We’ve been getting a fair amount of anime and manga spinoffs of Tokusatsu series lately. The main ones I’ve covered have been the Ultraman manga series and its anime spinoff on Netflix, and Studio Trigger’s Gridman universe series – Gridman and Dynazenon – in addition to ones I haven’t gotten to yet, like the Garo spinoff anime series. This fall’s Fuuto PI (or Fuuto Tantei) is another of those – this time tying in with Kamen Rider W.
The show follows the main protagonists of Kamen Rider Double – Shotaro Hidari and Philip – continuing to operate the Narumi Detective Agency at some point after the conclusion of the original series (though the first episode shows some snapshots of the start of the original series for those who are unfamiliar), hunting down Dopants (the monsters in the original series) as Kamen Rider, in addition to taking some more conventional PI cases. When a search for a missing bag leads to them encountering a mysterious beautiful homeless thief by the name of Tokime, who ends up drawing them into a new organization producing and distributing Gaia Memories in town.
This show was a lot of fun to watch – and I was quite pleased to find that in spite of my general ignorance of Kamen Rider W (I knew it had something of a mystery-related premise and had two characters tied to the Kamen Rider identity, but that was it) I had no problem following the story. The ideas behind things like Gaia Memory and the Dopants are explained as they come up in the story with basically just enough to keep the viewer in the loop, without grinding things to a halt.
Even better, the mysteries feel like mysteries. Because the Dopants can pass as ordinary humans instead of only existing as some monster created by a villain organization, that means there’s a question over who the Dopant of each arc is. Even better, it’s a well-plotted mystery! I never felt like the show was cheating, and introducing an antagonist who had never previously appeared, nor did I feel that information was being kept from the audience that the detectives didn’t have. It’s not perfect – there are a couple of ones where some of the information is there, but isn’t communicated well.
The animation is also great – with some nice fluid animation in the action scenes – and where CG comes up, it’s handled with care. I don’t have the same loathing that some people in anime fandom have for CG in anime, but I also am aware that sometimes it just isn’t handled well. That’s part of the reason why I dropped Tesla Note, is because of how spotty the CG was.
That said, the end of the series is very much one that could be taken as either a “Read the Manga” ending or a “Watch the Live-Action Show” ending – with the minus that neither one has received a legal US release. Yeah, Kamen Rider W did get full fansubs, but otherwise it’s never really gotten a legal release, and the fan translation of the manga is well behind where the published manga actually is – and even more that fan translation is behind where the show is. So, the ending of the anime isn’t exactly satisfying – and that isn’t helped by the anime not having received an announcement for a second season yet either.
Still, this is a great show, and I’m definitely recommending that if you haven’t watched this show already, you should definitely give this show a watch.
Fuuto PI is available for streaming on Crunchyroll.
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