Posted by psgels on 27 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo




Bee-Train’s installment for 2010 is called Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, a 13 episode series about a psychic detective who can see ghosts. Lacking their usual director, Koichi Mashimo, the characterization is not as good as we’ve come to expect from them, but there still is a lot to like about this series.

Let me first put a few disclaimers here though, because this isn’t the most accessible series. First of all, despite the “Tantei”-part of the title (tantei = detective), don’t expect this to be a murder mystery: it isn’t. The culprits are often immediately revealed without really giving the audience the time to speculate wht happened. The mystery of this series instead mostly lies in its overall story.

Second of all, adapations whose stories don’t exactly fit within either 13 or 26 episodes nowadays often have slow paced beginnings and rushed endings. Yakumo is completely the opposite: it rushes through its first chapters, just so that it can take its time with the final two arcs of the story in which everything comes together.

So the first half of this series basically consists out of random stories for every episode. The pacing is really fast and some things are rather rushed in order to get everything to actually fit within twenty minutes, but overall these stories work surprisingly well. They’re especially good a using their own build-up and almost all of them end with a neat and interesting conclusion.

The main story that pops up in the second half is actually very interesting. The show boasts a number of very interesting characters (another plus point is that this is one of the very few series of the past season that isn’t about teenagers and actually make suse of it), with some badass characters that are very likable to watch. The show can also boast a neat cast of major villains here, who really are built up as a menacing bunch with a very interesting backstory. The voice actors meanwhile are good, yet composed, so there is none of the usual annoying overacting. There however are a few characters that can get on people’s nerves. Most notably Haruka, the romantic interest, but she’s far from the worst of her kind.

With 13 episodes, the characters aren’t as deep as your usual Bee-Train series, but they are great nonetheless. I especially loved the way in which the second half interweaves all of their stories together, and there is quite a bit of good development in this series, both for the main characters and the side characters.

The music this time is compoed by the relatively unknown RON, who deliver a great little soundtrack that is surprisingly varied. There are a ton of great tracks that the creators use really well, and this show just continues to introduce new ones. The character designs are simple, but the inbetween animation is quite good.

Overall, Yakumo is another series that went a bit under the radar this season (despite the HUGE hype leading up to it) but this is quite a good series to watch, even for some people who usually don’t like Bee-Train’s really slow sense of storytelling, because the pacing of this series is much faster than their usual series. Just be aware of some sloppy and rushed storytelling here and there.

Storytelling: 9/10 – A bit rushed and lacks attention to detail in the beginning, but makes up for it in the way that it manages to weave its different stories together and how well it uses its own build-up.
Characters: 9/10 – Great and diverse cast of well developed characters, there are plenty of strong and likable characters around. And a few that are hard to like, though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Great soundtrack, decent animation, unremarkable art.
Setting: 8/10 – Seeing spirits is nothing new, but this series does give a fresh spin to it.

Suggestions:
Madlax
Soultaker
Matantei Loki Ragnarok

5 Responses

  1. keizon says:

    I like the storyline and pace of this series. It leaves the viewers to speculate the intentions of the real ‘bad’ guy (Yakumo’s father) at the end of the first few episodes. The creators didn’t rush the important arcs, which result in a believable ending. It is not the typical supernatural type of anime where the lead character has the power to see spirits. Instead it focused on bonds between people and souls.

  2. sakura says:

    The original novels are basically mystery, but this anime is rather supernatural. This tendency is more clear in newly created episodes such as Kakuyasu no bukkenn (apartment at low rent). For me, this anime seems better without these episodes. (I guess that with these episodes the production team wanted to emphasize that a tiny happiness in daily life is important, but I like mystery more than super natural.)
    I also want the production team to spend more time and money on animation. They finally changed clothes at the funeral ceremony…

  3. windy says:

    One of the best series of the season (for me, along with “Shiki” and “Kuragehime”) and provided us with one the best endings! The whole plot advanced step by step without making things go overboard or make up some far-fetched explanation at the end, here all the questions we could have on the evil father or the circumstances of Yakumo’s mother’s disappearance were all cleared out, as well as her attempt to kill her own son, I just hate the guy behind all this, such a damn evildoer, so many lives were shattered because of him and his scheme, but well the whole series provided us with great and intense moments full of mystery and lots of suspense! Everything was resolved progressively and prepared for a great final act, I also liked the fact the creators did well in averting usual clichés and making the plot fluidly advance on its own, almost like the narrated events did actually happen despite them being permeated with supernatural elements and contents! One of the series I loved the most this season!

  4. Mushyrulez says:

    I’d definitely agree with you on every point. Y’know, something I’ve learned from my piano instructor is that the examinators only ever listen to your beginning and ending – the ending is the only part they remember, and the beginning is how they judge the end.

    In this aspect, Yakumo was brilliant – wrapping up everything completely, with no filler episodes to spare, no messy last-minute conclusion, no loose threads to tie up. The beginning may have been rushed, but in a good way – it was mostly detective and (quite surprising, most of the time) mystery then, leaving us to judge upon the ending as brilliantly led upon too.

    Though one thing still irks me – the sheer complexity of the show makes it impossible to convey (meaningfully) the plot in one post, so the only way to actually have posts is to post all of them.

    :v Oh well, the brilliance also lied in that without knowing all the pieces, as long as they remained in the back of your mind, characters would be re-introduced and eventually led to a complete picture.

  5. Emar says:

    Witam, bardzo fajny blog :)
    Zapraszam na http://www.urusai.pl , tworzony jest tam dział z recenzjami!
    Właśnie poszukują osób, które piszą recenzje anime, zachęcam ;)
    Recenzja anime które lubisz napewno się tam znajdzie :D

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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