When Loki is exiled to Japan in the form of a young boy, he decides the best thing to do is to start up a detective agency.
What They Say
Ah, how the mighty have fallen! Caged inside a little boy's body and banished to earth by the almighty Odin, the still-proud-and-powerful Loki now runs the Enjaku Detective Agency. Joined by his trusted assistant Yamino and a beautiful (but accident-prone) high school girl named Mayura, Loki earns a living probing the darkest corners of the paranormal, the occult, and the otherwise peculiar.
The bilingual presentation for Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is one that is quite good and will certainly please both sides, though the English mix makes out better. The Japanese track is a solid stereo mix encoded at 224kbps which has a generally good feeling throughout with some basic placement and depth to it. The English mix is done in the 5.1 format at 448kbps and it’s one that feels far richer and more varied, as well as simply being louder when it comes to the action effects. The bass level for it feels a little too strong at times, notably when there’s a lot of thunder, but in general it enhances the program overall and reinforces the idea that the Japanese really need to put out more 5.1 TV soundtracks. While we listened to the Japanese track throughout and had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback, we did spot check the English track as well and found no issues there either.
Originally airing in 2003, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The discs in this set are the same as what was originally released in single disc form, which means it’s a seven disc set as it was released during the transitional period from eight to six discs. With twenty-six episodes spread across four volumes, the show is one that looks good in general but doesn’t really have much to push. The transfer across the series is solid with very few problems but it isn’t a show that stands out all that much either. Colors are generally solid and problem free but there are some dark scenes where the noise is a bit strong and you can see some break-up. Gradients are minimal overall and the aliasing and cross coloration are negligible for the most part. While it won’t hugely impress, it is a solid looking release that is generally problem free.
The previous edition was a quite solid heavy chipboard box with lots of artwork to it. This is a priced down edition meant to save space as well as packaging costs, which means it’s a stackpack release where all the discs are on one spindle inside the slightly oversized keepcase. The front cover has a really good looking shot of Loki in the foreground with an attractive young woman next to him, both of which are underneath an ornate logo that shines really well. The back cover is a bit darker overall with a very detailed framing to it that’s set against a classic looking black and gray design for the background itself. The summary does the best it can in covering the series premise in a small space and they make good note of it having twenty six episodes across the four discs.A small collection of shots from the show is provided, though they’re more tease than anything else. The rest is rounded out with the usual production credits and a technical grid that breaks it all down cleanly. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus retain some of the feeling of the previous releases but are essentially dumbed down in a sense as they’ve stripped all the artwork and have a screen with just the episodes by title to select. It looks cheap, which is sort of the point of a collection like this. They use the framing that we have on the back cover to flesh it out a bit and give it a touch of elegance, submenus load quickly for what few there are and it is easy to navigate since everything is right there. It just doesn’t look good overall. Access times are fast and the discs did read our players’ language presets which is a plus.
As this set has been reauthored from the previous edition, the only extras included here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga series by Sakura Kinoshita, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is a twenty-six episode series that takes a core group of Norse gods and places them on Earth, in Japan, and makes them almost all slightly goofy or strange. When the show was released in North America, it was at a time when the manga was being bandied about and the series author had at least one other title out there in the form of Tactics, so it was like a little Kinoshita-fest going on. Unfortunately, like Tactics, Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is a series that doesn’t really stretch itself much and falls into familiar patterns. It does have one important thing to say however:
Odin is a dick.
The premise for the series is fairly straightforward but it all revolves around that singular point in the end. For reasons unknown for the bulk of the series, Odin has exiled Loki to Earth and weakened him by putting him in a small body form, much like that of a twelve year old boy or so. Loki has adjusted well to this by taking on the role of a detective, but one that doesn’t handle normal cases out there. Instead, he’s focused on ones that seem to have some connection to evil and Norse elements through which he can acquire the evil energy that he needs to regain his proper form. When he can do that and hold onto that form, he can go back and really show his father exactly what’s what and take over as the new ruler of the gods. Of course, that event happening is a sign of Ragnarok which would basically end all things.
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok opens with a bit of a change to Loki’s life in the mansion he lives in as a young “classic Japanese beauty” by the name of Mayura makes her way into there. She’s a cute schoolgirl who has a real affinity for mysteries and other such events and she’s very much drawn to Loki because he’s a detective and because he’s cute. Unfortunately for Mayura, she’s completely insensitive to the kinds of supernatural events that Loki is surrounded by, so she doesn’t see the bulk of the mysteries that he’s really investigating. On the plus side, for humor at least, her father the shrine priest does, and he’s wigging out regularly when he comes across Loki and all that’s involved with him since he’s surrounded by evil spirits.
Mayura’s arrival signals a change though as he does end up helping her with some of her minor mysteries and they’re things that do have a tinge of the Norse supernatural at times as well. What helps a lot is that some of the other gods begin to appear in Japan for their own reasons and become caught up in the kind of life that Loki is leading. There are a few that stumble in pretty quickly and with evil intent as Heimdall has been sent by Odin to kill Loki in order to prevent his return home. Heimdall is done in a small form similar to Loki and he’s got some serious anger issues with Loki because he blames him for the loss of his eye some time ago and is intent on revenge. Amusingly, Heimdall is mostly befriended by Frey who has come looking for his lost sister Freya.
Frey, who starts off as a “mysterious thief” on the news, is an amusing character as he fits the bill of many in a shounen style series by being interested in food, getting lost somewhat regularly and not being all that interested in the main mission of the show. He gets along quite well with Heimdall and in a way is the moral center of the two as he anchors Heimdall in the reality of Earth and puts him into contact with its customs and food. Frey is also rather amusing in that he’s completely smitten by Mayura who he terms a “classic Japanese beauty” that he does his best to impress as often as he can. At least when he’s not looking for his sister.
Naturally, his sister eventually makes an entrances as well and she’s intent on killing off Loki as well, but she’s a bit more constrained by events as she’s lost her memories for the most part and is in the body of a small child called Reiya. No foreshadowing there… Reiya and Freya are fairly weak characters overall though but Freya does have some nice moments here and there as she deals with her relationship with Loki since she wants to kill him but she’s desperately in love with him. Equally amusing is the introduction of Narugami who is the Earthly form of Thor. Narugami fits the high school boy mold well enough as he does everything in his school uniform and spends all of his time at part-time jobs which keeps him involved in just about every story in a different way. There isn’t anything surprising about him, but like Freya, he does get a really good episode that delves into his relationship with Loki.
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is pretty much a mystery/event of the week kind of show for the bulk of its run. It’s not until around episode twenty that things start to firm up with the larger storyline of Ragnarok and Odin doing his best to kill off Loki. It takes some unusual turns along the way, particularly as it brings in Urd, Skuld and Verdandi to kill him off. The active involvement of the three Norns in killing off a fellow god is very unusual and just feels off, especially since they’re so completely ineffective. Equally frustrating is the eventual introduction of Hel who is sent to kill her father and has plenty of daddy issues of her own to deal with. With a late introduction in the show, she doesn’t quite connect as well as she should but she does set up things for the eventual confrontation with Odin and Ragnarok.
What helps to keep the series flowing at times is some of the secondary characters that make their way into the show. Loki is ably assisted by his faithful company Yamino, a bespectacled young man who has a love of all things mail order. He’s essentially a butler of sorts but also a close companion who only has his masters’ best interests at heart. Yamino is actually the Midgard serpent and that brings about some very fun moments as his real role comes about and his relationship to Loki is given more time. Even more fun is the eventual arrival of Fenrir who is kept in a small puppy form when he’s not out being the big bad wolf of the world. Fenrir is the epitome of a lazy dog but one who puts on a great show when his “Daddy” is around. The combination of these characters along with Mayura – who can’t hear Fenrir or Ecchan talk – brings a good bit of life and family to it all.
Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is a pretty fun show but one that falls into a few familiar traps, particularly for the series creator. The ending doesn’t have quite the impact it should, it doesn’t get towards the meaty stuff for too long and much of it is a mystery/god of the week kind of show. This is especially true when the three Norns gets involved and come up with bad plans to off Loki. This isn’t a show that’s good to watch in a marathon form since the weaknesses are more apparent and hurt it, but watching it in smaller sessions will help it along a lot. I enjoyed the show overall but it is mostly forgettable and without much impact. There are fun moments along the way and the comedic elements are just right at times, but Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok just doesn’t reach any higher than a basic show with a cute hook. Good fun for its fans, but there’s simply not enough payoff here to make it completely worthwhile.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.