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JosChaMur's Blog

March 16th, 2015
I was checking out Crunchyroll at the start of the new year and saw the announcement about an anime series they had acquired for streaming called "Magic Kaito 1412". The promo picture showed a guy in a white suit with a cape and a top hat, and my interest was peaked.

I started watching the show and quickly noticed that the art style was very similar to the long running series Detective Conan (known as Case Closed in North America). I tend to focus on character designs when watching anime shows, so I began to wonder if Magic Kaito was meant to share a universe with Detective Conan. I also began to worry if I wouldn't be able to follow the story. Artists tend to keep a similar design style between different manga/anime titles and a shared continuity is not always present.

I was hesitant to start watching Magic Kaito 1412 because I didn't want to walk into a show that was super connected to Detective Conan, one of the longest running anime series of all time! I had never watched any DC before watching Magic Kaito, but I was familiar of the show's premise of a teen detective stuck in a child's body.

To my delight, Magic Kaito 1412 was easy to watch and very entertaining. It quickly became one of my favourite shows on Crunchyroll. I was engaged by Kaito as a character, the supporting cast was fun and the way he pulled off the heists was always fun to watch. I'm still unsure as to how no one can recognize him as Kuroba Kaito despite his appearing on television multiple times with his face in plain view!

Whatever flaws this show may have, they are overcome by my sheer enjoyment of Kid the Phantom Thief's exploits. He faces off against mobsters, other thieves, sorcerers, royalty, and detectives. When Shinichi Kudo popped up in episode 6 I was like "who is this guy who looks exactly like Kaito?" but I realized soon after who he was. When Detective Conan characters appear in later episodes of Magic Kaito, it didn't feel too distracting from the story because the face-offs between Conan and Kaito were amazing. If you have a general knowledge of Detective Conan, you can watch Magic Kaito 1412 with no issues.

My interest in Magic Kaito 1412 led me to investigate the character's origins and has actually brought me to watching Detective Conan. It's interesting because the Magic Kaito manga was actually started 7 years before Detective Conan, but Gosho Aoyama stopped working on it when he started DC. He later introduced Kid the Phantom Thief into DC as a supporting character. I found the first episodes of Detective Conan that featured Kid and it was cool to see the character I had learned so much about through his solo anime series in his original appearance, cloaked in so much mystery. I've read up on the Detective Conan story and have started watching the new episodes that are streaming on Crunchyroll. Sure, there's about 753 episodes I have missed, but I enjoy the detective style story-telling and I'm sure I will get around to watching the back log of DC when it becomes available legally.

I will say more about Magic Kaito when I review the series at its completion, but for now I will say that you don't need to be a Detective Conan expert to enjoy the show, and you might find yourself following Conan/Shinichi's exploits as a result of it.

See you next illusion!
Posted by JosChaMur | Mar 16, 2015 8:18 AM | 0 comments
February 11th, 2015
I'm stealing the title of this entry from my favourite YouTube anime review show "Glass Reflection". Arkada, who hosts the show, coined the term "read the manga ending" or RTMEs to describe the ending of an anime that leaves the story unresolved with no sense of finality or conclusion.

The reason for the term being called a RTME is because these endings usually happen when the anime series in question is based on a source material which is still ongoing at the time the anime series is completed. As such, since there is no finite ending for the characters for the anime producers to adapt. These endings usually lead to unresolved plot threads and a return to the status quo which basically spells out the message that "the story will continue" or "our battle will go on".

I despise RTMEs with a passion. From a practical standpoint, I understand why they exist. There is only so much of a manga/light novel/video game story you can adapt into a single 12-26 season of anime. Anime producers usually try to at least conclude a particular story arc before a season ends, and if the show in particular is successful, another season will be produced. The problem is that not every anime gets a second season! You become invested in the characters and their world, and when the show ends, that's it. For any source of closure, I have to go read the source material (assuming its available in English).

There have been many anime series that I have completed that had RTMEs. In some cases, I have sought out the original source material to find out what happens next, or if possible, see how the story ends. These include Boys Over Flowers, Ranma 1/2, Rosario + Vampire, B Gata H Kei, and Good Luck Girl!. In many cases, I was able to get a nice conclusion to the story (with the exception of Ranma).

However, sometimes the source material is still ongoing and there is no end in sight. I finished the Nisekoi anime this summer on Crunchyroll and starting reading the manga because I wanted to see what happened next. I've been followed the manga since and even though a second season of the anime is set to premiere this spring, I will have a hard time enjoying the story because I'm already so far ahead (Season 2 starts with I think Volume 5 of the manga, and they are currently in Volume 16).

So, what's the alternative to RTMEs? Boys Over Flowers, Negima!, and Soul Eater are all examples I know of where the anime diverts away from the source material to attempt providing a solid conclusion for the characters. I say attempt because they are not all successful. At least they tried, I suppose. Probably the most famous example of an anime diverting from the source material is the first Full Metal Alchemist anime. Unlike the previous shows I mentioned, where only the ending was changed, the original FMA series essentially went off on its own direction and made a new story, allowing FMA: Brotherhood to come along later and provide the manga's ending. I haven't watched either FMA series but opinions among my friends are definetly mixed.

Right now, I'm watching the anime adapations of Ben-To and Log Horizon. I know that both of these franchises have ongoing source materials and that the endings will leave me hanging and wanting more. Hopefully with continued popularity these shows will get more seasons.

Other shows like Btooom! and Deadman Wonderland ended with RTMEs and I felt frustrated and dissatisfied, because they had absolutely no closure on anything. I understand these are adaptations, but the anime series should be able to provide a complete story without having to do background research or further reading. The anime adaptation should be able to stand on its own two legs. The anime industry is aware of this too. In Shirobako, the great meta-analysis of the anime production process, they acknowledge that fans hate endings with RTMEs.

I guess there is no answer, but I felt the need to share my frustrations with someone. Maybe I will conclude my thoughts on this some time in the future, if I get picked up for another season....
Posted by JosChaMur | Feb 11, 2015 9:22 AM | 0 comments