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Friday, 10 June 2016

Kamen Rider Ghost E33+E34

Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 33 + Episode 34

In light of the reveal that one of the new Ganmeisers who showed up in Episode 32 was in fact a gravity Ganmeiser, and not an ice one as I'd assumed from the special effects, Frosty Adel has now been renamed Solemn Adel, to go along with Spicy Adel and Nostalgic Adel. So that's nice. We're also very nearly at the end of the third act, but weirdly, it doesn't feel that way: While Gaim and Drive were squarely setting things up for a final confrontation by this point, Ghost doesn't feel like it's reached that point in terms of plot yet.

In this fortnight's episodes, Takeru faces off against Ganmeiser Fire, empowered by another Ganmeiser with power over gravity, and has his Eyecon shattered, effectively killing him (again). After a daring plan by Akari to stop Ganmeiser Fire-Gravity fails, Takeru must make a miraculous return from death once again. Shortly afterwards, the gang are called in to deal with a plot by Igor revolving around 'Dreamland,' a virtual reality that predicts and fulfills people's desires. As Adel reels from the destruction of two Ganmeisers, another Ganmeiser, the watery Ganmeiser Liquid, is sent to analyse and adapt to Takeru's new Infinite Ghost power.

Okay, first of all, I'd like to register again just how happy I am that Akari actually does stuff in this series, and moreover, that she does a lot and is a pretty integral part of the team. If you compare and contrast her with Kiriko (or even Mai, but - mostly Kiriko), Akari feels a lot more like a fully realised character: She has her own agendas, flaws, and personality quirks; she's often instrumental in dealing with Ganma Of The Week; and she even sort of has her own nemesis in the form of Igor, since Igor seems far more concerned with her and her meddling in his plans (and her slapping him) than in Takeru, Makoto, or Alain.

The gang's all here. Except Takeru. And - Cubi, I guess.

Some might say that's a small thing, but it's something I consistently notice and enjoy about the series - and in general, while Onari is less important and useful than Akari, he's a pretty well-realised character as well.

Onto the actual episodes, though: 

I don't think anybody expected even for a second that Takeru would actually remain dead for more than about six minutes, and no amount of Yurusen talking about how he definitely couldn't come back was going to convince even a single solitary person otherwise. So, instead of suspense, the episode pretty much had to be carried on the rest of the gang's emotional reactions, and that's something the show has done pretty well in the past - it's a lot more overt (and, to be honest, a bit less effective, but not by much) than in the last 'Takeru dies' episode, probably not least because the last one focused most of its emotional weight on the build-up to it, whereas this episode focuses on the immediate aftermath, as the gang cycle through denial, avoidance, anger, and breaking down.

I admit, I don't know why she's 'Ganmaiser Liquid' and not 'Ganmaiser Water', she
seems pretty watery.

If I'm being honest, as well, both Ganmaiser Fire-Gravity and our first glance at Infinite Ghost were kind of letdowns. Ganmaiser Gravity never gets its own monster form, instead after turning into a swirly CGI vortex or fusing with Ganmaiser Fire (who gets no cosmetic changes as a result of this, just a few extra powers), so it always felt like just another fight with Fire, who, you'll recall, the gang's fought a lot by now. Similarly, our first look at Infinite Ghost isn't a proper henshin and fight, and for the most part it's shrouded in light and can barely be seen: This is obviously to build up a bit of mystery and gravitas around it, but it doesn't really work, instead just feeling clumsy as Takeru momentarily assumes this glowing form, kills off two Ganmaisers, and then immediate de-transforms.

Our first proper look at it instead comes in episode thirty-four, albeit at the very end of the episode. Most of the episode is instead a pretty standard 'everyone goes into dreams' episode, and it's - frankly weird that tokusatsu has enough of those that I can describe it as standard. We get a little bit of a subplot with the Grimm brothers arguing, but most of the plot actually comes from Adel's side of things, as the Ganmaisers inform him that they can adapt to Infinite Ghost's power, just so long as they can analyse it.

We also get a lot of exposition - some of it, like 'the fifteen Heroic Eyecons are a counter-measure against the Ganmaisers,' is stuff we already knew. Some of it, like 'the original plan was for Takeru to infuse an Eyecon with his soul and fight with a substitute body' wasn't. Interestingly, this exposition doesn't frame the Ganmaisers as the bad guys: They're just the guards of the Great Eye, and that's implied to be good, or at least neutral.

Infinite Ghost is very sparkly.

Also, we get to finally see another Ganmaiser with its own monster form in action - albeit again, not much. Moist Adel is a pretty prominent feature of the episode, but only assumes its Ganmaiser Liquid form near the end. It's a nice suit, though. Clearly jellyfish inspired.

Next episode, it looks like Igor might be meeting his end (oh, please, let him meet his end), and Ganmaiser Liquid and a reborn Ganmaiser Fire(-Gravity) will be confronting Makoto and Alain, along with all the other Ganmaisers. We'll also get to see an actual proper fight scene from Infinite Ghost, as well, so that'll be nice.

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