Rampo Kitan: Game Of Laplace Has A Spark That Is Occasionally Shadowed By Fanservice

Rampo Kitan: Game Of Laplace Has A Spark That Is Occasionally Shadowed By Fanservice | rampo kitan

Anime: Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace

Released By: FUNimation

Release Date: December 13, 2016

Retail Price: $64.98

Those familiar with the works of Edogawa Rampo (the pseudonym for Japanese critic and contributor to the evolution of mystery fiction) may already expect Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace to be an immersive mystery series, but others may be unprepared for the unusual series that pushes boundaries in various aspects. The series is referenced as teetering between artistic and grim, which, on many levels, is an accurate depiction of Rampo Kitan. At the center of the mystery anime series is middle school student Kobayashi, someone who has grown extremely tired with his day to day life and seems almost numb to his surroundings until one day when he finds himself in a crime scene of the murder of his teacher.

The case became highly publicized by media outlets, prompting high school student and renowned detective Akechi (Yes, it’s already strange, but just roll with it for now.) to insert himself into the fray. Akechi had been known to be seeking any sort of solitude from society as frequently as possible, but, when Kobayashi sticks around, his ways began to adapt even when he doesn’t seem to show much interest. After clearing Kobayashi of murder, he allows him to become an assistant for incoming cases that takes them down a trail of connected murders — all tying back to a group of vigilante “heroes” labeled Twenty Faces. This kicks off a team of detectives (all under 18, not-so shockingly) to do their best to stop Twenty Faces from growing into a far more dangerous force of nature.

Initially, there doesn’t seem to be an overarching plot in Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace, but, with time, you begin to notice the recurrence between two things: the constant appearance of Twenty Faces and a mysterious person in Akechi’s life. There are a few moments that suggest a grand story, but an issue with Rampo Kitan is that it takes its time to really utilize those elements and acts when it’s almost too late. I will say that those more serious moments are a strong part of the memorable traits in the anime series, and I found myself invested in random storylines or slight aspects in the 11 episode run. Having an appreciation for animes with horror or mystery, there were fulfilling thematic instances — but with that comes the flaw of going too far (which Rampo Kitan does sporadically). A storyline involving kidnapping and innuendos of worse things is hard to stomach, mostly because there has the shock value goal in mind. Instead of leaving certain things unsaid, it’s guilty of crossing a few lines, which can isolate viewers.

In terms of characters, the protagonist Kobayashi is probably the most difficult character to actually enjoy in Rampo Kitan. He is someone who uses boredom as his reason for investigating, which establishes him as some sort of sociopath without real moral regard for anyone other than when he is turned down (practically) by another character whose attention he spent the series seeking. In that life or death moment (quite literally), he shows possibly his only example of genuine human emotion apart from desire or selfishness. To top off his already aggravating role, he is portrayed as a frail, feminine character (including his body type, voice, hair, clothing and everything you can think of) that is privy to fanservice. It’s apparent that the series wanted to use a gay male character to fill the fanservice void but with the most unnecessary ways, such as making him a teenager who is pursued by men of all ages and entering dangerous (or inappropriate) waters.

There are a few characters who actually impress in Rampo Kitan, such as Akechi and the character he has a past with, Namikoshi. Akechi is present from the very beginning; however, Namikoshi doesn’t get much developed screen time until the final arc of the season. The relationship between the two characters is something we begin to see unfold over time that plays a big role in the antagonistic development in Rampo Kitan. The ending provided a unique choice that other animes would have never dreamed of, involving the pair and Kobayashi (though there is an unfortunate turn, too). Another character I instantly felt compassion for was Shadow Man, someone you never saw in actuality but was a ray of hope in the anime for his strong attachments that enforced the emotional impact at play.

Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace has a strong argument as to why the artistry sets it apart from other series. There is a sense of imagery appearing in fragments, and the atmosphere is filled with darker shades that, when mixed with intricate settings or character art, really feels like a complete production (specifically Akechi’s apartment). For such strong art, it can also be hazardous to the anime — for example, the inappropriate and cringeworthy depiction of Kobayashi and the recurring female character Black Lizard. As predicted, the voice casting for Kobayashi plays up his female personality and almost bizarre fetish (or perversion), but, aside from him, the remaining voice cast stands strong with a solid lineup and fitting for the core characters. Rampo Kitam has a lot of potential with mystery, emotional development and artistry, but plenty of times the actual strengths from the series are cast to the background when it chooses to embrace fanservice — something that countless animes have already brought to the table.

Overall Score: 6.5/10

Aedan’s Final Thoughts:

– Akechi and Namikoshi were a great balance of close characters, but their role in the plot did sometimes make me feel like I was watching an entirely different series.

– The Shadow Man could have easily been a bigger presence in Rampo Kitan, and it’s a common mistake animes make when they choose to cast interesting characters aside.

– Honestly, if Rampo Kitan would have entirely removed Kobayashi, the series could have gone up an entire point (maybe even two) because of how problematic his role was.

– There were flashback sequences done that replicated stage productions — easily one of the strong suits of a series that sways back and forth between inappropriate and interesting.

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Funimation Announces Theatrical Release For “The Boy And The Beast”

the boy and the beast

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Funimation has announced the upcoming release of the anime film The Boy And The Best, by Mamoru Hosoda. The film will open nationwide on March 4th, but advanced ticket sales will be available for the general public starting February 5th. The Boy And The Beast will be screened in Japanese with English subtitles, as well as in English for those who may prefer the recent dub (who doesn’t love having options?) Gen Fukunga, CEO and founder of Funimation stated, “We’re very proud to showcase our English dub for the U.S. theatrical release of the ‘The Boy and the Beast.’ It was a rare opportunity to work so closely with a film’s director on a dub production and doubly so with Mamoru Hosoda – arguably the world’s most prominent anime director.” This will be the third collaboration between Funimation and Hosoda, after the release of the anime films Wolf Children and the widely popular Summer Wars.

Funimation describes the animated film as an anime that, “tells the story of Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, who stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts. He’s taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who’s been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely family will be put to the ultimate test—a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage.”

This is only additional progress with Funimation’s theatrical releases, previously finding success with the recent Dragon Ball Z films, Ghost In The Shell, and Attack On Titan bringing anime fans utmost excitement to the big screen. Mike DuBoise, EVP and COO of Funimation added to the announcement by explaining “U.S. audiences will truly be wowed by the rich imagery, characters and storyline of ‘The Boy and The Beast.’ We have no doubt that this film will bring anime to the forefront of mainstream theatrical audiences, appealing to all fans of animated films, both young and old”

It’s always nice to see anime films branching out into theaters around the US, and with every bit of positive reception – anime receives another chance to entice new viewers, and please the existing anime fan base! To find out who you can expect to hear in the English dub of the film, check out the official voice actors cast list below!

  • Kyuta (Young) – Luci Christian
  • Kyuta (Teen) – Eric Vale
  • Kumatetsu – John Swasey
  • Kaede – Bryn Apprill
  • Chico – Monica Rial
  • Hyakushubo – Alex Organ
  • Tatara – Ian Sinclair
  • Iozen – Sean Hennigan
  • Ichirohiko (Young) – Morgan Berry
  • Ichirohiko (Teen) – Austin Tindle
  • Jiromaru (Young) – Brittney Karbowski
  • Jiromaru (Teen) – Josh Grelle
  • Kyuta’s Mother – Jessica Cavanagh
  • Kyuta’s Father – Chuck Hüber
  • Lord – Steve Powell

Are you excited for Funimation’s release of The Boy and The Beast? Make sure to grab your tickets in February while you have the chance! 

FUNIMATION ANNOUNCES RELAUNCHED STREAMING SERVICE ‘FUNIMATIONNOW’

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Earlier today, Funimation announced their company was undergoing a major change in their streaming services, with new possibilities in the works for anime fans. The streaming service will be called FunimationNow, slated to land in February – with new downloadable apps made compatible for convenient streaming through Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Windows 10 universal. The website states that a mobile revamp will be made in the near future (February as well) for iOS, Kindle applications, and Android phones to make anime available on the go. As if that isn’t enough, video game consoles and Roku streaming will offer the FunimationNow channel sometime in May – once things are situated with the first wave of upgrades. Another positive announcement for anime fans outside of the US is that they officially announced FunimationNow will also stream in the UK! While many of the options (mobile and consoles for example) are available as of now, Funimation makes it clear that this is a considerably improved platform for anime lovers, even launching a new purple and white simplistic logo to exhibit their rebranding plans for what’s to come.

“New Year. New Shows. New Look.” Seems to be their current tagline, and with the early steps taken to transition, it’s sure to be a fun year for anime! If you’re interested in signing up for FunimationNow, they are also offering a 30 day free trials after previous using a 14 day pass for their services. Check out the official announcement below from the new Funimation, and check out their website for more info!    

“First things first, February will mark the debut of FunimationNow, our all-new anime streaming service, with completely redesigned mobile apps. We’ll still be bringing you all the subtitled and English-dubbed anime you love, completely ad-free—PLUS, a sleek new design supported by a first-class user experience. But that’s not all, throughout the year we’ll continue introducing a bunch of cool new features as we prepare for the May launch of a reimagined website experience that will revolutionize the way fans discover, watch, share, and connect with anime.