The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Yakushiji Ryoko no Kaiki Jikenbo

Title: Yakushiji Ryoko no Kaiki Jikenbo aka Ryoko’s Case File
Genre: Action/Romance
Company: Dogakoba/Starchild Records
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 6 Jul 2008 – 28 Sep 2008

Synopsis: Izumida Junichiro is an unambitious police officer. His superintendent, Yakushiji Ryoko, is an intelligent and capable career woman and heiress to Japan’s largest security firm, who likes to treat Izumida as a manservant. Ryoko has a propensity for attracting supernatural incidents, which generally lead to Izumida and Ryoko getting involved in bizarre, paranormal cases.

The Highlights
Character interactions: Ryoko and Izumida are an entertaining odd couple; lots of sexual tension.
Episodic stories: Mostly meaningless and too far-fetched.
Mood: Combines sexy French mystique with supernatural horror… for better or worse.
Seiyuu: Nabatame Hitomi and Kuwashima Houko are particularly good.
Side characters: Ryoko’s two French maids creep me out.

From the very first episode, it’s pretty clear that Yakushiji Ryoko no Kaiki Jikenbo is all style and very little substance. The hook of this show is the sexual tension between the two leads, and while it makes for some highly entertaining character interactions, the downside is a series of episodic stories that are seriously ridiculous. What eventually saves Yakushiji Ryoko is that it’s unpretentious. It’s mindless and over-the-top from beginning to end, and never really begs to be taken seriously.

Ryoko is stylish, sexual, sophisticated and headstrong and makes for a stark contrast to the type of female leads that are popular in anime recently. To a certain extent, her relationship with Izumida reflects that of Haruhi and Kyon from Suzumiya Haruhi(1,2), in that she’s impulsive and likes to get things her own way while he’s her hapless minion, but also cynically self-aware of how to deal with her. The precariousness of their relationship and how they deal with each other is the most entertaining aspect of the show: he’s extremely careful with what he says but when he occasionally slips up it’s highly amusing; while she exudes an aura of complete control, but the payoff is seeing her fleeting moments of vulnerability (such as when she treats Izumida’s ten year old cousin as a romantic rival). The supporting cast is hit-and-miss, but on the whole they have just enough impact to occasionally keep the spotlight away from Ryoko and Izumida long enough to prevent their antics from becoming stale. Izumida’s fellow officers are barely there, and Ryoko’s antagonistic rival, Yukiko, guarantees a healthy dose of repartee between the two while Ryoko’s two French maids make for an (unintentionally) disturbing pair (I used to think French was the world’s sexiest language until I heard these two speak it in unison).

While the interactions of the oddball cast of characters provide nearly endless entertainment, the cheesy episodic plotlines will induce endless face-palming. At various times, Ryoko and/or Izumida encounter giant snakes, toads and salamanders and long before episode 9, when they’re still evading giant robotic centipedes or foiling grasshoppers that transmit subliminal suicide messages, the ludicrousness of it all becomes tiresome. The occasionally relevant undertones of corporate power and research gone wrong prevent these episodes from becoming completely inane, but it’s not enough to veil what is pretty much far-fetched for the sake of it. It’s episode 10 before we get to an overarching plotline, and while it does explore some intriguing territory and focuses on an interesting character, it eventually reaches a conclusion where basically nothing has changed, and very little of consequence has happened.

I’m not sure if I’d strongly recommend this anime, since its major down point is too significant to ignore. But it is occasionally very entertaining thanks to its characters and their interactions, particularly the delightfully amusing leads. The show is literally like a rollercoaster ride; it’s cheesy, and by the end, we’re back to where we started, but the ups-and-downs along the way make it a fair way to pass the time.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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