A while ago, I heard about the series "Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro", with Takehito Koyasu, one of my favourite seiyuu's, voicing the main character. I told myself I had to watch this series, even if it was bad - after all, I was still able to fangirl about his voice. Now I've finished the anime, I must admit, it was actually really fun and enjoyable.
STORY - 6
When Yako Katsuragi's father is found dead in his locked room, the police calls it a suicide, but Yako herself is convinced it was murder. When she meets Demon Detective Neuro, who came to the earth to solve and "eat" mysteries, she believes that he can help her solve the case of her dad.
A Demon Detective who eats mystery? Isn't that a little far fetched? Hmm.... a little. But you'll get used to it.
It takes a while before this plot really develops. The first, like, 15 episodes, all the episodes are typical detective episodes; a murder, serveral suspects, Neuro finds the culprit, the culprit turns into a monster (alright, that's a little different from the typical) and Neuro... eats the mystery . Although the most of these episodes are really predictable (just look at the suspects: the one who looks the strangest is pretty much always the culprit, after all, they turn into monsters at the end) it is kinda fun to watch. Probably because of the comedy.
The story isn't one of the series greatest points, but if you like comedy and action, you will defenitely enjoy it. Don't watch it for the mystery though.
ANIMATION - 7
The animation of the series is fairly decent: the characters and background look good, and the movements are usually quite smooth. I did notice though that they often draw Neuro with 6 fingers instead of 5 (at first, I actually thought he had 6 fingers because he was a demon, but in the end I was mistaken: just animation-mistakes).
Another something that bothered me, was that the characters sometimes look really weird during comedic moments; for example, the eye-popping and over-the-top expressions (watch the OP, you'll already notice some of it). This is not neccesarily a bad point though, a lot of people seem to find the look of it funny
The animation of the battles with Sai really impressed me though. Wish there were more of them in the anime.
SOUND - 8
It doesn't happen often that I love both the OP and the ED. The opening single, called "Nightmare", is really catchy and got stuck in my head while I was only a few episodes into the series. The ending theme, "Kodoku no Hikari", I must admit, made me tear up when I listened to the full version after watching episode 10; a really beautiful but sad song, and even sadder when you know the "singer" is one of the characters.
The voice acting was very good too; Neuro is voiced by Takehito Koyasu (like I said in the beginning), Yako by Kana Ueda (never heard from her before, but I really liked her voice) and Godai by Hiroyuki Yoshino (a.k.a. Kimblee from FMA Brotherhood and Ox Ford from Soul Eater. I had to look that up - his voice sounds really different in this one)
There was one scene in the final episode of the anime *SPOILERS*, in which the voice-acting REALLY impressed me; the scene where Sai (voiced by Romi Park, a.k.a. Edward Elric) loses his memory again. There was so much emotion putted into it, it almost teared me up.
CHARACTERS - 7.5
Although the characters aren't much developed, they have really charming personalities; I loved all the main characters. Neuro is sadistic and even though he's often very serious, he can be really funny at times, Yako is very cute and Godai cracked me up too. Didn't feel much for Sai, but I loved his voice.
OVERALL - 7
A predictable, but very enjoyable series; that's how I would describe Majin Tantei Nougami
Neuro. Defenitely for people who love some good comedy.
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro is supposed to be a sort of horror/comedy/detective show, where a demon from hell decides to come to Earth to gain sustinance from solving mysteries. He immediately "befriends" (for a lack of better term) a human girl who's father had recently been murdered under mysterious circumstances.
The show was interesting for some of the episodes as the duo solved murders which used a variety of interesting ways to commit said crimes, though they invariably solved them via even shakier inductive reasoning than even Sherlock Holmes puts forth.
Then I got to episode 14 and Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro showed its true colors.
Not satisfied with being a mystery show with a little gore and magical horror in it, the series decided it needed to introduce some heavy handed racism. That's right kids, this show is made by a racist.
You should stop here if you want to avoid spoilers.
You see, the particular episode involves the duo solving a crime at a hot springs (as is obligatory in any 20+ episode series). In this particular case the murderer is an American who just happened to be studying abroad and decided he liked Japan enough to stay. Not satisfied with the killer simply being a foreigner and a white guy, the author/director/whoever was in charge of character design decided to portray the killer (in the victims fear induced state of mind) like this. Yes, that is a big nosed, knife wielding commando, with an American flag bandada and a hotdog bandolier.
Very subtle racism as you can see.
Not content with that however, the series decided to go one step further. When accused, the murderer immediately launched into a rant about international power and that he would sue for deformation of character. But wait... there's more. When confronted with the evidence against him, his nose grows an extra foot, he strips off his robe and pulls out a giant revolver ala Dirty Harry, from his pants (insert anti-gun rhetoric about penises and gun owners here). He says things like "I can't sleep without this" and "I was raised to not have a heart" and "If there are resources I have to take them for myself" parroting the typical international view of an ethnocentric, consumerist, United States. The show even went so far as to place the murderers justification in his killing as "She hurt my pride so killing her was self-defense". After beating the murderer, the show goes so far as to have the demon Neuro rub natto in his face (as the killer previously stated that he hated natto) proverbially kicking the guy when he was down.
I wish I was making this up.
End of spoilers
You know, when it comes to making reviews, a person is supposed to be objective in their criticisms. That's because we're supposed to expect professionalism out of those who produce film, literature, and art. But there are right and wrong ways to handle subject matter and that is what differentiates exploring a subject such as racism, and comitting racism. When handled properly, the subject matter is presented in such a way that makes you think about it, forces you to analyse the reasons behind it. That's the intent of examining something.
That intent is absolutely absent in this case and instead presents nothing but a dispicable characture that robs the series of any value it might have otherwise put forward. It is offensive, not as a US citizen, but as a human being. I wouldn't stand for any other nation or race being mocked in such a manner and to see it done here and in such a way, is nothing more than contemptable.
If you wish to watch this show, I reccomend against it.
This anime is not really easy to describe. At first you might think that it's just poor man's detective Conan, but I would describe it as a mix of Conan and Soul Eater.
I started watching this anime by an accident, because i really liked the opening by Nightmare, the ending is boring though. The soundtrack is full of great and memorable tracks, but voice acting doesn't stand out except Neuro's. Now the animation seems weird and out of place at times, it's above average.
Yako Katsuragi is a generic and useless main character and the only interesting thing about her is her appetite which puts Luffy, Lina Inverse and Chouji to shame.
Now Neuro, that's some really awesome character, I already mentioned his voice and laughs, (he has the same VA as Excalibur!) but the best thing is that he's a sadistic psycho demon who eats people's souls full of mysteries and has over 777 awesome demonic weapons. Seriously, he's just a badass and rises my overall score by at least 2 points. Shinobu Godai is just an assistant who gets angry very quckly and drinks lot of beer. And Akane-chan? That's the weirdest anime character I've ever seen, she's just a ponytail!
Eishi Sasazuka is a slightly apathetic but really cool and smart character and his assistant Jun Ishigaki is like a dumber copy of Matsuda from Death Note and then there's Yuuya Higuchi, a genius hacker who plays more important role in one later story arc.
And the main villain is the "Phantom Thief" Sai who in fact, DOESN'T steal, but murders people and puts them in a red box, he's a fairly decent villain, but he'is nothing compared to Neuro.
Other than them, most characters don't appear for longer than one episode or Arc, so I won't bother with describing them.
The bad parts are the story. The story is weak and episodic and is set into mysteries where the culprit is alway obvious from the beginning. But because of simplicity there are a few plot holes. The first episodes may be a pain to watch, so if you take this as a mystery show it sucks (go watch Conan or even CSI instead), BUT as a shounen, it easily stands out among other fighting anime because it tries to be different and when it gets less episodic in the end it even becomes slightly exciting, even though the conclusion is open. There are also some really funny slapstick moments. Overall it is fun if you don't care about bad mysteries and don't take it too seriously.
So should you watch it? Only if you're into shounen with some mysteries, otherwise you'll get bored.
How can I begin to explain this wonderful, horribad, hot mess that is Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro to you--and why you really ought to give it a chance? I've no idea. Maybe it's personal taste. Maybe, after months of desperately searching for an anime series to fill the flap-gaping hole of quality my ancient soul desires, I've finally lowered my standards and let my hair down. Relax a little. Give something less than perfect a try. Chances are, that's not it though and I'll try my best to explain what appealed to me about Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro. First, let's talk about the story.
To be frank, the story is muddled with and hidden by quickly hashed together episodic stories that come across as rushed deals just to pad the series up to its 25 episodes. Each episode generally dishes us some hilariously bad mystery which desperately needs to be solved by Neuro and his pretty-much-useless side kick, Yako. At one point, the series introduces a minor, reaccuring character in the first few episodes simply for plot reasoning, and later on completely drops the character for no apparent reason that I can see. Other than, "KK THNX U DID UR JOB BAI OUT U GO!!!!" type of laziness. I like to call it the Magical Disappearing character. There you see them explaining or pushing the main character toward the plot aaaaand, oops, 3-8 episodes in there you see them NEVER. AGAIN. EVER.
A young, and I mean much, much, much younger audience will no doubt actually enjoy the single episodes and their moral of the story sort of endings that wraps everything up in a pretty little bow with as much hurried lackluster--"guys this could have been a great story but we need to wrap this up in 20 minutes so can we cue the expected ending and all have lunch?" sort of deal.
There were moments in the story where I felt my eyebrows attempt to escape my head and fell into a heap of disbelieving oh my god, is that supposed to be scary? gigglesnorts. And yet--and yet, I found myself watching another episode. Another. And another. And yet another because there were flashes, brief, beautiful snippets of the main story which were like flakes of gold dust on an otherwise botched, half-burnt cake.
There is something exceptionally great in the very subtle approach to the story of how the characters came to be and how the main characters are learning about one another that makes all the gigglesnorting ridiculousness + "ha ha we r so funny," mediocre comedy of the episodes worth wading through. Almost. In short: Character relationships? Good. I wanted more.
Bad: Sadly, the ending was like a b***h slap by a giant tuna. It did not make sense, left a whole lot of head scratchin' behind, giant plot holes and a funny smell behind. The story sort of went on its own the last episode explaining abso-lutely-nothing. But hey! Shiny colors!
The animation is a cross between the usual water-colored backgrounds I have come to know and love with anime and horrific laziness with character design. Exceptional painting of buildings and settings that I envy artistically are strewn through-out the series. These are mingled with some terribly sloppy character designs. Even though some of the backgrounds may be recycled, I end up feeling like laziness or maybe even budget restraints come into play when we're looking at the way main and minor characters are drawn.
Too many noodly appendages without any spaghetti. Too many odd shots where characters are suddenly stretched unbelievably so and appear to be draped over some sort of warped fish eye. But. There is some effort to make the major characters seem unique. There are a few ticks to the main characters that make them amusing and far more unique than the paper cardboard cut-outs around them. In short: It's not drawn by a four year old in mid sugar induced space-time-warp. It's not drawn exceptionally well, either. It's okay. Okay enough not to want to stab your own eyes out with sporks. That's a plus for me.
Honestly, general sound effects are what I expected. The voice actors are a little on the cliche side but so is the story and the characters themselves. This anime seriously got this mark because of the opening song. It grew on me. Like a delightful little speck of algae on a pretty rock, I couldn't quite make myself dislike it. And the more I listened to it with each episode's beginning, the more I enjoyed it. Especially the change of tempo in midsong. Nifty.
This is where the anime snuck up behind me and buried a meat-hook of ooooo, shiny in my gnarled, twisted, must have epic story and art anime soul. To be blunt, all the other characters outside of the two main were wasted spaces: an annoyance I tolerated so that I could have more moments between Neuro and Yako.
On the surface you could easily think that Neuro absolutely despised Yakuo and was pretty much out to crush her spirit and soul into itty bitty weepy pie....Okay, I'll be honest again: I kinda wished he would. Because in the beginning and for the majority of the series, Yako appears to be the most useless speck of lint. She has her uses and her places (which I won't discuss so as to spoil it for you) but past that, for the first six or seven episodes I began to despair if she was just going to be the typical female lead--tripping over her own shoes and looking soooooo cute and helpless in her itty bitty school gurrrrl skirt, traipsing along behind the ooooh so big strong male lead!
And on the surface, it really looks like this might be the case.
But as I continued watching, I realized the relationship between Neuro and Yako was far more than that. Inspite of his obvious nature, through the series he pushes Yako toward developing herself, shoving her into situations that force her to think fast and deal with what comes. Most of the time, Yako seemed to be there to make up for what Neuro obviously lacks....But occasionally Yako's mental light bulb clicks on and we see an interesting dynamic between the two. That, right there--the last line you just read--is precisely what kept me watching the anime from beginning to end. I have this weakness I guess, for subtle, delightful character relationships. It is indeed, my kryptonite.
Without spoiling the series, however, I will say they entirely undermine all that they were trying to portray in the Yako/Neuro relationship by ending the series they way they chose to.
Its really up to you to come away with your own conclusion when it comes to this series. I liked it, but in the same reason why I can't really look away from a horrific car/train/airplane crash, or like how I can't explain to my husband why I still secretly enjoy watching General Hospital.
I really do have to recommend that you take the time to watch a few scenes of it on youtube or read up on Wiki first before deciding to purchase and watch. Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro is, like a strange and unique exoticly lame and weird food-- an aquired taste. It's not red wine and caviar of the anime world but more like the 5 guys burger with spicey fries: a guilty but delicious pleasure.
OK so, the first thing that struck me while watching this was the sound of the voice acting. The acting itself is ok but the quality is kind of bad. You can almost hear the echo in the background as they talk which is weird. The show is a few years old so I wasn't surprised by the animation quality. I also quite liked the character designs.
There were a lot of scenes/lines I found...cringeworthy. It's like the anime is trying to hard to be iconic with iconic lines, if that makes sense. The way neuro says "the mystery is at the tip of my tongue" or whatever is just eh, he says it every episode and it doesn't even sound cool. I have no complaints about Yako, she's adorable (it is weird that everyone ships her with Neuro though considering she's what, 16?)
One thing I also found odd was the murder mysteries that they solve. You would think it would be a simple "The killer did this and this simple thing to commit this murder" but in the end the way they do it is just outlandish. Using a frozen tomato to hold up a dead body so that he looks alive? Who the fuck thinks of these things?
Of course I haven't completely finished this show so I can't give an opinion on the ending yet.