Ladies and gentlemen and others, let me introduce you all to BatMan.
Unlike the more famous creature of the night bearing that name, this BatMan (known as Komori Otoko in his native Japan) first came onto the scene in the second ever episode of Kamen Rider (1971), and promptly left this Earth a little past the twenty-two minute mark of that episode. Before he left, though, he instigated a plot to infect tenants of an apartment complex with a sentient virus that turns the victim into a feral vampire creature and leaves them susceptible to hypnotic suggestion.
The BatMan proved a most cunning foe to the freshly minted superhero, but Takeshi Hongo is not a man who can be taken down easily. Transforming and fighting the monster (after a scene of taking Ruriko that added nothing to the episode), the soon-to be Kamen Rider Ichigo dispatches his foe by ripping off one of his wings and throwing him off the roof of the apartment complex the artist formerly known as Komori Otoko set up shop in.
But rest assured, dear reader; while his mortal form is gone, Komori Otoko lives on, since every iteration of the Kamen Rider franchise has had a bat monster as one of the monsters of the week/fortnight ever since.
Kamen Rider (1971) is an incredibly hypnotic show to me. Not just because I grew up on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, oh no; this show would be damn fascinating even without my nostalgic baggage. Its characters are oddly compelling, its action, while not too well choreographed, still holds my attention, and the villains are all that entertaining sort of hammy and crazy you only get in TV and movies. I’m still shocked at how much they were able to get away with on 70s kids television in Japan (though they wouldn’t go full-crazy with this until Amazon). Please, I implore you; check this show out for yourself.
This has been you’re shameless Kamen Rider tongue bathing for the day.