Milky Holmes is the New Powerpuff Girls
In many ways the American TV series the Powerpuff Girls was a love letter to anime. Ironically it proved to be so popular in Japan that the anime industry sought to imitate it. Among others this will brought forth the shameless imitation Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z and the “artistic wannabe” Panty&Stocking with Garterbelt. Those series failed because they tried to imitate the story or drawing style of the series instead of its essence. Detective Opera Milky Holmes, on the other hand, went for a different approach. But before I explain why it succeeded were the others failed allow me to briefly summaries what the series is about.
The series features four little girls – Sherlock Sherringford, Yuzurizaki Nero, Hercules Barton and Cordelia Glauca. As their last names hints all of them are the decedents of famous detectives. They were also the pupils of the famous detective Kobayashi Opera (which in the series is said to have died and is not shown even once). The girls each have Toys – a special power unique to each of them (the show uses Toys as a singular noun. As in “one Toys” or “this Toys is powerful”). Shelly can manipulate time and space, Heri has super physical strength, Nero can manipulate machines and build/disassemble them, and Cordelia has heightened senses.
As detective they face villians who use Toys for robbery. These are called phantom thieves and the Milky Holmes girls mainly deals with a wacky crew of phantom thieves that work as a team. There is the narcissist (and obscene) Twenty, the cold hearted Stone River, the flamboyant boy Rat and their leader, the well-endowed Arsene. Although Milky Holmes and the phantom thieves fight night after night the thieves actually attend the girls school undercover. Twenty is their (sexually harassing) teacher, Stone River is their genitor, Rat is a classmate, and Arsene is the school’s student council president (and for some reason the temporary principle). The hilarious thing about it all is that the thieves don’t even disguise themselves, yet nobody seems to identify they! For example, Rat wears a pointy hat when he goes to perform a robbery, but attends the school without the hat so no one figures out he’s a villain! It doesn’t help that despite being detectives the Milky Holmes girls are as stupid as one can be. In one episode we learn that despite being in middle high school none of them know how to read basic Kanji…
Have you noticed by now why this series is so similar to the Powerpuff Girls? Let’s break it down. We have cute deformed girls with super powers who study at day and (try to) catch thieves by night, wacky villains that take their jobs seriously but can’t manage to defeat Milky Holmes for good because of their hilarious personalities, and a light plot with lots of funny and cute moments. It all fits the Powerpuff Girls mold perfectly, without mimicking the series’ visual style at all. In other words, it’s the ultimate Powerpuff Girls love letter.
Milky Holmes doesn’t take itself seriously. Despite what the name Detective Opera Milky Holmes suggests no actual mysteries are solved and villains usually win (a nice touch even by today’s skewed anime standards). It’s a fun series with genuinely cute characters and the strangest bunch of villains this side of (fictional) Britain. What’s more the series almost doesn’t have any sexual footage, yet manages to hint at sexuality in sophisticated ways. I’m thankful to know that in 2012 there is at least one anime show that doesn’t make little girls into sexually desirable objects. The first season of the series, which aired last year, managed to be a balanced comedy. The second season, which is currently airing, is slowly becoming eccentric and zany. If, like me, you’ve yearn for years to find a show which feels like Powerpuff Girls, yet is new and fresh, give Detective Opera Milky Holmes a shot. Just watch out for Twenty’s flailing nipples.