Posted by psgels on 2 October 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Himitsu ~The Revelation~


This is probably going to be the most difficult review of the past month for me. First of all, it’s always difficult to review your favourite series without delving into plain rambling, but this also isn’t a case where I just sum up the points I loved about it and get things over with. Himitsu is a series with a lot of weaknesses, and yet after Kaiba, it stood out for me as the best series of the past half year.

Let me first get these weaknesses out of the way. Himitsu is basically a crime series, where the main characters try to find the culprit of a crime by looking into the mind of the victims. Its biggest mistake is that can be a bit over-theatrical at times. Its got an excellent soundtrack that can however sound a bit too cheesy when put into practice, and it’s got those nasty tendencies of showing some strange instances of fanservice for the fangirls (why this is considered to be worse than blasphemy, while female fanservice is always praised, I don’t know).

Then there are the issues with the series’ messages. Because it involves policemen who look inside the brains, you’d expect a lot of ethical debates. A series that makes you think about whether or not it’s right to look into the privacy of a deceased. This however, doesn’t turn out to be the case: Himitsu merely just lists a large number of taboos that even Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei didn’t dare to touch, and presents its own views about them, but it doesn’t try to spark any discussion.

So, despite all this, why did I like this series so much? Well, first of all: it just is an excellent mystery-series. Every case keeps you guessing what’s going on. Because in the series, the memory-recovery system is a very advanced technology, people often need to wait a couple of hours before a new piece of the victim’s brains are loaded in the computer. This series is a master in timing its revelations, and keeping the viewer busy and wondering what’s going on.

This also is a very inconsistent series, for the good and the bad. If you liked one case, you can be sure that the next case is going to focus on something completely different. This isn’t exactly good for your expectations, but at the same time it makes the series extremely unpredictable: you’re never going to know what’s going to happen next. You’ll never know what the next episode will focus on. Every episode is different, and focuses on something else, and this makes for a very varied episodic series.
This series is also excellent in the few times it delves into horror. If you thought that Code Geass was shocking, just wait until you see a few particular episodes of this series. Madhouse has always been a production studio with very little censorship, and this series ranks along with Shigurui to their least censored series, making for a few gruesome cases that pop up once in a while and take you by surprise.

And then the characters. They really are a case on their own. For a long time, you’ll be wondering what the series is planning to do with them. Because this is a series that focus mostly on the people that are involved with the case, the actual main characters, the investigating policemen, at first sight seem to be neglected a bit. But as it turns out, the creators knew exactly what they were doing with their characters. Because they moved away from the manga this series is based on, they were able to plan this series exactly for the length of 26 episodes, and they’ve been fleshing out the main cast very subtly throughout the series.

The result is that the cast of this series comes together wonderfully in the final quarter of this series. All of them are developed very subtly, and each of them becomes memorable somehow, and overall they become a lot of fun to watch as they try to solve their cases. The finale of this series forms an excellent conclusion for this series, where this development is used to its full extent.

In terms of graphics, a lot of people may disagree with me, but I absolutely loved them. Madhouse has always had the reputation of straying away from the overly moe or GAR character-designs, and it’s the same here. The character-designs look excellent, and never seem to be trying to be overly cute. Overall, this is one series where the foreground characters and background art really mesh excellently with each other, making sure for some awesome shots.

Overall, it’s really a shame that the subs stopped right before the best episode of the entire series, and Himitsu has definitely been the most underrated series from the spring-season for me. It can be surprisingly intense at times, while surprisingly touching at others, fully tying in with the “fooling the viewer”-theme of the past half year that I’ve mentioned a few times already. It knows very much how to tell a story, got an awesome set of main characters and definitely turned into my favourite series after Kaiba ended.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 9/10

5 Responses

  1. Shippoyasha says:

    DAMN IT I WANT MY SUBS AND I WANT IT NOW.

    If you can recall, I was the guy trying to defend this series when you started to have serious doubts about the morality of the story.

    But the way it just attacks with all these mindgames (pun not intended… or is it?) is just masterful and the show is just stark.

    I’m stuck with raws for the moment but from these reviews and recaps, I think you proved my suspicion that this is one of the most stark and purely interesting shows of the past half year, or hell, the past year.

  2. Russell says:

    I really wanted to see this series after episode 7. It makes me sad when good shows don’t get subbed.

  3. AnimeNerdz says:

    why aren’t they subbing this show :((

  4. YouKai says:

    I just have finished this series yesterday. I was really happy at the beggining (like one year ago?).
    But now I am just shocked. I have read the manga, I was expecting anime being under that. But no. The serie was really enjoyable. I totally like it at the end. Almost cried, almost scream…
    I am rambling… but, this serie was better than other of the same year. Not falling into fanservice only, it HAD a storyline.
    Gomen… i lost track.

  5. zay says:

    just finished this series, took forever to get all subbed!

    this show was great. i think the whole MRI concept(although in real life it prolly would never be this simple) was an excellent original idea.

    the creators were very intelligent with storytelling and characterization – thats prolly one of the best things i liked about this show. we know many dimensions of aoki, amachi, maki etc and what makes them tick.

    BTW that incest thing between aoki and his sister in the beginning still bothers me! lol. thats when i said WTF and got hooked. good thing it didn’t turn out like KOI KAZE.

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  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:37 PM)
    @Emma: no I understood what you meant, I was just pointing it out. The Vietnam War always fascinated me as well.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:33 PM)
    @Emma Vietnam is an interesting example, because not only did they use clever tactics to resist the Americans in the 20th century they used clever tactics to resist the Chinese in the 10th century: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_B%E1%BA%A1ch_%C4%90%E1%BA%B1ng_(938)
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:21 PM)
    Oh and I want to specify that I do understand the old civilizations were different from Vietnam, its just I caught that interesting comment from Vincent earlier.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:19 PM)
    How often and which of these old cultures would have made the best use of biological warfare, now I’m not saying that in the modern sense, but rather the sending diseased corpses/people back to the enemy to spread disease variety.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:08 PM)
    @Ninja: All hail Halliburton, The Federal Reserve and the 33 degrees.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:06 PM)
    And I don’t mean primitive in a demeaning way, I’m fascinated by their culture, but am strictly speaking from a practical, industrial perspective.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:05 PM)
    It is important to note that technology isn’t just military, it also factors to medicine (which is the difference of life and death for your troops), agricultural (to have food to sustain the campaign) as well as many other facets. The Vietnamese were in no way as primitive of a society as the mesoamericans tended to be at the time of the Spanish conquests.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:05 PM)
    @Emma Not just black gold, but red gold. and by that I mean that the blood of Middle Eastern Civilians and American Soldiers has been worth billions of dollars in defense industry contracts to companies like Halliburton, which, by the way, was also founded by one of the major architects of the Iraq War. I don’t mean that to imply that anyone individual schemed to profit from death, but it does illustrate the sinister ecopolitical motives that existed.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:03 PM)
    @Bam: Many would be content to give the troops just the quick motivational speech =<
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 24. 2014 11:00 PM)
    The point I’m getting at that, the intellect of an army can potentially whatever the military might that army personally has could potentially defeat a greater force.

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