First Impressions – Kamisama no Memo-chou

This season, Doctor Pepper is the drink of choice for pros.

Kyokai: And we were all set for a typical tag team review after watching together this pre-air when I found out that it’s in 2 parts. Like srsly gg? I can’t blame them though but I was sure looking forward to some QUALITY anime after watching the loli basket world and KLUTZY Blood C. I definitely want some quality from Memochou because I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about the light novels. So, without any further ado, Zabo to the rescue~

Zabobinator: I’m expecting pretty great things from this show to be honest. I’m slightly iffy about the fact that this is a JC Staff production, because I’m not a fan of a lot of their work thus far but this show looks to be much better funded. From what I’ve seen, the animation looks really beautiful and that already makes me all happy inside. Plus, this show is about NEET detectives. How is that NOT awesome?

Jrow: So… 2 shows with Kamisama. Will Alice be most remembered or will the Dolls take more notoriety in the fandom? Well, Memo-chou has both Alice and Dolls! This is one of my Top-5 series for the Summer as I was hopeful that JC Staff might put a good effort into this series unlike the recently butchered Yumekui Merry. I’m gonna go grab a Dokupe from the fridge. See ya at the ending, NEETS!

Zabobinator: First thing we see is a text message conversation where two people are arranging to meet. We are then introduced to our protagonist, Fujushima Narumi, as he walks through town, comparing his experiences to pixels. A single pixel by itself doesn’t mean much, but when combined with other pixels it forms a comprehensive image. Meanwhile, an old man and a girl, presumably from the previous text message convo, meet in a love hotel room when they are interrupted by a young man who wishes to retrieve his girlfriend from the old man. Narumi comes across the girl as she jumps out of a window, landing on a pile of trash. Before he can help her, he is accosted by an odd-looking fellow with a rifle who is accompanied by a couple other guys as they take care of the young man and girl from the hotel. They barely notice Narumi as they drive off and the poor kid is left wondering what the hell just happened…What DID just happen???

What is this…I don’t even…WHAT IS GOING ON!?

He gets to school and carries out a pretty standard, low profile school life. He is content to live his life as a single pixel among many, until he encounters Shinozaki Ayaka. She forces him to join the gardening club in exchange for joining his computer club, essentially dragging him along at her pace. One day, she takes him with her to her work at Hanamaru, a ramen and ice cream place. (Sounds like my kind of place man…) While there, Narumi encounters the quirky guys from before and Min-san, the shop owner. The guys turn out to be quite the interesting group of NEETs: a pachinko player, a military geek and a gigolo. That’s what’s up!

This is the most amazing business card. Ever. Hands down.

Narumi is overwhelmed by the epic NEETness surrounding him while the other three men receive a call from some Alice person who requests ramen without the noodles. Narumi loses a game (that he didn’t even want to participate in) and has to deliver the ramen himself. And thus, we meet Alice. Narumi is taken aback by Alice as she explains that she is a NEET detective driven by her inability to stop world problems which she somehow deems as her fault. With her fridge full of Doctor Pepper, she makes quite the impression! Alice then shows Narumi a voice recording of the events that transpired in the love hotel. It’s a case of compensated dating that she has been asked to investigate. Narumi then realizes that he had actually been at the scene of the crime. Alice then asks him to fetch the trio of NEETs downstairs. Later on, he walks home with Ayaka who reveals that her older brother was a NEET who used to hang out with the others. Before Narumi can ask her more though, she leaves.

Yes, I drink Dr. Pepper. Yes, I am awesome and have the coolest room ever. Problem?

He then thinks back to what had occurred previously. After fetching the trio, Alice discusses the fact that there is more to the compensated dating case than previously anticipated. A girl named Shouko has gone missing and Teraoka Satoshi and Kimura Miku, the young man and girl from before, are trying to find her. It is of utmost importance that they find Shouko, so Alice begins delegating duties to Hiro, Major and Tetsu. Narumi then asks why they can’t just ask those directly involved in the issue, so Alice gives him the task of asking Miku directly.

The next day at school, Narumi is stressed out about his task in the case when Ayaka requests his assistance for gardening. Even though he’s against it, she drags him along with her to Hanamaru where they find Alice in tears over her teddy bear’s torn ear. She apparently cannot sleep without it, so Narumi and Hiro go to the Fourth’s house to get it fixed. Alice has also sent over a CD with information on the case as it turns out that the Fourth is the client for it. He seems to be a pretty intense dude – he’s a pro at sewing and the super strong head of a gang. xD

At school, Narumi finally confronts Miku about the Shouko and the compensated dating. In a flashback, Shouko is revealed to have been an honor student both in school and seemingly socially as well. Miku and Shouko had been at a café together when Miku finds out about Satoshi, Shouko’s boyfriend. Shouko then reveals that she’s gone all the way with Satoshi, but it wasn’t her first time which shocks Miku. When Miku expresses her disbelief that she would be that kind of person, Shouko blows up at her. Later on she disappeared. Meanwhile, Satoshi is sitting in his apartment looking depressed as he thinks back on his times with Shouko.

Through his conversation with Miku, Narumi learns Shouko’s real name and runs back to Alice with the information. Major checks in with Satoshi’s location, at a convenience store, and tells Alice what he bought there. After hearing this, Alice goes and confronts Miku herself. She tells Miku that the reason that Shouko did self-destructive compensated dating was because of the pressure from all the high expectations for her. Miku had apparently received a message from Shouko along with her cell phone when she disappeared. Afterwards, she met with Satoshi to come up with the plan of investigating all of Shouko’s clients and asking about her.  What Alice doesn’t understand though, is why Satoshi would help Miku when he knows where Shouko is?

It turns out that Satoshi had been buying large amounts of ice ever since Shouko’s disappearance. Sure enough, Shouko’s body was found in the bathtub of his apartment with scars on her wrists, suggesting that she had committed suicide. Later on, Alice and Narumi are discussing the case and Tetsu reports that Shouko left her will to Satoshi and Miku. The case is resolved and all of a sudden Ayaka busts in to make Alice take a shower! Poor Narumi ends up catching a peek of Alice in her undies and is kicked out with a can of Doctor Pepper to the face. However,  he has a new position as Alice’s assistant! Seems as though the pixels are forming a nice picture here eh?

Awesome! Who doesn’t like loli-pantie-shots? …Me. That’s who. T_T

End Thoughts:

I had been looking forward to this since I did the giant summer review. Being wary of J.C. Staff, I didn’t have much expectations from this one because whenever I did have expectations, JC just trampled on them (Tsukihime, Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, Yumekui Merry, I’m looking at you!). Though, it’s never nice to forget the good ones like Nodame Cantabile, Honey & Clover and Toradora! to name a few. Memochou currently is appearing as another winner if only the pre-air is considered. Of course, it helped that the episode was 42+ minutes for a proper introduction of the melee of characters rather than zipping past them under 20 minutes.

This reminds me of Durarara!! in a way because none of the characters are bland and you really itch to know what’s the deal with everyone. The NEET card was one of the best things and of course, the slogan has similar win, “It’s the only NEET thing to do“. There’s an instant connection with Narumi, while there’s nothing about the NEET gang that is unlikable. I also like when anime contain strong women rather than whiny ones who always need other people’s help. Min seemed simply awesome, while the cold yet sometimes dere Alice is a handful in herself. The kiddish voice is unbelievable but there’s definitely an interesting story of her being a total shut-in and running a very peculiar detective agency.

What Gosick couldn’t do, will be done by Kamisama Memochou; it can actually excel in finding out the mystery behind unsolved cases using modern gadgets and everything on hand. The case was well plotted out and the transition brilliant with fluid animation. No breakage, no quality killing; this was a sight for sore eyes and I can’t wait for the next episode. If you were wondering why Alice looks like a loli version of Minchi, while Narumi resembles Ko from Hanasaku, the character design was indeed done by Mel Kishida who worked on both projects. The seiyuu cast is amazing as well, OD and Takahiro in one series? My fangirly ears rejoiced in glee whenever Hiro and Souichirou were on screen. The new cast of Ai Kayano and Yoshitsugu brings a refreshing change from Kana Hanazawa (not that I dislike her but listening to her in every other anime just becomes boring).  Overall, this has satisfied me just like Natsume Yuujinchou and I’ll be definitely following this via Zabo, who will be covering it for Metanorn.

Alright, I totally adore this. I had so much fun watching and everything just made me all excited for what’s to come. I’ll start at face value by saying that the presentation of this story is just gorgeous. The animation is clean and aesthetically pleasing, bringing to mind Hanasaku Iroha (not surprising seeing as Mel Kishida handled character design in both). I also noticed the music and I found it to be very fitting – it only served to enhance the mood of each scene and did so quite well at that. Looks like JC Staff is getting their behinds in shape! …Finally.

This show has such a refreshing and quirky cast of characters! Narumi reminds me of Mikado from Durarara!! He has that timid and easily overwhelmed air about him and hopefully, just like Mikado, there’s more than what appears on the surface. His analogy comparing his life to pixels was quite clever, which suggests that we’ve got one smart kiddo on our hands. I love Ayaka and her cheerful, happy go lucky ways. Hopefully, she will be enough to keep Narumi away from his instinctive passivity. Also, Ai Kayano (Menma of AnoHana) voices Ayaka which makes me infinitely happier with her character. xD The NEET crew is simply hilarious as well. And then there’s Alice. I’m not quite sure what to think of her. She’s got these two different sides that are rather hard to reconcile in my head. She has her childish and vulnerable side that will easily shed a tear over a torn teddy bear ear and then her seemingly all-knowing, dark and calculating mentality. She has the potential to become an unforgettably epic NEET detective, but could easily be an unremarkable wannabe sleuth. We’ve got an eclectic group of people here and I’m ready for all the crazy shenanigans they’re going to get into!

Kamisama no Memo-chou is the story-within-a-story type. These can be slightly difficult to manage as the broader plot containing the main characters can be pretty difficult to balance with the mystery subplots. I’m hoping the Kamisama no Memo-chou will be able to handle the development of each character while simultaneously keeping up the suspense and intrigue of the cases that the NEET detectives pursue. This first episode did a decent job at it though. All in all, I like that there are darker, more serious themes amidst the crazy action and the idea of NEET detectives is really interesting as well. I’ve got my fingers crossed on this one!

I was surprised when I downloaded and saw that it was a 48-minute file. I think it really helped out in spending an hour on one case while introducing us to Alice, Narumi and the others. The “Compensated Dating” case was actually pretty interesting to follow. It kept up that element of “what’s next?”, something that’s tough for a lot of shows to do in their first episode. It doesn’t bring you to the edge of your seat, but you won’t have necessarily figured everything out in the first 15-20 minutes.

Alice is definitely the show’s centerpiece character, but I didn’t really attach to her like I thought I would. Victorique was the most recent loli that put on her Sherlock Holmes monocle and solved crimes, and I liked her. Alice, as I think about her character more, I just don’t like. Her soliloquy about her being the reason for poverty among other things is really heavy-handed. You’re a freaking loli who has a fridge full of fake Dr. Pepper! Gimme a break… Victorique had an element of cuteness and also some vulnerability that at least made her enjoyable, but Alice kinda comes off to me as just a puppet. With Narumi being the “single pixel” guy that gets bossed around, I don’t see character development being strong in the series, but that’s ultimately unnecessary as long as these cases keep up the level of intrigue.

JC Staff is pretty disrespected amongst anime fans, and it’s kinda deserved, especially after poorly ending Yumekui Merry and just being, well, JC Staff most of the time with average animation and not necessarily being the best at adapting stories for anime. Doing an hour special not only showcased the show’s darker tones that will surely be further explored, but that the production of the hour premier was quite good. I like the animation as it all looks fine and kept consistent throughout, nothing too amazing there. I also really like the soundtrack usage, and the OP theme might be my favorite of the season so far. Just hope that I can like Alice by series’ end.

Preview:

What will our NEETs do next???

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We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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28 Responses to “First Impressions – Kamisama no Memo-chou”

  1. Toori-chan says:

    Watching and following this show is one of the best NEET thing to be doing this Summer. Life of a NEET, detective styled NEET loli? It’s totally on my list.

  2. Overcooled says:

    It seems like everyone was surprised that J.C. Staff actually pulled through with this one and made something interesting. I know I was. That first episode was hella impressive! Doctor Pepper all the way!

  3. Hime says:

    O HAI ITSUKI KOIZUMI

  4. tomphile says:

    Alice is abundle of loli jailbait. Still, I love her to bits. Harrharr

  5. Foshizzel says:

    Woooooo awesome first episode for JC Staff, nice to see that amazing animation now to wait and see how the mystery can hold up.

    Reminds me a tiny bit of Durarara! So many characters to watch out for xD

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Wow, that’s some nice animation, especially with all those computer screens.

    There’s already a good group of likable characters, like that loose canon NEET with the rifle. But the detective theme feels like a futuristc version of Gosick with the loli girl Alice working those computers.

    That gang boss The Fourth is intense. His authority is unquestioned. I’d whimper in fear if I was in his presence and his spiky hair makes him look like a white-haired Super Saiyan.

    • Zabobinator says:

      HER COMPUTERS MADE ME HNNNGGG~

      Still haven’t watched GoSick. I keep hearing it get compared to Ikoku and this show.

      THE FOURTH IS SO PRO. I like him a lot. :D

  7. Amutofan123 says:

    I was on the fence about watching this, but after hearing good things about it, I think I will watch it!

  8. Reaper says:

    All i can say is…JC Staff finally pulled through with a wonderful anime! Neets everywhere, Alice is sitting in a room of computer screens and a fridge filled with Doctor Pepper; did I forget to mention an assistant that doesn’t backtalk (Alice deadpan stares at Okabe and asks ‘U mad?’)
    I was glad to see the many different characters, they are actually kinda unique, especially with the leet neet team, and they’re all likable. As for the mystery, it actually was a mystery! I know there was the GoSick vibe but this show pulls it off way better, especially with the clean animations and design…I think I might have found my favourite anime of the season :)

    • Zabobinator says:

      LOLOLOL!!! OH MY GOD! THAT IS SO TRUE! Poor Okabe. Well, I like Kurisu a lot though, so I still think he’s lucky. But still! HAHAHA!

      Hehehe, leet neets. So true. xD The mystery was super intriguing and I’m so excited for the next one! :D

  9. Joojoobees says:

    Some great characters. Ayaka was really interesting: she comes across as normal girl, but actually was leading Narumi around by the nose.

    • Zabobinator says:

      I like Ayaka a lot! She’s so upbeat and in your face (in a good way!). I’m thinking that there’s a lot more to her than we see though. Especially considering her brother, don’t you think?

  10. Yvoon says:

    ooh! great starting episode! really caught my attention!

    definitely gonna follow this one. :D

    btw…what a neet?

    • Kyokai says:

      Abbreviation of “Not in Education, Employment, or Training”. Also, it’s a very Japanese thing to do, along with being a hikkikomori but they are not always complimentary.

      • Yvoon says:

        ooh, i see. does it actually really exist in RL?

        and….what a hokkikomori?

        sorryyy, ahaha.

        • jGLZa says:

          A Hikkimori is similar to a hermit. They’re someone who has chosen to isolate themselves from society.

  11. Oracion says:

    Totally loved it. I so get what Kyokai is saying by the Durarara feel. I thought so too. I did have a spaz out when they said the title though, kinda like how Peter in Family guy said he does. I so cannot wait for another.

  12. […] “What Gosick couldn’t do, will be done by Kamisama Memochou; it can actually excel in finding out the mystery behind unsolved cases using modern gadgets and everything on hand. The case was well plotted out and the transition brilliant with fluid animation. No breakage, no quality killing; this was a sight for sore eyes and I can’t wait for the next episode.” – Metanorn […]

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