Anime Taste Testing: Kabukichou Sherlock and Hoshiai no Sora

And the winner for most outlandish premiere of the season goes to…

Kabukichou Sherlock/Case File nº221: Kabukicho

The biggest problem (and really the only one I could focus on) with Kabukichou Sherlock is that I just couldn’t bring myself to give a crap – not about the characters, and certainly not about the mystery they were trying to solve (which seemed to take up all of around five minutes of screen time anyway, if that, the rest being given over to the shenanigans of its poorly-adjusted would-be detectives). I get that the series isn’t going for anything approaching a serious vibe, and that’s okay. After all, not all mystery shows need to take themselves seriously in order for me to enjoy them – in fact, I think a solid argument could be made for many, maybe even most mystery shows, either anime or live-action, being guilty of taking themselves far too seriously of late. The issue in this case is that Sherlock doesn’t just fail as a mystery, but doesn’t manage to succeed at all as a comedy either – likely because it’s so busy attempting to make every character as bizarre and/or ‘quirky’ as possible that it forgot to insert any actual jokes, or at least any that made sense. Instead, the audience is left to giggle (presumably) at the absurdity of a bunch of handsy drag queens, melodramatic gay couples, bad wigs and socially inept detectives. I wasn’t offended, but I sure wasn’t laughing either. At best, I was vaguely confused. Suffice it to say I won’t be checking back in with this show any time soon, and I honestly can’t recommend anyone else does either.

Hoshiai no Sora/Stars Align

I have zero interest in soft tennis (or really in any kind of team sport) and don’t usually care much for sports anime either, so this title wasn’t originally on my to-watch list at all. However, a comment on one of my other Anime Taste Testing posts piqued my curiosity, and to my surprise, I ended up enjoying the episode, at least enough to keep the show around for the time being. In part this is because let’s face it, there just aren’t that many titles that have appealed to me even a little this season, so Hoshiai no Sora wins almost by default. More importantly though, while I may not love sports anime, I am a sucker for a decent slice-of-life series. I’m also always up for school settings that don’t just deal with school kids and the inevitable drama of their love lives – whenever siblings and parents come into the picture, I’m bound to be twice as interested. I don’t think Hoshiai no Sora’s opening episode is by any means perfect. Many moments are a bit too on the nose, and in general I would’ve preferred a little more subtlety, maybe even something that hinted at certain developments but kept me guessing for a while rather than laying it all out so directly. Having said that, there’s definitely enough here to make the series stand out from the crowd, and largely because of its choice to mix the darker and far less spoken-about aspects of teenage life with an otherwise classic school sports/club drama. I’m in.

Question of the post: What are your thoughts on Kabukichou Sherlock and/or Hoshiai no Sora, and how do they compare to other mystery/sports shows in recent seasons for you?

11 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Kabukichou Sherlock and Hoshiai no Sora

  1. The problem I had with Kabukicho Sherlock is that it wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be – tonally. On the one hand, we had all those super wacky jokes shoved in there haphazardly. On the other, well, it’s not just murder, it’s a fairly gruesome murder deliberately (an openly) referencing Jack the Ripper – so surrounding that murder with a lot of wacky jokes felt in poor taste.

    I mean, you can have both in a mystery series, or even a horror series (Ghost Hunt started wackily and turned serious by the end), but for crying out loud, either ease me in with one or the other, serious and gruesome or wacky hijinks, or send me a neck brace.

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    • I agree, it did feel in poor taste. I got the distinct feeling that Kabukichou Sherlock is meant to be a fairly lighthearted show, so it felt weird to then be presented with a case about a woman who was murdered and her genitals removed, which nobody honestly seemed to care about too much – it was more about solving a crime (in as wacky a way as possible) than the victim or even the crime itself, all in the space of 20 minutes.

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  2. I’ve kept both of these shows on my watch list for now though I’m not that into sport or comedy so I’m not entirely convinced by either of these so far. Hoshiai no Sora could definitely be interesting but if it ends up being too slice of life I’ll probably check out.

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  3. I feel like Hoshiai no Sora escalated so quickly at the end of the episode, I got serious whiplash at the end! I was not expecting that to pop up in a sports anime. Still, I’m only watching it and Ahiru no Sora this season so slice-of-life or not I’ll be sticking around.

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    • I was expecting the reveal (or at least something like it) based on the hints scattered throughout the episode, but I do agree the last few moments escalated too quickly – not because it came out of the blue, but just because it came on too strong.

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  5. That’s an interesting pairing. I was never really interested in that Sherlock show. I clicked play, but the art-style wasn’t my thing and I closed the tab. I might have come back to it had I heard good things about it, but…

    Hoshiai no Sora is the exact opposite. I loved the art style, I love the attention to body language. The direction is impeccable. If there’s anything that I wasn’t so sure about it’s the writing, and that’s something that could go either way. I’m not really sure what to make of the ending. Plot-wise it seems like an obstacle to the soft-tennis club, but that’s… sort of like having the priorities reversed. So there has to be some background themes going on here, too, and depending on how they handle that it could become an exercise in rolling eyes. For example: now that Dad’s showed up, are they going to move again? (But if they were hiding from him, going back to some childhood town might not have been the smartest move, so what’s going on here?)

    My biggest draw is Animation –> Direction –> Characters, with the story having me both curious and wary – could go either way. In any case, this is my undisputed favourite premier this season, and it has the potential (If the story pans out) to be a yearly favourite, too. But I sort of fear that our glasses guy is going to beat transfer students Dad to death with a soft-tennis racket, because he’s in the way of the club…

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    • I didn’t mind the art style of Kabukichou Sherlock – if nothing else, it felt unique – but nothing else about the show grabbed me at all. I did really like the art style of Hoshiai no Sora though, and agree with your assessment that it’s by far the best premiere of the season (at least among the shows I’ve seen).

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