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Tantei Genesis Milkyvelion

November 1, 2010

I’m gonna make a boldly ridiculous claim:

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes is to moe as Evangelion was to mecha.

What I mean by that is that both series took what most people would consider positive traits of their respective genres and turn them into negatives.

Evangelion took the reluctant pilot stereotype and amped up its pathetic quotient. Most mecha pilots tend to be less than willing to get into a robot and kill people, and this is usually played up to be a positive trait. These guys wanna be the pacifist hero and save the world without taking lives in the process, and they only do their dirty deeds when coerced in some manner. With Shinji, this trait is exaggerated to the point where his reluctance causes people actual harm, even to the point where it results in Asuka’s death in End of Evangelion. So we see the traditional mecha lead’s traits twisted around on themselves and turned into severe character flaws.

That’s pretty much what we’re getting with Milky Holmes. All of the tale-tell signs of the moe genre are turned into petty character flaws that get in the way of the detective team regaining their magical powers and taking back their place as respected detectives.

The latest episode, episode 4, deals with the gang trying to find a lost little girl who went missing in the woods. One thing leads to another and Sherlock, the pink ranger of the group, gets lost as well. The girls plan on sneaking out that night and finding her without anyone finding them, but they succumb to one of moe’s greatest vices: Gluttony.

Know how girls in moe shows “bond” over eating sweets and candy and all that shit? They fawn on and on about how good it is to eat a piece of cake or a tasty fruit or something, and people take this as being some sort of emotional, cathartic moment of tenderness– through the sharing of sweets we supposedly see hearts grow closer. Yeah, Milky Holmes calls bullshit on that by having the girls get distracted by a trail of bananas on their way to save their so-called friend. The instant they see a sweet treat, they turn into vicious, ravenous animals and lose track of their former mission. They follow the track of bananas right into a jail cell, where the villains promptly lock them up. Once the girls realize they’re locked up, they plead with the villains that they’re just trying to get out and save their buddy, but those cries for help are silenced when an entire pile of bananas is dumped into their cell– an all-you-can-eat buffet of sweet, sweet bananas is all it takes for their friendship to be crushed.

That little scene shows that all of those scenes of girls sharing treats with one another have nothing to do with friendship– those scenes are little more than sugary orgies shared by little girls lusting over the taste of frosting and strawberries. They aren’t strengthening their friendships or anything like that, they’re simply indulging in a vice and nothing more. They may as well be snorting cocaine or fucking hobos or something like that.

Bad internet meme alert: It basically makes the claim that the cake is a lie.

Milky Holmes pulls off other little subversive moments like that, especially in showing that how “believing in yourself” and “all you need to do is trust in your heart” and shit like that doesn’t get you anywhere. They believe that they can make their toys come back, but all of that positive thinking and stuff doesn’t do anything. There’s one moment where the green ranger manages to lift a lid off of a sarcophagus to save the blue ranger, but that was one of those adrenaline-pumping moments akin to a desperate mother performing a surprising feat of strength to save a child or something along those lines. It shows that it isn’t heart or anything like that which saves you, it’s some deep-seeded fear of loss that drove her to temporarily regain her powers. It ain’t innocence and faith, it’s simple psychology and the chemistry of the mind.

The series also emphasizes the utter incompetence of its lead characters. They’re flat-out dumb despite any attempts to claim that they’re detectives. They, and almost everyone else in the series, are detectives because they have super powers, not because of any deductive abilities. Once the Holmes girls lose their shit, they go to shit fast. It’s awesome to see a series be willing to show its characters being actively incompetent. All of their drive and hopefulness is for naught because they don’t have the skills to back up their desires, and any time they pull of a victory it’s due to sheer chance. They got out of being booted out of school for theft in the second episode because they were fortunate that evidence came up proving their innocence, and it was through the main villain’s kindness that their cat wasn’t sent off to be gassed for being the culprit in that episode.

So yeah, Milky Holmes is doing a lot to subvert the moe genre in its own little ways. I doubt it’ll escalate to the full-blown insanity that was Evangelion, where we saw the entire mecha genre mindraped by angels and shit, but it’s a welcome relief to see a series be willing to take jabs at the genre without resorting to out-and-out parody. All the better to subvert from within that from without. They won’t see the attack coming.

Also: Milky Holmes has a moe girl get her ass kicked by a bear to the point where she gets bloodied up. That’s awesome.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Taka permalink
    November 1, 2010 8:32 AM

    The cute “dojikko”/ditsy/clumsy characters are twisted into dumber than rocks characters.
    I like Milky Holmes without digging too much into the meaning of it but I still thought this was a fun interpretation of the show.

    Glad you are still watching Milky Holmes. Seems to me more people should give this series a shot.

  2. November 1, 2010 10:01 AM

    > With Shinji, this trait is exaggerated to the point where his reluctance causes people actual harm, even to the point where it results in Asuka’s death in End of Evangelion

    Nitpick: Shinji clearly thinks so, but there’s never any definitive, or even very suggestive, evidence either way. It’s perfectly possible she survived (and perfectly possible she didn’t).

  3. adaywithoutme permalink
    November 13, 2010 5:51 PM

    This was a really interesting read. I’ve been watching Milky Holmes and really enjoying it for the degree of absurdity it demonstrates, but haven’t really been considering it in any deeper manner. I do wish more folks would watch it, but the moe designs seem to have scared many away from even considering it.


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