You wake up on the floor of an empty classroom. You have no idea why you’re there, or how you fell asleep. In your hand is a blood-stained saw. Your eyes follow the trail of blood to the other side of the room, and you realize you are not alone. Sitting there, in a grotesque pose, is the mutilated corpse of your teacher, its head and arms sawed off. How do you react?
A. You scream loudly, because you’re a normal human being and that’s messed up.
B. You are calm and intrigued, because you’re not just any kid. You’re Koba-fucking-yashi.
The basic premise of Game of Laplace is pretty straightforward. Kobayashi, the protagonist, is suspected of murdering his teacher, and he sets out to uncover the mystery and prove his innocence. The execution, though, is anything but standard. Right from the start, some things seem a bit off. At first I thought it was just anime writing, but slowly I got the impression that maybe it was actually all intentional. The bizarre way Kobayashi reacts to the situation makes sense when you realize he’s pretty much a psychopath. He’s unfazed by the gruesome murder and the suspicions piled on him, not because he’s too cool for school, but because he really doesn’t have the empathy or social awareness to care.
And there’s more. Characters initially appear as silhouettes and only take form when they’re actually introduced. Budget-saving measure? Shallow pretense at style? Or maybe it actually is trying to say something. Halfway through the show was a scene that initially had me very, very worried. Classes resume, the replacement teacher shows up, and… well, let’s say a picture speaks a thousand words, and most of them are not very nice.
But I’m not so easily fooled. The childish moe teacher is one of anime’s many poor attempts at comedy, and certainly some of those shows are remarkably tone-deaf about it. But it’s never been this out of place. There’s just no way this is character is genuine, and I’m sure that within a few episodes we’ll find out she has her fair share of skeletons in the closet. And I mean that literally.
On the whole, it’s hard to form a clear picture of what the show really is. It’s well-aware that Kobayashi is abnormal, and the two cops investigating him aren’t quite normal either. On the other hand, Kobayashi’s straight-laced classmate is comically out of place in the setting, and the 17-year-old special government investigator Kobayashi tries to join forces with just oozes chuuni. Some of the questionable elements are clearly trying to be misleading, but how many? And is it twisting itself into a convoluted mess in order to pull it off? I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out.
I’m going to be cautiously optimistic though. If it doesn’t screw it all up, this might be one of the more interesting shows of the season.
First Episode Rating: 7.5/10
What would it take for me to watch another episode? I’ll almost certainly give it another episode at least.