Heavens Memo Pad: No Spoiler Review

By: 14th Lord

Release: 2011
Category: Detective
Also known as: “Kamisama no Memochou” and “Gods Notebook”

Heavens Memo Pad, another in a short line of mystery detective animes to come out in recent years. There's few other anime's to compare the show to, taking notes from the slice of life genre, Heavans Memo Pad feels like that of a mature Detective Conan/Case Closed. Let me begin with this. If you enjoyed Detective Conan for the mystery aspect of the show, and wished it was better dubbed and had a more mature feel, this anime is right up your alley. If you hadn't gathered by that statement, this review is entirely based upon the dubbed version, as will all my anime reviews be, unless otherwise mentioned.

Beginning with Episode 1, we meet our main protagonist, Narumi. While he's presented as a generic everyman, a freshman student who happens to bump into a dubious operation in the scummy X rated district of town. After getting man handled a bit by a small man with a assault rifle and a army helmet. As Narumi's a High School freshman, that makes you ponder whether this stranger is legally a midget, or a tweeny that somehow got his hands on heavy artillery.

Well, he does continue to wear that helmet around the entirety of the anime, so that only adds more questions to how he's able to get his hands on heavy weaponry to carry in public. This clearly takes place in Japan, not America. Alas, this is only the first of the “NEET” detectives we meet, Shosa, who somehow made it to college.

While Shosa has a minor role, next member we meet is Ayaka, who happens to find Narumi as he isolates himself on the school roof. Off topic, but does anyone know If awesome rooftops actually exist on schools, or is it just anime's excuse to get the characters away from teachers and classrooms, while still being in school?

Anyway, while Ayaka is a fun and cheery girl, she's presented to be a bit on the absent minded side, often putting Narumi in suggestive positions, only to smack him and call him a pervert for it. Despite the fact that SHE was the one forcibly undressing another girl while he's in the room.

Speaking of Forcibly undressing, the poor victim of all this happens to be Alice, a small girl that has her own apartment above a ramen shop that NEET uses as their headquarters. Whether she's extremely smart or far older than she looks, I couldn't say, but I can say that she has stuffed animals bigger than her. And that's just adorable.

Last important cast member, unless you consider the woman that happens to run the ramen shop they fequent, is Soichirou. At least, I think that's his name. This mysterious yet noble yakuza crimelord is called several names, such as “The Fourth” “Yondaime” “Zone(Sou?)”, and Hina. I attempted to look this up and ended up only more confused on his name than I was to begin with. Lets just call him the White haired guy.

While Heavens Memo Pad could potentially make a good long running series, with each weak another mystery to unravel, it keeps itself short and sweet. Unlike Detective Conan, Heavans Memo Pad is a short series, only featuring 12 episodes, most of which personally involving the main cast, in a loose, story-arc light format.

Story Arcs include
Episode 1 (Stand Alone)
Episodes 2&3
Episode 4 (Stand Alone)
Episodes 5, 6, 7, 8
Episode 9 (Stand Alone)
Episodes 10, 11, 12

With only 4 episodes revolving around a “core” storyline (The first and final three), Heavens Memo Pad is easy to get into, take breaks, and finish off. Each of its story arcs are completely stand alone, and can easily be watched out of order. If you happen to start midway in a arc, its easy to figure out what happened based on whats going on, and thoroughly enjoy the episode. Unfortunately, this also means there's no truly strong and compelling storyline to speak of.

Characters: 6/10
Unfortunately for this anime, the characters are where it drops the ball. While there's hints that the characters may be interesting, only Alice actually stands out, with the rest falling under categories of character-types. Narumi's the everyman that's more capable than he expects. Ayaka is the bubbly girl that reaches out to the male lead, while at the same time being abusive and proclaiming he's a pervert for her inappropriate conduct. The rest are just plain forgettable. By no means though do I imply this means they're bad characters, perhaps with a longer season, or a second season, the characters could get a chance to grow on me more.

Plot: 8/10
While each arc is a stand alone, they all have a well thought out plot to each of them. The fact that most these stories are stretched across multiple episodes, really gives the writers room to expand and explore the situations as they come up.

Fun Factor: 7/10
If you love a detective story, you'll enjoy this. Unfortunately there's not enough clues that you might be able to guess the resolves, they do exist and if you have a imaginative mind, you might just be able to figure it out. The story itself is a bit slow, and if you're used to more excitement, it's easy to become bored while waiting for something to occur.

Sound & Art: 8/10
Heaven's Memo Pad, while nothing particularly notable about its art style in comparison to commonly produced, it is on the better looking side. As for sountracks, while most are quite forgettable, their intro piece, and the piece played when a revelation is made is very memorable.

English Dubbing: 9/10
Localized by Section23 (Otherwise known as Sentai Filmworks), Heavens Memopad has voices a large range of talented voice actors. While some of the voices can seem a little off for the characters, they are well acted, and well picked.

Overall: 7/10
While this anime's enjoyable, perhaps the greatest drawback is how short it is. I believe if given a longer run, the anime could equal the enjoyability of its rival mysteries, such as Detective Conan, or Gosick. Ironically enough, at the same time this aired, so did Gosick Like Heavens Memo Pad, Gosick features a very young and very short detective girl. If you're craving something else similar to Heavens Memo Pad, that anime might be of your liking.

The ending felt a bit on the empty side, which upon seeing that Heavens Memo Pad has had its run, leaves me disappointed. Perhaps if we see a Season 2, and this anime was given a longer chance to flesh out its ideas, it may of been so much better.

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