This anime was a wild little find and one of those series that no one talks about but is definitely more original and interesting than most other series out there. The anime is inspired by the works of author Edogawa Ranpo and commemorates the 50th anniversary of his death in 1965.
It’s a murder mystery detective show with a lot of social commentary about the state of modern Japan mixed with horror elements. The show has great cases such as a serial killer making furniture out of women and does not shy away from some disturbing images, it is the very definition of aesthetic violence. They use a lot of very artistic but dark imagery which I really love. What’s awesome is that under the cases there is a feeling of dissatisfaction in Japanese society being reported on the TV, they story brings in ideas about the failing justice system and they rise of those who are not supported by modern Japanese values. If you liked Psycho Pass and want to see an anime tackle similar issues but in a different genre this anime does it very well.
The cast is a diverse mix of characters that all have some interesting personal quirks with the exception of Hashiba the voice of reason. Our main character is Kobayashi a boy bored by his life and a weird sense of what is attractive and interesting until he meets detective Akeshi a 17 year old detective. Kobayashi is suspected in a murder case but after working with Akeshi to solve the mystery he decides to become the detective’s assistant as it’s the first time he’s really had fun. Kobayashi’s best friend Hashiba tags along to be the voice of reason and keep him grounded (plus it’s rather obvious that he’s in love with Kobayashi). There are some very colourful characters but there are better off kept a surprise.
The show has a great art style using metaphor and staging to display various points and bring a great surrealism to it. I see flashes of Ikuhara (Utena, Mawaru PenguinDrum) but darker in this series and very much Danganronpa. The show looks great, has real emotion, dark and imaginative cases, quirky characters, unique set pieces, grittiness and great social commentary so was a real win for me.
Plus a bonus for a fugoshi some real slash/BL potential.