Takamasa Suga (須賀貴匡) portrayed the main protagonist, Shinji Kido, in Kamen Rider Ryuki, while Satoshi Matsuda (松田悟志) portrayed Ren Akiyama/Kamen Rider Knight from 2002-2003. It was recently announced that the transformation belt line Complete Selection Modification (CSM) would be featuring Kamen Rider Ryuki.
Suga and Matsuda recently spoke to MyNavi in an interview about their memories of the show, including performances and toys.
The Kamen Riders in this series strike a transformation pose while holding their card deck in front of a mirror or some other reflective surface. How did you decide the pose?
Suga: Ryuki seems to have the post of Kamen Rider No. 1, while Knight has the post of No. 2.
Matsuda: I feel like that’s what I was told first. The post was taught to us by the Action Director Takeshi Miyazaki (宮崎剛).
Suga: The transformation poses themselves are simple.
Matsuda: When the Riders of Ryuki transform, there is no significant transformation scene. It was a feeling of transforming with the flow of the drama.
Suga: In the final stage, there were some scenes when Shinji transformed, but found it harder to keep fighting against the other Riders.
Matsuda: There was tension in the transformation scenes at that time. Asakura (Kamen Rider Ouja) was fighting every day, transforming and entering the mirror world.
There were times when Kamen Rider Ryuki’s filming schedule overlapped, such as Summer movies, tv air times, and a one hour special. Did you think that was a troublesome schedule?
Suga: There were times when the TV show, movie, and special overlapped and there were times I got messed up.
Matsuda: There were times I woke up in the morning and had to film the movie instead.
Suga: We just had to go thorugh the door and do it.
Matsuda: At that time, I was filming the movie and tv show at the same time. I couldn’t even get home at the end of the day sometimes. I played on the tv show in the morning, then the movie version in the afternoon. Then at night, I recorded the tv show again. Then the next morning, I had to resume at 7AM.
Suga: I didn’t have time to go home, so I would get a hotel near the shooting area.
Matsuda: Even if you stayed at a hotel, it’s a waste of time because you still have to go back to the shooting area. I went to sleep in the bus. If I slept in a hotel room, I might get up late but it only affected me (laughs).
Suga: That’s why I called.
Matsuda: It was hard then because we didn’t feel like getting up when they called for us.
Suga: Yes, I understand! We tried to sleep when we could. There were times when I got confused by which dialogue to say because the tv and movie filming was overlapping.
Matsuda: It was mid-Summer when we recorded the movie version. I remember the costume was difficult because I had to wear a turtleneck and a leather coat.
Suga: I thought the weather was hot too (laughs)
Matsuda: What I often remember in the movie is when I had to perform a stage greeting on opening day. I had to travel on a ferry to shoot the tv show, too.
Suga: That’s right. There was a festival. I had to take a two day cruise to film a scene inside the ship.
Matsuda: When I returned to the location, I was told I had to go to the theater on foot, and I just stood during the stage greeting. So, during the stage greeting, my feet were shaking. It was like I was still standing inside the ship (laughs).
In the movie version, when the tv show was reaching it’s middle half, some like to show a different ending as soon as possible to gauge reactions from fans.
Suga: When I heard some of the lines, there was something that really made my heart excited about the movie version.
Matsuda: I remember feeling a little excited at the time.
Suga: The movie version had a lot of thought behind it. In the last scene, when Ryuki Survive and Knight Survive are fighting together.
Matsuda: I remember shouting “Wow!”
Suga: During that scene, Ryuki and Knight didn’t seem like they would survive. They stood firm, prepared to die to destroy the monster.
Matsuda: I didn’t feel too pessimistic then.
Suga: I tried to appear that this was Ryuki and Knight’s last scene and they would disappear in the end why giving their all. It is a “heavy” scene, and our screams go silent into the wind.
Kamen Rider Ryuki is remembered for having various endings, including the unique one-hour special “13 Riders.” Viewers could decide the final ending by calling in and voting to “Continue the battle” or “Stop fighting”. It gained a lot of attention.
Suga: It was decided it would be decided by phone calls.
Matsuda: I was thinking it should be selecting by pressing the D-Pad button on your remote control (laughs)
Suga: That’s what I want to do now, but during Ryuki’s broadcast, it was very rare.
Matsuda: In 13 Riders, Ren dies and Shinji inherits his deck to turn into Kamen Rider Knight.
Ryuki was able to make Heisei Riders popular and Kuuga and Agito helped increase that. Do you have any memories that made you realize how popular it still is?
Suga: It’s amazing fans still have fond memories now. Because we performed as SHinji and Ren, we’re thankful the fans were enthusiactically watching.
Matsuda: The energy of the work is amazing. I don’t think that power is so strong in other programs. Even if I told fans I was going to appear in another drama and said it was ending, they would go to the new location of the next drama.
Suga: If you’re a Kamen Rider or a fan who works in tokusatsu, there are certain special places you go.
Matsuda: Special, for example, I mistakenly told you that I was working on Osaka. When I said it, there were people waiting with Kamen Rider Knight toys at the station.
Suga: Oh! I gave you a signature.
Matsuda: Yes, everyone waited for me next to the taxi stand, so I signed one-by-one. When I have time, I can, but there was a time when I was about to miss the shinkansen, and there were people with toys waiting. I had to apologize as I ran away (laughs)
Suga: Sometimes it can’t be helped.
Matsuda: It was amazing when I went to Kumamoto’s event.
Suga: It looked like a talk show.
Matsuda: Two people were on stage, but there seemed to be 10,000 people in the audience. It was a sight I’ve never seen before. I was just talking about things and laughing, but there were 10,000 people. It was a mysterious feeling.
Suga: That was strange. It seems that everyone else was just calmly watching the situation.
Matsuda: When I got into a car, I opened the window and waved to someone. I saw a female fan jump onto the window.
Suga: That’s amazing… and dangerous (laugh)
Matsuda: The security guard caught it and I just thought “Isn’t this awful?”
At the height of Kamen Rider Ryuki’s popularity, there was other media, such as tokusatsu magazines, interviews, and photo albums.
Suga: I really remember there were a lot of photos.
Matsuda: Yes, there were.
Suga: The excitement was slightly unusual, I think. Again, I think it was unusual there were so many people.
Matsuda: I rmember those days when I saw a book of my old scene. I thought Knight was cool, but Knight Survive was strange, maybe a bit of a childish image.
Suga: Fans think Knight Survive is cool.
Matsuda: Well, the combination with the bike was cool (laughs)
Suga: At that time, children were watching tv and mothers felt their enthusiam. I was interviewed by women’s magazine, but I felt actors from Kamen Rider were becoming something of a social phenomenon.
Matsuda: It’s interesting to see this on Twitter. Rider fans are telling people to watch previous Rider series because the actors were attractive. Ryuki isn’t recommended for people watching their first Rider series. Ryuki is too heavy at the beginning. It’s best to start with another work.
Suga: I think it’s because I’m too emotional (laughs)
Matsuda: Fans wouldn’t say a beginner should start at Ryuki. I thought it was interesting. But, I want you to watch it after you’ve become addicted to Kamen Rider. These kinds of enthusiastic thoughts from fans was very interesting.
Did you receive merchandise like Soft Vinyl figures and toys from bandai at the time of broadcasting?
Suga: It was good during that time.
Matsuda: I also got a lot of things. At that time, I only lived in a one room place, so I couldn’t keep it all. I kept sending it to my parents’ house. (laughs)
Suga: I feel like I want a figure now.
Matsuda: With the current technology, figures are becoming more detailed.
Suga: I have a desire to have all 13 Riders (laughs)
If the opportunity comes to play hero again, what kind of work would you want to appear in?
Suga: In Ryuki, an important theme of the show was the blurred line between “justice” and “evil.” That is why there’s an interest in the work. The hero is a special tokusatsu hero, but you want to see why the heroes appear in this work. It’s different from old-fashioned heroes. I feel that there’s a strong appeal in this work that everyone has the right to be a hero.
Matsuda: I think it’s because Ryuki still has a high reputation from fans today. Based on the terrorist attacks in the United States, 9/11, that happened in 2001, the Producer, Shinichiro Shirakura (白倉 伸一郎), wondered what would happen if people with different values decided to what “justice” was by becoming a Kamen Rider. In the future, either as a hero or not, I want to participate in works with solid themes, which focuses on the drama between characters.
Article Sources: MyNavi