A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this tween-targeted series is heavy on martial arts-style violence (punching, kicking, and weapon use) that never results in realistic injury or death. The two heroes always manage to overcome the odds to escape their enemies, and the ones they destroy explode and neatly vanish (just like a video game). Though little of this type of content is likely to be new to tween boys, it does call for a parental reality check: Remind kids that violence has much greater repercussions in the real world. All of that said, the series does show some heart in Kit's desire to reunite with his missing father, which drives his actions.
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What's the story?
On his 18th birthday, Kit Taylor (Stephen Lunsford) leaves his foster home and returns to the apartment he once shared with his parents so he can start searching for clues to the whereabouts of his missing father (Jeff Davis). As he relives memories from his past, Kit hears echoes of his dad's voice steering him toward a mysterious set of Advent Cards. They transform him into a Kamen Rider, a warrior from a parallel world called Ventara that's been corrupted by the evil General Xaviax (William O'Leary). Kit teams up with Len (Matt Mullins), the sole surviving Kamen Rider, to battle Xaviax's minions, save Earth from a fate similar to Ventara's, and hopefully find his father.
Is it any good?
It's apparently impossible to pit good against evil in the movies or on TV without violence ensuing, and KAMEN RIDER DRAGON KNIGHT is certainly no exception to that rule. Martial arts-style battles are common in every episode, and there's no attempt to inject a sense of reality into any of the conflicts. The Kamen Riders fight tirelessly and withstand impossible amounts of impact without injury, and the robotic warriors they kill simply disintegrate or disappear, so there's no emotion attached to the process of killing and death.
That said, tweens -- particularly boys -- probably aren't strangers to this kind of sci-fi/fantasy violence, since it permeates many popular series for this age group. If your kids are fans of fantasy and adventure, there's plenty of both to be found here, with parallel worlds and legendary powers rooted in Asian mysticism. And on the bright side, the series boasts a surprising amount of heart in the subplot surrounding Kit's quest for his long-lost dad.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why fantasy adventures like this are so popular. How does this one compare to others you've seen? Does it matter that none of it is particularly realistic? Is any aspect of it more or less believable than others?
Does the fact that the show is rooted in fantasy allow it more leeway in presenting violence in a realistic manner? Do you think everyone who might watch it understands that what they're seeing isn't real?
Does the media have a responsibility to present violence with realistic consequences? Why or why not?
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