Hiraga and Roberto are a pair of priests sent by the Vatican to investigate numerous miracles around the world. The story is broken into several mysteries that the priests investigate while also carrying around a lot of personal baggage.
After the first mystery in this anime finished, I moved it very firmly into the ‘They Made This’ category. It was so over the top and full of every potential cliché you could fling at the Catholic Church, and it was like the writers were having a competition to see who could pack the most stupid idea into the story. The Hitler Clone remains my personal low point, though the pedophile comes a close second.
And yet I continued watching. Partly this is because I have a thing for episodic supernatural stories with lead characters that are a little more stoic (Ghost Hunt and the like) and partly this was because, in spite of its silliness, at its core Vatican Miracle Examiner seemed to want to be taken seriously. So I gave the show some more time.
What I gained from this is that each mystery after, while still excessively over packed with events, characters and ideas, seemed a little more solid and grounded. It was as though that desperate plea for attention of the first arc had gotten the sillier notions out of the way and done and the story started to find its feet. We also slowly got closer to the two priests at the centre of the story who at first seemed fairly generic and replaceable.
Now the argument that it gets better later is a trickier one, because you do have to sit through some of that awful writing and pacing but by the second last mystery, I have to admit I was pretty into this story even if there were still a number of issue. And the last episode really nailed the tone I’d been searching for throughout the whole series. I don’t know that I can recommend a show on a final episode, particularly when the episode in question doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you’ve seen the lead up to it and built up some relationship with these characters, but that last episode was exactly what I started watching this show to see.
Kind of a shame it took 11 episodes to get there.
There’s also the issue of Lauren, who seems like an interesting character but remains strictly side-lined. I’d have loved to see him more involved in the story and in some of the cases. Yet the story has ended with little to nothing being done with his set up. Julia as well kind of remains a loose end that serves a valuable purpose but without news of any kind of sequel it just leaves us without any sense of closure on his story.
I do have to discuss the appearance of this show though. It is very brown. Like, really and incredibly dull to look at. Plus a lot of scenes happen at night or in dimly lit rooms with an excess of shadows. They were really working on a particular atmosphere but with the writing not quite holding up its end, mostly it just looks dull. Which is a shame, because aesthetically it could have worked quite well.
The opening theme is also ridiculously intense for the pretty low key tone of the show. Really, you would think you were going to watch something where the priests are kicking in doors every episode and banishing demons back to hell after watching that opening. If I recall correctly, in the entire series the priests attempt one exorcism and then realise the kid isn’t possessed but drugged (honest mistake that one).
Basically I am not recommending this anime. I ultimately enjoyed the final episodes and to be honest, I’ll probably rewatch it at some point because this is still very much the type of show I like rewatching (I know, I’m weird), but it isn’t objectively very good and even from a pop-corn entertainment point of view there’s better out there.
Thanks for reading.
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