Feb 20, 2011
5camp (All reviews)
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