Saturday, August 30, 2014

Project Terrible: The Mythical Detective Loki

And now for something completely different. Mr. Robert Mohr gave us all anime episodes for his Project Terrible picks, and specifically for me he chose The Mythical Detective Loki. I would just like to go ahead and give a blanket apology for any die-hard anime or manga fans, because this is seriously not my thing.

This manga adaptation is in five episodes at about 15 minutes each. After 5 minutes, I was really worried about what was coming. Loki is an exiled god who has taken on the form of a child... I think. Is that right? He fancies himself a young detective and he has a pink blob-thing that flies around him. I have no idea what it is. He is joined by Mayura and Yamino, and together they make up the Enjaku Detective Agency.

I am probably the absolute wrong person to review this. I don't necessarily hate Japanese animation - I just don't understand the attraction to it, or to manga. The artwork all looks the same no matter who the artist is, and there is not anything necessarily great or interesting about the look of the drawing either. When the manga is animated like this, it all comes out really annoying and very juvenile, and it is made all the worse by the English voice acting. I don't mean to be insulting, but that's just always been my reaction! It did grow on me a bit after watching five episodes in a row - I just don't think I'll be seeking it out myself in the future.

Despite the overall kookiness of the animation (I'm guessing it's wrong to call it a "cartoon"), I did find myself enjoying some of the stories they did. The third episode, "Fafnir's Treasure," was my favorite because it was one of those classic Sherlock Holmes locked-room murder mysteries, and they handled it exactly the right way. The first episode is a bit crazier than the others as it deals with a murderer who decapitates girls. They really don't take it as seriously as it should be, but that makes the episode strangely funny. The last two episodes make up a not-so-exciting-at-all two-parter about the death of a mean schoolteacher. Again though, it's a good whodunit mystery story and I like those... so at least that part of it was okay.

Would this have been better in Japanese? Probably. Like I said, the voice actors were pretty terrible, and poor Mayura has the worst voice of all. It actually sounds like a dude trying to do a female voice - it's very strangely high-pitched and more than a little annoying. They also give Mayura the dumbest lines of dialogue that make her sound like a complete idiot and I felt a little sorry for her. Not much else is known about the other characters because the story doesn't focus on them at all. Didn't really bother me because I didn't care anyway.

This was indeed an odd choice for Project Terrible, Bob! It was interesting delving into something that I'd always avoided because I knew I'd hate it, but at least now I know that it is maybe not always as bad, or weird, or strange, as I might think. The Mythical Detective Loki was pretty good, I guess. I'm definitely no expert and I don't think I ever will be!


  1. Yeah, this is one I wondered how you'd react to. ^_^ The mysteries here are actually pretty decent--taken directly from the manga itself--but the horrid "Manga 2.0" concept where it isn't actually animated that well (or voice-acted well) made it impossible for me to watch. I don't get motion comics at all, and this clearly was made with much less effort.

    So here's the thing. There's actually the Manga 2.0 thing I showed you, which takes the stories from the manga and just does them poorly...and then there's the very confusing anime (which you've taken shots from, it looks like) which is titled after the *sequel* series, "Mythical Detective Loki: Ragnarok," but follows the overall main plot of the original series...but utterly ruins the concept in various ways. First, it makes the mysteries much simpler and Loki pretty much finds the answer immediately, and second...they pretty much forget that he's supposed to not have much of his power left, so he goes toe-to-toe with major threats right from the start.

    So...having liked the manga and hated the anime, I was so happy when I saw this thing, only to realize quickly that it was a horrid slightly-animated and awfully voice-acted manga. If they ever make a *real* anime version of this version of the story, I'll be happy, but this? Ugh.

    (Especially Mayura's voice. Holy crap.)

    I'm glad you liked Fafnir's Treasure, though--I like the locked-room aspect of it and it has more of a detective feel than some of the others, so it's pretty fun. Like you were kind of stating, I think the stories and mysteries here are pretty nice...I just couldn't stand the Manga 2.0 style. O_O

    The manga has quite a bit past the episodes here, some of which still do the kind of quirky but nice "mythical god as a detective" idea, while others bring in other gods trying to kill Loki and some more mythological battles. It's pretty interesting, though it starts to slip more and more into a battle/adventure kind of concept as time goes by. Still, it's fun and it deserves a much better production than it has here.

    Anyway, was interesting to see your viewpoint on it. ^_^ I wondered if you'd end up more okay or annoyed by the style than I was--wasn't sure how much of my "NO" reaction was because I loved the original manga. ^_^

    1. The stories are really the only positive thing I took from this, and was glad that they went for more classic stories that are universal. I'm also glad that I was right on how horrible the animation was! I wish I could have found the still shots that I really wanted to use - parts where the animation suddenly gets completely different for a few seconds as the characters' eyes bug out, you know what I mean? THAT was truly horrible and juvenile.

  2. Despite my drawing style, I never really cared for anime these days. There's only a few good ones left.

    Either ways, the only anime I can vouch for you (or any horror fans out there) is Perfect Blue. It's a full length movie with a mature story, lots of giallo elements and a nice animation.