This is review number three hundred and thirty one. This anime is part of the Fall 2010 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is called Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. It’s a twelve episode anime about loli detectives. Oh gawd, shoot me now. It’s too late though, this review is already done so f*ck this world. Seriously, loli detectives? Oh wait, it’s more to it than that? Really? Let’s read on.
This anime is about a bunch of cute girls in detective outfits called Milky Holmes. They’re a group of elite detectives that fight phantom thieves with their super powers called Toys. For no good reason though, the girls lost their powers and the respect of everyone as well. The student council president now takes all their special privledges, and gave them an ultimatum that they’ll be expelled if they don’t shape up. For a bunch of pampered girls over reliant on their powers, it’s going to be tough. Worry not, since Milky Holmes doesn’t know the word shame and defeat so they’ll be alright.
Taking the Pants Off
Ok, so I’ve mostly been swinging between two lineups for a while now. I’ve learned last year when all my energy is spent in the Spring 2014 lineup. It ultimately killed me, so I decided to play around in two lineups. For Winter 2014, I mostly go in blind because it’s fun that way. For Fall 2010 though, I setup a poll where you freaks can tell me what to review. Yosuga no Sora is the next one, and I am pretty f*cking excited until someone spammed the polls. Nope TPAB, you’re reviewing this anime instead and my motivation is a bit shut for this one. For gawdsakes, what the hell is this? Tantei Opera Milky Holmes makes me cringe just by saying the title out loud. The idea of moe characters solving crimes just doesn’t sound fun, and it’s a bit retarded. The title poster of the characters in their detective uniforms just makes me want to quit life altogether. I mean really, I was geared up for incest that’ll send me straight to hell from what I gather about Yosuga no Sora, so I really wasn’t in the mood for moe detectives at this point. I watched the first episode though, and the first minutes featured a girl lifting a crane battling a guy with the sword. Woah, okay, there’s something different here. As it turns out, this is not a detective anime. Thank f*cking pickachu, moe detectives just sound dumb but I can already tell a four panel manga is exploiting that idea. This anime is actually a comedy about a bunch of cute girls, and they all have special powers called Toys. In the first minutes of the show though, they lost their power and the rest of the series focuses on the girls trying to reclaim their lost abilities. It’s a doable plot, but things kinda got out of control the more you progress in the anime. Oh, here, I have pictures because I’d rather spam this post with screenshots that actually do a review:
You like what you see? As you can see, it’s a slapstick comedy about cute girls but there is also a touch of perversion and a case of total randomness. Instead of loli detectives, we have super powered loli detectives that doesn’t do any loli mystery solving at all. This is one of those bait and switch shows where the goal is to get you to watch out of curiosity, and then it just drags you inside the closet and assaults you. I actually don’t mind the premise, because it’s better than loli detectives but the problem is the comedy genre. Comedy is fickle, and things I find funny might not work for some people. This is the case for Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. It’s a funny show, but the jokes might not work at all for some people. It didn’t for me, because I’m a fan of story and this anime just craps on that concept. Instead of a story, it has random sh*t and adult humor in the guise of a harmless moe show. It’s actually brilliant, but it’s also not for everyone. The kind of humor this show has can only be appreciated by people with short attention spans, but also those that love strong irony. I’ll explain in the following paragraphs, but I’d like to stress that I really want to strangle whoever spammed the polls and made me sit through this instead of Yosuga no Sora. I hope a yandere gouges your eye out and play with it like a yarn ball.
So the show is about four girls that lost their powers while fighting a phantom thief group. In a freak incident, they lost their powers and they also lost their status as renowned heroes. They were once adored by all, but they’re useless now that they lost their powers. The student council president now tells them they have three months to get their powers back, and if they don’t then they’ll be expelled from the school. It’s a school about people with super powers trying to be detectives, so they can hunt down phantom thieves and it has no place for powerless losers. The series now follows the girls trying to adjust to their new life, struggling without their powers, sucking at life in general and a bunch of self-contained nonsense per episode. Let’s talk about the plot points of the anime, but remember this anime doesn’t have a main story and it’s erratic. The comedy is fast paced and the nonsense is a bit hard to follow. Every episode has a focus though, and the show draws strength from that.
Anyways, the first plot point is about the characters adjusting to their new life. In school, they’ve been dealt a bad hand because they lost their privileged life style and people now look down on them. Their classmates mock them and, try as they might, they just can’t do anything right without their powers. They’ve relied on it for too much, and they can no longer function properly without. This first plot point features the girls just living a miserable life eating potatoes for lunch, sleeping in the attic of the school in one bed and getting in trouble because they’re just inept individuals who don’t function properly in society. Despite this though, the girls still have a wonderful outlook on life and they still act cute in their dire situation. The gag of the first plot point is basically the girls acting shamelessly for food and other things, while they keep up their moe girl’s façade. They’d fight over a potatoes, blame each other for being stupid and just doing unsavory things for their own selfish sakes. They’re moe characters that don’t act like moe characters. I’ll explain that later on, but this is one of the goals of the show. It creates cute innocent characters, and then forces the audience to turn against them. When Cordelia is locked up, the other girls didn’t care about her and just kept playing with their cat. When Herc kept reminding the girls to study for the test, she was blamed for not reminding them loud enough when they f*cking failed. When they were locked up in jail, they were kept quiet because it rained bananas in their cell. They’re horrible people with cute and fluffy exteriors, and it’s a running joke of the anime. It’s a hard one to pick up as well because the show runs on random, but it’s a smart gag in the guise of a retarded concept. It’s like Inception only it’s stupider.
The second plot point is about the characters trying to regain their powers. There’s really no big plan here, since the girls just do anything to get their powers back. It’s mostly about one of the loli police girls tricking them into doing something stupid like stuffing themselves inside a freezer, and they wholeheartedly believe her because they’re idiots. The second plot point mostly focuses on the gullible nature of the characters literally doing anything to get their powers back. They’re that desperate and it’s pretty gawd damn sad. Most of the time, the girls will also insist on getting into trouble and believing that their powers will come back. Despite losing their powers, the girls will still try their best confronting phantom thieves, which has fully functioning super powers, and they’ll pray their powers comeback but to no avail. It’s sad, really, because their outpouring optimism is met with a harsh dose of reality. It even comes to a point where you want the girls to win at least one battle, and it gets more painful the more the show denies them of this chance. Sure, the girls often get their powers back one time but most of the time, their faces are down on the dirt. People call them useless, they’re ridiculed to no end and their own lack of restraint gets them into trouble. It’s pretty painful seeing optimistic cute characters getting treated like lowlifes in a more than real world setting…and that’s the f*cking joke.
Alright, I’d just like to say that I hate this anime and may it rot in hell forever. Now, this anime may operate on a random erratic pace plagued with little logic and some perversion here and there, but it’s also a commentary on one specific idea: cute girls. The moe craze that sweeped the anime industry is given a gentle commentary in this anime. Think about it, what do cute girls in cute shows? They act cute, they say uplifting positive things like the power of friendship can heal the world, and they think like naïve children because it’s fun to watch. Tantei Opera Milky Holmes takes this concept, and handily slaps it in the face. Bottom line, cute girls in cute shows are absolutely useless. They don’t contribute anything useful, and they come off as retarded. Seriously, have you seen K-on? Anyone who isn’t hypnotized by Azusa in cat ears will know that the girls barely do anything meaningful in the gawddamn life, and the show rewards them for it. This is not the case for Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. All the brimming positivity the cute girls possess means nothing in this real life setting. All their hoping that their powers would return is rewarded with failure. With only their cute features to fall back on, the girls are now treated like worthless slugs because they don’t do anything useful in their life. In fact, they mostly do cute girl things like saying and doing adorable things and getting caught up in cute situations even if the plot calls for them to be serious. When they’re given a chance to study for the exams, they just fooled around and ate because f*ck exams. If this is K-on, then Yui would’ve mastered a guitar riff even though she never practiced and she just did beach stuff in the episode. You see, the episode reward things for Yui without her even trying and this is the same mentality the girls of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes has, but they get nothing for it. All the harsh things they’ve endured are something they brought upon themselves, because they never take things seriously. Cute girl logic dictate that they just act like kittens, so it’s absolutely hilarious seeing them punished for it in often the silliest and sometimes the harshest way possible. Yeah, the inception idea works great in this anime. It starts out as a bait and switch anime, and then it acted like a comedy show with ADHD but it’s actually a smart commentary about moe in general hidden deep deep down the cracks. It’s actually easier to appreciate the show’s staleness because of this one element, but the craziness doesn’t stop there.
Once the show has established itself as a moe show, it tries its best to sh*t on that concept. What usually happens in a moe show? Think back to K-on. It’s usually just girls doing cute things, and nothing else. Everything is pretty PG by moe standards, and there is hardly any action in it. It’s all about flowers and love and friendship, nothing more. Once Tantei Opera Milky Holmes established itself as a cute show, it tries to cram a lot of non moe things into it. Action is one standout, because the show opened with a cute girl fighting a man with a sword. It catches you off guard and pleasantly surprises you. Once the action is established though, the show turns comedic with no real purpose. Once the comedy is established, it then goes pervy on us. Case in point, there’s a male character with exaggeratedly erect nipples. This character now forces himself upon the cute girls, and a lot of pervy things are actually done by male characters. The exception is the beach episode, which is crammed with nudity, but for the most part the innocent characters are subjected to perverted things. Yes, this is also a gawddamn commentary as well. Quick, who likes innocent characters acting in innocent shows? If you say kids, then no cookie for you. These shows appeal greatly to grown men, and they’re mostly attracted to these innocent characters because of other things. So the perversion in the show isn’t a random gag, as it appears to be, but the entire show is a commentary and a wonderful middle finger to the moe cocept. I think not a lot of people got the joke though, and the creators are banking on that fact. They wanted to enjoy the irony of it all, and that’s even funnier than cute girls getting slapped around by big bears.
Of course, with the main appeal of the show hidden beneath the folds, the show actually serves you a lot of nonsense. It lacks story, so it relies heavily on the random jokes it constantly belts out in every episode. This is the main weakness of the anime. The comedy isn’t all that good, and the decent ones often becomes tiring the more it is recycled by the show. While the episodes have a self-contained plot, it only gives the show a fresh look but then you realize it’s the same old sh*t reused over and over. The main characters acting dumb, getting mistreated and the random perverted scenes all make up the show, and it got boring towards the second half. There’s very little development on the angle about their powers, and the characters don’t really care if they ever gets it back. Since the show is designed to force the audience to hate the cute girls as well, the entire structure of the anime is just too hard to watch, let alone enjoy. There are random pockets of truly funny moments, but that’s rare in this anime. Of course, if you enjoy cute girls acting stupid and being subjected to bondage then the jokes might work for you. It doesn’t for me, because I’m just not into that kind of thing. This is the problem with Comedy anime, it’s very subjective and jokes work on a personal level. It’s the same with rape jokes not being funny to most people, or how my constant mention of watching an incest anime comes off as funny for some and just weird for others. I’m guessing most of you didn’t realize I was joking though, so haha? I know there are some handfuls that’ll enjoy the comedy of this anime though. The random style, and the fast paced nonsense works well since it’s paired up with slapstick cartoonish humor as well. There is a recurring gag where a loli police hits Sherlock with a mask for speaking dumb things. It’s funny in context, but I bet it’ll be hilarious for some people.
The comedy is pretty forgivable though, if you focus on the commentary of the anime. To provide one more layer of commentary, this anime also sh*t on typical shoujo anime. I’m talking about shows like Princess Tutu, Sailormoon and Kaleidostar that just spews out very feminine message, and the main point is to attract girls into watching anime. The themes are very “girly”, forgive the term, and it thrives on melodrama that’ll get any preteen hooked on it. The early shoujo shows are like soap operas for middle schoolers, but it evolved into something more decent as years go by. Those early melodrama shows are poked fun of by this anime as well. Certain self-contained episodes have characters acting like they’re in those shoujo anime. They’ll do dramatic monologues, they’ll enter in an extravagant manner and they cry over simple things. This is met with utter disdain by the show. Characters doing monologues are laughed at, characters crying are laughed at, and extravagant people are met with disapproving reactions. The anime also rips on certain shoujo art styles to emphasize certain scenes, and this anime is really just taking sh*t over everything, and it got away with it because it’s remarkably smart. Seriously, all the commentary is incorporated with the random pace so it’s not really given any second thought. Hell, I might even be reading too much into it, but f*ck it, I’m running with my impression of the show.
The characters are a great standout for this anime, and they’re the ones that made me power through the repetitive structure of this anime. The main characters are the girls of Milky Holmes. They’re four girls who lost their powers, and they’re living in hell ever since. Despite the comedy being a bit stale, I did find the characters likeable to a degree because their interaction helped brighten up the show. I also love how each one has a different personality that adds something unique to the dynamic of the show. There is Sherlock Shellingford, the sort of leader of the group. In terms of the story, she’s the one who’s always hyped to get her powers back but the show keeps slapping her in the face. That’s not a smart metaphor. Sherlock is often the one taking all the physical punishment just to create jokes. The main reason is because she’s also the one that’s just brimming with positivity. “Everyone, I know deep down in our hearts our powers will return so let’s all keep hoping!” is the stuff she usually say, and the show rewards her bright attitude with a lot of sh*t. She’s unfazed by all of it though. It’s not that she shrugs it off, but her character is just optimistic by default and it makes her retarded in that fashion. Even if she somehow gets you to root for her, the show finds a way to make all her efforts worthless. Her positivity would often rub off on others who’ll believe her positive spiel, but then they be mauled by a bear for believing her. It’s uncanny how great of a character she is. It often becomes a focal point of the show to just marvel at how overly positive this girl is, despite being treated like an absolute thrash. The rest of Milky Holmes has a few quirky sides to them as well. Cordelia is the feminine girl that dreams of flowery things, and then the show gives her utter crap and you can actually see her sanity slowly fade away. It’s a knock on gentle shoujo characters turning brute because life just isn’t a f*cking Shoujo anime. The flowers on her hair piss me off, but the way the show treats her unfairly makes me sad though. Sadly, that’s the joke. Characters that hide behind a façade are often the most brute characters around.
Then there’s Herule Burton. She’s the timid cute girl that doesn’t really do much in the show. Her appeal is that she gets the dirty jokes, while the rest of the cast is oblivious to them. A good example is when this character named Mary started touching men in their “perverted spots” because that’s her power. Nothing is shown except the look of the poor men after they’ve been molested but Herc knew. Since she’s timid, she just blushes at it. It’s a knock that cute girls are too gawd damn innocent, but not Herc and her reactions so golden even if the dirty jokes fly over your head, realizing Herc saw it all is priceless. Lastly, there’s Nero Yuzurizaki who is probably the least likeable girl in the group. She’s as lazy as the rest, but she would often point blame at others when things go bad. She’s selfish and dumb, which gets irritating at times. That’s the joke though, since cute girls are useless, seeing her point blame towards others is just so annoying to watch. The group would often break down because Nero would stir the pot in the most selfish way. If it wasn’t for the comedy, tolerating Nero is near impossible for me. That’s how great of a character she is. I feel like I should write a paper about this show, but I’ll give it up for some incest anime right now.
The rest of the cast are all one dimensional as our heroines, and the male characters are the best thing in the show so I’ll leave their awesomeness to people that does pick up the show. You won’t miss Kai, since his erect nipples will haunt you forever. I’d like to talk about Henriette Mystere for now. She is probably the most normal functioning character in this show, since she takes the plot seriously. She’s the student council president, but she’s also the adversary of Milky Holmes known as the Phantom Thief Arsene. When Milky Holmes lost their powers, she lost a piece of the thrill of stealing treasures so she tries to help them gain their powers back. She’ll motivate them, be a serious devil’s advocate and even prod the girls into action. Sadly, Milky Holmes are just cute girls. They never got into action, and it got sad seeing Henriette do her darnest to a bunch of ungrateful assh*les. She acts like a true villain in a clichéd action anime who’ll taunt the characters, and she knew the right amount of prodding will get them motivated. She would put hope in Milky Holmes, but they’ll just crap all over it. They barely try to get their powers back, they literally relied on Deus Ex machine to save them on many occasions and Henriette’s well thought plan is often just met with indifference. I love her, because I understand her position as the main villain of the show but I also feel bad for her. She is up against a bunch of useless girls, and her efforts are just sad to watch. She’s all cool and magnificent that it’s sad seeing her push Milky Holmes into getting their powers back.
This is one hell of an anime. I know a lot of people might be thinking I’m reading too much into a stupid comedy anime, but I’ve seen a lot of sh*t to know this anime is more than it appears to be. It’s a shame I’m five years late into the party though, but I do hope it help shed a light on this stupid anime. This show is directed by Makoto Moriwaki, and I’ve never heard of her. She made some Doraemon movie or something, and most of her notable works are old ones done in the 80s. Her recent work before Milky Holmes is PriPara, and it’s a moe heavy anime about idol girls. Holy sh*t, it’s still airing? She worked on a lot of Shoujo shows, so I think she did provide some charm to this anime. I bet it’s just pooped on by the writer though, Kazuyuki Fudeyasu. This guy is a monster who has done series compositions for a lot of shows, and wrote scripts for even more shows. His MAL page is awesome as his works range from good to terrible but enjoyable ones. Ben To, Gochuumon, Hajime no Ippo, f*cking Hetalia, Kampfer, and Yama no Susume are among his notable works. He had his hands on a lot of cute sh*t, a lot of awesome sh*t and a lot of dirty sh*t so it’s no surprise Tantei Opera Milky Holmes masters the art of bait and switch and subtle commentaries. This guy should just stop d*cking around and start making movies. He’ll be a legend in no time, I can guarantee that. Its weird JC Staff made this anime. It’s like a precursor to what they’re doing today, but they’re playing it safe with this one. If this show has gone main stream then JC Staff would’ve turned dark and gritty as early as 2012. This is their other work though, because Bakuman is their centerpiece for this season and that series got them a solid following. I bet they just waited for the Bakuman well to dry up before they reconsider the insanity that is Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. It’s the same thing I bet Shaft is doing for the monogatari series. Once it stops being a cash cow then they’ll drop Akiyuki Shinbo and do something crazy. Oh gawd, I can only dream.
Sight and Sound
The character design in this show is pretty solid. This is the main reason why the cute girl effect is so amazing, because the design just screams saccharine. Natsuki Tanihara is a genius because he is able to capture the sickening cute aspects of a moe girl, and exaggerate the hell out of it. He adds small details like flowers in the hair, characters eating lollipops, and adorable detective outfits for our main characters. The appeal isn’t just about cute girls though, because they all have curvy bodies to them as well hiding beneath their baggy clothes. The idea of bugged eyed freaks wonderfully applies in the characters though, and their child-like innocent is spot on. Natsuki also maintains a beautiful facial design though, and it reflects his years doing video game designs like DC Da Capo. The serious eyes coupled by the neat hair design give the faces a very wonderful style to them while also maintaining the innocence of the characters. They’re like kinder garden kids in cosplay, but a lot more attractive to watch. I think that last line got way out of bounds, but you get the idea. His range is pretty big though, because he also designed the male characters. They all possess strong shounen features, and they look enough to really standout in this moe filled show. The outfits are pretty cool as well, since they all look unique in their own way. While it does seem a bit bland, it does work within the context of the show. I also love Arsene’s outfit because it’s fan service in a show about cute girls.
The animation is outstanding. It is fast paced, but the frame rate is high and the movements are solid. The insane movements might make it hard to follow, but every random outburst and cartoonish actions are all very well animated. From the facial expressions to the slapstick comedy, the animation is able to bring out the beauty of the show. Every blush, physical comedy and serious facial reactions are beautifully animated that it keeps you drawn in despite the stupid premise of the show. The action scenes are nicely presented, the shoujo elements and references are spot on, and the cute girl appeal is strong. It’s very very strong. While the color palette does give the show a washed out look, I do believe it’s intentional and it’s an old anime. The HD thing wasn’t cool back in 2010, and this is the norm for animation. It’s another part of the bait and switch though, because it keeps expectations low while it belts out strong animation scenes. The show also employed smart camera angles in certain scenes, but also holds itself back repeating certain scenes over and over. It wants to look underwhelming despite the amount of effort actually put into it.
The anime’s OP is”Seikai wa Hitotsu! Janai!!” by Milky Holmes. It’s sung by the main characters, and it’s a very cute song. It’s also pretty damn catchy, but the lyrics are pretty inspired. It’s about a bunch of nonsense by the loli detectives, and it’s pretty much just cute words and wide eyed enthusiasm in the lyrics. It basically means nothing, but it does confirm the stupid commentary of the show. The song is cute and fun to listen to, but the lyrics are pretty dumb. There are lines like ” Let’s catch happiness (together)! Always go go with our powerful instincts!” that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s cute so it’s all good. The OP sequence features all the characters, from Milky Holmes to the loli police, and random shots of the characters being cute. It basically captures the spirit of the show, so watch it if you’re unsure about the anime. Of course, the retarded comedy isn’t in the OP, and it does mislead you into watching the show. That’s on purpose though, so I hope the Op does bait you into watching the series. The anime’s ED is “Honnou no Doubt” by Faylan. It’s a super serious song that feels out of place in the show, but it does capture the Shoujo elements of the anime. The style is heavy serious while it captures the femme fetale aura of the show, but the ED screws it up because it has the loli girls in swimsuits. I dunno, it’s weird.
6/10 “The comedy is good, but what lies beneath is even more entertaining.”
As I said, the comedy genre is fickle so not a lot of people will appreciate this anime. Still, I think there’s a different side to this anime, and I think only a few noticed it. I’d like to think there’s a lot more to this anime, and I actually find it ingenuous how it all happened unnoticed. If you enjoy cheap comedy full of cartoon violence and slapstick humor then you’ll enjoy this anime. If you like cute girls, then you’ll love this anime. If you like shows that constantly disappoint you, then you’ll like this anime as well you weird bastard.