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EP. REVIEW: Woodpecker Detective's Office


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rahzel rose
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:26 pm Reply with quote
I’m really enjoying this so far. My only “problem” is that I keep getting distracted by the animation itself at times and I stop paying attention to the story. The sky in episode two was gorgeous. I love the colors and the backgrounds. I can’t say I’ve seen anything quite like it before.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:53 am Reply with quote
Well I'm certainly hooked. I really loved how they laid the whole thing out this episode. Despite three different versions of events (what the viewers were privy to first hand, plus Ishikawa's and Kyousuke's stories), we can still piece together a lot of what happened:

Both Ishikawa and Kyousuke saw another man at some point, and we know that Otaki met with someone before going to meet Kyousuke. So that man, who is probably the same one Kyousuke noticed left his ramen and the same one wearing a uniform cap who seemed to be watching them, is likely the killer. Unless it's Oen, the woman Ishikawa was with, who left the room at one point, and could've taken his journal (which btw is titled "Ethnic Culture"). I think Otaki's cough is significant, and may have something to do with why she was stabbed in the throat.

[Edit] After giving this some more thought, I'm going out on a limb and saying the murderer is Oen, since the man Ishikawa mistook for Kyousuke (and I think the madame did as well, given her startled reaction when she first saw him) was just sitting there acting depressed, like he'd found her body and was saddened by her death. If that's the case, maybe he's not the same man who was watching them in the ramen shop.

In Kyousuke's version, Ishikawa drops his journal on the floor while attacking her, but when we see the overhead view of the murder scene the journal is in the same drawer where the tanto was kept. Now why would it be there? The killer put it there when they took the knife, which may or may not have been the actual murder weapon. I also somehow feel like the knocked over shamisen is important, but I have no idea how.

One other detail that we know is that Otaki is probably an Ainu woman (note the bear on her hair pin) and a Christian convert. She mentioned being from Hokkaido, and the book on top of the drawers is an Ainu language New Testament. This may also have something to do with why she was killed (and might even tie into the mining shenanigans of the first murder - maybe her cough is from the mine poisonings). Speaking of Christians, it might be noteworthy that Kayo also seems to be one, unless she's just working with the church to distribute soup out of the goodness of her heart. And if not an actual plot point, the Ainu angle is at least a nice nod to the real life Kyousuke who was known for preserving Ainu oral sagas.

An odd thing about Kyousuke's version was that he took his coat when he left (and this ought to be true), but it was shown still on the hanger during his idea of what happened after he left (probably not true, but why would he tell it that way?). As Rebecca pointed out, his jacket is somewhat of an alibi if he still has it.

When Ishikawa was telling his version, I thought it was neat that Otaki and Kyousuke were both drawn to somewhat resemble Ishikawa's facial expressions, especially when they were getting nasty to each other. It seemed like a very subtle way (or my imagination) of emphasizing whose eyes we were seeing the story through. And what was all that in Kyousuke's version about how terrible the "real" Ishikawa is? Did she say that, or was he venting his anger at Ishikawa's betrayal (especially after promising last week that he would never let anything bad happen to Kyousuke)?

Rebecca wrote:
I don't feel like it's anybody's business but his own, and it's irritating that Ishikawa keeps pressuring him. I do like that there's fairly frank treatment of sex otherwise, but I hope that Kyousuke's sexual life, or lack thereof, becomes less fodder for “humor” as the series goes on.

While I agree with disliking Ishikawa's attitude, I think it's realistic, and it didn't feel like Kyousuke's inexperience was intended to be humorous so much as endearing. I think we're supposed to see Ishikawa as being a jerk about it. The only "humorous" bit was his nosebleed, which I found confusing rather than funny, since his overall body language seems coded as gay, based on past anime representations.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:06 am Reply with quote
So I was wrong about pretty much everything! Very Happy I still don't know why the madame reacted to Kyousuke with such shock though. She wasn't the proprietress at the inn where Otaki worked up north, so how would she recognize him?

Quote:
It also lets us know that the show is playing around with dates a little bit, because Ishikawa died in 1912, making this 1902…and Hirai would have been all of eight years old, and “The Two-Sen Copper Coin” wasn't published until 1923. (Ishikawa would have been 16 in 1902, which is also too young for the story.)

This doesn't necessarily take place ten years before he died. The opening takes place ten years after he died, making that 1922 (and Kyousuke finally got his pencil moustache!), but I don't think we know how many years before his death they spent together, do we?

If this is, say, 1908, then Hirai would be 14, which is a tad young but not out of the question, and Ishikawa would be 22, which is also possible. 1910 would also work, maybe better. We only saw him start writing it, so maybe he had to set it aside for years while he finished school and university, and this is just saying where he got the inspiration for the story. It could easily have taken him 13-15 years to finish writing it and find a publisher. Wink
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:27 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:

This doesn't necessarily take place ten years before he died. The opening takes place ten years after he died, making that 1922 (and Kyousuke finally got his pencil moustache!), but I don't think we know how many years before his death they spent together, do we?


You're right! I'm mildly embarrassed that I took Kyousuke so literally there...1908-1910 would make a lot more sense, and I guess it just shows how my teaching-during-a-pandemic (and keeping my dad in his house) brain is doing! Laughing
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#894822



Joined: 08 Apr 2019
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:59 am Reply with quote
I found it odd that none of the detectives were angry when they found out Ishikawa framed Kindaichi...
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rahzel rose
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:49 pm Reply with quote
#894822 wrote:
I found it odd that none of the detectives were angry when they found out Ishikawa framed Kindaichi...

I think it's one of those things where they knew there had to be more going on than Ishikawa just throwing Kindaichi under the bus for no reason. They certainly were not hesitant to throw jabs at him every chance they got about how Kindaichi's been such a good friend and how he looks up to Ishikawa, etc. It made me laugh honestly because the entire consensus was pretty much just "yeah Kindaichi's not a terrible person like Ishikawa." Very Happy
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Dumas1



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:33 pm Reply with quote
One of the writers makes a reference to events being "In the Grove" which is probably an allusion to the story that Kurosawa's Rashomon is based on.

I'm starting to wonder what, if anything, the images of Kyousuke and Ishikawa in modern clothes in the OP mean.
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#894822



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:46 pm Reply with quote
Dumas1 wrote:
I'm starting to wonder what, if anything, the images of Kyousuke and Ishikawa in modern clothes in the OP mean.


I just saw that as fanservice.
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portgas



Joined: 17 Jul 2004
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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2020 7:31 pm Reply with quote
Dumas1 wrote:
One of the writers makes a reference to events being "In the Grove" which is probably an allusion to the story that Kurosawa's Rashomon is based on.


The character who introduces himself as Akutagawa wrote "In The Grove" upon which Kurosawa based his "Rashomon". It is the story of an incident told from different perspectives and for which the truth is never determined.

Hirai Tarou, who solves the mystery, would write under the pen name of "Edogawa Rampo". "The Two Sen Copper Coin" is one his more famous stories.

And Professor Natsume? Natsume Soseki?

Quite a rollout of Japanese writers.
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Jefcat



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 8:05 pm Reply with quote
The Akutagawa appearance was a cute, dry joke
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Gilles Poitras



Joined: 05 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 8:56 am Reply with quote
"first Western building in Tokyo (and I believe Japan) "

Actually not, Ginza bricktown was built over a decade earlier and even that was not the first. But the tower did have the first elevator in Japan.

As for all these authors knowing each other, or meeting up, it is not improbable as many were members of the same circles and most lived in the Asakusa, Ueno, Nezu area.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 9:19 am Reply with quote
Gilles Poitras wrote:

Actually not, Ginza bricktown was built over a decade earlier and even that was not the first. But the tower did have the first elevator in Japan.


Time to get a new reference book! Embarassed Was it maybe the first skyscraper? I did know about the elevator and probably should have mentioned it.
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Gina Szanboti



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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 6:24 pm Reply with quote
Thank you for that review of episode 5. I felt like I was lost all the way through. I kept having to pause to take in the poetry and try to understand what it was saying, and got a little overwhelmed by it I think. I hadn't threaded together much of anything that you pointed out, although one thing I did notice that you didn't bring up was the recurrence of Christianity as an issue. Even though it's just been hovering in the background so far, I have a feeling that's going to eventually jump into the spotlight (though I'm batting .000 so far with my speculations, so...).

I do keep worrying about Ishikawa's finances, and felt weirdly relieved that he paid two months rent at once just so that won't be an issue for awhile. Very Happy
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blameitonStarBlazers
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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 7:42 pm Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
I do keep worrying about Ishikawa's finances, and felt weirdly relieved that he paid two months rent at once just so that won't be an issue for awhile. Very Happy


Yes! Me, too! When he was asking his boss for an advance, I was sure that money was going to be diverted from rent to a new suit—especially since the first advance clearly didn’t actually go to cover rent.

I suppose I do feel some sympathy for Ishikawa regarding the whole Oen situation. It is complicated. Back in those days, leaving home often meant never seeing it again. And having someone from back home to share those memories is precious. I think Ishikawa valued that aspect of their relationship just as much as Oen.

While he was selfish to keep seeing her after she clearly became emotionally involved, I think he was trying to do right by her, brokering a good marriage so she had a secure future. Though it does kinda make him a heel to profit so handsomely from it.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2020 7:46 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
although one thing I did notice that you didn't bring up was the recurrence of Christianity as an issue.


Now that you mention it, you're right, that did come up more than once. Although I wonder if it's less Christianity itself and more as a sign of Westernization - the black ships got a direct mention and Ishikawa wearing the western suit at the end when he's otherwise only been wearing traditional Japanese clothing, plus the whole thing with the magic lantern and the skyscraper last week could all be tied together as a sign of impending change that not everyone's happy about or comfortable with.
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