Series review: kamen rider amazons, season 2

      5
I tried writing this đánh giá a couple of times before. Like, I did the nhận xét for Amazons season 1a while back, và I talked about how it"s a pretty neat, fast-paced little mini-season that played with a more mature, more gory set of characters & concepts, và ended up as a pretty damn refreshing take on the Kamen Rider franchise & formula.

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And then there is season 2 of the series, released a year later... And... I"m pretty sure that the second season of Amazons was received pretty interestingly. And when I watched the second season, I thought it was just because the two main characters from the first season -- Haruka & Jin -- are pushed khổng lồ the background in favour of a brand-new main character. Plus there"s a time-skip, và a huge, huge retool on the exact focus of the series. And... And I don"t really think that"s the biggest problem of the series. Amazons" second season had a lot of problems, and definitely ended up being weaker than the first season, but the change in protagonist or the jarring time-skip isn"t one of them. A lot of what made the first season pretty strong is still there. The gore, the characters being confused about the place in the world, the moral ambiguity và tragedy, the mysterious conspiracy stuff... Yet they all get pulled in so many different directions that it ends up being stretched thin & honestly? Not done all that well.
*
Picking up some time after the climax of the first season, the second season ends up in a world where random regular people are starting to transform into Amazons because of a mysterious contagion. We have no idea where our main characters are, and we mostly follow a bunch of the new civilians as well as a newly-formed government extermination team, 4C, as they go around this new world. Và while all of this is going on, we"re introduced khổng lồ our new main character, Chihiro, a mysterious boy with a mysterious past (he was raised by Amazons, & has hunger pangs và whatnot), and, of course, eventually becomes Kamen Rider Amazon Neo, transforming with a new belt & basically becoming the first new Kamen Rider. We quickly see him meet Iyu, a seemingly robotic Crow Amazon in employ of 4C. Unlike last season"s very emotional Mamoru, Iyu behaves exactly lượt thích a pre-programmed robot, and shows little to no emotion.
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And for the bulk of the first half of the season, we basically hover around these two characters as they fight a bunch of random enemies, và ever so slowly peel back the mystery behind Chihiro & Iyu"s respective backstories, & how our main characters from the previous season feature into it. We get a typical storyline where Chihiro tries his god-damned best to find the soul of the human inside Iyu, và throughout the season it"s kept wonderfully ambiguous whether Iyu"s response to lớn Chihiro is her actually finding a little bit of humanity and emotion, or if she"s just responding as she would want to. There were so many times where Iyu just reverts back lớn robot-murder-machine mode, and I vì chưng think that for all of the faults that season 2 of Amazons may have, actress Shiramoto Ayana did an amazing job as Iyu.
*
While all of this is going on, of course, we get to learn where all of our main characters from the previous series have gone. Nozama Peston Service has disbanded, with Fukuda sticking around in 4C. Haruka"s foster-sister Mizuki ends up apparently growing up from being a schoolgirl into a goddamn xạ thủ agent. We also get lớn meet a couple of new characters, lượt thích Kurosaki, the assholish và jobs-first-emotions-never team leader of 4C và the polar opposite of Shido Makoto from Nozama. This does mean that honestly, other than Kurosaki kind of being a dick, the entirety of the 4C organization ends up just kind of feeling there. Even the supposed evil mastermind, Tachibana Yugo (played by Dr. Maki himself!) doesn"t even really bởi much.
And rounding up the new side-cast, we have "Team X", a bunch of genuinely throwaway street punks who just sort of eats up screentime until the expected "oh shit, these minor characters die & become Amazons!" The only thành viên of Team X lớn stick around is Nagase Hiroki, whose most notable feature is that he"s acted by Akaso Eiji, who would later go on khổng lồ play Banjou Ryuuga, the secondary rider of Kamen Rider Build. And, lớn be fair, with the pretty flat role he"s given, Akaso Eiji does a pretty decent job, particularly when his other buddies start dying off.
*
It"s not enough khổng lồ really drive the season forwards, though, & while Haruka does show up as kind of a wild thẻ three episodes in, a lot of the conflict and relationships just feel muddled, with characters just staring at each other và not really talking while vague storylines are going on. Mamoru the Mole Amazon would show up a while later, apparently now the leader of a tribe of human-hating Amazons, but, again, lượt thích Haruka, this honestly just feels lượt thích them going "hey, remember this? Boy, we"ll vày something super exciting... Later!" As the letters count down & we get little bit by little bit of tiny, enigmatic revelations, the episodes honestly just kind of feel like they are just going around và around the same old "Chihiro takes Iyu for a date, tries khổng lồ bring her emotions back, the shitty real life comes and kicks Chihiro in the dick" storyline.
*
A lot of the episodes aren"t terrible, and the actors vày a pretty good job with the material they are given, but the pacing honestly just feels pretty bland & slow, và eventually, the audience could probably tell what the huge plot twist is supposed to lớn be while the season goes on twiddling its thumbs and honestly just going around and around in a circle. It"s in stark comparison to lớn Amazons" first season, where even the filler episodes felt like they added something to lớn the overall plot of the season, whereas Amazons season 2 had episodes where Haruka or Mamoru or Jin return lớn menace our new heroes (for one reason or another) feel very bland. Và I get it, they were going for more of a melancholic, tragic tone, but eventually when the revelations about Chihiro"s origin story, told with a bunch of exposition about lysogenic cells and whatnot are finally doled out lớn some of our characters, it feels honestly exhausting than anything.
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So basically (and huge spoiler warning again), turns out that Jin infected Nanaha và she turned into an "Origin" Amazon, basically sort of driving her quasi-insane and she goes around as the jellyfish amazon sort of attacking everyone. Chihiro is also an Origin type, was hidden away from Jin, & killed her mother, but ended up getting amnesia. Mamoru"s gone super crazy and bitter (a characterization jump that is more told & less shown) & is behind the infection of the water source turning people into Amazons. Iyu is really a corpse revived with Amazon cells. Iyu"s dad was a scientist that tried lớn study Jin, Nanaha & Chihiro"s special cells and ended up being transformed into a psychotic Amazon instead. Shogo Kano"s actually secretly working with Reiko for... Reasons. Haruka"s also involved in some of the backstory points, although not as much.

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And don"t get me wrong, a lot of these story points aren"t bad. With better pacing and a better storyline, we could"ve had something pretty great going on. The problem is that the revelations were dragged on for far too long, và for the most part a lot of them are just unsatisfying. Throw in the problem that Iyu is literally a robot and Chihiro"s character isn"t particularly interesting due khổng lồ how he"s in 99% angst mode, và the middle part of the season becomes pretty slow lớn watch, & as we build up to lớn the climax and start killing off characters, it"s not even tense -- it"s just me watching to lớn see how everything ends. Shogo gets ripped in half brutally và gets killed while delivering a report to lớn Reiko (who, by the way, really doesn"t vị much).
Mamoru và Nanaha"s Amazon size eventually get killed, too, and while Jin và Nanaha"s angry sad screaming scene is raw và well-done, the sub-plot of the Nozama squad reconciling và eventually confronting Mamoru genuinely felt half-assed, and Mamoru"s characterization in this second season really felt like it came out of nowhere. And then when Chihiro gets into an argument with 4C"s head honchos it doesn"t really feel all that climactic due khổng lồ how petulant Chihiro"s been throughout the entire season.
*
Eventually the last couple of episodes basically has Chihiro and Iyu running from the rest of the world... Và I vì chưng get the theme of what they were going for. Chihiro is an uncontrollable monster that everyone has a reason lớn murder. Jin because he"s on his one-track-mind crusade khổng lồ wipe out all Amazons from the face of the earth; Haruka because he knows it"s a matter of time before Chihiro goes super-crazy & kills everyone (and also khổng lồ protect Mizuki) and 4C because of a combination of the two (and because Chihiro killed a bunch of their members when he went berserk). & the reason why Chihiro fights so much? He just wants lớn survive, & there"s definitely a huge, huge amount of tragedy that all Chihiro wants to bởi is lớn survive and protect Iyu, who finally regains her human personality... Before she dies because of the Suicide Squad style self-destruct program implemented in her bracelet. & perhaps in one of the most infamous scenes from the season, Chihiro ends up facing off against Jin và Haruka in the final episode... Và the scene cuts away, và later on reveals that Chihiro was killed off-screen.
And... Và the entirely depressing tone was one thing, as is the rather haphazard pacing, but I really do think that the ending delivered was pretty much unsatisfying. Chihiro ends up being killed off-screen just as he"s finally starting khổng lồ grow into his own character. A lot of the resolution ends up being more of a headscratcher than anything, & characters like Reika và old man Tenjo end up sort of just spouting ominous stuff that really end up being more loose ends than anything.
And... And, I wouldn"t go so far as to hotline Amazons" second season lớn be completely terrible or unwatchable. There"s enough good story và acting in it all lớn enjoy, and the kích hoạt scenes are still pretty great, especially if you"re a tín đồ of season 1"s more brutal approach. There were some scenes where they do admittedly go over-the-top with the gore -- Iyu"s backstory flashback, as well as the elephant/mosquito hospital mini-arc in particular are pretty disgusting -- but at least from a practical standpoint, it"s pretty neat, gloomy filters notwithstanding. Still, though, as an actual season, I walked out of this one mostly disappointed and dissatisfied. It"s an interesting experiment, but I feel lượt thích I agreed with a lot of the harsher criticisms with Amazons" sophomore season than I vị the praises.
Amazons" second season gets a bit of a coda in a movie, Kamen Rider Amazons: The Last Judgment, which attempted lớn resolve the conflict between Haruka & Jin, considering how the two were so sidelined in the second season. We get pretty horrifying implications & visuals when Haruka comes across an Amazons livestock-breeding facility led by the villain-of-the-movie, Mido Einosuke, a.k.a. Amazon-Neo-Alpha, who decides khổng lồ make an Amazons farm and brainwash these Amazon kids lớn essentially later be turned into fucking steak, which, logistically speaking, is just so utterly silly & impractical. Which is just so cartoonishly over-the-top that while watching this movie, I was equally horrified at the visuals of humans being butchered và eaten by other humans, và also laughing inside at the sheer bizarrenness of these villains having access lớn an army of superhumans, but using them as high-quality beef.
*

Eventually, the whole point of the movie is that both Haruka and Jin are respectively pushed so hard by their conflict that they ended up breaking their individual "one rule". However depraved Jin may be in dealing with other Amazons, however much he is willing to be the judge, jury and executioner even involving his own wife & son, he will never take a human life... But ends up being forced lớn kill Neo-Alpha himself. Haruka, meanwhile, resolved khổng lồ never eat a human or Amazon meat, but is forced khổng lồ eat one of the dying people in the orphanage in order lớn survive. And... And it"s an interesting take, for sure, leading khổng lồ a more conclusive battle where one of them dies and the other leaves lớn wander the world, but the movie, like the second season, really took its time going around and around the same old discussion topic or two until we reach the allotted time for the climax. At least Haruka và Jin"s final confrontation was done well, whether you agree with the conclusion or not.
Oh, & Nozama and 4C are also involved in this movie, but felt very, very redundant. Throw in a bunch of bizarre unanswered questions like why Jin is suddenly no longer blind, or who sponsored Mido"s orphanage-farm, and the general depressing tone of the movie overall, & it"s a movie that felt kind of just... There, I guess? The general movie just felt so bloated & I honestly feel like the Haruka/Jin storyline probably would"ve worked better tacked on as a final episode after the Chihiro conflict, instead of introducing this whole convoluted orphanage/farm storyline and putter around for one and a half hours & not really doing anything but repeat the same tired old themes from the series.
And it"s kind of a shame. I wouldn"t say that either the movie or the second season are bad. There certainly are enough neat parts of it, và if nothing else, seeing the actors try their best to push the story forwards is admirable enough... But ultimately, while the actual backbone of the story is certainly solid, the execution really leaves a lot lớn be desired.