A newly developed method allows to display the memories of dead people. It is used to solve difficult murder cases. But at what cost? What of the dead's privacy as strangers poke about in their most private memories? What about the effects the imageries may have on the persons whose jobs require going through psychotic murderers' minds and experience whatever emotions and feelings these murderers felt as they skin and disembowel their victims?
Himitsu’s basic premise is interesting and makes good fodder for ideas. In the future, scientists have created a system to record and view people’s memories post-mortem. The world has entrusted this unique computer system to Japan’s Public Security Section 9. The men and women in this small department must examine the memories of murder victims to find the motive, means, and hopefully the assailant as well. They not only bring people to justice who might normally escape their crimes unscathed, but also learn about the thought process that goes into committing the crime so in the future they can prevent them.
This mystery sandbox makes for some interesting cases and Himitsu does a good job of keeping the formula fresh as the series progresses. Some episodes look at the memories of the killer, the blind, the insane or delusional, and even a mass murder that shows viewpoints from multiple perspectives.
The cast of characters can really help a series like this, and the main characters do not disappoint. Aoki is the main character and plays the role of the everyman and the newbie in the show. He knows how to read lips, which is an invaluable skill since the memories have no sound. His thoughts and actions will likely mirror yours as you progress through the series, and he easily grows the most out of the cast. Maki sits on the opposite side of the spectrum as the jaded boss of Section 9. He has dealt with a lot in the past few years and drives his team to perform at the best of their abilities. His specialty is a photographic memory and extreme attention to detail. He also has an uncanny ability to appear exactly when needed. The pairs’ abilities drive most case breakthroughs, fitting their role as core protagonists. In addition, their interpersonal drama allows us to see the series from both extremes.
The rest of the characters, are more of a mixed bag. Each character's personality is decent, and all of them have at least one episode devoted to them. Unfortunately, none of them fully develops. Amaichi plays the heroine in this mystery drama and has the most development of the supporting cast. She has a minor sixth sense that occasionally comes into play. She also has a sizable crush on Aoki, though he’s too busy with his work to notice much. Okabe is a married and experienced agent who has dealt with his fair share of difficulties and has a more experienced perspective. Soga, to contrast, is a recent academy graduate who still has much to learn and needs to get his impulses under control. Michiru and Onogida are the two technicians that program and maintain the machinery, and naturally, there’s a lot of interplay between them. They round out the core cast.
While much of Himitsu is episodic in nature, an overarching plot does exist. The main story focuses on a criminal named Kainuma. His case sent ripples through the division and deeply affected Maki and his outlook on life. Even after his death, he still manages to cause tremendous grief for Section 9. On top of that, the source of his influence may not be what it first appears. Toward the end of the series, this prompts a number of plot twists, some of which are genuinely surprising and moving. Unfortunately, it feels like the directors pushed far too much into the last episodes. It culminates in an ending largely based on convenience to tie the plot line together as quickly as possible. While this weakens the series, it still doesn’t drive it into the ground.
Himitsu really shines in the moral drama that plays alongside the story. Much of this deals with privacy. After all, Section 9 views the memories of the victims, and some of these may be embarrassing or potentially incriminating for others. The characters also have to come to grips with viewing the memories of those close to them. The mind of someone you may interact with every day is far different from the mind of a complete stranger. Finally, there’s the ever-present allure of using information gleamed from the videos to benefit oneself. Beyond the obvious implications lie other problems. The series probes religion, body modification, and other societal issues. It does occasionally falter in this area, but overall the morality play is interesting and engaging.
The character designs are mature to match the subject material. However, they also have a derivative feeling to them. For the longest time I couldn’t tell the two supporting males apart. Additionally, while I don’t expect the artists to put a lot of effort into the victims and other one-time characters, perhaps a little more imagination would have helped. On the other hand, the background elements get their due attention, befitting a mystery series. Much more effort goes into detail here than in the characters. A variety of settings helps keep the artwork fresh and make sure the viewer doesn’t burn out on the urban core of the series. However, it often feels like the setting is literally too dark, which might put a bit of strain on your eyes.
Himitsu’s vocal work is competent, and none of the characters are unduly grating. The voices fit the characters well, though at times it does feel like the actors needed to put more feeling into the performance. While the designs may have been uninspired, we do get a lot of variety in the voice work for the one-shots. The opening and closing themes are relevant to the series' premise and devoid of any unnecessary Jpop influences. The background music does a tremendous amount to help the mood of the series. In particular, the composer manages to drive the chilling feeling home when it’s required.
Despite its faults, Himitsu is a solid series with many high points and some unique devices going for it. It's probably the series from Spring 2008 that everyone missed. If you enjoy a good mystery or moral drama, take the time out and give it a shot.
I read the compelling crime-drama josei manga “Himitsu” long before I tried the anime version. The manga was shocking, yet gripping. Steeped in mystery, crime, and violence, the horror was offset by high drama and Shimizu Reiko's beautifully drawn, lucid artwork. Never had skinned corpses looked so exquisite. And amidst the sacrifice of mind and even body, was a story of camaraderie: A small band of people supporting each other, clinging to what small shreds of sanity and human decency they could manage to keep.
I was afraid the anime would not communicate the strongest points of this powerful manga. I
was afraid that shoddy animation, and cheap filler dialog would destroy its beauty. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded, and I was pleased that this anime did justice to the manga, and with excellent animation and storytelling, is certainly on par with it.
If you have not received ample warning already, THIS ANIME IS STRICTLY FOR THOSE WHO ARE AT LEAST 16 YEARS OF AGE. I will not be held responsible for anyone who is mentally traumatized by reading my review or viewing the anime.
The mind is the last bastion of human freedom. Devices can peer into our houses; governments can monitor our Internet and phone use; we can be held responsible for what we say or write. But our private thoughts are safe. Or so they were, until the invention of MRI: Memory Reproduction Imaging. Note that it is “imaging,” and so can only reproduce visual memory. But that is often enough. Take the brain of a dead person, put it in an MRI machine, and you can see every sight their mind ever registered. Look through the eyes of the murderer, and see if they were properly convicted. Look through the eyes of the victim, and you can see their killer.
The group who uses this machine are part of the police force, known as the infamous Section Nine. They are tasked with viewing the images that are extracted, and thereby discover or confirm facts about crimes. They could be considered a branch of forensics. But unlike forensics which only views the aftermath of crime, these people see it play out. They are forced to watch the knife slice flesh, follow the frenzied gaze of a victim in the process of being killed, and repeatedly see assault and crime in all its vivid brutality. The members of Section Nine, though often lampooned for invading the privacy of the mind, continuously sacrifice their own mental health for the sake of seeing justice done, and saving lives.
But they don’t only see crimes. In more complicated cases, they must search through day by day memories, and see everything the deceased saw. EVERYTHING. The victim’s point of attention becomes theirs, the naked body of a lover as much as fine attention paid to the slicing of a vein.
Aoki has been recently accepted into Section Nine, for his lip-reading skills. Being the naïve and open type, he wants to immediately make friends with everyone, including the Director, Maki. Despite his boyish looks, Maki is very cold, even savage, and has little patience for Aoki’s shock when he begins reviewing the MRI projections. Aoki also runs into a lot of baggage, since he resembles a former Section Nine member, Suzuki. It seems there was a complicated history between Suzuki and Maki, which may be affecting how Maki treats him. But despite his icy shell, Maki may just be the most vulnerable of them all.
Uncovering the mystery within Section Nine is only part of the drama. Section Nine deals with the living as well as the dead. Begging the family of deceased victims to allow the memories of their loved ones to be probed by strangers. Trying to prevent crimes before they happen. Investigating possible criminals. Navigating red tape. Uncovering national secrets. Sometimes providing hope and happiness to those left behind. But do they even have the right to do what they do? Does this work disregard human dignity?
At one point, Aoki realizes that even a lustful gaze can be detected via MRI, prompting him to curb his own illicit glances. All the members of the section are painfully aware that their own minds may be the subject of examination one day, should they ever be killed. For that purpose, Maki always carries a handgun. To blow his brains out should he ever be in danger of death.
Gripping and addictive to watch, this anime does have its faults, which warrant the rating of 9 instead of 10. Most obvious is the sound design. The animation is luscious and realistic, and does not cut corners, but for some reason they did not do so well on the music. It is as if they made two or three tracks for the whole series, and placed them randomly throughout, regardless of whether it was appropriate or not. I was annoyed several times when they placed peppy music during parts that were supposed to be sad and emotionally moving. I was also a bit annoyed at the choice of voice actor for Maki. He is a rather small fellow, but his voice is very deep. Granted, small people can often have deep voices, but somehow it doesn't seem to sit right for him.
Another complaint is the degree of violence and disturbing content. While the violence is there for a reason, and is necessary for this particular story, I do not think that we viewers needed to be as traumatized as Section Nine is. The camera does not shy away as a man slices his own throat with a knife. When a young man jumps off a rooftop, we see his body splat on the pavement. We see a scalpel slice into a woman’s bare breast. While the gruesome bodies were finely drawn in the manga, somehow they are not as attractive in full-color as they were in black-and-white. Rape, incest, creepy stalkers, and nightmarish phantasms bred in disturbed minds round things out.
But just as much as this anime is "adult" in terms of disturbing content, it is also adult in the un-childish way it presents the story. The emphasis on workplace drama, and a small, handsome, even tsundere Director may make it a little more attractive to female audience. But we are expected to ask questions related to moral dilemmas, dig deeper than the surface, and accept that while some crimes may often have a deep rationale behind them, some criminals kill for darker reasons. There is little happy-go-lucky. The human soul can be a very dark and dirty thing. Sometimes there is no "good guy." Even the strongest mind can be wrecked, and suffer mental breakdown. Sometimes relationships have no happy ending, straddling you with regret for the rest of your life.
I also was fascinated by how the manga (and anime too) explore how the mind might retain visual memories. Here, even hallucinations are seen through MRI, since that is what the mind "saw." Memories might be swayed by the mind, portraying a loved one as more beautiful than in reality, or a hated one as a monster. Even dreams form memory. In one case, we view the irrational yet useful world of dreams.
Now, I have to admit that I didn’t watch every episode. This series is not licensed in English, so I had to make do with watching fan-subbed versions. There were a number of episodes which were only available with improperly-timed subtitles, which, for me, rendered them unwatchable. If you ever find a place that offers all of the episodes properly subtitled, let me know, and I will be very grateful!
I’ve only touched on some of the things that make Himitsu great. Watch it for yourself, and see how much greater it is. Although, it is not for the faint of heart.
I've decided to review this hidden gem of a series as it needs more recognition. With less than 1500 users who have rated this series, there are many who are missing out.
As a fan of the mystery genre, I have seen a considerable number of anime which have attempted and failed in delivering genuinely interesting stories and those with surprising plot twists are rarer still. Himitsu - The Revelation excels in this.
The overall concept of the show is the development and existence of a 'Memory Reproduction Imaging system (MRI)' which is able to replay the images of memories. Suffice to say, this
is a pretty nifty piece of hardware in ascertaining perpetrators. One would think, however, that it would be easy to figure out the culprit from this technology but the clever scripting quite often does not show the criminal and it is up to the team to delve into the memories of the victim to piece together the mystery.
The series is primarily episodic with occasional 2-3 episode arcs and in the background there is an overarching story which culminates in a grand finale. This makes it both easy to watch and gripping at the same time.
Perhaps the greatest strength of the series is the animators refusal to downplay the graphic nature of the crimes. This anime is definitely 18+ and there is no shying away from the bloody scenes or nudity.
However, as much as this is its strength, the low budget animation and limited character development is its weakness. Considering the episodic nature of the series, one can understand the latter but it is a shame that the animation quality was not up to scratch. That said, it does not detract from the story at all.
This is listed as a shoujo anime but it would perhaps better be relabelled as josei or even seinen. An added bonus was the excellent voice acting of Tomokazu Seki, whose role as Chiaki in Nodame is amongst the best I've heard.
I highly recommend you pick up this series, especially if you like gritty detective stories with a slight sci-fi twist. Psycho-Pass fans wont be disappointed either ...
Like some of you (probably?), I decided to watch Himitsu: The Revelation because the reviews, no matter how rare they are, were pretty good, and the synopsis seemed quite interesting. I'm a big fan of thriller and psychological shows, and the Japanese are usually good with their detective stories.
I honestly think the only reason why I haven't given it a higher score is because this anime obvisouly needed more episodes, aka more depth. There are a lot of side stories (I'm pretty sure 75% of the episodes are side-stories), so much that I got a bit bored. These stories only last about one to
two episodes, so the characters introduced (victim + murderer), can be very shallow. Apart from their "secret" that we discover through the MRI (so the whole processus of watching someone's memories through their brain, after death), there isn't anything. The same could be said about the team, there wasn't enough character development or team building (at least, not for me). This could potentially be blamed on the format (only 26 episodes), but if they had cut of the useless side stories (some them seriously don't add anything to the main story), they could've put more time into the characters.
The rest (OST, Art) is basic. I think the same three instrumental pieces kept being used, but they were okay. The art is absolutely nothing compared to the manga (which I decided to start after finishing the anime), and is pretty simple (most of the female characters looked the same, apart from the haircuts...).
Overall, an interesting anime that brings up and tackles a lot of issues, but could've been much better if more depth was added to the characters.