Keywords: , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - NAZ
HOSOYA Yoshimasa
TSUDA Kenjiro
'Brilliant Detective' Sakaido awakens in a bizarre, disjointed world of incomplete bits and pieces drifting about. He finds a girl, Kaeru, lying dead with a knife in her chest and senses that his job is to discern her murderer. Though he doesn't know it, he is actually within the 'ID well' a simulation of 'a serial killer's impulse to kill' at a high-tech facility and his actions are being closely monitored by the staff.

13 episodes
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Rent Stretch [series:3787#628]

(All episodes watched):

This was a sophisticated/weird sci-fi story about a not-too-distant future in which crimes are solved by simulating the imaginations of criminals, based of 'cognitive particles' recovered from crime scenes, and using them to try to figure out exactly who the criminal is and what he/she is up to. This new technology is used to fight perhaps the most serious crime of all, serial murder. Main character Narihisago is a former police detective whose daughter was brutally murdered by a serial killer, which caused him to go looking for revenge against not just the particular serial murderer but all serial murderers combined--he basically became a serial killer of serial killers. He has been arrested and now makes amends by performing the difficult and dangerous task of 'diving' into the simulations--"ID Wells"--to look for evidence as 'Brilliant Detective Sakaido'. The police team that monitors Narihisago/Sakaido includes a young prodigy named Hondomachi, but she almost gets killed in a cliffhanger at the end of episode one and somehow winds up within the simulation herself. The concept of the ID well, etc, was revealed well enough for me to write this summary of it, and for the most part I remained intrigued by it and curious what it might be used for. On the other hand, for all the weirdness, the animation didn't strike me as cutting edge. But I decided that I would definitely be watching episode two when it arrived.

Episode two wraps up the first case, which involves a serial murderer, 'The Penetrator', who likes to use a power drill on his victims. It was kind of disturbing (the only episode I would describe as such), but a sign of quality was the revelation that this person isn't just a sadist because he has reason to believe that he is actually helping his victims in a way. Episode three introduces the next case, a nihilist terrorist who sets bombs in public spaces and sets off fireworks along with them. I wish the explanation of the experience Sakaido has in this ID Well had been more clear--namely, how one sniper can shoot numerous people from seemingly impossible angles almost simultaneously. The explanation we are given didn't seem completely convincing to me. Also, was anything learned from it? Who says the laws of physics have to apply in this imaginary situation? The confusion kind of undermines the idea that this is all brilliant, futuristic and reliable cutting edge technology. In episode four we learn that in a strange way Narihisago is still conducting his crusade against serial murderers from his prison cell. Is what he's doing illegal? Will it be tolerated? In episode five it dawns on Hondomachi that the reason they are not finding any murderous cognition particles at the latest serial murderer's crime scenes is because this person has a strangely confused view of love and hate. It was a curious concept, but not brilliant.

A theme develops: numerous serial killers have in fact been under the control of the most wanted serial killer of all, 'John Walker'. I was confused about how this was taking place; was Walker somehow taking control of people's minds and forcing them to become serial killers, or was he recruiting people who already wanted to be killers, or what? How was he doing it (or were the detectives just as mystified as me)? I wish this show explained itself a little better, because confusion is frustrating and makes it hard to keep track of what's going on. After Hondomachi kills an assailant in self-defense, she is offered a job as a second 'Brilliant Detective'--only killers can perform this service, for some reason. It seemed that her partner implied that she might have a dark streak to her morals, but again it wasn't exactly clear, which (again) was frustrating. In episode seven about the last person you would expect is accused of actually being none other than John Walker. It was clearly supposed to be a shocker, but for me it seemed to come out of left field and I had no idea why it made any sense. I could not recall any hints being dropped in the story previously which might have made this revelation make sense. For some reason--again, it wasn't clear to me--two 'Brilliant Detectives' are launched into a well simultaneously to try to find out if the accusation is correct. The John Walker suspect (who hasn't confessed and is beginning to seem like he may have been framed) warns that they are walking into a trap, but the whole concept of the ID Well is so vague that there's no way to know whether that is really possible. What's the worst thing that can happen to you while you 'dive' into a Well? In episode nine Narihisago finds himself in a well within a well (or is it a dream within a dream?). But the whole concept of a single Well was never really made clear, so what am I to make of one of these? A computer simulation within a computer simulation? And what was the significance of the scene in the desert afterwards? I was unable to make much sense of it, but I wish I had been because I knew that there was an interesting plot buried somewhere within this series. I only fell farther behind in episode 11, as the characters realize what's going on but I had little idea what they were talking about. We learn who the real John Walker is, but how they had deduced this remains a mystery to me. I was wary of the concluding episode, but even though I had largely lost track of what was going on I could tell that it made some sense and was cathartic. In general this show is handled in a confusing manner which more often left me scratching my head than being thrilled. Still, even if I was only understanding a fraction of the story, it remained intriguing and I enjoyed it.

Last updated Saturday, April 04 2020. Created Tuesday, January 07 2020.

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