Magic Kaito 1412 – 04

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Magic Kaito 1412 is simple good fun, with emphasis on simple. Episode 4 seems to go out of its way to make this point clear: the detective who’s chased Kaito for years doesn’t know how tall he is or even his gender, let alone any esoteric details that would be necessary to actually identify Kaito off the crime scene.

Likewise, Kaito himself relies on balloon decoys, gas bombs, and flying machines almost entirely. The occasional Mission: Impossible-style mask aside, “real police” should be able to deal with him by now. It all feels cheap and silly.

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“The truth will always come to light”

Worse, Kaito himself is terribly obvious about everything he does. He’s even in class with a master detective who’s out to get him but somehow stupid enough not to notice “Kaito” acts exactly like “Kaito Kid”.

Also, Really? The police chief’s son is a world-class detective transfer student to Kaito’s class? I know this show is aimed at a younger audience but this just feels contrived and silly.

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So…Here we are 4 episodes into the series and Kaito’s shine is starting to wear. Yes, it’s still a cute show that plays an up beat cat and mouse game. Everything is easy to understand and the goofy magic tricks Kaito pulls off can be fun to watch.

That doesn’t give me much to actually review though and, presumably, critically reviewing a show (not just summarizing events) is why you read them. Sadly, I’m dropping it. Sorry Kaito, your time is up.

5_ogkdrop_ogk

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Magic Kaito 1412 – 03

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Kaito takes a break from his quest to solve his father’s murder and thwart the mysterious forces seeking the fountain of youth to shut down Gramps’ bar’s biggest competitor. That bar is certainly owned by some villainous jerks and Kaito is technically  grabbing an amazing pool cue Gramps’ used to own but lost in a bet, but this week’s heist is pretty shallow.

Who knows? Maybe Kaito just wanted to show off to Aoko and/or get her really drunk for fun?

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We start off with a Yakuza giving Gramps crap over how poorly his bar & pool hall is doing and getting Kaito caught up on Gramps’ backstory as a pool shark and how he lost his most valuable possession to another shark years ago. That shark played fair, but his boss, the owner of the Yakuza’s club bar and pool hall, cheated by doing something nefarious to Gramps’ cue chalk.

It’s small stakes, but Kaito was having fun (totally sucking at pool) with Aoko and Gramps’ Legendary Cue is covered in jewels…so? Reasons?

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So Kaito, Aoko and Gramps go to “the American” and, like the dreary lounge music playing there, pretty much everything that follows is forgettable.

Kaito and Aoko, who are under aged, have to dress up and pretend to be married college students to get in. Aoko gets drunk on no-alcohol-free alcohol-free drinks. Kaito pretends to be terrible at pool (and maybe he is?) but pulls a final shot victory after losing all night.

Everything you would expect happens — Kaito even uses dummy decoys again — and the good guys win back the prize by the end. Ho hum.

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This week wasn’t so much terrible, as forced. Kaito is intentionally playing a clown — figuratively playing the clown that his father talks about in a flash back — for most of the hustle. It’s grating and impossible to imagine his opponents tolerating it as long as they do, nor seeing through it as an act.

I mean, if someone sinks no balls for many games straight, then challenges you for the prized item in an all or nothing game, a hustler has to know the hustle is on.

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Also in the ‘forced’ category was the actual criminal activity perpetrated by the mobsters. Really? You smuggle guns by hiding them in the pool tables you play on? What could possibly go wrong?

It’s no wonder the police got there in seconds as soon as the baddies guns were drawn!

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At least the visuals stepped up a notch. Generally, Kaito’s colors were brighter and the palette had more depth. Add in the pool-hall haze this week was Kaito’s most striking visual. Seriously! It had a cool vibe, even if the show is way too silly to actually be cool.

In the end? It was cute but more than a little wonky. Even by the genre’s standards, Kaito did a terrible job covering his tracks. I mean…he’s standing next to his own body double dummy surrounded by totally disinterested police.

Kinda meh.

6_ogk

Magic Kaito 1412 – 02

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If you want to give me a hard time about it, you could draw comparisons between Magic Kaito 1412 and Aketsuki no Yona and Nanatsu no Taizai and ask why I like this show, yet dropped the other two?

And you would not be out of line. Kaito is also kinda-ugly, it’s Lupin the 3rd style plot is by definition unoriginal, and Kaito-kun’s own infallibility toes the line of being blandly god like. However, where Princess Yona is a downer of a spoiled teenager turned war princess eventually and Captain Sin is an emotionally empty hentai who’s skin is soaked with the blood of so many jokes that weren’t funny that he makes me feel dead inside, Kaito-kun is upbeat AND rather grounded at the same time.

TL;DR? Kaito gives me a smile.

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This week we catch up with Kaito after his first few jobs. He’s still high as a kite on how well he’s doing and how much fun it is to do it. His tricks are rather simple, ultimately, and often rely simply on dropping a blow up decoy or wearing a basic disguise.

However not everything is going flawlessly in Kaito’s life: Nakamori-chan is furious her dad is getting so little sleep. (and that he’s basically forgotten she exists)

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Kaito doesn’t help his case by teasing Aoko about her physical attributes, without mercy. Sure, he does a few pretty magic tricks for her, but let’s be honest: Kaito’s a bit of a jerk. (even by popular high school standards)

In a vague attempt to make her feel better, Kaito promises to attend Aoko’s birthday party. But he’s gonna be late. (since he’s already on for a jewel heist at the same time)

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The heist goes as well as any of these world-class-thief animes let it go. Kaito pulls some neat tricks (some very simple ones too) and encounters plot advancing elements before turning a surprise reversal on his enemies and gets away scot free.

Details? Erh, an evil syndicate probably killed his dad because they also want to steal jewels because one special jewel will cry under moon light and the tears are the fountain of youth. Erh, or something like that.

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Kaito learns this and defeats the baddies using the tracking device the police were using to track him and, at the stroke of midnight, makes Aoko happy with a phone call and a fireworks show.

Magic Kaito 1412 doesn’t take itself all that seriously but it’s not like it doesn’t take itself seriously at all either. Everyone is having fun — even the frustrated police detective — and that carries a lot of weight for me. It’s charming and up beat BUT NOT SACCHARINE! For all of that, mad props, Kaito. Now here’s your seven out of ten!

7_ogk

Magic Kaito 1412 – 01

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Magic Kaito 1412 has a quirky, almost ugly look to it, but don’t be fooled! This show runs with absolutely everything its got and produces some fun visuals. And above all else, it’s pretty entertaining!

Here’s the gist:

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Kaito is a showy, smart ass magician in high school. He loves to tease his childhood friend and classmate mercilessly (especially about her panties) but, at the end of the day, people respect him because he’s freakishly brilliant. And so is she.

Meanwhile, a magical criminal is running amok and Kaito’s childhood friend’s detective dad is out to stop him! Interestingly, the magic criminal ‘The Kaito Kid’ hasn’t been seen for 8 years, just about the time Kaito’s dad was killed in a freak roller coaster escape challenge accident…

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Kaito boasts that he will take down the criminal and then quickly finds his dad’s lair hidden behind a poster in his bed room. Armed with his dad’s old things, Kaito sets out to stop the impostor Kaito Kid and has a lot of fun in the process.

We’ve certainly seen these elements before and Magic Kaito 1412 makes no claims to be totally original nor overly serious. It’s just fun, peppy, and dare I say charming?

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I would also give Magic Kaito 1412 some credit for running 14 minutes before rolling it’s opening credits. That’s a little ballsy in our modern ‘spoil every character appearance before they appear via the opening theme’ standard and then to dive straight into a second act? Well done.

If you aren’t already overwhelmed by this season’s surge of fantastic shows, Magic Kaito 1412 is well paced, features clever magic trickery and a light heart. If you can get past its frumpy character design, I think you too will find it praiseworthy.

7_ogk tbd_ogk