Woodpecker Detective’s Office Ep.11 – Giving Form to the Sparkles

Weirdly, there’s gonna be spoilers for the first season of Psycho Pass… This is going to be another weird review, isn’t it…

I’m gonna tell you a secret. Don’t get too excited or anything, it’s not a very good secret. Still it’s a bit embarrassing. I never watched all of Psycho Pass season 1. I talk about it constantly. I really liked the show and the wealth of sci fi concepts in it is amazing to discuss. But I have yet to fully watch it.

I always skip Kagari’s death scene. And a few scenes after that as well. I’m assuming they’re sad. I don’t know…never seen them.

I’m that type of person. I don’t enjoy seeing characters I like die or suffer. Maybe that’s why I’m not big on romance…

Point is, ever since Ishi got sick, I’ve been going into these episodes backwards. (That saying may not exist in English, it means ‘ve been very reticent to watch). It’s really silly on my part since we were told in episode 1 exactly where the series is going, and we’re reminded in each OP, and I talk about it constantly. But I still don’t want to see it.

The sick boy/girl trope is pretty frequent in fiction in general and anime in particular. Well not so much in shows I watch for obvious reasons. It’s one of my least liked tropes by far. Still it seems to appeal to some as it has been both popular and enduring.

Right now, Ishi is pretty much a sick boy trope, complete with the caring, gentle, suspiciously engaged friend to take care of him… But it may not be that bad. A least this episode wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, the mystery of the week was pretty contrived. Although it did feature a dog ransom pick up which both proves my point and is the best. It was a story of jilted lovers and irresponsible fathers. Tale as old as time. I have to say, even now I’m not entirely sure what that lady was trying to accomplish. I mean, I get what but why? It was just a weird plan to me. Those are a die a dozen in proceduras thuogh, so it doesn’t bother me that much.

The backgrounds were still as pretty as ever and I do so love night scenes in this show. We got to see quite a bit of both so I’m happy. Oh and we also got to see Action Hero Nomura and now I definitely want that doll. Fully articulated at that, none of that high detail molded figuring stuff. I want dynamic coin throwing action!

What I’m saying is that it was in many ways a nothing episode with good visuals o that’s enough to keep me mildly entertained for 20 minutes or so. Man, I am not demanding…

But where this episode defied my expectations is in how it treated Ishi’s character. He’s obviously very ill and unlikely to get better. But he’s pretty cheerful and more than that. He’s engaged, working on both his poetry and taking up cases. He’s body won’t let him do the physical work as before but his mind is still  sharp and he’s putting it to good use.

People are a bit more careful of him but they’re not coddling him either. The point is, he’s being productive. And considering Ishikawa is a drunken pleasure seeker with no work ethic and little discipline, this may be one of the most productive phases we’ve seen him in.

And the show isn’t presenting it as a tragedy either. The music is light and often cheerful. There seems to be little doubt in any of the characters that there’s a good chance he will not get better and this isn’t brushed aside or sugar coated but it also isn’t treated as devastating.

Ishi is simply trying to live out what tie he has left to the best of his ability. It’s that simple. And that is an incredibly refreshing take of the sick boy trope and on the confrontation of mortality theme in general. I guess you could say he went through it in the last episode so now he’s in acceptance, but we rarely get to see a nice more prolonged period of acceptance where the character actually gets to do something. Gets to live a little.

For someone like me, who generally dislikes being bluntly sad, it was impressive that I could take this in and be left hopeful and just sort of o.k. with it. Maybe it’s just me, but I hope not…

Woodpecker Detective's Agency ep11 (37)

 

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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6 Responses

  1. I really loved the premise for this series, how a poet becomes a detective out of necessity, and how other literary figures are roped in in a meiji-ish era animized Japan, but my interest started to wear a little thin recently. Let’s see what the final episode brings us in a few hours. Love your post as always

  2. Dawnstorm says:

    I’m not even sure Kagari dies on screen in PP, but it’s been a while.

    Honestly, I don’t even remember what happened this episode. Something about abducted children, and some twist or so. I think Ishikawa’s sickness reveals the weaknesses in the character design. The textures are too somooth, so those rings around the eyes don’t quite look credible to me, likely because the contrast’s too sharp. Looks more like someone really tired having a mascara accident than an illnes to me. My emotional involvement was quite good last week, but this week I’m back to not caring too much.

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