by Andy Pfeiffer,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Cop Craft ?
I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this episode was written via mad lib. "The cops have to stop a porn theft ring, leaving the gay cop to go undercover. Meanwhile Kei is is sad about his car and dead sister, and Tilarna has to learn how to drive."
If that sounds absurd on paper, then you best believe it's wild to watch with such a low quality production. To begin with, this episode is a master class in how to avoid animating speech. Heads are constantly out of frame and backs are to the camera at all times. The porn mags are a nice touch rather than smuggled guns or drugs, because they do a great job of covering mouths in many a scene. The most egregious example of this has to be an absolutely unnecessary view of Kei and Tilarna from outside a building, where Kei's entire top half is cut off by a curtain, while Tilarna's face is covered by a window pane. It's amazingly shoddy. If you think having to skimp that hard on mouth flaps makes this episode's choice of a high-speed car chase as its central set piece concerning, then you are one hundred and ten percent correct. Last week's triple threat of action scenes must have been overkill, because they sure couldn't do anything for this single one. Have you ever seen a toddler play with a toy car and kind of run it along the wall or a chair or something while making vroom vroom noises? Okay, turn that memory into snapshots in your brain, now throw about 3/4ths of them away, shuffle the remaining ones up, and then spread them out in whatever order. You are now qualified to direct an action scene in Cop Craft. It's so bad that Kei has to react to things that just don't happen on screen several times during the course of this episode. From two different cars being cut away as they explode off screen to an extremely quick and bizarre cut at the start of the big action sequence that somehow ends with him being blinded through most of it. At least I was able to share in a rare moment of solidarity with Kei, as I also had no goddamn clue what was happening.
This is a complete shame, because there are moments where the script is still trying. The idea of an isekai smuggling ring getting rich off shipping tame porn mags to another world because it lacks photography is some hilarious galaxy brain thinking that I can totally get behind. There's also a cute gag about how Kei's cat allergies have been cured since the nuke incident, and Tilarna's naivety about sex was a standard joke, but I did enjoy taking it further when she has to realize that Cecil and Kei did the deed. Too bad that it's immediately undercut by trying to be serious and pulling an ill-advised turn as it implies Tilarna wanting a relationship with Kei, only to drop a bombshell that he's got a dead sister we've never heard of. Either it's a completely unnecessary detail or it's a necessary one that feels completely forgotten until now, much like how his dead military buddies got thrown into the story only while fighting the Wizard who killed them. It seems Cop Craft can never decide on specific stakes or motivations at the right time, and trying to shoehorn these details in during the porn episode is a classic example of this problem. Personally, I would love if the entire show was more of a comedy centered on the precinct, as characters like Cecil and Tony are some of the more fun ones in the show, and I'd like to see more of the staff get some screen time. It also takes much less effort to animate these kind of character interactions than their attempts at serious action and drama, so I can't help but think the staff would also appreciate the change.
If there's anything I'm sure about Cop Craft at this point, it's that it will always find a new way to mystify me. It's like the entire production is centered around a monkey's paw. I asked for a focused narrative with fewer action scenes, but I forgot to ask for any level of competency while doing those things, and I guess whatever anime genie is in charge of this trainwreck has decided to twist all of that back on me. If this were a more standard show, I'd expect next week to completely forget this episode exists and try to get back to the serious plot, which would be a disappointment for sure. However, since none of the pacing or plotting so far has made any sense, there's a good chance next week could take another weird turn.
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