Kami-sama no Memo-chou 2 – knowledge is death
July 17, 2011
Things get serious in episode 2 of Kami-sama no Memo-chou (God’s Notebook). Again we have some very nice artwork, and an intriguing mystery that is only unravelled with collective effort. Unlike the predictions of many, this series does not rely solely on the strength of a single individual (Alice), but rather the strength of the entire team.
A new case gets the NEETs involved with the Yakuza. Meo’s father is on the run, and she is looking for him. Her only immediate clue is a bag full of cash. This episode developed the investigation mostly through footwork. Unfortunately, by the close, the Yakuza seem to have tracked Meo to the Hanamaru ramen shop, and the NEET detectives might be in extreme danger.
There were three critical points where Narumi shows that he is more than a hapless bystander. In the first, he provides tech support (again) for Yondaime’s thugs. This may not seem like much, but he shows he has skills that others can rely upon.
In the second, he refuses to back down, even when threatened by Yondaime (the Fourth). This was an interesting scene, because Yondaime was essentially just telling him to get out before the Yakuza caught on to their involvement. When Narumi insists that he wants to help anyways, Yondaime becomes physical, but his words really are explaining the limitations that anyone faces alone. “There’s not many people you can save alone. … We’re all practically powerless alone.” Of course, Narumi isn’t alone; he’s part of a team, and his response is that he needs to do this because he is Alice’s assistant. This shows bravery, because he is staring down Yondaime, who has him by the collar, and loyalty.
The third critical point doesn’t show Narumi in as good a light. For a variety of reasons, including, I think, his own problems with his own family, Narumi acts harshly with Meo. He tells her that her father has likely run off and left her for good. When she insists that he promised that they would be together as a family, Narumi angrily rejects that such a promise even can be kept. At first this might seem strange, or a forgivable lapse in judgement. Think, however, about the two times in episode one in which Alice commented that Narumi had a cruel nature. I don’t think that is entirely true, if for no other reason than that I don’t think Alice would tolerate having him around. On the other hand, confronting Meo with what might seem to be a difficult truth, and not quite grasping that he is acting like an ass, is somewhat similar to the role he played in episode one, in which he asked clearly embarrassing questions of a schoolgirl turned prostitute. Perhaps he doesn’t enjoy inflicting pain, but he doesn’t act like the boring, wimpy lead I keep reading about.
One of the things I liked about this episode was that it showed several of the other cast members making serious contributions to the investigation. Tetsuo, for example, risks his life in tracking down some members of the Yakuza that are searching for Meo and the cash (her dad might be already dead). He then asks them for details about Meo’s dad’s role in the organization. Pumping the Yakuza for information is not a safe thing to do. Tetsuo is certainly brave, and probably at least a little crazy.
Anyways, my take-away is well summed up by a comment made by Guardian-Enzo: “Kamisama no Memo-chou is more Durarara! to me”. To me, what that means is that Kami-sama no Memo-chou is an ensemble piece, about the mysterious underside of city life. Like Durarara!!, Kami-Memo is not the story of one or two people, acting alone, but of many interesting characters, all contributing to the work.