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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Kamen Rider Ghost E23+E24

Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 23 + Episode 24

So, we're finally at the end of the second act of this show. With Alain now on the side of good, I have a sneaking suspicion that for at least a few episodes after this, we'll have a brainwashed Makoto fulfilling the 'evil Rider' role as Deep Spectre, but that might not be the case - I am, however, starting to wonder if both Drive and Ghost have suffered from a desire to reproduce Gaim. Gaim, after all, was very well-made, very enjoyable, and, from what I've heard, very popular in Japan and very profitable for Toei, and it heavily revolved around Rider vs Rider battles, with the monsters of the week often more like afterthoughts. 

Since then, we've had Drive, which spent pretty much its entire run having constant Rider battles, despite only having a total of four Riders, and Ghost, which in its first twenty-four episodes has always had at least one antagonistic Rider (and that's not even counting Javert, who is at least Rider-esque). It feels a little like they're trying to reproduce what people liked about Gaim, without quite realising what that was.

In this fortnight's episodes, Takeru finds himself conflicted about Alain, having been shaken by what he saw of the Ganma World. Javert travels to the human world to assassinate Alain on Adel's orders, utilising Adel's Ultima Eyecon. Meanwhile, in the Ganma World, Adel suspects Magistrate Eadith of plotting against him, while Aria tries to convince him that she's on his side.

Adel, in his capacity as 'Angry Nose Fellow'.

So, my earnest wish that Grateful Soul would debut fighting Javert came to pass, and now we just need every other upgrade in the series to debut against him. I mean, they've already had, what, three of them debut against him, killing him in the process? They might as well continue the trend.

Grateful Soul also actually has a really nice design. It reminds me a lot of Kuuga's Ultimate Form if it was crossed with either Decade's Complete Form or Blade's King Form or possibly Den-O's Climax Form (any one of the 'all your forms combined' forms), and that's no bad thing. It's sleek, coherent, visually interesting and pretty striking to look at. 

Also, unlike Toucon Boost, which didn't really seem to provide any kind of new abilities or advantages other than a slightly different weapon and the power to ceremoniously explode upon command, we actually get to see some interesting new powers for Grateful Soul, most notably the power to summon the black bodysuit versions of the fifteen heroes. It's very much the same kind of deal as Decade's aforementioned Complete Form, but that's hardly a problem.


Apart from that, these two episodes felt oddly light on plot, especially in comparison to the two that came before them. Part of that is that the second episode of the bunch was the yearly crossover episode (and also the 'let's promote a film' episode) and all of the plot developments in it (and there were a few) were kind of pushed to the sidelines a bit by that. 

We got a few major plot beats in the form of finding out Adonis is still alive (which makes sense, since when Alain's Eyecon was destroyed he just woke up in his pod), discovering that those stone tablets in his prayer chamber are actually some manner of elemental themed robot counterparts to the fifteen heroes, and - shock horror - seeing Makoto 'die', even though the show only bothered to pretend for about six seconds that he was actually dead before just reminding everyone that since he was just an Eyecon anyway, he's still alive in the Ganma World - but with the exception of Makoto's not-death, those were all only briefly touched upon, leaving the rest of the two episodes feeling kind of bare.

The crossover element of episode twenty-four made about as much sense as it ever does, but benefited from the fact that it was really only a very minor crossover, with Yamato from Zyuohger (also, yes, Toei, I noticed the 'Yamato Takeru' joke there, referencing the legendary prince whose soul turned into a massive white bird after he died, very clever. It's not the first time you've made that joke, is it, Toei?) showing up for one fight before frolicking off into the distance. It was an amusing enough crossover moment, and it didn't really detract from the episode at all.

There's a lot to take in here.

(The 'film promotion' aspect of the episode definitely did, however, even though it too wasn't all that big a part of the episode - instead of Ganma, we just had Shocker agents instead, but for some reason their presence felt jarring and offputting in a way that Yamato's didn't.)

All in all, certainly not my favourite pair of episodes, but they end the second act well, and set us up nicely for a third act which will probably see the situation escalating dramatically. They also kind of answer what's going to replace the 'find the fifteen Eyecons' gimmick - it's presumably going to be 'stab the fifteen evil robot tablets to death,' so that's nice.

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