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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  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 10:16 AM)
    @K-off: it’s the old doctor’s approach: start with the worst case scenario, and everything from then on would feel like a downhill Sprint. Never wanna raise the patient’s hope and then crush it with unfortunate reality.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 05:08 AM)
    @Kaiser As Tom Lehrer said, “always predict the worst, and you’ll be hailed as a prophet.” Not putting that movie down or anything, but the 70s was a period of time when it was rather easy to pick on the middle east in the middle of the OPEC embargo.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 03:22 AM)
    Loosely related but damn, I remember when Network called out (though briefly) America’s relation with the saudi’s.
    Brave 70s movie.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 03:20 AM)
    They pretty much own a chunk of our economy, we can’t afford that shizz right now. Granted their own economy ain’t hot enough to pull their investments, but oil countries stay afloat as long as they have oil.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 03:17 AM)
    Saudi Arabia was involved you say? Nonsense! Only 9 of 12 perpetrators were Saudi, and you know only the other three matter.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 03:01 AM)
    @Kaiser Oh yeah, I have a huge problem with how Saudi Arabia’s been skirting around those issues and making backdoor connections they knew they couldn’t uphold. Lucrative deals dating back to FDR, the Gulf War, and now they’re fighting some bullshit proxy war in Syria with their money.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 02:49 AM)
    @K-off: I see the Saudi’s are pretending they weren’t in on 9/11.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 02:47 AM)
    @K-off: On a funnier side of politics though, Gerry Adams got in trouble for shitweeting about Django Unchained, trying to compare black oppression to Irish being oppressed, also people went apeshit because he jokingly said nigger.
  • K-Off
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 02:44 AM)
    @Kaiser and then there’s Turkey, which wants in on the EU really badly but can’t seem to behave itself when it comes to oh-so-stable caucusus region.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 26. 2016 02:39 AM)
    Though Britain leaving the EU is a curious thing…as Northern Ireland would have to go along with that…
    …I would be then in a country that is partially in the EU.

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