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Yakushiji Ryōko no Kaiki Jikenbo/Ryoko’s Case Files – X-Files light

Summary – Yakushiji Ryōko is an elite investigator working as a chief for a section within Tokyo Metropolitan police. Together with her favorite subordinate, Izumida Junichirō , the two often investigate bizzare and supernatural cases. In the first 5 episodes, they tackle drug and bio experiments, in addition to a robotic crime and fending off paparazzi in style.

Thoughts – Featuring some well-known and high power seiyuus, this was something I really wanted to check out.

5 episode into the show and I was fairly impressed with some things (remember I’m in the middle of trying not to be cynical phase):

– The lead character, Yakushiji Ryoko, voiced by Nabatame Hitomi, is a colorful, eccentric and hot queen (Jooh-sama) character and Hitomi nails the character dead on. When Ryoko talks I thought she was Nabame and Nabame truly becomes her.

– The mini-plots. They’re certainly good enough for late night watchings. One can probably imagine these late night horror shows and reruns of horror movies.

– Character dynamic and design. Ryoko is hot, but she’s smart, sexy, feisty and perhaps a little too powerful for me to sympathize with the character. Izumida is a good sidekick but I didn’t appreciate the narrator stuff. To me it was unnecessary. The rivalry between Ryoko and Muromachi Yukiko (played by Kuwashima Houko) is not bad, though I didn’t quite feel the dynamic. They play up a classic feminine conflict – flirty girl VS bookish girl, with Nabame playing the flirty girl and Houko-chan playing the bookish girl; both of their voices are appreciated but I’m not quite sold on the chemistry that supposedly builds up their rivalry.

– Animation. But with CG, it’s rather hard to make bad animation these days. The characters, especially Ryoko, can look way to elongated for me. I mean Ryoko is built like a supermodel and her legs are really quite long. But I think her character design is right on and no one else but Nabame can voice her right, except maybe Kotono in a few years back, when Nabame wasn’t so popular.

Now, as for the story and the cases themselves, it’d be harsh to say that this show feels much more like urban legend comes alive than X-files, but that’s how I feel so far. Some example titles I thought for this:

“Amazing drugs that makes reptiles grow to skyscraper sizes!”

“Giant snake right out of Japanese legend attacks the tower of Babel – in downtown Ginza!”

“Humans bursts open passing out gas and shrivels up into zombies in broad day light!”

“A woman gives birth to a monster child? Bio-experiments gone awry!”

“Unknown creature with DNA similar to human genome? Livers eaten!”

“Killer robot gone wild? Private police forces is to blame!”

“Centipede creature or mechanical menace? You decide!”

I mean, X-Files did feel like urban legend from time to time, and this show feels that way. One other thing that I’m dissatisfied with is that Ryoko is practically all-knowing thanks to her family’s connections, and her family is way too powerful. Watching these episodes I never felt any tension or anxiety because I kind of expect her private security forces would mop up any mess possible, seen or unseen. I primarily enjoyed the fact that Ryoko is hot and my favorite seiyuus, Nabame and Houko-chan, are playing together as rivals.

Other than that, perhaps I’m too cynical but so far, my experience is a little mediocre. I can imaging the average Japanese audience who loves these urban legend stories may enjoy this immensely.

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