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Friday, 17 June 2016

Kamen Rider Ghost E35 (and the series so far).

Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 35
(And the series so far.)

So we're changing up the format a little this week, since this episode is a pretty definitive end of Act Three, giving us a whole bunch of interesting things: Our first proper look at Infinite Ghost fighting, all the remaining Ganmaizers showing up to wreck things (even if Ganmaizer Liquid is the only one to really do much), and Igor decisively defeated (although definitely still alive).

That also makes it a grand opportunity to look briefly at the series so far.

In this week's episode, Takeru returns to Dreamland, but finds it transformed into a strange, fairytales themed version of itself by Igor. Meanwhile, Makoto and Alain face off against the Ganmaizers, including what appears to be a resurrected Ganmaizer Fire. 

Okay, so there are two threads to this episode: Igor's plan, which is arguably just there to keep Takeru busy so that he can dramatically save Alain and Makoto from the Ganmaizers, and the Ganmaizer attack. Igor's plan notably makes no sense. He draws Takeru, Onari, and Older Professor Brother (like I'd bother to remember his name) into Dreamland and then transforms it into a fairytale forest, dressing the three of them up as Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella, respectively (and Akari and Younger Professor Brother as Snow White and the Frog Prince), but this doesn't impede their ability to perform their rescue mission or fight at all. Igor's plan seems to consist entirely of 'draw the cast to somewhere where I have power, and then use my power to make things moderately wacky.'

But really only moderately.

It would have been actually pretty simple to make his plan a coherent one, as well: Have Takeru try to whip out his regular Ore Eyecon to transform, only to discover that it's been turned into one of the squeaky mushrooms that Makoto and Alain's Eyecons turned into - cue Igor explaining that the Grimm Eyecon increases the power of Dreamland to the point where Takeru can't transform. Have a short few minutes of Igor attacking him, only for Takeru to then whip out the Infinite Soul Eyecon, Igor makes some remark about how that's impossible, and you have not only an explanation for the fairytale shenanigans, but also a moment that hammers in one of the big themes of the episode, which is that Takeru and his Infinite power is something miraculous that can't be quantified or accounted for.

Apart from that, it was pretty fun, though. I'm a sucker for wacky hijinks, and Takeru and Onari running around dressed as fairytale characters, while Onari complains about his hair, definitely counts. The fight scene between Infinite Ghost and Igor was also pretty good, if quite short, and we get some resolution on the two professors, as they remember that science can be fun and all that jazz.

The Ganmaizer portion of the plot, meanwhile, gives us an interesting turn, as the Ganmaizers stop obeying Adel's orders. I think all of us knew that Adel wasn't really the one in charge here, because they're fifteen guardian deities serving the source of all life, and he's just some dude with a big nose, but it's nice to see that actually start to have an effect on the plot. Don't ask me how Ganmaizer Liquid somehow manages to communicate passive-aggression with just a robotic delivery of the words 'we advise elimination,' but they somehow do, and it's magical.

This is an awesome shot, though.

We also get to see all the Ganmaizers (bar Gravity and - well, sort of bar Fire) fight at once, even though most of them are just floating around in their Adel forms and occasionally tossing energy blasts. While Ganmaizer Fire makes a reappearance, the end of the episode reveals that the Ganmaizer Fire was just a Ganma Superior, altered in some fashion by one of Ganmaizer Liquid's powers.

I'm actually a little disappointed that Infinite Ghost can deal with the Ganmaizers so easily. I would have rather they were just about on an equal footing, but instead he defeats one-and-a-half without breaking a sweat. Hopefully, the other Ganmaizers will do some of that 'analysing and growing stronger' thing we've heard so much about and put in a slightly better showing.

(It also seems likely, given how many episodes we have left, that the fourth act is going to mostly have Ganmaizers as monsters of the week.)

Which leads us onto quickly talking about the series as a whole so far. I'm enjoying it, broadly, but I think this is the first series we've had for a while that wasn't one of extremes: Drive was very bad; before that Gaim was very good;and before that we had both Fourze and OOO, which were shows with stellar highs and some pretty abysmal lows. Ghost has been consistent in quality, never really achieving great highs, but never being terrible, either.

Infinite Ghost is pretty impressive, though.

But its pacing does strike me as a little odd. We're entering the final act now, but it feels like we're much, much earlier in the story, because we don't really know anything about the villains' plans: We don't know if the Ganmaizers have an ulterior motive, we don't know what Adel and Igor are planning, we don't even know what it was Adonis wanted when he was in charge. We know very nearly nothing about a larger plot, and I think that's because this series has tried to do a lot, having running plots about finding the Heroic Eyecons and bringing Takeru back to life, the Ganmaizers, the nature of the Ganma World, the plots by the Ganma Royal Family, and so on, and it hasn't managed to balance those different elements very well.

Still, I've been enjoying myself, and it looks like the fourth act will be getting off to a good start, with what appears to be Ganmaizer Thunder, and an evil doppelganger of Makoto. This is what you get for constantly using your evil Cthulhu-deer-jacket, Makoto.

Also, apparently the next Kamen Rider series will be Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. I'm not - sure what to say about that name.

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