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Monday, 25 January 2016

Kamen Rider Ghost E13+E14

Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 13 & Episode 14

I'll be honest, I barely noticed the New Year's hiatus for Ghost. Unlike Gaim, where I was impatient and eager to know what would happen next, and Drive, where every hiatus offered a blessed break that I was very thankful for, an extra long wait for Ghost barely registered. Which isn't to say I'm not enjoying Ghost, because I am, just that it's not gripping me the same way that some other series have.

Anyway, in episodes thirteen and fourteen, Takeru goes hunting for the Eyecons once more, and quickly encounters the Ryoma Eyecon, which has possessed a man named Nagamasa, who dreams of working with his father to launch a new kind of satellite into space. With Ryoma refusing to join Takeru unless he forges an alliance between Nagamasa and his father, Takeru attempts to heal their broken relationship, while also dealing with the Sword Ganma, the Planet Ganma, and Aran himself.

Okay, so we get two new forms in these episodes, and they're both absolutely hideous. Goemon, based on the semi-legendary outlaw who was purportedly boiled alive by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, is the most hideous one of all, a bulky, quilted, sick-yellow coat clashing horribly with Fighting Boost's bright red everything; but Ryoma, based on ronin-turned-politician-and-economist Sakamoto Ryoma, is also pretty awful, and brings huge shoulderpads to the table to boot.

Truly hideous.

In addition, neither of them are that interesting in terms of what they can do. They both seem to have exactly the same abilities as Fighting Boost, with Goemon making him better at using a sword (possibly?) and making him act like he's in a kabuki drama, while Ryoma makes him better at using a gun. That's a fairly far cry from the forms we've gotten before, which have generally come with new weapons and abilities (even if it hasn't always quite worked out - Benkei is still totally ridiculous to me).

It's just a little disappointing, to the point where I wonder if it wouldn't have been better if Goemon and Ryoma (and later Himiko) were all forms for Ghost's base form, rather than forms for Fighting Boost.

In terms of story, these two episodes are a bit of a departure from what we've gotten so far - it's the first time we've seen somebody possessed by a Heroic Eyecon, after all, and the plot reminds me very much of Fourze, OOO, and Double. Given that this is a space-themed arc that references Fourze several times, that might be intentional, but I suspect it's just a coincidence, especially since there are also shades of Den-O here with Ryoma's possession of Nagamasa.

A little better, but not by much.

The episode fell a bit flat for me in a lot of ways - the Ganma plot for these two episodes was pretty tired and cliche, the two Ganma-of-the-fortnight were fairly unintimidating, and the episodes both felt oddly paced to the point where, at times, theys seemed positively glacial.

I was eventually invested in the relationship of Nagamasa and his father, and the show fairly deftly handled the reveal about Nagamasa's brother, and the resulting fallout of that reveal, so that was all right to watch, but since that plotline only really kicked into gear in episode fourteen, thirteen was left to be mostly set-up, and the writers didn't do a great job of making that especially interesting.

I also liked the brief glimpses we got of the Ganma World and Aran's brother. Obviously, this is all leading towards the introduction of Kamen Rider Necrom, due to debut very soon, but I'm always keen on finding out more about what the Ganma World is like, and what Aran's family and backstory are like.

Lots and lots of red lighting and filters.

The show has continued dropping hints about Takeru's father, too, with the Hermit (who I'm now less convinced is evil?) saying that Takeru will never see him again, but that his spirit might be saved if Takeru collects all fifteen Heroic Eyecons before the time limit's up (apparently we're at ninety-four days left on that, and he still has three to collect, I think? Maybe four), and Ryoma suggesting that he knew Takeru's father as well. It'll be interesting to see where they go with that.

All in all, this was certainly one of the weaker two-parters in Ghost, but it was still very enjoyable. It looks like the next two episodes, which will see Makoto having a focus episode and using his Houdini Eyecon, and Aran becoming Necrom, along with some various other important happenings, will probably be a lot better, so I'm looking forward to those.

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