I’m not crazy about the Interactive era of HBVs, but this one keeps it relatively unobtrusive. It’s just, the consequences of the choices -- the difficulty of choosing the correct choices -- were weirdly distracting to me.

Like, the first choice is Which Switch Should Fourze Use On The Monster: Rocket, Drill, Launcher, or Radar? All of the offensive ones fail, and the correct choice is Radar. Except, all Radar does is intercept an incoming Ryuusei call, directing Team Fourze to go find Kamen Rider Amazon and pick up an HBV-exclusive collectible. That’s not predictable from the choices and setup provided! That’s like having the correct choice be the Hammer Switch, because the monster had an unpleasant encounter with MC Hammer at a Burger King in 1993. There is no way to have known that when you’re making the choice!

The ending choice is sort of the same thing: Choose between Amazon’s friendship sign and Fourze’s. Seems like a little bit of fluff; can’t possibly affect the outcome of the fight. Except it does, because Fourze’s friendship sign causes Amazon to cough up the Clear Drill Switch -- the thing that actually defeats the villain -- early enough to keep the villain from escaping. You go with Amazon’s friendship sign, the villain escapes and you don’t get to see the (presumably bundled with the magazine) brand-new Switch in action. Again, how could anyone intuit that from the story being told? This is presented like an innocuous choice, but it’s potentially depriving you of the better, longer ending.

Besides me yelling at a nearly decade-old piece of entertainment made to sell toys to children for being too difficult (THEY CHEAT), I really enjoyed this special. This was the first place I got to know Amazon, and he’s still one of my favorite Riders I Don’t Truck With. He’s an adorably innocent Rider, and his baseline belief in making friends is perfectly in tune with Fourze’s excitability. Just two Riders who want to be friends. To quote Keanu Reeves, “It’s always nice, when it’s nice.” Sure, he was talking about people reprogramming a video game to have sex with his digital avatar, but I think the same thing applies to two superheroes teaching each other unique handshakes. It’s always nice, when it’s nice.

It’s also nice to see a writer hit a minor roadblock, and then drive through it with such lunatic gusto that you can’t imagine why people drive around things. Ryuusei has told Team Fourze (for this special, that’s just Gentaro, Kengo, and Yuki) that they’ll need to travel all the way to South America to find the crucial Astro Switch and gain Kamen Rider Amazon's help. But, like, Fourze’s barely holding on against the monster in Japan. Going to South America, finding Amazon, and getting back to Japan would take almost two weeks.

So what if Fourze fought the monster for twelve straight days? Twelve days of increasingly exhausted combat? Days and nights of increasingly delirious fighting? A final few hours where both combatants are basically gently slapping each other, because all strength has left their bodies and they long for the calming embrace of death?

It would be amazing, and it’s such a terrific middle section that I can forgive it for BLATANTLY CHEATING on the interactive sections. It’s a bonkers conceit, coupled with Yuki and Kengo searching for Kamen Rider Amazon by going to the largest rainforest on the planet and just shouting out AMAZON until they eventually (almost literally!) stumble upon him. It is deliciously stupid, which is exactly what I want every HBV to be.

This was a ton of fun. Amazon and Fourze teaming up is incredibly charming (the little “Chun!” Fourze does when he performs Amazon’s friendship sign!), and the weirdly tortuous journey the other kids go on is like a fever dream. Perfectly ridiculous, and ridiculously perfect.