15 years ago, an unknown hyperspace gate opened over the Pacific. Beyond this gate lies Reto Semaani, a strange alternate world where fairies and monsters live.
San Teresa City—a city where over two million immigrants live from both worlds. As a result, there are the haves and the have-nots. Here is the world's newest "city of dreams." But in the shadow of the chaos, crime is rampant: drugs, prostitution, and weapon trafficking. The detectives who stand up to these heinous crimes are in the San Teresa City Police. When the detective Kei Matoba and the alternate-world knight Tirana—two individuals who differ in gender, personality, and even world of origin—meet, an incident erupts. Two worlds. Two justices. From this, the curtain rises on a buddy police action story!
Here's comes an popular opinion: Shows like these are degraded by their aesthetics, so much so that people are turned off without actually trying. The UNPOPULAR one is that these shows DO have substance, and not for the lack of trying, and actually offer differences to the table.
That's what Cop Craft is: an action-fantasy detective show made by Full Metal Panic (and Amagi Brilliant Park) creator Shoji Gatoh, but somehow landed the directed role to hit-and-miss director Shin Itagaki. Hopefully he doesn't screw this, because it has been pretty good for the most part.
If you've watched Kekkai Sensen, the premise (or rather its world-building) should
come as no surprise as humans and aliens are living side-by-side amongst a Western civilization-run city, and all the nonsense terms and conditions that the immigrants have to live by in order to maintain peace amidst conflict. However that conflict soon arises from the fact that an entity (in this case, a fairy) has the ability to threaten the existence of humans from the Earth by the alien immigrants who wish to thwart mankind to oblivion. And in this case, a well-established detective by the name of Kei Matoba and the immigrants' representative Tilarna Exedilica have to work together to ward off the evil that could potentially kill either species.
In the case of characters, Kei Matoba is as close as what you'll get when working with such E.T-esque characters, as derivative as working with strangers and no hesitation to shoot them down, referencing American policemen if non-compliance is conformed. Tilarna on the other hand looks child-like, but don't mistake her appearance from her status, as being a Knight doesn't shun her from the immaculate problems of peace and conflict, and while being oblivious to Earth's rules, sometimes she could be witty as well.
The elephant in the room is definitely in the Art/Animation department, done by Millepensee (the 2016 Berserk show in collaboration with another 3DCGI studio). For the most part it really delivers, unless the CGI does give you motion sickness. To my eye it seems obligatory, but it plays a part in the whole story/plot, especially in the action scenes. And please Shin Itagaki, get your foothold right!
The music department really does a good job foreshadowing and replicating the American feel of the city that this story is built in. And in the case of OP/ED, the OP by Masayoshi Ooishi (if you recognize his voice as part of OxT from Overlord) is a banger, and I'm ready to fill this in as my OP of the season. Tilarna's VA for the ED is good though.
This could be an under-appreciated show for the same reasons people deny it, but really, this show should be given a second chance!
Now I know there are plenty of pretentious people out there, who would pass this because of its unquestionable shortcomings. As of writing this review I've seen 4 episodes and everything about the show that feels cliche, overdone or stupid, I've managed to turn around in my head, just because this show gives me absolute pure enjoyment. From the stile to the music, to the chemistry between the characters, that perfectly compliment's their differences, to the music again and to all the things that should feel annoying in the plot and the plot devices, but actually surprise you with how stupid, abrupt and ridiculous they
are. I always complain that if I know what is about to happen in the story, and how the writers are going to present it, I won't enjoy it. But here it is not the story that I enjoy. it's the ful package. I even consider the undyingly crappy animation as a reason to like this show, because in this messed up world everything is messed up, and the fight to the death isn't the important part, instead, it's the reaction of the characters to that fight. I don't need gorgeously animated action sequences. That's why I watch kimetsu no yaiba for. And that show always annoys me with its lack of focus. Cop Craft might as well be my favourite show this season, as almost all lines of dialogue are poetically comedic, either when they play on cliches and mock overused tropes, or when the characters simply interact. I like it when the plot, the characters, the premise are complex and thought out, but I absolutely love the simple style and approach in this show. The reason for that is that I simply like it.
In conclusion, this is not an action thriller for me. Instead, I like to think of it as an overproduced comedy, that works perfectly as a comedy. I consider Cop Craft nothing less of a gem, because unlike Enen no Shouboutai for example, where I keep thinking what could have been done with the story and in what ways, here I just purely enjoy the ride without a care in the world. Every episode is a case of "Will they make it, will they survive?" - "Of course they will, now shut up and watch". I might sound really dumb, but I can hardly criticise a show that makes me laugh so much.
In that regard, it is similar to KONOSUBA, which basically has no concurrent story or plot, but is hilarious and funny in the stupidest ways imaginable. IDK. If you want to give Cop Craft a chance, just don't think about the bad or the ugly, focus on the stupid and the "oh, for fuck's sake, really???" moments of it. It won't surprise you if you are looking for something unique in its own right, but if you just sit down and watch I promise you'll have a great time.
I'll start by saying that it's a shame that this show is airing when it is; any other season than right now and I think it would do a lot better for itself. Unfortunately, it's up against hard hitters like Fire Force and Demon Slayer, and I think as a result that both reduces its popularity and makes people more critical towards it, especially when you consider the quality of the aforementioned shows and others.
Starting with flaws, the story itself is fairly average, with several generic character and story tropes thrown in. Because of this, it makes it a lot harder for this show to
stand out among its competitors, and it may not be interesting enough to keep some people interested in it. It also may limit what will be able to be done with the story in the long run.
What's not so easy to overlook is the art. The hand drawn animation overall looks solid and the action scenes look good, if a bit stiff. CGI is used very often, however, and there are certain scenes that easily could have been done normally instead of CGI. It can make some shots seem awkward or clunky. Also, every vehicle is CGI. It feels weird and out of place, and it kind of feels like a cop out (heh). For some, it could very easily become a make-or-break kind of deal when it's that obvious.
Despite these flaws, Cop Craft has a lot of strengths to it that add to its charm and help to overcome its issues. For one, the vibe is awesome: it's gives off a buddy-cop movie kind of vibe with some extra darkness and grit, and it's further emphasized by how well the main leads, Kei and Tilarna play off of each other. Their relationship is cute - kind of adorable, even - and helps to lighten up some of the darker scenes.
On that note, probably what gives me the most enjoyment is the writing and the dialogue between characters. The script writers did a great job of interjecting humor at the right times with great wisecracks and witty banter, and it really helps to add a little depth to the characters and helps to lighten up an otherwise gritty situation.
Though the story itself may be lacking, the setting for it is pretty neat and will look familiar to those who have watched GATE or Blood Blockade Battlefront. What really gets me, however, is how 'human' many of the other-worlders look, and I think that's a great take on it. They blend in easier with Earth society, and you aren't always able to tell at first glance who's from Earth and who isn't.
And the OP is straight dope, easily one of the best of the season and a definite contender for THE best. It's flashy, it's fun, it's jazzy, what more could you want? And the soundtrack also helps to further push that American buddy-cop vibe.
Overall I found myself enjoying Cop Craft very much. It's a nice break from the loads of Shonen and Isekai that have been airing recently. And despite its average story it's a good take on what would happen if magic and our modern world collided. It has to be enjoyed for what it is: a fantasy-buddy-cop show starring a grizzled detective and his elvish partner busting bad guys and solving crime. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the show will play out over the course of the season.