There’s a point, in a flashback sequence in The Detective Is Already Dead, where the titular Detective, Siesta, is asked by our protagonist and her sidekick, Kimihiko, why she calls herself a detective when she’s closer to being a spy. Siesta responds that she protects the interests of her client, which what a detective does, so she chooses to identify herself (professionally) as a Detective. This kind of encapsulates the show in a nutshell.
The show follows Kimihiko – who would normally be an ordinary high school student, except he took the “Weirdness Magnet” disadvantage during character creation. This leads to him attracting the attention of the titular Detective/Spy – Siesta. She ropes him into being her assistant and sidekick, and they go on a merry series of adventures for 3 years.
Then she dies. That’s not exactly a spoiler, it’s in the title of the show.
So, as he attempts to return to some semblance of ordinary life, his life is turned upside down again when he meets a girl – Nagisa – who recently got a heart transplant, and now is finding herself drawn to him. It turns out that she’s gotten Siesta’s heart, and is now being emotionally influenced by Siesta’s spirit, subconscously.
This, on its own, is not a unique concept – the City Hunter spin-off Angel Heart had a similar idea (complete with the main character’s love interest having their heart transplanted into another person), and could be executed well. The problem is that the show just keeps bouncing back in flashbacks to Siesta and Kimihiko’s whirlwind
romance adventures. While this does build up the strength of their relationship in the past, it undercuts the relationship between Kimihiko and Nagisa now.
It reaches a point, by the end of the series, where while The Detective is Already Dead, we’ve spent so much more time with her in the past than we have in the present with Nagisa, that ultimately, Nagisa becomes a much more shallow character in the long rung because of this. Had the show been longer, and alternated between the two time frames better, I think the current and past characters and their relationships would have gotten better balance.
The rest of the show is fine – the characters of Siesta and Kimihiko have very strong chemistry, and you do get that her death really hurt. Siesta isn’t much of a detective, but the show is up front on that point and calls her out on it, in a way that doesn’t feel cheap – and instead fits the character’s motivations and still allows for the title to make sense.
I don’t know if this is going to get me to start reading the books – but the fact that they have been translated into English and are available makes me at least a little inclined to check them out.The Detective is Already Dead is currently available for streaming on Funimation.
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