I haven’t reviewed a full series in forever.  What should I review…let’s go with the last anime I watched.  I just watched the complete Kami-sama no Memo-chō (or Heaven’s Memo Pad as it is referred to I English) anime in the span of 24 hours so I am going to review that.  Basically to sum up the plot, take the NEETS from Eden of the East, the color gangs from Durarara and the detective from Gosick, give her black hair and you have got Heaven’s Memo Pad. The story revolves around Narumi Fujishima, an underachiever who doesn’t even care to learn his classmate’s names. He is forced into participating in his school’s gardening club whose members consist of himself and Ayaka Shinozaki. He also gets dragged in as a member of NEET, an amateur detective agency filled with NEETS who take on and solve cases on their own whims led by Alice, a little girl. The show may seem harmless but it deals with some very heavy topics including, prostitution, suicide, drug abuse and gang violence so let’s get to the review. Also don’t worry this review is spoiler free.

Heaven’s Memo Pad is aired out of order, but you wouldn’t even know without doing some research.  The series flows well despite this.  The hour-long series premier and episodes 10-12 are based on book one while episodes 2-9 consists of book 2, book 4 and several spinoff short stories.  The only problem with this is it causes a character that is not supposed to be in episodes 3 and 4 to be in those episodes…but it is not a big deal, the series flows well, but it might anger some fans of the original novels.  By airing the series out of order, it caused the series to have a powerful dramatic ending, which probably improved the overall quality of the series but by doing this the series was unable to show the aftermath of the events that take place, completely skipping the third book in the series.

J.C. Staff is behind the animation and it is one of their better efforts I have seen.  The character design is fairly unoriginal, with the character of Alice being the only one who really stands out in a moe kind of way.  Despite this every character is well drawn.  The backgrounds are all strong but throughout the series there are a lot of still shots, not that this is a bad thing, they don’t really take a way from anything in the series.  The music throughout is strong.  You can expect to hear everything from light piano to rock and rap.

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Heaven’s Memo Pad revolves around a NEET detective agency so you meet some very interesting characters.  Our protagonist Narumi at first seems like a typical underachiever, not even bothering to learn is own classmates names.  He is quickly swept into the world of the NEET detective agency and he takes on an important role of his own.  He is born to lead others, or maybe that is not the right way to describe him.  People seem to want to follow him despite his “I don’t care” atmosphere he gives off.  He is referred to as someone who could make for a good conman for his ability to make people believe in his causes.   He quickly became a much more interesting character than he seemed at the beginning of the series.  Alice who is the female protagonist may turn you off to the series.  She is a Hikikomori who lives off of Doctor Pepper and ramen broth.  She is probably an early teenager but she looks and has the body of a little girl probably due to malnutrition which the show hints at a couple of times.  She is soft spoken, embarrassed easily, always wears pajamas and is constantly with piles of stuffed animals.  To some this might ruin her credibility as a detective genius.  Three of the more interesting characters in the series are Tetsu, Shosa, and Hiro, three NEETS who “work” under Alice, helping here solve mysteries.  Tetsu never graduated high school, and now spends his days gambling all his money away, but he proves useful because he is friends with police, and gets good information.  Shosa is a military obsessed Otaku who isn’t actually a NEET.  He actually goes to university but rarely goes to class.  He says he will be in college for 8 years before dropping out.  He is an expert for setting up cameras to help spy on people for Alice.  The last of the three NEETS Hiro is though of as a gigolo, for his many girlfriends.  He is popular and knows everybody, always able to get valuable information for Alice.  There are two more important characters that I want to talk about but it is hard to without giving anything away.  There is Ayaka Shinozaki who is a cheerful girl who spends here free time working at a ramen joint, and the school’s garden club, both of which are relevant to events that take place in the series.  The last important character is Yondaime the leader of a young Yakuza group, adding to a lot of the violence throughout this series.  For the most part the characters are a diverse interesting crew and are a real strong point of this series.

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Heavens Memo Pad for the most part consists of 4 separate stories and two filler episodes.  The 4 separate stories are diverse, tackling many heavy subjects; suicide, drug abuse, drug distribution, prostitution, and gang violence.  I am a little surprised that my DVD case for this series only gives it a teen rating.  You see people get beaten to a pulp, and watch drug attics overdose.  Several parts of this series were difficult for me to watch.  The show seems a lot more “PG” than it is for the first 8 episodes and then when I got to the final arc I was caught a little off-guard.  The heavy atmosphere of this series may loose its credibility with Alice’s cutesy image; I find it hard to believe someone like Alice could accomplish what she does when surrounded by violence and drug abuse.  The first half of the series focuses on drama surrounding outside characters while the second half of the series focuses on drama around the core group of characters.  The story gets better when focusing on the core group of characters.

Overall Heaven’s Memo Pad is a short series that is worth watching.  It has a great story and characters, with quality animation.  It covers some heavy topics well but may loose a little credibility due to the way Alice looks and acts.

Characters 8.5/10 

Animation 8.5/10

Music 8.5/10

Story 9/10

Overall 8.6/10

Thank you for reading

-Xana

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