One tough cookie

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“Yakushiji Ryouko no Kaiki Jikenbo” or “Ryoko Yakushiji’s Strange Case Files” is an anime which started life as a light novel. The 13-episode show aired in Japan last summer.

Ryoko, who comes from a rich family, is a cop with the Tokyo Metropolitan Department. But she’s not just any cop. At 27, she is a superintendent who heads a department, can speak several languages, is universally feared by the bureaucrats and can solve the weird cases that often come her way. She is also a crack shot and can take on the baddies with her fists and feet if need be.

She’s also imperious toward her underlings, thinks nothing of going shopping in the middle of her shift, wears skimpy suits and shamelessly uses her family’s influence.
Her dad heads JACES, one of the major security firms in the country where many police bureaucrats apply to after retirement. She holds this over their heads in order to get her way. Thankfully, she is on the side of the little guy and hates fat cats who abuse the system.

She also likes her much put upon assistant/shopping bag holder. This Watson-wanna-be to her Sherlock is Junichiro Izumida, 33, who narrates the series. He fears and respects her but doesn’t get the massive hints she gives him that she really, really likes him. What a doof.

Called Izumida by everyone, he is a decent and hard-working cop whose wits are not as sharp as Ryoko’s. But he can fight as well as her. He is not a career police officer so he does his job whether it annoys a bureaucrat or not.

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The show is reminiscent of “X Files” because the cases Ryoko tackles include man-made horrors and regular creatures with an unfortunate effect on humans. Case in point. One episode deals with a cricket whose chirping drives people to kill themselves.

Ryoko is also aided by her French maids, Lucienne and Marianne. Fellow superintendent and rival, Yukiko Muromachi, often trades insults with Ryoko but once or twice helps her. Not that she’d ever admit it.

Brothers in arms

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OK OK so it’s been ages since I last posted. I’ve been on vacation (whine whine) and was out of the country too. Don’t ask where. Suffice it to say I won’t be back there.

Anyway, I’ve been watching this new anime called “Persona – trinity soul” which apparently is based on a video game. The show is set in Ayanagi City and happens 10 years after the last game. Our protagonists are three brothers who seem to lack the gene for expressing love. This trio of cold fishes are Ryo Kanzato who heads the local police department, his high school-aged brother Shin and their youngest sibling Jun. They had a sister, Yuki, who was Jun’s twin but something happened and she’s no longer with them. Ditto their parents.

I’ve only seen up to episode three and the show still hasn’t explained if Yuki died or was kidnapped or got vaporized. Since I never played the game, I’m reduced to getting my info solely from the show.

In the first episode, Ryo gets summoned to check out a submersible where the crew vanished. At the same time, his two younger brothers return home after several years of living with another relative. He doesn’t seem to relish seeing his brothers again.

There’s a mystery with a capital M going on. People are disappearing. Folks have been found dead and turned inside out. There’s a group of folks who seem to be grabbing certain young people and pulling out what looks to be their souls. Ryo keeps things from his own men much to the chagrin of one cop who thinks he’s up to something. Ryo, who is as friendly as an iceberg to his siblings and underlings, possesses some sort of power that launches a transparent giant robot thingy that saves one of the kidnapped girls and slashes some giant alien thingy that comes out of the kidnapper.

At his new high school Shin hears about “shadow extraction” and sees students doing such a feat on others. He passes out after a classmate, Takuro Sakakiba, and he managed to pull out these giant robots from each other. It seems these robot things are called Personas.

Interesting that the robots look like the models Shin possesses and even dreams about.

Little Jun is weird in his own right, He keeps a dress of his missing twin with him and behind locked doors, Ryo overhears him talking to a girl.

There’s some trouble brewing at a local karaoke bar when Shin and his classmates run into a group of young punks.

The show is interesting so far.

Living with the unknown

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A recent AP poll showed that a chunk of the population believes in ghosts. To be more precise, a third of those surveyed accept the existence of things that go bump in the night.

The line between this world and the next can be very thin, according to some folks. Now imagine if you can actually see and feel the supernatural. (Cue spooky music.)

That is the dilemma facing Shizuru and her younger sister, Mizuki, in “Mokke.” Shizuru can see ghosts, specters, etc while her sister gets possessed by them.

These traits are the very reason why the two are now living in the country with their grandparents. Their stern but loving grandfather apparently knows his way around such things and is called upon by folks to exorcise or placate these apparitions. Of course once doesn’t really get a sense of what their grandpa does for a living since viewers see him mucking about in the garden a lot or helping the farmers with their vegetables.

Their bespectacled parents visit now and then. Mother apparently cannot handle even talking about the supernatural and flew off the handle at grandpa when Mizuki casually mentioned she was raising a creature that brings its owner luck.

Grandpa means well but he’s not exactly the cuddly type. He told his grandkids one time they will have to learn how to handle some creatures on their own. Poor girls.

“Mokke” started life seven years ago as a manga by Takatoshi Kumakura. The characters are drawn way better in the manga than in the anime which began airing last month in Japan. This isn’t an action-packed show, neither is it scary. I look at it as a primer on Japanese supernatural beings and concepts presented in a kid-friendly package. It’s not a bad way to while away 25 minutes.