Entry #14: Mouryou no Hako (Spoilers)

I love when mysteries are so unbelievably uninteresting that they’re only good when they’re solved. I’m just kidding, I hate that.

A lot of this anime is spent talking about the murder case. However, there are parts where stuff actually happens to progress the plot. It really is scatterbrained. In the first episode, it gives an in-depth look at the relationship between two high school girls. Spoiler; one of them is absolutely psychotic. This relationship stays important for the rest of the anime. By the way, aside from the final two episodes, the first episode is by far the most interesting.

Something I don’t like about the plot is that it’s based on character building. Many episodes are spent among the characters talking to each other, usually about the murder case and how useless they are for not being able to solve it. This is a problem when no characters are interesting. I’m not lying when I say that the only character’s name I could remember was Kiba’s. And that was probably because it was short. The only characters I found interesting were the two girls shown for the majority of the first episode. And they’re both dead by episode seven. Thanks, anime.

Something I found troubling with the anime in general was the resolution. What happens? Well, a couple of characters who we know nothing about suddenly drive the plot forward by revealing everything about the case… as if they knew all along. How did they find this information? If it was explained during the anime, I missed it, because it seemed like everything just came flying out of their mouth like spit. And the resolution itself? It was fine. It made sense to a degree, enough to cover up most of the plotholes. Most of them. Did I mention the role of “evil spirits” in this anime? Apparently they make people do bad things just ’cause. Okay. And did they really have to ramp up the amount of shock in it, too? What comes to be is so twisted, so vile…. Is it really necessary to make most of the characters just insane to be insane? It makes it feel less realistic, but was this anime really realistic to begin with?

Art was fine. In fact, I thought it was better than fine, for its era. A lot of dark scenes and twisted expressions. It would have worked wonders if only I cared enough about the characters or if I could follow the plot progression whatsoever. It was nice enough to look at, just not to follow; but that’s not the art’s fault.

So, basically, I watched an interesting first episode, a “meh” second episode, nine straight episodes of mostly boring “character development,” and then the final two episodes that wrap up the mystery nicely… spoken by characters who know everything because why not, and through the means of ghosts! Oh, and keeping humans alive by use of machinery. That’s pretty fucked up. What this anime tries to do is immerse the viewer into a murder case by using various characters to analyze the scenarios revolving around the case. This sounds good on paper, but when executed without giving the characters any likability to them, the viewer becomes interested in the plot only. And the longer the plot doesn’t move forward, the more the viewer becomes dissatisfied. An interesting finish, albeit with plotholes, but the build-up to it just dragged down the entire experience for me.

Personal Score: C-

Critical Score: C

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