In 1971, Japan was introduced to a spectacular new hero. One that would change the face of superheroes in Japan ever since. His name: Kamen Rider (Masked Rider). In this story, we meet Takeshi Hongo (Hiroshi Fujioka), a brilliant university student and motorcycle racer, who was kidnapped by a terrorist organisation by the name of Shocker. In his first episode, people were being kidnapped by Shocker, turned into cyborgs and then brainwashed to be their perfect soldiers. Takeshi Hongo had already been turned into a Cyborg, but hadn't been brainwashed when he escaped. With his morality intact, he decided to use his powers as Kamen Rider to fight back against Shocker and defeat them once and for all, as well as their replacement, Gel-Shocker.
The series ran from 1971 - 1973 for 98 episodes. Longer than any other mainstream hero of that time, which was a big deal for live action heroes in the 1970s. Kamen Rider is credited with starting the second Kaiju Boom, often referred to as the Henshin Boom. Subsequent heroes that came after Kamen Rider would use the same staple of a ritualistic pose and a transformation call, often with a device to transform into their superhero form.
Without Takeshi Hongo and Shotaro Ishinomori, who created Kamen Rider, we wouldn't have Power Rangers as we know it today. So here's to 45 years and here's to many more