Anime Review: Heaven's Memo Pad

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If it is not one thing, it is another, huh?

While I have been much more active in active in September than many of the others months after February, I have been mainly focused on reviewing books and slacked off in the anime department, mainly because I have either not got anything new or what I did get was already reviewed at the time that it aired as a simulcast (e.g. A Certain Scientific Railgun S).

Anyway, I recently got a show from iTunes that I have thought about watching for a while and decided to see what it was like.

Today, I will be reviewing that show, which is Heaven’s Memo Pad.

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Narumi Fujishima is a boy that lives a life where he does not interact with people or gets involved in school activities to the point where he does not know the names of the people in his class.

However, when a female classmate has him join her club, his peaceful life changes and gets wrapped up in mysterious incidents.

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I am not sure about this one. While I do follow various different series, I think that one of the most common elements to the things I follow is mystery. In fact, I can probably think of only a few, if any, which do not present some kind of mystery. After all, questions that come up while reading or watching something do create reasons to continue following that series, though there are plenty of other reasons people stick with the things they like. This series does not really disappoint in that aspect, because there are plenty. I also liked how I kind of got to know the characters, at least in regards to the protagonist and the classmate that ends up getting him into weird stuff. Another nice thing about the series itself was murder mysteries were not the main focus. As nice as a murder case can be, I feel like there are too many series out there that rely on those kinds of cases, such as C.M.B., Q.E.D., Detective Academy Q, Detective Conan, and practically any US mystery television show. Yes, I do pay attention to one or more of those series, but that does not mean that every case needs to involve murder. This show made both the investigations around deaths or apparent deaths and those that did not involve death fairly interesting and made me want to figure them out. It was also nice that the mysteries themselves were not the usual whodunit types like those found in Detective Conan, Q.E.D., C.M.B., and Detective Academy Q. Like murder cases in general, while they can be interesting, such as Detective Conan episode 72 (Japanese count), they are done way too often and feel so boring these days. By having them not done in a whodunit style, I think that I was much more interested in the cases, as they were harder to figure out. Outside of those things though, I could not really think of anything else that I particularly liked, especially anything that really made me like it, except for may be the end, but it would be too much of spoiler to discuss it here, since I cannot wrap things together as neatly as I did with Pandora Hearts. The fact that many of the mysteries were not murder cases and that they did not use a whodunit style of case made the series somewhat enjoyable.

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Although there were things that I liked about the show, there are some issues. First, there was not really much of a story. Yes, the protagonist does grow from a character that does not want to be involved with people to somebody that would try to go after the truth and find out what happens to his friends, but there was not really anything connecting the whole show together. While there are things that do not need a story to pull a person in, especially in the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, since it does not really matter which of the Sherlock stories from Conan Doyle or Hercule Poirot stories written by Agatha Christie is read first, I watch anime more often than other kinds of shows because they do have some kind of story. After all, I think it is difficult, if not impossible, to get the escape from reality that we seek when shows and other forms of entertainment do not have an overall story. In the case of this series, I think that it would have strengthened the whole thing, because I would get to know the characters better than the bums that everybody thinks they are. Unfortunately, the only thing close to having a story is a case that spans multiple episodes, which was the vast majority of episodes. Another thing that I did not really like was that almost none of the characters were really explored. True, we did get to find out that one of the characters jumped from the top of a building to keep something safe and that two friends hated each other’s guts because of a misunderstanding, as well as a mafia guy thinking that he was forgotten by time, but nothing much else was really explored, such as why one of the neets left boxing. Another thing that I did not really like that much was the concept of a NEET Detective. With as many books and shows that were created as part of the detective, mystery, and crime fiction genres, there are a ton of detectives that have other people do the dirty work for them. For example, the protagonist of Crooked House was not and did not claim to be a detective, yet the police detectives had him gather information for them. Even Watson and Hastings were used by the detectives they followed to gather clues. Because of this fact, there really is no need for a new title for the practically lazy detective. Another thing that bugged me about the concept is that the term itself is weird. Whenever I hear NEET detective, I assume that it is a nickname for a tidy person, even when I know that is not what they mean, since NEET means Not in Education, Employment, or Training. In fact, the definition of that spelling itself does not make sense because detectives are usually employed in some way, whether they are with law enforcement, a private agency, or self employed. Then again, there are people that do things usually associated a job as a hobby, so I should not really be too mad over a term like this. Other than those things, nothing else really bothered me. While my annoyance with a concept that seems to be an oxymoron did hurt my enjoyment somewhat, the real things that hurt the series was not really being able to know all of the characters that well and the lack of an overall story.

Despite the fact that there were things that I did not like about the show, the good outweighed it enough to make it a good series to watch to kill time. I recommend this to those that do not want to see shows that focus mainly on murder or even use the whodunit style to create a mystery. As for everyone else, I think there are much better series out there if you only want to test the waters of the detective, mystery, or crime fiction genres.

What are your thoughts on Heaven’s Memo Pad? Did you like it, hate it, or find it okay? Were there things you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.