Posted on 26 March 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews, Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Suteki Tantei Labyrinth is one of these series where there’s one thing you absolutely mustn’t do: take it seriously. Once in a while, a series appears that doesn’t really care about making sense. Still, even though Suteki Tantei Labyrinth may not have the most exciting plot, it does deliver quality entertainment.

I think the best way to understand this is to look at the two most prominent staff-members for this series: Hiroshi Watanabe for the direction, and Natsuko Takahashi for the series composition. Natsuko Takahashi is basically a very experienced and talented scriptwriter, who worked on many different series like Jigoku Shoujo, Moyashimon, Full Metal Alchemist, Gankutsuou, Popolocrois, and those are just the best among her repertoire. She made sure that each character in this series has a motivation, and is well-fleshed out. There are no loose ends left behind, and the screenplay itself is quite impressive.

Then there’s Hiroshi Watanabe, who is in my opinion the strangest director out there. He directed epics as the Law of Ueki, Orphen and was the one who proposed the concept for Jigoku Shoujo, and yet he is also the mastermind behind flops as the final parts of Star Ocean Ex, and the abominable Shining Tears X Wind. This guy really has a strange idea of what is good, and that strangeness is exactly what makes this series so enjoyable.

Enjoyable, but far-fetched. The first half of the series basically consists out of random mysteries that our main character has to solve. They range from enjoyable to absolutely ridiculous. One particular villain goes through the trouble of spiking the body of his victim on the tip of a huge radio-mast, and the extreme focuses on tea become rather jarring after a while. Thankfully, the second half removes any traces of murder-mysteries, and instead it starts developing the characters and turns into a really entertaining family-drama, full of cheesy plot-twists that just have to entertain.

This series is basically what you’d get if a series is at some parts incredibly good, while at others incredibly bad. The storytelling is quite impressive, and it definitely succeeds in keeping the rather… flawed story interesting throughout the run of 25 episodes. The characters are also enjoyable to watch, especially in the second half, and some of the drama can be surprisingly good. Still, you’ll get the most enjoyment out of this series if you like a good dose of cheese once in a while.

Posted on 25 March 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Whaa! I could have sworn that this series had 26 episodes! To think that this was the final episodes, this series sure features a lot of series that end sooner than I expect.

And the cheese! The overwhelming cheese. This episode may not have been my idea of top-notch writing, but it sure as hell was entertaining! I remember predicting that this episode would be over-the-top, and I was right in a way. This episode was over-the-top, but not with action and manliness, but with melodrama. Seijuu ends up dead, along with Byakko, because he tried to see the future but couldn’t due to Mayuki’s mother’s influences. Mayuki tries to stop him by the request of his mother, but in the end fails.

And teh TEA IS BACK!!! After Seijuu is dead and all, Mayuki falls asleep due to exhaustion, and doesn’t wake up for days. Guess what saves him? His favourite blend of tealeaves. Things get even better when every female ends up in tears when they find out that Mayuki has woken up, and when they see him again it’s like a fest of smiles and “glad to see you back again”.

But the creators really saved the best for last. Don’t ask me how or why, but a reincarnation of Mayuki’s mother shows up at the last moment. That scene will get an “OMG” or “WTF”-reaction off almost everyone. The plot-twist is ridiculous, but I absolutely loved it. It’s good to have such a cheesy series once in a while.

Now, to get a bit more serious, it’s a shame that Seijuu didn’t really develop in the end. Sure, he was fleshed out, his motivations were shown, but he never really changed. One thing that the creators could have done better is make one of his plans fail badly; it would have been much more interesting to actually see him challenged, rather than simply defeated in the end. I like how Byakko ended up, though. She has been a character that was developed, she has questioned her master many times, and yet at the end she decided to stay with him, and I’m still not sure whether this was because she was brainwashed, or just really changed. I doubt that Seiju really in his final moments was in the mood to take everyone with him, and something really tells me that she committed suicide out of her own will.

Posted on 19 March 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

And another series where its finale has begun. So far, it hasn’t been anything amazing yet, but I never expected this series to deliver an awesome climax. For now, it was entertaining and without flaws; it was built up well, so I’m happy. The fights were entertaining, and the themes on friendship may not have been as well-developed as in, say, Higurashi, but still there’s nothing wrong with it.

In this episode, Seijuu basically gets his hands on the path that leads to god. It turns out to be the music box that Mayuki’s mother gave him when he was one… which makes me wonder why he didn’t just get it in the first place, but I think that that can be explained because Mayuki unconsciously led him towards it. So anyway, the end of the episode shows Seijuu getting into God-mode, and if things go as I think they will (which is very likely), then the next episode will feature a very flashy fight as a climax of the series, where Mayuki defeats Seijuu.

The entire success of that episode will probably depend on how Seijuu will develop. There’s still one question left: why did he leave is wife to become God? I’ve seen this series long enough to know that it can very well give background and push its story forward at the same time, so there should be no worries about this series having a rushed ending, or questions that are left unanswered, that plague quite a few other series.

One thing I do hope is that Seiran, Sanae, Hitsumi and Byakko find something to do in the next episode. One very common pitfall is that final episodes very often neglect side-characters, and these guys often end up cleaning things up after the main character and his antagonist. My prediction is that Seiran/Sanae/Hitsumi will give Mayuki the final edge in defeating the big bad Seijuu because of their friendship, but Byakko could prove to have one final card up her sleeve.

In any case, I think that this explains pretty well why I like endings that try to do something different. I’ve seen so many anime end now, that I’m getting better in predicting how they’ll end, especially the ones with generic formulas. Series like The Third and Night Head Genesis are great examples of series that really tried to be different in their endings. Series like Bokura no and Kemonozume both really succeeded in their endings that had a completely different mood, and Ooedo Rocket greatly subverted the overdone ending-trope. I’m hoping that the end of this season will add one more series to this very small list, but that one most definitely won’t be Suteki Tantei Labyrinth. :P

Posted on 12 March 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Well, this was not the most exciting episode, but that’s because it was just an intermezzo: an aftermath of the previous episode and an introduction to the finale of this series. I’m really curious as to how the director plans to end this series. Based on his previous works that I’ve seen, it can go really anywhere. Orphen’s end was actually quite good, and the same goes for The Law of Ueki (even though the pre-ending episodes were rather disappointing there). In the meantime, Star Ocean Ex’s finale was one horrible trainwreck and the way Shining Tears X Wind ended was just plain bad.

Especially with a series like this one. If he’s crazy enough to include “the star-wars plot-twist”, then who knows what he’ll have in store for the final three episodes? The only thing that I can say with any hint of certainty is that it’ll be over-the-top, but it would be a bit anticlimactic for Mayuki to just bust up his father and then end with it.

Thankfully, there are still three episodes left, so it’s perfectly possible to get a satisfying ending down, but if you want to put down a good ending, you really have to try, and there have been enough cases where the ending made or broke a series for me. After all, it’s the ending that decides whether or not a series will leave a bad taste behind. Ah well, at least the director made sure to answer all of the questions he asked, so that’s already one point in the right direction. Now all that’s left is to finish it!

On a side-note: I’m curious: am I really the only one who still watches this series, or is there some soul out there who follows this one as well?

Posted on 5 March 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Oh my god… you’ve got to be kidding me! This really was an awesome episode, even though this was for the wrong kind of reasons. For those who’d still like to remain in the dark about this series: a major spoiler is coming up ahead. This is really one of these plots that can be absolutely bad and still rock due to its great sense of storytelling.

I should have known! I should have known that the creators would be crazy enough to make Seijuu the FREAKING FATHER of Mayuki! I only began to suspect something when this episode showed the child-version of Seijuu. He looked suspiciously much like Mayuki back then. After then another scene was shown of about eight years later, where we see Seijuu and Mayuki’s mother in the same scene, it got me thinking that this series has been awfully silent about Mayuki’s father, and then I realized the kind of director that was behind this series, and he’s been notorious for these kinds of plot-twists.

Still, I really have to say that the build-up for this twists was excellent. The entire episode was just excellent and kept me interested, and I think that the creators too knew that they were dropping subtle hints, and as an addition, it was also really nice to see the added background for Seiran, Chien and Seiju from when they were young. The timing for the revelation was also perfect, just as the atmosphere was getting a tad too cheesy for its own good.

I can understand why the subs for this series have… rather stalled. Still, it would be interesting to see this series fully subbed one day, as it’ll definitely entertain its viewers. :)

Posted on 27 February 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Ah, finally Byakko gets her background! I must say that this has turned into quite an interesting family-drama between Seiran, Chien and Seijuu. Their background doesn’t feel complete yet, but then again, there are still five episodes left and these can be used to fill in the blanks that we’re still missing like their parents and why Seijuu has decided to go after the Hyuugake Gentoushuu in Mayuki.

At this point, I’ve also started doubting whether Byakko will change sides or not. At the beginning of the episode, we see her about to kill her master, until he reminds her how he gave her the name Byakko. It turns out that she grew up with Youko (that was her name, right?). Then Chien took Youko away and she was all alone until Seijuu picked her up.

Seriously, Byakko’s mood took huge swings throughout the entire episode, especially after Mayuki (in Hyugake Gentoushu-mode) pointed out towards her cocky mode that she was in fact really unsure of herself. She was really fun to watch, though. One moment she was crazily uttering her name over and over, the next she dresses up in a fancy costume to lure Mayuki’s friends to a deserted location.

And I must say, that this has been one of the most solid episodes of this series yet. There’s no botched storytelling, nor any far-fetched mystery and for once everything felt believable, even Byakko’s insanity (the series built up very well for that, in my opinion). It was also refreshing that for once Seiran was out of the picture, so that none other than Chien had to protect Mayuki.

Posted on 20 February 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

This episode featured one of the best fights of this series yet. I mean, what’s not to like about Seiran, driving his van off a cliff, jumping out of it just to get to Mayuki faster. Talk about an entrance. Also Byakko’s new weapons were quite creative. I’ve seen these claws before, but never were they attached to the feet of the wielder. You can say a lot about the director, but he does know how to create a good fight if he wants to. :P

About the rest of the episode, there was a lot of talking much more than usual, which means that I’ve had more trouble than usual trying to understand it. Apparently, Sanae’s mother plays a quite a big role in this as some kind of neutral party, when both Seiju, Chien and Seiran visit her. Seiju apparently wanted something from her, in her memory. According to Byakko, this is supposed to be the “path that leads to god”. In a flashback, we see how Byakko thinks that Seiran has it.

This episode also continued to develop Byakko and Seiran, probably the ones who suffer the most from the conflict between the three brothers. We see Chien feel pity for what happened to Byakko, though we don’t see the reasons for this yet. Later this episode, she yet again tries to go after Mayuki, though as she’s about to kill Seiren (who randomly appeared with that entrance described above), Seiju yet again stops her from doing so. Seiran in the meantime is getting more and more desperate to get rid of Seiyu, especially now that he knows

Posted on 12 February 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

You know, it’s clear that I had a lot of doubts when I started this series. Especially the first half with its “mystery of the week” tested my patience more than enough. But with this episode, I can finally say for sure that I’m glad that I continued to follow this series. With the second half, this series has become so much better, and the things that were the worst about the first half (ludicrous mysteries and extreme focus on TEA) have been removed entirely. Instead, Mayuki and Seiran have gotten much more attention, not to mention that the comedy has turned out hilarious.

This episode was one of the most serious ones of the series, although there was plenty to laugh at as well (Seiran in a loincloth!? Oh my god) and a lot of background information has been revealed. We get to see how Mayuki met Sanae, how he met Hatsumi, how Byakko turned up three years ago and how Seiran transformed Hatsumi and Sanae into his servants. Oh and OMG TWIST: Seiju is Seiran’s brother. I’m looking forward to find out how that all came to be, and what role Chien plays in this.

The animation also was of top-quality this episode. You can say a lot about this series, but the fights are a feast for the senses, although the choreography could have been a bit better.

Also, it was kind-of strange to see Byakko so young. And what idiot just walks into a forest, sees a strangely specked red mushroom, and EATS it?

Posted on 6 February 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Well, the second half of this series continues its trend of having utterly bizarre episode-openings… This time: Mayuki’s baby-photos. I’m not sure whether to commend or shun the fact that the creators have absolutely no sense of shame, because one of these pictures was particularly disturbing. You’ll understand when you see it.

The rest of the episode was about another one of the strange games by Seiran’s brother, which among others involved Mayuki and the others being chased by angry ostriches. You have to give this series credit for not screwing up the drama-part, though. It may seem really silly at times, but this episode showed yet again that this episode is quite capable to be interesting without the comedy. This really is something I miss in 90% of all other comedies. They may be funny, but their forced attempts at drama at the last minute is just weak.

I was surprised to find out that Shien was actually the older brother of Seiran. For a bipolar villain like him, he’s pretty interesting. We also learn that the reason he came was Seiju (whom we haven’t seen in weeks, incidentally). I wonder how he’ll fare against Byakko and Seiju, whenever they show up again. The fact remains that Byakko is dangerously close to convert over to the good side, so she definitely needs some more development. Heck, we still don’t know why she ended up with Seiju in the first place.

And really, first alligators, now ostriches. What’s next? Rhinos?

Posted on 30 January 2008 with categories: Suteki Tantei Labyrinth

Okay, now I know for sure: this show’s crazy!

I’m not sure what it is that the creators have taken, but I wonder where I could get some. I now finally understand how the director (Hiroshi Watanabe) could have produced series that are so incredibly different in overall quality. The guy is just incredibly dependant on the source-material that he has to adapt, and somehow manages to increase the most defining feature of said source-material. Shining Tears X Wind was rumoured to be the “worst RPG ever”, so of course you’d get a very crappy anime. The Law of Ueki, on the other hand, came from a very creative manga, and that worked just perfect with the strange sense of humour of Hiroshi Watanabe. And now Suteki Tantei Labyrinth has been adopted from a manga that according to Usagijen already was quite bizarre, and the result is… well… this.

The fact remains that nearly every of Hiroshi watanabe’s works left some kind of lasting impression on me, whether good or bad. I still cringe at how horribly cheese the twelfth episode of Shining Tears X Wind was. I still consider The Law of Ueki to be the single best shounen-fighting series out there. The final parts of Star Ocean Ex bombarded me with its horrible deus ex machinas, and it was exactly that series that made me realize how bad these are for the overall storytelling, and Suteki Tantei Labyrinth is currently fighting along with Power Puff Z for the title of “weirdest storytelling”. In the same way, I’m getting rather curious to check out his works on Tactics and Matantei Loki Ragnarok. The guy should try to animate some ideas of his own, though. I mean, he definitely has enough creativity to pull it off; he was the one who proposed the concept for Jigoku Shoujo, after all.

Anyway, about the episode… it really was one of the weirdest yet. The show may be heading further and further away from the “detective”-part in the title, but in exchange for that it has turned into a(n unintentionally) hilarious anime that just screams “don’t take me seriously”. Basically, Seiran’s brother seems to have made it to the new school-headmaster, and for that, he organizes a running-event. Mayuki, being by far the slowest person in the class, obviously doesn’t like this.

Hold on, though, it gets much weirder. When Mayuki is all alone, Hatsumi comes from out of nowhere, carrying a huge backpack full of meat and vegetables, in an attempt to replenish Mayuki’s energy (…yeah). She then falls into some kind of trap-door (yes, in the middle of a street), and both she and Mayuki end up in some kind of underground building, probably from before most of the buildings got destroyed. After a small conversation with his good and bad angel (am I the only one who was disturbed by the fact that these angels were wearing dresses?), he decides to cheat and take a shortcut.

Unfortunately, the plans of cheating are short-lived when the two of them get lost. Incidentally, he suddenly seems to have become much better at running… In any case, now we get to the really strange part… they run into a strange man who is trying to get rid of some rocks in one of the corridors. After they try to help him a bit (to no avail, by the way), he points them to a door, that’s supposed to be the exit. Behind that door, is an alligator.

Yes, don’t ask me where the heck that alligator came from. I have no freaking idea myself. After a hilarious chase, Mayuki uses the meat that Hatsumi was carrying (gee, what an incredible coincidence :P), to lure the beast away, and clear the rocks in the process. It then seems that the strange man was after a time-capsule, in which a demo-tape of his early days as a rock-band guitarist was kept. Unfortunately, the band went nowhere, and they broke up, and this demo-tape was the only thing that remained of their works. It seems that he was just being nostalgic.

The story isn’t over with just that, though. The rocks were not only blocking that time-capsule, but also some kind of underground water. Oh, and Maru ran off on his own when he smelled food. Hako uses this chance to secretly attack Hatsumi for no apparent reason, and Seiran, who also came from nowhere, tries to stop her, but fails. In the end, everyone flees from the water. For some reason, in the aftermath we see water come from the top of a huge building, which would be physically rather impossible. But then again, this is at least better than the murder on top of the radio-tower…

The episode ends with a very strange twist: The owner of the previously mentioned alligator is Shien, and he seems to have called her “Catherine”. Incidentally, it hasn’t eaten the meat from Mayuki at all, and strangely enough, the two of them end up hugging each other… Really, looking back, this series has so many bad storytelling-errors, but I’m really beginning to think that this was intentional…


Mail will not be published
  • Ninjarealist
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:47 AM)
    @AidanAK47 Nooooo, blacklist, I believed in you ;_;
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:28 AM)
    @kaiser, look below your comment.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:27 AM)
    Alright, Guess this blacklist thing Ninja told me about doesn’t quite work. Suppose I just need to keep getting rid of your stuff when I see it. But Jerko, keep it to the Shoutbox. Cause if you start posting in the comments then I will really start getting angry.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:25 AM)
    Hang on now, that comment was a genuine attempt to change the subject by me, the real me not jerko impersonating me.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:23 AM)
    That’s just not even trying.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:23 AM)
    Oh come on Jerko.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:23 AM)
    I could never get into wolfs rain, potentially good series held back by far far too slow pacing, even at a glance it felt like a slog.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:16 AM)
    Fine, I was pretending to be Jerkoff so there’d be a common enemy to channel your spite of this blog towards.
  • ;(
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:12 AM)
    They say imitation is the highest form of flattery.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Oct 5. 2015 12:07 AM)
    @jerko, almost had me with that ;( impersonation. And no you never started conversations. Everyone ignores you.

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