If ever you needed to know how influential Hideaki Anno is in Japan, look no further. The creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion and its many reboots has more recently ushered in a new, unprecedented collaboration from some of Japan’s most popular cultural icons. Following the success of Anno and Shinji Higuchi’s Shin Godzilla in 2016, he produced and wrote Shin Ultraman and wrote, produced, and directed Shin Kamen Rider. The three of them, along with EVA Unit 1, the iconic main mech from Evangelion, formed the Shin Japan Heroes Project with Bandai.
Now the most ridiculous mashup you could imagine is here, which we first saw on Gizmodo. All four come together like a Megazord to fight a giant alien threat. Even though, chiefly, three of them are already giant sized and one of them is a tiny dude on a motorcycle. I… I haven’t the words.
That’s right; not only is this weird and silly, it’s also a toy advert. This tells you how much money Japan puts into toy advertisements in 2023. At any rate, seeing Godzilla fold open into a torso is breathtakingly strange. For most of the transformation sequence I was thinking “What is Kamen Rider going to do?” Then the Cyclone (his motorcycle) turns into the mecha’s head, and the man himself sits atop it might some kind of cybernetic Paul Atreides. Delightfully ridiculous.
The toy is a premium Bandai number, which will retail for 23,100 Yen. Don’t mortgage your house; that’s only about $170 US.
Very unlikely we’ll ever see this in a real movie, but it is fun to see. Shin Ultraman played the festival circuit last year and will get a Blu-ray release in North America later this summer. Meanwhile the long-awaited Shin Kamen Rider will play as a one-night-only Fathom Event on May 31. After that? Who knows! So soak in the Anno weirdness whilst you can.