After a week off, Cop Craft is back with episode 10 and the continuation of the second half of episode 9’s political assassination plot.
Summary: Kei and Tilarna follow up on their investigation of the murder of mayoral candidate Kahns, who was shot dead by the reanimated corpse of a Semanian. We know he was being controlled by the evil mage Zelada because Tilarna told us so last episode, but the voters don’t — all they know is that a Semanian killed him, stoking anti-Semanian sentiments among Earth natives. To pursue their lead, the team have to question Cole Mozeleemay, one of the two remaining candidates, at his campaign headquarters. Things start awkwardly when Mozeleemay recognizes Tilarna as the undercover officer who acted as the bait in his prostitution sting arrest. But then his wife Marla steps out from the shadows to take over the interview, and Kei and Tilarna realize that she has her husband by the balls (in Kei’s words; for once this isn’t me just being vulgar for no reason.)
Marla cuts their interview short because her husband has a campaign speech to deliver. Kei and Tilarna are about to head back to the office when they hear gunshots coming from the auditorium, however — Mozeleemay has been shot in yet another assassination attempt. Kei uses some fancy detective work to determine who the shooter was based on the recording of the event, and he and Tilarna chase down their suspect, who turns out to be not one of Zelada’s puppet-corpses but rather an independent actor capable of using mildey, or Semanian magic. Unfortunately, they’re forced to kill the suspect during their fight with him. Even worse, FBI agents show up to “take the case over”, insulting Kei and Tilarna in the process as simple city cops (yeah, it’s that tired old cop show trope.) We get a confirmation that Mozeleemay is dead. Then Kei and Tilarna head back to the office, where Tilarna gives the vice squad a demonstration of how Semanian magic is used to transform items, showing how the assassin was able to smuggle a gun disguised as a camera into the auditorium.
Finally, Kei and Tilarna hit the road again to pay a visit to Tourte, the last alive candidate in the mayoral race and an anti-Semanian zealot, and as they approach his headquarters they run into an anti-Semanian protest, which is where the episode ends.
Analysis: Cop Craft is frustrating to watch.
There’s a lot to like in this series. I’m a big fan of Tilarna and her relationship with Kei. And while I didn’t mind the more lighthearted episodes this season (and I definitely didn’t mind the Tilarna fanservice we got out of it) I also like the more serious turn the show is taking with this political assassination plot. The show is taking xenophobia, something we have plenty of in the real world, and is using it in an effective way to create tension.
I don’t even mind all that much that the writers killed off Cole Mozeleemay. At his core, he just seemed like a lecherous guy who wanted to use his power to bone women with impunity. I’m sure they could have done more with him if they’d wanted to, but this turn of events just builds the tension even more. And anyway, it’s clear that his wife Marla was the real political mind between the two of them. My big prediction for this post is that she’ll take over his campaign and use the voters’ sympathy over the murder of her husband to get elected. That could be interesting. I don’t know how they’ll connect this plot thread to Tilarna and Kei now that Cole is dead, though. I guess Tilarna has figured out that Marla was probably the one behind the murder of her friend Zoey, so maybe she’ll still try to take revenge for that.
But I have to address the animation quality this episode, which was back in the toilet again. Parts of the action scenes looked awful, and even some of the still shots lacked detail. I’m not going to post any of the really bad screenshots this time because I don’t even want to look at them again. If you’re curious, head over to the various anime boards on Reddit and 4chan; I’m sure they’re posting the worst of the worst and calling the show garbage.
Let me be clear: I don’t think Cop Craft is garbage just because its animation quality is wildly inconsistent. I’d much rather watch a series with good writing and compelling characters but lousy animation than one with great production values but dogshit-level writing. But then I imagine how this show would look with a better animation budget (or a better studio?) and it makes me sad. It’s all the worse for the fact that I really like Range Murata’s character designs. It feels like they’re wasted in episodes like this.
Well, at least the show is still interesting to watch. The uneven animation quality doesn’t put me off too badly; it’s just disappointing. Here’s hoping it improves again. That’s all I’ve got for now, so until next time, stay safe.