Posted by psgels on 2 February 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews


Well, I guess it’s time for me to check out another one of Hiroshi Watanabe’s works. Tactics can easily be viewed along with Suteki Tantei Labyrinth and Matantei Loki Ragnarok as his “supernatural detectives”-trilogy, featuring Shinto, Post-Apocalypse and Norse Mythology respectively. Out of the three, Tactics has the least original premise (after all, how many series about Shinto are there already out there?), it’s still a pretty decent series.

This series is actually pretty un-typical of Hiroshi Watanabe: his series usually are a very strange combination between really good and really bad, but Tactics instead is a pretty solid series. Whereas Suteki Tantei Labyrinth’s cases were really crazy at times, the cases that the lead character of this series needs to solve are well built up, logical, genuine and not really stupid at all.

The cast of main characters also is pretty interesting for a shoujo series. For once the lead character isn’t a teenager, but instead a folklorist, who has been properly schooled in the occult and happens to be able to see youkai. It makes sense that the guy would then try to make his money with exorcism. The rest of the lead cast complements him really well: no two characters feel the same, and they make up for quite a varied and enjoyable cast.

So, why the relatively low rating? Well, it’s pretty much a case of wasted potential. What we have here is a series without any major flaws, but which also lacks any major highlights. While Suteki Tantei Labyrinth was memorable for me because you’d never know what kind of stupid plot twists it would pull, Tactics for the most part isn’t memorable at all. The different episodic stories do the job of not getting you bored, but they don’t make any impact either. I really feel that the creators could have gotten so much more out of the lead characters than what they showed in this series.

The bad guys this series are also pretty pathetic. They hardly receive any development, their reasons for being evil are even shallower than your average bad guys, and they suffer from the “I’m about to kill you but I won’t because I want to see you grow stronger”-syndrome. Characters as Rosalie also appear way too late in the series to make any real impact.

Still, while this series isn’t your typical Hiroshi Watanabe-Trainwreck, it does have one very typical element of his series: a surprise ending. Like usual the episodes leading up to the finale are a bit too stuffed with angst, you’re about to give up on the series, and then it suddenly closes off with a really good (or surprising) ending. The ending of Tactics made up for a lot of the balance issues that I had with this series. It was really good and the only big highlight of this series for me.

So overall, this series is wasted potential, but it’s good to see that Hiroshi Watanabe is also good at writing solid story-lines, without the usual stupidity that you can find in most of his other works. Out of his supernatural detectives trilogy, I’d still prefer Suteki Tantei Labyrinth, but if you’re stuck with this series on a rainy day, then you’re not going to get bored.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 8/10

6 Responses

  1. Avatar mds says:

    well..basically tactics is not shoujo….its manga source come from a shounen series :)

  2. Avatar kuromitsu says:

    >mds
    The manga may run in a shounen magazine but it’s about as shounen as Nabari no ou (which means not at all).

    Unfortunately the anime ran out of material by the end, which is a shame because Raikou is a great character in the manga. Still, I liked the anime only little girl and the last episode.

  3. Avatar Mackreki says:

    No it most certainly is a shonen . It isn’t a hardcore shonen like Bleach or Naruto , or even a typical shonen like Busou Renkin or Shura no Toki , but is a shonen none the less .

    Nabari no ou is also a shonen . Nabari no ou and Tactics have shojou-esque art , but other than that and having a low budget , neither are similar to shoujo .

  4. Avatar aegd says:

    I watch a lot of anime, but I’m pretty much clueless when it comes to directors, voice-actors and the like. However, after reading this post I think I just found my least favourite anime-director. I’ve tried watching all the series this guy has made, but I’ve dropped ALL of them.

    I didn’t like Slayers. I dropped tactics after a couple of episodes. I dropped suteki tantei labyrinth after the second episode. Shining Tear X Wind was… claw your own eyes out and scream in terror horrible. Orphen was not my cup of tea back when tried watching it, but that was many years ago, so I maybe I should give it a chance again (or maybe not). Law of Ueki… dropped very fast. I remember that I disliked the setting, plot and design (haha).

    Anyway… I never knew that this guy was directing all these series, but It’s a wierd coincidence that I havn’t liked one single series he has directed :P

  5. Avatar aegd says:

    “The manga may run in a shounen magazine but it’s about as shounen as Nabari no ou (which means not at all).”

    Nabari no Ou IS shounen, and a horrible shounen series at that. ;)

  6. Avatar windy says:

    Thanks psgels for having reviewed this series! I must say I really liked it a lot and just loved the final episodes, I must be one of those few people who enjoyed it. I loved the end because it was sad as well as heartbreaking , it was such a shock to find out Suzu chan had actually died on the very night of the fight , but it also helped to see the true meaning of life.
    It’s not that I loved every single ep of it but most of them were really good, it immediately made me compare it to Ghost hunt, the same atmosphere , the end was totally gorgeos, I’m not taking under consideration the silly disputes among the main characters or playing or whatever, it’s boring and comes out of nowhere , at first I wanted to stop for this precise reason but I overlooked it and am glad I did. About the villains, that’s true we don’t know their reasons but we have reasons to believe there’s going to another season of this, you know the end is open, and the villains are planning simething new, I believe their intententions and reasons will be revealed then. So I don’t lose hope. But they could have been more developped, you’re right. But what do you mean by: “I’m about to kill you but I won’t because I want to see you grow stronger” ,is it because they wanted Haruka to get unsealed and changed into the black tengu ? Well, they may have just wanted to watch such an amazing event, you know for fun or to have Haruka on their side. Well, anyway thank you!

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