Kamen Rider Drive
The Case of Ghost.
Okay, so, we can all agree that crossover episodes in Kamen Rider tend not to be very good. The TOQger and Kikaider crossover episodes in Gaim, while I think most people liked them (the fact that they interrupted the regular plot and broke up the flow of it in an actually quite obnoxious way notwithstanding), were certainly not of the same quality as the rest of the series; the crossover two-parter at the end of Wizard was nearly unwatchable with how awful it was.
Understandably, then, my hopes were not exactly sky high for this episode.
Taking place shortly after episode forty-seven, this episode sees Shinnosuke looking to close the book on the Neo-Shade case that he was pursuing prior to the Global Freeze. Chasing up a lead he found with Gou and Chase a little earlier in the year - an eye shaped trinket called an Eyecon, recently stolen from a laboratory - he comes into contact with Kamen Rider Ghost, who is pursuing the Eyecon for his own reasons; and finally meets the leader of Neo-Shade.
First of all, I do like that they've kept the Neo-Shade plot thread running. It's not something that has shown up a lot, but it's been worked into the Type-Zero special, that whole Lupin film section thing, this episode, and probably a few more things, enough that you could argue that they're the secondary antagonists of Drive. It also answers a very important question about what regular crime is like in the Kamen Rider shared universe: They're ridiculous, comic book esque, moustache twirling villains (especially given that the other regular criminal we see is a - oh god, I don't quite remember, but I think he dressed up as a pirate to commit crimes).
Second of all, for a crossover episode, this is surprisingly not terrible. I'd say it's better than the TOQger and Kikaider crossovers in Gaim, and as I mentioned before, those were enjoyable, just not especially brilliant.
What puts it a cut above those crossovers is, really, that Shinnosuke actually has a character arc in this one. It's not the most well fleshed out or imaginative one - he's sad because Krim's gone, and he's nervous about how to be a police officer without also being a Kamen Rider, and then at the end he realises that he totally can be a good police officer without Rider-ing and does some sharpshooting - I thought that that was a bit of a silly way to show that sentiment at first, but on the rewatch I realised that it's a call back to him injuring Hayase with his shaky gun arm, so that's fine.
|And look how steady it is now.|
We get to see some of the rest of the Special Crimes Unit too - a tiny bit of Kyu, Rinna doing her coordinating stuff, Honganji as a police bigwig, Gen being supportive, and Kiriko being - you know, she doesn't do much in this episode, and if she'd had a bigger presence and been more of an active character in the series, I wouldn't mind that so much, since it's a very Shinnosuke focused episode. As it is, we suffered through forty plus episodes of her being an object to be passed around by the male characters, so I rolled my eyes and mumbled 'More of the same,' and then rolled my eyes and loudly screeched 'More of the same,' when she was kidnapped.
Apart from that, there's not a lot to say about this episode. It's competent but not amazing, well written but not especially striking in any way, the appearances by Ghost are short and sweet but enough for us to get an idea of his character (I do not trust his little ghost sidekick one bit, and my bets are on it being the final villain). It's fine - and that's kind of all it is, just fine, more or less watchable. Compared to other crossover episodes, that's pretty good! Compared to a regular episode - well, it's good by Drive's oft abysmal standards. You could have thrown this in around the late twenties and I would be praising it as the best episode for weeks.
I did note the lack of any 'where are they now' epilogue thingies for Shinnosuke and Kiriko last week too, so it was good to get them this week. I don't know if it's a subbing goof or awkward phrasing on the part of the writers, but 'later Kiriko would give birth to their oldest son, Eiji' makes it sound like the two of them would have other sons that Kiriko doesn't give birth to. Yes, I know they're specifically making a reference to the film, no, that doesn't make this less hilarious.
In conclusion, a pretty solid crossover episode, although not the most solid end to the series. Which is fine: The story ended last week, and this is just a special episode, and those are never exactly stellar in terms of quality.
Next week, I'll have the review for the whole series up, trying to collect all my thoughts about all forty-eight episodes in one place, so I'll see you then for that. Maybe. Hopefully.