「Midnight Train」

Cop Craft has had incredible production values from the start. The fights were fluid, well-choreographed, and interesting to watch, but not all episodes are created equal, and this one definitely has its flaws. After Tilarna left Matoba with her sword, a sword which a little search engine browsing informs us is as important as life itself to the Knights of Mirvor, she found Matoba’s informant and had him help her infiltrate a club to find the culprit behind the fairy abductions. While it’s sweet that she trusted Matoba to take care of her sword, couldn’t she just have told him what she was up to? Anyway, the Semanian guy hitting on her turns out to be Elbaji, the person she’s looking for, and it quickly delves into a sword fight filled with so many still shots I honestly thought my computer was glitching. Besides the still shots, the action felt slow compared to the other episodes, the transitions and framing awkward, which leads me to believe that the studio is saving their budget for later on.

It’s tough to be a light novel adaption. It’s much easier to give exposition in the written form than to have your characters explain the history of their world to the audience. Most of the time this can be excused. Some stilted language here and there, info dumps and the like, are easy to accept. However, when a character exposits their emotional relationship to another during a dramatic moment and the narrative doesn’t back up their claim, then it starts to take the audience out of the world. Having watched this from the beginning, I don’t believe either of the deaths in this episode were earned. A betrayal that is emotionally devasting to the hero can be foreshadowed – it should be foreshadowed – but there still needs to be a connection there for that betrayal to hurt the way it’s supposed to. Did anyone really get the impression that Matoba thought of anyone as a father figure? If he hadn’t told you outright that this was how he felt, would you have guessed it? And as for the villain this episode, small fry though he may have been, his design and demeanor were still intriguing enough that I’d have liked to have seen more from him. Even his very existence suggests that there’s dissatisfaction with the lack of opportunities for personal and financial growth in fairy society that could very well lead to more troublemaking Semani youth stirring up chaos in the future.

Events are going a little too fast, but on the other hand, seeing Matoba support Tilarna this episode, with him tossing her the sword when she needed it and cheering her on, while also proving to be a competent fighter in his own right, exemplified good, positive character development. However many episodes this series will have, it needs about twice as many, but the end result still isn’t something to complain about. Tilarna and Matoba are one step closer to becoming equals in their partnership, the missing fairy has been found, and a short flashback revealed to us that something tragic had happened in Matoba’s past to shape him into the man he is today. Something that has Zelada and his creepy zombie magic written all over it.

 

Preview

17 Comments

  1. Well, that was a complete mess. Pacing, plot, and most of all, animation. Some of the inbetweens made Tilarna look like she came from planet Teekyuu (look, Millepensee, I liked Teekyuu, but this is a different show altogether, right?)

    https://randomc.net/image/Snapshots/Cop%20Craft%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2006.jpg
    And how can a key animator get anatomy so wrong? Rule #1, don’t mess up the fanservice shots – even the makers of that unmitigated disaster Imo-Imo worked that one out.

    Angelus
    1. Looks like some of the key frames were drawn by the in-between artists. :O

      Still gonna watch it next week. Story is compelling enough to finish the first story arc at least.

      Magnus Tancred
  2. Pretty much everything in this episode was terrible. We can talk about the animation, and the lack thereof, and it deserves it (some of the worst animation I’ve ever seen in an episode, gave me Wizard Barristers flashbacks), but the writing in the episode was terrible. Everything was rushed, forced, and cliche wrought. Even with better animation, I would have hated this episode.

    I’ll give it one more to see if they fix some of this next week, but if it even resembles this episode I’m done. I have better things to do than watch garbage.

    hjerry2000
  3. It did feel rushed. Oh hey, the villian killed detective’s squad, during the war, that was mentioned once before. It would have been nice to present viewers with a few memories about the war, establish death of his war comrades as something significant for detective’s character. Maybe a scene, where he visits a war memorial or a nightmare, as he remembers it happening.

    Kessler
  4. Yep, I wouldn’t have guessed Kei saw the Chief as a father figure. That scene wasn’t very dramatic, probably because they cut some minor scenes that would’ve helped establish their relationship better.

    When it comes to animation problems, I think there were really just 2 major flaws (the fights having awkward stills thrown in the middle were just minor flaws). 1. They probably cut a scene where they showed Tilarna reacting to the fire breaking out, clearly showing it wasn’t her who caused it. That caused brief confusion, because we knew she was about to escape when ~3 random thugs were left to guard her, and then the next thing we saw, there was a fire, and we expected there to have been a narrative hint. 2. The rush up the tower at the end was way too abbreviated. I was barely able to intuit what was happening. If they’d shown a little less, it would’ve been like Arifureta where they cut so much you can’t even figure out the “why” of the entire situation.

    All in all, Cop Craft is definitely the type of anime that makes you realize you need to read the LN to truly appreciate the story. In any case, I’m loving it, and hyped for next week. Tilarna feels a lot like one of my favorite characters, Shana.

    Player

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