Yakushiji Ryoko is a police officer with a difference; she’s vain, driven and completely selfish- a veritable nightmare to work with. Unfortunately, that’s just what her long-suffering aide Izumida Jun’ichirou has to do- and it’s as thankless a task as you’d expect. Nonetheless, against all odds, they make a pretty good team when it comes to investigating paranormal cases, combating everything from greedy businessman to oversized reptiles in the course of a normal day’s work.
In the opening for Ryoko’s Case File, we are introduced to a woman who is stylish, sassy and sexy- which just makes it even more of a letdown to realise how poor the series actually is. A collection of scripts so half-baked and ridiculous that even the writers of the latest Indiana Jones movie were forced to put them aside, Ryoko’s Case File isn’t so much amusingly awful as it is just plain embarrassing.
The whole affair starts with a story arc in which our leads witness a man exploding in front of their eyes- sufficient cause for Jun’ichirou to tell the unfortunate victim to ‘hang in there’. As it turns out, the condition is caused by contaminated food- a bit of a bummer given that most people get away with a nasty stomach-ache. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the villains of the piece unleash a giant snake in the third episode, remarking on how, if given the chance, reptiles can grow to immense sizes. It’s the start of a long love affair the writers seem to have with oversized monsters, proving that at least one person on the production team either took urban myths too seriously or watched one too many Godzilla movies as a child.
After an episode about a woman who gave birth to a hideous mutated child, further oversized monstrosities follow- each of them unleashed by some generic evil that our heroes inevitably foil by the end. The whole thing is rather tedious and uninspired, punctuated by moments where it becomes memorably ridiculous; the ‘highlight’ being an instalment in which an intelligent mangrove plant takes over people’s minds. I want to make some smart comment here, but it’s so idiotic that it almost defies mockery.
Finally, the series rolls to a close with an arc involving cloning and various last minute story twists. Unfortunately, all it demonstrates is how little we have come to care about the characters, all of whom are as bland and uninteresting as other- even the eponymous Ryoko can’t raise a flicker of interest, so insipidly is she portrayed.
Visually, Ryoko’s Case File is decent if not outstanding, with Ryoko herself being the most attractive character, and everyone else looking rather generic. There are plenty of oversized monsters and special effects, but if you find it memorable, it will probably be for the wrong reasons. Background music is largely forgettable.
A procession of ridiculousness and stupidity with nothing to mitigate it, Ryoko’s Case File is an uninspiring trek through story ideas that should never have seen the light of day. Do yourself a favour and give it a wide berth.