The Mythical Detective
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok has been on my to-watch list for a while now. I bought the series without knowing what to expect, except for the very basic premise. Although it sounded similar to Detective Conan in that you have a child who really isn’t a child, and a detective agency, I knew that would be where the similarities ended. Detective Conan goes on forever, with focus on the cases and solving them. Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok should present a story to tell, a plot to reveal, and if I’m lucky, I might even see a touch of character development.
The type of series I watch tends to fall into the “magical girl” genre, with exceptions such as Janggeum’s Dream being similar enough in taste, and these all use female singers for the opening and ending theme songs. I can’t even recall any series with a male singer outside of some of Detective Conan‘s themes, and the opening vocals to Cowboy Bebop. Because of this, the opening and ending themes to Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok are a nice change of pace. I don’t so much care for the ending theme, “Believe in Heaven”, sung by Mutsumi Sumiyo, but I find myself very much enjoying the opening theme, “Door to Heaven”, sung by Yamato (does he have a last name here, or is he just “of the band White Bound”?)
I like the use of camera movements. When Mayura went up the stairs in the clock tower, the up and down movement of the scene looks of someone with a video camera recording as they go up the stairs, giving the feel of “you are here, you are in the scene”. And the colors used for scenes are impressive, from the crisp colors of common scenes, to the evening sun shining in through the detective agency window, to the green hues during the final scene against the evil within the doll.
For a first episode, the characters have been well introduced. Loki isn’t an ordinary child. There’s something about him. He has some kind of power. He can sense evil, he can call forth spirits. He doesn’t act like a child, he acts like an adult. His personality isn’t touched on much, but it shows. He is skeptical of things, as with Yamino and the ghost detectors, probably a skepticism due to knowing a thing or two about spirits and evil. He’s softspoken. He’s kind and helpful, offering a hand to Mayura to help her up after she had tripped and fallen.
Now Yamino, there’s an instant favorite. He may have an obsession with the ease and simplicity and convenience of mail order. He’s good-looking, but may hold a hint of nerd or geek to him. He wears glasses, which compliment his face well. He’s dutiful, and wants to help out Loki in any way possible. I look forward to learning how he and Loki came to meet, and to start a detective agency together.
I’ll have to see more of Mayura before I can form an opinion of her. She’s clumsy, that’s for sure. And she can’t read complex kanji names (which the dub replaced with her wondering if the detective would be a weirdo). The question is: will she be the ditzy type, or will there be more to her? Her love for the paranormal must come from her father’s line of work, and wanting to believe what he does is real.
Character names are pronounced smoothly in the English dub, probably to make them easier for viewers to learn and speak the names. Mayura and Yamino are spoken almost as single consonant words due to the flow, rather than as than the three-consonant words that their Japanese pronunciation uses. This isn’t a complaint, only an observation.
The characters’ Japanese and English both voices fit the characters nicely, although Loki’s English voice sounds a little too feminine. I’ll probably comment on voice actors once I’m further into the series.
The designs for the characters are fairly basic. Yamino at times reminds me a little of the design for Autor from Princess Tutu, especially with the shimmer of light on his glasses. Loki stands out enough, but Mayura seems fairly basic. Hopefully she’ll be seen wearing outfits other than her school uniform in later episodes. Also, the use of chibi and chibi-like styles for characters at various points flowed well, never out of place.
The premise for the first episode worked out for me, but there were a few things which didn’t execute so well. The first is the line from one of Mayura’s classmates saying, “There she goes with that ‘strange mystery’ thing again.” If this were a novel, I’d be mumbling something about “show, don’t tell”, and there’s no reason for things to be any different with animation. The way things are, the viewer is already hinted toward Mayura’s behavior immediately before this line is said, then the viewer is clued in completely by observing her throughout the remainder of the episode. Dropping this line of dialogue (or changing it) would do nothing to hurt the script, and might even have improved it.
Second, the old woman telling all about the mansion came as a forced solution. Granted, there wasn’t room for a longer investigation, but she showed up at the right time and told all the information Loki and I needed to piece everything together.
Finally, the woman kept the mistress’s bracelet for the past 20 years, then she handed it off to a child. That’s not very believable in my eyes, unless Loki in some way proved to the woman his ability to use it to dispel an evil she’d have to believe exists in the first place.
I’m also trying to understand the cat. Its purpose as an actor in a play is to get the doll back to the clock tower, so Mayura can find Loki’s detective agency. Otherwise, was the cat a spirit? It couldn’t still be alive after 20 years, so it had to be a spirit watching over the doll. Furthermore, was it a coincidence that Mayura looked like the mistress seen in the painting? Did the cat vanish when the painting, armlet, and doll vanished?
Hopefully later episodes flow a little more smoothly, and don’t resort to a character stepping in, infodumping everything needed to solve the puzzle, then giving a precious item which save the day. I do look forward to upcoming episodes with high hopes and much anticipation.