Archive for May 13th, 2008

The Daughter of Twenty Faces: I Forgot A Title So Here’s One!

I now officially love this series to pieces.

My ILL forThe Black Lizard & Beast in the Shadows came in yesterday, and I’ve already finishedThe Black Lizard, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that The Daughter of Twenty Faces does a remarkably good job of capturing the mood and sensibility of Edogawa Ranpo and adatpts it to fit the smaller timeframe in which to develop a story. The Black Lizard was, essentially, Death Note (or what I assume Death Note is judging from what people have said about it, having not read it myself yet) without any supernatural elements. The entire 174-page story revolved around The Black Lizard trying to kidnap the daughter of a jeweller, and her tangle with the private detective, Kogorou Akechi, as they both try to simultaneously outwit the other. Nearly every other chapter has a “KEIKAKU DORI” moment for either the thief or the detective, with the ending being an explosion of ridiculous plot twists that you don’t expect. Granted, this book doesn’t seem to have a Twenty Faces story in it, but Ranpo’s style is clearly at a high point with this story.

The Daughter of Twenty Faces takes Ranpo’s style, updates it, and slaps a more conventional plot structure on it. Or does it? Episode 5 didn’t end up quite the way I’d expected it to end, as there’s clearly some kind of massive levels of double-crossing going on (note that last shot right before the credits kick in) and Chiko didn’t seem too terribly distraught by stealing from her newfound “friend”, which, after reading actual Ranpo, makes me wonder if there’s some kind of ridiculous levels of “Oh, I knew that all along and acted accordingly!” going on. At any rate, this series is rising fast to the top of an already impressive season, doubly so because I totally didn’t expect it and it came whipping out of left field to smack me in the face. This has happened three times this season so far (kure-nai, Itazura na Kiss, and The Daughter of Twenty Faces), not to mention all the series that I was looking forward to that turned out well. I don’t have time to watch it all, and I’m trying to run through Onii-sama e…, start Nadia – The Secret of Blue Water, and…okay, backlog rant over. Thank God it’s summer, is all I can say.

On the actual topic of the series at hand, we’ve blazed through two years of Chiko’s life now, and she’s progressing quite nicely as a result. I’m still waiting for Twenty Faces to somehow vanish. I have the feeling that Tiger will be involved in this, as Tiger and his whole sub-plot seems to be badly out of place at the moment, but if they’re setting him up to kidnap/kill Twenty Faces (not the latter, please) to spur the plot on even more, then I guess he’s okay, although, really, a kaitou series needs a good dectective antagonist. Although we seem to have those too, although they haven’t shown up yet: the mysterious Detective Girls we see in the strangely out-of-place Hirano Aya ending in various fanservice-y scenes. Although I’m quite glad that, instead of sticking them in anachronistical bikinis in the ocean scene, they’re wearing those totally silly awesome old-fashioned bathing suits. You know, the ones that aren’t sexy in the slightest.

The actual ending is the only thing that “bothers” me about the series, since it’s farily obvious that they’re simply trying to capture the Hirano Aya fanboys with their choice for her as Chiko and throwing a song by her as the ED. Which I can’t really blame them for, as there’s no better way to make an odd series, as Twenty Faces certainly is, go down better with a somewhat recalctriant and fickle audience as the otaku in Japan are than by sugar-coating it with a freshly risen idol whom everyone loves to pieces. It doesn’t really bother me, as I like Hirano Aya just fine, and it’s nice to see her getting roles in series that aren’t strictly otaku-geared, even if they’re somehow trying to make it otaku-geared by including her. But this is all merely speculation, as none of us really knows what’s going on behind the scenes at anime production studios. At any rate, any potential boost that this criminally underrated/underappreciated series can get is Fine By Me. Chiko needs more love than she’s getting at the moment.

Just not so much love as making a doujin. That would just be wrong.

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NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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