Vatican Kiseki Chousakan is an odd little show. Strangely enough what I found myself asking is whether I’d find this offensive if I were Catholic (which I’m not), and I’m not sure why that is. I don’t think there’s anything overtly bigoted about it, but the events it depicts are such a cartoonish version of Catholicism that I found it to be (what I’m assuming is unintentionally) funny on a number of occasions. That’s probably overthinking what I don’t think is intended as especially serious entertainment, but maybe it’s a sign that the narrative itself wasn’t especially compelling that my mind kept drifting there.
That’s not to say that the premiere wasn’t entertaining on-purpose sometimes – it was. And I think the idea of an anime about Vatican miracle examiners is kind of interesting. The initial case – a supposed immaculate conception at a Central American church full of secrets – feels kind of old-hat, though. Creepy students, demonic rituals, priests getting their heads bashed in inside demonic summoning circles, virgin pregnancy – it’s like a Catholic mythology mix tape.
Perhaps more interesting will be the recurring cast, though it’s too early to say. We’ve got a classic pairing of a codex expert and a science and maths guy, a kind of miracle cop odd couple. The scientist has a brother with cancer and sees himself as a Job-like figure having his faith tested. He communicates with an assistant named “Lauren” who his partner has never seen, and I’m guessing is an A.I. of some sort (Okamoto Nobuhiko plays him and also sings the ED, by the way, which is kind of interesting). I can’t help but feel that with a director this experienced (Yonetani has helmed the Shana and Souma series) and a big-time cast, Vatican Kiseki Chousakan should be better and more polished than it is – the first episode is just kind of clumsy and broad. But it’s weird enough to keep me interested for one more episode at the very least.