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 17 Dazzling! The Ethereal Queen!
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Before we start Sono is going to give credit where it is due:
Episode Writer: Hasegawa Keiichi
Episode Director: Morota Satoshi
Action Director: Miyazaki Takeshi
- Morota Satoshi is our head director, and has done directing on Blade and Hibiki, as well as some on every Post-Decade Heisei Rider. He also has done directing on every Sentai from Boukenger to Goseiger, as well as Gingaman, GoGoFive, Timeranger, and Hurricanger preceding them. He has also had several cameo roles, the most notable being as Mr. Morota in Kamen Rider Fourze. So he has a lot of experience with both Rider and Sentai and seems to be a well-trusted director with Toei.
Ammit is adding this in because he liked look of these two episodes a lot
Episode 11: Magnificent! The Mysterious Eye!
Episode 12: Heroic! A Man's Resolve!
- Hasegawa Keiichi has a lot of writing credits in Ultraman, and also wrote on Cutie Honey: The Live, but is probably most well known in Rider-centric circles for co-writing Kamen Rider W, Fourze, and Drive. He also has several anime credits including Zoids (both Chaotic Century and New Century Zero), The Big O, 2003 adaptation of Astro Boy, and Megaman NT Warriors, the last of which he was the lead writer for. Hasegawa, in Rider at least, seems to handle a lot of episodes about ally cast members.
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 episode of Ghost!
Ammit’s View Ghost 17
Individuality is super important and shouldn’t be nullified to reach some “greater” end.
Sono’s View Ghost 17
They don’t specifically frame it this way or try to punch this message home, but the episode is very much about Akari and Onari and how their different beliefs clash but they still care very much about one another. They approach the goal of helping Takeru practically from polar opposite angles, but they still respect each other’s methods. They bicker about their different methods, but Onari openly admires what Akari does, and Akari openly worries about Onari when he gets hurt or feels down about his training. Both of them see the merits on what the other does. (Onari more openly than Akari, but Akari always seems to be more defending science rather than saying spirituality is wrong. This feels kind of reasonable, given that she’s in a spiritual setting with very spiritual characters.) They can care about each other in spite of their fundamental world view being different. Akari outright says that reason doesn’t trump individuality. She’d rather go back and forth with Onari and his different viewpoint than force everyone to be like her. I think that’s a great thing to put at the forefront of the cast.
Sarranecinan’s View Ghost 17
Also hey ho anyone noticed the lowkey sort of pro-women undertones in this episode? How the story is focused on Himiko, reiterating importance of Akari and her intellect and heroism, the villains being a serial killer who hunts young women and someone who uses them as puppets, and the Rider relying on Himiko’s power to save the day. Quite nice.
Aleph’s View Ghost 17
I think the thing I particularly enjoyed was the exploration of logic, reasonable argument, and rhetorical framing as things which are not static or neutral, but which can be put into use when awful people with awful ideas need to justify, rationalize, or hide behind something we all like. Igor–and by extension Aran and the Ganma generally–start from a bad place (destroying freedom/individuality creates peace) and creates an internally-consistent, self-justifying, utterly vicious mindset; the kind of philosophy which is rife in the world or at least among certain strains of people on the interwebs. The conflation of logic and cruelty is everywhere and I’m so excited to see this show say that it’s wrong and it seems pretty clearly to be building to saying how big a lie that is. After all, Aran may think his world’s a utopia, but as Atwood observes: every utopia contains someone else’s dystopia. You can’t hurt people happy and if someone thinks the destruction of the soul will help the world, I feel pretty safe in saying that they are wrong because we are all individuals and it’s pretty clear that the folks making the argument aren’t exactly lining up to become drones.
The unKamenCrew’s Top 3 (Maximum) Woments from Ghost 17
- Akari and Onari working so hard in their fields to help Takeru
- Kanon and Makoto still being at Daitenkuu almost one week later
- Onari attacking Knife Ganma
- Injured Makoto going to save Onari and Akari
- The Soothsayer’s possession by Himiko
- Newton fleeing from himiko is super interesting at least as an unexplained concept
- Himiko Vice-Pres chilling at the temple
- AKARI. AND. ONARI. Oh my god this is really what I’ve been waiting for between the two of them, or the start of it at least because I’m really hoping for more. Their ideals are butting heads a bit, but this episode really goes out of it’s way to show how close they are. Onari has SO MUCH RESPECT AND ADORATION for Akari, and it practically makes my heart burst out of my chest. They both want to help Takeru, but Onari upfront in this episode says he can’t help like Akari can. He can’t figure things out that might be useful, so all he can do is try to help fight. When Igor starts insulting Akari, Onari PUSHES TAKERU OUT OF THE WAY to defend what she did for him. And Akari’s bickering is shown to be affectionate. When Onari doesn’t snipe back at her, she worries about him. And when Akari’s soul was taken, Onari stays with her and keeps trying to wake her up and tend to her. I’m just so incredibly happy with how this episode showed these two and their relationship, and I want more of it immediately.
- I like the kind of multi-use Eyecon personality display we had in this episode. Himiko going Imagine Possession and talking through the eyecon at the end, Newton just flying around doing whatever he wants and sulking on the swings… I’d like this to keep up and kind of slowly have more eyecons doing stuff and interacting as cast members.
- Necrom-Possessed-Specter is cool looking and an interesting route to go down. As we have Akari standing up for individuality and free will, we have Aran stripping that away from Makoto. Aran’s comment of “Now I can say we’re friends again.” also has interesting creepy implications, as if we didn’t already have plenty from Aran’s conversation with Takeru and Kanon about Ganma World being a “utopia” and Kanon uncomfortably agreeing with him.
- I really fear that we’re gonna be hitting a lot of the same points because, look, Aran’s… let’s say “cavalier” attitude toward individuality being something he’s comfortable with removing from someone supposed to be his friend? LOVE IT. It’s that thing where Aran’s worldview is such that of COURSE when he says “friends”, he has no friggin’ idea what it means.
- Igor. The hints we get throughout about how Ganmaworld views itself and how Igor specifically thinks it’s the scientific paradise that’s been a dream of so many thinkers for so long make me SO DANG HAPPY. Not because I like it, of course, but it’s just this idea that they’ve used their perverse eugenics-style logic to build the “scientifically perfect world”, which makes it a Hell AND gives Akari a nemesis all her own.
- Onari hearing Igor talk smack about Akari and making it so clear that he was NOT having it. Seriously, this show is so good at handling having ‘normals’ in a superheroic narrative and it’s great.
- Hey, Shiranui’s back! And I wonder if the weird misfire onto Onari is gonna have some kind of mystic effects.
- Also, real quick: wanna know why Newton’s running. Dude loves weird magic stuff.
- Hey ho I really like how this show handles its plot mysteries. I’ve talked about this to death (lol) by this point, but this show really does a fine job at not only giving enough small chunks of what is going on at just the right frequency but also has mostly avoided any outright exposition scenes. Story hints are instead delivered through character dialogue and actions. It all feels natural and while probably not completely flawless, does demonstrate how this show handles its mystery plot thus far if not better than all the Neo-Heisei shows is certainly better than the last two years. (Again, Gaim’s mystery of “WHAT WAS THE HORRIFYING THING TAKATORA SHOWED IN HELHEIM TO MICCHY” and then not saying anything about it for FIVE episodes until finally unloading the whole thing in a clumsy grandiose exposition scene that amounted to a drab building and rock sofas (“OH NO NOT THE ROCK SOFAS!! EXISTENTIAL HORROR D:!!!!”) And while we at it, Igor so far feels like Prof. Ryoma done right. New villains are nice.
- ‘Eyy Akari and Onari in the limelight is really good. Even if it only amounted to a joke, I’m glad they still gave Onari an inspirational speech of his own and show how loyal and dedicated he is. A good friend.
- I am so glad this show and its characters very much recognizes that Akari is an important active character in the show, and does everything it can to showcase it with her deductions and science research and getting shit done just in general. It would have been so easy to just kinda lay her off when her new Shiranui isn’t working, but instead they had a scene of her actually theorizing why it doesn’t work which then led to a scene with Igor, who was so impressed by Akari’s intellect that he decides to share his worldview to her as a fellow scientist (which was the scene that revealed just what kind of fucked up totalitarian hellscape Ganma World is, again to reiterate how naturally the plot revelations and character actions go together in this show)
- Also the way Akari was eyeing up Igor made me half-expect she was ready to kick in the balls at any moment, which would have been amazing.
- (minor moment but somehow I found the scene of TAkeru almsot casually kicking the Knife Ganma away shortly after taking Akari’s soul funny for some reason)
- Himiko was pretty cool for the short amount of screentime given. I dunno how but she does convey this presence of leader. Also liked the minor detail of how the drawing of Himiko specifically depicted her as a more elderly woman, since usually it would be more a younger “Hollywood-friendly” lady if you get what I mean.
While each episode of Ghost has a small amount of notes regarding the Hero featured, we hear at the unKamenCast-RX! wanted to step it out and do some research of our own and share what we learn with each other and you, so with each new Hero Soul, you can expect a short presentation on the Hero behind the soul.
Queen Himiko is in a strange and interesting position of being somewhere between a historical and mythological figure. It seems as though she did really exist, likely in the early 200’ AD (Wikipedia lists her birth in 170 AD and death in 248 AD, with her reign from 189 AD until her death.) but a lot of very early Japanese historical texts deliberately omitted her.
Himiko occupied herself with magic and the occult, and was regarded as a shaman by historical texts. It’s said she gained a lot of popularity through this and it’s what attracted the people to making her their Queen.
In what I hope is some hilarious foreshadowing regarding our villain cast, it’s said by early Chinese historical sources that prior to Himiko, there was a man ruling the country and that resulted in 80 years of war and fighting, so the people said “Okay enough of this we’re letting a woman handle things.” and put Himiko in charge. Himiko was said to have one thousand female attendants and only one (or two, by another account) male attendants, though it’s also said that her younger brother served her as an advisor. I’m not sure if that one attendant was him, or if the count of two is taking him into account. But mostly Himiko seemed to just want to keep the men out of this.
It seems that Himiko had a relatively peaceful reign as Queen of Wa, and was regarded as an ally of the Wei kingdom in China, which is likely why the earliest accounts of her appear in the Records of Three Kingdoms, in the Records of Wei, of her sending several male and female slaves with textiles. They describe the culture of her reign as strict, with her palace being heavily guarded and surrounded by stockades, and Himiko herself as rarely seen (Though they don’t seem to give a reason why for any of this.), which reminds me a bit of our Ganma friends as well…
It was said that after Himiko died, a male ruler was placed in power but no one wanted to listen to him and there was rebellion and assassination attempts until they placed Iyo, a female relative of Himiko’s, in power which returned the kingdom to relative peace.
Like I said earlier, early Japanese histories seem to omit Himiko, particularly the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki. The Nihon Shoki does however quote the Records of Wei regarding Himiko’s communications with Wei, so it seems like any detailed information about her and her rule was deliberately omitted from the record. They do however include several female Shamans who are associated with Himiko that were connected to the imperial families and Shinto deities, but none seem to line-up properly with the time in which she lived and reigned so it is difficult to say if the figures in these accounts are meant to be Himiko. As such, Chinese and Japanese historians have struggled to reconcile the discrepancy between the different accounts.
Modern Japan seems ready to accept Himiko as a sort of mythological or folk-lore figure with open arms though as she appears in a lot of different modern media, from manga and anime, to games, to film and dramas, use Himiko as a character.
Our awesome intro/outro music is by our very own Sono! Her rocking just won’t stop.