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AKA: 虚構推理 ; Kyoko Suiri
Genre: Supernatural fantasy
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on crunchyroll.
Content Rating: 16+ (Strong violence, mature language.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Natsume's Book of Friends; The Morose Mononokean; Phantom in the Twilight
Notes: Based on novels written by Kyo Shirodaira, illustrated by Chasiba Katase, published by Kodansha.

Copyright: Kyo Shirodaira, Chasiba Katase, KODANSHA/"In Spectre" Production Committee



Kotoko Iwanaga, who claims that all the supernatural creatures have made her their "Goddess of Wisdom", recruits one Kuro Sakuragawa (whose past is as dark as his name) to help her defeat occult enemies. They spend most of their time on a case in which Kuro's ex-girlfriend Saki Yumihara, now a police officer, becomes involved.


" ...she's still pretty intolerable" -Saki Yumihara, Kuro's ex, about Kotoko

My big problem with this show is that Saki's exactly right about Kotoko. She'd clearly make a better villain than a hero. And her main ability of interest here isn't even her ability to see spirits and yokai; when she does summon supernatural creatures, it's usually just to confirm some specific detail- OR to torment Saki, out of sheer spiteful jealousy, though the latter is somewhat amusing in a Tanya the Evil black-humor kind of way. No, her most important capability to the show's story is- well, I'll get to that shortly.

There are some things I either liked here or at least, as Mr. Spock would say, found fascinating. For one thing, anime heroines don't usually have parts missing. Her facial design and hair are also unusual, though she habitually wears an all-white outfit that looks a lot like Rena's in Higurashi. Perhaps she got it second-hand from her. (In case you were wondering, I HATED that outfit.) I did VERY much like the show's nightclub dance closer, though I'm a little puzzled about how Kotoko can dance when she can't even WALK without a cane.

Kuro certainly has an interesting backstory- we'll just say that he's the product of an experiment that spanned several generations. His role in this show is one of the most thankless I've ever seen, but he bears it all with taciturn stoicism. This certainly didn't help me get a good reading on the dynamics of his relationship with Kotoko though. (He treats her differently at the end of the show than he does throughout most of the show, though he consistently keeps a certain distance from her.)

Now Kotoko is usually pompous and condescending, but nevertheless seems insecure where Kuro is concerned. I know why she likes him: he has supernatural gifts that are VERY useful to her, he's handsome enough, and she likes to think that no one else would accept him BECAUSE of his supernatural gifts (as Saki didn't)- but she's not absolutely sure about that last part. It's an interesting subtext, which obviously drives her jealousy when Saki reappears in his life. For his part, Kuro treats Kotoko more like a troublesome little sister than like a lover most of the time, which annoys Kotoko no end.

That was all kind of interesting, but it's certainly not the main focus of the show. THAT is on Kotoko's particular specialty, what she actually DOES, and it's this: she's a professional fabulist. When explanations for some event involving the supernatural are required, she can spin an elaborate yarn off the cuff, and if it's pointed out that there are logical flaws in her story, why, she'll just keep trying out OTHER detailed explanations until she finds one that satisfies her audience. These stories might involve some elements of the truth, or they might be sheer fabrications. (At one point, she impresses HERSELF with one of her tales, thinking "Hey, this could actually be true!" )

In short, to keep this within the language I can use here, Kotoko is a BS artist. The climax of the show features Kotoko as a literal keyboard warrior, BS'ing away, while poor Kuro does the grunt work. Very, very BRUTAL grunt work, too.

Kotoko would thus seem to be someone well-suited to sales of pre-owned vehicles, or maybe even more so to politics. Perhaps the more infamous lies of recent politicians have predisposed me to disdain facile liars even more than usual, but I had a BIG problem with Kotoko's proficiency at eschewing the truth (even if it DOES seem necessary to do so) in favor of the idea, to use comedian Flip Wilson's old adage, that "A lie is as good as the truth if you can get someone to believe it." I found Kotoko's rapid-fire spiels both hard to follow and boring at the same time. I suspect this would all be a lot easier to follow in print than in spoken dialogue, so maybe the novel/manga version is more engaging.

(It also seemed to me that Kotoko's opportunity to tell her lies in the central "case" here (it occupies all but a few of the episodes) was a bit contrived, too; I'm pretty sure that under the circumstances DNA would have been used to identify that corpse, which would have made most of Kotoko's tales "inoperative.")

My rating here isn't JUST about my feelings about Kotoko's accomplished dishonesty; there are some other major problems. It drags out the setup for its final showdown WAY too long; even reading the English episode titles, in order, shows how much the resolution is being stretched. It promises a show featuring yokai and such (like my first two recs), but they're reduced to not much more than walk-ons here; the show's main concept is borrowed from the third rec, so it's kind of a bait-and-switch. And Kotoko dominates every scene she's in, hardly letting anyone else get a word in edgewise. (It was so refreshing when Kuro and Saki, late in the show, get to have some quiet conversation alone.)

Some shows are, or at least strive to be, clever, but are otherwise unsatisfying. Presented, for your consideration, this example, from the Twilight Zone.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: Sexual innuendo (mostly from Kotoko, who's trying to get some cooperation from Kuro here- and their chief foe here is, we’ll say, VERY well endowed), but the main problem is the violence, which includes impalement, skull-crushing, and other cringeworthy sights. Better for 16+.

Version(s) Viewed: Streaming on Crunchyroll
Review Status: Full (12/12)
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