Kamisama no Memochou Episode 1
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.
Series Premise: Kamisama no Memochou, or “Heaven’s Memo Pad”, is a 12-part weekly television series aired between July and September 2011, based on a light novel series by Hikaru Sugii. Narumi is the new kid in school, and soon finds himself caught up with a reclusive and diminutive detective named Alice and her coterie of assistants as they run a “NEET Detective Agency”.
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ep. tl;dr review: Cute shut-in detective girl and bumbling new male assistant; Not exactly original but done well.
Spoiler-free Episode Summary: Narumi Fujishima has drifted through life alone, moving from place to place without ever making any connections. Now as the new kid in high school, Narumi is dragged into joining the Gardening Club by the ever-cheerful Ayaka, who then brings Narumi to meet the rest of her not-so-normal friends. In addition to the gigolo Hiro, military-otaku university student Shosa, and the tough guy Tetsu, he is forced into an introduction with the reclusive Alice, who spends her day shut inside a darkened room filled with stuffed animals and computer monitors. Together, they run a “NEET Detective Agency”, and Narumi is immediately dragged into tracking down a missing girl who has a connection to a student at Narumi’s school. Soon, he learns the truth of the matter is much darker than imagined, involving prostitution, suicide and the angst of teenage idol worship. Before he knows it, Narumi has become a member of the team as “Alice’s assistant”.
My Impressions: Sorry for the delay in any new reviews, I took a week off to go hiking and a break from the computer. Also, I really have to streamline all of this stuff because I’m always going to keep falling behind (here it is the end of October, and I still have almost a dozen shows from July to sample). Anyway, moving on…
First off, everyone and their dog is making a point to compare this to Gosick. You have a loner boy who is new to town, who meets up with the shut-in detective girl with a haughty attitude and long hair. But seriously, while some of the details in the premise are similar, the shows are quite different, so it’s best to dispel the comparisons right here and now and move onwards. If anything, Kamisama no Memochou feels a whole hell of a lot more like Durarara in atmosphere and tone than Gosick. And that’s a good thing.
One thing that I did not expect but really like is that the first episode was a double-length introduction, about 45 minutes long, which provided enough time to properly introduce the main characters and have them run through their paces without feeling rushed. I really wish more shows would do the same, because I can name several examples of shows that tried to shove everything into the first episode and it just ended up being hurried and confusing.
At first it seems sort of odd that Narumi would go along with all the nonsense he’s forced to endure, such as getting “bullied” into joining the gardening club, or forcefully taking Alice’s meal up to her, or going along with all the NEET nuts. But in the end, you realize Narumi is trying to give his life some sense and direction. At the beginning of the show, he is “just one pixel”, going about his own life without influence or affect of others, sort of sliding by with the least effort. That also means with the least interest or satisfaction with life. Suddenly he finds himself caught up in events out of his control, investigating some fairly dark subjects, doing things he never would have imagined getting involved in just a week before. He goes along with it because, either consciously or subconsciously he *wants* to change his life and form connections.
There is not a whole lot of original ideas in this show, and it does rely on some shop-worn anime tropes and cliches. And yet, it is done quite well, the story is engaging, and the animation is really good. As mentioned above, I get a very strong Durarara vibe from this show, so I’m looking forward to the next episode.
- Official preview on Youtube.
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, Wikipedia.
- If you like this, you might also like: Durarara or Death Note.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “The first case was a good warm-up and leaves me highly anticipating the future cases they will be called on to solve. Grade: Very Good.” – Project Saber
- “As each minute passes by, small clues are left for us to ponder about what’s really happening. Memo-chou really does a great job in executing curiosity thus making you want to watch on. I can’t help but think when Alice got all serious that she was trying to cosplay as Stocking from Panty and Stocking.” – Sekijitsu
- “What Gosick couldn’t do, will be done by Kamisama Memochou; it can actually excel in finding out the mystery behind unsolved cases using modern gadgets and everything on hand. The case was well plotted out and the transition brilliant with fluid animation. No breakage, no quality killing; this was a sight for sore eyes and I can’t wait for the next episode.” – Metanorn
- “Nothing discouraged me from watching the next installment of the show, which is nice. The show looks fantastic, there’s no doubt about that. It has an earthy color palate and the characters look and move well. They have a nice non-fantastic feel to them.” – Moemonster
- I was riveted right from the start. And I didn’t even want to pause when I missed something because I didn’t want to ruin the pacing.” – How I Met Your Otaku
- “The issue here is that the presentation of the first episode isn’t particularly gripping. While all of the usual motions are made, the longer runtime did not play positively for this series…You could almost compare the workings of this episode to an episode of House; “Have we wasted enough time? Good, here’s what really happened…”” – Otaku Review
- “Unlike GOSICK and the abrupt solving of mysteries, Kamimemo has a steady arc of progression. Clues are found and pieces are put together to form a whole. It keeps you guessing as to what is truly happening. Less subtle touches, such as a train obscuring vision and hearing, are also there for added effect.” – The Otaku’s Blog
- “Time will tell if they can pull of a good story without falling into an endless loop of small case. What I also fear with this show is that it will stay childish for too long. It is okay to start with a nice group of friendly people who are having fun, but for the show to be interesting, sad things, bad things needs to happen.” – Angry Anime Bitches
- “This was mostly a setup episode, so not much happened aside from an introduction to the characters. It seems like the show could have some potential, but there are a bunch of problems.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “Funny how everything else is interesting except for the two main leads again. Maybe, just maybe, this will be worth continuing because of the artwork, music, and the NEET detective members.” – Meeping Anime Blog
- “Holy crap. This was well written. I mean, heck: this was incredibly well produced. Rock solid in every single way. Potential: 95%” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
ROUND ONE RESULTS FOR SUMMER 2011 SHOWS:
Thumbs-up for Round One: Busou Shinki: Moon Angel, Blood-C, Mawaru Penguindrum, Kamisama Dolls, No. 6, Dantalian no Shoka, Uta no Prince-sama, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, Nekogami Yaoyorozu, Kamisama no Memochou
Thumbs-down for Round One: Double J, Morita-san wa Mukuchi, Mayo Chiki, Nyanpire the Animation, Carnival Phantasm, Copihan, Yuruyuri, The Idolmaster, Sacred Seven, Manyuu Hikenchou, Blade, Higurashi no Naku Koko no Kira
Coming up next: Nurarihyon no Mago Second Season, Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi, Twin Angel Twinkle Paradise, Baby Princess 3-D, Natsume Yuujinchou-san, Usagi Drop, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Second Season, Rou Kyuu Bu, R-15, Oretachi ni Tsubasa OVA, Astarotte no Omocha EX, Touhou Project: Gensou Mangekyou, Kid the Phantom Thief Special