On this special episode of the UnKamenCast RX, we’re pulling back from our usual close reading of episodes to discuss a whole series and, in the end, place its heart on a scale against the weight of a feather. Will the heart of this most recently-departed Kamen Rider pass the test or do we cast it to the devourer?
Find out on this, our postmortem examination of Kamen Rider Ghost!
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Sono made a neat wall a paper of the Ghost cast all getting their “end of filming” flowers. It’s sweet and it can be yours -LINK
Head Writer: Fukuda Takuro
Head Director: Morota Satoshi
Overall Bones to Pick:
If we really just get one… I have to go with the overall poor handling of Makoto’s personal plot. They put a lot of work into turning Alain and showing him change, but Makoto stayed so static that viewers can be forgiven for not noticing the subtle ways his character changes throughout all of Ghost. He was active from the 4th or 5th episode on and everything was played so long and so slowly with him that it feels severely lacking.
Takeru is literally never allowed to talk to another person about parents ever again. Good lord. That was an issue the show handled really poorly from beginning to end. It’s GOT a dude with a terrible dad as Rider #2, and still pushes this narrative of “Your parents always mean well and you should always love them.” which is super unhealthy.
I’m gonna be the one who really wants to hammer on the pacing. The first “season” or so was this pile of really dense done-in-ones that also worked hard to do Takeru’s 99 days in 99 real-world days and I friggin’ A-D-O-R-E-D it. But then from episode 15 on, the density seemed to leave it and we started getting a lot more two-parters, and the two-parters just kept happening more and more as things went on, which made it harder to fit all the stuff they clearly wanted to fit into the show in any really satisfying ways.
[Not In Notes]
The hug of redemption. It shouldn’t have vanished like it did after the first quarter because it is amazing and wonderful that Takeru used love and the ability to grasp the remnants of good will within hurting and possessed people to free them from their wish for death brought on by the vicissitudes of life manifested as mean spirited hoodies ghosts.
I love the coming together of faith and science and how both had advantages and disadvantages over the course of the show. One was never “more right”, and they used Akari and Onari’s initial opposition that grew into a really close deep friendship, possibly even more than they had with Takeru, as a great narrative metaphor for the concept.
Speaking of narrative metaphors, how about the thing where this kid uses his soul to fight back against an army who considers the soul superfluous? Glorious. Just… pure poetry. Again, I talk about the different kinds of subtlety you can do with superhero narratives and that right there is just SO friggin’ brilliant. Not to mention being a great callback to some of the more classical Rider (or, broader, Ishinomori) motifs where it’s your human soul or the spirit of nature or something else that’s raw and real inside of you that resists being mechanized or being devoured by a system which views you as fuel? So good.
[Not In Notes]
Listener Generated Meditation
@swirrlyjiffy asked us a big question about how the unkamencrew is OK with Takeru being “chosen” but not with Shinnosuke from Drive being “chosen” that is just one of the things we’ll be discussing today as we really get into the good and bad of Ghost today.
Jo/@lazycocos asked: How would you respond to the assertion I’ve seen a lot that Ghost is either “a less good Wizard” (similar setup/themes but supposedly lacking in the charm or heart that Wizard had) or “a less good Fourze” (in terms of the messages of friendship and hope?)
I think the idea that Ghost is just about generic “positivity” or friendship is pretty ignorant as it ignores the show’s heavily Buddhism-influenced themes and mythos that Fourze didn’t have, but that doesn’t mean they were executed well.
GameraSith from Tumblr who runs The Journey of the Kaiju Samurai blog said:
For postmortem of Ghost. After Drive, I found myself wondering if I was needing a break from Rider for a year. Gladly, I was proven wrong by Ghost. I loved how the cast interacted with each other and all of the general themes worked for me. My main pleasure of the show comes from 2 things, Akari: after Drive’s woeful use of Kiriko, I was glad to see we got to have an intelligent and firecracker of a friend to Takeru… She used her scientific skills to help see and fight the Ganma and didnt become a damsel in distress for Takeru to save.. Grandma Fumi: any show that gets my 14 yr old twin son to say during The Heroic Tale of Alain that he misses her is a testament to the shows writing and cast to make us care for any of the characters on this show. While Ghost wasn’t perfect, I was very happy to watch this show and will miss Takeru and crew…
Toku-Viking shared some thoughts on Ghost: the suits are cool and the music was spot on.
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