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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Kamen Rider Ghost E15+E16

Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 15 + Episode 16

You know, for people who don't watch the series but do read these reviews - although I'm ninety-nine percent sure those people don't exist - Alain's name is going to incredibly confusing, since I'm pretty sure I started off calling him Alan, switched to Aran, and now, with the trailer for his new miniseries, have switched to calling him Alain. This new romanisation of his name is my personal favourite, since it's a) A much better name than Alan, and b) There was a character by that name in the Dark Tower books. Good times.

In episode fifteen, Alain, angry over Makoto's betrayal, revives Javert and sends him after Kanon, kidnapping her. Desperate to save her, Makoto must earn the right to use the Houdini Eyecon, which has never worked for him before. With that plan foiled, Alain becomes Kamen Rider Necrom in episode sixteen, engaging Takeru and Makoto in battle personally while showing off his new range of sinister powers.

So, having not much liked episodes thirteen and fourteen, I came into these two episodes with a bit of apprehension - but I actually really enjoyed them! I dare say I enjoyed them quite a lot. While I do like Takeru a lot, I find Makoto and Alain to be much more engaging and dynamic characters than him, with much more interesting interactions. There's a history there, and while we knew that already, these episodes tease some further hints as to what that history involved - especially with one line that people have been picking over since the episode was subbed, where Alain says that he took Makoto's body (with the Japanese word specifically referring to his physical body).

Makoto should get beaten up more often, it suits him.

That's an interesting line partly because Makoto does seem to have a physical body: He can't become invisible or incorporeal like Takeru, he gets injured, his suit references the idea of him being alive, and so on, so forth. I'll be intrigued to see what happens there, and I imagine we'll find out what Alain was referring to sooner rather than later.

I was a little disappointed that Javert came back only to be killed off in the very same episode, but also, part of me wants to see that keep happening. Javert is restored to face off against the heroes, only to die within ten or twenty minutes, every single time. Constantly. He has abilities we've not yet seen in-series yet, after all, such as the ability to transform into other Ganma, so it's not like it'd get old too quickly.

Also, we have another Superior Ganma coming along soon anyway, and I need Superior Ganma rivalries. I need them.

They call him the Bikester.

Since this pair of episode introduced two new suits, it's worth talking about the suit designs, and they're both pretty nice, to be honest. Houdini looks a little bit ridiculous, in the way that only somebody with a plastic hoverboard glued to his back can, but in a way, that ridiculousness and the associated bulkiness helps mark Houdini out as Specter's mid-series upgrade form, roughly analogous to Ghost's Fighting Boost form. Gratifyingly, the coat and the undersuit don't clash nearly as much as - well, any Heroic Eyecon combined with Fighting Boost.

Necrom, meanwhile, might be my favourite suit in Kamen Rider for a decently long while - it's certainly my favourite in Ghost. It's - well, not sleek, but it looks elegant, it has an interesting, striking colour scheme, and in a way, it looks kind of unique among other Kamen Rider suits. I can't recall ever seeing a suit design quite like it in-show, and it combines aesthetics usually reserved for heroes and aesthetics usually reserved for villains in an interesting way. I'm always in favour of suits which break the mold a little, especially as it would have been very easy for the designers to just recreate the Ghost and Specter suits with green lines instead of orange and blue. It looks, too, like a final villain, even though Alain is almost certainly going to join the side of good at some point.

So pretty.

It also has an interesting and unexpected powerset, essentially burning through other Ganma in a really creepy way - it controls them, yes, and that's creepy enough all on its own, but it also feeds off them to fuel its power and, possibly most villainous of all, when destroyed it immediately just regenerates out of a nearby Ganma. It's essentially a Dragon Age archdemon in motorbiking leathers and I love it.

Grimm Form impressed me a little less, but it was fine as well. I liked the quill shoulders, that was a nice touch.

I really enjoyed this episode, and the series is shaping up to be a really good one. Coming up in the next few weeks, it looks like we have Alain using his Necrom Eyecon to turn Makoto briefly evil, Ghost's Himiko Form showing up (presumably to un-evil Makoto), and presumably we'll also get to see Necrom's Sanzo Form and the first appearance of our new Superior Ganma.

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