Psychic Detective Yakumo–Anime First Impressions

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Psychic Detective Yakumo (Shinrei Tantei Yakumo) is a promising anime series that might turn out to be the best thing that the Fall 2010 season has to offer. It’s a horror/mystery/romance show in exactly that order.

The hero Yakumo Saitou (Daisuke Ono) fits into a long tradition of curt and grumpy detectives. In fact he appears to be a bit of a jerk. A college student, he spends much of his time napping in the room reserved for a defunct club, which he has appropriated as his private hideaway. He affects a cold-hearted and mercenary persona, insulting everyone he meets and occasionally conning gullible students out of a few 1000 Yen with pretend psychic powers.

Actually he does have some real psychic powers. He can see spirits and communicate with them, and can sometimes allow other people to do the same. That is a least part of the reason why he is so grumpy. He seems to sympathize more with spirits than with humans. He is opposed to using Shinto or Buddhist rites to exorcise spirits, preferring to try to reason with them.

Invariably he ends up helping (with ill grace) any human who really needs it, though the episodes don’t always have a completely happy ending.

In spite of his bad attitude he has several friends who believe he is a good person and who are prepared to give him as much help as he will accept. These include Haruka Ozawa (Ayumi Fujimura), a pretty girl whom he saved in the first episode and who seems to be falling in love with him. They also include his uncle (Akimitsu Takase) who is a Shinto priest, and a police detective (Hiroki Touchi) who puts up with his insults because of his invaluable assistance in murder cases.