Fanart Friday returns, armed with a deerstalker hat, bubble pipe, and magnifying glass. Last week, we showed up just for the plot when we revisited an old favorite, but this week we're (reluctantly) putting our thinking caps on for a look at our favorite detectives, sleuths, and investigators!
Two weeks ago, we talked about film noir, and a lot of noir stories feature detectives or private eyes, since they often cover the seedier sides of urban life. However, not every noir story is a detective story, and not every detective story falls under the film noir umbrella, so you'll see quite a few new faces in this installment! Let's get started!
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Even though it deals with a conspiracy and shadow war between superpowered "Contractors," Darker than Black still holds up the human side of the story with Kirihara Misaki and her Special Investigations team. As she was an immediate favorite character of mine, I kept worrying that she was going to die a horrible death in every single two-episode mini-arc.
Being brutally honest, Inspector Gadget is kind of a terrible detective. His niece Penny, on the other hand, has the brains and maturity of an adult, and ends up saving the day (and doing the mental legwork) more often than not, while Gadget gets to take all the credit... even after inadvertently assaulting his boss with explosives in every episode.
You absolutely cannot mention detectives without two characters: Sherlock Holmes (who we'll talk about later) and Hercule Poirot, portrayed here by David Suchet. Is anybody here familiar with Agatha Christie's Great Detectives Poirot & Marple, that anime that teamed Poirot with Miss Marple, a kid sidekick, and a duck?
Last week, a reader asked for Adventure Time's BMO to show up--specifically, from the episode "BMO Noir." Now, I'm kinda behind on Adventure Time, but I'm kinda wishing I put this piece in The Hard Goodbye Edition, because seriously--BMO as a hard-boiled detective?
Throughout the Ace Attorney games, Detective Gumshoe seems like a bumbling, incompetent screwup who just can't keep up with attorneys who happen to be doing his job. I disagree--Gumshoe's pretty competent, he just happens to pal around with geniuses like Edgeworth and quick, clever thinkers like Wright and Justice.
He's called the World's Greatest Detective for a reason. Strangely though, I always find that the best Batman stories aren't about him--they're usually great murder mysteries that stump even Batman for a while. Seriously, did anyone see the end of The Long Halloween or Dark Victory coming?
I hadn't heard of Mouryou no Hako until a reader requested it last week--it turns out that it's a grim mystery based on a novel where a detective must solve several gruesome murders while dealing with the sudden discovery of boxes full of young girls' limbs around the countryside. (Thanks, Wikipedia.) Also, the anime had character designs by CLAMP, so... cool? I actually wanna check this one out now!
by minshall428 READER SUBMISSION!
Yeah, this whole scene's gonna last about ten seconds--Inspector Zenigata's gonna look away, smiling triumphantly, then look back and those cuffs are gonna be empty and Lupin's gonna be gone. I'll never get tired of the sorta-friendly rivalry between these two.
Either Kindaichi slimmed down a bit, or I need new glasses. Running in Shounen Magazine alongside Fairy Tail and Hajime no Ippo, Kindaichi Case Files has always felt darker and meaner compared to Sunday's smash-hit Detective Conan. I love how each manga volume is a single, self-contained mystery.
Hyouka is one series I never got around to watching, but every synopsis I've read sounds interesting: not necessarily about detectives as opposed to inquisitive, mystery-solving teens, the series focuses on a classic literature club, its offbeat members, and seems to focus more on day-to-day mysteries instead of (gasp) murder.
Bossun's not really a detective either, but he (along with Himeko and Switch) spend a lot of time doing what's basically detective work on SKET Dance. C'mon, the guy's power is super concentration--that only lends itself to so many uses, and figuring out when a person's lying is a very important skill for a good detective to have.
Of course, I'm partial to the "just beat the crap out of them" school of investigation, and that's where the supposedly hard-boiled heroes of Kamen Rider W come in. Do you get more or less detective cred when "case closed" and "Rider Kick" are one and the same?
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro (or just Neuro) was one of the weirder JUMP mystery series I've read. Neuro is a demon detective paired with a klutzy, always-hungry Japanese schoolgirl. He doesn't just solve mysteries--he eats them. He's also a gigantic jerk, but at least he's funny about it.
Speaking of gigantic jerks, I love how Watson gets the last laugh at the end of this week's video. Sherlock Holmes is the fictional detective, and the BBC series starring Khan and Bilbo Baggins Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman has absolutely earned its massive cult following. To be honest, though, I also like Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law's "Victorian Batman" action movie approach.
Was I the only person who was hoping you could play as Inspector Dojima in Persona 4 Arena? He would've been the only character without a Persona, sure, but you could have Nanako sub for his Persona attacks. C'mon, tell me that wouldn't have kicked so much ass!
I'm in kind of a minority here on Crunchyroll, but I really like some of the out-and-out weird shit we get sometimes. I was a big fan of Ishida & Asakura, and I really like what I've seen of Cuticle Detective Inaba, the heartwarming story of an anthropomorphic police dog and a wolf-boy detective who's scarily obsessed with hair. And a goat.
Ghost Hunt is another series that shows up here pretty regularly on Fanart Friday, usually in the Halloween installments, but "supernatural investigators" are actually a pretty common thing in anime! Ghost Hunt switches pretty freely from "investigative procedural" to "spine-tingling horror," and is great viewing any time of the year, not just on Halloween!
by Soraax3 READER SUBMISSION!
A longtime friend of mine, who still writes for CR's Newsletter, once watched a lot of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. I'm not a hundred percent sure he finished it, but he was talking about it for what felt like months, which is strange because it's such a short series. I hear a lot of things about this so-sweet-it'll-make-your-teeth-hurt mystery anime, very little of it good, but I'm still willing to give it a shot.
Maybe in a year or so. I've, uh... got a lot on my plate right now.
I keep hearing people talk about how handheld gaming isn't "real" gaming, but then we get titles like the Ace Attorney series and Ghost Trick--exceptionally smart, inventive games that practically resurrected a dead genre in the US. Ghost Trick makes you solve your own murder, playing as the recently-killed Sissel, and is well worth it if you can find a copy.
Truth be told, I have yet to find a BONES-animated series that isn't jaw-droppingly beautiful. Gosick not only looks great, but sounds pretty awesome--once I'm done with marathoning Gintama, I'll check out the adventures of everyman protagonist Kazuya and goth-loli super-genius Victorique.
If you like this piece, you should follow the byline and check out the rest of this artist's gallery! In Black Butler, Ciel Phantomhive is some kind of child genius detective who solves crimes that adult detectives have trouble with. While that's kind of cool, it makes me wonder what kind of morons the local PDs are hiring out in Anime Land when they keep getting shown up by kids.
I'll give Conan a pass on that, though--it was already established that Shinichi--er, Conan--had been a pretty badass teen detective before getting turned into a child at the very beginning of Detective Conan. The series is such a mainstay now, to the point that I'm wondering what's going to happen if and when it finally comes to an end. A part of me thinks that we'll still have annual Detective Conan movies and manga specials, kinda like Doraemon.
Truth be told, I'd make a pretty shitty detective, which is why I love Urameshi Yusuke's title of "Spirit 'Detective'" so much. Yeah, yeah, Koenma: "investigate the problem," which means they'll "investigate" it by confronting the culprit with little to no actual investigation, beating him and his cronies half to death, and blowing a six-inch-wide hole in the chief offender with the Rei-Gun. Why does Yusuke have the title when Kurama does all the actual brainwork anyways?
A reader pointed out that UN-GO isn't exactly noir, but I can see where others would come to that conclusion. It is, however, a detective/mystery story with some really beautiful animation that left readers pretty divided on whether they loved it or loathed it. A part of me wonders what the original author would think if he got a chance to see the anime that was inspired by his work.
Oh, L--those other two jackoffs don't matter, do they? I mean, Mello and Near were just Replacement Ls, and didn't quite capture the charisma and downright strangeness of Death Note's uber-genius detective. The perfectly oddball rival to the cold, calculating Light Yagami, L is without a doubt my favorite anime detective, because he always kept you on your toes and his deductions weren't pulled out of thin air. You believed in him.
And that's a wrap for this week! Who are your favorite detectives and mystery lovers? Sound off in the comments!
As always, your work is welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just send me a PM with a link to your work, and I'll be sure to include it in a future installment--I'm also happy to answer any questions you may have, or discuss suggestions for future Fanart Friday themes! So everyone can get their work together for the coming weeks, here are the next three installments of Fanart Friday:
-Next week, on AUGUST 16th, we revisit our other sexy installment with a return to the HOT GUYS of Total Studmuffin Edition! Be they beefcake or bishie, which male characters are the best of the best? THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-On AUGUST 23rd, we'll be tightening our belts and rolling with the best in a MARTIAL ARTS-themed Fanart Friday! I'm going to be focusing on specific styles and practitioners, instead of the generic "fighting ability" that so many anime and manga characters seem to have.
-On AUGUST 30th, we're closing out the season with a celebration of JAPANESE SUMMER! You can almost hear the cicadas, you can almost smell the citronella coils--okay, maybe that last part was just my memories of the blazing-hot Okinawa summer. Thank CRN's very own Yoko Hiji for this one!
Thanks again for coming to check out Fanart Friday--have a great weekend, and we hope you drop by next week! Sorry, folks, no review of Dragon's Crown or Pikmin 3 this week from me, but buy 'em anyway!