This show sucks, Beavis.
I’m quite simply shocked at how incompetent at even the very basics of mystery writing this show has proven to be in these two episodes. It’s not like it’s playing with the audience’s expectations of a mystery show, like when Tarantino did a heistless heist film that was actually a character drama with Reservoir Dogs. Nope, this is just straight-up incompetence at writing.
The first thing episodes 3 and 4 of Ranpo Kitan failed is at the very point of a mystery: establish a goddamn mystery. Unlike the first episode of this show, where we, the audience, could see the antagonist’s handiwork, these times we were just told that there was a mystery. Have the writers not heard of Show, Don’t Tell? That’s like Writing 101 there.
By not showing us the mystery, it may as well not have happened because by not establishing in the first place, the audience has absolutely no reason to care about the characters trying to solve it; we haven’t seen it, after all.
And if this were not enough, we also see almost nothing of the actual mystery solving process. I’m not exaggerating when I say that one can accurately sum up the show’s approach to intrigue and enigma as such, in shitty MS Paint scribbling format:
This is basic mystery writing here they’re failing at, for Christ’s goddamn sake. Infuriating indeed, but that’s just one of the several things wrong with this show.
But I’m quite forgiving of making a goddamn mess of the overall plotting and themes if they’re accompanied by excellent (or even good) character writing; after all, I love the shit out of Gatchaman Crowds (and its currently airing sequel) for its incredibly likeable and well-written characters despite being a mess in the plotting and themes department.
Here? Not so much. The characters certainly started out being kind of really interesting, I can give it that. But so far, they remain unexplored and after a while they begin to feel rather… undeveloped. This is okay in some cases when their personalities are extremely entertaining and nuanced per se (see: Baccano! or Blood Blockade Battlefront), and this show doesn’t pull it off in the slightest.
So, without good characterization or intriguing mysteries,what does the show have going for it? Not much really, except for its style. So far, Ranpo Kitan has leaned heavily towards the side of style over substance. Admittedly, the way every shot is framed and the soundtrack does contribute to creating a pretty good atmosphere that is easily the show’s biggest strength. It kind of wears off after a while, however, and it’s quite clearly not enough to compensate for all the show’s shortcomings.
It’s pretty much degenerated into “oooohhhh look how wicked smaht our character is”, like Good Will Hunting but shitty; remiscient of Mahouka but with bullshit one-sided mysteries (as much as that word can be applied to this show, anyway) instead of bullshit one-sided battles. As such, I can’t really bring myself to write about this show without breaking into unstoppable rage. Thus, this show is now officially DROPPED.