Welcome to the site’s newest feature, which I thought of today while stuck in downtown traffic: the Seasonal Anime Draft.* The idea behind this feature is that at the beginning of each new season, I’ll pick one anime series to watch and review episode by episode. My pick will be based purely on what I think I’d like from the plot synopsis and previews, but even if I end up hating it, I won’t drop it: I’ll keep the reviews going until the very end of the series, along with an all-around review of the entire season at the end, even if it turns into absolute garbage. That’s a promise. My apologies to all the real anime bloggers out there: it’s been actual years since I wrote anything substantive about an anime series, but I hope I can contribute something meaningful with my own dumb opinions. Also, this feature is going to be an addition to, not a replacement of, my usual stream of infrequent game and music reviews and bitter, drunken complainy rants. Rest assured, I still have plenty of games to play, music to hear, and complaints to air.
So, what’s the first series to receive this great honor? I don’t know why I’m trying to build tension, because it’s in the title of my post: it’s Cop Craft, an adaptation of a light novel series written by Shoji Gatoh and illustrated by Range Murata.
I won’t lie: the fact that Murata is involved is most of the reason I’m picking it to review. If that sounds like a silly reason for watching a show, you might be right. But Murata has such a unique style combining realistic, futuristic, and fantastic elements that I have to believe any show he works on is going to be special in some way. Hell, I own two of his artbooks, so I’m bound to check out anything he’s associated with. Of course, nice visuals alone don’t necessarily mean a show will be good, or that it will stay good throughout its run, but that’s the gamble we all take when we start watching something, isn’t it?
Anyway, on to the review.
Summary: Sgt. Kei Matoba is a gruff detective living and working in San Teresa, a coastal city situated near an interdimensional portal that suddenly appeared over the sea one day and that a bunch of aliens and fairies and demons have entered Earth through. Matoba loses his partner during a sting operation involving the illegal sale of a fairy trapped in a jar that ends in a gunfight with two suspects. Matoba believes a powerful group of wizards from the Farbani Kingdom is to blame , since they apparently have the power to possess people’s minds and control their actions. The main perp manages to escape with the fairy, who seems to have great importance, though it’s not yet clear why or to what effect.
Shortly after his partner’s death, Matoba is sent off on a ship to the portal to meet a noble VIP from Farbani named Tilarna Exedilica (her full name is a lot longer, but she shortens it for our convenience, which is nice.) Tilarna is a knight and apparently an important official of her native kingdom, despite being a kid. Or maybe she just looks like a kid, but she’s really not. Either way, she’s come to Earth to look for that kidnapped fairy from the first scene of the episode, and as a consequence she’s named Matoba’s new partner. Tilarna and Matoba don’t get along, and both object to being paired up at first. But they’re convinced to go along with the arrangement and start their investigation for the greater good and all that stuff. Matoba starts out treating Tilarna like a kid he’s been given to babysit, but it turns out that Tilarna is both great with a sword and able to literally smell danger, both of which come in handy in a fight.
After getting a tip from a corrupt priest who runs a combination church/brothel (yeah, I don’t know, that’s my best guess of what that scene was about) Matoba and Tilarna conduct a raid on an apartment and end up in the middle of a gunfight with a couple of bad guys, which is where the episode ends.
Analysis: Are you fucking serious? Ending the episode in the middle of a gunfight. These guys have some nerve.
Matoba and Tilarna have a cute dynamic going on so far. He’s a bitter, jaded detective who’s seen everything, and she’s a haughty noble girl who can kick ass in a fight but who also doesn’t know how elevators or cars work. Even though the two don’t quite trust each other, it seems that they need each other’s skills to solve the case they’ve been tasked with. The funny thing is that this is exactly the kind of setup your standard buddy cop show has. I’d find this boring if it were taking place in a totally realistic setting, but the fact that one of the cops is a sword-wielding alien girl makes it better somehow. Sort of like how Men In Black was different from other buddy cop movies too.
I also like the art style. Maybe it’s just the fact that Tilarna stands out so completely, both from the environment around her and from the other characters, all of which are taken straight out of your typical cop show. She also goes through an extremely quick magical-girl-style costume transformation before she’s ready to fight, which is a bit weird. Maybe they’ll address that next episode.
Hopefully now that the basics of this setting are established, the pace of the next episode will slow a bit. Despite the infodumpy feel I got from this opening episode, though, it did get me interested in the series. I’m not one for cop dramas, and that’s exactly what Cop Craft seems to be. If it weren’t for the fantasy/sci-fi element, there’s no way I would have picked this show to watch. But it’s there, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the writers do with it.
*After writing this post, I realized the acronym for this series is SAD. Which makes it the perfect name for the series, since I am a sad excuse for a human being, so I’m definitely keeping it.