Archive for September 6th, 2008

The Daughter of Twenty Faces: Brooms + Chiko = Death

Not just any broom. A miko’s broom. Take that, unnamed antagonists!

Fresh off episode 15 of this extremely hard-to-define (for me, anyway) series, I am struck by the notion that this is an episode format that series like Daughter of Twenty Faces need to have a bit more of. Not that what we’ve had is bad, of course, but this episode–which, from the start, looks rather much like a silly lighthearted “here’s a tension breaker in the middle of all that drama that just unfolded” episode, of which the best part was most likely to be the discussion of Charlie’s Angels The Detective Girls (which was suitably amusing and also in line with the glamour-and-fantasy-obsessed Keito’s character), but, instead, we got an amusing lighthearted episode (with suggestive yuri scenes of tickling), with deadly broom-wielding action, and then a tad bit of character development of the rather useless Detective Akine. He’s fat, he’s useless, and for most of the series he’s been the hapless pawn of Chiko’s aunt in her various machinations to try and con her way into the fortune Chiko is heir to. For the past several episodes, though, they’ve been giving him a bit of character past, and by the end of the episode, he’s managed to show some spine and stands up to Chiko’s aunt in defense of Chiko, and actually shows himself worthy of the “Detective” in front of his name.

I was amused and highly entertained the whole episode (who wouldn’t be, at this point?), but by the end, simple and silly as the sequence of events was, the entire episode essentially turns the whole character of Akine upside down. That’s essential in a story like this, because it keeps the viewers on their toes, and keeps the lines of intrigue and shifting alliances alive. One might call it a sudden, and rather arbitrary, shift of character; to me, however, that seems to be keeping in line with the old-time crime/mystery stories Daughter of Twenty Faces traces its literary history back to. It may not be as “well-executed” as some of the crazy twists Back In The Day (the early 20th Century), but it’s also not a prime twist (or even a twist at all, just a deepening of character), and it seems fairly logical as far as I can tell.

Or maybe I’m just too easily entertained/impressed. But Twenty Faces has always seemed to be to be more of a fun-to-watch series over trying to be more intellectual fare (like a certain other series involving a famous literary thief and numbers–which reminds me, I need to watch The Castle of Cagliostro sometime), and it’s moments like this that remind me why I like the series in the first place. It’s not the most impressive work BONES has ever done (and, really, they’re going to have to really work it to the bone to top Eureka Seven for me, although Xam’d might make it there, maybe), but it’s far from their worst effort, and it certainly has a certain charm. Maybe it’s the fact that the director, Tomizawa Nobuo, spent quite a bit of time working on various projects involving Lupin III, and picked up a few things about how to tell and direct stories about thieves and old-school capers and such.

I have no idea where the series will possibly go (and I kind of wonder if the original manga author knew himself anyway, but that’s part of the appeal), or if it will succeed when it gets there, but it’s still a crazy ride.

With tickling. Seriously. We need more of that. With Tome joining in. Nothing says female bonding like tickling.


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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September 2008