Monday, April 16, 2012

Shigeru Araki

"The heavens call...
The earth cries out...
The crowds roar...
All calling on me to strike back at evil.
Now listen up, villains!
I am the warrior of justice,
the Masked Rider Stronger."

(Translated quote courtesy of Igadevil's old Kamen Rider Stronger page.)

I'm preempting my examination of the Super Riders for a few days (look for it Thursday at the earliest) to reflect on some sad news. My pal Igadevil reported over the weekend that Shigeru Araki, best known as Kamen Rider Stronger's alter ego Shigeru Jo, has passed away at the age of 63. Araki is only the second Showa Rider to go to his final rest, and the first was Akira Yamaguchi (Joji Yuki/Riderman) way back in 1986.

It's a sobering thought, but as time marches on, this sort of news will likely become more commonplace. It wasn't that long ago that Shunsuke Ikeda (Ichiro from KIKAIDA-01) left us. Though most of these guys were young when they starred in shows in the 1970s, the calendar pages keep turning. They're not immortal, even though they seem that way to us as their fans. That's why it's important to appreciate these folks while they are still around to hear the accolades.

In a sad irony (as I noted in my comment on Iga's entry), Kyoko Okada, Araki's co-star in STRONGER as Yuriko Misaki, passed away in 1986 at the age of 27. That means that the three main cast members of KAMEN RIDER STRONGER - Araki, Okada, and Akiji Kobayashi (died 1996) - are all gone. Doesn't seem possible.

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