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Friday, 23 September 2016

Kamen Rider Ghost E47+E48+E49

Kamen Rider Ghost
Episode 47 + Episode 48 + Episode 49

We're finally at the end! Well, sort of. There's still one more episode, the usual epilogue episode that we've gotten with a fair number of Neo-Heisei series. Generally, I'm not overly fond of those episodes -- the standard of writing tends to be a hell of a lot lower than the rest of the series, just to start, and it only gets worse when crossover shenanigans start showing up. But these three episodes finish off the main plot and wrap up our three major plot threads: Takeru coming back to life, Makoto's doppelganger, Adel and Demia, and the Ganmaizers.

As Takeru and Adel fight, Adel reveals that he was the one who killed Takeru's father, before leaving for the Ganma World. Takeru struggles with his desire to both avenge his father and save Adel, while Makoto and his doppelganger become increasingly indistinguishable from each other. But when Takeru manages to persuade Adel to change his ways, the Ganmaizers intervene, taking over Adel's body and preparing to merge with the Great Eye and become a god.

I did actually enjoy these episodes, but I also can't deny that they're rather lackluster. There's no real sense of urgency to anything that happens, and the only thing that adds any urgency is the ticking clock on Takeru dying -- and everybody is so relaxed about that that it hardly feels noteworthy. Compare and contrast with Double's, Fourze's, or hell, even Drive's (and I hated Drive, guys) finales, which had a sense of immediacy and urgency that helped to ramp up tension.

Legit looks better than Extremer.

Nor does it help that a lot of plot threads basically go nowhere. Makoto's doppelganger ends up turning good and merging with Makoto, and while I can't say that wasn't foreshadowed, I can say it came off as rather abrupt, and moreover that it was a rather weak ending to that particular subplot. Other people have already remarked that a better ending to that subplot would have been if Makoto had actually died and been replaced with his doppelganger, and I have to agree. Alternately, I would have been fine with Makoto's doppelganger just being evil, and becoming the new host for the Ganmaizers. That rather seemed to be the direction the story was going in anyway, with the Ganmaizers working to create this perfect copy of a human.

Which reminds me that the Ganmaizer plotline doesn't really go anywhere interesting. They betray Adel, which is great, and basically what everyone has been waiting for, but their end goal ends up boiling down to 'taking the Great Eye for themselves,' which is weird when their big thing throughout the series was that they were slowly becoming more emotional and human-like, and thus more dangerous. At the end, neither their end goal nor anything about the end of their plan had anything to do with understanding emotions.

Wouldn't it have worked better if they had betrayed Adel a little earlier, possessed doppelganger Makoto, and then taken up Adel's 'become the world' cause, espousing the philosophy that while Adel was driven by bitterness and resentment, they're driven by a desire to understand and love everyone, and to achieve their truest potential? Not only would that have been more in keeping with their character arc so far, it would have also contrasted nicely with Takeru, pitting their obsessive, malignant desire to love and empathise with people against his more positive desires.

The Ganmaizers are cute, I like the Ganmaizers.

Instead, we get Adel being redeemed (in kind of lazy fashion, to be honest, as he's redeemed by the power of realising his father loved him), the Ganmaizers becoming a recoloured Extremer (who admittedly looks better than the original Extremer), and Takeru defeating him in a fun, but far from amazing final battle. Then Takeru returns to life, we find out the Great Eye was some kind of spaceship, and we discover that Yurusen was a cat all along.

In all honesty, Yurusen being a cat was my favourite part of these episodes. That said, it's not as if I didn't enjoy them: I did, it was just that they really weren't final three episodes material, and it felt like the writers hadn't put in a tremendous amount of effort to actually giving the series a proper finale.

The obligatory double Specter kick moment.

(Also, Kanon is almost impressively useless in these episodes, as faced with two versions of her brother fighting she just protests that they're both Makoto, and then refuses to intervene at all. This is not only bad writing in general, it's also totally inconsistent behaviour from a character who once jumped in the way of Makoto's rider kick.)

Still, it was fun enough, and I did enjoy the cameo from Kamen Rider Genm, in all his absurd, video-game-ish glory.

Next week, we have the final episode, which will presumably be functioning as a sort of epilogue, so it'll be interesting to see what that's like. I'll also be giving my thoughts on the series as a whole, so that's something to look forward to, probably.

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