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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Kamen Rider Ghost E39+E40

Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 39 + Episode 40.

Quick administrative note: I mistakenly referred to Ganmaizer Magnetic-Blade as the Perfect Ganmaizer last week, which is actually Adel's Ganmaizer form.

How many Ganmaizers are left now? We've lost Spicy Adel, Solemn Adel, Moist Adel, and Breathy Adel prior to this episode, and this one sees us lose Charismatic Adel and Knifey Adel as well, which should put us down to nine Ganmaizers to deal with in eight to twelve more episodes, along with Cool Original Adel and Igor. That's a lot of different villains to deal with in not that many episodes, so I won't be surprised if at the end we have four or five just never appearing in their own right and instead just being transformation fuel for Adel.

In this fortnight's episodes, after a failed attempt on Adel's life, Alia's Eyecon is absorbed by Ganmaizer Magnetic and Ganmaizer Blade, who have fused with each other and become obsessed with analysing contradictory emotions after experiencing battle damage. Takeru and the gang quickly find themselves dealing with a confusing situation when a teenage girl, Mayu, becomes bodyswapped with her father, and discovers that he might be a corrupt cop.

A design that's both boring and ugly.

Usually I'd be a little annoyed that we're getting Ganmaizers fusing instead of seeing all of them, but since Ganmaizer Magnetic and Ganmaizer Blade sound like the most boring possible Ganmaizers of all, I don't mind too much - although, predictably enough, together they make what's probably an even duller villain of the fortnight, with a design that is both incredibly awkward (and which is visibly difficult for the suit actors to move about in, resulting in Ganmaizer Magnetic-Blade barely moving) and yet somehow also massively uninspired. When it shows up for its first and only proper battle, a two or three minute long snore fest mostly involving Takeru, Makoto, and Alain punching it while it barely moves and they all scream about how powerful it is, I genuinely considered just skipping through.

The actual plot of the episodes also isn't all that great. It's your typical bodyswap plot, except unlike most bodyswap storylines, none of the main cast are involved - which is weird, because that's usually what makes bodyswap plots entertaining, since you get to watch the various members of the cast do their best impressions of each other. The show did this with the stock de-ageing plot as well, having it exclusively happen to arc characters instead of the main cast, and it was a strange choice there as well.

So, I found that all a bit boring, because ultimately, I don't care about Mayu or her father, and because the plot beats were pretty predictable. Obviously it was Mayu's father's mind (sorry, I didn't bother memorising his name) in the Ganmaizer; obviously he wasn't actually going to be corrupt; obviously his partner was going to be the corrupt one.

Also kind of a boring design, to be honest.

Making things moderately more entertaining is that every time - every single time - anybody tried to talk about Mayu's father, Makoto would cut in with a remark to the effect of 'Okay, but what about my father, he was terrible.' It's a pretty obvious film tie-in, but since it happens constantly, in nearly every conversation, it just becomes hilarious (and eventually a little bit grating).

We also get Alia transforming into Kamen Rider Dark Necrom P (what an incredibly awkward name) for all of about a minute in this episode. She transforms very dramatically, slides about for a while, and gets in one failed finisher before she's unceremoniously defeated and imprisoned, presumably never to transform again. It's almost like a cartoonish parody of how Kamen Rider treats the notion of female riders, with shades of 555's six-second female Delta or Wizard's barely-appearing film tie-in Mage, except for how it wasn't intended as a parody at all. 

It's bizarre, because Kamen Rider showrunners clearly know there's an appetite for female riders, otherwise they wouldn't keep pulling the 'ooh, ooooh, she's going to transform, we're going to get a female rider' only to immediately pull it back. A lot of people try to claim that audiences just don't want female riders, but if that were true, then the constant teasing that it could happen wouldn't be necessary.


I'm also personally quite disappointed, because - look, okay, I wasn't expecting Alia to suddenly join the main cast of riders, but I was hoping that she'd have a role a little meatier than 'she transforms, is immediately defeated, and then gets taken prisoner,' and I don't think that's an unreasonable thing to have hoped for.

Next week, we're actually definitely getting to see Eadith become Ultima Ebony, Adel's showing up again and facing the gang as the Perfect Ganmaizer, and Ganmaizer Climate appears to be doing something, even if it's just standing around looking weird. So that's nice, should be fun. I'm a little alarmed that Igor's not dead yet, I'm starting to wonder if he'll end up being the final villain or something like that.

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