Okay, so here’s the second post of the week! I went with Psychic Detective Yakumo (Shinrei Tantei Yakumo) (2010). It’s a 13-episode long mystery detective anime.
What’s it about?
Haruka Ozawa, worried that her friend Miki is possessed by a ghost, seeks the help of Yakumo Saitou, your typical moody, handsome anime college student. Haruka learns that Yakumo was born with a red eye that allows him to see, and communicate with, the spirits of the dead. Unusually for Yakumo, Haruka is not terrified of his eye, but instead intrigued by it. However, once Miki recovers, it seems that the two have no need to meet again, but the meddling of a mysterious man may bring them closer than they could ever imagine…
The plot of this series is exceptionally good for a short anime. Although the first half consists mainly of individual cases, the second half does a great job of developing an overall plot. The mystery in each individual case is resolved well, if not rather quickly, and manages to parade enough variability in villains to keep the viewer interested. Furthermore, the anime also does a good job of weaving together Yakumo and Haruka’s stories in the final half of the anime, and presenting a conclusion to the anime that is coherent, interesting, and bitter-sweet; a rare find when an anime is this short. Sprinkled throughout the whole series are plenty of light-hearted and funny moments, serious and meaningful moments, and some moments that make you want to cry and cry.
Whilst the soundtrack of this anime is not particularly strong, I really enjoyed the opening and ending themes. The opening theme is actually three different variations of the song “Key” sung by Ono Daisuke (Yakumo’s voice artist). As the story continues, the songs go from a very dark, almost mechanical sound, to a lighter, clearer sound. Sounds like it could be symbolic for a character’s transformation in the plot, right? The ending song is “Missing You” by Risa Komine.
Although not strongly a ‘horror’ anime, Psychic Detective Yakumo does have a number of horror-like moments that were executed well. It also had some moments that made me feel, not necessarily scared, but tense about what was going to happen next. The anime does a pretty good job at building up suspense and tension, making the viewer nervous about what was to come. There’s also a creepy rendition of “London Bridge” that’s sung by one of the villains, which will most likely give you chills whenever you hear it.
Finally, it’s nice to have an anime where the main characters are college-aged or older… who actually act their age. This brings some realism and maturity to the anime, which is a nice change of pace from the majority of other anime that I’ve watched.
The main negative of this anime concerns the characters- they’re all pretty standard and lacking imagination, although a couple are a little better than others. For example, I like Yakumo’s back story and the relationship between Detective Gotou and Yuutarou Ishii, but Haruka is a typical boring anime female. She constantly gets herself into situations where she has to be saved by other characters, she follows others around like a lost puppy, and on the rare occasions that she does act of her own accord, she manages to stuff it all up. As typical for this kind of character, her only redeeming feature is her super-sweet personality… ugh. Although I am exaggerating a bit, if you’ve seen enough anime, you know the kind of character I’m talking about.
Art: 6/10: Nothing spectacular, but nothing terrible.
Story: 7/10: Although it’s not an incredible plot, it’s straightforward and simple, with a solid ending.
Characters: 6/10: Standard characters, but there are still some that are very likeable (and some that are not so likeable).
Although this isn’t one of the best anime, it is far from being one of the worst. Despite the average characters, I quite enjoyed it. If you are looking for a mystery anime with some intelligent cases, this is a good choice. On the other hand, if you’ve watched Ghost Hunt, and would like to see some of the same ideas done a little different, and with older characters, you’ll also probably like this. Overall, I give it a solid 6/10.