Sometimes no matter how much you plan even a minor roadblock can throw you completely off that path. For those that follow my Suggestion Thread you’ll know that the title character for this week is not who I had scheduled to go up, but like I said even the best laid plans have their faults. In my brief moment of panic I turned to Twitter of all things and a few colleagues of mine gave me the suggestion for the character you now see in the picture below. So today I go deep into the vault of Kamen Riders and pull out a bit of a fan favorite among viewers of the Showa era. I give you my very first Showa era character analysis of Yamamoto Daisuke, also known as Amazon.
Oh sorry, I meant A-MA-ZON!
-Warning: There are things past this point that are spoilers. You’ve been warned, so don’t come complaining if something gets spoiled for you.-
Daisuke is a very different character to take on and somewhat hard to describe because of it. You see, Daisuke grew up alone in the Amazon, fittingly enough, and as such he isn’t used to human culture or even language. In fact for a large chunk of the series Daisuke can only barely speak leaving most of his emotions to be conveyed purely through expression. Daisuke is very much a wild animal and acts as such being very aggressive and territorial as well shows a tendency to bite and scratch when he feels threatened. Though he would go on to develop throughout the series Daisuke never really lost his little “wild-boy” quirks.
Being so limited with his speech Daisuke, as I said, displays most emotions physically and boy does he have a lot to show.
Daisuke is a rather aggressive and angry young man, often screaming or even growling to communicate. Since Daisuke does lack the proper speech to express himself he does become radically misunderstood by some humans to the point that they would even attack him. From this he grows hurt and angered toward humans so much so that in some cases he even becomes violent and destructive. At one point after being falsely arrested and ridiculed Daisuke outright claims to hate humans an event that almost drives him into giving up at being a Rider. This rage, though, predominately stems from the anxiety caused to Daisuke due to his confusion with his surroundings. Daisuke undergoes a lot of stress from being thrown into and trapped in a world that he just doesn’t understand and which also doesn’t understand him and from this stress arises his anxiety and eventual rage.
Despite being very rage filled Daisuke shows a very kind and caring side when it comes to those that are hurt or in danger. He actually shows an increased politeness towards those that are younger than him, as well as being very protective of them. His kind, caring and protective nature doesn’t just cover people but extends to animals and even Daisuke’s enemies as well. This is were Daisuke’s adeptness at medicine comes in. Not only does he show unbiased kindness toward those that are injured but he’s incredibly capable of caring for them and healing them with nothing more than ingredients found in nature. Though he does show kindness to those that are injured or treated wrongly Daisuke does have a rather savage and sadistic side to him. Often times, in the case of his enemies, if he sees it fit he will kill them straight out, even going as far as to dismember most enemies. This is again attributed to Daisuke’s upbringing in the wild and his more animalistic side as he sees all creatures in the same light be they animal, human, or monster.
As I stated previously Daisuke grew up alone in the Amazon making him very much a social recluse. Due to this Daisuke really doesn’t have very many social skills, none in fact, and because of this he can often come off as somewhat unintelligent to other people. He often has trouble understanding certain norms within society and will often misconstrue these facts resulting in him believing that other people simply hate him. As such, Daisuke doesn’t really react to things very well and will often become saddened or enraged by simple misunderstandings.
Even though Daisuke comes off as being unintelligent because of his social ineptness he, in fact, is a fairly skilled person. As I mentioned before he is capable of making rather potent medicine out of ingredients found in the wild. With his skills in natural medicine he’s far and away capable of healing most wounds and countering most poisons. Daisuke has also shown to be capable of deciphering archaic or primitive languages. Thanks to this skill he’s capable of reading languages that even some scientists within normal society cannot decipher.
Overtime Daisuke gradually becomes more fluent in Japanese allowing him to communicate properly with other people. This becomes a major turning point in people’s views toward Daisuke as he’s able to express himself much easier. Thanks to his growth in speech Daisuke is able to demonstrate more of his underlying intelligence, showing that he isn’t just a primitive beast but also a clever planner and a rather delightful conversationalist. This of course goes toward helping Daisuke evolve and become more sociable, greatly helping him to alleviate his anxiety and eventually become a calmer person overall. Once it becomes easier for Daisuke to learn of his surroundings he becomes far less tense and territorial, some less animalistic qualities and more civilized ones.
The relation Daisuke has to the world around him is based mostly on confusion. Unlike many Riders, Daisuke doesn’t really mesh well with his surroundings. Of course this is due to him not originally being apart of that world and as such faces many problems adjusting. The relation between them is more of one of growth rather than need. As Daisuke learns to adjust and come to live with his surroundings so must his new home learn to adjust to him. The citizens of Japan face unease with Daisuke around and Daisuke face anxiety because of this, as such their growth is a gradual process of learning to live with one another.
When it comes to Daisuke’s influence on others, apart from his generally mixed reactions from the surrounding citizens, his main influences lie with Masahiko and Tachibana. When Daisuke originally came to Japan he was told to go in search for a certain man, when he found him that man had died and instead Daisuke befriended his nephew Masahiko. Very quickly Masahiko outright states that Daisuke really is a replacement to him for his own father. As such he finds a lot of comfort in having Daisuke around and grows to look up to him and rely on him. The two become incredibly good friends to the point of almost having a family like bond. While Daisuke stands as someone for Masahiko to look up to Masahiko on the other hand is a source of growth for Daisuke. It’s Masahiko that teaches Daisuke about his surrounding as well as the ability to speak. It’s also Masahiko’s calmness that keeps Daisuke at bay when he begins to grow anxious or weary of his surroundings. The two very much learn and grow from each other creating a very strong bond and a lasting relationship.
The other person that has a major relationship with Daisuke is, of course, Tachibana. Tachibana comes across Daisuke when he is attacked by one of Daisuke’s enemies. When Daisuke transforms Tachibana identifies him as being a Kamen Rider, and having known the previous Riders Tachibana uses his resources to aid Daisuke in whatever why he can. While Tachibana doesn’t teach Daisuke as much as Masahiko may have he does to one thing very important for every Rider, teaches him how to ride. Tachibana bestows upon Daisuke a bike, namely the Jungler, and precedes to teach him to ride it. An event that forces Daisuke to grow used to vehicles as before he had developed a hatred for them. While not as strong, or even respectful, of a relationship as the one between Daisuke and Masahiko, the relationship he has with Tachibana remains an important on as Tachibana becomes a much needed ally as well as a source of knowledge and influence Daisuke needs to be a Rider.
While the story of Amazon may feel dated by comparison to today’s tokusatsu, the characters within it are no less interesting or fun to be around. Daisuke may not be the most literate character within this franchise but he certainly is one of the most unique and unconventional characters I’ve ever seen. From his back-story to his very expressions he’s quite a unique sort of Rider. While as a character he can be seen as limited this is very much a case of more than meets the eye. Once you get past Daisuke’s wild exterior and primitive form of communication you begin to see the personality of a kind, bright young man. While the world around him may never quite understand him Daisuke is always and unapologetically himself.