Friday, October 11, 2013

Q.E.D. volume 37 review

I hadn't commented on the change when it had happened, but Q.E.D. changed magazines with vol. 34, going from Magazine Great to Magazine Iino.

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Q.E.D., vol. 37, by Katou Motohiro. Grade: B

Satsujin Kougi (A Lecture in Murder, Iino Magazine, 2010). The story starts out with Det. Mizuhara's assistant, Sasaduka, driving a car to Izu peninsula to attend a lecture on criminal profiling. Touma and Kana are accompanying him to make the trip less painful. They arrive at the hotel just ahead of a typhoon, and the building caretaker returns to his own home before the storm hits. This just leaves Sasaduka, Touma and Kana alone with the lecturer Maisen Kutani, and 4 other police officer attendees. The attendees include veteran cop Youtaro Shigaraki, detectives Koukichi Seto and Seiji Arita, and rookie Yumi Imari. Turns out that each of the 4 has some kind of history. Imari's father had been Seto's partner when he was younger, but a lapse in Seto's judgement during a routine domestic violence call resulted in Imari's father getting stabbed to death. Seto is currently investigating the disappearance of drugs from the evidence locker, and he refuses to tell his new partner, Arita, who the suspect is. Shigaraki, meanwhile, hates having to learn anything new and dislikes having to attend the lecture.

(Seto (top, left)  attempts to reason with Arita.)

Kutani gives a couple lectures on FBI-style profiling, which she says is nothing like the magic-wand waving you see on TV. In essence, it's more a practical application of statistics. She and Touma then ask the standard probability questions - how small a group do you need to ensure that 2 people will have the same birthdays (23), and how many times do you have to roll a die to achieve a 1/6th ratio for a "1" coming up (lots). These questions relate to the accuracy of DNA testing. The problem is that even within a statistical framework, a miss is still a miss. Then, Seto is found stabbed to death in his room, and all the evidence points to Arita, who was probably the suspect in the drug theft case. Kutani follows the rules for building a case based on the evidence, and of course Touma proves her wrong. Who else wanted Seto dead, and how could they commit the crime while being surrounded by fellow detectives and the door to Seto's room being visible to witnesses at all times?

The science consists of explaining a few ideas from statistics.

(Ebisawa, top, is a hard sleeper. Yukimiya, bottom, has to decide what to do since Ebisawa hasn't returned yet with the latest batch of inbetween frames.)

Anime (Anime, Iino Magazine, 2010). Koushi Ebisawa is an animator at a small studio in Tokyo. He's fairly inept and likes to sleep in his car while parked on the street during the day. Kana happens by the car and Ebisawa looks so bad that she calls the police to report a dead body. Ebisawa wakes up, gets out of the car to apologize to the police, then drives off while leaving a packet lying on the ground. It contains the key drawings for the TV anime episode he's working on. Kana tracks him down, and Ebisawa treats her like a guardian savior. He shows her around the apartment being used as an anime studio, and talks about the process of making a typical episode. Profit margins on single TV episodes have gotten so tight that the Japanese workers only produce a handful of key pose drawings; the inbetweens are outsourced to solo contractors or overseas groups. Even with a full 60-80 hour week, animators only get paid $800/month, which is about what a part-timer gets working at a convenience store. Most animators suffer burnout and just quit before becoming successful. Ebisawa pulls the drawings out of the packet to show to Kana, then notices that they're duplicates of drawings in the packet he just got from his editor, Yukimiya. As he's wondering why Yukimiya would slip up and assign the same drawings to two different artists, he sees a water stain on the ceiling and asks when that got there.

Through a series of flashbacks, we see that the anime studio is really small (the president, 4 staff members, and a salesman who's more interested in golf than doing his job), and that everyone dumps their own work on Yukimiya. She's a nice person, and a great animator, and Ebisawa daydreams of starting up his own studio with her. So, it's a big shock when the president fires her and won't explain why to the other employees. With some digging, Kana learns that there'd been a water leak from the apartment above (also owned by the studio), damaging one of the packets of drawings set out on the table below, and that Yukimiya had been witnessed flooding the sink on the upper apartment on the day of the incident. So, why would Yukimiya intentionally get herself fired? And, how could there have been a leak if the floor in the kitchen was waterproofed and all the water safely flows to the floor drain under the sink?

No science, but a fairly indepth and depressing look into the state of the anime industry in Japan today.

Comments: Nothing much to add here, except to observe the number of times bad weather causes Touma and Kana to be locked in with the murderer for several days before the local police can make it to the scene. Fun stories, and semi-complex "mysteries" to solve when you have some down time.

No comments: