Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment
Title: Vatican Miracle Examiner
Anime Studio: J.C. Staff
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Released: February 25th 2019
Language: Japanese / English
Extras: Clean OP and ED, OVA
Miracles don’t happen every day. But when something impossible happens that seems to be the work of supernatural forces or higher powers, it’s the duty of the Assembly of Saints and their agents to investigate. Their job is to determine whether each incident is explainable via previously undisclosed information, a part of some plot to take advantage of the people’s faith, or a genuine miraculous event. Priests Josef Ko Hiraga and Roberto Nicholas specialize in unveiling the truth and unearthing secrets that others might wish to keep buried, but when they’re sent to Mexico to investigate reports of a virgin birth, they end up in danger of being buried themselves. Murder, demonic summoning, and deals with the devil are just the beginning of a new war against the ultimate darkness.
This was an interesting series. The menu art matches the style of the light novel covers, giving off a Vampire Hunter D vibe to it, but once the first episode kicks in, you get more of a sense of Claymore in terms of visuals. There are even some moments where the designs start to feel reminiscent of some more modern hits like Attack on Titan too. This combination of styles actually works pretty well and makes sure that things look quite nice throughout. The problem is that it isn’t matched by the animation quality. Here, the series isn’t poor by any means but never manages to rise above watchable.
Even with this though, episodes whizz by. The cases that our leads investigate are split into three and four episode arcs, allowing plenty of space for the individual stories to not only progress at a natural rate, but to tie themselves into the bigger arc that’s running through the series. The various miracles are interesting enough, and they each get a satisfying conclusion by the end of the individual stories. Of those on display here, the third arc, The Decapitating Clown, is the most entertaining. Some credit should also be given to the final, standalone episode of the main series, as this does a good job of adding to our protagonists’ overall stories. The bonus episode is also fine, though not necessarily important. Throw in a decent performance by the cast, a really good opening theme, and a decent ending theme, and there’s plenty to enjoy here.
Where the series has the potential to fall over for viewers will likely be in the way that the final episode of each arc essentially speeds the case to a resolution. This won’t be anything new to fans of some genres of novels, and the progression is certainly natural, but if you’re more a fan of big fantasy battles, this won’t be for you. It’s also worth noting that this is not a show based in realism, with neither Catholicism as a whole nor the speed at which forensic investigations are carried out being portrayed accurately.
Vatican Miracle Examiners is one of those series that isn’t really bad, but despite an interesting set-up, doesn’t really rise above being a curiosity. The good parts are entertaining, and the not-so-good bits are watchable. It’s not essential viewing, but it’s not a bad addition to a collection either. 3.25 out of 5.