Kami-sama no Memo-chou 2 – knowledge is death

July 17, 2011

The big boys come out to play.

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.

Meo, a Thai girl looking for her father.

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.

Narumi shows off his "god's hands", that is his system administrator skills for Yondaime's minions.

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.

The lighting in this scene was great.

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.

Now you've made her cry.

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.

Tetsuo shows that Narumi isn't the only one who has guts.

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.

BTW, my first post on Kami-Memo has a guide to the characters, in case you are having a hard time following along.

4 Responses to “Kami-sama no Memo-chou 2 – knowledge is death”

  1. Ryo_kun Says:

    I agree about Narumi being harsh towards Meo and all. His family problems probably affected him too much. Maybe he sees some similarity in this problem and tells Meo to give up about her father. I also like the fact that they work as a team to solve mysteries and not too dependable on Alice. Other than Tetsu, Hiroaki also worked pretty hard for this case.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      You know something kind of interesting regarding Narumi’s family: we saw him dining with a woman in episode 1, and it was already obvious that his father was absent, and that he resented that. But it wasn’t until this episode that they clarified that the woman is his elder sister, and that his mother is dead.

  2. tomphile Says:

    Yup, I liked how Narumi wasn’t the typical nice-guy you see in most anime that tell them that everything’s going to be okay. It was cool the first time but now it’s overdone – an atrocious example would be Touma.

    • Joojoobees Says:

      It certainly makes him a more complex character.

      Are you talking about Touma from Index? I never watched that, so I’m not really familiar with those characters.

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