First Look: Pretty Boy Detective Club

PBDC_01-1

Alternative title(s): Bishounen Tanteidan
Manga Adaptation by Shaft
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

Mayumi Dojima has lost something very important to her. To find it, she enlists the help of the Pretty Boy Detective Club, a group of classmates that are pretty, boys, and detectives.

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Jel’s verdict: Don’t Hate Them Because They’re Beautiful

Pretty Boy Detective Club is the kind of show that’s hard to describe in words, since it relies so heavily on it’s audio/visual presentation as a core part of the experience. I could be lazy and just tell you that this show is the reunion of author Nisioisin and Shaft director Akiyuki Shinbo, who worked together on the infamous Monogatari series. If you know what that means, I’ll just add this episode plays to both their strengths and minimizes their weaknesses. So I really liked it?

If you’re not familiar with their work, I’ll do my best to explain. Pretty Boy Detective Club is full of dense, pseudo-philosophical dialogue wrapped in wild, flamboyant visual flair. I mean, the episode starts with a tired Voltaire quote for god’s sake, and while the dialogue may come off a bit pretentious, I think it fit the mood. Combined with the surreal, shifting art styles, a school club room that looks like a MoMA installation, and everyone constantly making FABULOUS poses, it all just makes sense.

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Needless to say, this is not exactly a realistic, down to earth character drama. But I do think Mayumi’s dilemma adds a nice touch of humanity to all the weird and flashy things going on around her. I’m assuming they will eventually take on other cases as well. I am all for using flashy, surreal presentation to explore real life concerns, in fact I think it’s one of the things anime can do best.

I’ll admit, some of my enjoyment came from the nostalgia of late 2000s Shaft anime, as you can see that DNA very clearly in the presentation of Pretty Boy Detective Club. I could come crashing down to earth in episode 2 and realize that this series is all flash and no substance. But either way I enjoyed this first episode, and if anything I said sounds appealing, you should probably check it out.

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