Posted on 22 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes



I tend to complain about comedy sequels. It’s one thing to be funny, but it’s an entirely different story to be funny consistently, over a longer period of time. I really noticed that for the vast majority of these sequels, they tend to lose their inspiration, run out of their best jokes, or start trying too hard. The exceptions are there, though: there are comedy sequels who manage to beat their original: Tentai Senshi Sunred, Mitsudomoe and Fireball are examples of that. The thing is however, that the first season of Milky Holmes already was a really, really good series. And here the creators came, and improved significantly over it.

The original Milky Holmes had its weird moments as it chronicled the adventures of a group of four hilariously inept detectives, but at least it still was somewhat grounded in reality. The second season is crack. Pure crack. It makes no iota of sense, and it takes so many things along with it to the absurd. Its contents are completely bizarre from start to finish.

While parody isn’t its main focus, this show has a ton of fun pulling all sorts of references, only to make them completely ridiculous. The four lead characters have got to be the dumbest characters I have seen in a long while. In this case, it’s a compliment: you really have to try in order to be as mind-numbingly stupid as these four girls. By far the favorite form of parody of this series is taking a common trope, and completely changing its context into something completely bizarre. The result is hilarious, and this was by far my favorite comedy of the past season.

What also helps is how technically sound this series is. You wouldn’t suspect it with a team of Artland and JC Staff behind it, but the animation of this series is consistently excellent: the screen is always incredibly dynamic, this series experiments with a ton of different animation styles, and the energy just bursts from the screen in the different and numerous action sequences. The direction also is full of energy and creativity, and this creativity doesn’t run out, even though this is a sequel of a franchise totaling 24 episodes now.

Now, this series doe shave its slow moments. Because despite all the chaos, it also knows how to build up. The result is that the first halves of most episodes are relatively quiet in order to set up everything, only for this show to flick the bizarre-switch as the episode enters its second half. Don’t expect much in terms of deep characterization, though.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Hilarious; full of energy and creativity.
Characters: 8/10 – They’re very simple characters, but they remain lovable throughout the entire series.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Terrific and very dynamic animation; full of life.
Setting: 8/10 – Loves a good parody, and tears a great deal of different tropes apart.

Suggestions:
Dororon – Enma-Kun
Mitsudomoe Zouryouchuu
Ooedo Rocket

Posted on with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

That’s it? Milky Holmes are you serious in that your big ending… is a cheesy shoujo dance scene? Don’t get me wrong, I again really liked this episode, but it also was a very bizarre way to end this series with, especially with last week’s bizarre God of Lard climax. this episode pretends that nothing happened there, completely changes genre and instead makes a total mockery out of the shoujo genre.

I only have one really big complaint with this episode, and that is that it used the big comedy cliche of pulling the reset button: “our heroes have finally achieved their objectiv- oh wait, I guess not! Too bad, hahaha!” – This is something that has been pulled way too much and they’re hardly ever worth it.

Still, there was enough creativity in this episode to make up for that. It wasn’t the best episode, but as an “aftermath”, it was a neat idea to instead have the big over the top climax not at the very end.

Overall, I first noticed the director of this series, Makoto Moriwaki during his previous series, Lilpri, due to how incredibly energetic his style is. In Lilpri tis unfortunately was badly used, up to the point where all the characters did was yell at each other and the bad acting got monotone really fast. Milky Holmes has the variety and creativity that makes his style work. This season got even better with Seiya Numata behind the animation. I’d really rank this on the same level as Ben-To and Dororon Enma-Kun. It had a few weak episodes here and there, but these were totally overshadowed by the great parts.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Posted on 15 March 2012 with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

Uh guys… this was actually the penultimate episode. Why did you end with a climax here? Are you really ending this series with this? Did you intend the pig guy to be the final antagonist of this series all along? Don’t get me wrong, this episode was awesome, but it was completely different from what I expected.

Still though: this show did it again: again we’ve got ourselves a great climax for a Milky Holmes series. Both were really over the top, but the differences are… there. The first ending still took itself considerably seriously: it was an over the top and action-packed ending and knew it, ending with a great anti-climax. This though… this episode was one giant joke. This completely took the piss out of your typical anime ending.

This episode was just like your typical overblown ending, with all of the cliches there. The only thing is that the subject material was just completely bizarre. Mot final bosses are generic bosses with a ton of power that need to be taken down. Here though… we have the cast fighting a giant lard monster. It was hilarious how he tried to build up this epic atmosphere, using nothing but lard. It’s been a while since I watched something so ridiculously camp,and have it actually work out. The same kind of energy that the entire series had also worked really well with this.

The animation was interesting here. It’s the kind of episode where the budget clearly was limited, yet they try to make the best of what they have while caring nothing whatsoever about consistency. The result was an episode that had everything: still frames, bland faraway shots, fluid action scenes, very creative camera shots, actual moving cameras (which are really hard to do in anime besides the usual panning) and very creative images (seriously, give these artists an applause: they somehow managed to do the impossible and pulled off an entire episode focused on nothing but lard, and they made it look awesome).

Overall, JC Staff has the potential to become as bad as AIC and Xebec, but what sets them apart from all the other companies that focus excessively on moe is that they do put in effort to make their series actually good, and they do allow for experimentation. Or at least with a much bigger frequency than most of those other companies. And as for Artland… if there’s any company who baffles me the most, it’s got to be them. I mean, these were the guys who animated Mushishi. They made significant contributions to Legend of Galactic Heroes. And then they come with series like this. In fact, all of their moe shows are much better than usual, even though their series usually look very cheap. This was by far their best animation since Mushishi.

Also, do I want to know what next week will be about? Will that be the real ending, or some random side-story?
Rating: *** (Awesome)

Posted on 9 March 2012 with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

This show is the product of deranged minds. I… this episode… what just happened?

For some reason the intro for this episode showed different images. It turned out to be a preview for this episode. It all looked fairly normal there. but holy crap, talk about taking things out of context.

That pig guy was the single most annoying character of the second season. His speech impediment got old quite fast and I found it a bit distasteful of what they did to him. Fat people are way too often the butt of bad jokes in just about every form of entertainment out there. This episode however, took all of that to the extreme, absurd, and completely crazy by suddenly have him become the center of the show by absorbing every single Toy that Sherlock Holmes captured as a crime fighter save for one.

He then proceeds to steal all of the fat and oil from the entire city, gathers it in one place, and uses his powers to turn into some overblown bishie leaving everyone but Milky Holmes as a shriveling static electricity-prone mess. I thought that that black haired girl with that really creepy voice would steal all of them or something, after having lead Milky Holmes to it, but she only needed one of the Toys that were set free.

This pattern seems to be all over the second season: having a very dull first half in each episode, only to go completely crazy in the second half of each episode. This episode had it too: the pig guy in particular got particularly distasteful. If only I knew at the time what the creators were building up for… That’s the bizarre part of this show: it’s completely insane, yet it puts a ton of focus on building up its jokes beneath the randomness.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 2 March 2012 with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

The premise of this episode was a bit boring, and it took a while for it to get going near the middle, though it was as bizarre as expected once it indeed took off. Kokoro is a bit of a stale character at this point, so at this point having her as the center of an episode that adds something to the entire police force except for her is a case of misplaced priorities. Still, showing the other three police girls on their days off finally shows a bit more about their characters.

The weirdest part of this episode started when the bank robbers arrived. Their character designs were just brilliantly silly considering how they tried to look like serious police officers. The weird vehicles they chose also had me in stitches. Why do bank-robbers ride on Segways and where did they get that rowboat from?

In fact, this entire episode was just full of the weirdest yet surprisingly varied character designs. That’s a problem I have with a lot of anime nowadays and of which Milky Holmes is also partially guilty: all of the characters designs and styles just look way too much like each other, especially compared to how things were around ten years ago. At the very least though, this episode contained a ton of different character designs in a ton of different styles.

Also wtf, what kind of a live concert was that?

Also also: good luck watching Saki after this.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 24 February 2012 with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

Oh boy. The writers this week were in for a challenge: the entire premise of this episode was everyone coping with Henrietta’s betrayal last episode. That’s it. No more. This probably was the lest impressive episode so far, although it still had its hilarious parts. And considering the content humping, the creators still did their best to give such an uneventful episode energy.

What hurt this episode the most was the repetition of jokes. I mean, there’s not much you can do with a premise like this. We’ve got seven characters who each in turn turned everything that even remotely resembled a pair of giant boobs into Henrietta. The highlight of that was when they brought that camel in, but the other attempts were rather uninspired. Of course, until Cordelia went psycho and started to turn everyone into camel-humping zombies. That part was without a doubt the funniest part of this episode.

Apart from that, Kokoro was hilarious too. And then there is the cheese. Oh, the cheese. It’s been a while since I watched so overly forced cheese. Of course it was played entirely for laughs, and that at least made the second half of this episode quite entertaining.

This really is the thing about writing a good comedy: writing a good story for it. It’s a great way to prevent things from getting stale, but it is very hard to write one that actually goes somewhere, while both allowing the comedy to remain hilarious. This episode clearly chose building up over being funny, though it still tried to be funny by using its standard over the top chemistry. The big question now is: will this actually pay off? We’re still relatively far from the finale, so one boring episode doesn’t really matter… as long as it’s used well. If in the end there are even more episodes like this, then they should just have cut this episode in half and made this a 11-episode sequel. Heck, that would cost even less to make and it would actually make this show better.
Rating: * (Good)

Posted on 16 February 2012 with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

And then there were none.

Oh my god. The series has been building up to this point for quite a while now, but today, it’s finally time: this was the episode in which Henrietta finally snapped. The result is a completely action-packed episode in which she single-handedly kicks everyone’s asses in a gloriously badass episode.

This is how you do action. After about five minutes of build-up where Henrietta gets drunk on what looks like ice tea, the rest of this episode was pretty much one big action scene in which the entire cast gets beaten by the main villain when she finally stops being polite. The action was full of creativity, and especially Henriette versus her three subordinates kicked ass. Some other highlights include firing off Kokoro in order to destroy the entire school, and Henrietta getting so angry with Milky Holmes that she actually punched the entire earth. The symbolism also featured some nice touches, with the highlight being the last supper. I didn’t think that the creators would end up comparing Henriette to Jesus…

Heck, this show is pure entertainment. This is what I’m looking for in these kinds of series: the shows that really try their best to be creative and try out new visual things. Sure, it’s incredibly stupid, but I’m enjoying the hell out of this series. I do want to stress that it’s not as good as Level E last year: that one had an actually compelling story, setting and characters on top of being hilarious, while here the overall conflict and setting are quite simple. So no, it’s not going to be a comedic classic. A really entertaining roller-coaster ride though? Most definitely!
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 9 February 2012 with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

That was just amazing.

Seriously, what I just watched was without a doubt the best episode of Milky Holmes yet. I didn’t think it was possible, but this show surpassed itself yet again. It had such a simple premise, and Arsene&co weren’t involved at all here for a change. But good lord, this was a simple yet awesome idea really well executed. I really hope that other creators watch this series, because we need more episodes like this.

By far the most priceless part of the episode was the very beginning. That was just like waking up from a really bad acid trip, only to witness something even more bizarre. Kokoro waking up in that train, in the midst of everyone calmly sitting with some of the most bizarre outfits. It’s just comedic gold. The rest of the episode explaining how the heck everything happened was also just brilliant.

Also, I have no clue what Golgo of all people was doing there. But that also was just an awesome parody that the creators pulled here. The rest of this episode was also just full of the most bizarre twists, including people getting kicked off the train in some of the weirdest fashions (I also loved the reactions of the people waiting at the different stations with this). I mean, random humour is one thing, but this episode pulled so many wtf-twists that it took that to a whole different level. And yet everything was tied together due to the whole premise of this episode.

Seriously, we NEED more episodes like this. Always having these kinds of episodes would of course be too much, and would make them less special, but what I’m saying is that there should be more room for episodes to just go crazy or to play around with narrative. This just does not happen often enough. Part of the fun of storytelling is telling stories in an interesting way.
Rating: **** (Fantastic)

Posted on 3 February 2012 with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

Did they seriously devote an entire episode to streaking?

This perhaps wasn’t the most over the top episode, but it mostly stood out in how it was one of the most disturbing episodes so far. Oh, it was really fun to watch as usual. The combined idiocy of the entire cast still outshines any other series. The characters in this series give new meaning to being a moron. The animation and visual direction were as great as usual.

But yeah, this episode was full of the most bizarre streaker jokes. And it’s not like “let’s shove a streaker into the viewer’s faces a lot of times”. Instead the characters meat this bizarre girl with a multiple personality disorder who dresses like one, and for some reason beyond me end up dressing like streakers themselves later in the episode. The fanservice and also the jokes they make about it are completely bizarre. Also Arsene, WHERE THE HELL DID YOU PULL THAT WHIP OF YOURS FROM? O.o

Also, this episode understands its running jokes. This episode had several of them, and they still are hilarious due to the slight variations in the context they’re used in. The animation also still is as inspired as ever: this episode also had very good… uh…poses (I’m not referring to the streaking here! It’s just that every shot here is inspired and has a camera angle that works and has some creativity in it).
Rating: ?* (Yeah…)

Posted on 26 January 2012 with categories: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

The big danger of this second season is the entire premise of it: the way in which the lead characters have completely forgotten how to be detectives. I mean, it’s original, but this also means that they’ll be pretty much goofing off instead of doing detective stuff. That’s what this episode was about.

Just… nothing happened here. This really was the characters goofing off on and on. They were just randomly fighting with each other, and playing Jenga of all things. For most of the first half of this episode, I thought that the creators perhaps finally lost their inspiration. And then everyone started sleeping.

The dream sequences were just hysterical. Dreams intertwining has been done before of course, but this one did it with such energy that it just immediately became funny. It was also completely absurd when people suddenly started using their Toys in order to manipulate these dreams. My favorite was turning that clock into the giant robot.

Also, near the end of the episode it also became clear that the goofing off is intentional and part of the story. It heavily hinted that this won’t be the status quo for much longer. Why they decided to turn Hercule into a closet pervert, I have no idea though.

Also, regarding the animation: I found out that Seiya Numata, on top of designing the characters, has also been promoted to the chief animation direction for this series. For the first season he only did a few episodes (which really showed by the way), but here his influence is in every single episode. It’s really great to see that after Shion no Ou he finally can show his an animation across an entire series again.

I also love how different these two series look. Shion no Ou had a limited budget and some unconventional animators, and it turned into a series that made extremely good use of this limitation by making every shot count. Milky Holmes instead has a much bigger budget, and therefore focuses more in bringing life to all of the scenes. It’s all very addictive.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

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  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:12 PM)
    That might compress things, but I think a good screen-writer can fit pretty much any VN in 12-14 episodes (covering just the main route).
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:07 PM)
    @Aidan: then the best solution would’ve been to make a two cour season covering the 2nd and the 3rd book. Have the cours air two anime seasons apart, and in the middle have an offshoot short OVA that covers the 1st book, but has a more harem comedy feel to it. Think Full Metal Panic and Fumuffu.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @bam, Muv Luv has the problem that most of its brillence lies in the third title. But in order for the third title to have the same effect you need to read the first two. Successful or not, I doubt theres animation studio willing to go all in and adapt the full trilogy. There’s also the issue of the first title being a really mediocre harem.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 12:48 PM)
    just a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg of reasons why y’all need a PS4 for the upcoming year:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Hz8eXWHNY
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 08:09 AM)
    Why they didn’t adapt the original Muv Luv novel or Alternative is a mystery to me. Wasn’t the VN really successful? Whats with these offshoot shows instead of doing the real deal? They are avoiding it for some reason.

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