Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kamisama no Memochou (God's Notebook)

Kamisama no Memochou (otherwise known as God's Notebook or Heaven's Memo Pad) was a nice series. Nice as in aesthetically pleasing with a lovely soundtrack; the content of the series is firmly a drama, being what i call "Anime's Answer to Law and Order".
the visuals in this series are really lovely.
The series follows Fujishima Narumi, an introverted boy who moves to a new city. at first deciding to live his life the way he always did, as an insignifican "pixel on a screen", he ends up becoming wrapped up in the world of the local NEETs (Not engaged in Education, Employment, or Training), centering around the ramen shop Hanamaru and the little girl Alice, who claims to be a NEET Detective.
he goes through a lot of internal melodrama, maybe because he feels helpless at times. man up, dude.
From here, the series spins off into several arcs, involving such dramatic topics as drugs, suicide, prostitution, and mostly gangs. with the help of his newfound NEET friends and a local delinquent Yakuza group, Narumi helps solve several cases assigned to Alice, acting as his assistant in addition to working several other jobs around the series. (in fact, a running joke among the anime club i watched it with was how many titles Narumi recieved; by the end of it we were calling him "Assistant Uncle Vice-Admiral Gardening Club", and i'm not even sure if that was the whole title.) Through it all, Narumi manages to be a bit of an indecisive wimp through most of it, though he does man up at some points (adding a unique flavour to it all when he does). the other characters manage to maintain their own unique personalities, however, making them all the more likeable for it. the emotions feel real. the pain, the anger, the joy, all of it feels genuine as it unfolds in front of us.
the few times Narumi DOES go badass are rather thrilling, if only because when there's a wimp in an anime, they usually STAY a wimp.
However, that is not to say the series isn't without its flaws. there are some points where things feel a wee bit ridiculous (such as during one episode, Alice gives orders from a car packed to bursting with all her stuffed animals), and the moments of undue fanservice make the series feel a little tired, as if they were trying to "spice it up" to appeal to a wider market.

i think they're doing a bit more than "disturbing" them.
despite these problems and occasionally a common trope, i feel the series was definitely worth watching, despite other reviews of the series i've read giving it a less than favourable glance. however, in the sea of moe girls and tired archetypes (if i hear of one more "i'm in love with my little sister" type story i think i might lose it), this series stands up as a solid drama and ONLY a drama, something sorely lacking in today's anime market. it has its comedic moments, but overall the show retains a serious tone, something i had been wanting in an anime. even the way it handles its topics is solid; the subject of drugs is brought up a few times, and each time it is handled with the intensity that the subject recieves in real life. (that drugs are discussed AT ALL in the series is somewhat refreshing; perhaps the problem of illicit substances isn't as prevalent in Japan, but it's not a topic touched on very much in anime, even in more serious ones.)
NOT for kids.
overall, i had wanted to see this series when i heard about it, and i'm glad i did. though the series didn't wrap up all the loose ends (most, but not all) is a slight bit disappointing, but considering the source material is ongoing (the anime only covers the first volume or so of the light novel series), that's to be expected. despite that, the anime club enjoyed it, i enjoyed it, and anyone looking for a more serious-toned anime (including those who think anime is "nothing but kids stuff") will enjoy it. be warned that the moments of light fanservice make this series a bit above PG-13, but nothing explicit really goes on. there is also an english dub, though this is the type of series where i'm not sure making a dub was really the best move.
i can't identify half the plushies she has.
Kamisama no Memochou is available from Evetaku, Chihiro Subs, Unlimited Translation Works, Horriblesubs, Kanjouteki,, Bowling Ball Fansubs (italian), Vocamiku Fansubs (french), EvermorE Subs (spanish), ACT-Subs (Chinese), and Akatsuki Subs (german). the series has also been licensed for sale in North America by Sentail Filmworks.


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