By the end of the Spring season, we witnessed the end of a well accepted series that, not only competed with the Mystery genre, but also set the bar to the “ordinary boy-encounters-extraordinary girl” type of story. Yes, I am talking about Gosick. I loved that series, not because of the detective aspect of it, but for the sheer presentation of it’s story. It made it to the top of my Winter lineup, along with Mahou Shoujo Madoka and Kimi ni Todoke II.
With the start of the Summer season however, another series takes a whack at using Mystery, and attempts to knock Gosick from its pedestal. From 1924 to the 21st century, my third pick, Kamisama no Memo-chou.
Kamisama no Memo-chou (or Memo Pad of the Gods) is an adaptation of an ongoing light novel series with the same name. It is set for twelve episodes. Something to note about the first episode is that, it spanned for almost an hour. A nice premier as to how J.C. Staff would present the mysteries.
The tagline for the show is “It’s the only NEET thing to do”, and rightfully so, as the main cast is almost entirely made up of NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training), save for our main male lead, Fujishima Narumi. Narumi is your regular high school student, looking for his purpose in life. Since it was stated that he almost always moves to a different town, he presents himself as rather detached from the world. That is until he witnesses a rather fateful scene. A girl jumping out of a window, a man running out of a building and dropping an ashtray with blood smears, and a group of men clearing the scene.
Knowing nothing of what he saw, Narumi shrugs it off and goes to school the following day. While lazing around at the school’s rooftop, Narumi is startled by the arrival of a certain girl. Shinozaki Ayaka introduces herself as the sole member of the Gardening Club, and proposes that Narumi joins in it. In exchange, Ayaka joins the Computer Club, wherein Narumi is also the sole member. This is so both clubs won’t be dissolved. As a reward for helping out, Ayaka invites Narumi to where she works part-time, a Ramen Shop by the name of Hanamaru.
To Narumi’s surprise, the group of men clearing out the scene, were hanging out behind Hanamaru, and are quite familiar with Ayaka. They are; Ichinomiya Tetsuo (apparently, a gambling expert among other things) Kuwahara “Hiro” Hiroaki (a self proclaimed gigolo) and Mukai “Major” Hitoshi (a warfare enthusiast) all of them are self-proclaimed NEETs. Narumi, not wanting to get involved, decides to sneak away, but instead he is tricked into running an errand that was supposed to be carried out by the NEETs.
Narumi was to deliver a leek ramen (not exactly ‘ramen’ since all it really had was leek). The recipient was only a few flights of stairs away from where the group was earlier. The one who placed the order, was a girl named Alice, who, not only proclaims that she is a NEET as well, but a NEET detective, solving cases within the confines of her fully air-conditioned room filled with monitors. Without a moment’s notice, Narumi finds himself involved with the turn of events.
For those who are familiar with DRRR!!, you’ll get a familiar vibe here. To be specific, Narumi’s opening lines, as well as the random mix of characters. Among those who I have not mentioned is a gang leader by the name of Hinamori “The Fourth” Souichiro, and Minli “Min” Huang, a graduate chef specializing in confectionery as well as being Hanamaru’s owner. The improbability of these characters to not only know each other, but help each other out as well, is truly fun to watch.
That aside, Alice, being a NEET detective, shows a rather modern way of detective work. Utilizing the capabilities of computers and the Internet, her information gathering abilities are impressive. The group of NEETs mentioned earlier, all follow Alice’s orders, be it, tailing a suspect or gathering information that is inaccessible to her. This gives it a rather real process of getting solid information.
As for the mysteries, well, for now, they’re okay. Not that extravagant, but not really predictable as well. Comparing them to Detective Conan’s mysteries is in itself a crime already, so I’ll use Gosick as an example. Gosick’s pacing of the mysteries would make an average of three maybe four episodes, all the while flushing out every detail that might have been left out, and sealing the deal with Victorique’s “Wellspring of Wisdom”. KamiMemo on the other hand, follows the traditional flow of solving crimes, which is, in my opinion, better.
One thing about this series that could make it a deal breaker for me, is the fan-service. For the most part, it is harmless, but knowing J.C. Staff, it is also unavoidable. I just hope they don’t go overboard in selling Alice as the new face of moe.
Aside from that, KamiMemo has the potential to become good, however, looking at the other Summer 2011 titles, it needs to pick up it’s pace a little. This is definitely a title you should follow, especially if you like crime-solving and mystery.