Yakumo, Yakumo, are you a dazzler or a pansy ass, Yakumo?
Kyokai: Ooooh, I have been waiting and waiting for this one! Even after airing, the raws took time and subs too. I tried my best to have a full-blown collab too as this along with Bakuman and Kuragehime got the highest hits from my team for blogging. But oh well, subs releasing late and on a weekday too, it was hard to get hold of everyone. So, as I would be covering this anyway, let’s get-set go.
Let me confess that I’ve already read the first three chapters of the manga, which constitutes this first case file. I can go on a limb and say that all thirteen episodes would be individual cases directly inspired by Manabu Kaminaga’s novels and art design by Suzuka Oda (I’m not sure how long the manga is but sadly could only find 5 chapters). Therefore, story wise there shouldn’t have been any surprises for me rather I just wanted to see it animated but it turned out differently still. Also let me warn you, I’m big on supernatural (I blogged Occult Academy and Shiki from Summer after all) and a big OD (Ono Daisuke) fangirl too so a certain biasness already seeped in even before I sat down to watch this.
100 points for OD to sing the OP, “Key” *fangirl squee*
Also, I like monologues. When a brooding hero asks himself a question, I listen intently (remember Takashi in HOTD? Suwabe Junichi FTW~) The true nature of a person’s soul…?
Without getting into much detail, as suggested by the title, it’s all about Saitou Yakumo who is a supernatural detective because he possesses a certain special gift. He was born with a red left eye, through which he see all kinds of spirits and ghosts. He can not only see but talk to these supernatural beings as well. Coming to his personality, you can call him Mr. Deadpan and To-the-point. He doesn’t waste words and simply likes to curl in a comfy corner, the perpetual dozer. No wonder I was reminded more and more of Death Note and L; even the animation is somewhat similar.
Anyway, Ozawa Haruka (I swear I typed Orz(’’)awa Haruka while taking notes while watching the show XD), visits Saitou to get to the bottom of her seemingly possessed friend and unexplained deaths occurring around her. This all happened after a little trip to their old school building as a test of courage, rumoured to be a beehive of spirits and ghosts. However, before Saitou could bargain for money (whooping ¥25,000 at that) , his reputation is shatters in front of Haruka because she catches his parlour-tricks with cards and a strategically places mirror.
Haruka would have stalked off but is stopped by Saitou with mentioning her twin sister Ayaka, who died in a car accident. Haruka finally believes him and both of them start the journey of finding the culprit behind Miki’s near-to-death condition. Though, a supernatural mystery doesn’t always mean that the being responsible is a ghost/spirit. Akin to following bread crumbs, it was pretty easy for Saitou to figure out that the twitchy sensei was the culprit behind killing girls and burying them in the chamber underneath the closed room in old school building.
Of course, in keeping Haruka safe, Saitou overshadowed her every move and took help from his Police friend Gotou (the one in manga was bishier! I miss that hunky Gotou… T.T) to investigate and match the fingerprints to catch Takaoka for good. Even when Haruka gets kidnapped, Saitou chases after and the final showdown happens where it all started. In the ensuing scuffle, Saitou loses the contact covering his red eye, receiving a frightened response from Takaota while wonder from Haruka.
In the few minutes that Saitou gets with Haruka before they are rescued out of the building set on fire by Takaoka and later apprehended; she confesses that the only reason she accompanied her friends for the courage test was because of a rumour that Chopin’s Etude Op. 10 No. 3 was heard from the building, which was the favourite of her deceased sister. She blames herself for her sister’s death because she played a trick on her while playing ball. Seeing her anguish, Saitou uses his ability to make her see Ayako and tell her the fact that she did not hate her, rather she helped him rescue her. This was the most touching moment of the whole episode, when Haruka gets to say goodbye to her twin sister Ayaka.
Of course, how can things end so sweetly? And that is where the glasses-guy enters, cajoling a doomed man for the retrieval of his daughter, who supposedly jumped in the river. If Saitou is still pondering about the true nature of a human soul, the red-eyed guy knows it for sure that its darkness….
Before our end thoughts, enjoy the ED, “Missing You” by Lisa Komine:
This is what you call a sister’s love, people! Not like in Yosuga no Sora…. =.=;;
End Thoughts: As we have mentioned in the site’s rules, we are pretty much free agents and talk about what we like and there are times that we do get opinionated/biased. Working in a team doesn’t mean that all of us have to agree on a point and these thoughts are an evidence of that. Expect extreme good, bad and mild reviews as four people actually took out some time to write this long one:
Hoshi: I have to say, I’m not really satisfied with Yakumo right now. Even when I was first given the summary of it for our Fall preview post, I already had that sense of this kind of story has been done before. It has too many clichés for me, such as an emotion-less hero who’s mean but is kind, and a sort-of ditzy girl who gets into trouble most of the time. The show is basically another crime-solving anime with a very supernatural twist.
Yet, once it got to the ending after the crime was solved and such, I was suddenly intrigued! These two people just suddenly showed up and I was like, “Oh! What? Who’s this?! O.O” Thanks to that ending, I’m going to give Yakumo another chance. It looks like there’s something else underneath this clichéd crime-solving story that really sparks my interest, and truthfully, that’s the only thing that’s grabbing me right now. The main story, and even the animation, are nothing special to me :/
Now, I have to say this, the music for Yakumo is REALLY intense! I mean, usually background music is pretty toned down so you can hear dialogue, but Yakumo totally takes it a step further and is like DUN DUN DUN DUN TISSHHH at these certain points where there’s a sudden revelation. I was sitting at my desk going, “Woaaaah! |’D” (I feel like I may be the only person who noticed this…). This doesn’t mean I don’t like the music though; I would get the OST x’D Anyways, I do have some hope for Yakumo; it does have its potential, but for me, it’s not going to be one of the brightest out of all the Fall shows.
Masu: YAKUMO YAKUMO YAKUMO YAKUMO. You have to understand, Yakumo, that if you’re going to label yourself as a “supernatural” story you’re gonna have to do something to make yourself stand out. The genres of fantasy and supernatural are there because people want to run away from what is real and the limits of what can happen in our real world. There are millions of stories in the fantasy and supernatural genres; it just goes to show how many people want a release from this world. But somehow, my dear Yakumo, you seem to have slept through your courses in Fiction writing.
In your story we have yet another main character with heterochromatic eyes; once again we have a character that can see ghosts or the supernatural because of said eyes. If you were the first one to do this, Yakumo, I wouldn’t mind so much, but it’s almost like you’re trying to rip off Rental Magica (or countless others), but at least that show had a good opening. Yakumo, even your main character tries to hide his red eye, though it’s with a contact lens rather than an eye patch. Also, your main character has to be the nine billionth I’ve seen that is a stand-off-ish loner-wolf type. You know, the kind that acts like other people’s problems aren’t his own because he’s “too cool” for them, but then always ends up helping them anyway. He’ll be the kind that tries not to say too much because it’s “annoying” if he does and he won’t ever explain his feelings because somehow that makes him more of man than a child (which in reality is exactly the opposite). I also see HOTD’s Alice-chan here, all grown up and in college. Let’s hope she doesn’t pee on anyone.
But possibly the biggest thing I have against your story, Yakumo, is that it sucks. You can hardly call this a detective story if it takes me three seconds to figure out who the culprit is. Your story is full of boring, clichéd moments and characters, and even your genre can’t save you here. You’re trying to give me a story that, plainly, isn’t interesting and dressing it up as a supernatural detective series isn’t going to cut it. You’re borrowing character models (in a literary sense) that have been used for the past twenty-years, I guess thinking that that’s how all supernatural shows should be. But you’re wrong about that. In a genre where so many people are trying to get their stories told, you have to be different. Sadly, you aren’t; you are very much the same as everyone else. Honestly, I’ve seen and read better stories that left out all the supernatural and fantastic. Honey and Clover was a superb story. Why? Because the characters were fresh, they were real, and by “real” I mean that they weren’t the same characters you see in all the other 9000 romance stories we’ve been shown. They based those characters on real people, on the way real people would react and think and it made for a great show. You on the other hand based your characters on what other writers have created and that makes it boring. Somehow, that doesn’t pass off as plagiarism in this industry, but I think it should because I swear I’ve seen about twelve of your main characters in the past year. Yakumo, you’re probably getting burned because I’ve had it up to here with lame attempts at writing wrapped up in a fantasy/supernatural setting to try and make it different. Largely it’s not your fault: you should blame the million other shows that have done it before you. But because you’re the show I watched this season, I guess you’re just the unlucky one. I’m tired of you idiots thinking I’ll fall for the same show over and over again. I’m tired of you people thinking that guys who aren’t personable and are stand-off-ish are cool and exciting; they’re not. It’s like you guys are holding on to that juvenile dream you had about what it was to be “cool.” Grow the fuck up and write a real story. Until then, Yakumo sucks bollocks and you guys can’t write for shit.
Hato-kun: While I’ve had my eye on Yakumo for a bit, I really wasn’t expecting much from it. Surprisingly, it came from left field and I rather enjoyed it. While it was slow, not much happened and the animation was nothing amazing, it was still interesting. It explained why he could see stuff, the pacing was spot on, there was a nice ominous feel to his psychic powers and there weren’t any giant robots. Thank god.
While it was good, I’m feeling the same thing when I first watched Ookami-san or Ookami Kakushi (lol). While I liked Ookami Kakushi, I never finished it and it became a sort of a chore to watch. I did finish Ookami-san, but it still felt like a chore to watch despite enjoying it. It’s like a show that’s good, but you don’t want to watch it. Seems to happen with shows such as Yakumo.
Hell, they even had a creepy bad guy come in at the end. Cliché? Yes. Was he wearing a mask, underwear and drove a giant sparkly robot? No. Thank God. I just have to compare it to Star Driver; I actually don’t think I’ve been that offended by a show in so long. Bottom line is, I enjoyed Yakumo and I’ll probably watch more. I wanna see what happens with all them scary ghosts.
Kyokai: You know why I reserved my comments till the end, right? XD This is the first fall show from which I liked both the OP and ED, which are completely opposite of each other; one being totally upbeat while the other very soothing (I’ll definitely be waiting for the Singles and OSTs). Not to mention the background music was fitting to every situation from eeep to emotional; not exactly at par with Shiki but definitely its neighbour.
The pacing was just right and I didn’t feel either left out or boggled out of my mind. Bee Train is definitely not a big name but they have done some things right, like Requiem for the Phantom and Tsubasa Chronicles. They have taken liberties with the storyline because it’s not exactly matching with the manga in case of the final perp, which was actually the camera-happy of the group rather than the sensei. Still, it was easy to solve the mystery because Saitou was actually holding your hand throughout and doing it for you. Some differences bothered me a bi, like Saitou being compared to a monstrous cat when in manga, he’s pretty much called a caterpillar because he curls up in his sleeping bag and everywhere he lies down. Not to mention, his eye was just there, it was not overly emphasized like in some scenes he had this death-glare on, which alone can’t get a perp running in the opposite direction but somehow it did. I can’t expect more from Bee Train but I can hope that they stick to the original story and character features rather than overly emphasizing some factors in Saitou to make him look like too dependent on his powers, when he’s not.
There’s nothing new about the story after watching so many supernatural shows, movies and reading books. Still, I was already on that stage when I was reading the manga and I still liked the characters that had a curious mystery around themselves. Did you know that Saitou’s mother tried to kill him when he was a kid, afraid of his eye and unknown babblings because he talked to invisible things? For a character like him, there’s definitely past trauma that would be revealed slowly. Not to mention the red-eyed nemesis, who seems to be plotting something major. I’m so glad that Haruka is not another tsundere or yandere for that matter. For some reason, tsunderes are becoming too common; I want my dose of Sawako and cuteness of Index-tan to balance out my animu-watching. Haruka though spaced out yet is sweet enough to call Saitou’s eye pretty rather than being scared of him.
Production quality is nothing to write home about but the murkiness of flashbacks but contrast of long shadows and lightening actually compliment the theme of the series. Though, I’m sad that it doesn’t air on 720p, which means I’ll have to wait for its hi-res releases. Mindukse! As I haven’t spoiled myself more than three chapters, I would be looking forward to the next episode with more aplomb to know what’s actually going on and this silver-haired and glasses-ridden jeejee up to. I recommend this to all the fangirls who are into the supernatural/mystery genre than those moe-blobs/fanservice-ridden titles. Expect sarcasm than outright comedy and some shoujo because after all, it’s pretty clear about Saitou and Haruka. Watch it with headphones on and in darkness for kicks (did I say, I miss mah Shiki?!). I leave you with a simple line. Ja ne~