This year, the Kamen Rider franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary. Ever since the masked hero burst onto TV screens in 1971, fans have loved its blend of action, adventure and monster battling. Toei decided to celebrate this impressive milestone by teasing three new projects on social media. When the American Funimation account retweeted one of the teasers, fans were unsure if it was a serious post or an April Fools' prank.
At the official 50th Anniversary celebration, it was revealed that one of these projects was an anime adaptation of Fuuto Pi -- the manga sequel to Kamen Rider W. After this announcement was made, Funimation announced that it would be carrying the anime when it releases in the summer of 2022. This got Kamen Rider fans very excited as this is the first full-length anime version of the series and one of the first major Kamen Rider releases in the west. Here is all you need to know about Kamen Rider W and Fuuto Pi in anticipation of its release.
Released in 2009, Kamen Rider W (pronounced Double) was the 11th installment in the Heisei Kamen Rider franchise. The previous series Kamen Rider Decade was a celebration of 10 years of the rebooted Kamen Rider franchise, and W was branded as part of this celebration. Series protagonist, Double, made their first appearance in that year's summer movie Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker. In this film, Double helped the assembled Kamen Riders fight recurring villain Shadow Moon, giving fans their first taste of the character.
The series follows the "half-boiled" detective Shotaro Hidari. Shotaro works for the Narumi Detective Agency and solves crimes in the city of Fuuto. Fuuto is famed for its winds and gets most of its power from the vast number of wind turbines that fill the city. However, all is not peaceful as a shadowy crime family is arming criminals and other unsavory people with Gaia Memories -- small devices that resemble a USB drive. When this drive is inserted into someone's body, it turns the user into a monstrous Dopant. However, over time the Gaia Memory will cause untold damage to the user, getting them addicted to it and affecting their mind.
Thankfully, Shotaro and his mysterious partner Phillip have access to the Double Driver. This driver allows them to combine special Gaia Memories to become Kamen Rider Double, gaining unique powers based on the combination of memories they use. The two sides of the Double suit change color to reflect the memory pairing, from the black and green of their standard CycloneJoker form to the striking yellow and blue of LunaTrigger form. However, when transformed into Double, Phillip and Shotaro share one body, forcing them to work together to maintain their cohesion and defeat the Dopants while also uncovering the secret history of both the Gaia Memories and the people behind this crime wave.
When the Fuuto Pi manga was released in 2017, it picked up right where the popular Kamen Rider W left off, with Shotaro and Phillip trying to solve another Dopant crime wave. With a new case developing surrounding a strange, mysterious woman -- who claims to be a witch -- Shotaro is keen to get to the bottom of things, quickly finding himself on the trail of the so-called "Witch of the T Junction." But everything is not as it seems and a more sinister mystery soon reveals itself. Currently, Fuuto Pi has ten volumes. The most recent volume was released in Japan in March, containing Chapters 85-93.
It is unknown if W's original actors, Renn Kiriyama and Masaki Suda, will supply their voices to Fuuto Pi. The series may use the cast from the recent Kamen Rider: Memory of Heroez videogame where Yoshimasa Hosoya and Kōki Uchiyama took on the roles of Shotaro and Phillip.
Hopefully, Fuuto Pi will lead to more Kamen Rider content getting official releases in North America. It might also pave the way for more anime adaptations of the franchise, considering it feels like a natural fit for the medium. Either way, current Kamen Rider fans and those new to the franchise are in for a wild ride when Fuuto Pi hits Funimation next year.