Anime Review: Psychic Detective Yakumo Episode 1

(Originally published on Livejournal on 10/26/10)

Anime Review in a Minute:
Psychic Detective Yakumo Episode 1

Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about. — Watching all the anime shows so you don’t HAVE to!

tl;dr review: Ghost-whispering slacker takes on mystery of unexplained suicides for cutie; Suspenseful anime is…unsuspenseful.

The Skinny: Yakumo Saitou has a special ‘gift’, born with a blood-red eye that has the ability to see and communicate the dead. Fellow student Haruka Ozawa asks for his help to solve the mystery of why her friends have fallen ill and committed suicide after they visited a haunted, abandoned schoolhouse. They find one friend possessed by the spirits of several murdered young girls, but rather than rely on his ability he uses good old-fashioned detective work to uncover her friends’ problems are caused by a psychopathic teacher trying to cover up his tracks. Haruka also learns that Yakumo may appear like a lazy, uncaring, no-good slacker, but deep down he really does wish to help others.

My Thoughts: After watching this show, I actually thought it was pretty decent…and then I went and read all the various online reviews that have ripped it to shreds. Reading over all the various complaints…I must say I can agree with most of them. For a suspense-mystery show, there’s very little mystery, and almost no suspense; it’s dark and moody, but not in a good way – more boring than brooding. Based on the first chapter of the manga, 120 pages are condensed into twenty minutes, meaning tons of stuff was left out, and the plot jogs along like some easy-to-solve Law and Order paint by numbers episode. Worst of all, there’s nothing original in this at all, it borrows story elements from half a dozen other shows…and unfortunately all those other shows manage to do it *better*.

So why my divergent initial impression? Well, I think it mostly has to do with *expectations* — I had none. I am kind of intrigued by the main character, Yakumo, the anti-hero who appears world-weary and tired beyond his years, resigned to accept his powers but not relying on them. My initial thoughts stand, and I give this a thumbs up, although more for the interesting premise rather than the lackluster introductory episode. Yakumo’s going to have to kick it up a notch or two, however, in the next couple of episodes.

For more info:

Random Curiosity Review: http://randomc.net/2010/10/05/shinrei-tantei-yakumo-01/
Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychic_Detective_Yakumo
Opening video sequence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svoCB0E6RBI

The Verdict:

The tally for Fall 2010 season first episodes so far:
Passing Grade: Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, The World God Only Knows, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt

Failing grade: MM!, Star Driver, Iron Man, Fortune Arterial, Motto To Love-ru

Up Next (not necessarily in this order): To Aru Majutsu no Index 2, Bakuman, Yosuga no Sora, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Arakawa Under the Bridge x2, Shinryaku Ika Musume, Sora No Otoshimono Forte, Tegami Bachi Reverse, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls, Yumeiro Patisseire Professional, Otome Yokai Zakuro, Kuragehime

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