Anime comes in just about every flavor. Think of a possible story arc and there is probably a manga or anime that comes close to covering it. This leaves a lot of room for creativity and exploration. Sometimes, however, things can get a little too haphazard. This is what happens with Fantastic Detective Labyrinth (FDL).
The story of FDL revolves around a new boy at school named Mayuki. Mayuki is smaller than the other children and is often described as resembling a doll by the girls at school. Thirty years prior, Tokyo is ripped apart in a massive earthquake, resulting in its name changing to Kyuto. Nearly everyone has left Kyuto, as a new capital has been built nearby. However, some remain in Kyuto and a number of supernatural murders have been taking place. Mayuki lives in a large mansion with his dog, his butler Seiran and maid Hatsumi. He quickly catches the interest of two detectives, as he calls them and solves a number of phantom cases, cases that can't be explained by the police, for them. He does this without ever seeing the crime scenes. It's later revealed that Mayuki, the young detective, has the gift of ESP, and uses it to solve the crimes.
"Nothing interesting happens until the fourth episode, and that is about Mayuki and three other kids from school getting trapped in an elevator in Tokyo Tower."
While the premise of the story seems seems rather interesting at first, the show itself isn't very engaging. Nothing interesting happens until the fourth episode, and that is about Mayuki and three other kids from school getting trapped in an elevator in Tokyo Tower. Don't get me wrong, even Dragonball has a lot of heavy back and forth breathing that ate up large portions of episodes, but the first four episodes of FDL could easily be compressed into one or two. There are a couple of short fighting scenes between three women with rather large amounts of cleavage, but even their identities, or purpose for that matter, aren't revealed until much later--perhaps the creators were hoping you would stick around for the sex appeal factor.
Now let me explain why I said things in FDL can be too haphazard. It almost seems as though the show doesn't know what it wants to be. FDL is a mix of supernatural mystery, murder mystery, romance, fighting dolls and Japanese school kids. It attempts to cover too many genres and so many side stories that the main narrative is constantly struggling to surface...let alone become fleshed out. The characters in the show are no different. One moment, the characters can seem very distant and non-relatable, and the next they can be in your face trying to push themselves on you. The problem is that there is no real direction when it comes to the characters. It's as though there was never a character bible created for the show and the characters' personalities change from scene to scene.
"However, that doesn't mean it isn't worth watching. While the main story does take time to reveal itself, it is a decent watch."
A good amount of this review has been spent on FDL's shortcomings, and it certainly has its share. However, that doesn't mean it isn't worth watching. While the main story does take time to reveal itself, it is a decent watch. While the story develops very slowly, I found myself wanting to know more. I needed to know the source of Mayuki's powers and I wanted to know what really happened to Tokyo 30 years ago. It certainly isn't a must see, but, if you are like me and are always up for something new, or you're looking for something to put on in the background while preoccupied with something else, then this show might be worth the time.
There are a total of 25 episodes and the first 18 of which you can watch on YouTube. Mind you, they are in Japanese with English subtitles. Watch the first few episodes and see whether you connect with the characters. It isn't a waste of time, but if you already have an anime series that you have been really waiting to watch, like Claymore, then I'd suggest you watch that instead. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the show.
Review by: Mike Ackerman | Published by: Right Stuf | Review Format: DVD