Psychic Detective Yakumo - Reviews

Alt title: Shinrei Tantei Yakumo

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cassiesheepgirl's avatar
Mar 28, 2011


Story

Throughout the course of the year, I often pick up series that I wouldn’t normally for the sole purpose of filling out the entry information here on Anime Planet. It’s an interesting experiment as I never know what I’m going to find. Occasionally I stumble across a real gem, sometimes I fall face first into a pile of donkey dung, but most series, like Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, leave me with a distinct feeling of “meh”.

Yakumo is a young man with a mysterious red eye that allows him to see and communicate with the dead. Despite being aloof and disinterested, he takes on various paranormal cases and uses his talents to solve mysteries, bringing wrongdoers to justice. However, the supernatural detective soon finds himself the target of a sinister duo that plan to fill his heart with hatred and despair. Along with his new acquaintance, Haruka, and police inspector Gotou, Yakumo attempts to discover the pair’s nefarious scheme and put a stop to their evildoings.

The opening episodes do little more that set the scene and appease the monster-of-the-week gods. At this point the series awkwardly tacks on hints of an ongoing conspiracy. While they raise hopes for the direction of the plot, these ham-fisted attempts feel more like a desperate bid for the viewer’s attention. Thankfully, this subsides quickly; the central narrative becomes more prevalent over time and is in full swing by the mid-section. Unfortunately, the promised “plotline” turns out to be more like hyping up the new roller coaster at a local theme park, only to arrive and find that it’s closed for maintenance; it’s there but isn’t worth the anticipation.

Split into smaller arcs, each depicting the next stage in the investigation, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo uses each twist and turn to keep the pace up. However, as with any segmented show, certain plotlines are bound to be more engaging than others. Without a doubt, the piece focusing on Yakumo’s past is the strongest of the anime. With plenty of intrigue, supernatural mystery and a definite sense of danger, this section comes to a satisfying climax. Regrettably, the main and final arc fails to live up to its predecessor and the series finale goes out with more of a mumble that a resounding bang.


Animation

When it comes to creating any animation, the size of the budget is vital to the overall quality. Therefore, I can only deduce (and hope) that Shinrei Tantei Yakumo didn’t have much to work with. With awkward posturing and a lack of consistently fluid movement the series disappoints – especially considering this is a 2010 anime, and many of the classic shorts from the 1930s demonstrate smoother and more impressive motion for the time.

That being said, the series does utilise some well-drawn props and backgrounds. Small details such as the markings and lock mechanism on an SD memory card and added textures to natural surroundings make the Shinrei Tantei Yakumo universe more realistic and greatly enhance its visuals.


Sound

Shinrei Tantei Yakumo’s soundtrack is unforgivably cheesy. Electronic beats during investigative sequences and the occasional electric guitar riff for “maximum impactz!11” meld with corny piano or orchestral tunes for the quieter moments between Yakumo and Haruka. Not only do the songs fail to impress on a basic level, but at times they feel misplaced within the scene. Often tracks accompanying mundane actions are too dramatic for what’s occurring onscreen – and that someone decided that ninety percent of the anime should have some supplementary melody, makes the incidental music all the more intrusive. All together, the anime’s score sounds like a low-budget straight-to-video crime thriller from the nineties, as if someone went to the store cupboard of stock background music and grabbed anything with the word “suspense” scribbled on it.

The show’s voice cast is average. From Isshin’s soft and kind inflections to Gotou’s gruff mannerisms, each seiyuu does a reasonable job of injecting emotion into their character – or completely avoiding it in the case of Yakumo.


Characters

The combination of a gifted yet sultry and antisocial protagonist with the irritatingly “nice” and interfering do-gooder female attempting to melt his icy exterior has been done to death. As much as I’d like to say that Shinrei Tantei Yakumo revitalises this tired convention by putting a fresh spin on it, it doesn’t. Instead it’s taken this stereotype, dusted off the cobwebs and flogged it for thirteen episodes in the hopes that we’ll find this worthwhile viewing. Even Bleach’s attempt at getting big-bosomed bint Orihime to pierce through Ulquiorra’s cold and stoic shell is more engaging – and when Tite Kubo outperforms you, your plot device must be woefully dull.

Luckily, it’s not all bad: while Gotou doesn’t stray far from the laid-back yet determined cop with distaste for authority, he proves much more interesting to watch than his co-stars. His rough and ready nature, argumentative streak and varied interactions with those around him make the determined detective inherently likeable and ultimately all the more endearing.


Overall

Riddled with an inconsistent plot, lacklustre animation and a corny soundtrack, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo never quite manages to engage the audience. With an intriguing premise I wanted to be glued to the screen, yet somehow flicking to the next episode became a chore.

5.5/10 story
5.5/10 animation
4/10 sound
4/10 characters
4.9/10 overall
NoCheerios's avatar
Dec 24, 2010

This show is about a high school student named Yakumo who has the ability to see spirits with his left red eye and sometimes communicate with them(not a super original premise, but highly entertaining nontheless). He spends his spare time tricking kids out of their money with fake card tricks, or just sleeping about. But, once in a while, he'll take a spirit associated police case that has piqued his interest. But with his troubled family past and issues with humanity, will Yakumo ever be able to live a normal life?

Story: (9/10)

While not an entirely original premise, they definitely utilized it to it's full potential, much more effectively than many other similar shows. The story basically has everything a good anime needs: A complex main character with a troubled background, a helpful and insightful love interest, a devoted detective, and ghosts. Really, that's all they needed here, but they added even more into the mix to give it an added level of depth and enjoyability.

Yakumo's disturbed background piqued my interest in him, and also apparently the interest of those around him. But the best part isn't when they discuss Yakumo, but when Yakumo discusses with the accused how he knows that they are guilty. With pounds of accurate speculation, Yakumo presents his inner monologue better than even Yagami Light of Death Note.

He solves murders, abductions, and even poltergheist possesion, making for an interesting watch.

Animation: (9/10)

What can I say, it suits the series. It's dark and forboding when it's supposed to be, and bright and happy when it's supposed to be. Also, although not littered with fight scenes, when they pop up in Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, it looks damn realistic. The character designs aren't the most original I've ever seen, but I suppose that look best suits their personalities.

When it comes to animation, this show did it right.

Sound: (9/10)

To be honest, the opening theme represents the show so well I was actually considering making this review simply a link to it on YouTube or something. The opening theme is truly fitting, and the ending just as much so. The voice acting was just as it should be to match the theme of the show, and the background noise/music was never out of place.

Once again, a 2010 show did animation and sound well.

Characters: (9.5/10)

Although sometimes the main love interest (Haruka) can be absent minded occasionally, every other character plays their role perfectly.

Both of Yakumo's parents are dead, and he has always been shunned or even beaten up due to his red left eye(seriously, what's with the heavy discrimination against physical features in Japan?!).

Later you find out that Yakumo and Haruka's past goes back further then either of them thought, giving their relationship and added level of depth.

What I absolutely love about their relationship though is that there is no stupid blushing, and the girl is simply trying to help the guy, which is a refreshing change of pace seeing as most anime series these days have the protagonist being an emotionally immature nitwit who freaks out at the sight of anything related to women.

In this show, Yakumo doesn't express any feelings for her at all, and instead simply allows her to tag along, while she is trying to help him in dealing with his troubled past. It's obvious they are concerned about eachother and harbor feelings, but the best part is that it's successfully conveyed without either character being awkward or embarassed in any way.

The supporting characters also offer comic relief and intel on future missions, as well as being occasionally super adorable(I just wanna give his deaf little cousin a hug for being so cute <3).

Once again, job well done Yakumo.

Overall: (9/10)

This show, while it may get dull for 7 or 8 minutes at a time, will entertain you thorougly and will definitely be a show to look back on with a smile.

9/10 story
9/10 animation
9/10 sound
9.5/10 characters
9/10 overall
mdchan's avatar
Jan 4, 2020

Mediocre.

If I had to describe this anime in a single word, that would be it.

There are also many glaring issues and plot problems which legit had me muttering at the screen for how stupid everyone was and "why didn't the police do such-and-such".  I trudged through it for answers, but I feel like though this anime had potential, it's honestly just a waste of time.

Plot

When one of her friends winds up in the hospital due to a suspected haunting/possession, Haruka Ozawa asks for the help of Yakumo Saito who is rumored to be involved with supernatural things from small hauntings to even helping the police due to his ability to see ghosts.

This leads to Haruka visiting with him more often, and also getting involved with strange cases from a serial killer trying to bring his daughter back to life to being the target of a mysterious couple who try to use her to "send Yakumo into darkness".

Characters

Bland, cardboard cut-outs with little character growth.  Yakumo shows some subtle character growth by the end, and another cop is forced into a situation which allows his character to grow, but pretty much everyone else remains the same.

Haruka Ozawa is a second year college student who is the "eternal optimist" sort (though thankfully not in an annoying way).  Unfortunately, she lacks overall character and often comes across as being "plain" and "air-headed".  She does have a couple moments where she shows a greater ability for logic, but most of the time she's just there to counter-balance Yakumo's attitude.

Yakumo Saito was born with heterochromia, and his red eye allows him to see spirits.  He's had no end of problems due to not only his ability, but his "odd-eyes".  Although he has an intellect and logical ability which can surpass great detectives, he is uninterested in the world, sarcastic, blunt, and sometimes borderline cruel.

There are other characters, but I really don't want to waste time listing every single stereotypical cardboard cutout of a character here.  Not to mention that the major antagonists go unnamed for at least eight or nine episodes...out of 13 episodes.  Despite the fact that we see them as early as episode one.

Yea.  If that's not telling about the characters, I'm not sure how to spell it out more.

Sound and Animation

I do not care for the music at all.  The opening song doesn't match the tone and atmosphere of the anime and is honestly just obnoxious.  Much of the BGM is too loud and often jarring in situations which aren't jarring at all (if it was an attempt at cognitive dissonance to make the audience feel creeped out, it failed).  The voice acting was as plain as the characters; while I liked that this isn't an anime where people wind up screaming at the top of their lungs, a little more emotion in certain scenes would have been nice to have.

Granted, I can't put full blame on the VAs (saw it in Japanese), because they're probably doing their best to bring the cardboard cutouts of the characters to "life".

As for the animation...no real complaints.  It's not an "action" sort of series, and focuses a lot more on the investigation.  Thus, there are a lot of moments of dialogue or the characters investigating an area.  When there are action scenes, the animation actually thrives (especially when characters become possessed, as it brings out an eerie vibe).

However, some of the action feels a bit "contrived".

Overall

Just...don't.  I mean, if you're bored or like bad anime (or anime train wrecks as the producers try to poorly force feels into situations), then by all means watch it.

However, the entire thing felt very rushed and it often felt like pieces of information were missing (rather than intentionally being left out).  The cases are super easy to solve, so not much is required of the viewer. 

The characters are hard to get into due to them feeling like cardboard stereotypes (with my favorite character of the entire series being the pathologist because it feels like he's the only one who actually has freaking character), and between that and the rushed feeling, emotional scenes weren't as emotional as they should have been.

We also never gain any insight into what Yakumo is thinking (we never hear his thoughts; a direct opposite to Detective Conan where the viewer knows Conan's thought process as he investigates so that there won't be periods of silence as he thinks...unlike this anime which is filled with those silent pauses as Yakumo deduces).

The premise starts out fairly well, but then the overall plot just...is bad.  I'm sorry (not sorry), but it's bad.  It feels forced and contrived (and rushed...I mentioned rushed, right?).

After one serial murder case, I was left completely dumbfounded by the sheer stupidity of these characters because though they found the main killer, the ones who egged him on weren't even mentioned.  They were caught in a photo, were mentioned, were seen by the killer and aided him, but for some reason that information never came up (honestly, all someone had to do was ask the serial killer "what prompted you", and the killer most likely would have talked).

So, for another few episodes, the antagonists were left completely untouched; not even a wanted listing or anything despite there being an actual photograph of them next to the killer.  Yet for some reason, that was completely ignored so that the plot could continue to have them continue to roam free and perpetuate the next set of events.

Lather, rinse, repeat, until the moronoic protagonists finally put them on a wanted list.

This part probably bugged me the most out of everything else in the anime, and since it all occurred so early on in the series, it actually ruined the rest of it.  I kept waiting for them to give some sort of reasonable explanation as to why the other culprits of the serial killer case weren't mentioned or searched for, but it never came.

The plot conveniently had all the characters forget that the ones pulling the strings even existed just so they could continue to move around in the background.

That is NOT okay.

Honestly, if you want anime which often has a mysterious vibe and deals with the supernatural, you're better off with something like Death Note or Natsume Yuujinchou (or Ghost Hunt).  Even Ghost Stories, for how cringy it was, would be a better watch than this.

Heck, I'd even recommend Trickster over this anime...and I didn't give Trickster a very high rating either.  That's how bad this anime is.

2/10 story
5.5/10 animation
4/10 sound
1/10 characters
2/10 overall
NeverFroze's avatar
Mar 18, 2012

I watched Shinrei Tantei Yakumo out of looking for something similar to Un-Go, the only thing similar about them is the detective part, but the themes are entirely different.

Some light spoilers may follow.

Story (8.5)

The premise of this story is simple, special boy with special powers solves people's problems. The first few episodes are clearly for setting-up purposes, with the classic boy-meets-girl-solves-her-problems-and-they-become-"close" sort of thing to the episodic solve this and that problem of other people. It's quite formulaic at first and I would presume many people by the third episode would throw their hands in the air and give up.

Don't.

It picks up the pace soon enough. While our titular bishounen-character Yakumo quickly resolves some cases, another case is brewing behind the scenes which, as the viewers should expect, comes around to punch some life into the series, which it does, successfully and manages to conjure a good amount of interest in me for me to carry on and marathon it.

The themes Shinrei Tantei Yakumo deals with are quite dark, starting from coming to terms with one's anger and despair or being swallowed up by it. While there are no overtly violent or sexual scenes, certain instances of terrible things are alluded to and/or shown off-screen. In contrast though, the story also manages to lightly relay a handful of enlightened insights, which did not really come off as heavy handed and did not fail to make me appreciate the whole series in general.

I would note that there are certain scenes that are quite subtle and relays to the viewers certain scenarios that wouldn't have fit into the whole story, such as the case of the Detective and his wife, whose infertile, which was hinted at by some magazines. The fact that it bothered the Detective was only revealed in another scene where he sits in a playground watching children play. I realized that nearly all of the main characters were quite well-thought out and accounted for. It's got a lot of heart, so to say.

It is important also to note that despite this being a rather supernatural story, the detective-themes somehow managed not to get buried underneath the main storyline too much. I somehow forgot that this was a detective story at least twice through the series, which the show then reminded me of such a fact, also twice.

Animation (7)

The animation is solid. It's not stunning but it's not entirely lackluster either. There are certain shots that felt like it could have been animated better. Still, it's shortcomings do not distract from the story. The animation is dark when it befits the mood and light when it does so, which is appropriate and leaves me without much to complain about.

Sound (7)

I did not notice the soundtrack at all, save for the opera-singing which thankfully enough was sparingly used and appropriate. As the background music is not prominent, it's safe to say that it does not entirely impede upon the viewer experience nor does it enhance it much either.

Characters (8.5)

I can certainly see why people would be put-off by Shirei Tantei Yakumo's characters. I certainly felt this way early on when I felt that Yakumo was just another angsty boy and his girlfriend Haruka was just another pure-hearted bimbo.

Give them a chance.

Like any good character, Yakumo does have his reasons for acting this way. For one, it is probably a given that he's given a lot of shit for having a creepy red left eye which does tend to make an anti-social bastard out of anyone. Other reasons for his behavior are revealed as the story progresses and his behavior is consistent throughout the series. It is worth noting there is a subtle amount of personality growth as well, which is a d'aww moment for me and convinces me that Yakumo is a solid character.

Haruka on the other hand, as at first, quite annoying. She has these moments of airheadedness that puts her into various situations, but as the series progressed, so did her likability. Her motives and drive explain her lack of judgement in some cases and the fact that she seems to genuinely care for Yakumo and acts accordingly. Still, there are times when she does seem quite helpful to Yakumo, which makes me forgive her and even like her a lot.

The other characters of course, such as Detective Gotou, Uncle Isshin, Ishii the rookie are all quite well thought-out and presented as well. Each character is integral to the story in general, which just makes everything better and come-off as well-rounded.

Overall

Despite shortcomings and the weak start, Shirei Tantei Yakumo is a solid and enjoyable. The story has clearly been thought over towards the end, complete with mysteries and such. The ending is well-done and satisfying, something I believe is quite commendable for a short series with a novel and manga that's still ongoing. Go watch it.

8.5/10 story
7/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
8.5/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
casandra29's avatar
Nov 27, 2017

Shinrei Tantei Yakumo is a great anime to watch if you enjoy supernatural detective or ghost story anime. It's also great if you enjoy anime with innocent romantic relationships and deep yet beautiful character development in both sweet and disturbing ways. The opening music compliments the themes and feel of the anime perfectly. So, overall, it's definitely worth the watch.

I ran into this anime because I was looking for more like Ghost Hunt, and this one is definitely alike when it comes to surface-level similarities. However, it would be a mistake to think that if you have seen Ghost Hunt you shouldn't check this one out, whether you liked Ghost Hunt or not, this anime is still well worth the watch. This anime is actually Ghost Hunt's superior in some ways. The only things that are perhaps lacking in Shinrei Tantei Yakumo the anime in comparison to Ghost Hunt the anime are the level of suspense, creepiness, and depth of the story. 

Story:

Shinrei Tantei Yakumo follows a young woman who meets a loner type of young man named Yakumo. He has a complicated past and was born with a red eye. He is purposely abrasive towards the female lead and others who draw close to him. He seems apathetic and like an unwilling participant in his own life and the cases he is involved with at least in the beginning. The young woman and the few people he is close to that haven't been chased away by his purposefully rude demeanor come to him with cases in which only he can help. His red eye has the special ability to be able to see and communicate with the dead. His past is sad and complicated. The characters struggle through cases that have them slowly mature as people and draw closer to each other. 

The story is what I gave the lowest score and for good reason. This is the type of anime in which the story is not really the main focus. Instead of the characters being created for the sake of a good story, it almost seems like this anime's story was created to surround and compliment exceptional characters and to help with their personal struggles and development. As someone who always appreciates exceptional character depth and development, this was perfectly fine with me. However, if you go into this anime with high hopes for the story itself I'm afraid you may come away from it realizing rightly, that the story lags behind all the other, much better, components of this anime.

Animation:

The animation in Shinrei Tantei Yakumo was done well. I am partial to this type of animation instead of the types many new anime are using such as Berserk 2016/17 and Ajin. Though, I can understand how anime with many intense action scenes may find it easier to use the other type. My favorite things about the animation in this anime are how the small things are caught and animated so well. For example the small movements of the characters bodies. Capturing body language and emotions well through animation. That is why I ended up giving the animation a 9.

Sound:

This Anime does a really good job with sound effects, musical background and the opening song sets the mood well. The voice actors all did a really great job fitting their characters and the emotions during each interaction as well (I'm speaking of the Japanese sub, I am not sure if there is a dub version. If there is I cannot speak to the voice actors in that version). I was not as big of a fan of the closing song, but I do think it fits well with the anime. So I think that overall they did exceptionally well in the sound department. 

Characters:

As I had briefly said previously, the Characters are really what make this anime Shine. In Ghost Hunt, the female lead is so annoying that she can be difficult to listen to and she is not the only character who is lacking in Ghost Hunt. However, in this anime, the female lead is very cute. She may be naive about some things, but she is not annoying or constantly putting her foot in her mouth in ways that make me want to turn the anime off. All the characters really grow and mature as people throughout the story. Honestly, I am a very opinionated person when it comes to anything I enjoy and I tend to harp on characters often. Especially the faults of female characters, but for once I have absolutely nothing to harp on in terms of characters and their development. Everything was created and performed superbly when it comes to the characters. 

Overall:

Overall, I struggled between giving this anime a 9 and a 9.5. I settled on a 9 because the story itself didn't live up to the rest of the components of the anime. That being said, the anime doesn't suffer because of this. It is still truly worth checking out. Give it a try, I highly doubt you'll be disappointed.

7/10 story
9/10 animation
9.5/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall