Episode 4: The Ghost

This episode starts off a little differently than the others so far. We see a little girl asking
where her mommy and daddy are. At first it may be hard to figure out who this girl is, but it
continues with many signs of who it is-Amy Stapleton. She wakes up and wonders why she is
even getting out of bed. Well, she doesn't want to get out of bed; we've all been there.
But today is different. Her mother and father are out for the day, and she says having dinner
tomorrow with them is one day too late. And so her mood is set from here on out, and it does
seem troubling.
It' s not until the writers made it obvious when I figured out what was really wrong. Today is
her birthday, and everyone has seem to have forgotten. It is interesting to see this subtle
character act this way, and for once, one might even feel bad for her. Her life isn't perfect, but
neither is anyone's.
Meanwhile, Takeshi is soaking in the sun...on the race track. So he isn't tanning or anything,
but he closes his eyes as he imagines how surreal it is to be out here. It is pretty surreal. The
track is very big to a human's point of view, and it's interesting that Takeshi appreciates it so
much. It's the kind of beauty that one finds in the most practical of things. For many, places
to relax are fields, or beaches. For Takeshi, it's the race track.
Takeshi's not the only one, though. As he opens his eyes, he sees Cunningham. The music
changes to a slightly intimidating piece, which sets the mood for his character. Cunningham
talks smack about the race tomorrow, and Takeshi isn't too thrilled. Cunningham comes
across very subtly. I don't think Takeshi was even sure what to think of the conversation.
Cunningham changes the topic a little, and asks Takeshi about his swordsmanship. Takeshi
says that it would be okay for him to show it off to Cunnigham sometime. Takeshi makes a
motion like he is done talking to Cunningham. Cunningham isn't quite finished.
After an uncomfortable pause, Cunningham instantly pulls out a sword and slashes at Takeshi.
Takeshi dodges it and swipes back. After that, they both stand as surprised as we are, and
Cunningham says that's how good he is. But Cunningham notes that that may or may not be
his best. Perhaps Cunningham is saving his best for the track. Takeshi makes a clever
response saying that he may not have shown Cunnigham his best either. So there ends the
conversation, and Cunningham leaves.
Takeshi is still a bit unsure of Cunningham, even after he seemed to be friendly. Was it just a
show? Speaking of shows, in case you didn't follow, neither of them had real swords. They were
just waving their hands around acting like they had swords. See, it's all a metaphor for the
races, and links back to the first time we saw that metaphor last episode.
Later, Takeshi and River have a quick Iaido match. Takeshi inadvertently gets psyched out
and whacks River on the wrist. That part isn't shown, but implied. It may be a bit confusing to
some people unfamiliar with the style of Iaido. River is upset at Takeshi, and thinks that
Takeshi only cares about himself-that Takeshi just puts on a facade. Then, he hits on Jesse,
who is fixing him up. She also makes a clever response by saying, "Wow, River. I guess you
really are all better". She then hits him on the wrist, and his yell says it all. He's in pain, and
Jesse just got back at him. At least she's knows how to handle boys.
Meanwhile, the Team is eating lunch. Liz notices that Amy is looking down today. Amy says
she's not and leaves, although by her tone, we can tell she is upset. Not like we didn't already
know. Jesse meets her on the roof of the establishment. Apparently, that's where Amy likes
to be alone. Amy explains why she feels lonely. She's always been alone, or at least it seems.
She says that she really wonders if she's satisfied with the way things are in her life. Jesse
says that she thinks that is natural.
It is natural, and once again, I'm amazed at Jesse's way of truly caring for everyone. Jesse
says how lucky the team is to have Amy. It made Amy feel like she belonged to something.
The team still doesn't notice though. After the conference about the race tomorrow, it's
approaching nighttime. Amy asks everyone if they want to do something. They all say they
have plans. The way it comes off, it seems that they really do all have separate plans. Another
play of this scene shows that Liz does act suspiciously surprised at Amy's request. But
Amy is once again, alone. She packs up for the night, but then hears Luca mewing. She walks
around looking for where Luca's voice is coming from. She finally finds the room, and it is
dark. The lights suddenly turns on, and the entire team surprises her for her birthday. They
hadn't forgotten, but she cries in joy thinking that they had.
Then a quick flashback of when Luca met Amy appears. Amy is alone crying, and Luca
appears in a royal robe acting like Prince Charming who saves her. Of course, that's not how it
really happened. Then it fades to what actually happened. Amy finds Luca on the street. That
first vision speaks truth though. Although Amy saved Luca, Luca is really the one who saved
Amy. Her mom then apologizes for not remembering. Amy says just never let her give up on
her dream of racing in the IGPX, and they are forgiven.
Back to what's going on this morning, Takeshi and Team Satomi are walking toward where
their machines are for the race, and they pass by Team Velshtein. Takeshi tries to greet
Cunningham before the race. Cunningham walks by silently. Liz reminds Takeshi that they
are enemies, not friends. Takeshi's now frustrated, wondering what actually happened
yesterday between him and Cunningham. Jan Michael and Dew ask what that was about, and
Cunningham tells them that Takeshi was likely nervous about seeing a superstar like him.
People put on masks to hide their true motives, or what they are really feeling. Cunningham
really is a ghost. We have no idea if his mask was on for Takeshi or for his team members.
Many would like to believe it was for Takeshi, but what if it was for his team members. Maybe
he really wants to get to know Takeshi, and his friendliness was genuine. Either way, the race
will make them enemies, and now Cunningham knows about Takeshi's style.
As Cunningham warns his team members about Takeshi, we see a flashback of Cunningham
with a cut shirt walking away from Takeshi. That explains why Takeshi was psyched out by
River. It was really Cunningham who psyched him out, another case of masks. Takeshi can't
hide it when he sees Cunningham again. He tells Liz that she obviously doesn't understand
what's going on. Amy reminds them to focus on the race. Liz once again refers back to her
quoting of others. The consistency of her character is great.
Cunningham is a mystery, and the outcome of the race is a mystery. Perhaps this is why this
is one of those episodes that works so well. We are left wondering, and will come back next
week to find out. Everyone will try to figure out who Cunningham is trying to be, and the
mystery behind him may make The Ghost a most suitable name for him after all.
Amy gets out of bed, but
asks herself what the
point is.
Luca is famous, as we see
in his own advertisement
for Luca brand cat food.
Alex Cunningham and
Takeshi have an
interesting coversation on
the track. Is Cunningham
really who he seems to be?
Additional Pictures
USA original air date: November 19th, 2005
Japan original air date: October 26th, 2005
Original Japanese Title:
Under the Name of the Emperor

After the stunning victory against Team Black Egg, Team
Satomi takes a little time off to build up to the next race against
former champions, Team Velshtein. Takeshi meets Team
Velshtein's forward for a personal talk, but will this give
Takeshi the overconfidence in beating him? And how will Team
Satomi really match up against the entire Team Velshtein once
out on the track? This episode features an up close and
personal look at the IGPX race track, and Sir Hamgra: leader
of Team Velshtein.
OVERALL SCORE: 8 out of 10
Toonami Version Differences

-Perhaps the most famously cut scene of the series
appears in Episode 4, but not in the Toonami version.
The scene is about 45 seconds of the first time Amy
meets Luca. This scene is between Amy's birthday
party and Amy waking up the next day.
Additional Information