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Shinrei Tantei Yakumo Half Season Review [Completed]


Normally, you’d, y’know, scrub toilets with a brush…

[Announcement: There will be no post tomorrow, until all but two of my late posts are fixed. There is a reason behind this. Try to find out.]

Hah, was I saying something about the underlying plot being interesting?

No, it’s not an underlying plot. It /is/ the plot.


Siddhārtha Gautama!

This doesn’t make sense, but it does when you look at things like Ookami-san, where there’s an underlying plot, but it’s not the plot.

From the beginning, I was expecting this just to be like that, maybe with a small (three episodes?) arc at the end to solve the underlying plot, but I never expected the plot to be so plotty. I should’ve learned to plot land plots in math class, instead of plotting to take over everyone else’s land plots and blotting blobs of ink over my paper.

No, seriously, the sudden change to plot was scary. In the words of more educated people: “Holy crap, that was awesome! What the hell happened here?”


She’s a reporter, obviously she’d carry around footage

Let me attempt to bring a bit of the drama into existence… (get ready for spoilers, or total confusion!)

Hijikata Makoto’s just a normal reporter-girl, who obtains some footage showing ghosts at a abandoned house. The filmer is Yukiko Hoshino, and the house is the place where four people were murdered. Nanase Miyuki had her entire family murdered when she was ten, after which the mystery final-boss took her in.

Chief Miyagawa, Gotou’s boss, attempted to rescue Nanase, but was knocked unconscious. The perpetrator is one known as Takeda Shunsuke.


It’s also flying towards you

Gotou and Yakumo separately go to investigate the house in question, but are attacked, paralyzed, knocked unconscious, and then imprisoned (separately) by Miyuki.

Flashing back to the past, a long time ago, Isshin’s sister, Azusa (Yakumo’s mother), was held captive by Yakumo’s father – the unnamed final boss. Ozawa Keiko, Haruka’s mother, saved her.

But in another shocking turn of events, Azusa’s fiancé is actually…

…Shunsuke?!


Even Futaba draws better than that!

Makoto, Isshin, Yuutarou, and Haruka meet together to investigate what happened to Yakumo and Gotou, and realize that Hoshino doesn’t exist – she’s actually Miyuki in very careful disguise. A visit to her Kindergarten teacher reveals that Miyuki had some mental problems as a kid, what with her grandfather raping everyone in the household. She had a hidden room in her house, and the teacher suspects that Gotou is kept there. In fact, her mental problems were so severe that the real murderer of her family was herself – Shunsuke never did anything to anyone, though the eventual emotional stress caused Azusa to try to strangle Yakumo.


It’s not the Green April, it’s the Red October

The crew rescue Gotou from the room, who immediately informs Yuutarou and Makoto that Yakumo’s in Nagano. As a spirit murdered by Yakumo’s dad, Shunsuke used the last of his power to tell Gotou this.

Simultaneously, Haruka finds Yakumo in the place Azusa was held captive. Miyuki’s original intent was to lure Haruka here and kill her in front of Yakumo, as to fill his heart full of hatred (what would that do? :v). Miyuki and Yakumo’s dad corner them as part of the trap, but Gotou appears – just in time for the villains to escape.


Yakumo’s dad is quite fashionable

In a completely new scenario, the ghost of Mamiya Yoshiko haunts a hospital, asking every patient when they will die. However, albeit going to die in half a year, she’s still alive – a rare phenomenon known as a ‘living ghost’. The only way she can survive is through an organ transplant.


“STOP RAPING ME”

Hideyoshi Hata, the old, creepy, doctor, old creeper, finds a picture of Saitou Unkai, Yakumo’s dad. Miyuki’s also captured, and Yuutarou thinks that Unkai’s already dead, just like Shunsuke (basing this reason on how Miyuki never called him, for spirits cannot interact with physical objects). Miyuki also threatens with a prophecy – Isshin will be killed, presumably by Unkai, suggesting that he’s not a spirit after all.

Gotou and Yuutarou race to save Isshin from his fate, but Isshin knocks Gotou unconscious to talk with Unkai – a man, who while living, had entirely red eyes. In the middle of their conversation, Isshin is stabbed.

Yakumo drives to the crime scene, accidentally getting jostled by a speeding car along the way. The doctor-in-charge, Sakakibara, regretfully informs them that Isshin is, effectively, dead. Lacking a guardian, Nao is adopted by Gotou shortly after.


I am manly

Sakakibara isn’t just a random doctor, though. He’s Yoshiko’s dad, who stabbed Isshin in a spot that would not harm any needed organs, and then drove recklessly back to the hospital so that he could be certain of Isshin’s deadness. Pressured on by an evident scrape where his car crashed against Yakumo’s, he attempts to justify his ‘crime’ by saying that Isshin would have already died anyways.


I am shocked

Unfortunately for him, only the police know of this.

Sakakibara and Yakumo duel on the heliport of the hospital as Unkai arrives. There is no doubt now, that Unkai is already (and usually) dead. Spirits are only masses of emotions, and Unkai is made up of only despair and enmity, incapable of harming Yakumo physically.


I am evil

If Unkai can’t harm him, Miyase definitely can. Out of prison and armed with a pistol, Gotou is hit by her and their objective revealed – to kill every single person that mattered to Yakumo, transforming his emotions into pure hatred. The only way for a spirit to resurrect is to take over a living body, which only works when their emotions are aligned.

Unkai wins, and Miyase runs up to embrace him, with Yakumo doomed.

…Until he disarms her, revealing that he was merely wearing Isshin’s red contact lenses, and that Unkai never was able to take over his body, cue long-speech about how much he hates hatred.

Unkai disappears, waiting for the time he can come alive again, but a mere manipulator who used other people’s inner weaknesses to fulfil his own goals.

Miyase commits suicide. Sakakibara confesses to his crimes. Isshin dies after donating his organs to Yoshiko. Yoshiko doesn’t die, and lives on with her family. Miyagawa and Yuutarou continue with their work. Hata continues to be creepy. Gotou and his wife live life happily with Nao. Nao manages to speak.

Haruka and Yakumo?

They’re still alive.


Organ harvesting. It’s profitable.

Oh, man. That was awesome.

First, a couple of things that irked me over the course of this series.

If a spirit can speak, then how come he can’t move physical objects? Speaking requires that you move energy to vibrate the air around you. Being visible requires the same – that you emit energy. Even with Yakumo’s eye, a spirit still has to emit energy for it to be detectable. If it can emit energy, then it has energy, so there’s no reason why it can’t apply a force on physical objects, right? Of course, that’s a minor detail – this isn’t an occult anime, after all.

NAO IS A GIRL

I NEVER KNEW THAT

SHE’S A GIRL WHAT

I DON’T KNOW HOW I THOUGHT SHE WASN’T

And Haruka and her mom’s pink hair. Why. It’s impossible to have naturally pink hair of that shade. Would both of them bother to dye their hair pink? Both of them? Her mother’s her mother, for god’s sakes. Mothers don’t die their hair pink. Oh well.


A wild Death Note weeaboo appears

Anyways, one of the main points of Yakumo is its intricate plotline. It makes sense. It starts off small. It ends small.

Many anime start immediately with plot – say, a dullahan arrives in town or something stupid like that. Yakumo, on the other hand, began with setting and characters. It seemed normal – not everything ties in to the climax in life, right? Having a few of those mystery episodes added the ‘mystery’ genre to it, deepened and introduced the characters, as well as gave us an overall understanding of the background we’re watching in.

It was brought to a climax, and a brilliant one, combining narrative from the past, present, and maybe even the future. The flow of it all as flashbacks were played just as they were supposed to, and fades to other characters just at their main moments, considerably added to the effect. After the climax was reached and basically all antagonists were dead, the show brought it down to a peaceful, soothing, and above all, believable conclusion.

I spent a lengthy amount of time preparing the summary of the plot for this post – perhaps more than the time it would have taken me to watch the latter half of the series. Yet, when I watched it for the first time, everything made… sense. The characters in the background that I had some remnants of knowledge of, were excellently reintroduced for that tiny spark of memory to rekindle. The characters in the foreground, whose actions I had some remnants of knowledge of, were general enough and specific enough that you can just watch this once, but you can’t just watch this once.

You can watch this once, and feel complete at the end of it. Yet, you can also watch this more than once, and notice the entire plot, how each detail fit into the next, how each piece of the puzzle were matched so that the final result was not visible until the last pieces were joined.


OK, now he just looks horrible

Unkai spoke an interesting line during the show. “Everyone lives, moving to death.” (though obviously, translations of it will vary). That was just about the key point of this show, the whole meaning behind it all. Wasn’t it true, that at the end, everyone did die? Didn’t the entire show deal with dead people?

Even in the lives of the living, death was present. For Yoshiko, the only reason Isshin was alive, was so that he could die – and allow her to live. For Miyuki, she was alive, yet dead at the same time. Alive in body, but dead in soul – what was she at the end, but a mere puppet of Unkai?

In general, this was correct, but in the case of Psychic Detective Yakumo, its meaning rang particularly loud and strong.


SIDNET

Yet, even amidst all this brilliance, I just couldn’t feel that it was all that good. With sketchy details except for those that mattered, shallow secondary characters, only developed for as long as their screentime would be, and rather surprising (ly inhuman) reactions to impossible events. There just wasn’t a feeling of completeness in Yakumo – even after Unkai disappeared, even after Miyase drowned herself, even after Isshin died, and Hata became creepy – even after the credits were finished, I still didn’t feel like it was complete.

Or perhaps, that’s just me.

Moving closer to death.

Overall Rating: 6/10 (Amazing)

2 responses

  1. Why is this anime reminding me of 100 other animes I wonder…?

    That baby…Kogasa’s addiction to surprise people went too far.

    2011/01/13 at 00:46

  2. I’d find it surprising that Kogasa would do such a thing simply to transfer her genes to other generations.

    BUT YOU ONLY BECOME A PARENT AFTER YOU HAVE A CHILD :O

    2011/01/13 at 01:02