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.

6 Responses to “The Daughter of Twenty Faces: I Forgot A Title So Here’s One!”

  1. 1 otou-san 13 May 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Yeah, I don’t want those kinds of thoughts to enter my mind when I watch a show like 20 Faces.

    I disagree with you that Chiko didn’t seem distraught — she’s pretty tough by this point so showing anything at all must mean things are difficult for her. But she still worships 20 Faces more than she pines for a normal girl life.

    I have wondered about whether they’re going to kill 20 faces or not. The OP shows her and him together when she’s obviously a good bit older, so it may not happen for a while, but it wouldn’t seem too far off base.

    No matter what, this is a great show that’s not getting enough love.

  2. 2 hashihime 14 May 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Of course, I agree with your praise of this show, but I think another reason they chose Hirano for the role is that she brings so much to it. She somehow creates a vivid silence around almost every line, and gives each line some kind of special impact. I can only think of a few seiyuu who could do something this special with this role: people like Paku Romi, Sawashiro Miyuki, Kobayashi Sanae. Real actresses.

    As for the ED, I love it. I watch both it and the OP every time I watch or rewatch an episode. I can’t say that about any other show this season.

  3. 3 OGT 14 May 2008 at 2:52 pm


    It’s always hard to tell why a certain seiyuu was selected for a role, and how much of it has to do with name and how much of it has to do with ability. I certainly quite like Hirano’s work in this series, so it’s not like I’m “ugh go away Aya and get out of my anime forever” or some other kind of hating statement. I think that it’s just become second-nature to me that, whenever I see a big-name actor (Hollywood or otherwise) billed on something, I start wondering how much of it is due to their talents and how much of it is due to their name.

  4. 4 elvyse 14 May 2008 at 3:16 pm

    This last shot before the credits really took me off-guard. I’m not sure how to interpret it. I suppose the girl is not really who she tells she is. We’ll see, I guess :) The good thing about this show is that is not too predictable. Another event in this episode was a bit surprising: after Ken encounters Tiger and before losing consciousness he actually kills a guy by throwing his knife. I dunno, I didn’t expect this especially after all the talk in episode 1 about not becoming a murderer. I guess it’s going to be darker than I first envisioned, which is fine by me actually :)

  5. 5 rroknedaj 15 May 2008 at 9:07 am

    Hmm, I haven’t seen Episode 5 yet but so far I’m loving Nijuu Mensou No Musume for all its worth!

    I agree with OGT on Aya Hirano though. Her voice acting was is pretty cool though!

  1. 1 For the love of Twenty Faces (pt 1 of 2) « Claiming Ground Trackback on 8 August 2008 at 8:58 am

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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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May 2008

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