Saturday, July 12, 2008

Chiko - The Daughter of Twenty Anime Titles

Subject: Noir
So the summer anime season is just getting underway, and I have a tiny bit to say about that; which I'll do a bit later. The spring season didn't yield all too much for me, despite a few interesting titles back at the start.

That said, I've stuck with one other show besides the incredibly awesome Kaiba -- but it goes by a few names and I'm not entirely sure what I should refer to it as besides "Chiko", the lead character. "Daughter of Twenty Faces"? "Heiress of the Phantom Thief"? Depending on the translation, it's one of those.

Anyway, I wound up giving it a go based on Bee Train Fan member Section_8's quick review in the forum:
the above series features a young Japanese girl in the lead role who is, in many respects, what Kirika would have become if Altena had taken Prozac: a brilliant, charming young woman who can flip out like a ninja and has one heck of a traumatic upbringing. Best part of it is you actually get to see her BECOME this woman, because the show starts when she's 10 and ends (by the looks of it) when she's 18. I'd almost go so far as to say that this is an alternate universe Noir where instead of being raised by the Soldats Kirika's adopted by Lupin crossed with Roger from the Big O.

...and it turns out that Chicko is a lot like a young, 1940's alternate-universe Kirika from Noir. And watching certain shots, certain expressions -- there's a case to be made that if the animators & designers didn't watch Noir specifically, they probably watched it a lot. There's a few shots here and there that seem like a direct like-for-like lift -- well, homage for certain. They're fleeting, quick moments, but they're convincing evidence (watch Chiko jump over a wall in the episode after she returns to "normal" life).

Of course, the design and the expressions and whatnot aren't exactly unique to anime, and Chiko and Kirika could rather be descended from a common ancestor, is all.

The animation in general is kind of generic, though. The details are rather flat and simplistic. The ancillary characters are often cliche and annoying. But because this draws on a classic series of fictional novels, the stories themselves aren't bad, and there aren't too many punches pulled with respect to violence and death. Not that it's some sort of gore-fest, mind you; but people die and the enemies are actually dangerous - ingredients that rather betray the apparent youthful demographic it's aimed at.

I guess overall, there's nothing all that special about it beyond those two hooks. And it won't take too much to make me drop it, though it's managed to skirt the edge and keep up reasonable episodic stories. It makes a good replacement "Sunday breakfast" show for me, which I've been missing for a while now. Fansub releases aren't all that predictable, though, so it hasn't quite worked out as a regular thing for me yet. No biggie.

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