Sunday, 3 July 2011

Kami-sama no Memo-chou - Episode 1

Narumi Fujishima is your typical empty vessel anime protagonist - a high school student who, thanks to frequent transfers of school on account of his father, has no friends and really very little interest in other people as a result.  In short, he's the perfect blank slate for a new anime series to mould in its image.

Fujishima's dull, peaceful life as a "single dot" in the grand scheme of things is initially interrupted as a wrong turning brings him face to face with a half naked girl jumping from the second floor of a "love hotel" before he finds himself temporarily "under arrest" from a couple of decidedly strange characters.  Still, this soon blows over and Narumi goes about his life as though nothing had happened... at least, he does until a classmate named Shinosaki first press-gangs him into joining her gardening club (of which she is the sole member) before introducing him to her workplace, which also just so happens to be the hang-out of the rather dodgy individuals he'd run into during the previously described incident.

It's this slice of serendipity that brings him into contact with a girl named Alice, which explains the whole shooting match - Alice is a self-proclaimed "NEET detective", and the odd souls around her work for her as her legs, eyes and ears and she largely confines herself to her room while monitoring the world around her via the Internet and television.  Narumi goes on to learn that Alice is currently investigating the case of a missing person - a case which ties in to the aforementioned girl jumping from a love hotel and an incident which Narumi becomes even more involved in as the investigation kicks up a notch, yielding some surprising twists and turns along the way.

While the whole "NEET detective" angle is a nice hook, in much the same way as similar shows such as Gosick this anime adaptation of Kami-sama no Memo-chou relies ultimately on the strength of its story even over and above its characters and the dynamic between them.  In this area, this double-length opening episode is an unqualified success - its story grabs the attention before we're even filled in on the minutiae of what is going on, and the mystery inherent within it does a fantastic job of keeping its proverbial powder dry until the very last as it spins its twists and turns out to the very last.  If the series can keep up this level of story-telling alone it seems as if J.C. Staff are on to a winner, and this is only helped along further by the smooth-talking (yet ultimately childish) Alice, the reluctant and slightly snarky Narumi and some great supporting characters that glue everything together nicely.  It's too early to label this one a hit, but all of the pieces of the jigsaw seem to be in place for this to be one of the summer's must-watch shows.

No comments: