Naruhodou and Mayoi decide to take some time off from being involved in murder cases with a trip to the Tachimi Circus, where they are impressed at the signature magic trick of Maximillion Galactica, which is to fly through the air. Of course, these two cant go anywhere without people dying and it isn’t long before they find out the Tachimi Circus has been involved in a murder. The murderer is said to be the aforementioned Maximillion Galactica, and the murderee the Ringmaster.
Maximillion (real name Kouhei Yamada) is pompous and annoying as hell, but Naruhodou is sure that he didn’t really do it. Unfortunately, it seems like everyone else at the circus also finds Maximillion unbelievably annoying and all seem sure that he’s guilty (despite the fact that they’re all pretty goddamn annoying themselves). What’s more, they all claim that they saw Max at the scene of the crime – and, after all, the evidence points to the fact that the culprit must have been able to fly, because he didn’t leave any footprints in the snow. But Max can’t really fly, right? (of course he can’t you goddamn idiot circus troupe)
words cannot describe how much I hate this case in the game. All the characters are so unbelievably annoying and being forced to have to talk to them and extract information for them, despite the fact that I really do not want to talk to any of them, all to save a guy I really can not stand, when the evidence against him is literally ”but he can FLY, right?!” is almost torturous. It’s probably my least favourite case in the entire series, so suffice to say I wasn’t exactly looking forward to seeing it in an already lackluster anime version.
So it’s kind of ironic – and even a little annoying – that this case is being treated pretty well. It’s actually – dare I say it – more enjoyable than it was in the game. Granted, a lot of this is due to the fact that because the ‘magatama’ item has been removed, so have most of those excruciating interrogation conversations. While this means that it’s weirdly easy for Naruhodou to get information from anyone, it also means I don’t have to suffer excruciatingly long conversations with these unlikable morons.
What I actually like the most is how cute Naruhodou is. He wears his stupid pink sweater from his college days to the circus, presumably because it’s the only other outfit he owns. He covers his eyes in fear when Max jumps from the trapeze. And its fun watching him and Mayoi bumbling around the circus like idiots – although the scene where he fights a monkey was…uh. It was actually most noticeable in that scene but once again, the animation quality fluctuates really wildly. There’s fewer parts where it’s outright awful than before but it just feels really….unstable?
The circus case moves into its first trial, in which some mystery evidence is presented. A small pepper shaker was found inside a heavy box at the scene of the crime, and no one can figure out what it was for. Tommy the clown gives his testimony – he woke up and saw Max’s sillhouette slowly rising outside his window. While Karuma Mei is still holding onto the ‘flight’ as evidence that it was Max, she knows he can’t actually fly. She insists that he must have used the same trick he uses in his circus performance – using wires – to escape from the scene of the crime. Unfortunately, she is unable to prove this without evidence and so the trial ends for the day so more investigating can be done.
Naruhodo and Mayoi do some more investigating of their own – and they find out a few things. First of all, the ringmaster was wearing Max’s cape and hat when he left, as Max offered them to him since it was cold. (What nobody can understand is why the hat was left at the scene of the crime when everybody swears they saw Max wearing it as he left) Second of all, he had apparently angrily torn off a letter from the noticeboard, a letter which Naruohou finds in the trash later: it is addressed to ‘the murderer’ and invites them out to the scene of the crime. Naturally, whoever wrote this must be the killer, although why are they calling their victim the murderer? They also get to meet the former acrobat, Acro – now wheelchair-bound, he’s no longer able to perform in the circus and seems grateful that Max has ‘saved’ it. They don’t get very far in their conversation before Mei interrupts and takes him away for questioning – apparently Acro is a key witness as well. And, lastly, Tommy lets it slip that a tragedy happened at Tachimi Circus half a year ago – while trying to impress the ringmaster’s daughter Rika by sticking his head in her lion Leon’s mouth, Acro’s younger brother and performing partner Bat was badly bitten. He ended up in a coma while Acro was badly injured trying to rescue him. Tommy was especially disturbed at how Leon looked like he smiled before he bit Bat. The ringmaster had tried to cover this up by shooting Leon, but it becomes obvious to Naruhodou that the incident was far from done with and is connected to the current murder case. Especially cos that letter was apparently originally addressed to Rika.
…and we don’t even get time to ruminate on that for ourselves cos at the end of the episode Naruhodou immediately accuses Acro as the true culprit.
Oh yeah, and Mei tells Naruhodou that the reason she’s so gungho about defeating him has nothing to do with her creepy father, it’s because she’s mad that he crushed her precious Mitsurugi’s spirit.Does it sound like way too much went down in this episode? That’s because it did. I was kind of surprised by this because so far, this anime has taken a pretty even and relatively good pace with each story, but that all went out the window here. Even though I was just praising the adaptation of this arc in the previous episode. Sigh.
I mean, on the plus side, it gets over and done with quicker because again, I don’t like this case and I don’t like any of the characters in it. (Acro is the only one who isn’t annoying as hell, and I assume the Ringmaster was probably a decent guy but he’s dead). But this still just feels really rushed, and there’s so much new info that comes to light that for anyone who hasn’t played the game it’s probably overwhelming. (and honestly if you haven’t played the game please just stop watching this and play the game. I still don’t think this is the worst adaptation ever, but it really is much better to experience the cases the way they were meant to and with the suspense intact) The worst thing I think is the fact that Acro is accused of being the culprit in the same episode he’s introduced in. Because it’s all so rushed, we barely get time to form an emotional connection (which is perhaps also greater in the game because the extended time spent with everyone else and how unbelievably annoying they are really contrasts with how down to earth and normal he is in comparison so that it feels a lot more bittersweet when you realize he’s the only one with a motive.
Another thing that’s really been bugging me in this adaptation of the second game is Karuma Mei. She’s one of my favourite characters in the game but she just seems kind of boring in the anime. She never really gets any good scenes, and certainly none that are well drawn. Seriously, the reason I hardly include screencaps of her is because half the time she looks terrible. I really wish they put as much care into her mannerisms as they are with Naruhodou and Mayoi. Speaking of looking bad, I forgot to mention this before but can someone please teach whoever is in charge of drawing the big cats, specifically the tiger, how to actually draw them?! This is one of the worst anime tigers I’ve seen in my life. Either make him super cartoony or realistic, not some half-assed attempt at realistic that looks like a giant plushie.
As for the things I liked – there are parts where we see a news crew reporting on the trial, and Max’s gang of fangirls in the audience supporting him. I still really like those little touches in the anime. Unfortunately the rest of the episode just wasn’t that strong.