Saint October and the Goth Loli Detective Agency

by eternal on November 14, 2010

I wish this post title was only for the sake of getting your attention, but no, that’s actually what they call it.

Saint October is the kind of show that, by and large, flies by unnoticed to all but its target audience. Some may remember it from its run in 2007, but outside of that, it seems that only the serious moe fans with too much time on their hands bother to pursue it – and bother to complain that it has yet to be fully subbed. (As an aside, I’ll be subbing the remainder of the series with my friend, so keep an eye out if you’re curious).

At any rate, the show got me thinking about my old opinions on Cardcaptor Sakura and innocence in the magical girl genre, and seems that I’ve stumbled into a slight variation that’s amusing in its own way. Believe it or not, Saint October isn’t quite what it looks like.

Unfortunately, it’s important to keep in mind is that the show is indeed about as bad as it looks. It spawned from fairly no-name staff, and I’m not entirely sure of why it was made – Wikipedia says that it’s an original story created by Konami, and I haven’t heard their name pop up too often in the character goods industry.

Anyway, the visuals are average to bad (partly because it’s 480p; never got a proper release, I suppose), and the animation is a tad lazier than your average lazy TV anime. The camera has a bad habit of lingering on uneventful shots while things happen off-screen and the combat is your standard low-budget magical girl fare. It does look better than Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, but I suppose that’s not saying much.

Speaking of Milky Holmes, the one episode of it that I bothered to watch makes me want to name it as the best comparison, though it might not be. Both are quite obviously seinen magical girl series and both are targeted at bishoujo fans, but there’s something decidedly different about their presentation compared to magical girl-themed eroge adaptations like Nanatsuiro Drops. Admittedly, the difference in source material is probably the cause, but there’s no doubt that Saint October feels oddly innocent and not at all self-aware, despite the fact that the heroines follow a familiar naming scheme.

For the record, there’s more fanservice in this poster scan than in the entire first half of the series, bizarre as that may be.

The complete lack of fanservice is notable when you consider the character art (or certain out-of-context shots of the transformation sequences). You could show it to a non-anime fan and they’d think it was aimed at a female audience, just like Nanoha. You’d expect the camera to linger on the frilly thighhighs and slowly pan across eroge-style dutch angle CGs of every new outfit, but there isn’t quite enough of that to make it jarring, and there certainly isn’t any “real” fanservice. Coupled with the intentionally childish monster-of-the-week villains and the silly, often facepalm-inducing dialogue and episodic plots, the show genuinely feels like a cheap but fun mahou shoujo series, minus the fact that the word “loli” pops up in every episode title.

It’s hard to pinpoint precisely what the appeal is, or if there’s any appeal at all. The show can put me to sleep at times with its childishness, but that very childishness becomes amusingly playful in some episodes, which is a refreshing change of pace compared to the standard formula of most comedy anime (i.e. they’re all some variation of K-on, Azumanga Daioh, or Golden Boy). Saint October doesn’t quite try to be funny, but it’s amusing because it’s cute – and I mean that the story and dialogue are cute, not just the girls. The villain is an interesting guy, and the girls are slow-witted enough that they actually act their age, which brings out more than enough boke material to smirk at.

For better or worse, Saint October is pretty much just a cuter, less cheap Milky Holmes. It’s bad but not unwatchable, and it makes you smile when you least expect it. If it looks like your cup of tea, just watch it. At times it’ll bore you to death, but you’ll be glad when you find yourself grinning at the episode when this guy infiltrates a middle school and tries to steal uniform ribbons.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

AiM November 14, 2010 at 8:31 am

I’ve always wanted to catch this show if not for the lack of complete subs. I’ll be waiting for your subs.


Shance November 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I’d have all of my legal problems and cases solved by this agency if it does exist.

Not that I have any any problem or case right now.


ラッシュガード とは September 17, 2013 at 1:56 am

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stocks news February 7, 2015 at 3:18 am

Good article. I’m facing many of these issues as well..


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