No, seriously, do YOU like basketball?
No, seriously, do YOU like basketball?
Spiral: Suiri no Kizuna/The Bonds of Reasoning started out like a typical juvenile murder mystery, but soon shifted direction to a psychological suspense pitting a bunch of deadly teenagers trying their darnedest to outsmart each other. Sort of like Death Note, except more repetitive and somehow even less believable despite the lack of magical killer notebook.
Seeing the resurgence of mystery/detective shows lately, I figured it’d be a good time to dredge up an old favorite from the last turn of century. Karakurizoushi Ayatsuri Sakon, or Puppet Master Sakon, has a very clear identity as classic murder mystery show, in the sense that anyone who can’t stand repetitive cycle of gory corpses, people being spiteful to each other, and tons of scenes with investigators standing around discussing the likes of alibi, motive, and opportunity, shouldn’t come anywhere close to it. On the other hand, those who can’t get enough of that stuff should be able to really enjoy its pure whoddunit set-up that enabled the audience to sleuth along, distinct atmosphere and setting, and a great protagonist in crime-solving ventriloquist Tachibana Sakon.
Bonus points if you like puppets, especially the creepy murderous variant.
Have to admit, I had a bit of misconception going into this show. I thought it was going to be an episodic whoddunit murder mystery, based on the works of one of the most decorated Japanese mystery novelists ever. Well, technically that’s not really wrong, but Game of Laplace production team isn’t content to be a straightforward mystery show or a direct adaptation. Instead, it executed an impressive range of stuff during the course of its mere 11 episodes; murder mystery, yes, but it also wanted to be a genre satire, a contemporary social commentary on crime and justice, an outright absurd comedy, and an overarching suspense melodrama revolving around radical re-invention and modern updates on Ranpo Edogawa’s iconic characters and plot devices. Complemented with a bevvy of visual metaphors and heavy themes, the show has ambition and reach that extended beyond my expectation.
Too bad the writing’s a complete trainwreck.
What can I say, apparently my favorite anime show of Summer 2015 is the two minutes per week of literally just watching a woman eats, drinks, commentates, and lets out what is probably the most contented sigh you’ve ever heard in the history of moving pictures.
Media depicting catastrophic natural disaster will always be one of the most unsettling things to me, simply because of how uncomfortably close they hit to home. In Japan alone, there had been numerous earthquake incidents before and since the airing of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, with the most infamous one being the 2011 Tohoku incident, which costed approximately 15,891 human lives. While I’m not a Japanese resident, I do live in a similarly archipelagic state prone to the likes of earthquake, flood, volcanic eruption, and tsunami; the 2000s was particularly rough time for Indonesia, with at least four major disasters occurring in various parts of the country.
Hence, I approached Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 with some amount of apprehension, as well as a bit of suspicion that it’s going to be a tragedy porn. In the end though, I’m grateful for having watched it. More than an obvious statement on how vicious and unfair nature is, it’s a life-affirming show emphasizing the important things amidst all the chaos, destruction, and death.
Baccano!, as I’ve discovered, is a well-beloved show often recommended as a gateway watch for people just getting into anime, especially among American fans. Lauded for its boundless energy, larger than life characters, and unconventional narrative style, I gave it a shot and eventually discovered that it indeed has all those stuff.
I also discovered I don’t care much about it.