Holmes, a young man whose family runs an antique shop in Kyoto, has the unique ability to read people and instantly distinguish genuine and high value antiques. When a local high school student, Aoi Maki, starts working alongside Holmes, together they begin to unravel the many mysteries surrounding the antiques brought to the shop.
Holmes and Zen Master Hakuin
In Days of Aoi
The Case of the Mt. Kurama Estate Inheritance
After the Festival
The Lost Dragon
The Connoisseur's Philosophy
Straying and Enlightenment
Christmas Eve Tears and a Broken Alibi
The Sound of the Bell at Gion
The Bisque Doll's Smile
Conditions of an Heir
Charming! This is a lovely slice of life, slightly intellectual, light mystery anime set in Kyoto and centered around a wealthy family's antique shop. A dash of art and history is thrown in. The main characters are Holmes and Aoi Mashiro. Holmes who's real name is Kiyotaka Yagashira, is a wealthy college student whose family owns the store and he has quite the reputation for his powers of deduction. He works as an apprentice at the store and solves an occasional mystery on the side. The mysteries, of course always seem to come to him, he doesn't have to search them out. Aoi is in high school and works part time after trying to sell an antique to Holmes and he ends up recruiting her when he discovers she has a keen, discerning eye for genuine/quality articles. Aoi quickly becomes his assistant/underling and a great foil to display Holmes' brillance against. I really adore the main character, Kiyotaka Yagashira and his interactions with Aoi Mashiro who is new to the Kyoto area and recently heart broken. He tries to play that he isn't interested in Aoi, but his actions and words seem to suggest otherwise. I can't help shipping them and hope more will transpire in this direction. Even if nothing happens on this front they are both positive influences on each other and their interactions are cute. I guess time will tell. This is a bit fluffly and light hearted, but in a good way. It's a nice change of pace for me, I watch a variety of genres but heavily favor action heavy animes. I like learning little tidbits about the Kyoto area and getting a little arm chair traveling in. The anime moves at a leisurely pace, much like enjoying a warm cup of tea. Don't expect a great deal of action. The "mysteries" are not terribly detailed and often it's a bit obvious what has happened before "Holmes" comes up with the solution. While not terribly deep, it is still entertaining and I look forward weekly to each new episode. It's a bit inexplicable to me, as I normally would think I'd find the pace a bit sedate and the show dull, but somehow I really do find this charming. And really, most of all, I desperately to find out why Holmes is a nasty Kyoto Boy. ;) Which is what Aoi calls him at least once every episode.
Heavier on the (light hearted) slice of life aspect than any other sub-genre, it takes a couple episodes to get into, but once you get past the second episode it starts to pick up a little; it really starts to pick up at around episode 5. At first, the protagonist, "Holmes", feels fairly flat and just "matter of fact". However, it does get better as later episodes reveal different facets of his personality. That said, it's still a fairly slow paced anime which almost has a Miss Marple feel to it in that the cases which comes to the protagonist are typically discussed while everyone is sitting around a table (drinking coffee instead of tea, though). Plot Aoi, unhappy with a situation in her life, was looking to try and sell some of her grandfather's old scrolls because she needed the money. Upon meeting Kiyotaka, aka "Holmes", he informs her that she has a good eye for appraisal as well as hears her out on her troubles after informing her that he can't buy from a minor. After hearing her story, he hires her to work at the antique shop. From there, Aoi starts to learn about antiques, from pottery to scrolls (and even dolls), as well as hearing how there are counterfeits all over the place. She also tags along with Kiyotaka often when he is requested to solve (typically a family) light mystery due to his nickname of "Holmes". It's very slice of life and episodic in nature, and the actual "plot" of introducing Kiyotaka's rival and even the budding relationship between Kiyotaka and Aoi takes a few episodes to get to. Characters Aoi Mashiro - (yes, the character is actually named this) Is a girl in her final year of high school who had moved to Kyoto from Tokyo to attend a school there. She finds an interest in learning about the antiques...as well as in Kiyotaka though she's still moving on from trouble with a prior relationship. She's very honest, straight forward, and though typically comes across as timid does show signs of standing up when her voice is needed. Kiyotaka Yagashira - Also known as "Holmes", he's a college graduate student who works at a family antique and appraisal shop called "Kura". He is typically fairly gentlemanly and straightforward, letting logic guide his actions and rarely seems to be surprised by things. However, there are deeper layers to him as a character. Akihito Kajiwara - An aspiring actor and the middle son of the Kajiwara family. At first, he and Kiyotaka clash, but though Kiyotaka still teases him now and then he becomes a friend to Aoi and Kiyotaka, often either going with them or turning up at some events they attend. He's incredibly straightforward and almost carefree in his attitude, yet can be intense at others...the sort who just inserts themselves in. Other characters come and go, but these are the three we learn the most about (particularly Aoi and Kiyotaka). Music & Animation No issues with the music; the intro and ending songs are pretty nice, and fit the anime's easy-going mood. There are some issues with the animation in that sometimes we won't see the characters' eyes (and not in that dramtic shielding of the eyes which occurs sort of way), and a couple occasions when a character would be talking but it took a moment or two before their lips synced with the sound. Whether that's from the subtitles hiding it or actually a glitch in the animation, I'm not completely sure. There aren't many action scenes, and most scenes are spent with the characters drinking coffee and talking (or standing around to appraise something). Overall At first, I wasn't a huge fan. Despite being a fan of Agatha Christie and the cozy mystery genre (and yes, I did read through the collection of Sherlock Holmes years ago), the matter-of-fact stretches Kiyotaka would reach for the conclusion upon just hearing eyewitness accounts was...well, a stretch. While it certainly matched with the Sherlock Holmes vibe, a Holmes-like character is actually rather boring (I probably wouldn't have gotten as far in the collection of books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle if it wasn't for Watson, for example). They typically have little to no weaknesses, and come off as "overpowered"...and even dull. Kiyotaka definitely had that vibe for the first couple episodes as he solved cases within seconds of hearing what was going on and only asking a couple of questions. Now, that said, the cases aren't exactly difficult to solve. Mystery lovers will probably at least have it partially or mostly solved before the big reveal. However, there's really no dramatic buildup to the big reveal which makes it all look like they're just discussing the weather instead of a mystery or crime. One pet peeve I have is that police are never involved. Even in a later case which actually dealt with attempted murder (the only one in the entire anime), the police weren't called. I get some of the family-only crimes like burning scrolls or the like is something for the family to decide on, but other crimes weren't on such a small scale (though most of them still were never large scale). Do not expect any Detective Conan sort of shenanigans to happen here; no body count, and only one (exceptionally quick) explanation of a trick. I'd say...while Detective Conan is oriented on the crime (though it does still make time for the characters), this anime is more character-driven as we often see it from Aoi's point of view. Which brings me to something which rubbed me the wrong way: The romance. I did not pick this up for the romance, but to see two characters who have had prior relationships (to the point of getting emotional about them) dance around each other...was just painful. Even more painful was Aoi being oblivious to her feelings. The oblivious character does not work if that character has had a prior romantic relationship (which isn't toxic/abusive), so it really doesn't work here. It works for characters like, say...Naruto, who grew up a social pariah and didn't even know what a healthy friendship looked like...let alone what actual love was. There are even a couple of times Aoi acknowledges her feelings for Kiyotaka to herself, but then goes back to being obvlious of them in the next instance. The trope of her being oblivious just does not work, and made quite a few parts rather cringy. As for Kiyotaka...it's hard to say. I wouldn't say he's oblivious to his feelings as well, he just holds back to the point where he comes across as oblivious. Either way, the "oblivious" romance trope does not work for these two. If anything, something like them acknowledging their own feelings but being too afraid (due to being hurt previously) would have worked much better and been more realistic. All in all, it's fairly cute for a series...though it needs a sequel or something because it only scratches the surface (again, the latter half is more interesting than the first half). Mystery and romance fans might want to approach this one cautiously, but slice of life fans should find a relaxed little day-by-day in this series.
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