My not-so-guilty pleasure is what my sister and I call “British Murder Things” – basically British cop dramas. Cop Craft may not be British, but it still hits a lot of the same notes with its mismatched pair of detectives, action, and (if we consider something like Death in Paradise or another location-based mystery) crimes specific to the time and place the story is set in. Add in a story by Shoji Gatoh, author of Fullmetal Panic, and you’ve got a recipe that works.
In part that’s because it doesn’t allow its exotic elements – Pacific Island setting, gate to a fantasy world – overwhelm its cop show basics. Opening with detective sergeant Kei matoba losing his partner Rick during a bust gone bad, the story hits a lot of the classic scenes used by similar shows since such shows have existed: the death of a partner, getting assigned a new rookie partner who has some weird issue, wanting to pursue vengeance but having to work within the law and his assignment, etc. The catch, of course, is that the bust was for traffic a fairy and that Kei’s new partner is Tilarna, a woman from the other side of the trans-dimensional portal. She’s a knight from a prestigious family and unless I miss my mark, can use magic as well, all of which is in no way what Kei wants in a new partner. Not that she’s thrilled with him, either; she doesn’t like his smoking (which he notices, but does nothing about in this episode), she can’t believe he’s actually the best of the best, and if she doesn’t resent him telling her to stay in the car and not touch things yet, she’s definitely gearing up to.
All of this of course sets the stage for them to turn into awesome partners and probably good friends (or more if, as I suspect, she’s older than she looks). First, of course, they have to live through the shoot-out the end of the episode leaves them in, which is a pretty damn good cliffhanger incentive to tune in next week. Tilarna’s using a sword and doesn’t seem to understand guns or bullets, so that may make her more of a liability to Kei than he’s ready to cope with right at this moment, fresh off of losing Rick. Add in the prejudice she’s going to face as an “alien” and the fact that Rick was killed because of forces loosed due to the gate’s existence and Rick’s widow may have an issue with Kei working with Tilarna, as might other police officers. There’s a lot of potential here, and this episode does a good job of setting it up, making this a Magic Murder Thing worth checking out. You can also free Cop Craft anime watch online and free anime download.
Cop Craft made me question what happens if Blood Blockade Battlefront had a brother or sister. While they share some of resemblance of its other from their base premise, Cop Craft certainly stands out to be its own series. Taking place in a gritty underworld setting, this is the type of show I didn’t know if I wanted to see again.
Are you a fan of storytelling with a buddy cop style formula? If so, Cop Craft will probably be a treat with the amount of character dynamics. There’s certain level of character interactions that will get you comfortable with its first opening episodes. Make no mistake though, Cop Craft itself is meant to be taken seriously although its execution of humor can be questionable. I’ll get to that later but the first two episodes hit the right marks to make a favorable impression. We meet main protagonists Kei and Tilarnia after a strange encounter and it sets the tone of the main story. This pair stands out as the most important character duo as they tackle on the challenges in this dark metropolis.
One of the more fascinating element of the show revolves around the strange premise itself. The story blends fiction and reality together in what should be described as a police procedural drama. In the present timeline, Teresa City is filled with crime. It’s like the type of city where you’ll see chaos erupting from weapon trafficking, drugs, prostitution, and even murder. Based on the light novel of the same name, some of these concepts doesn’t entirely surprise me. Shoji Gatoh (author of Full Metal Panic!) has been known to craft work with police drama. Cop Craft relies heavily on its insider ideas and main character duo. Unfortunately, the main storytelling itself is very loose and sometimes, I find that it lacks a general purpose. By the time this show almost concluded, I pretty much accepted the fact that the plot wasn’t going to improve. At least we have the main characters carrying this anime, right?
Kei is a human cop. He fights the good fight in this dark city while Tilarnia is the sidekick and partner. Imagine a strange alternate world where Full Metal Panic’s Sousuke and Chidori became detectives. Somehow, I picture Kei and Tilarnia in similar roles. There’s no doubt the pair has character chemistry despite their vastly contrasting differences. Humorous gags also occur between the two although over time, it feels more and more redundant than being actual funny. Coming from different backgrounds, there’s a mediocre appeal about both characters individually. It seems the pair’s character dynamics work best when they are together. When apart, I quickly find myself losing interest in what they’re doing. In some episodes, the anime also likes to poke fun of Tilarnia’s weak common sense and alludes to adult humor. The lack of character development doesn’t help either to get invested into either character. It’s a shame really since both Kei and Tilarnia could have been what holds this anime together. When you begin to lose hope for its main cast, there’s not much room for improvement. Unfortunately, most of the side characters hold little relevance. I honestly can’t even remember most of their names out of the top of my head.
Putting the drawbacks aside, I do think Cop Craft had a wealth of ideas to be something special. The main problem is the execution. It’s difficult to get invested into the plot when the mood changes from frame to frame nearly every episode. The plot structure also has a ‘monster of the week’ like format where some sort of crime needs to be solved. It does reinforce the dark side of the city with its underworld activities. But when the show lacks a general purpose, it quickly wears itself out and loses significance. The character development is almost non-existent with every episode spitting out random events rather than a concentrated focus. With each progressing episode, I felt like the show loses more of its relevance. The anime is only 12 episodes and according to some content I’ve heard, there’s pacing issues too. Coming in as an anime only viewer, it’s a major disappointment from what Cop Craft could have been.
However, that’s not the end of its problems. Even on a technical level, Cop Craft suffers production issues in later episodes. From an early example (episode 3), you can tell that the animation quality drops with lackluster battle sequences. It doesn’t help the anime also has to rely on some rather strange fan service at times to do the talking. Somehow, Tilurna’s character ends up becoming a source of animal jokes in one particular episode. Desperate as it seems, it’s the type of fan service that basically shows it has nothing else to say. Luckily, the world setting itself has a decent amount of creativity. The dark metropolis contains a degree of realism despite the fantasy content. It reminds me of Los Angeles with a wealth of cultural ideas and social problems.
Ah Cop Craft. I wish I read the light novels beforehand so I limited my expectations. The first two episodes made a strong impression but quickly begins to wear itself out with its charm. The main character duo delivers popcorn entertainment but it doesn’t manage to fully make the show itself entertaining. If you don’t mind the cheeky humor or bland storytelling, then this may turn out to be a treat for you. For me personally, this is one of those anime that lost steam and never looked back.