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In/Spectre (2020, Brain's Base)

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In/Spectre (2020, Brain's Base)

Kyokou Suiri [Fictional Deduction]


17 year old Kotoko Iwanaga "saved" Kuro Sakuragawa's life one day and fell for his "goat-like" appearance. Not long ago when Kotoko was 11, she was kidnapped by Youkai who wanted her to become their mediator "The Goddess of Wisdom" whenever conflict arose amongst their kind. Kotoko agreed but wasn't returned to the human unscathed, losing an eye and a leg. However, Kuro isn't your average human either and has his own dark secret. All the Youkai are afraid of him. Together the new couple works to help maintain the balance between the human and Youkai worlds.

Can't quite remember why I decided to watch this but, think I might have saw a bit of it when it was on then someone reminded me of it while on Twitter.

First couple of episodes looked like this was aimed at female viewers who like being doted on but it's actually serialised in a young men's magazine and classified as "mystery" - which it is kind of. Instead of your regular crime mystery however, the crimes usually involve Youkai from some kind of myth or legend in some way. Either their own kind has become a threat or, they witnessed a crime but are baffled about what happened and seek Kotoko for an explaination. As the Japanese title suggests, Kotoko doesn't always go with the truth and often than not, comes up with her own lies to create a plausible explanation.

There's quite a lot of sensual jokes Kotoko makes as she tries to get closer to Kuro and frustrate his ex-girlfriend. Mostly about breasts. I'd say overall fan service isn't that bad apart from the idol that makes up most of season one.

Kotoko may seem like Card Captor Sakura but she flirts non-stop with Kuro and the Youkai scenes have a fair bit of gore. Not as bad as say Tokyo Ghoul or Attack on Titan though. Since Kuro's immortal and lacks fighting skills or powers he's often fatally wounded and Kotoko on the other hand often removes her prosthetics to take a break.

I did find it a bit too dialogue heavy during the deduction scenes despite the source material being a light novel. There's a lot more dialogue than action in this show. Most of the show involves the characters literally just sitting around talking. Instead of spreading out hints like most mystery shows do to keep you guessing, it introduces a mystery then stuffs the answer into a single episode with a sit and chat scene. It can really drag out and bore you if Kotoko didn't throw in the odd joke. Even then it barely maintains attention. The last third of season one was just literally painful to watch. Whoever had to come up with ideas on how to animate the show must have had a rough time.

Cast wise you've got Mamoru Miyano as Kuro best known as Okabe from Steins;gate but also Akari Itou who actually voices Nezuko from Kimetsu or Kaho from Blend S. It's got some nice music and smooth animation but, art wise it just does the job.

S2 kicks off well with it's mix of human and Youkai mysteries in its first episode and gives a brief reminder of what happened in S1. It's mainly composed of two major mysteries. The first is a romcom featuring Yuki Onna (Snow Woman) who enjoys joking around. It's heavier on romance than the last season. Second involves a wealthy human who regrets agreeing to a forbidden deal with a demon fox and takes on a more serious tone (while Kotoko continues to lighten things up of course). Be warned, it does not shy away from discussing the darker sides of human nature.

Can't quite say the same about Kuro who stays more or less an immortal punch bag so those sadist scenes continue to stay unfortunately. Up side is they only kick in half way through S2.

The show is more white lies (thus Kyokou Suiri "fictitious deductions") than trying to discover and reveal the truth but manages to mix in the supernatural so well (at least in S2), it can still feel creepy and Kotoko makes her "deductions". Fair amount of trivia about eels too.

Kotoko is very explicit about what she wants with Kuro, haha... Episodes 16 - 18 has extended versions of the OP and ED for some reason even though the theme songs remain the same.

If I had to describe this mystery show, it'll be Card Captor Sakura meets Youkai. It's cute but if you're after a Youkai show that doesn't go into their folklore, I'd suggest Natsume: Book of Friends instead of this for its wholesome stories. I think the only thing going for this show is Kotoko's fun reactions and her relation with Kuro really.

Kyokou Suiri

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