Deep within the city there lies a darkness not known to the average citizen. Humans are being taken and devoured out of sight from the eyes of society,and the culprits with a never-ending appetite are monsters known as Amazons. In order to combat the ever growing infestation of Amazons, a special task-force is assigned to take out the monsters in secret. However, two particular Amazons have been shown to exhibit behaviors that separates them from the pack. Whose side are they on?
In celebration of the 45th Anniversary of Kamen Rider and Toei’s Superhero Year, we’re given a modern and darker work compared to most of the franchise’s series. Yet, compared to its predecessor series, Kamen Rider Amazon, this darker take is refreshing and nostalgic. Kamen Rider Amazon was the fourth Kamen Rider series that aired in the Showa era. It’s known to be the shortest Kamen Rider television show, because it was cut short due to its violent and graphic content. The series we’re given now, Kamen Rider Amazons, is a mirror of its predecessor and Toei has shown no signs of holding anything back.
The show begins with a special task force assigned to eliminating Amazons. From the way they disguise themselves as “bug exterminators” we can see that the existence of that unit and Amazons are kept a secret from the public. They’re equipped with weapons designed to harm the Amazons, because let’s be honest. When have ordinary weapons ever made a dent on a monster in any show? Each of the agents seem to be battle-hardened and in it for the pay, far from the heroic types. One of the agents possesses a soft personality and has been shown to care greatly for his comrades. Despite his softness, this agent, Mamoru, is actually an Amazon with the role of directly combating enemy Amazons. I expected Mamoru and the task force to be the main characters in the show, but to my surprise they weren’t. Their role in the first episode was to ease us into the universe and how things work.
Nozama Pharmaceuticals discovered the Amazon Cells that turn humans into the man-eating monsters that are currently at large. It’s been mentioned that some experiments have escaped from their facility, but it also seems that humans can be infected by the cells through both direct and indirect means. This series cut out the magical portion of the Amazon origin and solely made it scientific. In all honesty, this works better for a show that seems to be taking itself very seriously. Kamen Rider was originally a series based off scientific innovations, and although magic has been incorporated a few times into the franchise they haven’t been very “successful” (Kamen Rider Wizard for example). Without magic, we’re given reasons that are less bull-shitty when it comes to where the Amazons came from and how they can be work.
Finally on to our main characters. As some people have caught on to, the series is called Kamen Rider AMAZONS, plural. Both characters are Amazons, but they keep their feral sides at bay by using belts which can also allow them to transform at will.
Haruka (left) was a seemingly normal boy with a weak constitution. He was kept indoors for most of his known life and was given injections everyday to keep his health in check. He would eventually find out, thanks to Jin (right), that the injections were to keep the Amazon Cells within him at bay and prevent his transformation into an Amazon.
Haruka is most similar to the original Kamen Rider Amazon due to his small knowledge of the outside world and his ferocity when transformed into Omega Amazon. Jin, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Haruka. His experience and wisdom are shown through his appearance and aloof attitude. Even when transformed into Alpha Amazon, he keeps his cool demeanor and wits about him while in battle. Most of their interactions with each other usually end up fights to the death, but it’s their deep contrast in personalities that makes things interesting. Haruka has no idea what he is and what his place in society is. Jin knows exactly what he is and what he’ll do to achieve his goals. Haruka will most likely need Jin in order to grow as a character, considering Jin has more life experience and has a few ideas on what the hell is going on.
I’m absolutely in love with Kamen Rider Amazons. It’s darker and mature approach has been spot on every step of the way. The monsters are hideous, the scenes are gory, and the deep and murky moods that the characters feel are made very apparent to the audience. Kamen Rider isn’t new when it comes to dark themes, Faiz and Gaim (which was written by Gen Urobuchi) for example, but we’re given a serious tone right from the get go. The collaboration with Amazon (the online shopping site) is really a godsend too, because production quality has been the best compared to all the other series in the franchise. Also, since the series is being streamed exclusively on Amazon Prime, we don’t have to worry about any nonsensical censors.
Kamen Rider Amazons is clearly the series that matured fans of the franchise have been waiting for. No kiddy strings attached.