In the near future, in a world tarnished by lawlessness and disorder, exists an elite detective agency known as Milky Holmes. Represented by four talented young girls, the agency exists to fight against those that threaten the people's security. Through their struggles to preserve peace is a courageous, poignant story of mystery and betrayal...
Wait, none of that has anything to do with Milky Holmes. Let's try again.
For Sheryl, Cordelia, Elly and Nero, any shred of courage and talent is tossed aside within five minutes of the first episode. After losing their supernatural abilities— "Toys", the once-esteemed detectives devolve into a group of scatterbrains miserably failing at every single thing that they set out to do. Bear attacking them in the forest? They try to befriend it. An antagonist's identity revealed in front of them? They assume it is cosplay. Between their innumerable failures, one inevitably starts to wonder if they would be more at home in a mental hospital rather than a detective academy.
It's easy to recognize the four girls due to their colorful designs. Sheryl stands as your typical happy-go-lucky protagonist, characterized by her circular pigtails and massive hair bow that somehow outsizes her entire head. On the other hand, you have Cordelia, the equivocally 'mature' member of the group who frequently falls into hysteric outbursts. There is also Nero, an energetic tomboy, and Elly, a timid girl who speaks so little that you'd confuse her as being mute. Generic it is, but the girls are made to stand out as a group more so than as individuals. This is not an anime about Sheryl, but an anime about Milky Holmes.
Rather, the side characters are where the show shines. Serving as the series' antagonist is the Gentlemen Thieves, a four member criminal organization led by Arsène and her enormous bosom. As a long-term rival to Milky Holmes, they more or less function as the show's equivalent to Team Rocket. In almost every episode, the two are involved in some sort of inane conflict with each other. The best part is the character "Twenty", a man wearing a monocle and top hat who frequently rips his shirt off, screams to the heavens about his beauty, and runs around exposing his erect nipples to everybody in sight. Yes, seriously.
There is also a third group named the Genius 4, a police unit which continually finds themselves pulled in between the nonsense of Milky Holmes and their rivals. The only character of note here is its leader Kokoro, a self-professed child genius with an IQ of >1300. When not gloating about her questionable intellect, Kokoro is usually seen fulfilling her sadistic urges by manipulating the members of Milky Holmes, for often amusing and occasionally depressing results. It's a shame that so few episodes see her with any significant screen time, given that she's the most entertaining of the female characters.
One of the more unique aspects of the series is that it is an homage to the detective genre. Blatant references to famous fictional detectives exist within the names of nearly every character (Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe), while common conventions of the genre are frequently parodied through the idiocy of the characters. Fans of the genre will undoubtedly find some level of amusement in all the references.
Though do not expect mystery from Milky Holmes. There is none to be found here, aside from deep philosophical questions like how much damage the characters have received to their brain. Even the conflicts are resolved through supernatural powers and violence rather than any sort of reasoning or detective work.
But that is the point of Milky Holmes. It is intentionally stupid. It's a comedy anime that does not waste unnecessary time on character and story development, nor does it pretend to be witty highbrow entertainment. It is easy, simple humor revolving around the exploits of Dumb and Dumber— compounded with a cast of excessively cute girls. Milky Holmes does an excellent job being what it is, but those who find this sort of comedy appalling would be advised to set their eyeballs in the other direction. You won't be missing a whole lot.
Occasionally the show does attempt to focus on its story, to largely dreadful results. The sudden dramatic tone makes for an uncomfortable and incongruous transition, taking away from the inherent appeal of the series. If everything after the first episode is filled with absurd humor, how is the viewer supposed to care when the story comes back at the end? Perhaps it may have been better with no plot at all. Still, the climactic fight in the final episode was a surprisingly pleasant conclusion to the season. There's a neatly animated battle scene with Sheryl using her wits and power (for the first time), and in the last minutes we are treated with a very Milky Holmes-esque twist to the story. In other words, it is immensely silly. And flagrantly stupid.
The art fidelity leaves much to be desired, but there isn't much to complain in terms of visual style. Character designs are colorful and appealing while the backgrounds employ a unique crayon-drawn aesthetic. Often though, you will see off-model faces and strange proportions in between important scenes. It's quite jarring and could easily be alleviated through a larger budget.
Music is not Milky Holmes' forte, but the excellent OP compensates for the forgettable score. It captures the charm of the anime and serves as a nice little treat before each episode begins. Adding to this is a solid cast of seiyuu who do a commendable job at making the comedic lines actually work. There's nothing worse than a comedy performed by lifeless actors, and thankfully Milky Holmes is in complete contrast to that.
This is the kind of anime that only comes around every once in a while. For a medium where manzai humor and cliches are predominant, a title such as Milky Holmes almost seems alien. There's a certain charm to be found here, and if you can forgive the glaring flaws of the anime you will most likely be in for an enjoyable ride. Assuming of course, that you are not offended by protruding nipples and utter stupidity.
Failure has never been this cute.