In previous seasons of Kamen Rider and Super Sentai, characters often wore the same distinctive outfit every episode. A current trend in Premium Fashion for cosplay items is to have the shirts and accessories worn by the character available in many different colors or combinations. This has been occurring sporadically since the emergence of the Windscale brand with Kamen Rider W, but has gone into high gear for Shuriken Sentai Ninninger and Kamen Rider Ghost.
In particular, Takaharu now has 15 different shirts in total that vary in design and color palette (some of which are shown here).
Nearly every Kamen Rider Ghost fashion item comes in multiple and often subtle color variants, including the kimonos, hoodies and even belts.
What do our contributors think about these items?
I get where they are coming from: it doesn’t make the most sense for a hero to wear the same clothes every day. It’s a tricky balancing act to make a costume that’s simultaneously distinctive and interchangeable, though. I’m indifferent about this trend: I prefer PB costumes that are very detailed and distinct, and it’s much harder (but not impossible) to do that with variants.
It seems more and more like PB is becoming its own clothing brand. Until recently, whenever they needed some sort of shirt or hoodie or whatnot, they just got them from another brand to use in the show and that was that. (See JK in Fourze, whose hoodies were ACDC Rag, and not sold in the PB store.) I wonder if making their own has proven to be more cost-effective in the long run? Or perhaps they realized how popular the clothing could be and wanted to cash in on it themselves.
I really like how it was handled for Daigo in Kyoryuger. He had the red vest that he always wore, but there were a handful of variations on his shirt. I think that there were three different shirts offered on PB (not counting movie variants) and then a mix of shirts that you could buy at any clothing store.
This trend makes a collector’s life more difficult. Buying each and every variation quickly becomes a prohibitively expensive endeavor. Even if the prices were low, buying a new wardrobe every season takes up quite a bit of space. For long time fans, it’s not hard to fill up an entire closet with only Bandai Fashion items. Not to mention having to get multiple copies of an item to keep as back ups. That actually leads to another problem since invariably some designs will be more popular than others and sell out all that much faster. Tracking down merchandise after a season is already difficult, and this will only make it more of a challenge.
That being said, I do like having options. Especially when multiple color schemes are available for purchase. It’s a small benefit, but being able to buy a neutral color, or one that matches your school colors, or at the very least isn’t the color of your rivals, makes it easier to wear these clothes more often.
Overall this adds a layer of realism to the shows. While animated characters traditionally wore the exact same outfit for the entire run, live action characters do have a nice wardrobe. While Sentai and Rider aren’t exploring the world of fashion in the same way as say Sex and the City, it’s hard to deny the stylishness of Windscale. Who doesn’t want a tie or two, or a dozen
I know the ties in particular are extremely popular because they serve as a sort of “secret handshake” item for fans to wear. Businessmen can wear the tie to work without negative connotations, because the only person who would recognize the tie is another fan. That’s why they sell out so quickly. The jackets are obviously less inconspicuous, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the more generic fare – shirts, hoodies, pants, etc – are subject to the same boost in popularity simply for being less recognizable as branded merchandise to the casual eye.