What should have been a delightful nautical voyage for Kazuya and Victorique turns out to be a death trap. Someone has gathered together everyone on the Queen Berry in order to exact revenge for an unsaid crime in the past. Now Kazuya and Victorique must uncover the mysteries of this sinking ghost ship while surviving the booby traps set by a killer.
The mystery starts to tie in those scenes at the very beginning of episode 1. A very creepy plot comes to fruition from superstition and the results of those decisions 10 years earlier are literally coming back to haunt them. But of course Kazuya and Victorique are aboard the ship for very different reasons. The atmosphere is nicely done and as Victorique pieces things together it feels perfectly tropey. It’s nice to see the relationship growing between Kazuya and Victorique as much as one might imagine in this death-defying situation. We lose a good portion of the suspects in this episode, which makes the guessing a little less fun. But the clipped pace at which things are moving is appreciated, the big reveal for this case is the next episode.
The books were always at their best when Kazuya and Victorique have good chemistry. Victorique acts as the brains and Kazuya is the muscle and they banter like a cute couple while working together to solve a mystery. When they are playing off each other it makes the rest of the show more entertaining. We have a classic X+1 mystery situation were we start with X number of people but then gain an additional unknown person who is orchestrating things from inside the group. The first death sets a good tone for the episode but we then quickly lose a good deal of the extras in one go. With a booby-trapped ship I think it would have been more fun to whittle down the cast a little slower. It would have given us a few more red herrings with a larger number of survivors as well. When you greatly reduce the number of suspects it makes the puzzle much simpler so you need some clever misdirection to keep things interesting. The main mystery of the episode was the seemingly haunted room that Victorique reveals to be an illusion perpetrated by whoever trapped them on the ship. So far it has been the most competently adapted mystery in the show.
I continue to be disappointed in the directorial choices when it comes to showing us clues to the mystery. The points of classic misdirection used in the novel aren’t coming through which makes pieces of the puzzle painfully obvious to the viewer. The difference between reading and seeing are really making a difference; I won’t say more until the truth is actually revealed lest I point out things others may have overlooked and ruin it for them.
Hitoshi Nanba is just not a good mystery director. I know his main body of work has been in comedy anime but this is just painful. The man keeps fumbling the adaption of things that worked in the book that have to be done in a creative way to have the same impact in a visual format. When he blew the first murder mystery I assumed it was a simple mistake. The problem is the prose goes out of its way to obfuscate certain things so the mysteries are a challenge. But when he lays these elements out on the table visually, they are glaringly obvious. He has to shape up or he is going to continue to hurt the franchise.