A major theme of the past half year was fooling the viewer, and the uncrowned king (or queen in this case) of this theme definitely is Nijuu Mensou no Musume. In this series, Studio Bones tells about a twelve-year old girl, who gets adopted by a glamorous and world-famous thief, in the period of right after the second world war. That leads you to expect that this is going to be some sort of thief-series, where Chiko and Nijuu Mensou (the girl and the thief) spend most of its time to steal a number of precious artefacts. Well, no.
I refuse to spoil what’s exactly going to happen, but expect a lot of points where the storyline in this series will just take 180 degree turns as the series progresses. This is really one series that keeps you guessing, and wondering where the characters will go next. And that’s the charm of this series for me.
To accompany the storyline, the series also has a number of very solid characters. Chiko works really well as a female lead: she’s smart and composed, although in the first few episodes, she does lean awfully close to a Mary-Sue. Thankfully, as the series progresses, she develops away from that trope. The side-characters are also excellent, though there are a few oddballs among them. Characters as Ken and Haruka never really can seem to find their place in this series.
Unfortunately, as this series enters its final third, its quality decreases dramatically. Up till that point, the series had been wonderfully unpredictable, and then it decides to close off with a drawn-out rip off of one of its earlier arcs, and a final antagonist who just lacks development for the big role he’s supposed to have, turning him into another one of those villains that are evil because they’re evil. The development in this arc pretty much stagnates, a few deus ex machina pop up here and there, it takes several episodes to do something that could just have been done in one, the final climax is a string of clichés, and overall it just took the potential this series had and threw it away.
Because of that, I just can’t label this as a great series, since it could have been so much better if a bit more time was spent to tweak that final arc. What could have been a masterpiece went rather downhill during its finale. Because of that, Nijuu Mensou no Musume still is a good series, but nowhere near the best of the season.