Ranpo Kitan: Game Of Laplace – 02 Review
Sure, there are some special agents like James Bond who have a license to kill and then there are guys like this one who have a license to not have to go to school…
This time I review:
Ranpo Kitan 02: Girly boy sets up a trap for a killer while enticing his boyfriend. And… the killer falls for the trap. The police are right there as well for an applause-break (it’s the most active they’ve been during this investigation).
You heard it here first: Women want to be objectified!
At the end of this episode, the girly boy asks the genius-boy-detective whether he had passed his test and the boy-detective responds: „Just barely.“ He’s right, of course, as the mystery was as sloppily presented as it was resolved – and a bunch of people stood around to witness it. That’s what essentially happens in this first short arc of characters mostly acting stupidly, so that our main-character could have his moments of brilliance.
What’s immediately striking about these first two episodes is that this is one of those genius-detective-series where the police are complete idiots. Seriously, the police always have been at least one step behind in these first two episodes. Worse than that, though, is their incompetence. Mostly shown off by them barely doing anything of importance in these two episodes, the police are more or less just a plot-device or a way to coax more exposition out of the two genius-investigators in this series.
It’s surprising how the series is rightly lampshading the investigative sloppiness of both the police and the girly boy at the end of this episode. After all, if the series knows how bad this investigation and mystery-resolution has been then why not change it, so that the whole thing can be a little more intelligent? A lot of essential stuff you would need for a sound deduction which would organically lead to the solution for the mystery get mostly skipped in this episode as it favors somewhat educated guesses over investigative busywork to procure some hard evidence.
Just think of this scene where the series uses a stylized, shrill way to present the autopsy-report (whose style I really did not like) and then listen to what the characters have to say about it afterwards. What they take away from the autopsy is that the teacher had gotten drugged and then was killed and taken apart after that. Sure, this tells you what must have happened but it’s like the show has never even heard of the role evidence plays in mystery-series with such strong crime-procedural elements. After all, wouldn’t it be important to know where the killer had gotten the drugs from? And where did the saw and other tools come from? And if they had all come from the teacher’s evidence-dungeon, then you naturally assume those two must have been really close. So you try to find out who the people are closest to the teachers and you’ve already gotten a fairly reduced pool of suspects. And the police can do this because it isn’t just one genius-detective.
Of course, the actual killer reveals herself less because of how smart the girly boy is but because she’s really stupid. In theory the whole thing with the phone is a sound idea for a trap to force the killer to do something stupid and reveal herself but in practice it’s just stupid. After all, the new teacher finding the dead teacher’s phone DAYS after the murder had happened in the classroom WHERE THE MURDER HAS HAPPENED (and which was thoroughly investigated by the police, one hopes) is a preposterous idea! Even more so once you start to wonder how the girly boy knew which kind of phone the dead teacher used and if the killer had destroyed the teacher’s phone, she wouldn’t fall for that trap and if she feared that the teacher had a second phone, why wouldn’t she know of this if she was supposed to be very close to the teacher? And if the phone had disappeared, shouldn’t the police immediately have asked the phone-company for the records of what numbers the teacher had called at least? This investigation could’ve been easily solved without some fancy trap.
And the girly boy actually can be accused of obstructing justice for not telling the police immediately how he got called by the dead teacher to meet him there but got knocked out by drugs as soon as he arrived. Because you know what would’ve happened if he had said that immediately? Someone would’ve tested him for that drug and found out that he got drugged the same way as the dead teacher.
Then there’s the whole problem with the girly boy’s theory of how when he arrived the girl had already killed the teacher and then had hidden the teacher and him away, only to come back later and prepare the corpse and put the girly boy’s prints on the weapons. First of all, as I mentioned last time, it’s hard to believe that a 13-year old could prepare the corpse as shown in the first episode and it’s also hard to believe that a13-year-old could carry an adult-body without making some noise (which would attract attention that the killer certainly doesn’t want). Then there’s the fact that leaving a dead body lying around for a couple hours would mean that rigor mortis would set in, so the girl must have put the teacher into the sitting position after she had killed him. Except the whole point of her leaving the boy and dead body behind before coming back was that she didn’t have any time. Also, the corpse must have started to smell which the guards should have noticed. Essentially it’s a miracle the killer didn’t get caught in the act actually.
Sometimes I feel like this series not only has sociopaths in the cast but that the director is sort-of a sociopath for directing voice-actors to downplay outrageous statements like this one. In one moment the series is all about grotesque horror and then it starts to feel like a grotesque comedy as characters seem to lose any sense of reality while evaluating the situation they’ve found themselves in.
The girl’s speech at the end to describe her motivation is also quite the nonsensical affair. It’s one thing for the girl to have an obsessive love-affair with this teacher – but why does she also share the teacher’s schizophrenic need to literally objectify people he loves? And sure, understanding the “rationale” behind the teacher’s actions is one thing but that doesn’t mean a normal person would feel compelled to do the same. And even if she shares the schizophrenia, what’s the point of “immortalizing” her love for the teacher if she doesn’t keep him close like the teacher did with his human chairs? Also, if the point of having human chairs is to preserve your love for them in an object while rendering them immortal as objects of your love, why would she want to present him as a murder-victim and then frame her rival in love for the murder? By that logic she would’ve acknowledged that she had simply murdered her beloved teacher instead of turning him into a human chair as a symbol of her love. The series describes the girl as if she’s just the same as the teacher with her attitude towards those human chairs and their meaning but there’s a big difference between what the girl has done and what the teacher has been doing. Also… isn’t it kinda offensive how the girl is completely on-board with the idea of the teacher having literally objectified women for decades…? And while the teacher is described as someone with a VERY morbid sense of aesthetics, the girl is more or less just the stereotypical scorned woman taking revenge on her former lover.
The series has described the killer as sloppy (which she was) and girly boy barely managed to discover her identity (as the series also rightly points out). But this is a storyline in which also a genius-detective and the police were involved and they… just waited for the girly boy to show off his meager investigative skills. It’s one thing to have a stupid policeforce in a genius-detective-series but it’s another when the series is SO sociopathic that it seemingly loses sight of the fact that this is a series about solving a murder-mystery. A lot of people died in this first arc and all the series cares about is giving girly boy a chance to show off. Also, the nonchalancy with which the girly boy addresses the whole human chair is quite disturbing as it feels like the series wants us to sympathize with this character’s passion for investigating grotesque murder-cases.
You can clearly see the influences of modern crime-procedurals, genius-detective-series and gothic horror here but it all amounts to a very half-baked mystery in these first two episode. In addition to that, it’s always troubling to notice when characters turn into plot-devices and stupidity exists for the sake of plottwists just so that the mystery-plot can stay “exciting”. For all the many modern mystery-elements this show uses you never get the sense that the writers truly understand how to make mystery-stories work. I hope the next arc will be better than this because this first arc has been stupid when it should’ve been insightful and passive when it should’ve shown characters seizing the initiative to do the right thing.
- I guess, the series saw no point in addressing the fact that the human chairs aren’t just grotesque-looking chairs but victims of a horrific crime. Of course, there’s no need to humanize such a horrific crime because then the series would’ve to actually confront its own grotesque point of view in the way it tells this story.
- Also, if you want to see actually great horror-imagery surrounding corpses, the Hannibal TV-series (its 3rd season is currently airing) from Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) is WAY better than this series. And not just the imagery, the characterization, general direction and sense of aesthetics, Hannibal offers a far better version of all of this. So if what this series is trying to do is something you’d like to see addressed in a series, I would certainly recommend the Hannibal TV-series as a more worthwhile option instead of watching this anime.
- Glasses guy and girly boy are really getting it on this episode, don’t they?
- Visually the series does have some neat stuff to offer, although nothing mindblowing. The fantastic stages which underline the explanations and exposition are a nice way to make all this talking seem more exciting. And the whole thing with turning non-relevant characters into colorful shades (while not very original) is a nice way to highlight the important characters in a scene and for murderer-discovery-scenes to heighten the suspense.