Anime Review: Vatican Miracle Examiner

By Drew Hurley 12.01.2019

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Vatican Miracle Examiner (UK Rating: 15)

Christianity and Catholicism are regularly a major presence in anime, especially when it comes to the prospect of demons and exorcisms. This series, based on light novels, sees a pair of investigators from the Vatican travel out to establish the legitimacy of apparent miracles. This isn't a simple story of revealing frauds, as there is often sinister secrets lurking, and the pair becomes makeshift detectives more often than not. Containing all 12 episodes, this complete collection comes courtesy of MVM and is available from 25th February.

The investigators at the heart of this story are Hiraga Josef Kou and Roberto Nicholas, a duo that works for the "The Seat of the Saints," a section of the Vatican dedicated to identifying legitimate miracles, acts of God and Saints around the world. Virgin births, stigmata, and crying statues are all under investigation, and that's just in the first episode! The pair has to trek to the church of Saint Rosario in New Mexico where a young sister is claiming a virgin conception. It's one of many purported miracles, including a young man hovering in the air and suddenly been stricken with the stigmata - wounds opening on her palms and blood pouring out, writing strange runes upon the wall.

While Hiraga and Roberto begin their investigation into the causes of these events, things get stranger still. Suddenly, the folk of Saint Rosario start turning up dead, in a particularly grizzly fashion. Each of the pair has their own specialism, each giving them a particular method of investigation. Hiraga is a scientist and utilises various tools and devices to investigate - luminol to reveal blood that has been cleaned away, spectrograph to test heat levels, and so on. Roberto, meanwhile, is obsessed with ancient knowledge; in reading ancient texts, old tomes, and forgotten books. The pair is supported by a technical genius named Lauren and his back-story seems more interesting than the rest of the story; a stoic atheist, genius, and hacker. He was arrested and eventually ended up under the custody of the Vatican. Thanks to a friendship with Hiraga, he acts as their support.


 
While the story delves somewhat into the prospect of the supernatural, it never overtly dives into it. There are stories of demons and angels and scenes of these beings, but only in retellings and stories. However, while the story doesn't fully embrace the supernatural, it fully embraces some truly insane plot developments. The conclusion to the first mystery, for instance, is absolutely nuts. It takes four episodes for the story to fully play out, with some unbelievable moments, and then the truth to the story will leave the audience absolute dumbfounded.

The second story has the pair head to Africa to visit the resting place of a recently deceased priest known for his prophecies, who is being put forward for sainthood. Upon arriving, they find that the body is not decomposing. An episode in this story shows how good this show could be. In episode eight the pair takes part in a debate in an attempt to disprove the prophecies of the dead priest. This should have been the selling point of the show - logical puzzle solving and interesting mysteries. Sadly, it isn't. The third story tries to tie together a bunch of random plot lines from previous episodes into a grand conspiracy and a greater narrative, and it's as incomprehensible as the individual mysteries.

This release comes with the original Japanese dub, along with clean opening and closing animations. In addition, on top of the 12 episodes here, there is a bonus episode entitled "Witch's Soup," where the pair decides to try and make a mythical drink that grants eternal youth. It's a silly episode, but crazily it's better than most of the main series.

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Vatican Miracle Examiner is a promising prospect but comes with poor execution. Being a show made up of riddles and mysteries, it should deliver puzzles for its audience to decipher. Establish the mystery, and then let a few clues help the viewers to come up with their own theories on what's going on. Instead, it's filled with nonsensical plot developments, dull stories, and awful writing.

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