First Look: Cop Craft

Alternative title(s): Cop Craft: Dragnet Mirage Reloaded
Light Novel Adaptation by Millepensee
Streaming on Funimation


15 years after a portal to the world of fey opened over the Pacific Ocean, the gateway city of San Teresa is a hotbed of crime both mundane and fantastic. Grizzled veteran detective Kei Matoba finds himself assigned a new partner: Tirana Exedirika, a knight of the very same magical race that Kei hates; even worse, she’s young, naive, and has a strong sense of justice. Together, they fight crime.

Iro’s verdict: Popcorn Fun

How much you’ll enjoy this show probably comes down to how much you can enjoy a cavalcade of buddy cop tropes played 110% straight. The fantasy twist is there, of course, but at least within the first episode it’s mostly served to give a reason why the “Minority New Partner Who Believes In Justice” character is a teen girl with super fighting skills. I think the contrast would work a little better if Cop Craft had some more aesthetic wiggle room (the OP has a fun, self-aware vibe that the show only hits in fits and spurts), but I also wouldn’t necessarily want the show to go full comedy like Double Decker was. At the very least, it’s earned a few more episodes.

Gee’s verdict: Medium Boiled

If you wanted the hot one sentence take, Cop Craft is low rent Blood Blockade Battlefront. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing or even as mean of an insult as intended. Few things can live up to Nightow’s urban fantasy spectacle, but Cop Craft certainly tries its damned hardest. The other way to put it is that I fear Cop Craft the show might never live up to the promise of Cop Craft’s excellent and stylish OP.

Leaning fully into inspirations, you have all the pieces here. A gruff detective with a chip on his shoulder about the new funny looking people in his city, the naive newcomer who’s handy with a sword, a city on the edge with monsters both real and metaphorical moving in the shadows, it’s all here. Every line, every character, every plot beat has been liberally borrowed from other great pieces of buddy cop and noir media. That said, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Cop Craft isn’t going to win any points for originality, but there’s something to be said about competent junk food. Also, a character literally says, “Satan can suck my dick,” to a Catholic priest themed pimp/information broker so whatever, that has at bare minimum earned itself at least another few episodes for me.

Artemis’ verdict: Lacks Bite

This was like watching two completely different shows smashed together; on the one hand, a classic pulp noir story complete with a hardboiled detective protagonist and crime-ridden, big-city backstreets, and on the other, a parallel fantasy world inhabited by elf-looking ‘aliens,’ with their own language and noble culture far removed from any kind of earthly knowledge or customs. It’s a little too easy to see where the general plot and character development is headed – world-weary Matoba is no doubt going to learn to be a little less jaded and fight for real justice again, while his naïve tagalong, Tirana, is going to realize that she and/or her own culture is not quite as superior as she’s always believed it to be. Together, they’ll discover more about one another while combining their strengths to survive gang violence, crime kingpins and probably a surprise betrayal or two, just to make sure there’s an appropriate twist to the tale somewhere along the way.

It’s not a bad setup, albeit not really my cup of tea – I like film noir-style pulp fiction and I like urban fantasy, but in this case it feels like they’re sitting a bit uneasily together, almost like a weird crossover as opposed to a single conceived work. Visually, I also don’t think Cop Craft has quite the flair to pull off the ambience it’s clearly going for. The backdrop very much feels as though it should come across as slick but gritty, that sexy kind of dangerous common to action/detective classics. It lacks enough bite for that though, and is probably trying a bit too hard to be cool to achieve any real chic-ness. I didn’t hate it, and I’m sure it’ll be a popular enough choice for viewers this season. However, it’s just not something I feel I can get properly invested in, so I’ll be giving it a miss.

2 thoughts on “First Look: Cop Craft

  1. “there’s something to be said about competent junk food”

    I think Cop Craft is going to run into an unavoidable wall… In a season filled with good shows, better than we’ve had in a while, it just doesn’t stand out. There’s certainly nothing wrong with merely being competent, but sometimes it’s just not enough.

    • I’m inclined to agree. I’d probably watch if there wasn’t much else happening this season, but it feels pretty middle-of-the-road to me, and there are enough new shows airing that look like they have more potential.

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