Flashback Friday #14: Pandamen (2010)
Previous Top Five Successful Kamen Rider Actors
It isn’t out of the ordinary to spot familiar faces in J-dramas and movies these days, whether or not you have seen them in Super Sentai and Kamen Rider series. We have previously talked about Kitagawa Keiko from Toei’s Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon and a few Kamen Rider actors who made a huge success in the acting industry. This time, we will talk about actors who have experienced a breakthrough thanks to the Super Sentai franchise.
松坂桃李 Matsuzaka Tori
First off, we will look at Matsuzaka Tori, who was better known as ShinkenRed/Shiba Takeru in Samurai Sentai Shinkenger. Despite his mediocre acting and stiff expressions, Matsuzaka is to date the only actor who made it to stardom thanks to his role as the excellent swordsman. About a year after the finale of Shinkenger, Matsuzaka was appointed the lead role alongside Kamen Rider Decade‘s Inoue Masahiro in a web drama entitled Death Game Park. He subsequently appeared in Team Batista Season 2, GOLD and Clone Baby in the same year.
It was not until his role in the NHK morning drama, Umechan-sensei, that he experienced a nationwide fame, earning him the nickname of “Nobu-chan” amongst his fans. Following the finale of Umechan-sensei, Matsuzaka eventually received tons of role offers. Some of his prominent works include Kaitou Royale, Reverse ~Keishicho Sousa Ikka Team Z~,TAKE FIVE, Dandarin, Zenmou no Boku ga Bengoshi ni Natta Riyuu and NHK Taiga drama, Gunshi Kanbei. He also has a few movie lead roles, where his prominent ones are Tsunagu, Kyou Koi wo Hajimemasu, Gatchaman (yes, THAT Gatchaman!) and Maestro!
Fans have been hoping that he would one day return as Shiba Takeru, but it seems entirely impossible as his place have been completely taken over by the other ShinkenRed, who was portrayed by Natsui Runa, as evidently shown in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.
千葉雄大 Chiba Yudai
Following Matsuzaka Tori into the depths of the acting industry was his Red successor, Chiba Yudai, who is best known in the Tokusatsu fandom as GoseiRed/Arata in Tensou Sentai Goseiger. Although he is almost as popular and widely known as Matsuzaka, Chiba still hasn’t catch up to his predecessor as of yet. However, he still counts as his role as “Honey-senpai” in the live action drama adaptation of Ouran High School Host Club was what made him quickly recognized across the nation. Although he rarely gets casted in the lead position, Chiba still managed to appear in dramas consistently. Some of his well-known works include Shirato Osamu no Jikenbo, Kaeru no Oujo-sama, Kuro no Onna Kyoshi, TAKE FIVE, SUMMER NUDE, Suikyu Yankees, Kyou Kaisha wo Yasumimasu and the current Tatakau! Shoten Girl.
What was most interesting was that fans have been commenting about his identical looks to a manga character in Ao Haru Ride. True enough, he was casted as said character for real in the live action movie adaptation. He also has an upcoming Tokusatsu movie where he will play the lead character, called Mr. Maxman.
Like Matsuzaka, it is unfortunate to say that he might never return as GoseiRed in future anniversaries. Nevertheless, it would be quite interesting to see who will join these two in years to come.