I was rather disappointed to learn that Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note wasn’t a full-length series, though at almost 10 minutes it has long enough to make an impression. It make s a bit of one with its premiere, but only a bit – the episode is modestly entertaining but nothing really leaps out and grabs you.
The story here is that a fairly normal (read: neurotic) 6th-grade girl named Tachibana Aya (Tatsumi Yuiko) is thrown into a cram school with four boys who are members of “Soccer Team KZ” – a group that’s extremely popular around school (especially with the girls). Those same boys have just pissed Tachibana off royally after a run-in on campus, and it’s clear that this is a girl with a long memory.
There’s one aspect of the premiere that stands out for me, and gives me hope this kids’ series might run deeper than it appears. That’s when Tachibana muses on the difference between “getting along” with people and being friends with them – and a subtle but profound difference it is, too. Japanese schoolkids are hammered on over and over to get along with their classmates, but actually coming to like someone is a much bigger ask – yet way, way more rewarding.
We’ll see where this goes. I like the fact that all the boys are a bit odd, and school mystery series can be quite fun if the writing is up to the challenge. My expectations are modest, but I haven’t given up hope that this series could be a mild sleeper yet.
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru – 01
It’s funny how LN adaptations almost always have a quality to them that makes them easy to spot, even the good ones (and that’s not even counting the overlong titles, of course). One really gets the sense in watching most of these shows (and it makes sense given the source material, when you really think about it) that the characters love nothing more than to hear themselves talk.
All of that is true of Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru, but on balance the show is pretty good anyway. The visuals (go figure, given the absence of a major studio) are quite lovely and often strikingly detailed. There’s an interesting chemistry between the two leads, death-obsessed bone collector and possible cougar Koujou Sakurakou (Itou Shizuka) and her boy toy Tatewaki Shoutarou (Enoki Junya). And there’s a creepy vibe throughout the proceedings that obviously suits the premise.
I’d like to know a little more about these two before I decide if their odd relationship is remotely believable – things like just why Shoutarou is hanging out with a morbid (though gorgeous) woman 10 years or so older. And since this looks to be a mystery of the week series, we’ll need to see an actual mystery or two before it becomes clear whether the anime has the chops to make that style work. But the premiere is interesting and well-produced, and that’s always a good sign.