For whatever reason this list has been a popular request for some time now. I mean, the most mileage I get out of Kamen Rider is watching the 90s movies on occasion--maaaaybe revisiting BLACK and BLACK RX. That said, this request did make more sense the more I thought about it. Sentai and Rider designs have kinda evolved in tandem from their grungy 70s routes into their current high-tech mishmash.
The biggest difference between Rider and Sentai Henshin Item designs is that Sentai items are more toyetic while Rider Belts, especially Showa ones, really don't have any boundries. They can be as outlandish and absurd as they want without being limited by the eventual toy (which usually has hilarious results--in a bad way).
The point I'm trying to get to is that this list does not take the toy version into consideration at all. In addition to that, I am only looking primary Riders. There are way too many Heisei Riders with half-assed Belts that I can't be bothered to really look at. Function might be mentioned a few times, but I'm really just focusing on the design that you see on the screen.
Let's take a look at the Top 7 BEST Kamen Rider Henshin Belts!
Honorable Mention: Hibiki Henshin Onsa Onkaku / W Double Driver
Two honorable mentions?!?! I suppose I can explain...
Hibiki's tuning fork isn't a Henshin Belt at all. It is, however, a gorgeous piece of design. I'm a big fan of the Hibiki suit, but the Onkaku is overall my favorite Hibiki design.
The Double Driver *is* a Henshin Belt and a pretty creative one at that. It might be a bit of a no-brainer that it is shaped like a "W", but it buttons up the suit design and the concept of the show perfectly. I really like this one, but I didn't feel like it quite made it as Top 7 material.
07. Den-o Den-o Belt
Not a fan of the show at all. I know it's massively popular and probably still has movies coming out, but I really just couldn't get into it. I can get into his belt, though. It's a rather simple, yet slick design. The Set Touch slides over the Terminal Buckle and things happen...sure. It isn't overly complicated, and it manages to incorporate trains in a fairly subtle way.
06. BLACK RX Sunriser
Basic is the word here...and a little bit confusing. On the surface the Sunriser looks like something smuggled out of Fort Knox with two red checker pieces glued to it. In reality it is easily the most technical belt of the Showa era. When the belt is activated (during transformation or the few other random times it starts moving) we really get to see what's going on.
05. Agito Alter Ring
It's fair to say that this is the final classic Henshin Belt design. I really prefer the smooth design of Agito's Alter Ring over Kuuga's Arcle because it just fits in better. It complements the Agito suit very nicely. The Arcle is kinda clunky and a little too over-tech with all of it's unnecessary colored buttons/squares. The Alter Ring works well as a decent send off to Rider tradition.
04. Kiva Kivat Belt
I didn't know what to make of this one at first, but the design really grew on me. I'm definitely not against oddball belts if they're incredibly creative. How many Henshin Belts bite? Or even have teeth come to think of it? I'm not too hot on all of the fuestles, but the belt overall is a really cool one.
I ended up with a case of them after the series ended. Kinda regret not hanging onto one of them...but not really--Henshin Belt toys have never been my thing. Like I said, they really only exist on the screen to me.
03. X Ridol
Like the Kivat Belt, this one is an oddball that got it right and did it early. I think this is probably the most polarizing choice on the list...but who cares? It's my list. It features the same wind feature as the previous belts, but it also has a whip (!), a miniaturized version of 85% of the helmet
oh boy, oh boy, mom, you sure can hydrate a pizza and a full-sized mouth piece. Once transformed, the belt does look a little more average, but it does still also have that awesome whip action with the grip. I really love this crazy thing!
02. Skyrider Tornado
It's the Typhoon taken to a whole new level...the skies!
While it isn't a whole lot more than an modernization of the Typhoon, it does have a pretty gnarly trick up it's sleeve. The infamous Sailing Jump (OOH-OOH!) can be performed by switching the levers on either side of the belt. The whole thing looks very cool and manages not to go overboard with the gimmicks. Think of it as slapping a turbocharger on the Typhoon.
01. Kamen Rider Typhoon
What can I say? It was done right the first time. Everything after should have just packed it in and went home...
It might be a rather basic bit of kit that received a handful of updates over the years. It is iconic, though. The words "Henshin Belt" or even just "Henshin" immediately bring the Typhoon to mind. Outside of Kamen Rider 1's actual helmet, I would say that the Typhoon is the number one thing that represents the genre to the masses. Anyone can draw it on their note book when they're bored. Anyone can fashion one out of basic materials. It's just perfect...and so cool at the same time. It's probably the reason we even have Kamen Rider 45 years after the fact.
Surprised? I never really thought about what my Top 7 would look like until I actually started writing this. You asked for my list, and here it is!
Do you agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment below or hit me up on Twitter.
Since this is the positive half of the list, I imagine I won't get too much in the way of feedback. I imagine that will all change next month when I post my list of the Top 7 WORST Kamen Rider Henshin Belts...
Be sure to check out my other Top 7 Lists!