Cuticle Tantei Inaba Review

This is review number one hundred and eighty six. This anime is part of the Winter 2013 lineup and I’ll be reviewing a comedy anime. This’ll be a pretty straight forward one since most comedy anime doesn’t have a complex story. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Cuticle Detective Inaba. It’s a twelve episode anime about a detective and a bunch of crazy people trying to hug each other or something stupid like that. Let’s read on.

Story

The anime is Hiroshi Inaba. He is a werewolf with the ability to track anyone down just by tasting their hair. He is also a detective and his former police partner often comes to him for help. He catches criminals along with his two partners and his former police partner. He seems to have met his match though when he just can’t seem to catch an Italian mafia family Don named Valentino who happens to be a cute little goat.

Taking the Pants Off

One can only wonder what an anime with the title Cuticle Detective Inaba has in store. I was honestly expecting something with a stupid premise but it is ultimately focused on its story. I was wrong.  This is a comedy anime and it’s very heavy one, at that. There is a story but it is secondary to the non-sense in the anime. I guess it makes sense since you have a wolf that is a detective with a hair fetish as the main character. I was immediately turned off by this anime after I saw the first episode. Comedy heavy anime doesn’t really appeal to me but this show made me watch it until the end. Why? It’s really not the comedy of the show but the staggering amount of Shounen Ai that it teases. If it means that I’m slowly embracing the dark side when it comes to things BL then that’s fine if they are as nice as this anime.

If you’ve seen most comedy anime then you know that the story isn’t really that important. I think this anime has the same setup as Gintama. It has a story to use as a structure for the episode but its strength mostly comes from its characters. You should know that these kinds of anime go out of control during each episode because it lacks a story and so relies a lot on the comedy. It’s often not in a good way. This anime is mostly about the misadventures of Horishi Inaba and his group as he tries to catch the talking goat named Don Valentino. Every episode involves the good guys stopping an evil plan of the bad guy or the bad guys coming up with a plan to kill the good guys. It’s a very basic setup so the anime will at least have a direction to follow.  The story is mostly a pretext for the comedy of the anime to strike hard though and it really does strike hard.

Since the story isn’t that important, the characters really do all the work in this anime. They are pretty awesome and you’ll love each and every one of them. The anime started out with a small cast of just six or seven characters just chasing each other and doing nonstop gags. As the show progresses, the cast really explodes from a simple group of seven into a large group of twenty or so. In that cast of twenty, I believe thirteen is part of the main cast. It sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? A large cast like this is very hard to juggle but only if the show had a complex story to balance them all. This show had none of that. It’s just about the characters and their individual craziness. The show was also smart by introducing and mostly centering an episode around one new character as it progresses. In the first half, it was incorporating the large cast into the story. I do agree that a cast of thirteen is a bit of an overkill but it works great for this anime.

The anime pull the gags from the characters. When you have a wolf detective with a hair fetish as a main character then you can really do wonders. If you add some characters like a catlover with a level headed personality, a masochist that loves Inaba, a police that has a tough cop attitude but is a softie on the inside and a talking goat with an annoying demeanor then the show really takes on a life of its own. First the show would start with a case, the characters take on the case, something ridiculous happens, the individual craziness of the characters come out and the show slowly plunge into chaos. The comedy of the anime is really strong and it won’t take you long to laugh at the jokes. It’s an easy to understand kind of comedy that doesn’t require much thinking. The jokes mostly stem out of the randomness and the weirdness of the scenarios with the reaction of the characters. There aren’t a lot of parodies in the anime or word puns to confuse non-Japanese viewers. It’s a simple straight to the point kind of stupidness that we can all relate too. It’s a bit hard to give the comedy a decent description but luckily, TPAB has learned to integrate GIFs into his reviews so here’s a simple example of the comedy in the anime:

nko3

As I said before though, the jokes don’t mean much to me. The show relies on it too much, to be honest. It cannot stand on comedy alone though. Luckily, the anime has another element added to the comedy to make it interesting. I’m going to say it’s moe without the cute girls but to better generalize the idea, I’ll just call it Shounen Ai. This anime employs the cuteness behind the characters and their potential love for each other. This isn’t the kind of anime where the bishies kiss each other though. There is none here but the anime highly suggests it. You just can’t look away when a character unleashes his cute side because it’s so very unlike him. The seemingly handsome characters of the anime suddenly acting all cute and stupid are really a strong aspect of the anime. Now, if you suggest that they like each other in a romantic way then you basically doubled that cuteness potential. Now, if you mixed those cute Shounen Ai aspects of the anime with the comedy then you basically get this:

nko4

God, I love GIFs. If only my entire review can be made up of nothing but, I’m sure a lot of people would be picking up the shows I’m reviewing.

Anyways, the first half was mostly concerned with introducing all the characters in the anime. In the second half, the show got a little bit serious. The anime decided to focus more on the various relationships of the characters and flesh out certain characters as well. You can almost see the various circumstances of the characters clumping together to form an actual story. The second half dived deeper on the existence of the werewolves and the duties they have with the police department. I also enjoyed the approach of the second half by slowly fleshing out the characters because we see a side to them that I really didn’t expect and they also focused a lot on the characters that didn’t do much on the first half. The anime really made sure everyone in the large vast of thirteen got a decent time in the spotlight even if it meant slowly toning down the raunchy comedy that made you watch the anime. I certainly didn’t mind because it gave more reason to love characters that were just generic stereotypes in the first half. Plus it was a way to intensify the subtle Shounen Ai aspect of the anime. A fujoshi would love this anime to death, like seriously.

This is a wonderful anime. The first episode didn’t do much for me and I was actually a bit annoyed by it but the show’s charm is undeniable. Take a whole bunch of funny situations then inject some suggestive Shounen Ai in it then you have a show that is guaranteed to be never boring even if you decided to drag it with stuff midway through the anime. This anime is also a strong indication that the BL revolution is well under way. If you thought cute girls doing cute things was an annoying phase in anime history then be prepared, for godsakes. This is a great show nonetheless though.

Sight and Sound

The character design is pretty great. The characters are mostly bishies so there’s nothing complicated about them. They all possess really good looking features though like a slender build with colorful hair and beautiful facial features. They all have great eyes and it does wonder when the characters are serious. It’s not hard to fall in love with the handsome faces of the characters and you should because the anime uses that to its advantage when it comes to the comedy. The anime doesn’t have a lot of girls but they also have the same bishie design. The characters have very little stand out features aside from their hair style and the color scheme of their outfit. Their outfit is pretty plain and not flashy like most bishies in other anime. They also don’t have small details to make them unique. They are hot guys and that is all that matters.

The animation is pretty decent as well. The comedy comes through very strongly thanks to the wonderful animation. Majority of the scenes are done in chibi though to give it more of a cute stupid vibe so you can laugh at it. I also notice that most hugging and anything with strong yaoi potential in the anime are done in chibi. I remember one scene where the character though the guy in the bed was a body pillow and he proceeded to hug it. It was full on guy on guy hot crazy action yet it was done in chibi so you’re laughing at it instead of drooling over it. It was smart because the show want you to laugh and the animation make sure you laugh. The normal scenes are also nicely animated. The anime has some great fight scenes and some random scenes that the animation was able to greatly present.

The anime’s OP is “Haruka, Nichijou no Naka de” by Hiroshi Inaba. The song is sung by the main character and it is pretty great. It’s not as flashy as you’d expect an OP song to be though but it has a nice energy to it. The instrumentals are also pretty great so the song was nice to listen to. The OP sequence features all the characters and a small gist of the overall story of the anime: Inaba’s group chasing Don Valentine’s group. It ends with a distinct parody of the ending scene in the OP of Rorouni Kenshin that I don’t think most people can recognize. It was among the small parodies of the anime.

cdective2

The anime’s ED is “Prima Stella” by Don Valentino. It’s another song sung by a main character. It’s a slow ballad that has a nice ring to it, to be honest. The voice actor really sang the song well capturing Don Valentino’s craziness. The ED sequence features Don Valentino singing the song with some nice animation because the lip synch was spot on and it slowly turns into chaos as he gets too into the song.

Overall Score

7/10 “It’s a strong comedy show with a bunch of crazy characters about to maul each other. Yes, I mean it both ways.”

I cannot count the number of scenes that really made me laugh out loud. This is a strong comedy show featuring a lot of crazy characters with their strong chemistry that made sure the show isn’t boring despite it not having a story to build per episode. You don’t need story if you have characters as crazy as the ones in show. If you enjoy really great comedy anime with easy to understand jokes then you’ll love this one. I highly recommend it.

Thoughts~

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