Normally, these lists have five items; however, this is a case where I could only come up with four items. Going forward, these lists will contain either four or five items.
This time, my list focuses on my favorite anime with mystery elements. Like usual, this is not a ranked list. Instead, the items are listed in alphabetical order.
Shinichi Kudo is a high school mystery buff who has incredible abilities with both his power of observation and his intuition. In fact, he can solve mysteries that have baffled the Japanese police force. Unfortunately, Shinichi has a run-in with mysterious men dressed in black. After knocking Shinichi out, they use an experimental poison on him, expecting that the poison will kill him. Instead, it shrinks Shinichi down to either a six or seven-year-old. He takes on the identity of Conan Edogawa, and he ends up helping the bumbling detective Kogoro Mori solve cases while he tries to track down the Black Organization to get an antidote for the poison.
I appreciate how the mysteries in the series are presented in a “whodunit” style, as well as how many of them keep the audience guessing until Conan reveals what really happened. As I watch the episodes, I find myself trying to figure out who committed the crime and how they did it and then seeing if I’m right. Case Closed is a series that makes someone think as they watch it.
Eden of the East
At the beginning of the series, a college senior named Saki Morimi visits Washington, D.C. as part of her graduation trip. When she inadvertently gets in trouble at the White House, a mysterious naked young man holding a gun and cell phone appears and saves Saki. The young man has lost his memory, but he finds his way back to his apartment and discovers several fake passports. He chooses one with the name “Akira Takizawa” on it, and he returns to Japan after encountering Saki again. Akira’s mystery deepens when he discovers his phone has 8.2 billion yen in digital money, and that he can contact a concierge named Juiz who can fulfill any order he has for a price. Saki, along with her friends, try to help Akira unravel the mystery of the “game” that he is involved in.
The storytelling of Eden of the East is compelling early on, and it keeps the viewer interested in what’s going on during its 11-episode duration. I especially appreciated how as facts were revealed, it would constantly alternate between making Akira look like a villain and making him look like a hero. There was also a strong execution for the buildup of the mystery surrounding Akira’s past.
The series is set in a version of Japan that has dealt with war and numerous terrorist attacks. The main character is a detective named Shinjuro Yuki, who solves cases with his partner, Inga. Inga usually takes on the appearance of a young boy but will transform into a true form of a busty woman when it appears the truth is close to being revealed for a case. In this true form, Inga eats the souls of people to force them to honestly answer questions. Between this ability and Shinjuro’s keen insight for mysteries, they discover the truth of a crime. But Shinjuro lets another detective named Rinroku Kaishou take credit and “rewrite” the solutions to crimes. Supernatural elements and political intrigue enter the picture later in the series, and these new elements help elevate the series to the next level.
Un-Go starts out as a Case Closed-type series being aimed at an older audience, but the series becomes more than this around the halfway point. With the combination of the storytelling and the animation, this series is memorable for being more than an “adult” version of Case Closed and is an enjoyable viewing experience beyond this basic comparison.
Wizard Barristers is set in a world where humans and wizards live together in Tokyo. While the police continue to protect the peace, wizards are tried according to magical law through Magic Prohibition Law. Wizards are taken to special courts, where they are defended by wizard barristers via the Court of Magic.
17-year-old Canadian-Japanese girl Cecil Sudo has become the youngest wizard barrister after passing the bar exam at 15. She became a wizard barrister in order to save her mother from execution because she was found guilty of murder in the Court of Magic six years earlier. As Cecil works as a wizard barrister, trying to prove that her various clients are innocent, she also learns that she has more power than she ever dreamed of, and that there is a secret in her past that relates to why her mother ended up on death row.
Wizard Barristers had a story that kept me interested in what was going on and want to continue watching each episode. The various cases that Cecil takes on are interesting and watching her in action with her co-workers trying to find the truth behind each one made for compelling viewing. And Cecil’s overarching story just added to the overall mystery feel of the series.