Just kidding. If only I could like this show as much as Hannibal, and the truth is, I don’t even like Hannibal all that much. I mean, it’s okay. I do enjoy stories about serial killers. It’s just no True Detective, which is not only a mystery (and I love mysteries), but also bares its characters’ souls to the audience. But to be fair, Hannibal has its interesting moments. Most importantly, I can still relate to the characters in Hannibal. Moreso for True Detective. Maybe the 2nd season has been a bit too over-the-top with just how many fucked up characters it seemingly wants to cram into a single story, but at the end of the day, I can feel for these guys. I can see myself in Velcoro’s shoes. I can feel what it’s like when this is the worst day of my life. Now, of course, we’re talking apples and oranges here… to a certain extent. Yep, to a certain, very particular extent, I can’t compare a show on HBO to, well, anime. But even so, I shouldn’t feel so disconnected to Laplace’s characters! And that’s an understatement! I just do not understand these fuckers. I do not understand this world. I do not understand anything. No, I’m not talking about one’s basic understanding of the story’s narrative. No, I’m not talking about an intellectual understanding. Rather, I’m talking about a pure and simple human one — so simple that its utter absence creates a gap between me and the story. But let’s start from the top.
Did you not hear me? I said… symbolism.
And notice how washed out the world is. What could that mean? The easiest and simplest interpretation is that, well, the world is probably drab and boring, but we’ll see.
After the opening credits, however, the world is colorful! Wow! What’s changed? And why is there a bloodied saw in the main character’s right hand?
Oh. And normally, this would be a pretty punchy way to start off a mystery, but then the main character adds, “That day, my boredom came to an end.” Oh, so you’re as fucked up as whoever killed that dude. I mean, really? You see blood every-goddamn-where and your headless teacher dismembered and grotesquely arranged into the shape of a chair, and all you say is, “Yay, interesting!” Okay, fine, maybe the main character is screwy in the head. That’s possible. And it’s okay, too… within limits. But the problem is the anime goes careening across that limit. You’ll see.
So the main character’s name is Kobayashi. And in case you hadn’t realize, it’s a boy. Uh-huh. Sure.
And less-than-important characters appear as nothing more than grey silhouettes. If the anime does something later with this, then sure, it’s a metaphorical. Let’s hope it’s that and not laziness.
When a character’s important, however, they come into view. Yep, 26-year-old superintendent. He’s an adult, but not really.
Faces of anime… The thing is, no one really acts as if they’ve just seen something fucked up. I don’t care how many years you have under the belt, no one walks into a room with a headless, dismembered corpse and is just so… unaffected. But you never get that moment where the inspectors just stop dead in their tracks because human nature can be so messed up. There’s no WTF moment here, especially when the murder was so theatrical. But therein lies the irony! The theatricality ends up being diminished because no one seems to care one way or the other. I mean, the main character is less bored…
…that, we can play see. And sure, you can argue that these are veterans (yeah, 26-year-old veterans), so it’s possible that they might have seen it all! But even then, you need someone who is normal in order to serve as a contrast to these dudes. An audience stand-in, basically. Maybe it’s supposed to be this kid:
But I don’t know. He seems preoccupied with protecting his weirdo friend than really reacting to everything around him like a normal person would. So there’s nothing here to help drive home the fact that something horrific has taken place. So like a falling tree in an empty forest, is it really that horrific?
These characters just can’t help acting like anime characters. And that sounds like such a dumb thing to say when you’re watching an anime, but it really makes me think that no matter what, anime feels bound to its patterns and mannerisms. Like the dude above who’s too cool for school… don’t worry, you’ll soon learn that he literally is too cool for school. But for now, he’s everything that’s wrong with this story:
Not only does he smirk as he walks up to a dismembered body, he’s this brilliant, 17-year-old meitantei. There’s a serial killer on the loose, and the main focus here is how fucking cool this kid is. Goddamn.
Man oh man…
And the people who are slightly concerned? Can’t see them. More importantly, you can’t see their faces.
But we sure as hell can see his!
At one point, Kobayashi gets lost in his own thoughts as he does his Will Graham thing where he tries to understand the killing from the killer’s point-of-view. Will Graham is a sympathetic character because he can’t help being so empathetic. He knows the crimes are fucked up, but he can’t turn it off. He can’t not feel what drove the serial killers on Hannibal to do what they do. Here, the kid’s just bored, and this is fun to him. So there’s no duality here. Just some good, ol’ anime fun.
Don’t know where she got that idea…
But here’s another moment that made me cringe. Your teacher just died, a serial killer’s on the loose, a death occurred right in this very goddamn room… but it seems as though everyone’s worries have gone poof like a fart in the wind! How would I feel in that situation? I sure as fuck wouldn’t be talking about how cute the main character is — how he’s even cuter than the girls in his class. I’d be like, “Mom, I’m ain’t going to class today. No way, no how.” But here, it feels like anime has to anime. So when we get to know the characters, it’s not some solemn conversation between two people that perhaps reveals one man’s nihilistic worldview which thematically ties into the crime that just preceded everything. No, it’s this shitacular, vacuous babble about how girly the main character looks. Fine… fine… the main characters are nonplussed. But the whole world, too? No one’s horrified? And I mean truly horrified. Not this fifteen seconds of, “Uguu they haven’t found the killer, rig–… AMG LOOK HOW CUTE HE IS!” bullshit.
Eventually, the main character goes to meet Mr. 17-Year-Old Meitantei, and just in case you didn’t already surmise just how goddamn smart he is…
Livin’ the anime dream, man… get to skip school (but still kick ass on the exams), get to solve murder mysteries, get to have the constitution to smirk at horrific murders, get to have some cute trap walk up to your door… livin’ the anime dream. There are some attempts at a tantalizing glimpse at Mr. Meitantei’s past…
…but I’m too busy rolling my eyes at his lines. This would’ve been comedy gold if the jukebox had started playing Evanescence.
So they get around to talking about the case, and Mr. Meitantei reveals that he has squelched any possible media attempt to cover the story. After all, this will surely drive the attention-hungry serial killer crazy. Our boy genius then offers an insight on the Japanese people:
Hm, yes, quite. As opposed to us geniuses who take interests in stuff we don’t perceive.
But wait, there’s a twist! The victim — Kobayashi’s teacher — was actually a serial killer himself! And worst of all, the main character’s prints have been found all over the murder weapons! What say you, buddy?
Sometimes, it’s a sad world because evil is just out there, an undeniable part of the landscape in this eternal struggle between light and darkness. Sometimes. Here, everything is just a fucking game, and nobody really cares so long as it’s fun. But hey, what did I expect, right? The word “game” is literally in the show’s title. No, I’m not expecting True Detective: The Anime, but c’mon… I’m probably just getting too old for this shit.
Anyway, I’ve been absent lately, because bad things happen. Not to me, but bad things can happen to people I care about. So I’ve been putting in as much time at work as I can, because sadly, money is the solvent to most of the world’s problems. Not all of it, but a good deal of it. And at some point, I was too backed up on the spring season that I just told myself to wait it out. Wait until the summer. So for now, I can start blogging again… but as always, real life will come first if need be. Still, thank you to those who are sticking around, and I’ll probably cover at least the last Fate episode before the week is over. I want to watch that Manglobe show first, though…