Woodpecker Detective's Office

Alt title: Kitsutsuki Tantei-Dokoro

TV (12 eps)
3.071 out of 5 from 612 votes
Rank #14,253

It is the end of the Meiji Era. The genius poet Ishikawa Takuboku, who’s struggling financially, starts a detective business out of his lodging in response to a certain murder case. He calls it the Woodpecker Detective’s Office. "The ghosts of the Twelve-Story Tower in Asakusa," "the man-eating figure who wanders the streets on snowy nights"... Takuboku involves himself in one bizarre case after another with his hometown acquaintance, Kindaichi Kyosuke, as his assistant.

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Ahh...a lukewarm tale about an unhealthy friendship, societal problems, and unsatisfactory conclusions with a dose of murder here and there to keep the viewer interested. -- Story Jump into the Meiji Restoration era of Japan and follow the story of Ishikawa as he completely takes advantage of his "friend" Kindaichi; from setting him up as a murderer to constantly borrowing money just to spend in the red light district as he struggles to pay his own rent in the lodging/bording house they live in. Along the way, the two (read as: Ishikawa) will solve murders, run afoul of society's problems and untouchable politicians, and randomly fall in love for one or two episodes while acting like a petulant child before finally going through a tiny smidgen of character growth near the conclusion. All jokes and sarcasm from me aside, after a while I wasn't sure exactly what sort of story this series was trying to tell.  It couldn't be a murder mystery because it sometimes left out important details (such as a motive in one case), it couldn't be a slice-of-life because none of the characters really showed any "growth", ect.  It's not until the final couple episodes that it finally reveals that the entire theme is "society's ills".  Poor set up, poor execution, and just... ...what the heck did I just watch, anyway?  3/10 -- Characters The bread and butter of a good anime is in a diverse cast of interesting characters who develop, learn from the mistakes they make, and grow. So of course, this anime fails to do so. First there is Ishikawa, who might even be a sociopath; who knows, really.  He doesn't give a crap about anyone he inconveniences, won't lift a finger if someone is about to kill themselves right in front of him (for real), and constantly manipulates his "friends" (especially Kindaichi) into lending him money or feeling sorry for him. Especially by the end of episode 3, most people will probably want to reach through their screens to punch him in the face. Then, there's Kindaichi who, for some reason I can't fathom, decides that he will always want to be friends with Ishikawa...even when the latter framed him for a murder he didn't commit.  He knows that Ishikawa is careless with the money he loans him (even after pawning off a bunch of literature for the other man to pay his rent with), but still gives him money anyway. Actually, the biggest mystery of the series is why the flippity heck Kindaichi remains friends with Ishikawa. The other characters add a bit of humor and color to the otherwise black and white world of Ishikawa being his usual egotistical genius self and Kindaichi being a bleeding heart of a pushover, with a couple names fans of Bungou Stray Dogs will recognize. Yet in the end, from the to main protagonists to the side characters (with the exception perhaps being a side character named Tarou, who is probably more interesting than the main cast) to even the "serial killer" antagonist (and other one-episode antagonists), all of the characters are about as interesting as watching paint dry. That said, I reiterate that most people will probably want to slug Ishikawa by the end of the third episode because of his behavior; even pacifists. The characters didn't really learn from any mistakes they made.  They didn't learn or grow, and the slight character development from Ishikawa felt forced on the romance side and half of it felt like nothing changed at all.  Because of the series giving me zero attachment to the characters, the emotional impact of the show was lost on me.  2/10 -- Animation and Sound Possibly the two only departments this anime doesn't destroy. The animation is fluid and very creatively finds ways to censor itself (like when it made sure the viewers wouldn't get an eyeful of boobs and, even though obvious, some misdirection as well in the angles).  The type of animated style is a bit strange for something labeled as "mystery" and containing violence, but since the focus of the show isn't actually murders and bodies and more of an attempt to be character driven while pointing out society's failures, it strangely works to capture the fleeting and almost surreal way the story is (attempted to be) told. The Animation was pretty much on point for what the series was trying to do, and though a bit odd at first, makes sense at the end.  7/10 The BGM didn't exactly floor me in tense moments, and never really instilled a sense of dread or even to help push the drama along.  It tried, but maybe it was because all but the main antagonist were predictable made it hard to be influenced by the soundtrack. That said, the voice actors did a great job of breathing life into the otherwise flat characters...or, well, attempted to.  The opening and ending songs are great, and make up for the rest. I want to give the sound higher marks mostly for the OP and ED songs...but I can't overlook the other flaws in it.  6/10 -- Overall Did I enjoy it? Not particularly. Would I watch it again? Absolutely not. By the end of episode 3, I nearly dropped it.  The only reason I kept watching was a hope that the two protagonists would grow as characters...and when that didn't happen, I only watched to find out about the "threatening letters" case which served as the overarching plot to the attempted dramatic mess the rest of it was. More than once, I found myself wondering why Kindaichi was still friends with Ishikawa. I mean, if my "friend" framed me for murder (for quite possibly the dumbest reason I've ever heard), I sure as heck wouldn't stay friends with them. So, why did Kindaichi stay with Ishikawa through it all? They might have tried to explain it at the end, but I still didn't understand the given reason.  It was an unhealthy, toxic relationship and felt more of someone who is abused constantly returning to the person abusing them because they have nowhere else to go. Even the supporting cast didn't really like Ishikawa as they recognized his deviant behavior, though they also speculated often on why the heck Kindaichi remained friends with someone like that. And it was that unhealthy relationship they had which made it hard to watch the anime.  It wasn't just the state of their toxic "friendship", but also unsatsifying ends to the mysteries. Even the "day to day" cases often left out pieces of information (one case left out an entire motive), others did a rush job to solve it, and then there was the fact that just as we think Kindaichi might be getting better as a "detective", he flounders like a fish out of water. It was like watching a Sherlock-Watson team up, but this Watson was a pushover incapable of using his own logic.  It doesn't take a genius to solve some of those cases, yet Kindaichi remained slow on the uptake. I do understand that many series have that sort of character so that the genius detective can explain it to the audience through them...but when that assistant never learns or manages to completely solve something on their own, it just gets frustrating to watch. And going back to the lack of feeling in the cases, even the main antagonist's backstory (which I guess was supposed to explain why they did what they did) was rushed and felt incomplete.  I even searched after the credits for something in many of the episodes, but there was nothing to wrap up many of the loose ends left over from the daily cases and even the overall case. There were holes all over the place; from the story to the characters, to worldbuilding and explanations.  I picked this anime up out of boredom, but if you're bored I'd suggest finding a different anime.  It was cringy in some parts, boring in others, and just had too many head-scratching "wtf did I just watch?" and "wtf is this anime trying to do?" moments to rate it highly.  4/10


ANIME LOTTERY GAME SPRING 2020 I was initially excited for this anime. I love detective animes with their own unique spins, and this anime fit into that category. Sadly, the writing was just a little too dry for me to get engaged enough to want to continue watching, but of course, I watched the whole thing anyway, because I didn't really have a choice this time.  The one thing I did really like about the anime though, was the ED and the OP, because they were really nice to listen to. As someone who plays old fiddle music, it was fun to hear old fiddle music being played throughout the show.  The art style was simplistic but pleasing.  The two main characters have an interesting relationship with interesting interactions, but it deferentially wasn't the healthiest friendship I've ever seen.  Would I recommend this anime to anyone? Going to be honest, probably not, but if you're looking for something you can just play in the background while you work on something else, then this anime is great for that, because it's slow-paced, and not too flashy. You can look away from the screen for a few seconds, and not miss anything important, and you know what? Sometimes shows like that can be good to watch. While this is a pretty negative review, do I hate this show? No. It had its moments, and it's not intended for audiences who like flashy things, and while it was dry and long, it wasn't bad, it just failed to hook me, and I'm sure that there are people out there who would actually really enjoy this show.  

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