Shout! Factory has been instrumental in bringing Japanese tokusatsu (or “special effects”) television to the masses. They’ve had many seasons of Power Rangers antecedent Super Sentai over the years, and in 2020 they added the original Kamen Rider and 2000’s Kamen Rider Kuuga to its brand new TokuSHOUTsu streaming channel. Soon thereafter, Shout! teamed with Tsuburaya Productions and Mill Creek to add Ultraman series for streaming. But Shout! still believes in physical media (physical media forever!) and as such, have announced Kamen Rider Kuuga will make its Blu-ray debut, along with the 1990 Sentai series, Chikyuu Sentai Fiveman.
The news comes Saturday evening following a Rider panel at Anime Expo 2022, with the releases a collaboration between Shout! and Japan’s Toei Company. This September will see the physical release of both complete series for the first time in North America. Kuuga will be only the second Rider series to hit Blu-ray in North America. Last year, 2019’s Kamen Rider Zero-One was the first. Kuuga debuted on Japanese television in 2000 and ushered in a 22-year unbroken streak of series following various Masked Riders and their war against evil.
Kuuga begins with group of archaeologists uncovering the tomb of a legendary warrior. They unearth Kuuga’s belt, accidentally releasing an ancient race of monsters called the Grongi, bent on destroying humanity. Enter Yusuke Godai, a modern-day guy-next-door, who learns he is telepathically linked to the mysterious stone belt. With its power, he transforms into the legendary warrior known as Kuuga, humanity’s only defense against the murderous Grongi monsters.
On the other side of things, Fiveman is the fourteenth entry in the 46-year long-running Super Sentai metaseries. Each features a team of heroes (usually five of them) who take on various monsters and aliens and whatnot. Though Shout! had released all of the seasons of Sentai Saban used to create Power Rangers, Fiveman marks only the second pre-Power Rangers season to hit DVD in North America. The first, Fiveman‘s direct follow-up, Chōjin Sentai Jetman, remains a fan favorite.
Twenty years after their planet was attacked by the brutal Zone Empire, the five Hoshikawa children, who escaped and were raised on Earth, must prepare for a brand-new war. This time, though, they’re ready … having developed the powerful Fiveman technology that will help them defend Earth from the same empire that conquered their home world.
Kuuga and Fiveman will each drop in September in seven-disc complete series sets. Fiveman will be direct-to-consumer on September 6 via Shout! Factory’s website, while Kuuga will be available through all retailers on September 20.
For more information, head to Shout! Factory’s site.