Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation

Alt title: Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho

TV (12 eps)
3.375 out of 5 from 1,006 votes
Rank #8,943

Are you a victim of unwanted spirit possession? Is there a ghost you need sent up and away... or down to burn for all eternity? If the answer is yes, then you need Muhyo and Roji, experts in magic law. Serving justice to evil spirits is their specialty.

Source: Viz

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After taking a small break from the supernatural genre, I resumed my search for good supernatural anime (but ones which weren't too gruesome or gory). Though this does have a little bit of an "eww" factor at times, it's still at a managable level as the animation doesn't show things like the ripped off faces of victims (thank goodness). However, while the anime isn't bad, I can't say it's that great, either.  There are rumors that the manga got axed, so who knows what will become of the upcoming second season of this. -- Story In modern-day Japan, there is a detective agency dealing with the supernatural run by the executor Muhyo and his assistant, Roji.  Though most of their clients are skeptical at first, or some just downright not believing in ghosts until something happens they can't explain, the two (or, more like the genius Muhyo) still take the day to day jobs...until one job springs up from an old friend of Muhyo's which turns into something much larger. Honestly, the daily cases were more interesting than the cliched and predictable overarching plot.  Though aforementioned plot starts to show up as early as the fourth episode, the antagonist is rather boring even for someone who is insane, and as of episode 12 went unresolved.  4/10 -- Characters The characters are...underwhelming and feel like cardboard cutouts for most of the series.  I had trouble "getting behind" any of them, though eventually started to get behind Roji...and even he was a tad annoying up until the final 4-5 episodes when a character in this show finally started to show some development. Muhyo is a midget who might look like kid, but he's an adult.  His likes aren't defined very well, and though it's obvious he hates physical activity the rest is also not really shown.  His personality is...well, he's dedicated to his job, at least.  He does have a heart, but at times can come across as rather cruel and blunt as he doesn't hold back in his opinions (or when he sentences the spirits). Roji is probably the only reason you might watch this past the first few episodes, because he is one of the few of the cast who actually has a personality.  Yes, that personality makes the viewer scratch their head for at least half the series, asking "why is this guy working with a genius like Muhyo?", but certainly his normal reactions to the abnormal balances out Muhyo's poker faced attitude. There are supporting characters who show up a couple times; Kenji is an obnoxious kid who at first doesn't believe in spirits, and Nana is a headstrong wanna-be photographer who is almost constantly upbeat and starts to follow Muhyo and Roji around on jobs...and mostly just winds up needing to be saved. The antagonist is predictable and is the cliched "wronged by this organization so wanted more power and is now insane" sort; as cookie-cutter as you can get, really. Things start to get more interesting starting at around episode 7 as a couple more interesting characters are introduced (such as Rio and Bico), and Roji becomes the first character to start showing some actual development (yes, it took about 8 episodes of a 12 episode cour for that to happen). The only reason I kept watching was for Roji, to be honest (and to see how it'll be resolved).  The plot didn't do much for me, and all the other characters were stereotypical and predictable.  Even one character who had potential gave me a sense of "I don't trust them" right off the bat.  Probably the weakest is the characters; 2/10 -- Sound and Animation Almost no complaints on the animation.  People who are fans of more blood and gore probably would wish that they showed things like the faces one ghost ripped off the victims, but I'm perfectly fine with the animators working around it in a way where it wasn't shown but still managed to build tension and evoke a sense of horror. The spirits were drawn creepily and a couple even freaked me out even though I knew what was coming due to the patterns being shown.  The use of lighting also helped, and even incidents which occurred during the day still managed to stay eerie due to the way the animators handled it. The only nitpick are occasions where the characters seemed either too "still", and an occasional mishap in proportions (barely even noticeable, to be honest). The way the characters look might take some getting used to, but I've honestly seen weirder so it didn't take me long to adjust; 9/10 I was not a fan of the ending song, but the opening song is just the right amount of eerily setting the mood and showing off the characters as it should.  The BGM helped the mood when things started to get freaky (especially in the last 6-7 episodes) and was on point.  The voice acting was great and breathed some life into the cardboard cutouts serving as characters. The sound is solid and does its job well; no nitpicks.  10/10 -- Overall The anime left me wanting more, though now that I've had some time to think...I don't know if I'll watch the second season; I don't want to see more because it was "that good", I want to see more for an actual ending. I hate how this season left off; it was unsatisfactory, nothing was resolved, and it felt more like a buildup in a 24 episodes series than solid storytelling in a 12 episode cour. Not the first time I've seen cours do this, and I'm sure it won't be the last...but that's no excuse.  Even if there had been an anime-only fight the last couple episodes (which sometimes happens with cours which can't wrap things up by the final episode), it would have been more satisfying than this "ending which isn't an ending but a 'to be continued'". Rumors of the manga being axed makes matters worse in that who knows what we'll get in the second season (I haven't read the manga, so I don't know where it's at). In the end, this was interesting...but I had wanted more out of it.  I kept watching, hoping that it would get better. Certainly, Koji finally started to show some character growth...and Bico's character opened up the door to another character who wasn't a cardboard cutout...but it was too little, too late. Even the explanations went by so quickly that I sometimes had to pause the video or even go back and re-read the subtitles to make sure I was understanding what they were explaining in their world. That said, the worldbuilding was just fine; at least this defined the setting and how this series views and handles the supernatural creatures.  There's still a lot we don't know (as per how it "ended"), but we at least learn some of the rules of the world. But learning the rules and the start of some character growth 3/4 of the way into the series can't make up for how unsatisfying it was by episode 12.  I was left disappointed and again, wanting more.  I didn't want more because it was particularly good, but because it really wasn't an "ending". When I got to episode 11 and finished it, I was scratching my head wondering how they were possibly going to wrap up everything in one episode. Short answer:  They didn't. Rather, they introduced even more to it, adding on the layers of everything still being unresolved. not okay. And aside from that, there are so many better anime out there in the supernatural genre.  It's not as heartfelt as Natsume Yuujinchou, not as good with its characters as Shaman King, plot not comparing to Noragami, and not even as creepy as the Blood-Soaked Maze arc of Ghost Hunt.  It's just mediocre at best; not the worst, but not great.  It's entertaining (and the prison episodes were creepy), but it's missing substance. The ending not really being an "ending" hurts this anime more than its one-dimensional (and often annoying) characters, and just as how Koji can't carry this anime, the animators and voice actors/music composers can't fully carry it as it really needs more characters and story for that.  Average with an unfullfilling final episode, I can't give it higher than a 5/10.

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