And the winner for most outlandish premiere of the season goes to…
Kabukichou Sherlock/Case File nº221: Kabukicho
The biggest problem (and really the only one I could focus on) with Kabukichou Sherlock is that I just couldn’t bring myself to give a crap – not about the characters, and certainly not about the mystery they were trying to solve (which seemed to take up all of around five minutes of screen time anyway, if that, the rest being given over to the shenanigans of its poorly-adjusted would-be detectives). I get that the series isn’t going for anything approaching a serious vibe, and that’s okay. After all, not all mystery shows need to take themselves seriously in order for me to enjoy them – in fact, I think a solid argument could be made for many, maybe even most mystery shows, either anime or live-action, being guilty of taking themselves far too seriously of late. The issue in this case is that Sherlock doesn’t just fail as a mystery, but doesn’t manage to succeed at all as a comedy either – likely because it’s so busy attempting to make every character as bizarre and/or ‘quirky’ as possible that it forgot to insert any actual jokes, or at least any that made sense. Instead, the audience is left to giggle (presumably) at the absurdity of a bunch of handsy drag queens, melodramatic gay couples, bad wigs and socially inept detectives. I wasn’t offended, but I sure wasn’t laughing either. At best, I was vaguely confused. Suffice it to say I won’t be checking back in with this show any time soon, and I honestly can’t recommend anyone else does either.
Hoshiai no Sora/Stars Align
I have zero interest in soft tennis (or really in any kind of team sport) and don’t usually care much for sports anime either, so this title wasn’t originally on my to-watch list at all. However, a comment on one of my other Anime Taste Testing posts piqued my curiosity, and to my surprise, I ended up enjoying the episode, at least enough to keep the show around for the time being. In part this is because let’s face it, there just aren’t that many titles that have appealed to me even a little this season, so Hoshiai no Sora wins almost by default. More importantly though, while I may not love sports anime, I am a sucker for a decent slice-of-life series. I’m also always up for school settings that don’t just deal with school kids and the inevitable drama of their love lives – whenever siblings and parents come into the picture, I’m bound to be twice as interested. I don’t think Hoshiai no Sora’s opening episode is by any means perfect. Many moments are a bit too on the nose, and in general I would’ve preferred a little more subtlety, maybe even something that hinted at certain developments but kept me guessing for a while rather than laying it all out so directly. Having said that, there’s definitely enough here to make the series stand out from the crowd, and largely because of its choice to mix the darker and far less spoken-about aspects of teenage life with an otherwise classic school sports/club drama. I’m in.
Question of the post: What are your thoughts on Kabukichou Sherlock and/or Hoshiai no Sora, and how do they compare to other mystery/sports shows in recent seasons for you?