In Shinjuku ward's east side lies Kabukichou, a vibrant city of chaos that glows brilliantly with neon lights but also hides unseen darkness. Employed at a university hospital on the west side, John H. Watson is looking for someone who can assist him with an odd case. His search leads him to the Pipe Cat, an underground bar that serves as a meetup venue and job board for some of the best detectives in Shinjuku, the most prominent among them being Sherlock Holmes.
Upon finding the bar and meeting the peculiar investigators, John learns that they are pursuing a case involving Jack the Ripper, an infamous serial killer. Due to subsequent events, John ends up driving Sherlock to the crime scene of a murder supposedly carried out by Jack the Ripper. Even though John is only there to enlist Sherlock's help with his case, he witnesses Sherlock brilliantly uncover the truth behind the crime scene. However, he begins to realize that Sherlock is not only a genius detective but also an eccentric character.
As John continues to request Sherlock to assist him with his case, he finds himself spiraling into the detective lifestyle of solving cases beyond the minds of ordinary civilians. Through this work, John begins to see the true colors of the chaotic city that is Kabukichou and starts to unravel the unsettling mystery behind his own case.
Whenever a Sherlock themed work is announced, it generates a set of unrealistic expectations from fans-
1. Will the adaptation be faithful to the book?
2. Will the characters be in "character" as Doyle intended it to be?
3. Will it be a procedural police/detective drama involving analytical breakdown of crime scene?
Quite a number of adaptations we have seen ever since television became mainstream in the second half of 20th century. From the classic British TV to Hollywood remake starring Downey Jr. to inspired works like Case Closed in Japan and back to British TV......the list goes on and on.
One of the best thing about this
magnum opus by Doyle is that the entire Sherlock franchise is super versatile- you don't have to reproduce the classic page-by-page and it will still do fine (or amazing) as demonstrated by Steven Moffat and Guy Ritchie's adaptation; something which Production IG also did. With this, we start Kabukichou Sherlock!
Kabukichou Sherlock is modern interpretation of Sherlock series set in the famous Kabukichou district of Shinjuku popularly known as red-light district. While the series had a bumpy start, subsequent episodes covered up for it pretty well though nothing much to the central plot has been revealed yet. The book adaptations have been neat with hilarious spin. Keep an eye out for easter eggs.
Note- A 23 min. episode can only have enough space for deduction and explanation so keep your expectations low.
Holmes and Watson aren't the only detectives in this show. We are introduced to a colorful cast with their unique traits and behaviour. Sherlock is neither too eccentric nor too ordinary to be called boring. Sherlock aside, this show has some of the most wackiest character of this season which makes it even more interesting. Mrs. Hudson is one interesting character to look out for. In my opinion. she is definitely the highlight of any episode despite being supporting character.
"CAPTURE" by EGO-WRAPPIN' is really good. The jazz/blues piece is really music to the ears and in some way reminds me of Cowboy Bebop OP. Definitely fits the theme of the show.
Possibly one of the best part of this series. From the back alleys to streets and Bar Pipecat, Kabukichou looks super lively and Production IG deserves commendation for that.
Overall don't be deterred by the ratings to enjoy this show. It is definitely not the best Sherlock but for a modern Japanese interpretation, it is doing its job perfectly. Kabukichou Sherlock show is definitely not meant for everyone, especially if you are expecting it to be like those 1-1.5hr episodes starring Cumberbatch.
Six episodes in and I am enjoying this series. Try to cast your Doyle-purist lens aside and watch this show. You will not regret it. Looking forward to more episodes in future.
Have you ever wanted to watch a Japanese Sherlock Holmes wave his dick at you?
Have you ever wondered what a murder mystery would look like if lol-so-random jokes were shoved up its ass?
Are you looking for a mystery anime that makes no sense what-so-ever? Do you even care about writing quality, or are just a you fake anime fan?
If you said yes, then look no further than this anime.
Kabukichou Sherlock is a sorry excuse for a mystery anime! The art is fine, I don't mind the op/ed, or voice acting. But the characters have nothing to them! The script is so stupid. It tries way
too hard to be funny. Has no one realized how bad this show is?
The main issue no one has brought up is that the case are clues are illogical. No audience member could possibly pick up on them or pieced together the mystery until the episode ends. The solution to the cases involve some characters we don't even meet until the final minutes of the episode, which makes the main “mystery” not a mystery at all.
DOn't even tell me this is meant to be a comedy, because the jokes are horrendous! Never laughed once.
What I expected: a mystery story.
What I got: a largely episodic slapstick comedy.
Somehow I don't think the brutal murders and cheerful slapstick comedy go together very well. It is like they are trying to fit two different shows into one, and the end result feels like an incohesive mess. For instance, the characters may be investigating a serial killer who murders women in a particularly brutal way. Then they proceed to goof around and act in wacky ways around the corpse. How am I supposed to feel here? Amused? Sad? With the tone doing 180-degree turns within seconds, who knows?
Not every case is equally
savage, but the comedy usually still doesn't work. Why? Because it is too simple and repetitive. The same jokes are repeated over and over again until they are run into the ground. They were obvious enough the first time; they are even more so on the twentieth. Often they are character quirks that appear like clockwork whenever particular characters appear on-screen. The comedy is also very conventional. It doesn't challenge any established norms. It loyally adheres to the long-standing model of slapstick in its most blatant and obvious form, shouting at the audience with a megaphone: "This is a joke! Get it?" Yes, I get it because I have seen it before so many times.
It doesn't help that the show has adopted a heavily episodic style with unrelated cases, random villains of the week, and significant pacing problems. It becomes very difficult to care about anything that is taking place on-screen. Sure, let's have a mystery show that is very strictly episodic. How will that work out? I'll tell you how. I won't care about the victim, the culprit, or any of the random bystanders. Besides, the mystery isn't much of a mystery when we know barely anything about these one-episode wonders. If you like drafting theories of who did it and why, there isn't really much incentive or even enough clues for that matter. Sometimes the culprit only appears near the end of the episode.
Here is what an episode might look like. First, some crimes are happening: murder, theft, etc. Oh well, time for people to act in a wacky way, wearing silly clothes, falling over, throwing objects, comically chasing each other for far too long, and blushing at the mere sight of girls. Then back to the murders. But enough of that, let's have people get sexually harassed. Then we go through the facts of the case in the form of... traditional Japanese entertainment? What? Looks like we caught the villain of the week. Then onwards to the next episode with a mostly unrelated case but the same formula. Repeat the same process.
This has been done to death. It has been run into the ground. There is only so much you can do with these random mysteries and typical slapstick comedy. Imagine a circus that visits your town every week. It seems flashy at first, but then you realize that every week the clowns, the animals, and the trapeze artists perform the same tricks. Every single week. How many times would you visit the place? This also easily grinds the pacing to a halt. Okay, so there are some differences between episodes. For instance, there is the gangster who makes ludicrous poses and speaks like a madman in every situation. There is also a bath house episode that features Sherlock only wearing a censor bar and a bunch of people in animal masks because... I don't know. Maybe it is some Japanese cultural reference that is meant to be funny.
Speaking of Japanese culture, Sherlock delivers case summaries with rakugo, a form of traditional Japanese entertainment. The show treats this as though it is funny, but the punch-lines are simply that some of the characters in the presentation (who are distinct from the "real-world" characters in the show) are dumber than others and slower to figure the case out. This is apparently funny because... I don't know. Misconceptions can be funny, but they need to be constructed in a wittier way than "ha ha ha, you don't get the case" and then proceeding to explain the case. It also doesn't help that it is so random. Sherlock is artificially presenting random characters in an in-universe performance that deals with a case about other random characters who only appear in a single episode. Now, I am the first to admit that I am not the foremost expert in rakugo, but based on my layman knowledge it is usually supposed to be funny. Maybe I am not exactly the target audience here.
The one-episode characters are largely forgettable, but the regular cast isn't much better. The show also features other detectives, but they mostly exist to be Sherlock's foils that lose to him over and over again. And they also exist for character quirks and related jokes, of course. Mrs Hudson is an LGBT bar owner (they are very heavily hinted to be LGBT in a very obvious way) who acts in a flamboyant, over-the-top way and sexually harasses people on occasion. Watson is mostly a comic relief and exists to make Sherlock look smarter. (I suppose the latter part is loyal to the original novels.) Lestrade is even more of a walking joke and barely appears. Moriarty is a high school kid who is relatively smart but slow to develop. Irene Adler is one of the better characters by being competent but not over-the-top ridiculous, though she is used for generic, predictable fanservice jokes sometimes.
Even generally speaking, so many characters in this act as though they are horny 24/7. See a girl? Instant blush. Speaking with a girl? Awkward, over-the-top reactions with mumbling and arms flailing. Or even better, literally getting a hard on. If you have seen anime or fiction in general, you have probably seen these jokes before, maybe hundreds of times. I don't mind a fresh take on Sherlock Holmes, but not if it means reducing most of the cast into generic comic relief. It is fine to be comedic, but it shouldn't be as lazy as this.
It wouldn't have to be this way. If they wanted to make more of an effort, they could have gone in a number of directions. One idea with potential would be black comedy that involves morally questionable topics. To clarify a bit, there is a difference between applying black comedy and sprinkling unrelated light-hearted comedy among serious events. Kabukichou Sherlock does the latter. It features murders and other crimes that are treated as serious while throwing in unrelated slapstick comedy. I would have preferred deriving laughter from the potentially evil actions themselves. Crimes can be funny, but they have to be committed for a suitable reason and with sufficient build-up. For instance, you could have a comedic sociopath who is doing it for reasons that are at least remotely relatable but still lacks a firm moral compass. Bonus points if he is relatively chill about it. Then you point out that the action is kind of dodgy without actually sounding preachy about it. But here we usually have generic scumbag culprits with thirty seconds of characterization or people whose motives are otherwise unrelatable.
By the way, the show feels like there is a need to repeat over and over again how the eastern part of the city (where the detectives are based) is a city of neon lights, chaos, and endless crimes. A few times would have sufficed. Speaking of the city, there is apparently a Berlin wall between the western and eastern side, and passage through it is tightly regulated. When did we suddenly cross the Iron Curtain? I think we deserve more of an explanation here. This wall thing could actually provide material for jokes if used right, but of course they do not even try. (Or if they did, it is so out of line with their usual approach to comedy that my mind did not register it.)
I guess this show just wasn't meant for me. The jokes don't land or deliver. It gives me the impression that I am not in the target audience at all, and that is probably the case, but the marketing should have been more honest then. I wasn't expecting jaw-dropping mysteries, but I was expecting something at least a bit more mystery-related. They should have called this a slapstick comedy from the start.