Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Himitsu - The Revelation - Episode 4

"Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of sleeping old men"

I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me... I suppose that's what happens when an anime episode features a bad guy who seems to have a thing for dressing like Robin Hood. Minus the tights. Fortunately. What is perhaps worse is that I can't even tell whether it was a knowing nod in that direction or just a guy who liked to wear a stupid outfit.

Anyhow, episode four of Himitsu again looks to tackle a delicate and difficult subject, and to be honest once it again it fails to do it justice. For starters, its thoughts on suicide and/or assisted suicide are delivered with all the subtlety of a ballet dancer performing Swan Lake in wellingtons. Then there's the outright incompetence of Aoki and company, who somehow fail to spot the blatantly obvious reason for the happenings they see via the MRI playback of the brains of the deceased for virtually the entire episode, where to most of us people with an ounce of nous we could see what was going on within the first thirty seconds. Let's just hope they don't need to use the MRI scanner on any of Section Nine any time soon, as they might well struggle to find anything to scan.

Continuing the theme of heavy handedness, the case Aoki is working on just happens to coincide with an illness to his own father - Are we really going to have poor old Aoki linked to every case via his own long-suffering family? One minute it's illicit desires for his sister mirroring an assassinated President's homosexual lust, the next his father falls ill and starts talking about his future at the same time as Aoki investigates an assisted suicide case. Let's just hope for his family's sake he doesn't investigate a case about a police investigator killing all his own family any time soon. Or worse, a case investigating an anime 'Blogger bludgeoning a Section Nine investigator to death with a plastic DVD case for being so bloody stupid.

While this episode wasn't a complete loss, I can't help but be disappointed to see such a promising idea for a series being used in such a lacklustre fashion. There's so much that can be said and done with the concept that seeing it treated in such a manner, where you and I as the viewer are treated as brain-dead morons (or so it seems) is immensely frustrating. What we have here is an excellent vehicle for some great murder/detective stories with some very interesting moral angles thrown in to accompany them, but what we're left with is more akin to painting (or rather, anime plot development) by numbers.

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