Vatican Miracle Examiner – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Two priests charged with traveling the world to validate “miracles” find themselves tangled in events filled with deceit. As members of the Assembly of Saints, Robert Nicholas and Kou Hiraga seek the truth behind the supposed works of God. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Vatican Miracle Examiner is dark, grey and has an oppressive art style that sells its supernatural mystery. It’s got some pretty boy elements that perhaps paint itself as aimed at female audiences, but its otherwise violent nature should appeal to even male viewers.
Linny: Vatican’s premiere episode is a flurry of information with the most easily recognizable sign being the sheer number of characters it introduces in its first episode itself. There’s so many different events and characters crammed into this first episode that one can’t help but wish it had been split into two instead. And in some cases, the exposition is crammed into the episode in an extremely forced and trite manner that lacks finesse. As for the vibe of the show, so far Vatican Miracle Examiner feels like a heavy mix of Western religious elements, the supernatural and a dash of homoerotic undertones.
Tom: I think Vatican has an intriguing idea for a mystery procedural investigation series. It reminds me of ghost hunt but with a far more religious tint to proceedings. But there’s a real lack of pacing here. Rather than allow the atmosphere to rise and overpower, for the mystery to sink in and keep the audience on the edge of their seat we’re instead bombarded with a constant string of additional developments, reveals, and more, giving little time for suspense to actually build and enthrall us. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is a significant flaw.
Linny: This episode was completely horrid at making sensible or engaging cutaways. There were several instances where the episode would have something shocking give way to absolutely nothing in the next scene, almost like the previous scene never happened or had zero consequences. Furthermore, the manner in which the events are portrayed and arranged can get a little confusing, though thankfully most of the confusion clears up by the episode’s end. Ultimately though, the aim of this episode seems to be to leave its viewers in the dark in what is most likely an attempt to make them come back for answers but it might more likely just leave them lost and disengaged.
Tom: Another issue with its haphazard pacing is how little we get to know either lead. Richard and Kou remain cardboard cut outs, two individuals tasked with finding the truth and nothing more. We know next to nothing about Richard, and barely any more for Kou. Kou’s entire character is defined by his hastily touched upon backstory that feels jammed into things in a forceful and unnatural way.
Linny: The vibe I got from this episode was that the show is more interested in setting up Kou Josef’s and Robert Nicholas’ personal chemistry and relationship rather than really exploring them as individuals, at least for now. If you think I am imagining the show’s intention in pairing them, I simply ask you to observe the end credits which make it blatantly obvious. It’s a bit of a shame though that in the desire to set up its mysterious supernatural plot, the show ends up with underdefined leads and a bloated premiere that often feels nonsensical.
Tom: Despite its flaws Vatican Miracle Examiner has me intrigued. I may not be on the edge of my seat, but I am interested in seeing where its mysteries go and how brutal the violence gets. In order to hold itself firm it’ll need to give me a better sense of its leads and allow mysteries to properly generate suspense. If it can do that then I think it could become a strong watch.
Linny: As someone who enjoys supernatural mysteries and stories, Vatican Miracle Examiner does appeal to me on some level, However, the cramped and poorly executed premiere does little to raise excitement and hope. At best, I’d advise hardened supernatural fans to proceed with caution and lowered expectations if they’re thinking of picking this up.
Vatican Miracle Examiner is available for streaming via Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel.