First Look: Woodpecker Detective’s Office

Alternative title(s): Kitsutsuki Tanteidokoro
Novel Adaptation by Liden Films
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

In the late Meiji era, best friends and fictionalized versions of tanka poet Takuboku Ishikawa and linguist Kyousuke Kindaichi form Woodpecker’s Detective Office, teaming up to investigate various deadly mysteries.

Artemis’ verdict: Pretty, But Sleepy

Woodpecker Detective’s Office, while clearly the lesser of the two (I think?) mystery titles airing the season, is probably still the best period piece, and I imagine that’s what will most strike viewers about the show. Set in late Meiji-era Japan (from context clues, I’m guessing late 1890s/early 1900s), that very distinctive atmosphere of old-school Japan meets rapid Westernization is what I personally find most compelling about the series. The creators have done a good job of evoking this, especially through the buildings and character costumes, and it’s always great to see anime with rarer settings. This is also pretty notable from the OP music – a fun jazz number that immediately had me sitting up and paying attention to what I had assumed from the trailer would be a rather sleepy kind of show.

Which… well, it kind of is, unfortunately, because as a mystery, I just didn’t much care about what was going on, and found my attention start to wander somewhere around the halfway point. There just didn’t seem any good reason to invest in what was happening in terms of plot, so whether the mystery was solved and more importantly, how it was solved didn’t feel especially important to me. It wasn’t that the characters weren’t likeable – they just weren’t especially compelling. And since the viewer knew neither the victim nor the perpetrator of the murder mystery playing out on screen, this didn’t really help to make the mystery aspect of the episode any more captivating.

I will say though that the art style of Woodpecker Detective’s Office did help to balance things out; the almost water-colour-like aesthetic definitely serves to distinguish the series from anything else airing this season in terms of visuals. While not terribly expensive-looking – the lack of general movement as well background detail makes me think the production values are a bit on the lower side – it’s quite attention-grabbing and honestly very pretty nonetheless.

In a way, it’s too bad there’s so many decent anime airing this season, because I think Woodpecker Detective’s Office would stand out more otherwise. While I’m planning to watch at least one more episode of this, since as a whole it seems like a perfectly fine show, I don’t know how long I’ll be keeping it on the rotation given everything else I’m currently watching.

Jel’s verdict: Yawn…

This is easily the most boring thing I watched this season. The first episode was pretty much your standard eccentric Sherlock Holmes genius type and his Watson-esque every man companion… solving murders? Did they solve the murder? I don’t really know, it was so dry it made it hard to pay attention to half the episode. The only interesting wrinkle in the story is the fact that this all seems to be a flashback leading up to some kind of tragedy. In fact, there may be a good story buried underneath the surface here, I just think the director is not doing a great job of adapting it from novel form. Either that or it’s just one more Sherlock Holmes knock off to add to the pile.

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