Shaenon takes a crawl through the manga version of one of Makoto Shinkai's beloved films.
Clamp School Detectives
Another two tapes, another seven episodes with the bishonen of Clamp School Detectives, AKA the student council of the Elementary School division of the Clamp School.
The first two episodes on the second volume is a two parter of surprisingly good quality. Nokoru is in a summer mood, and memories of three years ago flood back. Flashback to three years earlier. Nokoru is a third grader (looking exactly the same as his 6th grade persona) and is still Student Council President, and Suoh (second grader and still looking like a 5th grader) is a new transfer to Clamp School, and not dealing with the guy too well.
Apparently, this "Suoh" kid is a big time martial artist. To combat this new-found animosity, Nokoru asks Suoh out for popsicles, but the two of them end up getting kidnapped by a rich lady who wants Nokoru to head up her project. Suoh is locked up, and Nokoru gives the woman the cold shoulder.
Suoh breaks out and finds his new friend, realizing that this is the person he wants to spend his life protecting. (His clan apparently are legendary bodyguards that always pick their own clients.) Finally, we get some character development in this otherwise 2-D series, as we see just how deep the platonic love is between these two characters.
...But then it's back to the same old crap. A ghost haunts the Kindergarten division's art class and the Detectives bust it Scooby Doo style (without an ending where someone is a clear-cut bad guy), and a mysterious girl that Nokoru sees by a lake ends up being the person hijacking the Elementary School ball. In volume three, Suoh falls for a kindergarten fluteist (A kindergartener and a 5th grader?! Isn't this kind of... wrong?) and has to save her from disaster that somehow always strikes around her, Suoh challenges Nokoru to a nine-on-one baseball game, and we find out the secret life of Akira: Dressing up like Tuxedo Mask and stealing stuff Cat's Eye-style.
In the review of the first volume, I complained that the characters don't act like children, they act like adults. No, they don't act like adults either, now that I think about it. They don't even act human. They have no real faults, they never screw up, they never get angry, and they're loved by pretty much everyone. (They also live in splendor, have girlfriends at an age where most kids think the opposite sex has cooties, are ultra-talented, and have limited superpowers.) It gets REALLY maddening to watch such unbelievably perfect 2-D people be happy all the time. Where's the conflict? Where's the story?
AnimeVillage's work on these volumes remains pretty much unchanged (Decent post-production, weak translation), so the only real reason to get these tapes is the first two episodes on volume 2, which are, so far, better than the whole rest of the series combined.
Overall (sub) : C+
+ Episodes 5-6 add much-needed character depth
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