Posted by psgels on 29 October 2008 with categories: Mouryou no Hako

Short Synopsis: Not just heads get cut off in this series.
Highlights: Awesome use of different camera-angles.
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8/10 (Excellent)
Those creators really are out to get me with their incredibly complicated dialogue. Heck, the website even refuses to list the name of the different characters in anything else but Kanji, making it even more difficult to try and put combine the names with the different faces, especially since half the cast doesn’t seem to be introduced yet (Yoriko has a sister?).

So, the beginning of this episode shows the main character with glasses, apparently Tatsumi Sekiguchi is his name, as he’s just cut up several bodies, commenting on how he just can’t get them right. Later in the episode, we see him again, showing a novel he’s writing. We don’t know whether his “failure” refers to his novel, where the cut-up body was just a visual metaphor, or whether he really does have a secret. Yoriko’s sister Kimie is apparently much older than she looks on the official website, and my guess is that she works for the ones who plan to publish Sekiguchi’s novel.

And at the same time, we see Kanako in a strange bed as she’s lost all of her limbs. There is someone who watches her, who I suspect to be the guy with glasses who left a bit earlier and whose name was Noritada Amemiya, I think. Later, strange limbs are found all over the country, but the DON’T belong to Kanako. The detective acts shocked, while the chief policeman in charge (at least, that’s what I thought their roles were) doesn’t act surprised. Suzaki (the most important doctor) then gets killed (probably to make sure that he doesn’t find any weird stuff) and the biggest enemy of Yoko is the detective Kiba. Yoko in some way has a very big role in this, but what exactly is it? For some reason, she also completely flipped once she found out that Suzaki was dead.

Then, a random teenaged girl gets kidnapped, cut up and stuffed into a box, I’m not sure who the guy was who did that. What I guess are a few months later, a new detective contacts Kiba, probably to team up with him, and he tells him about the four limbs that were found, and even though htey weren’t Kanako’s, he believes the two cases to be related. He seems to think that Sekiguchi is the victim, and the night he ran into them in the hospital wasn’t a coincidence, it seems. I wish I could remember who those others were who were with him in the car.

He points Kiba to some guy that Yoko got affiliated with when she was still an actress. Minami Kinuko, could that possibly be her stage name? It doesn’t appear anywhere on the list of names for this series. This is where Amemiya pops up again, apparently he was the one who forced Yoko to retire from her job as an actress. The guy also tells him about a certain doctor “Amakasu”, who is trying something like the doctor Frankenstein: he’s trying to create the perfect soldier that won’t die, explaining why in this series bodies have to be cut up.

What really strikes me so far is that this is a 13-episodes, and yet two of the five main characters haven’t felt like main characters at all (they only popped up once or twice) and two haven’t even appeared yet! I’m really curious to see what this series is going to turn into once it hits its second half, but so far I’m already loving every second of this. I’m in for lots of convolution once in a while, and this series is exactly what my inner mystery-fanboy needs.

It’s also interesting that this series shows the power that still frames can have. Especially that sequence in the beginning: it just consisted out of about ten drawings, there was no movement, and yet it perfectly showed what was going on, it looked excellent, and it set the mood. Madhouse really is an excellent studio when it comes to proving that you don’t need the budget of a small country to make a series look beautiful. You can easily try to save budget by simplified drawings (á la Kaiba) with lots of motion, or go Shigurui and have very detailed drawings with hardly any motion, but as long as you put enough thought into the artistic direction, you can make anything look good this way. This is exactly why I’m a big fan of series that experiment a bit with their graphics. It looks much more interesting than the straightforward drawings that just go with predictable poses and camera-angles.

2 Responses

  1. Email Address says:

    I thought the person in the beginning cutting up bodies were Amemiya? Sekiguchi looks less psychotic to me.

  2. Zerozaki says:

    The pre-credits sequences say on screen that they are passages from a novel by Kubo something.
    Suzaki was the assistant, not the doctor – the doctor is Mimasaka, not Amakasu, the white haired man who informed them of Suzaki’s death.
    Youko is Kanako’s sister, and Yoriko – who is an only child – only addressed her as sister because she is close friends with Kanako.
    Kimie is Yoriko’s mother, the crazy lady. She has nothing to do with the company publishing Sekiguchi’s novel; Koizumi, his editor, was the woman meeting with him there.
    Minami Kinuko is Youko’s stage name, you were right about that part.

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  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Oct 9. 2015 02:09 AM)
    @Kaiser Sunny looks interesting but I’ll be honest, when I say Slice-of-Life I actually mean Cute-Girls-Doing-Cute-Things.
  • ninjarealist
    (Friday, Oct 9. 2015 02:07 AM)
    @Kaiser I actually haven’t seen Black Mass.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 9. 2015 12:57 AM)
    These new Batman shorts called ‘Batman of Shanghai’ are pretty awesome:
    Props to Wolf Smoke Studios for the style and execution. I think this borrowed a lot from the Studio 4°C segment of the Batman: Gotham Knight anthology series. I haven’t been this entertained by a Batman cartoon since the original Batman: The Animated Series.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 11:09 PM)
    I have to finish the world is mine someday…and read all of Yamamoto Naoki’s works, looks like some good obscure seinen there.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:52 PM)
    @Realist: Slice of life fan, you’ll want to go off and read Taiyou matsumoto’s work, Sunny being one of them.
  • Kevin
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:50 PM)
    @ninjarealist Ha u that one nigga that jet lol nice way to sneak back, I missed you. Remember me?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:48 PM)
    @Realist: I imagine you will be seeing black mass?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:47 PM)
    @Realist: Oh by the way I remember ages ago you recommended Meserine to me, not the biggest gangster fan out there and this did suffer from the usual issues of the bipic format but some great action bits in it =) and Vincent Cassel doing what he does best.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:45 PM)
    @Realist: Whatever name you prefer is fine. Though its Kaiser now so we may as well use that.
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 8. 2015 10:28 PM)
    @Kaiser/Emma (do you prefer to go by Kaiser now?) Punpun is the best, but I don’t see it getting adapted any time soon. As someone who personally loves slice-of-life, I love Dead Demons.

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