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Masked Rider 555 Vol 1 (1 - 4)
(Item No Longer Available

Masked Rider 555 is the story of Masked Rider Faiz (rhymes with eyes), a more reluctant hero than most of the previous riders. It also stands out because the villains are given character development and motivation, as is Faiz. Previous Riders seemed to simply accept their role in fighting through two-dimensional villains of the week, but Faiz doesn't really want to. The Orphenochs, the show's villains, are tragic characters who develop over several episodes, a nice change of pace from the usual villains who need no more motivation than they exists.

Okay, this single disc comes in an Amaray-style case with a really nice wraparound cover featuring Faiz on the new bike (which, incidentally, is way cooler than the Mantis Hopper). The back has bios of all 5 main characters in this volume, in Japanese. But it does have a headshot of each character and their full names, which will come in handy while you're watching.

The video is almost perfect. There's a 2-second distortion near the beginning of episode 3, but other than that I couldn't find a single thing wrong with it. It's filmed in an interesting way, too, so the video looks super-crisp. You really have to see it to understand what I mean, but it's a great presentation.

Crisp and clear audio, it leaves nothing to be desired. And there are some pretty cool sound effects and music, too, so it's pleasing that the audio is as clean as it is, it would be disappointing to hear them through distortion.

Is assey a real word? My spell-checker seems to think not. But whether it is or not, the subtitles are less than stellar. You'll get a good idea of what's going on, but don't expect too much more. The grammar and spelling are simply terrible, and the names are translated from the Chinese subtitles, which gets rather annoying. I would make a short list of errors, but I wouldn't know where to start.

Chapter Breaks:
20 of these bad boys, 5 every episode. Although three of them are about 4 minutes apart, at the beginning of the episode, at the beginning of the opening credits, and right after the credits. The next break is at the midway point or thereabouts, there's no eyecatch to put it at. Finally, a chapter break before the next episode teaser, as there are no ending credits, either.

This volume introduces us to five of the main characters of the series. Their names, in the original Japanese are Yuji, Mari, Takumi, Keitaro, and Yuka. Three of them are the good guys, and two are the evil Ophenochs. If you're confused on who's who, check the headshots on the back of the DVD, you'll have no problem. You can hear the names pretty clearly, anyway, so you shouldn't have a problem matching them up.

Masked Rider 555 is the best telling of the Masked Rider story I have ever seen. It is miles beyond the previous iterations, in both story and cinematography. I did rag on the subtitles, and they deserved, too, but it doesn't take away from how great this show is. Of course, most people who don't like shows like this, Ultraman, and the Super Sentai series will probably be a little off-put, as a matter of taste, but fans of the previous Masked Rider shows need look no further than Masked Rider 555 for a great series. Until next time, open your eyes for the next Faiz.

Publisher: MI
Discs: 1
Episodes: 4
Price: $8.00

Reviewer: Nozomu
Reviewed On: 04/24/2004
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Rider Kick has never ever looked cooler.

Don't you hate when you get stabbed in the chest and a CG scene shows your heart expload?

Sad girls in snow. I have a friend who would love this.

Life or death fights are no big deal to Faiz, who maintains a level of cool far beyond Masked Rider Black.

I never trusted vans myself, it's no wonder Faiz has a motorcycle.

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