Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: Ryoko's Case File (2008)

Ryoko's Case File ~Yakushiji Ryōko no Kaiki Jikenbo~ (2008) is a Japanese supernatural detective series. It is based on a series of light novels written by Tana Yoshiki. It contains 13 episodes.

The story revolves around Ryōko Yakushiji, a brilliant and beautiful superintendent with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. With her mild-mannered subordinate, Junichirō Izumida, the pair investigate seemingly paranormal or supernatural events in criminal cases. As Izumida quickly realizes, Ryoko solves the city's most terrible crimes in her own way. In addition, it seems that otherworldy beings are attracted to Ryoko's presence for unknown reasons.

Ryōko also has a longstanding rivalry with Yukiko Muromachi, another talented investigator from her cohort. In later episodes, she seeks the assistance of JACES security forces personnel and her French personal maids, Lucienne and Marianne, to solve cases before they get out of hand. With tongue-in-cheek comedy that combines science fiction and the police-inspired theme, Ryoko will always fight her way towards justice.

The concept behind Ryoko's characterization was appealing. Ryoko (whom I will refer to as "hot-headed") is stubborn, sassy, and reckless, whereas Izumida ("cold-headed") is logical, reserved, and accomodating. Despite their polar opposite personalities, they work well together as partners. There are some moments of romance (although the feeling is one-sided), but it is never fully developed in the show as it should have. My only criticism is the use of the French maids. Their phrases came across as so tacky that it did not add much relevance to the animation series. The show would have been fine if the maids were Japanese nationals. Furthermore, I wish the show had explored Ryoko's background (why the French theme? why does she have feelings for Izumida? why her fashion obsession?), but there is only so much the producers and screenwriters can tell within 13 episodes. While the episodic adventures were interesting at times, time would have been better spent on developing an evolving arc that explains why Ryoko attracts otherworldly beings around her. The soundtrack music is also upbeat and lovely to listen. Overall, this was a good show to watch on a rainy (i.e., boring) day.

Opening Theme: "Thème Principal" by KATS

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