Jul 12, 2012
ggultra2764 (All reviews)
The Daughter of Twenty Faces basically makes its own plot based on characters from the classic Japanese mystery novels written by famous Japanese author Edogawa Rampo, in particular the thief Twenty Faces and detective Kogoro Akechi to a lesser extent. The series centers on orphaned girl Chizuko becoming involved with the thievery of Twenty Faces and his gang with the first five episodes of the series focused on their world-traveling thievery. Some shocking events in the sixth episode, which I won't spoil here, completely change the focus of the anime in later episodes as it changes over to Chizuko trying to seek out Twenty Faces and learn more of his past as two antagonists acquainted with him in the pasthave their own diabolical plans in store for the thief and anyone close to him.

Daughter of Twenty Faces offers up an engaging focus on the bond between Chizuko and Twenty Faces as the former regards him as a surrogate father and the latter sees her as potentially being his future successor while teaching Chizuko the tools of the trade as a thief. The first five episodes are somewhat setup like Rupan Sansei with Twenty Faces being gentleman thief and focus on his international exploits stealing loot overseas from those who are better off without it, only without the perversion and slapstick comedy from Monkey Punch's classic series. The episodes are used to setup the bond that Chizuko and Twenty Faces develop with one another and it did quite well in having me believe that their bond was genuine. The shocking events that develop in the sixth episode made for a surprising and effective twist in the title's plot to change its focus from the thievery of Twenty Faces' group to Chizuko now having to reunite with him and learning of his past when she is returned back to Japan.

The rest of the series goes into some retro-futuristic like developments in its focus on Twenty Faces confronting the elements of his past as the foes he confronts make used of advanced versions of technologies commonplace during the era in which the series is set. It does accurately depict the Showa era in Japan with the fashions and traditional norms of the era, as well as many folks still being on edge from the events of World War II during the time period. It also features Chizuko adapting to the sudden changes in her life as she settles into a somewhat mundane routine as a teen schoolgirl after being brought back to Japan, learn of Twenty Faces' exploits, avoid attempts on her life from both her greedy aunt and said antagonists of Twenty Faces and not being around Twenty Faces' gang.

Many of Daughter of Twenty Faces' prominent characters are reasonably fleshed out as many of them carry tragic pasts they are trying to move on from. This fleshing out works well in either learning more about what connections said characters had with the past of Twenty Faces, how their lives were effected from the war or being exploited for the personal gain of the later antagonists confronted in the series.

The animation to Daughter of Twenty Faces sports solid production values sporting vast and detailed scenery shots, nicely rendered CG animation used for some scenes such as the rendering of blimps and a good amount of fluid movement and solid choreography shown within the title's action scenes. The music does its part in adding suspense and drama to the title's revelations on the exploits of Twenty Faces and the actions of the various villains seen throughout the series, though there was nothing that stuck out too strongly for me.

Despite its solid setup though, Daughter of Twenty Faces is muddled with a fair number of flaws. Suspension of disbelief is a requirement to get enjoyment out of a nice number of the various acrobatic feats from Chizuko and the abilities of other characters seen throughout the show as they are certainly not possible to pull off in real life. In addition, beyond the nice amount of depth many characters get in this series, a number of them still follow standard character archetypes you would find from older or more conventional anime titles. The later antagonists introduced get their moments of depth yet they also are a bit over-the-top at times with their behavior to the point where it was more laughable than serious. The plotting to the series also has its rough elements as there are some plot developments with supporting characters left unresolved thanks to the larger focus on Twenty Faces' past and the resolution to the conflict with the second villain from Twenty Faces' past was so contrived in its developments that it got a bit mind-numbing for me.

Putting aside these flaws, Daughter of Twenty Faces still made for a somewhat solid and unique take to Edogawa Rampo's classic characters that believably depicted 1950s Japan alongside its addition of the retro-futuristic developments that come about from the title's later episodes. It's far from being the best anime I seen, but it still made for an entertaining watch nonetheless.