Tantei Opera Milky Holmes
Number of Episodes: 12
Production company: J.C. Staff
Brief Overview: In the future, people use items called "Toys" to gain abilities and powers, which are sometimes used to commit crimes. A toy-wielding detective agency called Milky Holmes, staffed by four young girls, appears to help combat these toy-related crimes.
Episode Summary: Milky Holmes, the talented detective agency comprised of young investigators Sherlock Shellingford, Nero Yuzurizaki, Hercule Barton and Cordelia Glauca, once again find themselves facing their arch-nemesis, Arsene. As usual, the four heroines are aided in this particular confrontation by their "Toys," special abilities that provide them with powers such as super strength and psychic sight. As Arsene narrowly escapes them once again, there's an explosion. In the aftermath, the girls realize that they no longer have access to their toys.
Their lives fall into a downward spiral as their fellow classmates at detective school begin to notice how incompetent the team are without their toys. Many students, including the student council president (who bears a striking resemblance to a certain buxom thief...), begin to feel that the special treatment the girls have been getting is now wholly unwarranted. She offers the four an ultimatum: they need to disarm a bomb that she's prepared, without the use of their now defunct powers. When the four of them fail the task, she gives them a mere three months to regain the use of their toys before they're expelled from school.
Thoughts: So far this season we've been treated to trash-talking angels, un-maid-like maids, talking squids, and transforming galactic pretty-boys. All of that seems like business-as-usual, however, compared to the sheer weirdness of this opening episode. What looks from the outside to be yet another moe-style mahou-shoujo series in reality appears to be (whether on-purpose or not) some sort of gag parody series that eschews coherence and pacing for all-out kooky characters and their bizarre antics. I'm not quite sure which is better (or worse), to tell you the truth. Can I get my half-hour back, please?
I honestly don't really know where to begin in describing this episode. One item of note is that it's vaguely sexual in nature, but not really in the way you would tend to think; one of the male characters, an adversary disguised as the characters' teacher, has the flamboyant habit of tearing off his shirt and flashing his bare chest while speaking of his own beauty. This happens more than once and one of the other characters even makes note of the man's rather prominent (for an anime character) nipples. After watching the episode I was forced to reevaluate its target audience; while Arsene herself is every bit the buxom bondage-babe and the heroes definitely encompass various popular moe character types, the teacher's over-the-top behavior seems ill-fitting, however hilarious it might be. I should certainly mention that his moments were perhaps the only times during the episode I actually felt like laughing, though not so much in an "oh wow that was really clever!" way, but rather an "oh my gosh what the heck are they trying to pull?" way. It's one of those situations where I thought it was funny but I'd almost rather that no one else knew I had laughed at such a thing (too late, it's all over the internet now).
I'm also a bit baffled as to the necessity of the detective theme. It's not as if having the characters be detectives is any more ridiculous than having them be ersatz pop idols, fairy tale princesses or magical girls whose powers are based around floral motifs, but the theme seems especially painted on in this show. It's especially irritating considering that the characters are named after very respected fictional detectives whose abilities they don't even channel in any measurable way. I'd be more inclined to forgive this if it seemed as if the story would take these girls on a journey to learn how to do true detective work (as in, hunting for clues and using their mental skills to catch criminals), but the whole narrative seems as if it will be based mostly on the characters getting their cheap special powers back which is sadly, though not unexpectedly, shallow. Maybe I'm wrong and there could be a story arc that revolves around the girls learning the true value of deductive reasoning and teamwork, but considering how goofy the rest of the episode was, I don't have very high hopes that this will occur.
The production values on the show are, unsurprisingly, pretty bad. I've got serious issues with some of the character designs; Arsene's outfit is bad enough as it is, but her breasts are just drawn terribly to the point of it being distracting sometimes. It's as if someone took a blank torso and just decided to render the boobs by drawing a letter "W" on its chest, with no regard to how they should realistically behave. Not that this is the first anime to commit that particular crime, but I found it to be more egregious here. Also worth a mention are the aforementioned nipples attached to the pervy teacher, which probably receive a great deal more animation than is warranted. Seriously, there's a scene where they're standing at attention, blowing in the breeze from an open window (see screen capture 2 to your left). It makes me wonder how they established the budgetary priorities for the show, but considering how much I laughed at the nipples versus everything else, I suppose it makes some sort of sick sense.
I'm really at a loss for words here; the only phrase that really comes to mind in regards to this episode is "hot mess." It's a jumble of weird concepts and uncomfortable humor that defies expectations, but not in the good way. The production values are rubbish, not necessarily a huge deal until you take into account the lack of redeeming features in the narrative and the strangeness of the characters. Seriously, what is this, I don't even...
- Okay, okay, the nipple guy is funny. And gross.
- Crummy production values make the show difficult to watch.
- The whole "detective" thing seems to be very loosely tacked-on.
Recommended? No way, unless, like me, you like to force your friends to watch really bad anime. This is just... ugh, I'm speechless.