Hey, guess what, Moeronpan turned 7 years old the other day! If Moeronpan was a person, they’d be a first-grader. Most likely a very grumpy one.
Let’s have that news distract from the fact that this review is nearly a week late.
Mayoi has officially become Naruhodo’s assistant, making herself at home in what is now his, and not Chihiro’s, office. Despite her age, Mayoi is completely obsessed with a children’s tokusatsu program known as The Steel Samurai, which Naruhodo fails to understand the appeal of. As coincidence would have it, their next case is directly related to this TV show – their new defendant is Niboshi Saburo, who plays the titular role, and he is being tried for the murder of his costar.
Under the costume, Niboshi at first appears somewhat intimidating but he’s actually awkward and gentle and wouldn’t hurt a fly, let alone his costar. When Naruhodo goes to investigate the crime scene to gather clues, the overbearing security guard Ooba turns out to have been a fan of the deceased and is adamant that Niboshi was the killer.
We see her evidence as the trial starts – the murder took place in studio one, and the only way to get there from where the others were rehearsing before involves walking past the camera by the security gate, which automatically takes photos. Ooba believes the photo she has of someone wearing the Steel Samurai costume and headed toward studio 2 is proof of Niboshi’s guilt, but Naruhodo points out that this could be anybody.
To be honest, this case isn’t a particularly strong one in the game so it’s no surprise that it isn’t exactly riveting in anime form either. I don’t know whether to be relieved that they sped through the first investigation phase (they literally just showed a quick montage of Naruhodo talking to people and looking at things before trial time) or disappointed that they’re starting to rush things. There’s not really anything terribly important that was cut, but at the same time, given how much more entertaining the investigation parts of the anime have been to watch in comparison to the relatively wooden courtroom segments its kind of sad to get back to that woodenness so soon.
It also means that we got barely any time to meet the new characters in this case – one of the witnesses doesn’t even get any lines. Ooba (AKA Oldbag) is something of a double-edged sword – we all may have wanted her to stop talking in the games, but when you take away so much of her dialogue it makes her appearance as a witness not have as much impact. Seeing Mitsurugi suddenly have to deal with her as a witness just comes across as funnier after you’d had to suffer through her ranting and are more familiar with her character than the anime lets you be.
I did like how they gave the other characters like the kid who sneaks into the studio and the producer/writer of Steel Samurai some brief cameos already, since they don’t appear that early in the case in the game. But it gives a weird contrast with how speedy the rest of the investigation was. Since the episode ended with them all realizing they need to go back to the crime scene, I hope it’s not so rushed this time.
And speaking of cameos, Mitsurugi’s mentor Karuma gets another one. Again, I do appreciate the foreshadowing the anime is adding in for case four.
But to be honest though the only part of the episode I particularly enjoyed was seeing Mayoi all hyped up over the Steel Samurai and accidentally whacking Naruhodo in the face at the start. Now that Mayoi has settled down (she’s rightfully upset for most of the case she debuts in, given that her sister just died), her true bubbly personality comes out and I get the impression that the animators have been having a lot of fun with her. Even if this anime ends up awful, if nothing else, I hope we get some Mayoi figures out of it.