Join us as we take a critical eye to Kamen Rider Ghost. Will Takeru save himself and the Kamen Rider franchise in the  days he has left on this blue planet? Find out how we think he’s doing as we pass judgement on:
Kamen Rider Ghost 03 Bullseye! Archery of the Righteous!
Hey there unKamenFans, we want all of you to have an opportunity to participate in the show. I put out something on Tumblr earlier in the week that I’ll paste below to make sure everyone has access to the guidelines for audience participation. You can do as much or a s little as you’d like, but there are about four subjects we’ll be revisiting as the show goes on, so feel free to send in your thoughts on them every week.
Bones To Pick
What issues did you have with Ghost 03?
What were some of your favorite thing is this episode? Please keep it to no more than 3 Woah-ments.
What do you think about the Robin Hood Eyecon existing, since he is a fictional or legendary person?
How far from historical figures would you like to see the heroic Eyecons go?
What are your thoughts on the Ganma’s Eyecon harvesting mechanic: manipulating and killing someone with strong feelings about a great person?
What message did you get from this episode?
Would you like to see some two-part episodes worked into the show? Should that be for “bigger” events in the show and what would qualify?
Do Akari and Onari feel settled into their roles? Do you like what they are doing?
How did you feel about the scene between Akari and Sage in the lab?
Do you have questions for us? Do you have any comments for us regarding Ghost?
What, if anything, is being said about the world and our place in it in this episode? Ghost deals with the idea of Icons and Great Men, in a way that makes focusing narrowly on obtaining tangible objects relating to them important, but what makes a person great? What does that mean? Let’s turn a discerning eye to what could be the Macro Message hidden in this segment of Ghost!
Ghost 02’s Macro Message According to Ammit:
The message is kind of mixed for me. We got this recurring theme of another helping someone in trouble to see something they are unable to.
- Sage and… possibly Ryu Tenkuuji, by way of the monolith, help Akari figure out the Shiranui blaster to make Ganma visible.
- Akari uses the Shiranui blaster to help Shirase Mari see the Tomahawk Ganma
- Takeru helps Shirase Mari to see that her power isn’t what it seems and that she can use Journalism as her instrument of Justice.
- Onari helps Takeru figure out the Ganma’s weakness which he notices from his POV on the sidelines of the fight.
But then again, we have almost a message of self reliance that is offset by Onari helping Takeru. Takeru asks Yurusen to help him defeat the Ganma. Yurusen says that they don’t know everything and leaves Takeru to fight the Ganma himself. It’s interesting that in Ghost 01, Yurusen tips Takeru on how to do the Omega Drive, then at the beach Sage Blocks Katana Ganma’s attacks and helps Takeru to utilize the Musashi Eyecon. In Ghost 02, Captain Ghost shows up, Yurusen tells Takeru what to do with it, Captain Ghost fights the Light Bulb beast, the Ganam Hole shows up and Yurusen tells Takeru how to collapse it with the HUGE EYE BALL. They’re easing him into this whole battle against the Ganma thing and Yurusen even helps by letting Takeru know about the Condor Phone. Takeru has been set up to expect the help from Sage and Yurusen, but then Yurusen says they won’t always be able to help Takeru. So is the message to rely on one’s self? It can’t be because of how integral Akari and Onari were to helping Takeru and how he needed to help Shirase Mari.
Maybe the message is to rely on people instead of powers?
Ghost 02’s Macro Message According to Sono:
So this week we focused on Robin Hood and the grey areas of morality. There’s room to harp on Drive here but I’m going to take Takeru to heart and take the moral high ground because that’s a dead horse that doesn’t need another beating.But this episode centers on someone doing something illegal, but for good causes. She is stealing from people who acquired things through corrupt means or with corrupt money, and using the profits to help people in need. This seems noble enough…
…But even as a kid it always felt really off to me. I’m all for comeuppance. People who hurt others getting theirs is a true joy of mine, because I’m a deeply petty person, when push comes to shove. But the hypocrisy of it has always gnawed at me in a way that I’ve never really seen reflected the stories where it comes up. You’re hurting someone to help others. Just because someone does a bad thing, it doesn’t give you free reign to do bad things to them. That is not justice.
And for once, I feel like the hero was on the same side as me in that regard. Just taking possessions from rich people and making them upset for like an hour until they move on to something else isn’t going to stop them from doing bad and corrupt things, even if you’re able to help a few people as a result. And man, if any of them insured that stolen stuff? Congrats you just got them MORE money for them to do corrupt things with.
Takeru calls out this hypocrisy, and reminds Mari to fight the problem, not the results of the problem. Justice is stopping people from hurting others, not causing more harm even to the “villains”. It’s nice for the first time in two years to see a hero-protagonist who is, at his moral core, believably heroic.
Ghost 02’s Macro Message According to Aleph:
I, by contrast, am a nasty, mean-spirited coward so I AM gonna get one cheap shot in at Drive, which is to point out that the examination of what justice is in this one episode of Ghost is better than that of Drive’s, which is impressive as this is a person who just lives in society–as opposed to a person tasked with enforcing its rules–examining the idea of justice in a way that is pretty pro-social as, look, you can’t just beat up corrupt dudes.
Even Rider 1, whose patience for that sort of thing was notoriously thin, at least waited until you turned into a literal monster before he raised a hand to a body.
But mostly I’m with Sono in that I do like the centering on how you have to act toward meaningful social change–which I hope happens as I think this journalist character would make for a great recurring character–as opposed to damaging people. Mostly because when it comes to people with power, they’ve got the access to turn any slight against them, great or small, into a cudgel to hurt people, so you have to attack the power they have and the system which gave it to them ‘cuz that’s one of the big reasons things have gone wrong.
There are some worries about the practical application of those principles in a world of for-profit and/or state-controlled news but, look, I’m just glad Kamen Rider is taking a stand against evil agents inside a system who are also a part of that system. I don’t know if it’s a thing we’re gonna keep up with but at least it’s there.
I’m also a big fan of how he doesn’t try to punish Mari or ask her to turn herself in or anything. She was acting to counter the actions of corrupt politicians by damaging their property and literally redistributing the wealth and Takeru seems to understand without question that while that’s not justice per se, (for the reasons Sono mentioned) it’s at least an understandable thing a body could get to and comes from a place of wanting to do good for people.
Besides how hypocritical it’d be for a self-appointed masked vigilante to tell another self-appointed masked vigilante to knock that stuff off because being a self-appointed masked vigilante is wrong and is deserving of punishment.
Ghost 02’s Macro Message According to Cannibal Sarracenian:
NOTE: We mention Sarracenian updating his thoughts on the message of this episode and that is done below. I thought it would end up as a blog post or on Tumblr, but here it is. That is why it is longer than the other hosts’ views.
In regards to the reality of Robin Hood-like stealing from the rich, the sustainability of it as any kind of problem-solving method is of course highly questionable. Obviously Real life never works as easily as that, and not to mention what was really going on with King John of England’s heavy taxation on the English people.
The issue here is, this episode really is not about that, because the episode itself gives no statements or even implicit ideas to those real-life consequences.
Now it could be easily argued this is “common sense” (though that does approach dangerously close to arguing what constitutes as common sense and what doesn’t, which is a whole other can of worms), but on the other hand, in real-life we also know that violence is never the best solution for anything, and of course the whole issue with the positive depiction of Edison vs. how he is in real life.
Fiction =/= reality, so not everything that happens in reality can be automatically be applicable in fiction, and in case of this fiction, it set itself up as a story about Robin Hood.
Within the narrative logic of Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving it to the poor IS good and a supportable act and is a solution. It is textbook poetic justice, the idea of punishing the powerful for abusing the weak, something that Rider has supported nearly most of its existence.
Even though the episode isn’t a literal take on the Robin Hood myth, it still directly invokes it as a story motif and thematic, therefore also many of its conventions and expectations, just as if a episode of a TV show episode evokes superheroes or westerns or film noir, would people also expect the conventions of those genres.
But at the end, that narrative switches gear and instead rejects the same stealing as less fit and offers another solution entirely, in this case journalism.
The problem is, within the episode, there is little if any indication that journalism can be or even was a potential solution outside the character’s profession, or the existence of any other option, or any explanation as to why the act of stealing from the unjust rich is suddenly now a bad thing when in the logic of Robin Hood, it isn’t at all. The moral only works not because of anything established within the narrative, but entirely of non-diegetic speculation and info.
We can speculate stealing isn’t actually viable and the other methods are in this story using the realistic logic, or that the Robin Hood act is inherently flawed, but in the unrealistic writing it doesn’t give any precedence for that thought other than the title character’s own vague uncomfortabilities of it that never truly gets actually validated by the narrative in any concrete way.
→ (It’s the same issue that Gaim frequently had, where for example people from Yggdrasil constantly talks about how BAD and IRREDEEMABLE humanity is and how THEY WOULD NEVER WORK TOGETHER EVER, without the show giving any real evidence prior to people all just being assholes outside a few exceptional characters’ personality and when it does, it happens so late in the show it becomes self-fulfilling prophesy.
So unless the viewer already subscribes to the idea of humanity sucking hard, those speeches meant to establish one of the core conflicts of the show becomes extremely condescending)
And for what little we were given about journalism, the episode states that the politicians can silence the press about their hidden illegitimate money, implying in turn that journalism probably isn’t actually a viable solution either (one could also say it could imply that it could be uncovered by the press if Mari does so, or that neither does the episode actually say that stealing from the rich is the best option either, but the former is very vague and a long stretch that still relies on outsider speculation and the latter, again, in the logic of Robin Hood’s poetic justice, it is often the best option until otherwise).
The solution and the moral given here simply doesn’t correlate, because they didn’t build up why or how the poetic justice of Robin Hood is a bad thing within a story about Robin Hood being a historical hero, within a franchise operating on poetic justice. (I want to also point out, the act of going against franchise’s establishment in of itself isn’t a problem. Kuuga was entirely about how the violence, something which Rider was built upon, is bad. But Kuuga actually showed and demonstrated why violence is bad, rather than only just having Ichijou make a speech about it with no prior build up next to the bodies of Godai and Daguva or something)
“Stealing is wrong, journalism better” in this episode is a blanket statement rather than a lesson or an argument, which I reiterate in a story that built itself on Robin Hood and the value of Robin Hood, is completely contradictory to itself and thus needs to be elaborated on.
If its a story about deconstructing Robin Hood, there needs to be clear steps laid out by the narrative so that the conclusion comes out naturally.
Which is why I say, if the story gave any tangible reason for us to believe that stance outside the reasons that isn’t part of the plot, it would be much easier to understand. You and I may know why its wrong here, but that reason should be built onto the fable. Otherwise the fable itself says nothing, and gives no reason for the kids to take the lesson by heart. Any person can just tell you stealing is wrong, or that Robin Hood is unrealistic, but the true art is how one conveys the lesson.
If the episode did demonstrate why being Robin Hood isn’t good, if we were shown more about the rich outside of “they are bad and corrupt” and the consequences of the robberies outside of “it fed the poor”, would the conclusion be much less out of the left field and understandable. If it demonstrated how little the rich and the poor actually are affected by the thefts, or how the rich weren’t as deserving of the thefts as we were told, or how maybe some of the robbed people actually can’t afford being robbed. Perhaps a closer examination of the problem that the Robin Hood mentality actually represents.
Maybe that the guards are minimum wage workers who just got fired because of her, at least something. Understanding issue! Examining the issue!
Rider has done episodes about extremities and good intentions gone awry before. For example, OOO’s Grasshopper Yummy episodes. But there, we were shown exactly what was wrong with Grasshopper Yummy’s sense of justice and how taking the idea of “justice” and blindly running with it solves nothing. (also it should be noted too that the Yummy’s justice was warped to the point where the power balance tips entirely where that “justice” becomes the bully, therefore it’s not justice anymore. Similar change of power balance doesn’t happen here, so that’s another reason why the episode did not warrant its frowning on the Robin Hood act)
And yet, the episode still maintains Robin Hood’s status as a hero! He is still seen as the noble thief, the social bandit, the robber who steals from the rich to give to the needy. He is still because of those qualities, eligible to be the hero powerup for Ghost. Yet somehow doing the same things Robin Hood does is bad, and why its bad is because it’s illegal to do so, despite Robin Hood’s own status as an outlaw. It’s a paradoxical ethos.
(also, side note: The episode also has the unfortunate undertones of the “if you do this you are just as bad as the oppressor!” sentiment, which has way too often been expressed exactly by the people who are not the oppressed and use to justify any action that they deem is inconvenient to really be as effective as it was.
And it does seems awfully convenient for the episode to say that stealing directly from the corrupt rich people in power and giving it to the poor, operating outside the system, is bad, but you should still buy these merchandise based on this thief that the rich people manufactured)
I can see the point of the episode trying to convey the idea of the ineffectiveness of social banditry, and as far as I am concerned that is a very good and interesting angle to go for, but as it is I feel the episode does not do a good job conveying that all.
It also becomes troublesome to me when now the story looks less like a offering a better alternative, and more as Rider deciding as if a supreme authorial power what is isn’t “justice”, and what isn’t justice is the kind that doesn’t line up with what is more acceptable in the system; the very system that Robin Hood, and Rider, were fighting against.
(Another side note: Conversely, not to advocate for people to actually become cat burglars or anything, but even journalism isn’t always the better option in itself, given what happened to many investigative journalists and how the press itself can and has and still is being gamed by the rich anyhow)
Because the way the episode made itself, for me it just came off as Rider shuts down Mari’s, who herself is a victim of injustice and faced the same tragedy as the Rider, almost as if elevating himself as the sole person to determine what is and what isn’t justice not through reasoning but through essentially appealing to the higher authority that determined the act of stealing from the rich as “simply wrong”.
The unKamenCrew’s Top 3 Woments from Ghost 03 Bullseye! Archery of the Righteous!
- The twist on the rules to separate Our Hero from the baddies made me smile. “Oh, yeah, the Ganma are gonna kill people to get the Eyecons. No big.”
- The toy collector in me is really pleased to see how much play you can get out of the sword toy if you bought it. As it stands, you’d probably also need to buy the phone to get Robin Hood, but you get Ghost, Musashi, and Edison out of the base unit and that’s pretty good.
- The revelation that we’re apparently gonna get the secondary Rider in episode four. I mean, dang. I approve! It’s a good way to avoid a lot of the clunkiness that can happen when you bring in the secondary Rider to disrupt the status quo.
- Takeru sneaking into the Cosmos TV parking garage with his incorporeality
- The payoff of the business cards when Takeru went to speak with Mari
- Akari pulling out the Shiranui blaster
- Akari breaking out a small leaf-blower with cool decals, plugging Shiranui into it, and getting all the science up in here.
- Takeru’s very sincere thanks and appreciation for all of the hard work Akari was putting in. His cute little thanks with Onari at the end was also really sweet. Takeru loves his friends a lot and that’s great to see.
- I am getting way more attached to Yurusen than I thought I would. Thank you, small sassy ghost.
In keeping with Ms. Akari’s love of the empirical, the following contains observable information from the events of the day Akari received a set of injuries and Takeru and Onari set up the Daitenkuu temple as a headquarters for staging paranormal investigations.
Spook Report 03
-A woman rocking ankle boots and a green hoodie uses the force to knock down some guards and blow open a vault door to steal something
-Evil Ohsugi gives the woman a photograph of a man who has been acquiring artwork with ill-gotten gains. The loan shark has some object that they have previously talked about.
-At Daitenkuu Takeru pauses from looking at the Edison entry in his book of heroes to ask Sage what the Ganma are after.
-Sage dismisses his question and goes into another spell of dropping hints and then vanishes before Takeru figures that Robin Hood will be the next heroic Eyecon to manifest.
-Onari enthusiastically jumps down into the lab and hollers at Takeru about the latest supernatural incident.
-SHIRASE MARI of Tokyo Hot News 24 reports that Little John has struck again, this time stealing 300million YEN [I assume] from a Diet member. Security footage shows the inexplicable method of putting off assailants as if by some unseen force. SHIRASE MARI explains that Little John gives the pilfered funds to the needy and remarks that they are a modern day Robin Hood.
-Takeru balks at this. Akari lets him know the money was illicit and that’s why the robbery victim hadn’t reported it. Onari asks if the incident sounds like Ganma activity and bolts up to hand Takeru some business cards he had made for their supernatural investigation group.
-Takeru takes them and he and Akari leave, wanting to be alone as she goes to the lab to continue Ryu Tenjuuji’s work and find any clues that will help them in the lab and he goes to investigate the crime scene. Onari tries to accompany them in turn, but they turn him down, saying they’ll be better on their own.
-Shibuya excitedly tells Onari that they have a client. Takeru pops up from behind him and gives him a jump, but Onari tells the young master to get on his way because he will handle the client. Narita brings the Lona Shark from the photograph who is Little John’s next target in to see them.
-Takeru sneaks into the Cosmos TV station parking garage with his ghastly invisibility and asks SHIRASE MARI why she spoke of Robin Hood in her report on Little John. She slowly turns to ask who he is so he hands her his Supernatural Phenomenon Laboratory business card and introduces himself saying he is a ghost hunter.
-SHIRASE MARI explains that they call the thief Little John because he was one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men and the people seem to be in favor of how Little John steals from the corrupt to help the oppressed. She explains that she saw her father was killed because of a powerful and unjust person.
-He tells her he saw his father die to and it sounds like in a similar way. Shirase says that he should then understand why some people need Little John’s brand of Justice. Takeru answers that he wants to make sure his dad can rest in peace and he has no reason to hide in the shadows.
-Shirase laughs and calls him naïve. She explains that she became a journalist and found out she was still powerless and asks what he could possibly do.
-In the Lab, the ghost logo pops up on the screen where Akari is working and the lights go out. A flash of light comes from the eye engraving on the monolith and the lights turn back on and everything starts working again.
-Akari’s laptop turns back on with an unseen boot up speed and a wire frame representation of the monolith appears on her screen. She can’t do anything on the laptop for a time and suddenly a 3D model of a molecule appears on the screen along with the name Shiranui and a note about using the Shiranui method to make ghosts visible.
-Onari is with Mr. KURUTANI, the Loan Shark about what he needs protected. Little john left an advanced notice about the theft of Kuratani’s art collection. It reads:
“On 10/14 when the sun reveals the truth, I will take works of art from the warehouse. By the power and in the name of justice.
-The Thief, Little John”
-Little John breaks in and grabs a bow and arrow. Their Ganma partner kicks Onari who thinks he can stop the thief single handedly. Takeru runs in to help his friend and sees the Ganma so he transforms.
-The red-headed Ax-Ganma forces Takeru to give up his levitation trick and use the Musashi Eyecon which allows Ghost to deflect all the thrown axes, but the Ganma gets away.
-MR. KURUTANI laments that his authentic Robin Hood bow has been stolen.
-Sage sort of creeps on Akari and helps her out, if just possibly to touch her for a brief moment and tell her that the effect of the See-A-Ghost solution is only temporary. He drops a vial on the with the monolith engraving on it and when she puts it into a beaker a shower of gold dust explodes from it and Akari sees Sage for a few seconds. He says some cryptic stuff and leaves by phasing through the wall.
-Onari and his guilt are running through the forest, wanting to redeem him for the thief get away, when he stumbles on the car he had been a chasin’ OO-DA-Lolly OO-DA-Lolly golly what a day.
-In the Lab, Akari is elated to tell Takeru she found a way to see ghosts and saw Sage. He’s thrilled for her, but their celebration is put on hold when the Ghost Phone rings. Takeru answers and Onari tells him he has found Little John’s hideout.
-Takeru laments that the call was cut short and Akari wishes they could trace the call somehow. Yurusen pops in and surprises Akari then tells them to have the condor Phone show them the way to Onari which surprises both of them.
-Akari and Takeru follow the Condor Phone on his bike.
-The Ganma tells Little John that Onari will be a nuisance for them so he’ll kill Onari. Little John doesn’t say a word, but the Phone Condor deflects the axe blow saving Onari.
-Shirase Mari reveals that she is Little John and asks Takeru if Onari is a friend of his. He asks her if she is doing this for her father and if this is really the justice she believes in. Shirase answers that she started off doing things the right way. Takeru implores her to remember that and start over.
-The Ganma tells Shirase she is doing right and she tells Takeru that she can’t turn back. She gets emphatic about her justice and her power as the Ganma encourages her and anticipates something coming.
-Yurusen explains that the light upon Shirase is the Ganma’s influence and then when it reaches its peak a ghost will appear. She will die and Robin Hood’s Eyecon will appear. Yurusen advises Takeru to make sure he gets Robin Hood’s Eyecon so the Ganma doesn’t.
-Shocking Yurusen, Takeru chooses the third way and rejects the notion of letting Shirase die so that he can get another Eyecon. He won’t sacrifice someone else to increase his odds of living.
-Shirase refuses to listen to Takeru when he tells her she is under the influence of a Ganma and says all she has left is her desire to become a modern day Robin hood. The bow and arrow glow with a more intense light and the Ganma becomes excited saying nothing can stop the Eyecon from manifesting, but Takeru says he will stop it because he believes in himself.
-Takeru hugs Shirase and feels her strong desire to live. A tear falls from his eyes and the glowing light fades. Shirase returns to her senses and the Ganma throws another axe. Takeru pushes Onari out of the way and gets a cut on his arm as the axe passes him and land in a wooden column.
-Takeru shouts to Akari who pulls out an ad hoc device to make the Ganma visible and unleashes the Shiranui blast revealing the Ganma to everyone’s amazement.
-Shirase is shocked most and feels rueful of accepting her power. Takeru tells her to use Journalism as her bow and arrow of Justice. She agrees and glows with a golden light which falls upon the bow and arrow.
-Akari and Onari freak out about Takeru’s henshin and he draws the Eye Symbol over the bow and arrow, unlocking the Robin Hood Eyecon.
-The Ganma demands it and for some reason Takeru switches to Edison before using the Robin Hood Eyecon. The condor Phone transforms into a bow and Ghost shoots green energy arrows at the red axes deflecting them until they come perilously close to his friends who run away to not be hit by the barrage.
-Akari and Onari keep watching the fight though and after Yurusen tells Takeru to look elsewhere for answers, Onari notices and opening in the Ganma’s shield every time an axe is thrown. Takeru uses the opening to land an Omega Arrow or whatever it is called and destroy the Ganma.
-Takeru’s friends celebrate with him while Evil Osughi and Sweater the Kid, who had been recording the fight on his Cobra Camera thing, watch. Sweater is weary of Evil O’s excuses
-Takeru finds Shirase and gives her an encouraging nod.
-Back at the Temple, Takeru wonders that there is a way to see Ganma and congratulates her on the discovery. She guarantees that she’ll find out more helpful things and she goes off charged up. Takeru says he expects nothing less from her.
-Onari stops Takeru and apologizes for causing trouble. Takeru stops him and thanks him for his advice during the fight.
-Onari lets him know that Shirase Mari turned herself in and remarks that they should be getting credit for the Supernatural Phenomenon Laboratory’s involvement in solving the case of Little John which he hopes will mean more clients.
-Shibuya and Narita run in and give Onari the good news that they have tracked down someone he had asked them to find. Onari and Takeru are both shocked by the news.
NEXT| Kamen Rider Ghost 04 Astonishing! The Castle in the Sky!
Our awesome intro/outro song is She-Wolf from the album, Where’s Satan? by Valery and the Greedies.