I swear, I'm not doing this to troll or reignite any fiery debates. If this all doesn't get me banned from the boards, I plan to write about other series, like Build and the first 10 Heisei series I haven't seen. I expect them to be some mix of good and bad, just like I hope Ghost ends up being some mix of good to go with the bad. I don't just want to dump on a show that it seems like plenty of other folks have dumped on. I want to talk about how I'm getting through the series, and maybe some early negativity will help some future positivity mean a little more. Let me know if my criticisms feel unfair, though, since that's not my goal.


I've not been at this franchise that long, and I'd only seen a bit of what the fandom talked about, but even I knew that Ghost was... let's just say "not highly regarded", to be diplomatic. While I was working my way from W up to the present, I was always slightly curious about why Ghost wasn't beloved. I'd seen Takeru in the Ex-Aid movie, and he seemed okay? I liked the suit design? What could be so wrong with it?

Oh. Oh, God. The first twelve episodes digs this series a hole that, even by episode 23, it has not quite dug itself out of.

Ghost, just on a basic premise level, has a whole bunch of problems:

-What does the hero do when they're not Kamen Ridering? This is the same problem I had with Wizard, another show I mostly didn't enjoy. (Rinko and Beast can stay, everyone else can go.) Takeru and Haruto are superheroes, but... what else? Takeru mostly sits around unless acted on by the plot. Which means, like Wizard, this is a show that has a tough time generating plots in interesting ways. It's mostly them sitting around until the villains act, then going to stop them, repeat for 10 episodes. Ex-Aid could generate a plot/sympathy through doctoring, Drive through crime-stopping, W through slightly-sloppier-crime-stopping, OOO through Ankh being a tremendous asshole, etc. Wizard and Ghost just sit around until evil happens, but at least Wizard had his goddamn donut. Ghost doesn't even have a donut! Beyond the lack of a b-plot to generate story, it also makes the hero feel one-dimensional. What does he want, besides Not Dying and Also Maybe Other People Shouldn't Die? Does he want to see the world, make friends, something? Takeru doesn't seem like he wants to do anything other than weakly insist that he wants to be a hero. That's not going to put food on the temple's table, kid! At least your dad chopped wood for a fire! You just sit in the basement all day!

-Trying to tell a whole Eyecon story in an episode is insane. It would feel more rewarding as a viewer if Takeru's quest to get an Eyecon took, y'know, longer than twenty minutes. The fact that the show felt the need to have a new Eyecon AND a new monster AND a human victim to tie it all together with AND an emotional arc for the week's human victim, all in one episode? Crazy. NOT recommended as a way to tell engaging stories. It makes everyone involved feel paper-thin, and it leads to bizarre scenes like this one:

These two just met! He's a teenager who approached her in a parking garage, and she's telling him her formative childhood traumas! In their first conversation! And he's doing the same! But they have to, because he needs to form a connection with her and she has to relay her motivations RIGHT NOW because she's going to be revealed as the week's human victim/culprit in 8 minutes. With no space to tell a story, you get dialogue that's perfunctory and baffling, powers that barely get utilized, and villains that are bland.

-The post-winter movie do-over is better, but two first arcs are still a huge mistake. The rush to kill/revive Takeru was some terrible storytelling, and it feels like the show just wanted to take a mulligan and do it all over, with a better approach. And it is better! Alain's path from Villain to (where I'm at now) Not A Villain, Exactly, But Still A Prick is a fun arc. Specter's need to show kindness and gratitude to the Ganma Royal Family even as he's fighting against them is an admirable character trait. Cubi and Lady Brienne of Tarth Ganma are intriguing takes on monsters-of-the-week. But, it's all in service of not very much. In theory, Takeru needs to be gaining the trust of the Heroic Eyecons. He needs to demonstrate character growth in line with the expectations of each Eyecon. Robin Hood needs to see a commitment to justice. Benkei needs to see a dedication to his friends. Beethoven, I assume, needs him to learn a choreographed dance routine. (Wait, no, that was Gaim. And that one Wizard Hyper Battle Video.) That would've been a strong premise for the first batch of episodes, but what good does it do now in plot terms? Are we learning anything new about Takeru? No, it's all aspects of his personality we've seen before. (Surprise! Kamen Riders are dedicated to justice!) Does it unlock new powers? No, he could pretty much use the Eyecons like normal. Sure, Edison might get squirrely, but it's not like he used that one much, anyway. Overall, while the Ganma World stuff is a fun change of pace, too much of the other post-movie episodes feel like a slightly remastered version of what I already saw.

-Onari and Akari are incredibly annoying. No screencaps, just *gestures at the first 23 episodes of Kamen Rider Ghost*.

I'm in this for the long haul (if I could get through the middle-third of Wizard and the Amazons movie, I can get through anything), but it's been pretty rough so far. I can see a bit of light ahead, but I don't want to give myself false hope.

Am I totally off-base? Is Ghost better in the first half than I'm giving it credit for? Let me know!