This is review number seventy five. It’s once again part of the Summer 2011 anime. I actually already seen this anime and I rewatched it again. I like the anime but it took me awhile to understand why. Anyways, the anime is Kamisama no Memochou or God’s Memo Pad. I’m not really sure what is up with the title and I’m too lazy to read between the obscure lines.
The anime is twelve episodes and the first episode is actually forty five minutes long. Wow, it must’ve been pretty hyped. Does the anime meet the hype though? Let’s read on.
The anime is about Narumi Fujishima, a normal high school kid who recently moved to Tokyo. He’s a bit detached and keeps to himself. He always believes that he’s just a nobody and he has come to terms with that fact. One day, a girl named Ayaka Shinozaki invites him to join the school’s Gardening Club. She also introduced him to Alice, a NEET detective. Alice is a shut in girl who surrounds herself with technology. She’s super insightful and she can solve any case presented to her as long as someone makes a request. Alice has decided to make Narumi his assistant. Narumi is then plunged into the other side of Tokyo where shady dealings is something normal. More importantly, it seems that Narumi is no longer a normal high school kid.
Taking the Pants Off
God’s Memo Pad is an interesting show. No doubt you’ll enjoy but it’s a bit hard to pin point why. At first I thought it’d be like Go Sick where a boy would be interested with this cute girl who happens to be a detective. This girl would be a bit tsun tsun and a bit dere dere when interacting with the boy but she is also very smart being able to solve mysteries using her delicious brain. The elements for that kind of show are present here. We have a normal boy willing to entertain all of the cute girl’s whim. We have a girl who is a bit cold and mean but deep down she is actually a vulnerable sheep that needs cuddling. There are also certain cases both of them are involved with and they solve it together. It’s Go Sick 2.0 at mere glance. It’s actually not. Go Sick is about a smart girl who solves cases with a boy looking after her. God’s Memo Pad is more simplistic. It’s just about the boy. Now the premise may have you convinced it’s about the willing boy and the smart girl but as you progress you can easily point out certain elements that seems a bit off.
First of all, the anime had a premise about the NEET detective agency. A rather redundant term for sure. NEETs are people who have no job and have no plans to look for one. They’re one of the problems of a growing nation. They’re lazy bums leeching off their relatives. So the idea of a NEET detective is redundant. A detective is an occupation or a job. Anyways, the anime built the premise around that. It’s where audience will get the impression of Go-Sick. The same premise of this normal boy seemingly attached to this little cute girl. Actually, Alice and Victorique have the same personality. They’re both tsundere, they like to be alone, Alice surrounds herself with computers while Victorique loves being around books, they’re both small and they’re both cute. You’ll get the impression that God’s Memo Pad is Go Sick set in modern times. It’s not.
The anime isn’t about the dynamic duo of Alice and Narumi. The anime is just about Narumi. Alice, like it or not, is just a side character. The anime predominantly revolves around Narumi. You may think not but majority of the events in the anime has Narumi in it. Narumi is the person who talked to the prostitute girl in episode one. Narumi is the person who comforts the little Taiwanese girl in the second arc. Narumi is the guy who got involved between the two gang members in the third arc. Narumi is the guy who discovered the drug dealings in the last arc. Narumi Narumi Narumi. The anime revolves around Narumi. The anime actually doesn’t have a sub plots for the rest of the characters. It has a simple formula to follow. Narumi gets involved, Narumi drags Alice to investigate then Narumi watches the dramatic conclusion. I think the anime was riding the Go-Sick high back when it first aired. Go-Sick was a huge hit back when it aired and JC Staff decided to get a bit of the high when they released this anime. Unfortunately, the loli detective high is short lived. I’m itching for a comeback but we’ll have to wait and see.
The anime isn’t about the NEET detective agency. It’s about Narumi being a part of the NEET detective agency. The anime is divided into arcs. Some of them consume one episode but others take up three episodes. I counted six different arcs in the anime. The stories in the arc are pretty interesting because it’s character driven. The characters in the anime move the arcs along and they help thicken up the plot. Both main and side characters make the arcs interesting. It’s a very effective way of making the story more intriguing because the arcs are pretty plain. The main story of the arcs doesn’t really grab your attention and the pacing is too predictable. It doesn’t take that much effort to guess the twists in the arcs because the bits and pieces of the mystery are already presented halfway to the story. All you need to do is connect the pieces and you’d eventually get the whole picture. It’s a bummer too because the characters really convinces you how big the situation is but you spoil yourself too easily. The predictable story isn’t that big of a crime though because the characters are still there to make the save.
There is no shortage of interesting characters in this anime. They all have unique personalities and they all have a certain role in the anime. They are pretty bound by the story though but it is pretty nice when they appear and interact with each other. I particularly love the childish interactions of Alice and Narumi. Alice seems to be a bit two faced at times. When she is serious, you can see the sternness in her face and the maturity in her eyes. Even when she is clad in a traditional kimino resembling a Japanese doll holding a giant teddy bear, she still acts pretty mature for her age. When she is with Narumi though, she goes all tsundere. The way she blush, the way she hides behind her teddy bear and the way she tries to hide her fondness for Narumi is too f*cking cute. The rest of the cast is pretty memorable. They are a bit generic but it’s all good. Even the characters that only appear on their respective arcs are pretty nice. Since the story is pretty predictable then the characters do a lot of heavy lifting to make the anime interesting.
I do have one problem with the character dynamic though. The anime is too focused on Narumi. Majority of the scenes in the anime has Narumi in it so some minor characters would only appear when Narumi approaches them. That applies to Alice as well. Most of the buildup involves Narumi but Alice would only be introduced to the story when Narumi asks for her help. Narumi unknowingly controls the anime which is pretty annoying. Since there are no sub plots then we are to follow Narumi along. It often gets ridiculous at times. Like in the first episode, Narumi appears and the NEET detective agency has seemed to accept him with no hesitation. Alice would suddenly just appoint him her assistant with no explanation other than the fact that she likes him. It’s all too convenient at times and it doesn’t sit well with me. I even call bullsh*t when this gang leader formed a pact with him. Why? Is Narumi a dragon or something? Why is he so important that all the arcs need to involve him? Can’t the anime focus at least one episode on a supporting character? In fact, some character development wouldn’t even happen without Narumi around. We never would’ve find out one of Alice’s NEET friend is a former boxer if he never saved Narumi. It’s ridiculous.
You are able to ignore the Narumi centered story because he is often over shadowed by the rest of the cast. Narumi seems to have a minor role on some of the arcs. He’s just a concerned friend, or an onlooker intervening on the situation. There is some pretty nice character development here but Narumi doesn’t get one. So you don’t really feel his presence even though he is the device that moves the story along. Some of the characters get some pretty nice fleshing out though especially when they are involved in the arc.
The anime is pretty decent. It has strong characters, a nice pacing to a predictable story and a nice animation. It could’ve been better though. The anime has enough elements to interest you but it doesn’t have enough to keep you watching. It was decent. You have to enjoy what it offers and not overthink it at times. Being decent is good but I think being amazing is much better.
Sight and Sound
The character design is the first thing that will grab your attention. Actually, Alice will grab your attention. This short girl with long hair that reaches her legs wearing her pajamas holding her teddy bear is too cute to ignore. The close up of her face is pretty nice too featuring her big bug eyes colored blue. Her moe appeal is very nice. The rest of the characters are alright. They are all pretty memorable from the way they act to the way they dress. Some are a bit eccentric and some are just your typical supporting character. The production value does make them more amazing. JC Staff never holds back on making interesting characters look more interesting.
The animation is pretty nice as well. The facial expression is the stand out. Of course, Alice is the best example here too. The way her face goes from serious to helpless to cute to serious again is pretty nice. There were very little action scenes in the anime but they are nice as well. The baseball episode is probably where most of the characters did all their movements. It was good enough to make you focus on the story.
There is some CG in the cars and the trains. JC Staff do that all the time so it’s not really that surprising. The CG was much nicer though. It complemented the background of the anime at times so you often don’t recognize the stiff CG.
The background is nice as well. The anime is set on an urban jungle. I love the ramen shop because in the background, you often see piles of junk and trash that gives you an impression of a busy city. Alice’s room is also really nice. It’s a perfect NEET living quarters but a loli is shacking up in there instead.
The opening song is great as well. Kawaru Mirai by Choucho fits the anime nicely. Her voice is really nice as the song starts out slow, picks up pace then hits a nice chorus. The song nicely reflects the mystery appeal of the anime. It’s not really a strong genre in the anime but it is present there. The opening sequence introduces all the characters and there are no spoilers. It opens with the characters moving along the city and it nicely establishes the anime’s appeal. I don’t understand why Alice shed a tear though.
The ending song is Asunaro by Kenichi Suzumura. It’s a nice song and Kenichi’s voice is really great. The ending sequence features Alice and Narumi. It has a nice theme of discovery and I think it pulls strength from all the philosophical talk Alice does but I often block them.
6/10 “It’s a great anime but it clearly could’ve been better.”
Like I said before, the anime is decent. The story is nice but predictable. The characters save the anime though but a mystery anime should pull strength from its mystery elements not from the character interactions. It’s a big swing and a miss for me but I’d still recommend it. Alice might cry if I didn’t. 😄