RYAN DAO WRITES — Toei Company, the Japanese film and television production company behind the wildly popular “Power Rangers” series in the U.S., will be celebrating the end of their “Superhero Year” with the premiere of “Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legend Riders” (English Title: “Kamen Rider Heisei Generations”).


“Kamen Rider,” also known as “Masked Rider,” is a long-running Japanese superhero franchise comprised of several TV shows and feature films. The titular hero, Kamen Rider, was created by the highly-regarded Japanese manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori (“Cyborg 009,” “Android Kikaider”).


Since its premiere in 1971, there have been various “Kamen Rider” TV sister series featuring different cast and crew members. Similar to “Power Rangers” in the U.S., every installment of the “Kamen Rider” franchise is a self-contained story with unique themes.


In celebration of Kamen Rider’s successful 45-year run, Toei launched its “Superhero Year” campaign at the start of 2016. “Kamen Rider Ex-Aid,” the latest installment of the franchise and the twenty-seventh series overall, premiered in early October as a part of this campaign.


To mark the end of Toei’s “Superhero Year,” the protagonists of “Kamen Rider Ex-Aid” will be teaming up with the cast of 2015’s “Kamen Rider Ghost” in “Kamen Rider Heisei Generations.”


As the original Japanese title suggests, the main antagonist of this film is “Dr. Pac-Man,” who is based off of the iconic “Pac-Man” video game. The inclusion of a character inspired by the classic “Pac-Man” is made possible by Bandai Namco Entertainment, the primary sponsor of the Kamen Rider franchise and the owner of all rights to “Pac-Man.”


Japanese Pro Wrestling star Hiroshi Tanahashi will also be joining in on the action as Shoji Raise, a scientist of the “Next Genome Institute,” who transforms into the villainous “Roboru Bugster.” Koichi Sakamoto, who has worked on the “Power Rangers” series as a producer and directed several “Kamen Rider” movies in Japan, will serve as the film’s main director while up-and-coming anime writer Yuya Takahashi will be in charge of penning the script.


With December drawing close, Toei has provided fans in the U.S. with an official synopsis of the film through an exclusive article published by SciFi Japan. A short teaser of the film can also be viewed below as a full-length trailer has yet to be released. The film is set to premiere across theaters in Japan on December 10.

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