is based on a Kamen Rider show that came out in the year 2002.
|Bonus shot of the main menu from volume one. Nothing special looking.|
I'm amazed as to why this didn't get any official home media release in English countries. Don't worry though, the German release does have the original English track on it. This is also a pretty bare bones and outdated release. You only get five episodes on each volume and with no special features. Yeah, it frustrates me how shows were still being released in volumes during this time. Despite saying that this is a region two release, it played fine on my region four (Australia's region) dvd/Blu-ray players and PlayStation 4. So, there may be a good chance that this release is completely region free but don't quote me on that.
Overall, despite being only two volumes released, it's still a really good watch. I just wished that we got more English tokusatsu adaptations that stuck closer to its source material, like this show did. I'm giving Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Season One, Volume One and Two an 8 out of 10.