Anime Review: Psychic Detective Yakumo Episodes 4, 5, and 6

(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 12/21/10)

Anime Review:
Psychic Detective Yakumo Episodes 4, 5, and 6

Series Premise: Yakumo Saitou is your average college slacker, but with one major difference: through his red left eye he is able to see the spirits of the dead. By searching for the root cause of their distress, he negotiates with the spirits in hopes of bringing peace to them. Reluctantly teaming up with the cheerful Haruka Ozawa, the two of them investigate various spirits around town.

ep.4 tl;dr review: Yakumo recalls when his mother tried to kill him; Improbable coincidences abound.

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Episode 4 Summary: Haruka is asked by a classmate who saw a spirit for help; at the same time Yakumo is contacted by Detective Gotou concerning the possession of the police chief’s daughter. Without realizing it, both of their paths lead to the same location: a spot where a young girl named Ayaka passed away in the river. Haruka is saved from drowning herself when pulled from the river by Ayaka’s father. In a seemingly unlikely coincidence, Ayaka’s father happens to be a doctor who treated Yakumo as an infant. Yakumo recalls the last time he saw his mother twenty years ago, when she turned on him and tried choking him to death. Yakumo snatched away a red pendant before she fled, his only memento of her. When Yakumo tries to throw it in the river, Haruka stops him, and he gives it to her for safe-keeping.

ep.5 tl;dr review: Haruka is a human sacrifice to bring back dead girl; Guess who has to hurry to save the day?

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Episode 5 Summary: Through some old-fashioned detective work, Gotou and Yakumo realize that it was no coincidence that they met up with the doctor. Misled by another doctor (who recently died and whose spirit now possesses the police chief’s daughter), he has been attempting to bring back his dead daughter’s spirit through ritualistic human sacrifice. He subdues Haruka and attempts to drown her in the river as well, but Yakumo and Gotou are able to save her at the last moment. They learn that Ayaka, the daughter, has been pleading for his father to stop all this time, and each time a girl was drowned in sacrifice, she possessed the body to provide some peace in the last moments of life — in effect, the doctor was killing his daughter over and over again. Realizing that the chain of serial murders is over, Ayaka is able to leave in peace; and the spirit in the police chief’s daughter releases her as well.

ep.6 tl;dr review: Vain/not-vain dead girl wants embarrassing photograph destroyed; Haruka can relate.

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Episode 6 Summary: A college student gets a great deal on an apartment, but soon learns it is because it is haunted. Haruka and Yakumo investigate, determining the spirit is a former renter that passed away a year ago. While quite plain and unassuming in life, the spirit instructs Yakumo to remove a secret envelope from behind a vanity mirror and burn it. Haruka cannot resist a peek inside, and it contains a self-portrait photo of the girl with nice make-up and clothes. While she did not enjoy dressing up for others, she was happy to dress nicely for her own sake. Haruka finds similarities between the girl and herself as they burn the photograph.

My Thoughts: I had originally imagined this show would be your standard one-mystery-solved-per-episode type of story. Mystery introduced at the beginning of the episode, Yakumo and Haruka find some clues, Yakumo talks to some spirits, they find the bad guy and solve the problem by the end of the show, almost like a bad Scooby-Doo episode. Well, I am relieved that we seem to be breaking out of that format, as we have a more complex two-parter, and they are laying the nascient foundations for a larger storyline in the future. Also, the show is less about the I SEE DEAD PEOPLE gimmick, and more about the salvation of Yakumo, with Haruka as the catalyst. At the beginning of the series, Yakumo has withdrawn so far into himself that he was almost completely separated from society at large. Enter Haruka, who is one-part thorn in his side, one-part assistant, and one-part love interest. By her constant pestering, it seems Yakumo is acting more like a human, for the first time in a long time.

A few quick thoughts:
– Still annoyed at the repeated coincidences. Why, who would have imagined it would be the police chief’s daughter to get possessed, and Haruka just *happens* to be saved by the doctor that delivered Yakumo? Yeah, I understand that it’s more a matter of fate and design rather than random chance, but it does stretch credibility.
– Why must every television detective have such a terrible family life? Is it an unwritten rule? Stupid Gorou, swallow your pride and talk with your wife, you fool.
– I wonder what role Yakumo’s absent mother will play in all this. I have to believe she’ll make some astounding comeback, what other reason would they bring it up in such a short series?
– I still don’t get the motivation or meaning of the Bad Guys, who have so far had mere seconds of screen time per episode, and only really interacted with Yakumo once by telephone.
– This show is nothing special, but as I mentioned earlier the series is a fairly serious drama floating along in a sea of comedy shows. And it’s also about adults acting like, well, *adults*, in a sea of shows largely about teenagers.

The Verdict:

Coming up next: Shinryaku Ika Musume (4-6), Letter Bee Reverse (4-6), Bakuman (4-6), Kuragehime (4-6), Arakawa Under the Bridge x Bridge (4-6)

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