Anime · Reviews

Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace Review (Episodes 1-8)

It’s the 50th Anniversary of the death of Edogawa Ranpo, and what better way to commerate his passing then by screening an anime inspired by his works.

There’s honestly not much to write about this series so far and yet I’m at a loss of where to start. The series centres around Yoshio Kobayashi, a middle schooler with a keen sense of mystery and adventure. When he’s framed for the murder of his homeroom teacher he and his friend, Souji Hashiba, are pulled into the world of crime solving. Kobayashi enthusiastically, Hashiba less so, become assistants to Kogorou Akechi, a genius high school detective. Together they encounter many strange and gruesome cases – notably fighting against the social phenomenon of ‘Twenty Faces’ – a ‘Kira’ like vigilante that inspires further copycats.

To be honest I started this series out of boredom, and wasn’t expecting much, and even with this mindset I was slightly disappointed.

Let’s start with characters. Both Kobayashi and Akechi embody the highly functioning psychopathic tendencies that we’ve grown to love in characters such as Sherlock Holmes But at least with Sherlock, there’s something loveable about him, viewers are endeared by his relationship with Watson and amused by his brash behaviour. But both Kobayashi and Akechi are missing this side- they’re literally one dimension characters which mirror one another. They only care about the crime that is in front of them and find everything else meaningless, and poor Hashiba, is just forced along with the ride. While the three of them could make for an amusing comedy trio – there is nothing funny about their dynamics.

The series also features a ‘3 minute shocking time’ which acts as a quick autopsy report of how the victim died. Usually these only last about 30 seconds – but they’re honestly the worst 30 seconds of the episode. It’s loud and ridiculous and adds nothing to the story. Honestly I cringe a bit as soon as these two characters come on.

Ranpo no Kitan
This was so so annoying

One main problem I’ve had with this series is how unbelievable the general plot line has been. Episodes 4 and 5 provide a ridiculous critique of Japan’s legal system – claiming that half of criminals who pretend and claim an insanity defence get out scot-free. Considering that this isn’t the animated version of something like ‘The Purge’ and the country hasn’t been destroyed by crazed murderers – the general premise of this is unbelievable.

Episode 6 attempts to be a ‘whatever can go wrong, will go wrong’ sketch – but honestly is so ridiculous, I spent most of the episode trying to connect the dots. Then at the end everything is essentially tied up in a neat little package.

Another main problem in theRanpo no Kitan anime series is the lack of continuity. A lot of the time it seems like writers have forgotten significant plot details or just phased them out completely. Case in point, Game of Laplace Reviewin episode 1, Kobayashi argues that his homeroom teacher wanted to see him to confess his love to him. Kobayashi says it couldn’t have been about his grades because they’re not that bad, yet literally a couple episodes later we find out he’s borderline passing!?

The designs for the characters are pretty conventional, and there isn’t anything special about the animation. I am however a bit disappointed that there wasn’t much attention to detail put in the background. Background characters are literally shown as silhouettes until they have something of importance to contribute – I understand that it’s to narrow the focus onto the main characters, but so many other animations can still have details in background characters and still have the main characters as the focal point. I think it’s a tad lazy on the designers part.

Game of Laplace

Overall I would give the series a 5/10. I didn’t enjoy it as much because I was looking at it thorough the lens of a reviewer but if you do enjoy some good old fashioned gore stories it’s definitely something to consider. Also the opening theme song ‘Speed and Friction’ by Amazarashi is fantastic – am so happy to have discovered a new band ^_^!

The series hasn’t actually finished yet – I’m also not sure how many episode they’re planning, but I’m thinking it’ll be around the 12/13 mark. Anyway if my opinions on the series change significantly I’ll write up another review about the last few episodes.


Award for character who had to put with with the most shit: Hashiba

Till next time :)!

6 thoughts on “Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace Review (Episodes 1-8)

  1. I believe you are misunderstanding the point of the background characters being in silhouettes. You’ll notice they show up as silhouettes only when Kobayashi is the focus character. When the focus character is Akechi they show up as marionettes. Their change from these inanimate objects to full vision signifies the character’s (Kobayashi or Akechi) interest in them. Kobayashi only truly sees people when he finds them interesting. There’s a point, I believe at the end of episode 8, where Kobayashi is talking to Hashiba and you see Kobayashi become confused when Hashiba fades into a silhouette, signaling that Kobayashi no longer sees his friendship as important. Kobayashi even looks disappointed at this but accepts it nonetheless.

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    1. Thanks for the comment!

      I definitely did consider that as well (although I didn’t mention it above and probably should have), and appreciate what they were showing about Kobayashi, Akechi and the character in the latest episode (don’t want to say who in case you haven’t seen it!) and the way they viewed people. I agreed that it was an interesting technique to show the different ways characters view those around them, especially with how perceptive Kobayashi is, it’s interesting to see what parts of characters he focuses in – for example his new home room teacher and her wrists. Also as you said, the changing dynamics between Kobayashi and Hashiba’s relationships. It also shows a lot about the character of Akechi seeing other people as puppets.

      I just thought for Kobayashi it was a lazy way to show it – the silhouettes are literally cut out gradients I could make myself. I just thought that for a series that is made in tribute to one of the greatest writers they should’ve tried a bit harder with their designs on how to show this 🙂

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      1. Compared to the way they show Akechi and the other guy (I’ve seen episode 10 and I still can’t remember his name), it does feel a little lazy. Although it could be that they wanted to introduce the concept before through even weirder ways of seeing people at us because silhouettes feel a lot more normal than marionettes or metal skeletons. This could also be a way to illustrate that Kobayashi is different from his peers but Akechi and the other guy are on a completely different scale.

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      2. Oh yeah that’s a good point. I think also because Kobayashi sees them as just greyish cut outs – he doesn’t really have much of an opinion about other people. Compared to Akechi and whats-his-face who see people in a very negative light.

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