Vatican City—Holy Land of the Catholics. Amidst the land, there is an organization that conducts rigorous investigations on "claims of miracles" from all over the world to ascertain their credibility. The organization is referred to as "Seito no Za" (Assembly of Saints) and the priests that belong there are called miracle investigators. Robert Nicholas, an ancient archive and cryptanalysis expert is partnered and good friends with Hiraga Josef Kou, a genius scientist. Together, the brilliant duo investigates the "miracles" and uncovers the incidents and conspiracies hidden behind them.
This is actually my very first review so bear with me.
-No spoilers in this review
Vatican Miracle examiner is quite unique for an anime in that it explores Christianity, and more specifically Catholicism. There are a few other I won't bother naming, but this one does it quite well I think. It manages to present interesting plot arcs and stories that explore the idea of holy miracles but at the same it doesn't to shove it's religion in your face. What I mean is that anyone who isn't Christian can enjoy this show without ever feeling uncomfortable or offended.
The show has a few distinct
arcs within it; in each arc the main characters travel to a different part of the world and do what Vatican Miracle examiners do. The story arcs are loosely tied together, but for the most part are separate. Not every story arc is created equal but none of them are "boring".
Nothing too noteworthy or pleasing but it isn't bad by any standard.
The settings are usually done pretty well and set a nice tone for what is going on.
The main character designs are rather good, but the side characters are lacking. Too many of the side characters look the same or don't stand out.
OP and ED are quite good. The ED is sung by one of the main characters which I love and it's very cheerful and pleasant. It's especially good to hear the sweet ending right after a very dark and somber episode.
The background music is not something worth talking about but it serves it's purpose. I never thought to myself "this background music is bad" so therefore it's fine by me.
The two main characters are really good and well fleshed out, but beyond that there is almost no other significant character besides the main villain.
Hiraga- He is naiive, enthusiastic, intelligent, trusting, and kind.
Hiraga is a real pleasure in this show as he is always in good spirits and he is so filled with faith and hope that it seems like almost nothing can ever get him down. He is incredibly attached to his co-worker Roberto and they share a very strong bond; the bond they share is really easy to appreciate and it is especially highlighted in the ED and the dialogue the MCs share after the ED.
Roberto- Intelligent, calculating, strong. Roberto is Hiraga's rock. He is incredibly reliable and trustworthy. He is also endlessly knowledgeable about old books and runes, which is much more helpful than you would expect. Roberto had an incredibly difficult childhood and it is no wonder he works so differently than Hiraga. The two main characters essentially complete each other so they can work in a perfect partnership
It is lightly hinted at that Hiraga may be gay for Roberto but it is never mentioned directly or explored. Personally I'm glad about that.
Never was this anime boring. The characters are likable and the stories are interesting. The settings are well done and the plots are well thought out.
I almost always rate shows based solely on my enjoyment, but trust me, this show really is quite good. It pains me to see that it's rated below a 7 (at the moment at least)
Vatican Kiseki Chousakan (Vatican Miracle Examiner) was by no means flawless. And this show was definitely not a masterpiece. However, despite all of its flaws, Vatican Kiseki Chousakan became one of my favorite anime series of the summer 2017 season. I initially picked up this series because I'm a sucker for anything with religion as a theme. To say that this show is unique is saying the least.
Vatican Kiseki Chousakan follows our main characters, Hiraga and Roberto, and their examinations of "miracles." Every arc has a different miracle and a different mystery to examine. Despite having religion as a theme,
logic and science is used to solve the mysteries, which I found rather amusing and odd. Each arc had its fair share of ridiculousness, from Hitler sperm to cocaine on the floor. Admittedly, the story-line was not the strongest but it was definitely enjoyable. This show had some very outlandish and strange themes, but it was one of the reasons why I kept watching this show.
Looking at the characters, their developments were done nicely. Throughout the series, we discover more and more about our main characters, such as their pasts and personalities. Our main characters and main villain, Julia, were really the only ones with any impact to the story. Some side characters were introduced (such as Hiraga's brother) and had some slight development but otherwise, they had no lasting effect. The voice actors did a good job of capturing the character's personalities as well as just voice acting in general.
The art, animation, and sound were fine. The artwork didn't really stand out to me, but it was pleasant enough to look at. The character designs were also quite nice. The music was a good addition to the show and I thoroughly enjoyed the opening, Mysterium.
This show was not perfect. In fact, we received a rather bland finale. However, I enjoyed this show overall. It had absurd and unintentionally hilarious elements. The story was definitely unique and distinctive and highly enjoyable. That being said, I would not recommend this show for everybody. The first arc was enough to deter many people. But if you enjoy ridiculous storytelling, I would go ahead and give this show a shot.
Please note this review is intended to be read by those that have finished watching Vatican Kiseki and while care has been taken to minimize story related spoilers there might be minor spoilers in character analysis.
Intro and premise
The church and by extension the Vatican is not something that you see often within anime due to their complexity and the difficulty in creating a story in which they can be effective at. This makes this anime even more interesting because of it. By its nature the church will always be concerned with Miracles when they happen and here lies the story that
will be used as the overall plot.
The overall plot of the show follows the duties of two such investigators of this secretive division who are Roberto Nicholas a man well versed in ancient knowledge and in Cryptanalysis and his partner Hiragi Josef Ko a genius scientist that also has a lot of faith in the church and in god.
The overall theme that is used here is the investigation of miracles using both the traditional science based detective techniques and one’s faith in god. Settings wise each of the miracles that feature in the series take place in different parts of the world some of these areas being fictional while some are not which I feel only adds to the uniqueness of his case as these locations and culture often have a hand in effecting the background for the miracles themselves. Common with most other animes produced in this period of time Vatican Kiseki features a number of sub story arcs which in this case are the individual cases that link into the overall plot of the series. These cases act as pieces of the puzzle for the larger overall plot something I felt matched pretty well with the premise of solving mysteries.
Roberto Nicholas voiced by veteran voice actor Junichi Suwabe of Fate stay night fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of the two investigators that serve as the main characters in this series. A member of the Vatican’s secretive but elite miracle investigation division the Seito no Za Roberto is a calm, logical and rational person that always tries to maintain a level head when out on the field which shows the experience that he has. Despite his rather serious nature Roberto doesn’t exhibit any of the traits that usually define such characters being able to joke when things get tense and maintain a positive attitude even when things get dire for him and his partner. Initially from first impressions Roberto can be seen and regarded as someone that is rather aloof and prefers to keep his own company however as the series goes on it is shown that he is a rather caring person that cares a great deal of not just of himself but his partner and any people that are caught in the cases that he and his partner investigate.
In terms of pair dynamics Roberto serves as the overall leader of the pair that best makes use of his rational and logical mindset while also taking advantage of his vast knowledge that he gained from his love of books. As a result of Roberto’s personality traits within the story Roberto most often acts as the guiding hand of their investigations that when backed up by Hiraga’s scientific explanations proves to be a tough nut for the enemy to crack and is able to unravel even the most obscure and complex of lies. As a character, I liked the contrast that Roberto had with his partner Hiraga and the fact that he is able to remain calm even under the most exceptional of circumstances.
Hiraga Josef Ko
Hiraga played by veteran voice actor Nobuhiko Okamoto of Owari no seraph fame is one of the main characters of the show and serves as Roberto’s partner in the miracle investigation squad. A quiet, intelligent and focused person that also seems to be quiet shy at times Hiraga like Roberto is a priest of the Vatican and works within the same unit as Roberto. While Roberto prefers more traditional investigative and detective work when doing his investigations Hiraga differs in that he is more science based and prefers to verify miracles with tried and proven methods that’s provided by science. As a result of not just being a scientist but also a member of the Vatican Hiraga is noted to hold both his faith in science and his faith in god in equal regard something I find curious since priests are supposed to believe only in god. Personality wise Hiraga because of his personality can be rather trusting of others though he is intelligent enough to deduce when something is too good to be true. Despite his scientist background Hiraga has been noted to also find time to help others when he’s not hard at work which differs from traditional scientist type characters that usually stay in their labs day after day. The best example of this is in his relationship with his knowledge broker Lauren.
Though Hiraga can be quiet at times he’s not someone that is scared of talking to others but rather he is someone that loves to get straight to the heart of the matter without having to muddle through something a trait that I think suits him. In terms of pair dynamics Hiraga unlike Roberto prefers to do investigative work with hard evidence and dislikes making hasty decisions without considering all of the facts. However, Hiraga’s deductions when he has made all the deductions can sometimes be surprisingly accurate.
Arts and animation
Arts and animation for the series I felt was pretty good especially with regards to the miracles themselves. The varied scenery that we see for the individual cases I felt was also pretty nice. The character designs I felt were also done well but I felt that there could have been more variation in them.
The music for the series I felt was pretty strong with the opening theme being especially so. The ending theme I felt had a calming almost soothing feeling to it that I felt was especially helpful after going through some of the more intense episodes.
Voice acting for the series I felt was pretty strong with Junichi Suwabe and Nobuhiko Okamoto who voiced the characters of Roberto and Hiraga being especially strong.
In overall, I thought that Vatican Kiseki was an interesting anime that was well thought out and did a great job of blending history, fiction and the church together a combination that can be rather tricky to do. The main strengths of the series I felt was its interesting premise, story and interesting cases that were tied in pretty well with the overall plot. The premise of the story I felt was particularly unique as though fictional it’s relatively rare to see the vaunted Vatican church get featured in something like an anime. The premise of creating a fictional elite investigation unit within the Vatican that has the express purpose of investigating miracles I felt was interesting and allowed the main characters to explore and investigate both a number of different areas and locales and also interact with the different types of cases that they will encounter. The Vatican Kiseki common to most modern anime series makes use of a number of sub story arcs that link together with the main plot line and in this I felt that it showcased one of its main strengths which was the uniqueness and variety of its cases. Each of these cases of which there were three in total last a few episodes at most and propel the two main characters in different locations throughout the world. These cases themselves I felt were well done as they made great use of the location and culture that its miracle was centered at and made great use of many supporting characters that resided there as well. These cases I noted also tackled many themes and subjects that many would consider unusual with regards to the church but not completely unrelated with the best examples being Satan worship, historic but fictional deals with Nazi’s and the often-gritty past behind some of its members. Of the overall story which soon becomes clear near the end the reveal of the identity of the actual main villain and the organisation that they work for I felt was well done with the identity of the villain being especially surprising. The blend of having a traditional detective story mixed in with the intrigues of both the church and foreign organisations I felt was an interesting combination that did an excellent job of creating an excellent storyline for the series.
In overall Vatican Kiseki I felt was an interesting anime that had an interesting premise, interesting cases and story and a great example of friendship between the two main leads. But I felt it was let down by its lack of effective character development and in my books, would put it at 8/10. Based on what we saw in the last episode the possibility that there will be a sequel I think is quite likely and though the series was far from perfect I think a sequel will be a good thing.
As the name would suggests, Vatican Kiseki Chousakan is an anime that uses religious themes while it presents the mysteries in the plot of the show. Overall I thought the anime was good and it managed to maintain a decent balance when it came to the aforementioned religious elements and the story. The various mysteries throughout the course of the show were interesting and well written for the most part. The art was very good and when it needed to be, the same can be said for the animation. The way how the soundtrack was utilized was superb and many of the songs were perfect
for the situation they were used in. The characters were okay, nothing amazing.
I enjoyed my time with Vatican Kiseki Chousakan. It's fairly unique and I thought the execution of everything was done well. However I don't know if i could recommend it to someone as I think the audience that would like it is a niche one.