Kamisama no Memo-Chou – 01

Categories: First Impressions | July 8th, 2011 | No Comment

Okay, I watched Kamisama no Memo-chou two times now and I still don’t see any of the quality that would justify the high praise it gets in some blogs (here and here for example).

In a nutshell, the first episode of Kamimemo doesn’t use the setting at all, it doesn’t use its characters and worst of all doesn’t flesh out the mystery at hand, despite having a 40 minutes time frame to do this. You can trace all of those problems back to the core problem which is the first episode introducing us to all characters from major to minor.

Take the Yakuza type guy as an example. When you look closer at the plot you’ll note that he adds absolutely nothing to solving the mystery. There’s no change of course or a big clue thanks to him. You can cut out the whole sequence with him out and you lose nothing in terms of understanding the case. So why’s he in there? Of course, to be introduced, there’s nothing else.

Oh yeah, the gardening girl. Her sole reason for being in the plot is to introduce the main character to the NEET detective gang. She does this by inviting him to a welcoming party, which – after he meets the gang – gets completely forgotten and is never mentioned again. How can you call that solid or good writing? Especially when this could have been a perfect chance to introduce us to all characters once and for all? I really don’t get it.

And what’s about the so claimed NEET detective girl solving cases mainly over the net? This premise is quite interesting. But when you look closer the first episode doesn’t use the premise at all. Quite contrarily she seems to work with rather old fashioned methods and tools like surveillance cameras, bugging and letting other people do the work for her. The internet? Is only used for small stuff. Most interestingly, her computers seem to have no use whatsoever except for showing old fashioned TV news channels. Where’re the forums, where’s Twitter or Facebook (or any Japanese counterpart)?

The scenes involving her talking were also quite hard to endure for me. She babbles and talks in a pretentious way I can only call bullshit. Heck, she even mentions world famine as a raison d’être for her agency. In my whole life I’ve never heard of such a reason to do anything that is not related to world famine. Basically she could’ve also mentioned black holes as a reason, it would have changed nothing.

But it gets better because some minutes later she brings up writers and detectives as the only ones who can do something about the lost and the dead…and forgets regular police officers or the many, many other occupations who can bring answers to said questions (like coroners). This point shows best that this pretentious babbling has no substance whatsoever and is – when you look a little bit closer – absolutely nonsensical.

Unfortunately, this crappy bullshit talking is part of her character. This becomes clear in the scene where Alice confronts Shouko’s girlfriend in the hotel. There she’s asked who she is. And she seriously answers “I’m a neet detective, a speaker for the dead”. What the fuck? Her name and occupation would’ve been enough and much more akin to a seemingly genius girl cutting to the case, wouldn’t you agree? She’s no fucking shinigami. More amazingly, the other girl doesn’t react to this bullshit talking at all or to the fact that someone entered her room without permission. I would have kicked the little loli out of her black outfit first and asked questions later.

Kamimemo has more of this illogical stuff but the Major is the most obvious. How was he able to bug the rooms where the compensated dating would take place? How did he know it would take place in that particular room and hotel. If not, did he bug the whole district? But how was he able to do that anyway? Did he sneak into the hotels or did he ask for permission? But who would give permission to a guy who has some screws loose (which is visible even for the blind)? This episode gives no answer to all of those questions and just assumes that we will buy this.

In the end, this episode of Kamisama no Memo-chou wasted so many opportunities it hurts. With some little twists and tweaks the first episode could have become awesome and one of the best firsts this season. Instead it delivers us a disconnected plot with way too many character introductions and a level of pretentiousness that I can only call absurd.

Because Alice was able to solve this case with only two hints only (or was it one?) I’m inclined to call this series Gosick No. 2 because Gosick pulled off those stunts constantly.

Besides all this bitching I’ll give this series another two episodes to redeem itself. Despite the many weak points the overall production quality is acceptable and I always love mystery series that are well written. I really hope that with all the exposition and character introductions out of the way the next episode might focus more on the cases themselves and reduce the bullshit talking.My biggest hope lies with the cases themselves, though, because the case in this episode was quite shocking and hugely interesting. So there’s hope this series might become really good.

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