Woodpecker Detective’s Office Ep.12 – Life is Short

I’m not sure what I was expecting for the finale of Woodpecker Detective’s Office. It’s been a frustrating show, way too inconsistent to properly gauge. Sure I was hoping it would be a good last episode but I wasn’t holding my breath or anything.

You can see some of th stitches and the scars from the adaptation. It was far from seamless. But other issues may run deeper. There were problems that just couldn’t be solved in the last episode and they weren’t.

So I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to fly by without me noticing and leave me with a big goofy grin on my face!

On the surface, this last episode finally revealed the identity of accuser X and brought the whole season together solving the one overarching mystery left. My issue with this is that the show diverted from the mystery format so often that I sort of forgot about accuser X and even when reminded, was only vaguely aware of who they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to have done. That’s a real shame, I’m pretty sure that if I had been more invested in this mystery I would have loved this reveal.

I’m not going to tell you who it is. I mean, if you’ve made it this far, you might as well watch the last episode. However, I will say that developing a character or adding a new plot thread in the last episode is almost never a good idea. It’s different in a manga, the reader has much more control over the pacing and they can let events and information sink in at whatever rate is comfortable. Although even in a manga it’s hard to pull off. But in an anime, it’s next to impossible.

There is a scene where Ishikawa confronts the culprit and they tell him “You know nothing about my life or what I’ve been through…” I’m paraphrasing but it was basically that. And I thought to myself, that’s probably true but the real problem is that the audience doesn’t know either. That makes it sort of hard to care. It’s a clue that I still cared a bit.

Still this aspect of the episode sort of summed up my ongoing frustration with the series. All the pieces were there to create a story I would have really enjoyed but they were put together haphazardly and in the wrong order so I was left with a mess. But I could still see those good pieces. Le sigh…

Slightly better though, were my last interactions with the characters, who were all at their very best. Each was treated extremely gently by the story. Almost everybody got the chance to shine at least a bit and had their better features highlighted. Everyone was acting like likable civilized and interesting people. Despite the ever so tragic flashback explanation we got, no one got too dramatic or mean. I don’t think anyone even lost their temper at all.

This last look at the cast in their best light left me with a memory of a group of people I would have liked to have gotten to know better. I think that’s a very nice send off. These characters have not always been so well presented and could be inconsistent, annoying or occasionally baffling in their reaction. It’s almost like they found their footing right at the end. It may be too little too late for some, but it goes a long way for me.

Still the best part f the series, aside from those gorgeous backgrounds of course, remains the references to classic Japanese literature.

Prominently featured is Ishikawa’s Sad Toys which was published posthumously so that situated the timeline. It’s a collection of tanka, a few of which were scattered throughout this season. It’s also notable in that it’ the first known instance of a Japanese writer using Romanji in a published work. As someone who still struggles a lot with Kanji, I deeply appreciate this trend.

Ishikawa’s style is somewhat brisk but not bad at all. If you enjoy Tanka, I would recommend it. Although I do have a feeling most of it gets lost in translation.

Ranpo also mentions thinking about setting his curren novel in a used book store and I’m not entirely sure which one he is referring to. I haven’t read much Edogawa but I really want to. In fact I just downloaded The Fiend with Twenty Faces as well as The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro – both of which were free on amazon! YAY

And finally, the episode left us with a surprisingly feel good moment as well in the form of Yoshii’s beautiful ballad, Gondola no Uta. We only got the first verse in the episode but here is the rest, cause I like it and I want to share it with you:

life is short
fall in love, maidens
before the crimson bloom
fades from your lips
before the tides of passion
cool within you,
for there is no such thing
as tomorrow, after all

life is short
fall in love, maidens
before his hands
take up his boat
before the flush of his cheeks fades
for there is not a person
who comes hither

life is short
fall in love, maidens
before the boat drifts away
on the waves
before the hand resting on your shoulder
becomes frail
for there is no reach here
for the sight of others

life is short
fall in love, maidens
before the raven tresses
begin to fade
before the flame in your hearts
flicker and die
for today, once passed,
is never to come again

Woodpecker Detective’s Office was a deeply flawed series. I don’t think I would recommend it. I’m rather glad I watched it.

Woodpecker Detective's Office ep12 (45)

Irina

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

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4 Responses

  1. “You know nothing about my life or what I’ve been through…”

    There has to be a trope in there somewhere.

    That song… reminds of the love theme of Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliette.”

    A rose will bloom
    It then will fade
    So does a youth
    So does the fairest maid.

  2. Dawnstorm says:

    Pretty much agree with your impressions here, except I probably get less out of the Jap-lit connection, because I haven’t read anything and have researched nothing. All the strength and weaknesses and annoyances were there in this episode.

    Also, far be it from me to rag on tradition or proffesion, but… much better hairdo for you know who.

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