In/Spectre is an urban fantasy mystery anime with something of a novel concept. It’s not based around finding justice or solving the crime, but instead on finding a solution that hurts the least number of people. It’s a take that manages to be both pragmatic while also being upbeat.
The first of our leads is Kurou Sakuragawa – a college student with a secret. As a child, he was tricked into eating the flesh of a youkai by his grandparents, and when he survived he also received the ability to regenerate from any wound, including fatal ones, and when he experiences fatal wounds he can see a possible future. After breaking up with a girlfriend who found out about this, he ended up meeting Kotoko Iwanaga. At about the same age that Kurou got his abilities, Kotoko was approached by some youkai to be their goddess of wisdom. Kotoko accepted, but in so doing also gave up one eye and one leg. Together, they fight crime.
I’m not entirely kidding. The show is focused on Kurou and Kotoko solving mysteries presented to them by a variety of Youkai, with three quarters of the series being focused on defeating the vengeful spirit of a dead idol called Steel Lady Nanase.
The “pragmatic but upbeat” part comes in by the fact that Kotoko’s job is less related to finding murderers or slaying out of control youkai, and more based around keeping the youkai world and human world at arms length. This is basically done by helping to keep the human world from getting too intermingled with the world of the youkai and vice-versa.
This is encapsulated by the climax of the series where, without getting into too many details, the climax is a 4 episode confrontation on an internet board dedicated to Steel Lady Nanase, with Kotoko convincing the board that ghosts don’t actually exist, while Kurou dukes it out with Nanase in real life. And it’s glorious.
The animation helps bear this out as well – the character designs are kept generally cutesy, with the youkai kept on the lighter side of the GeGeGe-no-Kitarou spectrum. It also helps keep what could be some really horrific violence as Kurou dies a little more stylized.
I can’t call this my favorite show of the season, if only because this season had Eizouken and Id: Invaded. However, it’s still a good show and is worth checking out.
The show is currently available for streaming on Crunchyroll in both subbed and dubbed form. The manga the show is based on has been licensed and is available on RightStuf and Amazon.com. Buying anything through those links helps to support the site.
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