Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace – 03

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Man – we’ve really lost some ground these last two weeks.

It’s not too often that I regret a quick trigger with the whole label thing, but I’m beginning to fear I might have jumped the gun with Ranpo Kitan.  I liked the first episode an awful lot, the second less, and this one even less than that.  I have a long list of issues that trouble me about this show, but while individually any one or two might be tolerable, we’re going to need to see a general rise in sea level or I’m going to be on the cusp of dropping it.

I think fundamentally there are two core problems, with the rest radiating out from those.  The first is that we’ve had two mysteries, neither of which was very good.  Considering that this is a mystery series, that’s a big strike against it.  This week’s story was about “Shadow Man” (Koyasu Takehito), a freak who we’re supposed to believe has some kind of agape love for little girls that makes his lolicon admirable.  Shadow Man also has an utterly impossible ability to perfectly disguise himself as anyone else (“except a girl”, conveniently for the plot), up to an including instant wardrobe changes that would make Lala Satalin Deviluke jealous.

But S.M. isn’t the villain of the piece – no, that role is set aside so Kishi and Uezu can draw a contrast between healthy and noble obsession with little girls and nasty, fat otaku obsession.  That’s personified in Watanuki (Suyama Akio), a laughable caricature who kidnaps little girls to be his “family”, and grinds them into cement when they don’t get with the program.  It’s very silly, not at all feasible and frankly, insulting to the intelligence.  So far we’ve had one mystery that didn’t play fair with the audience at all, and one which wasn’t even really a mystery at all – just a premise.  That’s a pretty rough start.

The other major problem (again, symptomatic of other related ones) is the way Kishi and Uezu are handling Kobayashi.  He goes undercover as a girl here to draw out Watanuki, but while that skill is something in common with Ranpo’s original, that’s like saying a Giant Sequoia and a Dwarf Lemon are both trees.  Frankly, I find the usage of the character crass and calculated.  There’s no effort to use his ability to “pass” as evidence of his skill – it’s here strictly for puerile reasons.  It would be one thing to depict Kobayashi as a boy who identifies as a girl, but he’s not – his effeminate characteristics are exaggerated to the extreme, to the point where’s he’s effectively a female character Kishi is passing off as male for effect.

I see Kishi and Uezu as trying to have their cake and eat it too, in a sense – and I think that’s exactly what they’re trying to do with the mysteries.  While they’re trying to score cool points by depicting the protagonists as gleefully amoral, they’re asking us to accept moral judgments (twisted though some of them may be) in the weekly plotlines.  Again, I find the whole thing sort of insulting and crass – which is a real shame, because I’ve seen these two do some really smart and edgy material.  But so far at least, Ranpo Kitan is definitely not suitable for that description.

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  1. G

    You can Love or hate this anime!

    Good and Bad Points IMO

    It maybe overextend itself with comedy / tug at the heart strings and twisted criminals!

    The wasted Akechi / more may be coming soon!

    Screen plays by Makoto Uezu .Hate or like them- Akame ga Kill! / Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (TV) / Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova / Arslan Senki (TV) / D-Frag! / Seto no Hanayome / Uchuu Kyoudai / Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru( Is A Hero )


    Seiji Kishi has directed good shows some examples

    My Bride is a Mermaid / Angel Beats! / Arpeggio of Blue Steel / Yuki Yuna is a Hero / Assassination Classroom


    It;s obvious from the talent here this show could be better / but I stand by what I said the better of the 3 episodes so far!

    They may be rushing things by having only 12 episodes ! So they need to step it up!

    It rivals Psycho Pass in terms of sick criminals!

    The Ranpo Kitan / Game of Laplace ED / "Mikazuki" by Sayuri is really good!

  2. m

    I agree with you in thinking this episode is a little thin. I had been disappointed with the detective aspect of this show, and in this episode the feeling is strengthened even more so. I still don't think the motives and methods really make sense here (I'm not asking for realism, but it has to be more logical than this), especially with Kobayashi always putting herself in danger unnecessarily (I am sure they could solve this case without almost killing herself, I mean, if the perverted-nerd had decided to kill her after intoxication, what purpose does that accomplish.

    As for the paperbag-man, if he is supposed to invoke sympathy in me with his kindness, does not accomplish much of that (one can sense he has a slightly perverted obsession with girls, and even if he doesn't admit it, he might have impure thoughts).

    I hope the series focuses on Akechi and maybe some meaningful case the next time. I liked the graphic murder aspect of this show, but only if there is some logical meaning and motive. I find this more fetishized (pandering even), which leaves a bad aftertaste.

  3. E

    Now that was hilariously dumb at parts. I'm feeling the same thing I did with Zankyou no Terror actually: a talented director working on a weak anime original plot which doesn't really check any boxes.

  4. C

    I just caught up on this and yeaah… this quickly devolved into utter nonsense the same way ZnT did after its first episode (and even then, forgiving the contrived premise of two teenagers stealing a nuclear warhead and not getting shot on sight.)

  5. Maybe to a certain extent, but the galling thing is that they had source material here that's almost universally hailed as among the best detective fiction in Japan. And while I like Kishi at his best, you can't compare him or his impact on mediocre material with Watanabe.

  6. g

    Yeah, it isn't going to work for me. Nothing was interesting, suspenseful or even creepy (well, maybe only how they want to sold to me a romanticised view on a Creep of the Week). Characters are flat and played on an one note. It isn't even weird in the interesting way. Shame, because I really thought it will be one of better anime in the summer season. I only like OP & ED.

  7. H

    Just go read Junji Ito's Human Chair manga adaption which will send cold shivers down your spine like the original creepy mystery story by Edogawa Ranpo, this series is a really wasted opportunity and seems to be just a bunch of hollow, edgy murder cases which don't make sense and go for cheap thrills and shocks . …Even worse is name dropping stories and character names from Ranpo's work rather than actually adapting it.

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