SH Classic Masked Riders Series GD-45 Masked Rider I (Sakurajima Ver.) (c.2002)





















Kamen Rider Ichi-go or Masked Rider One was released in 2001 as part of Bandai Souchaku Henshin Chogokin line of Riders. The Classic Series followed on the heel of the successful Kuuga and Agito series depicted Riders from the early 1970's era. After releasing Rider I (old type) and Rider 2 (new type) Bandai seem to have stop the series at Stronger, however, when Bandai-Asia began to issue the series for Hong Kong market they went on to produce other variants of Rider 1 such as this middle "movie" or "Sakurajima" version of Rider 1and even Shocker Riders. These redeco Rider 1 were later re-imported back to Japan. 

Kamen Rider 1 was design by the late Mr. Ishinomori and was produced into TV show in 1971. Kamen Rider was a modified human or cyborg constructed by evil organization in their bid to control the world. Originally, Kamen Rider 1 was suppose to be just Kamen Rider but an accidental mishap during the filming force the introduction of the second Rider. The lead actor (Hiroshi Fujioka) who portrayed Hongo Takeshi (human identity of Kamen Rider) got into accident (he did his own bike stunt). The studio was face with a dilemma with just 13 episodes to lost its main actor, however instead of replacing him with another actor, they decided to introduce second Kamen Rider character. The second Kamen Rider (Ichimonji Hayato portrayed by Sasaki Takeshi) was at first known as just Kamen Rider also, but when Hongo Takeshi returned in the middle of the series, Hongo became Kamen Rider 1 (Ichi-go) and Hayato became Kamen Rider 2 (Nin-go).

However, when Hongo returned to the show he had a new costume which look different than the one shown in the first 13 episodes. This first costume was later known as the "Old Kamen Rider 1". The new costume, which also did not last long, went to a second change when Kamen Rider 1 tricked the bad guys into upgrading him, this new and final version became known as "New Kamen Rider 1". The middle version became known as the "movie version" or "Sakurajima version" (I have no idea why the middle version became to be known as  "Sakurajima". I have asked around and no one seem to know why).

Overall the SH Masked Rider 1 had a very nice sculpt with decent paint job, but like other Masked Riders in this Souchaku Henshin Classic series, the old design just did not work well with this armored format. The old Riders were usually pretty skinny with actor wearing just normal cloth outfit so they did not suit well to this format. The SH format made them appeared a little out of proportion (especially if you are used to the realistic look of RAH or Hyper Hero Kamen Rider figures).  Though the SH Classic Rider figures appeared a bit bulky at first, but as I get used to them I have became very fond of them (probably due to nostalgic factor) and the bulky style gave them the retro feel of the old vintage Chogokin toys. It is rather cool to have my childhood Masked Riders in the same format as the new modern Riders. They might not look the best in this style but there is definitely certain charm in the old designs that just resonate with someone like me who grew up with these pioneers of Kamen Riders. For some reason I really like the "green" Rider 1 may be because you don't see it very often as most toy company either made the popular classic first Old version or the common very recognizable New version.

GD-45 SH Series Masked Rider I (Sakurajima Ver)

Bandai Asia released Rider 1 in 2002 as GD-45. Like most of HK variants the toy was later imported back to Japan and released there also. (usually as limited or special edition)

Unmasked Mode

The core body was similar style body used since the original Saint Seiya Cloth line which made it a little dated by today standard. However, this was one of the aspect that drawn me to this line. The ability to "henshin" into the Rider by adding "cloth" armor costume made these SH figures a lot like small scale Henshin Cyborg and RAH costume hero. The head, as usual was too small when unmasked and figure was obviously design to be display in armored mode. The Classic Riders all shared generic head design. Below, the figure display with his helmet off. Actually, Kamen Rider 1 was the only one to ever appear in the show in this way (while he was henshin into Rider in the early episodes)

Weapon Accessories

 Kamen Rider Ichi-go or Masked Rider I did not come with any weapon accessories since he didn't have any in the TV shows to begin with.