Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: Cop Craft

Original Run: July 9, 2019 - October 1, 2019
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Action, Crime, Fantasy
Based on the Series Created By: Shoji Gatoh and
Range Murata

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Cop Craft. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Fifteen years ago, a mysterious portal to another world opened up in the Pacific Ocean. From it came beings known as the Semanians, who brought with them magic and a whole new culture utterly alien to humanity. As a result of this encounter, the city of San-Teresa was built, which is home to both Semanians and Earthlings.

Although the city is prosperous, the sudden intermingling of races has birthed a dangerous criminal underworld. To protect all the citizens are the members of the San-Teresa Metropolitan Police, and among their best officers is Detective Sergeant Kei Matoba (voiced by Kenjiro Tsuda).

After a drug bust goes south, Kei loses his partner of four years. As a replacement, the police department pairs Kei up with a fresh-faced Semanian recruit, Tilarna Exedilica (voiced by Mayu Yoshioka).

These two have trouble seeing eye to eye, but they are both equally dedicated to ensuring justice is served.

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Series Positives

I don’t want there to be any misrepresentations. I found Cop Craft to be filled with problems, poor writing, and lackluster visuals. It wasn’t a great show. But although it stumbled and sputtered more often than not, that doesn’t mean I intend to write off this series. On the contrary, I want to encourage people to give it a shot.

My goal in doing this is simple. Cop Craft has potential, and I think it has earned the chance to try again with a second season.

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Take this at face value: Cop Craft left doors open, many routes went unexplored, and specific comments and developments that could have led somewhere were left untouched in favor of something disappointingly dull. At the same time, though, those doors that were left opened looked like they were done so with purpose, the unexplored routes appeared bright and promising, and all those comments and developments were big enough to suggest they have more crucial roles to play.

I’m okay with a story being opened ended to allow for a continuation, but it should still be contained enough to be satisfying without one. To that, Cop Craft dropped the ball, and I would usually be sitting here poised to condemn such a show. I am fighting the urge to do that this time for one – or rather – two reasons.

Kei Matoba and Tilarna Exedilika saved this series, and one of the factors that allowed these two to work was their respective expertise.

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Kei had many years of experience as a cop before the events of this story. Therefore, he knew the streets and was well-versed in the politics of Earth governance, specifically in San-Teresa. Kei wasn’t a suck up to people in power, but he knew when and where to pick his battles. He was good at keeping his pride in check, and thus, he was always able to get his job done efficiently.

Tilarna was invaluable when it came to anything concerning Semanian people and objects. Without her, Kei and the rest of the police department would have been laughably outmatched by any threat from the other world, but not in the more obvious way. When it came to actually fighting and defeating Semanian foes, Kei could hold his own. Without Tilarna, though, Kei would never have been able to notice, let alone find, these opponents to face.

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As you might expect, given the massive gap between their experiences and homeworlds, Kei and Tilarna often butted heads. Considering the situation, Tilarna was the one who caused the most difficulties, but that was because she was the one unfamiliar with Earth. Had the circumstances been different and Kei was the fish out of water, I still think his dynamic with Tilarna would have been the same.

However, Cop Craft was at its best not when Kei and Tilarna were at odds, but when they were an unbreakable team.

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A notably intriguing aspect to this series was the persistent racism Semanians and Earthlings had towards one another. Again, since this story took place on Earth, the resentment that existed between the two peoples was mostly centered around Earthlings’ hatred of Semanians. As a result, Tilarna was often the target of rude and derogatory comments. My liking of the leading pair was solidified whenever someone was dumb enough to bad-mouth Tilarna in front of Kei, and it was particularly satisfying when the perpetrator was also a coward and whispered their opinion under their breath and was then called out for it.

I don’t want to spend too much time speculating on what Cop Craft could have done or what it might do in the future during this section. Should this series be given another shot, I have enough faith in Kei and Tilarna to be a little hopeful.

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Series Negatives

To give you a sense of what kind of show Cop Craft was, let me just say:

For a world with an interdimensional portal that had been used regularly to bring people back and forth from a place of fairies and magical beast for over a decade, the cops of San-Teresa seemed to have a tough time believing that magic was a thing that existed.

Yeah, that got pretty damn old pretty damn fast.

Stemming from that, Cop Craft had a bad habit of never explaining its world, or, at least, both its worlds. All the information we were given about the homeland of the Semanians was that it existed, the gate to it opened fifteen years prior to the events of the story, and it was more fantastical (my inference) than this series’ version of Earth.

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I suppose that might have been enough if it wasn’t for Kei, who made a quick but unignorable reference to his time as a soldier during the war and going through the gate. Upon hearing that, how can you not help think, “Hmm, it seems something has been left out.”

First off, what war was Kei talking about, for I’m reasonably sure the conflict was only brought up once.

Secondly, who won said war? My instinct is telling me the Semanians did, because, you know, they could use magic. Be that as it may, another part of me believes the Earth not only had a chance of winning, they might have actually done it. I say that because more than once, Kei and the rest of the police force were able to sufficiently subdue many Semanians, as well as counter against their mystical abilities.

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To that, I have to assume this series would have benefited if only it had gone a little more in-depth with its lore. We didn’t need to go to the other side of the gate, that’s a plotline that can wait for another day. But getting any information, even if it came with an Earthling bias, would have gone a long way to improving this show’s standing.

This is why I believe Cop Craft does have more to offer and why I would like for this series to get a continuation. With more meat and a bit more depth, I honestly think this can be something worthwhile. But should that day never come, what we do have is simply not enough to get excited over.

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Final Thoughts

I won’t lie, I’m going out on a limb for this one.

The main story wasn’t particularly impressive, details were sparse, half this show was made up of what I can only describe as filler content, the animation was extremely hit and (very often) miss, and overall, everything just puttered out at the end.

If it wasn’t for this series’ two main characters, I doubt I could ever say what I am about to.

Perhaps against my better judgment, I tentatively recommend Cop Craft.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Cop Craft? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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