I did consider doing two reviews today to make up for the absence of one yesterday (it really was a hell of a day), but instead I've decided to just leave it, meaning that next week will be a Grand Week of Disappointed Reviews about TV shows.
Like, seriously, at the moment it's looking like Gotham is going to be getting the best review of the bunch. I don't even like Gotham that much.
Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 31 + Episode 32
Oh, hey, it's the semi-mandatory 'characters are getting turned into children' episode that Super Hero Time shows are required, by law, to have every few years. Well, that's fine, it's often a pretty fun trope, although slightly oddly for this plotline, none of our main cast have been turned into small children. This is even weirder when you consider that Toei already has child actors for Makoto, Kanon, and Takeru, you'd think they'd at least try and capitalise on Alain awkwardly trying to look after a bratty, tiny Makoto for a few days.
In this fortnight's episodes, with Ganmaizer Fire having returned to the Ganma World, apparently no worse for wear, Adel calls upon two other Ganmaizers, demanding that they show him their power - which one of them is more than happy to do via firing bolts of lightning into the human world, turning anyone they hit into children. As Shibuya, one of Onari's monks, struggles with his mother, with whom he has a strained relationship with, and who has been turned into a small child, Makoto and Alain set out to close the gates to the Ganma World that the lightning bolts are coming through, but find themselves tangling with Gyro, one of Alain's former teachers. As Doctor Igarashi arrives at the household, though, Takeru starts viewing his memory, seeing a meeting between him, Saionji, Ryu, and the Old Hermit ten years ago.
Part of me wants to call this filler, if only because it ticks many of the boxes for what Kamen Rider filler usually looks like (tokusatsu cliche plot, focus on a minor character, monster of the week that's essentially a reused suit), but it's not, really: We get important plot developments regarding Ryu and the Old Hermit, namely that not only did they know each other, but they were both aware of the Ganmaizers, and created the fifteen Hero Eyecons specifically to counteract them. Perhaps more importantly, we also get plot developments in the form of Takeru actually, properly finding out about the Ganmaizers, and specifically their immortality - because while he's encountered Ganmaizer Fire several times, nobody has ever actually told him 'this is what it is, and it's immortal.'
|Provisionally, these two shall be called Frosty Adel and Nostalgic Adel.|
We also get some foreboding hints regarding Deep Specter, as it briefly shows enough power to easily overwhelm Gyro and destroy a gate in one fell swoop, resulting in the Ganmaizers loudly complaining about interference and danger. That might just be them grousing about the last gate being closed, but it's set up as something much more serious than that, with them yelling 'danger' again and again, and Adel wondering what could possibly be wrong. They're all kind of familiar with portals, so one closing shouldn't be cause for that much alarm.
(My personal theory regarding Deep Specter is that Eadith made it as a sixteenth Ganmaizer, since it shares a lot of design similarities with Ganmaizer Fire, but I'm very probably wrong about that.)
As far as the actual A-plot goes, though, it's pretty much fine. Not amazing, and not exactly inspiring, but a fun and well put-together plot about Shibuya coping with his mother's frankly slightly insane expectations for him. I know we're meant to see it as 'she just wants the best for him, and maybe she's slightly overzealous but she loves him really', but good god, we get about sixty flashbacks of her telling him to act like more of a man, and even more moments where, as a child, she yells at him for being a wimp, and what I'm getting at here is that I'm not shocked that Shibuya became a monk after all that. If someone spent that much time yelling at me about fulfilling an arbitrary standard of masculinity, I'd probably become a monk as well, just out of spite.
|Also, this guy has to be, what, six to eight years older than Shibuya's mother?|
(Incidentally, I feel like Shibuya's father would get along very well with Gentaro. For, I mean, pretty obvious reasons, that's not a new and original observation.)
Gyro, meanwhile, doesn't make a very compelling monster of the week - we've seen the Ultima Eyecon show up and get beaten a few times now, so at this point having anybody use it feels a bit old hat and not very threatening - but he's also fine. He fulfills his role as someone sufficiently skilled and punchy to make Makoto go all evil-winged-eldritch-deer on him admirably.
|Deer dragon motorbike fashion model.|
Next week, we apparently have Takeru dying? I mean, he was already dead, but dying more. Again, that is, because he's died more and then come back once before. Obviously, he's going to come back again this time, so I don't really buy Adel's 'total victory.' Still, I do like 'the hero is indisposed and everybody else has to make a valiant stand against some big monster' storyline. I still very fondly remember when Go-Onger did that particular story.