Hey there, fans! Last week, I brought you an anime that had the son of the Lord of Hell being taken care of by one of the biggest delinquents in the Japanese High School System. Now, ladies and gentle-fans, I bring you entertainment of an entirely difference nature: while last week’s anime was filled with exaggerated fight scenes involving demons, dragons, and a baby, this week’s offering is a little more… elegant. This week, I preview an anime based on a light-novel series about a Japanese boy, a doll-like girl, and the adventures they go through solving mysteries.
First, a little background: the setting is an alternate 1920s in fictional European country call Saubure, just a few years after the Great War. Kujo Kazuya is a dark-haired, dark-eyed Japanese exchange student, trying to go through high school while withstanding the superstitious fears of his European colleagues, calling him “The Dark Reaper” for his appearance and the time of his arrival in the school. Because of this fear, he isolates himself in the library, where he meets, and inadvertently becomes the messenger for, a petite blonde dressed in a Gothic Lolita clothing named Victorique. Little Victorique, when not rolling around the floor out of boredom (which is oddly cute), reads books day in and day out, and occasionally solves a mystery or two for the police, through Inspector Gervil de Blois and his magnificent hair. The show’s only two episodes in however, so the real, overarching story isn’t fully revealed as of yet.
Here’s the main draw of the show so far: the art, the interactions between the characters, and the mysteries. The art, as I’ve mentioned before, is pretty damn elegant: the opening for the show by itself has a 1920s Art Nouveau feel to it (music, while good, notwithstanding), as if Alphonse Mucha himself suddenly decided to animate Japanese cartoons for a day and ended up with this as the result. The art style of the the rest of the show retains its elegance by being relatively heavy in detail and being consistent with it. Some of the background in the library’s botanical gardens where Kujo found Victorique and Victorique herself is an example of this. Speaking of Victorique, the interplay between the pint-sized Sherlock and her Japanese Watson is well written, as Kujo, the “brave” hero of the story, sees that under the somewhat aloof and often snarky veneer is a still a little girl with fears all her own, while he finds out truths about himself in the process, usually in the midst of a mystery as well. Character development! And, as it is one of the main draws of the show, the mysteries of each episode are also well written, keeping the audience at the edge of their seats. Sorta.
And therein lies the rub: while being a show about mysteries and the solving thereof, I find the mysteries played with in the series a little shallow for my taste and rather straightfoward for a mystery-solving show. Believe me, I’m not asking for mysteries and conspiracies of a size similar to Monster or any “hard” mystery show, but it would be nice for the said mysteries to be, well, more mysterious and intriguing. That being said, it’s only two episodes in the show, so it may very well have the bulk of its story lying in wait in the next few episodes! Things like a huge story arc are hard to gauge when dealing with a new show in its early steps. So, hoping to have a little more light shed over the main causes of the mysterious happenings around Kujo and Victorique, I would have to keep watching! The show is available on Crunchyroll.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars