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"Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok" Vol. 1: If Conan Was a God

by on October 17, 2005

Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is a charming fantasy series about Norse mythology. Of course, most of the charm comes from the large charms on the female protagonist, Mayura. But it also comes through the varied and colorful palette, the relatively light-hearted tone (which also becomes serious when needed), and a lack of any real violent material. As such, this is an anime that can play to multiple age groups.

The plot: Adult Loki is banished from an other-worldly kingdom by Odin. Now in a child’s body (Case Closed, anyone?), he starts up a detective agency with his loyal assistant, Yamino. And the first person interested is the aforementioned Mayura, a cute, pink-haired, slightly clumsy heroine who always maintains a cheery demeanor and tries to unravel enigmas in everyday life, even when they’re not there. In short, she’s a rather dumb mystery buff. Mayura’s dad, however, dislikes her increased time in this “evil” agency and thinks she’ll be influenced in negative ways. Then there’s Narugami, one of the comic relief elements, who’s sent to Earth to kill Loki but doesn’t feel like it, and ends up taking a bunch of odd jobs on Earth in the meantime.

Loki, like Conan from Case Closed, is an interesting character because of how mature he acts, despite his childlike exterior. I mean, he’s an adult under that tiny body, and his calm dismissing and rational explaining in contrast to Mayura’s wild imagination of fradulent mysteries is funny to watch.

The series is mainly episodic, and in the first three episodes it plays like your typical “villain of the week” show, complete with cute mascot and repeated animation “battle preparation” sequences (though to be fair, there is only one of these, and it’s fairly short). Thankfully, other avenues of storytelling come into play, such as in episode four, which features a flashback to Mayura’s childhood days. During the course of the first four episodes, a lot of plot points are still up in the air, such as the reason for Loki’s banishment and why Odin and his minions are so bent on destroying him, but I’m sure these questions will be answered in further volumes.

Mythical Detective was animated by Studio DEEN, and on the positive side, it looks and moves a lot better than their Rave Master and Mouse. However, there are still some animation cheats present, like lots of pans and little movement outside of the action scenes. It’s not nearly as bad as some shows, though, and they managed to put in little touches here and there so the animation isn’t boring to watch. Eye-catching character designs also help matters. The DVD transfer features no noticeable problems. This is a digital show, so it looked quite nice.

The dub is very good. Loki’s English VA, Shannon Emerick, for example, manages to sound like a kid who has just barely entered the pre-teenage years without sounding forced or irritating. And of course, there’s the overused but still fully capable actress Kira Vincent Davis as Mayura, and she fits the perky role nicely. The music for the show, including the OPs and EDs, was fine for the varied moods, if not exactly memorable.

Extras include the usual clean opening and closing (honestly, does anyone care about these anymore? It seems shows are getting better at putting text in appropriate places on the screen so as to not obscure the action, so it doesn’t seem as necessary nowadays). And the typical art gallery. And the usual ADV trailers. And then we get a seven-minute interview with two of the Japanese voice actors. The video quality wasn’t very good; some angles were far too bright and the transfer from analog to digital leaves obvious artifacts. Plus, most of what the two say is either joking with each other or material we already know. Nevertheless, they reveal tiny bits of info about the next few episodes and it’s a welcome addition, even if not the most substantial.

Overall, I was fairly impressed with Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok. The way they paced the episodes, with the lighter stuff in the beginning and the threat dealt with in the second half, was just right, and as a result the show flew by. If you’re looking for a mystery show that isn’t drenched in gore or angst, you’re sure to enjoy Loki.

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