Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 19 + Episode 20.
I admit, I'm never all that fond of the 'a monster appears but is good' plotline in Kamen Rider shows. They tend to unfold in a very predictable way, and they tend to be relatively low drama, low impact episodes, which would be fine if they offered something else, but they almost never do. It's like Toei just has a requirement that certain plots should be repeated every single year, and whosoever is on Kamen Rider's writing team that year must obey.
Luckily, this year's standard good-monster-just-wants-to-cavort plotline actually does offer something else, by way of the ongoing storyline with Alain and Makoto, in which Alain critically doesn't understand friendship, and Makoto keeps trying to murder Takeru because a jacket told him to.
In this fortnight's arc, the Paint Ganma is turning buildings and objects around the city into terrible abstract paintings, including Onari's head. As Igor attempts to corral the Paint Ganma into following through with a diabolical plan involving the company 'Deep Connect', the Paint Ganma just wants to paint. Meanwhile, Kanon continues to search for Makoto, who remains enslaved to Alain via the Necrom Parka Ghost.
|Alain makes bad choices.|
To be honest, the entire painting ghost plotline did nothing for me whatsoever, and given that it seemed to barely feature in the second episode of the arc, it may not have done a tremendous amount for the writers and producers either. While much of the first episode is spent with not-altogether-funny-but-okay-I-guess shenanigans involving abstract paintings and Onari's head, the second episode barely features the Paint Ganma at all, instead mostly involving Kanon and Alain, with a side thing involving Alain's father, Adonis, being introduced.
We also see, rather shockingly for me, as I was not expecting it to end in a standard-issue-nice-monster arc, we get the conclusion of the Makoto being possessed arc, and it happens in an oddly undramatic way. His Parka Ghosts basically just throw up their sleeves in exasperation and remove the Necrom Eyecon from his belt. Why didn't you do that before, guys?
If I was rewriting it, to be honest I probably would have given freeing Makoto a two episode story of its own, and had some kind of climactic fight scene, with Takeru using the Nobunaga, Tutankhamen, and Houdini Eyecons for himself, before doing the whole 'restraining Makoto while the ghosts take out the Eyecon' sequence. I grant you, that would not be the most original way of going about this, but Kamen Rider has always been less about originality and more about spectacle, and it would certainly be a spectacle, showing us a variety of at least slightly new forms and demonstrating how those three Eyecons' abilities are reflected when used by Takeru, as well as also giving us an exciting fight scene.
|Tutankhamen, you don't even have sleeves, how are you going to help here.|
We did get a fight scene with Takeru and Makoto facing off against Alain, but I feel like more could have been made of it. Makoto using Edison Form was nice, but they could have made a thing about having the two cycle between numerous different Eyecons, since that's always fun, and since I'd really like to see Himiko Form facing off against Necrom. Another time, maybe, especially as this clearly isn't the last battle the two of them will have against Necrom.
We also got movement on what seems to be a new arc within the show, with the company Deep Connect. I actually thought, when they showed up, that they'd be dealt with within the arc, but it looks like they're going to stick around for longer, as part of Igor's ongoing storyline. At the moment, though, I can't say I have any opinions on them either way, they just seem like a generic evil company right now.
(Also, 'Steve Bills,' really? Subtle, guys. Really, really subtle.)
On top of seeing Adonis, the father of Alain, Adel, and Aria, we also got a plot twist in the form of the Old Hermit actually being part of the Ganma World hierarchy, seemingly (and quite possibly even explicitly, due to scheduling conflicts I had to watch the second episode unsubbed) one of the royals. That's interesting, although not necessarily surprising - I've been saying since the early episodes that I think the Hermit is a wrong'un, after all.
|That is a truly astonishing wig, incidentally.|
(Whether he turns out to genuinely be a wrong'un, or if he's a double agent, or if this is his evil twin, or really anything else, remains to be seen.)
So, these were much better episodes than I was expecting, but in a way, it almost doesn't feel like the show is nearly halfway through. It's not really kicked into any kind of high gear, instead still being predominantly almost filler-y (although not actually filler) episodic plots and Eyecon-finding plots. While I'm enjoying myself, I admit that increasingly I find my interest in the show waning a bit, so I hope it changes things up again soon.