Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 7 + Episode 8
Kamen Rider Ghost has been a very episodic affair so far, which is not entirely unusual for a Kamen Rider series, but did leave me somewhat surprised when we got episodes seven and eight, a two-parter with a heavy focus on plot and backstory. Pleasantly surprised, I should note - while I'm fine with episodic plots, if given the choice between them and a more serialised, plot-heavy formula, I'll always pick the latter.
(We do, incidentally, seem to be back to episodic plots next week, though, which is fine, to be honest. That's also going to be when the last Eyecon is found, so whether the show sticks with the same episodic format after that is anyone's guess.)
In these two episodes, Takeru goes up against an evil wasp Ganma who is compelling people to build a mysterious second monolith, and gains the Billy the Kid Eyecon. Meanwhile, Saionji manipulates Makoto, using events from his past and his desperation to save his sister to manipulate him into attacking Takeru. As the two confront each other, Takeru realises that Makoto is a childhood friend of his, who went missing under mysterious, monolith-related circumstances.
So, in lieu of really much to say about the quality of this episode - I enjoyed it just fine, it wasn't life changing, it was often very much a by-the-numbers episode but it was solid and had a fair amount of aplomb - let's talk about all of the plot twists in these episodes, because there are quite a few. One which a lot of people have been talking about is the reveal that Saionji has five of the heroic Eyecons - Ryoma, Goemon, Himiko, Grimm, and Sanzo.
(For anyone who doesn't know about any of these historical figures, and I did have to look up two of them, they are, in order: A politician who pushed for an independent Japan without feudal trappings; a semi-legendary outlaw; a shaman queen of Yamataikoku; one or both of a pair of fairytale-writing brothers; and a buddhist monk who inspired Journey to the West.)
That's not tremendously surprising to me, actually, especially when we saw in the episode previous to it that he had a prototype Ghost Driver and could seal Parka Ghosts into Eyecons. That was a bigger surprise to me, because it raises the possibility of that prototype being completed and a fourth Rider - possibly Alan? I can't really imagine it being Saionji - entering the fray. But Saionji having those five Eyecons does make it very likely that Kamen Rider Necrom will be a villainous Rider, at least at first, since we know he'll be using the Grimm and Sanzo Eyecons (with the other three being used by Takeru, who will presumably nab them off Saionji at some point).
|Evil creepy proto-monolith.|
Possibly a bigger plot twist is the reveal that Makoto is a childhood friend of Takeru and Akari, and possibly one who was victimised by Takeru's father in the past by being sent through the portal into the Ganma World. Naturally, it's going to turn out, sooner or later (and I'm betting on sooner), that Takeru's father was not the one behind this - much more likely, it'll have been Saionji, who we know was a researcher who worked on the same project. It still creates an interesting dynamic for the three of them - a cliche one, to be sure, but cliches aren't necessarily always bad. It's just a matter of whether they can use those cliches well.
I'm also more sure than ever that the Hermit and Yurusen are evil, and Yurusen's brief dropping in about people being possessed by Ganma for more than ninety-nine days is very suspicious. That's definitely going to become relevant in a big way at some point, because there's no way that would just be dropped in apropos of nothing. But what we know about the Hermit at this point is that he has some kind of end goal involving the monolith in mind, and he seems to be playing Makoto and Takeru off against each other in order to collect all of the Eyecons.
|I do like this form.|
If they do turn out to be evil, I want it duly noted that I called Yurusen being evil from the very first episode, and the Hermit being evil from, like, episode three. I did call that.
Next week, we have Takeru and the team go looking for information on his father's research, since they've become suspicious that he may have caused this whole Ganma mess, and we have the appearance of the Superior Ganma. He can apparently transform into any other Ganma, and he's played by - GekiChopper in a military uniform that looks like it wouldn't be out of place in Shocker? Well, okay then. We also have a glimpse of something that might be Necrom, but might also just be the Superior Ganma, I'm genuinely not sure.