Many anime live or die off of their first impressions on viewers. The series premiere is usually a litmus test for many to see if they could watch it for the long haul. It’s hard to see why not, with fantastic contemporary examples like Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer, The Promised Neverland, Chainsaw Man, Spy x Family, Oshi no Ko, and Zom 100. MF Ghost struggled a bit with a faulty start, but things pick up quickly in the next episode. Thanks to a screener provided by Crunchyroll, here is my review of MF Ghost Episode 2!
Playing to the Series’ Natural Strengths This Time
MF Ghost Episode 1 was a necessary introduction, even if the execution at times felt slow. We needed to be introduced to Kanata Rivington before he appeared on the track as Kanata Katagiri. We needed to be introduced to Ren Saionji. And we needed a full episode where Kanata could surprise everyone, Ren and mentors included, with his prodigious racing skills.
MF Ghost may still have annoying CG cars, but they’re still possibly the most convincing they could be for how the story is told. It’s a cinematic experience, and while it can be jarring to see them move at some framerates that feel like a slideshow, I couldn’t help but keep watching. Kanata’s driving in the Toyota 86 GT as a 19-year-old rookie fresh out of England is mesmerizing to watch, playing to the series’ natural strengths this time.
Some Extra Love for the Fans of Initial D
MF Ghost is not meant to be fanservice by any means. It has the same creator as Initial D and indeed serves as a successor, rather than an imitator. With Episode 2, there might be hope for the show, as it shakes off the sequelitis I feared might take it down. When we see Kanata pulling deft maneuvers, things click for the viewer that Kanata truly is the student of Initial D’s protagonist, Takumi Fujiwara. Kanata’s silent focus on the track (which he memorized!) is thrilling to watch as he defies everybody’s expectations, climbs the ranks into the Top 30 and beyond, and pulls off amazing maneuvers.
There was some extra love for the fans of Initial D in one particular moment where Kanata pulls off a high-speed four-wheel drift as part of his cornering repertoire. They even show a flashback showing its uncanny resemblance to Takumi’s drifting.
This Episode Leaves Viewers With Lots to Chew on
I can’t reasonably expect every episode to be as exciting, but this was a potent moment for the series. It’s one where fans can share the most exciting twists and turns as Kanata blazes across the track, and while there might be plenty of questions such as how Ren will react, or whether Shun Aiba will back off his creepy obsession with Ren. This episode leaves viewers with lots to chew on while waiting for the next exciting moment.
I’m still not partial to using CG as heavily as it is used in multiple scenes, even more often in this second episode, but I was stuck on the edge of my seat. It was awesome and thrilling to see just what Kanata could do in a car considered by so many to be inferior.
It was exciting, but the race is also not completely over, and there will be plenty of questions like what other racers Kanata will encounter, and just how far he’ll go with MFG. I look forward to seeing the number “86” outlined in gold as it is being so thoroughly earned, and most of all, I look forward to seeing Episode 3 next week!