“Whew, that was a close one! It had nearly been too long since the latest ‘Japan’s weird obsession with mystical Catholocism’ anime!”

Roberto Nicholas and Josef Ko Hiraga are partners in something called the Vatican Miracle Examiners, whose job it is to investigate claims of miracles. Nicholas does it with his booksmarts, Hiraga with his skill at maths at sciences. This time, they’ve been called to a monastery in Mexico to investigate the case of a woman who claims to have Christ himself growing her womb. The apparently puzzlingly well-funded church hospital are able to confirm that she is pregnant, and she does appear to be a virgin, but are reluctant to honour her claim due to the fact that its blasphemy to claim there could be another Christ.

Nicholas and Hiraga suspect that there is some other shady shit going down at this place – especially in regards to the hospital funding – and especially when the mystery of the virgin pregnancy soon turns into a murder mystery when one of the other Fathers is found dead.

Priests who use technology to solve mysteries -should- be a decent concept, and yet…

So as you can probably tell, this is yet another of those kinds of series that were puzzlingly popular in the early 00s that seem to entirely be about the fascination Japan has with mystical Catholicism. It’s not something I can fault them for – especially considering the cringey hipster approach to Buddhism in the west – but I was surprised to see another show like this in 2017.

To its credit, it seems like there was at least some amount of research gone into it…but the end result is that it just ends up looking like something aimed at Catholocism Otakus (I’m sure they exist), spouting off as many biblical references and name-dropping as many artifacts and saints as it can, than anybody else. Whether those hypothetical people would even like it beyond its window-dressing is another matter entirely, because holy crap was this boring. There’s a genuine attempt to create a dark (literally, can someone turn on the goddamn lights?) and forboding atmosphere (complete with ridiculously over the top, constant hymn chanting) and suspense, but it takes so long for anything to actually happen that I’d already lost interest half way through. In fact I forgot I was even watching it at one point and went and did something else. The whole time I was watching it, I could only really think how much I’d rather be watching something else. Like Made in Abyss, that’s supposed to be pretty good.

The weird part is that even though the plot moves slowly, everything else moves weirdly fast. Everyone talks really fast and scenes happen weirdly fast, there’s barely any breathing room between scene transitions and I felt like I was being rapidly caterpaulted from one boring scene to the next. At one point, I actually did have to check to make sure I wasn’t somehow playing the episode at 3x the speed, because it just felt that wrong to me. I noticed pretty quickly that there is very limited ‘quiet’ time in the whole episode, in almost every second of screen timeĀ someone is talking. They’ve genuinely tried to condense what seems to be far too much material into a single episode,and even though the obvious solution would be to speed up the narrative itself and trim the fat, they decided to just speed up the scenes. It’s a genuinely uncomfortable viewing experience, and I have basically zero desire to see the second episode even though it does end on a lame cliffhanger.

Looks like the real ‘miracle’ that should be investigated here is how a show that moves so damn fast could have so little happen and be this dull.

I said the same thing when I closed the media player.

Out of 5,
1/2

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