Well, I think that my praise for Ranpo Kitan‘s mystery was a bit too early and lo and behold, I was wrong about the mystery. In this episode, it just kind of… fizzled out without much in the way of a satisfactory conclusion to it. But at the same time, it was… certainly something special. I don’t know if the “good” special like GARO: The Animation or the “bad” kind of special. At least it wasn’t boring.
The first of two inexplicable scenes in this episode is an amazingly horribly animated (although being barely animated may be the point) montage of some news clips. It is, indeed a pretty excellent satire of typical news shows, ruthlessly skewering the debate on juvenile crime (albeit in a somewhat immature and hipster-like way). The only way it could be more on-spot if it had a clip on how Cheeto dust will give you cancer. Rest assured, reader, Cheeto dust will only give you diabetes.
The second of this episode’s inexplicable scenes is even more inexplicable. It may very well be first scene in media history to combine slapstick comedy and a medical autopsy. It’s about a girl that can talk over her medical mask and a living dummy corpse explaining the autopsy results like it’s a game show.
I have nothing to add to this.
These two scenes make this show look like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. Does it want to be taken seriously? Does it want to be some sort of satire? Both? Is this somehow brilliant in a way that we can’t perceive, or is it just a trainwreck? I’m somewhat leaning on it being the latter. Oh dear.
However, the biggest sin in this episode is that the actual mystery came to a rather unsatisfactory end. Instead of actually going and solving the mystery the character just sort of stand around expositing until they around at a conclusion in a not dull but certainly not non-bizarre scene.
And worst of all, the culprit is… this chick. Sorry, but who the fuck is this chick? We haven’t been properly introduced to this character. There is absolutely no way we could have suspected this character is the culprit to this mystery. It’s Mystery Fiction 101: you can’t create a new character in the last five pages and decide he’s the culprit. It’s the mystery equivalent of ordering a pizza and the pizza guy delivers you a Marvin Gaye album.
I sort of felt that the gimmick of every character being obscured by a Photoshop gradient would come back to bite the show’s ass, but definitely not this early. Maybe if the relevant character wasn’t a gradient, it could have a bit more of logic behind it, but as it stands, it’s crap.
If nothing else, this episode continued fleshing out Kobayashi’s and Akechi’s characters. Apparently he was in a completely wholesome and completely normal relationship with the sensei, as 13-year-olds tend to be (also I am a filthy liar). I bet the sensei also unironically enjoys Fate/kaleid liner prysma illya.
As it stands right now, Kobayashi is indeed a pretty interesting character, albeit rather hard to cheer for (and I don’t think we’re supposed to).
There’s still quite a lot of things this show has yet to explore about itself, such as whatever the fuck is going on with that teacher with the cat ears (and the slightly superfluous scene of the throwing herself out of a window) or if they’re going to introduce Japanese Moriarty, who I’m not going to spoil now, but those familiar with Ranpo’s writings should know who I’m talking about. You know the one.