Cuticle Detective Inaba is based on a manga written and illustrated by Mochi. The anime was produced by Zexcs and was directed by Susumu Nitsukawa. The series aired on Japanese television from January 4-March 22, 2013. As of this writing, Sentai Filmworks holds the North American license for Cuticle Detective Inaba.
The main character of the series is Hiroshi Inaba. He’s a genetically altered being that is part human and part wolf; he is a detective that also has a hair fetish. If Inaba gets a hair in his mouth, he can track down the person the hair belongs to. He can also get powers from the hair, and the color of the hair determines what the power is. Inaba had been partners with a police inspector named Kuniharu Ogino back when he had been on the police force. Inaba quit the force after his younger brother disappeared. Inaba’s missing brother ends up playing an important role in the series.
Inaba has two assistants who work for him: Yuta Sasaki and Kei Nozaki. Yuta is a cross-dressing boy who is Inaba’s secretary; he also hates Ogino to the point where he is willing to try to harm him. Kei is 16 years old and is basically the “straight man” of the series. While Ogino may not be partnered with Inaba anymore, he will retain Inaba’s services as a client. Ogino is also a doting father and will do anything if he thinks his little girl is in danger.
The main antagonist of the series is Don Valentino. He’s a goat that’s the head of a mafia, and he makes counterfeit bills. Don also dreams of taking over Japan. During the first episode, Don Valentino becomes enemies with Inaba. As any mafia head would, he has his assistants: his bodyguard Lorenzo (who wears a bag over his head), a hitwoman named Gabriella, and a 14-year-old mad scientist named Noah. But it turns out that Don Valentino is a goofy and bumbling mafia head, so his schemes never work out.
Cuticle Detective Inaba is a comedic anime, which includes a lot of exaggerated comedy and incorporating chibi versions of the characters in some of the scenes. However, the opening credits do create a dichotomy, because it contains so much action and only a minimal amount of humor that someone not familiar with the story might get the impression that it’s supposed to be a serious action series. Of course, this could very well have been done intentionally, as part of the humor of the series. But it can be jarring to go from the opening credits to the actual content of the episode. However, the ending credits, which feature Don Valentino singing the song and acting goofy, fits right in with the feel of the rest of the episode.
Most of the 12 episodes of Cuticle Detective Inaba consist of two stories. Occasionally, there are episodes that include three or more stories. There’s even an episode where there’s only one story that goes through the entire episode’s runtime. There is kind of an attempt to have an overarching story that runs throughout the series, but this takes a secondary role. First and foremost, the writing of the series focuses on the comedy.
Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the exaggerated comedy that’s used in Cuticle Detective Inaba. But I have to say that after I finished watching it, that the series was successful in what it’s trying to do. When it comes to the comedy, I most appreciated Ogino’s exaggerated “doting daddy” schtick. To be honest, I was the most likely to laugh during those scenes. I may have chuckled with some of the other humor, but for the most part, I didn’t find myself laughing as much as I would have liked while watching a comedy anime.
Cuticle Detective Inaba is a series that doesn’t do much for me personally, and I don’t really have a desire to watch it again anytime soon. However, I think viewers who have an appreciation for exaggerated comedy in their anime will enjoy the series a lot more than I did.