I like ghost stories. I like the a lot. But being a total coward, I prefer ghost stories where it turns out the ghost wasn’t really a ghost at all. That way I don’t have to sleep with the lights on for the nxt week. I still do of course. Better safe than sorry. ust because that one ghost wasn’t a ghost doesn’t mean the next one won’t be, after all.

Why am I telling you all this? No reason really. I just thought we could catch up a little is all. Do you have any strong feelings about ghosts?

This week’s Woodpecker Detective’s Office was a fairly run of the mill procedural story. It’s the type of episode you could have seen in any number of detective show and indeed you probably have seen. An unsolved murder with the victim supposedly coming back as a ghost.

Oh um, I guess I should say right now: SPOILERS… You probably can guess what happens though.

Not a ghost. A projeton meant to ure the killer out and a sorrowful tale of grief, lost love, vengeance and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing earth shattering here. We’ve seen this exact story play out almost in the exact same way countless times before.

 Not that it was particularly bad mind you. I was a decent telling of this particular tale.Just not remarkable.I would almost call it filler but procedurals are kind of entirely made out of filler so let’s call it a safe episode.

So if the story didn’t have much to offer this week, that means we have to look elsewhere to get something fun out of the episode. I’m not sure why I’ve adopted this weird mindset that it’s the audience’s responsibility to find their own enjoyment but hey, it works for me…

So what did I get out of episode 4 of Woodpecker Detective’s Office. First I am continuing to relish in the backgrounds or more specifically the cityscapes. The ghost’s high tower as well as the surrounding area are particular favourites of mine. We’ve been seeing in the distance in past episodes and I was thrilled that we finally got a close up view. I’m hoping we’ll get to actually go inside at some point.

Once again the colours were great and I really love how this show handles light and shadows. Washing everything in this deep cobalt hue while making light particularly yellow to amp up the contrast as much as possible. Personally, I find it very visually appealing.

To me, however, Woodpecker Detective’s Office is first and foremost a character study and second a relationship story. No matter what actually happens n any given episode, the focus seems to be on slowly developing Ishikawa as a character and his relationship with Kyosuke. Or rather Kyosuke’s relationship with him, and there is a slight distinction there.

If there is one thing the show has insisted on is that Ishikawa is a very talented poet. A genius even. And let’s face it, artists are supposed to be a bit eccentric and fickle.  Ishikawa certainly fits the bill. Brilliant but seemingly motivated almost entirely by selfish pleasures and spontaneous whims. There’s nothing wrong with that characterisation but it is hard to pin down and it can get tiresome in a main character. That’s why the charismatic troll is usually a supporting actor. Important but absent for long periods of time. The sort of character ho’s presence is felt even when it is not seen. I am an unabashed fan of the archetype but even I know it is often best used sparingly.

And this is where Ishikawa’s problem lies I think. I have a feeling the writers agree with me, that’s why the character seems to hod back at times. Stopping short from being actually despicable or having the cast around him declare him lovable so that we will too. I don’t think the story has figured out how to use him properly yet and the show is suffering from that. But it’s not hopeless. This episode wasn’t bad and I maintain that episode 2 was downright great. There’s hope.

And a lot of that hope lies in Kyosuke’s unreliable viewpoint character of their relationship. Te uneven and flighty way with which the friendship is depicted is a great depiction of someone who’s infatuated and exasperated. The series is so far at it’s best when these two clash and I think we have more of that to come.

Let’s see…

Woodpecker Detectives Office ep4-9 (4)


5 thoughts

  1. I don’t really have much to say about this episode. Plot made sense, but wasn’t terribly involving. I wasn’t bored watching it, but I’m perfectly fine forgetting it. And in some ways that’s worse than being bad. There’s this unspoken frame that the OP keeps reminding us of, that Ishikawa’s dead, and this is all looking back… and I don’t much care. That’s also not a good sign.

    You’re right that there’s hope, though. The show definitely has it’s moments. I don’t remember any in this episode, though.

    1. Oh, and while I’m at it: I probably wouldn’t want to be a woman in this show. They tend not to have very nice deaths.

  2. The show sounds ok, but I’m more fascinated by your take on ghosts considering you watch a lot of yokai anime.

    Then again, they aren’t ghosts by definition either.

    1. Ghosts can be Yokai. You know, I’m not sure I have a take on ghosts. I sort of consider them like people. Some are good, some are bad. I bet the internet brings out the worst in them….

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