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90s nostalgia

The Closing Credits to This Japanese TV Show Were The Most Emo Thing Ever

Loneliness. A bug superhero suit. A slow walk toward the camera. The closing credits of "Kamen Rider Black RX" had it all.
Image from Kamen Rider Black RX intro.

There were few things more important to Indonesian kids back in the 90s than Kamen Rider Black RX. This tokusatsu series—a special effects-laden live action superhero genre akin to Power Rangers—was the main reason most of us skipped our afternoon classes. The show's hero, Kotaro Minami, was the perfect role model; a bug-suited martial arts master saving us all from evil world-dominating aliens. Even today, no other television show has held such an important spot in my life.


Kamen Rider Black RX (Ksatria Baja Hitam RX in Indonesia) was my Tuesday and Friday evenings, 5 p.m. on RCTI, for the entirety of 1994. I've never been so devoted to a show. It gave me a lot of things, a hero to root for, an addiction to tracking down overpriced action figures, and my first emo song.

Now, I'm not using the term to mean "emotional hardcore." It's not like the show ended with some Jade Tree Records deep cut. Kotaro does his special move, vanquishes the latest enemy from the Crisis Empire, and then the credits roll to "Back and to the Left," by Texas is the Reason.

No, I'm using the term emo loosely to mean any song with crushingly emotional lyrics. And the closing song of Kamen Rider Black RX was crushing. We were lucky in Indonesia that whoever translated the show didn't totally butcher the lyrics as bad as the Dragon Ball Z opening theme. I can still remember the song now—how the modern-sounding synth-pop perfectly juxtaposed the frank, and frankly mournful, lyrics about how lonely it is to be a superhero.

The first song began with "dalam pertarungannya seorang diri / pada waktu lelah jatuh terdesak" ("fighting all by himself / getting tired and falling down"). I understood the sentiment perfectly. Being Kamen Rider Black is tough. You're alone, fighting an endless supply of enemies, and you can't even tell your girlfriend Reiko about any of your problems.

The closer continues "sepi hati ini / semilir angin bertiup sepoi-sepoi" ("the loneliness of the heart / as the wind blows its gentle breeze"). OK, I admit it's a bit flowery, but it sets you up for the chorus of "seseorang di sana mencintaimu" ("somewhere out there, someone loves you") which always managed to cheer up my teenage self—even if, today, it sounds like some tired cliche from a motivational speaker.

Most kids would switch the channel or run to the mosque for Maghrib prayers and classes with the Quran teacher once Kotaro defeated the enemy of the week. So the closing credits song never gained as much popularity as the opener in Indonesia. The opening song is so popular that it's inspired parodies like this one from visual artist Fluxcup:

But the closing credits remained pretty obscure. I am, for some reason, happy about this. This song introduced a young me to adult feelings like loneliness. It's stuck with me all these years, reminding me when life seems too tough, or too tiring, that even superheroes like Kamen Rider Black get down from time to time (or approximately twice a week for an entire year).

And since it's still pretty obscure, I can happily say that listening to the Kamen Rider Black RX closing is just as emo as shouting out the lyrics to "What It Is To Burn," by Finch in swept bangs, a flannel, and skinny jeans.