Archive for the 'nijuu mensou no musume' Category

The Daughter of Twenty Faces: Welcome to 1930!

Population: you, Aya Hirano, and the manliest thief ever. Thieves are already pretty manly anyway (see: Kokoro Library and Funny Tortoise the Thief), but they are especially manly when they send advance notice of their thieving intent and still manage to fool everyone anyway. Granted, thief shows tend to have this standard plot-generating mechanism, but there’s something much deeper working under the surface of The Daughter of Twenty Faces. And that something is named Chiko.

Twenty Faces is actually not an “original” character, in the sense that the original mangaka made him up. Rather, he drew on Japan’s literary history for one Edogawa Ranpo, the man responsible for publishing the first modern-style crime stories in Japan. Just to point out how awesome Edogawa Ranpo is, his name is a Japanification of none other than Edgar Allen Poe, which shows you where his heritage lies. I actually grabbed via Interlibrary Loan a compilation of some of Edogawa’s shorter novels to check out his writing, since it is pertinent to my interests. I don’t know if that collection actually features Twenty Faces or not, but, hey, never hurts to check it out. I’ll probably make a post eventually detailing my experiences in reading Japanese crime fiction, linking it with the tone and style of The Daughter of Twenty Faces, or something.

As for the series itself, it desperately needs more attention. It’s striking me in that special way that only old-time mystery stories can (even though the manga started serialization in 2003). Granted, my only exposure to this kind of thing is probably the fragments of Sherlock Holmes I’ve read, and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. That last one reminds me of Great Detectives Poriot and Marple and, oh, how I wish that hadn’t been a cheesy kid’s series. Poriot does not take interest in missing jewellry, thank you very much.


True to the storytelling style of the 30s, Daughter of Twenty Faces is much less concerned with things such as “avoiding plot holes” so much as “being totally awesome”, and they’ve hit the nail on the head. The first two episodes are a little on the slow side, but once Chiko starts to get involved in the theiving in 3 and 4, things pick up considerably, as her sweet, innocent exterior hides a cunning mind and a drive to learn. Twenty Faces, of course, exploits this as much as he can in her, to the great amusement of those who like a bit of old-old-school in their anime. If one likes smooth players in their anime, then you’re in for a treat as there’s two: Twenty Faces and Chiko. If they weren’t so buddy-buddy it’d be hilarious to set them against each other and have them try to outwit each other. And if that happened, I don’t know who I’d be rooting for.

It’s unclear where things are headed from here (I’ve seen through 4, which is all that’s out now) but, judging from both the OP lyrics and animation, we’re in for a timeskip paired with a missing Twenty Faces. They’re certainly advancing Chiko’s skills faster than they would if this series was about Chiko’s growth solely, so that tells me that they’re going to do something much different with this series than a standard kaitou series. Wherever it goes, however, I’m certainly planning to be along for the ride.



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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August 2019
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