Anime Review of "Psychic Detective Yakumo"
About Psychic Detective Yakumo:
“Psychic Detective Yakumo” is a anime series that ran from October 3, 2010 until December 26, 2010. This series ran for a total of thirteen episodes. It was directed by Tomoyuki Kurokawa and written by Hiroyuki Kawasaki. It was produced by the studio Bee Train and aired on NHK-BS2. Many anime series were originally adapted from manga. However, Psychic Detective Yakumo wasn't one of those titles.
Originally, Psychic Detective Yakumo started off as a novel series written by Manabu Kaminaga and illustrated by Katoh Akatsuki. It was published by Nihon Bungeisha. The novel series, which started running back in 2004, is still running to this very day. However, it wasn't adapted into a manga just yet.
Next, it was adapted into a live-action television series for thirteen episodes. From March 3, 2006 until June 26, 2006, the series aired on TV Tokyo. In 2007, another novel was written and illustrated respectively by Kaminaga and Akatsuki. It was called “SECRET FILES Kizuna.” Then two manga series were created. Kaminaga wrote both series with the first one being illustrated by Ritsu Miyako and the second one being illustrated by Suzuka Oda. The first series ran for two volumes from 2007 until 2008 with the second series currently running for five volumes from 2009 to the present time.
The anime series is the latest adaptation of the story. In Japanese, the series is called “Shinrei Tantei Yakumo.”
Psychic Detective Yakumo is one of those supernatural detective stories. The storyline combines the following genres together: suspense, mystery, detective fiction, drama, psychological thriller, and supernatural. If you enjoy detective series in general, you may enjoy the storyline of Psychic Detective Yakumo. Unfortunately, the story of the anime series ended too quickly as thirteen episodes does not seem to be enough. Perhaps the creators might have another season of the series come out in the future.
The focus is on Yakumo Saito who is a college student who lives in the film club's room at college. This is where he operates out of when he does his detective work. However, Yakumo's not your typical detective. In a sense, he's somewhat like Batman in being reserved, intelligent, intuitive, etc. However, Yakumo's not out to solve crimes for the sake of it.
He has the ability to see ghosts through his left eye which is red. Yakumo is one of those people that is born with the rare condition called heterochromia in which one eye is a different color from the other. The story begins when he meets Haruka Ozawa who requests his help to save a friend who she believes has been possessed by a spirit. Thus, it begins the plot of the story. For the first few episodes, the central storyline isn't established as Yakumo and Haruko team up to solve these supernatural cases and exorcise spirits.
Then, the central storyline along with the central antagonist is revealed. The story focuses on having a different story with each episode; but, the main storyline slowly gets weaved into each episode. There's plenty of suspense with the touch of that ominous feeling.
There are three main characters and several support characters. The main characters are Yakumo Saito, Haruka Ozawa, and Kazutoshi Gotou. The support characters are Yutarou Ishii, Makoto Hijikata, Nao Saito, and Isshin Saito. Miyuki Nanase acts as the person who does the main antagonist's dirty work. The anime has a pretty well-balanced cast with the roles and duties of the main and major characters.
Yakumo is one of those types of people that comes off as being introverted. One could easily call him antisocial; but, that's far from the case. He is pretty crafty and uses his ability to see ghosts for a bit of self-gain. It is established that Yakumo convinced one of his “teachers” that he was cursed and would “exorcise” the ghosts in return for full class credits. While being a good guy, Yakumo can be a total jerk to other people. However, Yakumo does have a heart of gold though he won't admit. Of all the characters, Yakumo has the most tragic past. Instead of coming out with it, Yakumo remains guarded as he is not willing to tell people about his past. Only a select few know the truth of Yakumo's past and his family.
Haruka, after their first encounter, becomes Yakumo's partner in the anime. She comes off as being the person who wants to get to know Yakumo better. While many are scared of Yakumo's ability, Haruka isn't one of them. Asides from being Yakumo's investigative partner, Haruka's role is somewhat of a romantic interest and trying to get him to open up his heart. Also, she doesn't fit the stereotype of the damsel in distress that has to be rescued.
Gotou is a workaholic police detective that seems to have marital problems due to being at work more and being at home less. Despite his appearances, Gotou does believe in ghosts after saving Yakumo in the past when the latter was younger. Whenever there is a case that has supernatural dealings, Gotou immediately goes to Yakumo for assistance. He's somewhat the anime's equivalent to Commissioner Gordon in the “Batman” series.
Yutarou ends up somewhat being the comic relief. He's the junior partner that works under Gotou. In the story, he admires both Gotou and Yakumo. Because of his enthusiasm, Yakumo jokes about Yutarou being gay for Gotou which tends to make the latter feel uneasy and slightly paranoid. Ever since being brought into the mix, Yutarou starts to appreciate interest in the supernatural.
After being saved by Yakumo, Makoto ends up lending her skills as a reporter to help Yakumo and the team.
Nao is the younger cousin of Yakumo who was born deaf. Yakumo and Haruka tend to play with Nao whenever they visit the Buddhist temple she lives at. In a sense, Nao is the mascot of the investigative team. She is the surrogate little sister to both Yakumo and Haruka. Even Gotoh is affective and protective of Nao.
Isshin, Yakumo's uncle, is a Buddhist monk and Nao's father. He is the kind father figure to Yakumo. In order to make Yakumo feel better, Isshin wears a red lens over one of his eyes. The relationship between Isshin and Yakumo is one of the important parts of the story.
Miyuki acts as the loyal servant to the main antagonist. In short, she does all the dirty work. While Miyuki is just one person, she's perhaps the most dangerous person in the anime. She's a tragic villain who is revealed to be the daughter of incest. Personality-wise, she comes off as being very twisted and eager to do her boss' dirty work. Despite her appearance, she can easily kill you through physical means.
The soundtrack of the anime is rather interesting and appropriate for the feel of the series. There are tracks that give the series the suspenseful and ominous feeling and there are tracks that help build up to the climax of showdowns. In short, the soundtrack does a lot to help fit the mood of the series.
If you like supernatural detective series, you may enjoy watching Psychic Detective Yakumo. Keep in mind, though neither gory nor violent, it's enough to scare younger viewers. With all of that aside, this is a pretty decent detective series. It's a procedural series with a supernatural twist to things. Watch this series if you are into anime and detective stories.