I've been reading romantic mysteries since middle school over a decade ago (Jayne Ann Krentz/JD Robb? Anybody? *sigh*), so now when I watch something fluffy like Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes, I feel old and jaded, and nobody likes to feel old and jaded. In addition, compared to the suspense/chemistry in pulp romances, this anime series is serene and too flat to be truly entertaining.
But all that said, Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes is a cute, innocuous show to while away a few hours if you've got that time to spare.
Kyoto Teramachi introduces and explains art in a concise, approachable fashion. From tea bowls to hanging scrolls, the history/creators of such antiques are, I imagine, largely unknown to the Western audience, but not once did I feel lost. Also, I'm in the camp that believes art is enhanced when you know the context/background of its creation, so I'm glad I have these new snippets rattling around in my memory if I ever run into anything in a museum.
The main characters, Aoi and Holmes, don't devolve into petty drama/disputes between the two of them. Too often in anything that has even a hint of romance, the leads have at least one big argument/misunderstanding between them that's purely conflict for conflict's sake, but Kyoto Teramachi floats on with romance scenes happening mostly in small moments.
Holmes-san himself wants to be seen as an appraiser rather than a detective, and I agree with him; the mysteries that have nothing to do with antiques are largely lackluster and some are completely out of left field. The entire series lacks cohesion, with antagonist Enshou's forgeries being the only consistent through-line. I almost wish this show was more slice-of-life with regular moments bracketing the Enshou drama rather than random sideshows of cheating allegations and attempted murder. If I were Holmes, I would be pretty annoyed at getting dragged into people's personal issues just because I had decent observation and question asking skills. And as a viewer, seeing random one-off characters get personal issues investigated and solved in under twenty minutes doesn't make for good viewing either.
Some reoccurring characters, especially actor guy (Kajiwara, Akihito), add nothing to the narrative line or main character development. Any attempts at comic relief were ridiculous in an unfunny, eye-roll sort of way.
The animation is mediocre at best. The color palette is weirdly bright and washed out, there is zero sense of dynamic lighting, but the worst was the few episodes before the last episode, where even character faces lost consistency/expression and took on some derpiness.
In conclusion, Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes is...fine. The main characters are cute/mostly likeable, and there are good bits of art history thrown in, but if you're looking for intrigue, suspense, or even particularly good cleverness, this show is not really going to provide it. I can't see myself ever recommending Kyoto Teramachi, but if you've already stumbled upon it and got time to burn, well, this review is not a *stay away* sign, just a meh, you should keep your expectations at a reasonable/low level.