I can describe Ryoko’s Case File in two ways: supernatural detective show, or Haruhi for grownups. Yes, I haven’t found another character as close to Haruhi than Superintendent Ryoko Yakushiji herself–she’s beautiful, smart, skilled, bossy, and extremely immature. Also, she stops a tank with a wink and walks through even Dracula.
Our poor, harassed main character Jun’ichiro Izumida , on the other hand, is like Kyon, except that he jumps into Ryoko’s exploits more willingly, and can perfectly defend himself. He’s older than his boss and keeps on musing about his job as more of a babysitter than an assistant.
There are also killer French maids in Ryoko’s employ, who apparently speak decent French despite this being an anime, and take care of the dirty work for their mistress (i.e. blowing up stuff up with heavy weaponry and surveillance on shady bureaucrats). The other part of the supporting cast is a lovable bunch, if not almost useless except for, uh, setting traps: There’s righteous Oyuki, who is almost like Darker Than Black’s Kirihara Misaki except without the china dress, her leotard-obsessed assistant, and Ryoko’s staff who essentially talk behind their boss’s back when she’s not around.
The show is standard case-of-the-week fare. Some of the supernatural stuff include instant mummies, demonspawn, gigantic subway salamanders, and suicide-inducing bugs. The funny thing is that Ryoko doesn’t need to look around for them, because they come to Ryoko instead, who attracts all kinds of supernatural phenomenon. It’s a bit like Haruhi and her godlike powers. The stand-alone episodes are good for what they are, and provide a blend of action, comedy and grown-up women bickering with each other.
The show makes a huge shift from supernatural into politics by its last quarter, where it weaves a GITS:SAC-style plot tying most of the old cases together, and ends in an awesome bang with second season potential (yes plz). Yoshiki Tanaka, I didn’t know you can write this stuff too, and I liked this even more than Tytania right now, even despite the space opera bias. Because it’s fun.
Production-wise, this show is solid. The jazz music is great, and the animation is very consistent and fluid. But the main strength of Ryoko’s Case File is the interplay between Ryoko and Izumida. It comes as no surprise that our larger-than-life woman is smitten in love with her assistant, whose faithfulness in servitude keeps him from noticing. This makes for funny boss-underling exchanges.
Here are some Ryoko-isms I jotted down:
*spoiler*: Aren’t you scared of dying?
Ryoko: Winning is more important.
Izumida: Umm Superintendent, do you actually have something to tell me?
Ryoko: You’re misunderstanding something. I just happened to come and it was just coincidental that I sat here. And it’ll be terrible if something happens, meeting with a grade schooler here at a time like this…
Izumida: Nothing will happen at all! Besides, I’ve already told you that Mana-chan is my cousin.
Ryoko: Even if she’s your cousin, it’s still a crime.
Mana: Say, Jun-chan. Who is she? She has nothing to do with this.
Ryoko: How rude! I’m involved in this. I’m Izumida-kun’s ruler.
Izumida: Superintendent, are you hurt?
Ryoko: Izumida! You called me by my name, didn’t you?
Izumida: Oh, I’m terribly sorry. It was an emergency.
Ryoko: Even in emergencies, do you call your boss by her name?
Izumida: No, umm… I’m sorry.
Ryoko: Look forward to your bonus.
Ryoko: Izumida-kun, catch me.
Izumida: No way… You’re jumping?
Ryoko: Yes, I am.
Izumida: That’s absurd! It’s too dangerous!
Ryoko: No, that’s not it. I told you what to say in these situations.
Izumida: I won’t let you die!
Ryoko: Well done! *jump*