Ron Kamonohashi's Forbidden Deductions Season 1 Anime Review

Ron Kamonohashi’s Forbidden Deductions Season 1 Anime Evaluation

The detective narrative has an artistic quality. The quick answer is that it’s not always easy to create a compelling mystery and then develop a detective character to solve it; many more competent academics than I have written about it. This is especially true if you want to write a fair play mystery, or honkaku as it is known in Japanese literature, which is a kind of writing that is both a riddle and a literary genre. In fair play mysteries, the author must provide a trail of clues for the reader to follow so they may work with the detective to solve the murder. Fair play elements are a good way to immerse someone in the case, but it doesn’t always have to follow the same format as early Ellery Queen stories, where the story actually ended with a “message to the reader” (or listener, in the case of the radio shows) to give them a chance to firm up their guesses as to the answer before Ellery revealed it.

I mention this because Ron Kamonohashi uses it in several of his Forbidden Deductions. Despite being absurd at times, it offers enough hints for viewers to at least attempt to solve the puzzle with Ron (and, less often, Toto). This also applies to the opening theme: at the conclusion of the thirteen-episode run, you will be able to identify most, if not all, of the background people as the suspects and offenders from each case if you pay attention to them. While some answers (such the way barbershop sinks operate differently from salon sinks) need specific understanding, the majority provide sufficient proof for us to at least take note of, if not comprehend. It’s enjoyable, well-executed, and most likely the greatest segment of the show.

It’s especially intriguing considering how often the program makes references to the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Since Conan Doyle did not write fair play mysteries, it is always amusing to see his purported imitators fall back on a device that is more Christiean than Conan Doyleian. Putting genre snobbery aside, however, the utilization of Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes doesn’t become interesting until the very end of the show, namely in the extra scene that takes place after the closing credits. While this is a clever turn of events, it runs the danger of becoming very cliched, particularly after Moriarty the Patriot. That being said, even if Toto makes Watson seem like a true genius, it’s comforting to know that Ron and Toto’s Holmes/Watson connection is intentional.

And that’s when the problems with this series start to show. Even while Ron Kamonohashi’s Forbidden Deductions has some strong mystery components, it’s not always enjoyable. That’s mostly because of the characters. Ron’s portrayal as the eccentric investigator is bearable, but Toto’s portrayal as his foolish sidekick is over overdone. I don’t know how this guy got into law enforcement as an investigator; he can hardly think his way out of a damp paper bag most of the time. This problem is made worse by his reliance on Ron, who makes it unnecessary for Toto to attempt. Rather, he serves as Ron’s front and shield, not from the external environment but from inside. Five years before to the start of the series, Ron had a horrific tragedy that left him with the capacity to force convicts to commit suicide—something that is generally frowned upon by the law. Ron is unsure exactly how or why this occurs (the resident neurosurgeon on the show speculates that it may be neurological tinkering), but at the conclusion of each instance, it is a given. Since Toto is aware of this, it is his responsibility to prevent the offender from effectively avoiding paying for their crimes in court. The issue is that it seems to catch Toto off guard each and every time. Instead of being prepared to shut Ron’s mouth or seize the offender, Toto only watches helplessly, waiting for the very last moment to intervene. Watson isn’t as stupid, not even in the poorest Holmes adaptions, and Toto’s ineptitude is much more implausible than Ron’s enigmatic ability.

The character dynamics also seem exaggerated as a result. Toto’s ineptitude is as absurd as Ron, who is such a textbook eccentric investigator that he might have come straight out of a Hallmark mystery film. When merged, they become more of a ridiculous application of a cliche that has been handled much better in previous works than a formidable combination. With a surgeon who’s always wearing bandages and other eccentrics from BLUE, the top-tier private investigator training school that Ron was expelled from, this plot seems more like cardboard cutouts than a narrative with real people. It’s unfortunate since the main narrative and underlying riddles are both rather fantastic, and they shouldn’t have to be dragged down.

As a consequence, this program has a lot of different aspects. Since it’s a mystery program, the mysteries itself have to be good, which they are. The three-parter that comprises episodes seven through nine offers a glimpse into what this series might have been, and still may be, in its second season. It’s a delightful notion to imagine a school where Poirot and his like could have received training. However, the exaggerated characters and the purposeful silliness of the background pieces detract from the overall impression. If you like mysteries, there are more entertaining shows to watch.

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