Twenty-five-year-old Kakushidate Yakusuke suffers from the fate of constantly stumbling into various crime scenes and ending up being the main suspect.
His last resort: Okitegami Kyouko the "Quickest Detective." However, Kyouko suffers from a strange case of amnesia; whenever she falls asleep, she forgets everything that happened the previous day, making her solve the mysteries within one day.
I understand the nature of creative adaptations; even if the source material and the adaptation are utterly distinct in their approaches to the same concept, I am always willing to judge each respective to their own quality.
I recently started thinking about this again when I watched the drama adaptation of Okitegami Kyouko no Biboroku. Although I only watched two episodes as of the writing of this review, I found it to be a take on the original novel that was more meant for casual audiences that want something more on the "fun" side. With this adaptation, I indeed was having some fun, but there was
always a nagging feeling I felt at the back of my head that it just didn't scratch the same itch that the novel did, that I was hoping to get from the adaptation.
Herein comes this manga adaptation, and going into it, I was hoping to get some visual reference to the same scenarios I had read in the novel, without it diverting too much from the source material. However, even though it didn't divert too much from the source material, this adaptation still left much to desire.
I think the biggest thing this adaptation does wrong is it's glossing over of details, or rather it's lack of focus on said details to create an engaging mystery.
And I fully expected something like this to be the case, however, this could have been avoided entirely if only they had just adapted the introduction properly.
In the novel, we are immediately introduced to Kakushidate Yakusuke as he is accused of stealing an SD card in the lab he was working in. He immediately calls up Kyouko for whom they are forced to reintroduce themselves and the case sets up the concepts that will be discussed later on in the volume.
In the manga, we are first introduced to Okitegami Kyouko via an unrelated case, and then, next chapter we move over to Yakusuke's perspective and pick up where the novel leaves off, with short mention to the SD card case with slight alterations.
The reason why I point out this difference is that the novel makes certain things clear to the audience that the manga doesn't. Not only that Yakusuke is the main character, that he is always treated as suspicious because of the contrast of his height and demeanor and that he is desperately trying to survive through his bad luck, but most importantly the novel conveys his reliance on Kyouko.
The manga just expects us to pick up on this just by mentioning it in passing, and the fact that we aren't really given confirmation that Yakusuke is the main character, there will be less likely to give consideration to these details.
That said, the manga doesn't fully explain the concepts that serve to characterize our two main characters and their thematic similarities, so the tension between Yakusuke and Kyouko doesn't really register as we are reading.
I say "tension", but really what I am referring to is Yakusuke's admiration of Kyouko and how this influences all of his actions. This really couldn't be established without the content in the first chapter in the novel. Also the fact that Kyouko isn't invincible, or the best, doesn't come off as cleanly either.
All of this combined, and when we get to the big reveal by the end of the Sanaga case, it doesn't leave much of an impact.
I suppose what I am trying to deliberate with this review, even putting aside all my biases from reading the novel, is that this manga isn't creative enough to truly be engaging. That's not to say that it is bad by any means, just disappointing by many.
If this manga strayed away from the original source enough that it can freely express ideas without being hindered by preexisting standards, then it could have had potential at garnering a lot of attention to this series. However, it sticks too close to the original source and, unfortunately, the medium it is in doesn't allow it to be as dense as the story requires it to be.