“Electric Attack! The King of Invention!”
In order to gather the 14 remaining Heroic Eyecons, Takeru needs to find relics associated with the spirit, as well as a living person inspired by their deeds. Luckily, such a person presents himself immediately — a kooky inventor trying to channel the ghost of Thomas Edison.
If you couldn’t get into Drive‘s farcical humour, chances are Ghost is not the Kamen Rider show for you. It’s arguably making the loudest first impression out of all Rider shows but Fourze with its larger than life cast and cartoonish soundbites. While I’m still not exactly sure if this is the right direction to push the franchise forward in — after all, this is still a show about ghosts — it made for another entertaining episode, and one that luckily ditched the pilot’s heavy-handed exposition in favour of more character work.
It certainly helps that we get a clear vision of how the Ganma operate from the get-go. As opposed to the seemingly constant on-the-go rewrites of Drive, Takuro Fukuda seems to know his audience well, providing easy reminders of the show’s premise and establishing ground rules for the show’s mechanics and monsters out of the box. The Ganma manipulating their victims without the latter being aware of it is a monster-victim relationship we’ve rarely seen before in Kamen Rider, and I’m certainly hoping we’ll get to see Ghost tapping into the great potential of dynamic and turn it on its head like the best Rider series do.
Getting to see the Ganma in action also helped us get a better grasp on Takeru’s personality. While my first impressions of him certainly weren’t negative, Shun Nishime really came into his own this episode, showing a more melancholic, level-headed side to Takeru to supplement his generic niceness. His dramatic beatdown of the Ganma’s underhanded ways and a nice little scene with Akari by the fountain were definite highlights amongst the usual slapstick shenanigans and fighting giant CGI monsters while riding a pirate ship that transforms into an iguana wearing a hoodie. Because that totally happened.
Furthermore, this episode improved on the pilot’s shortcomings while retaining its strengths. The set dressing is once again exquisite, with the mad scientist’s lab an obvious standout for a set meant to show up in only one episode, and a large variety of rarely seen before locales. Hikaru Ohsawa and Takayuki Yanagi remain the most entertaining people on screen whenever they appear — the former combining grumpy skepticism with a caring, softer side, and the latter clearly competing for the position of biggest ham in Kamen Rider history. While I love their little comedy routine, Akari and Onari have more than enough potential to be full-fledged characters, so here’s hoping the show will give them a chance to do so. Nevertheless, if subsequent episodes can keep up this pace, we’ll have another keeper on our hands.
Oh, and that new form is pretty cool too, I guess?
- Because you can never kick off a dated tradition early enough, Akari already got kidnapped for the first of what will undoubtedly be many times this episode.
- I love how Yurusen doesn’t even bother to come up with an explanation for why Takeru has a pirate ship that transforms into an iguana wearing a hoodie now. Love that sassy ghost.
- The first nerd who makes a Nikola Tesla joke in the comments gets a lifelong ban from commenting on these posts, just saying.
It’s a solid second outing for Ghost, although we’re still suffering a little from the information overload that typically accompanies the early parts of a Kamen Rider series. Still, we get some decent character stuff here, a nice outline of some basic premiss and the now traditional so-bad-its-good CGI abominations that will hopefully fade away as time goes by.
I think what intrigued me the most about this episode was learning the way that the monsters seem to be working this season. In recent times it’s been quite common for the monsters to either be human themselves (W, Fourze, latter parts of Drive) or be closely linked to them (OOO, Wizard, the early parts of Drive). Here, for the first time in a while, we’ve got monsters that appear to be entirely independent of humans. They’re not servants, avatars or copies but fully fledged separate entities. of course, for plot and thematic purposes they’re still tied to human characters but I appreciate a change in overall structure, and I think this episode was a good example of that. ‘Monster interferes from background’ is a good plot if done well and it really plays up the ‘ghostly’ aspect of the monsters when they’re not interfering directly.
The other major plot revelation is the way in which Ghost acquires his new powers – namely, that he needs someone with a strong connection to or inspiration from the historical figure he’s trying to channel. I like this too, because it means we get a strong, valid reason for the human characters to be in the plot and it’s something which helps give them quick, easily-relatable personalities. Giving depth or personality to your one-shot characters can be difficult and this is a good way to grease the wheels of that process. My worry here is simply that we’ve got so many powerups coming so fast that it’s going to become both a merchandising blitz and simply not exciting anymore. Already I felt some of the edge was taken off here with us getting a new form in the second episode after gaining two in the first. Even if you space them out a bit, 15 powerups over 50 episodes is a powerup every 3 episodes or so and that makes it really really hard to get that excited for them.
One thing I’m glad of is that we got little more of was character time. It’s easy to be frustrated with Akari because her scepticism is maddening in the face of such obvious evidence, but her scene here with Takeru was nice if a little clumsy. Onari does get a chance to shine a little too, and I can see them growing into their roles nicely. There are still reservations, but I’m seeing encouraging signs of the show firmly establishing itself.