Chiko is the daughter of the wealthy Mikamo family who has to live with her aunt and uncle after her parents passed away. Because her aunt wants to inherit the Mikamo family's wealth, she gives Chiko poisoned food. One day, however, she's kidnapped by the Nijuu Mensou (20 Faces) and decides to join his clan.
I admit that I love a good mystery, especially when they're reminiscent of creations by Conan-Doyle and Christie. The suspense, dama and tension in those stories is sometimes breathtaking, however their on-screen adaptations are often a little more lacklustre.
Enter then, Nijuu Mensou no Musume or, to give it a snappier title, "The Daughter of Twenty Faces" (I should point out that the show also has the unfortunate title "Chiko, Heiress of the Phantom Thief" for some odd reason - I prefer the middle title as it has a certain grandstanding, operatic quality about it which is more in keeping with the series).
The story is loosely
based on the detective novels by Edogawa Rampo (the author's pen-name), in which the lead characters were often an eccentric but skilled detective named Kogoro Akechi, and his arch nemesis Kajin Nijuu Mensou (the Fiend with Twenty Faces). The anime version is an adaptation of the manga that was released in 2002.
Where the anime version deviates from the works of Edogawa is in making the main character a girl who gets caught up in the exploits of the famous thief known as Twenty Faces. She views her "kidnapping" by Twenty Faces and his gang as a gift, and rapidly warms up to her new "family" - the reasons for this being made obvious in the first few episodes.
The plot is very well paced throughout the series and, whilst the main story is split into two very clearly defined arcs, the method in which the story is handled is very subtly different in the second arc. The first arc is dramatic and mysterious, especially when Chizuko (Chiko for short), considers the mysterious man known as Twenty Faces. The second arc has an added sense of adventure which is brought about by the introduction of Shunka Koito. Although the second arc tries to maintain some of the same suspense as the first, it never quite matches up to it as the audience by then is well aware of Chiko's capabilities, and knows that she will find a way to come out on top.
The animation is, for want of a better word, excellent. The characters move with a natural surety and sense of rythm that's wonderful to see, and this is not only prominent in action sequences, but in the quieter moments as well. Each of the characters is also very well designed, with a sense of individuality to them. One thing that I liked was the sometimes subtle changes made to each of the characters to show the passage of years.
The backgrounds and backdrops are very well made, with an exceptional amount of detail in them. These make a very atmospheric and realistic setting upon which the action can take place. CG has been used to great effect in the series, and is sometimes almost indistinguishable from the normal animation.
As far as the music goes, the show has a very atmospheric soundtrack that is reflective of it's post-war setting (i.e. 1950's). The OP is a very nice track called "Kasumi" that has a certain tragic yet hopeful quality to it, whilst the ED, called "Unnamed World", is a very upbeat ditty sung by Hirano Aya (who also plays the role of Chiko). One nice thing about the two theme songs is how reflective they are of the two story arcs without actually giving anything away.
The effects are extremely well used in the show, and actually have a greater impact on the viewer than one would expect. The sounds are very atmospheric, and when added to the music, gives a scene a certain "completeness".
As I've already mentioned, Hirano Aya plays the role of Chiko, but this is no Suzumiya Haruhi typecast, oh no. Chiko is calm, capable, and very, very clever, and it's nice to see Hirano displaying a wider range of talents here than she is normally able to. The other characters are equally as well portrayed, however the main focus of the show is Chiko, which is one of the downsides to the series (not a big one though).
It should go without saying by now that Chiko is an extremely well realised character in the series, and her growth and development is well handled in both the scipt and Hirano's acting abilities. Unfortunately, the series has a wealth of characters who I would have liked to have known more about. The original members of Twenty Face's gang for example, and the reasons why they joined him were things that could have been included. That said, I found it both surprising and pleasing to find that the mysterious Twenty Faces is actually rounded out very well come the end of the series, mainly through the use of flashbacks.
I found that I enjoyed this series a lot. Whilst it does suffer from a certain transparency at times, it does have a lot of action and mysteryto keep you interested. The sub-plot in the second arc was actually more interesting for me as it went into more detail about the "Great War" that Twenty Faces alludes to in the first arc, and not even the antics of the "Detective Girls" could stop me from wondering what would happen next.
What I found nice about the series as a whole was that it is clearly an homage to Japan's first mystery series featuring a recurring detective and nemesis, and the flavour one gets from the story is very Conan-Doyle, a fitting tribute since Edogawa was heavily influenced by him. The fact that Kogoro Akechi appears in the series, and is on the trail of Twenty Faces is great to see, however there are more homages to Edogawa's novels than just the obvious, one in particular appearing in the final episode (see if you can spot it, and if not, then just ask).
This is a good series that just misses the mark of being great, primarily because of it's focus on Chiko. The lack of attention to the other characters (in comparison to Chiko that is), gives the whole series a slightly unfinished feel come the end. Whilst it does have the feeling of a classic detective story, it lacks that certain polish that comes with a cast of characters you actually care about.
On the whole though, it's a very good homage to Japan's first great detective novelist, and it would be nice to see more mysteries of this kind.
Nijuu Mensou no Musume (The Daughter of 20 Faces) is an Action, Adventure, Mystery, Drama that feels just like many of the classic detective shows. It consists of 2 story arcs, so expect changes during the transition between the 1st & 2nd arcs.
The story follows a gang of thieves led by the infamous man known only as ‘Twenty Faces’, who one day decides to take a young girl with him (hence the name of this series). The beginning is nothing spectacular, it just sets the scene for this late 50s themed detective fiction, which focuses mostly on Chizuko. The series follows an episodic nature, with
each episode dealing with individual endeavours but unlike most episodic anime, the story actually progresses nicely from episode to episode. Though the endeavours the group undertake tend to be more geared towards anime theatrics than thought-provoking realism. This all changes once it reaches the major turning point, early on and the series goes downhill a bit, upon losing all direction it once had. Adjusting to the sudden change does take some getting used to and it doesn’t help that the once entertaining story of thievery becomes something too complex for its own good.
What makes up the story has to be the large cast of characters; which 20 Faces’ gang, the important recurring characters of the second arc and the unimportant episodic characters make up. Chizuko (Chiko) is quite the remarkable girl because not only is she really intelligent in the beginning, she is also the only one that develops very well throughout the series. 20 Faces does prove to be quite the enigmatic figure however the rest of the gang just don’t seem all that important but that doesn’t mean they are any less entertaining.
Just what you’d expect from Bones, the series features some great animation & sounds. This anime has some immensely detailed environments, aesthetic realism for the settings, appropriately used CGI & nicely animated characters that fit in well with it all. Overall it’s great but I did feel the animation could have been much better. The music on the other hand fit the theme it was going for perfectly, going for some suspenseful music to match the detective-fiction themed adventure.
Overall this anime series is a very entertaining experience, as it’s full of action, drama & suspense then develops into something very mystifying. Though there are still numerous flaws, most of which are prominent in the second arc, when the story diverges and the ‘great war’ subplot becomes more apparent. It really isn’t clear what to expect upon watching this series, so it’s best to just watch and experience it yourself.
There is a very specific reason why Daughter of 20 Faces doesn't work. However to properly explain this point, I have to spoil pretty much the entire plot. Bear with me though, because it's a damn good point.
Daughter of 20 Faces is a Bones anime from spring 2008. The story is about a girl called Chieko who was freed from her horrible life with her evil stepmother by a band of thieves led by the charismatic 20 Faces. The band became Chieko’s surrogate family, with 20 Faces become a father figure to her. He taught Chieko tricks of the trade along with many other lessons
about humanity and morals and so on. Chieko was a pretty talented thief in her own right even at a young age, many suggesting she would succeed 20 Faces to be the new leader. She became the ‘daughter of 20 faces’ so to say. That is, until shit got real in episode 6. I can’t quite remember the exact details, but basically 20 Faces rescued Chieko and disappeared off on a burning train, presumably to have died.
This is the Death of the Tutor, a pretty standard trope in any mode of story-telling. Everything from Star Wars to Madoka Magica does this. The reason it happens is to allow for further development of the main character. They learn the life lessons from the tutor but they can’t move on while they live in the shadow of said tutor. The Death of the Tutor shocks them out of that sense of security and forces them to develop themselves. This is exactly what happens in Daughter of 20 Faces. Chieko’s development went from talented child under her evil stepmother to finally having the freedom and guidance to train these talents of her. Getting 20 Faces out the picture forced Chieko to develop further. There was some moping but she then went on to form the ‘detective girls’ with some friends, starting down the road of a perhaps more law-abiding version of 20 Faces gang of thieves. They discover a bigger plot is going on, Chieko and co. start to uncover the mystery until about episode 12 where the fatal happens.
20 Faces comes back.
And with that, the story dies.
Chieko reverts back to how she was before episode 6. Her development is aborted. She’s back to relying on 20 Faces for guidance, unable to tackle these problems herself. The ‘plot’ continues, but the plot was never particularly good to begin with. It was a vague mystical science thing where water can blow up, scary scientists plot world domination and plot holes are as regular as a panty flash in Rosario to Vampire. The real appeal of the anime lay in the development of Chieko’s character, which until now had been done brilliantly. That ended with 20 Faces return. She wasn’t capable of developing further.The author didn’t have the balls to kill off 20 Faces, but in bringing him back, he succeeded in killing his very own story. The Death of the Tutor seems like a tired trope, but watching Daughter of 20 Faces brought to light how important it truly is.
Since this is MAL, you're apparently meant to cover points like animation and sound even when they have nothing to do with the points you are making. So here we go:
Story: Plot is as dumb as fuck. The real story ends in episode 12
Art: Good. This is still Bones after all
Sound: Forgettable. Lots of Aya Hirano going 'Oji-san'
Character: See entire above review
Enjoyment: Ended when 20 Faces came back
A good mystery is hard to make. You have to take a lot into consideration when making one. Is it satisfying? Is it smart? Is it entertaining? But most of all, do I care? Well I can say with an honest heart, that I cared about The Daughter of 20 Faces. I really, really did.
the story is about a girl who gets "kidnapped" by the famous thief known as Twenty Faces, and begins travelling with him and his gang of fellow thieves. Instead of viewing her "kidnapping" as a curse, she instead views it as a gift and quickly warms up to her new comrades,
viewing them as the family she never had.
For what it is, the story is very well paced throughout the show, and it never feels as though there's a dull moment. Now, the show is separated into two very distinguishable arcs, that are handled in two very different manners. The first is very fun, mysterious and a plain old joy to watch. This arc is important in establishing how Chizuko grows in strength and as a character, whilst also depicting how close the gang is and how they grow as a family. The second arc adds in a sense of adventure and drama with the inclusion of characters Koito and Tome. Although the second arc tries to replicate the same level of fun that is had in the previous arc, it never quiet matches up to the same level of enjoyment I had watching the first, but instead adds new things by making the story darker in tone to keep me interested till the very end.
The animation is, for lack of a better word, fantastic. All of the characters have a natural sense of movement that really adds to the overall nature of the show. Where the animation stands out the most however, is in the action sequences. Never before have I seen an anime that has fights as smooth and well choreographed as this. The character designs, although not ground breaking, are really nice and unique. Every character is distinguishable and can be easily recognised by the viewer many months prior to finishing (probably).
The soundtrack is one of my favourite things about this whole show. It gives off a very atmospheric post-war vibe that really adds to the overall quality. The opening song is a very nice song to listen to that gives off a certain feel of tragedy and, of course, a sense of mystery. The ending song feels as though it's the polar opposite, with a more upbeat, almost "childish" vibe to it. It's also worth mentioning, each song is reminiscent of the first and second arcs respectively.
As far as protagonists go, Chizuko is amongst the best. She's a very well realised character that has a very realistic sense of development and growth. Both the script and voice actor have a very good understanding of who her character is supposed to be. I was also surprised to find that Twenty Faces is actually a really well rounded and realistic character whom you can sympathise with, through the use of flashbacks. However great these characters may be, I felt as though I would have liked to have seen more backstory and development given to some of the supporting cast. Although they're not bad characters in any way, I feel that giving the members of Twenty Faces' gang a reason as to why they joined would have given the anime that extra push that would have made it that extra bit closer to perfection. This probably won't effect your enjoyment in any way, because I'm just nit-picking at this point.
On the whole, The Daughter of Twenty Faces is an outstanding anime with interesting characters, exceptional animation, a kickass soundtrack and most of all, a mystery I cared about.