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Saturday, 17 October 2015

Kamen Rider Ghost, E1 + E2.

Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 1 and Episode 2.

I've been procrastinating on doing the review for these two episodes of Ghost, I admit that. It's not because I didn't enjoy them, either - actually, if I hadn't enjoyed them, that would have made for a really fun review to write and this would have probably gone out on Tuesday or something. No, I've been avoiding writing this because while I enjoyed both episodes, I'm not entirely sure what I actually think of them.

Our series opener this year saw the main character, Takeru, die from a sword blow, only to be reborn as a ghostly Kamen Rider and tasked with finding the Eyecons of fifteen great heroes, which will allow him to return to life properly. He very quickly finds the first one, the Edison Eyecon, in the second episode of this series, and ends up tangling with a Tesla coil themed Gamma (Ganma? Nobody seems certain) who wants to use an over-enthusiastic inventor to open a magical gate.

Let's start with the things I definitely like: 

I love the opening theme, and I may have listened to it a couple of times already. I really can't wait until the full version of it is out.

Why is your bike a unicorn, though?

While the suit design for Ghost himself didn't impress me in much in pictures, I actually really like it now that I've seen it in motion, and the Gamma (Ganma?) have some nice designs as well - not anything especially unique, and I'm always a little sad when there's not a nice theme to all the monster designs, but perfectly serviceable. 

I like Akari and Onari, and I love their interactions with both each other and with Takeru - my hope is that Akari accepts the existence of ghosts before the first act is up, otherwise we're going to end up with a bit of an Agent Scully situation, where she's constantly saying that ghosts are impossible while being constantly surrounded by things that are undeniably ghosts. Which will be annoying, because that's not how science works: Science doesn't look at a mountain of evidence and go 'Nope, not going for it', you're thinking of - well, actually you're thinking of religion, Toei writers, but the less said on that matter the better. Just write your scientist characters right, guys.

I also absolutely adore the historical figures theme. It's a theme we've kind of known was coming for a while now, because if you cast your minds back a few years, you'll recall that this was actually one of the rumoured themes for Kamen Rider Fourze, with Musashi, Newton, Robin Hood and Billy the Kid referenced outright in it, before we found out that he was astronaut themed, and those early rumours do usually - by coincidence or otherwise - turn out to be true for later series.

(For instance, remember when the rumours for OOO said that it was 'Kamen Rider Regulus' with Zodiac themed villains, and then we got Zodiac themed villains the next year? Or when Double had a rumour about a rider who transformed in water, and then we got that in an OOO film? Or when OOO rumours said he'd be aided by a magical dragon, and then two years later we got Wizard? I might be reaching a bit here.)

Edison Coat here to steal your inventions.

But yes, the historical figures theme: I really like that, it has a lot of potential to be interesting, and - and if I'm being honest they kind of goofed that one up with heroic Edison coat and villainous Tesla-themed monster, but never mind.

Things I like less: Takeru. 

I don't dislike him, per se, I just don't really have any idea what his character's meant to be. At this point in Double, OOO, Fourze, Wizard and Gaim I could have very easily described to you what the protagonists were meant to be like, but it's a lot more difficult for me to do that for Takeru. In comparison to Akari and Onari, who are full of personality, he can sometimes seem to fade into the background a bit. I fully expect that to change in future episodes, once the show has found its footing a little bit more. 

I'm also not massively keen on hermit dude (does he have a name? He must have a name. I didn't remember it, whatever it is), who might be the most irritating character in the show. Luckily, he's not really around all that much, so I am kept from being altogether too bothered by him.

Looking alarmed in a forest is Kouta's schtick, Takeru.

Mechanically, the series is - good but leaning towards so-so. The pacing is better than Drive's but often not brilliant; the special effects are all fine; the soundtrack is fun but nothing has really stuck in my head; and while the acting is good, it does suffer from the pronounced and slightly obnoxious hamminess that you always seem to get in early episodes of a Kamen Rider show.

I will withhold a proper opinion on the show for now, but I am looking forward to seeing more of it - and we should be getting our second rider very soon, which makes me wonder if this is going to be a series with a lot of riders in it, especially since a third rider has also been announced already, so it looks like at least three are going to be debuting in the first act of the series alone.

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