「File 01: 開かずの間」 (File 01: Akazu no Ma)
“The Forbidden Room”
I never read the manga for an anime I’m going to watch, since it usually builds unwanted expectations. When I learned that Yakumo blew through over 120 pages of material in just one episode, I couldn’t help but take a gander at the manga. And now I really, really regret that I do. I mean, imagine having to cover 120 pages of manga material, over 40 pages per chapter, in just one 30 minute episode. Can it be done?
Shinrei Tantei Yakumo focuses on our main protagonist Saitou Yakumo (Ono Daisuke), who possesses the ability to see dead souls with his left eye, which is coincidentally red. At first he comes off as a rude jerk who doesn’t have any interest in anything. He is unkempt, is sleeping all the time, and even attempts to charge a cute girl for his “services” (some of which he can’t even provide). Not only does he try to charge her, he even has tax included in his total, wants money upfront, and provides the most snobby reasoning for charging her. On the other hand, our cute girl Ozawa Haruka (Fujimura Ayumi), who’s on the receiving end of Saitou’s harsh comments, also has problems of her own. She requires his help to save her best friend who’s been possessed after visiting a house rumored to be haunted. She is also not able to live with her past, as she feels responsible for her twin sister’s death then they were children. Feeling so guilty about what happened to her little sister, she hasn’t spoken to anyone about what had happened. And it’s right here, just as Haruka is about to leave, not able to stand Saitou’s personality, when Saitou begins blurting out details about Haruka’s twin sister. Not the most subtle way to express to a girl that you want to help her, but still super effective.
At this point, the story jumps into full blown “solve the mystery” mode. After Saitou visits Haruka’s friend Miki in the hospital, he see’s that she is actually being possessed by spirits. Spirits of girls who have been murdered inside of the haunted house. The only way to remove the spirit from Miki is to remove the cause of their deaths (In this case, the person who murdered them). And so the hunt for the killer begins. I’m going to hide the details inside a spoiler tag, since I hate when people ruin mystery stories. What I can say, is that by the end of the episode, Saitou’s inner nature is clearly revealed. Deep down, I feel that he is a caring person who enjoys helping others. While his outer shell would make it seem like he is the complete jerk, helping Haruka finally put her past to rest and saving her friend Miki really makes him seem like an outstanding person. Not to mention that he exhibits his super accurate skills of deduction and careful interpretation of facts. Then again, those dead souls probably give him all the help he needs.
As I’ve stated earlier, I never read the manga for any anime I’m currently watching (I also prefer to read physical copies), and while the first episode of Yakumo managed to blow through over 120 pages of material, removing different parts from the first case, and skipping over numerous sub-plots, I think the anime itself is still pretty good. If you think about it, you would never know anything was missing if you never read the manga, right? What I was hoping for more of, was more of a creepy feeling, like when the hairs on your back get stiff. Something which the manga delivers, but the anime doesn’t. The general idea of what was supposed to happen came across clearly, but the episode itself just seems a tad rushed. I mean, two characters died in one episode, the main culprit was arrested, and Haruka’s best friend was saved. While I’d hope for a slower pace, with such a tight schedule (13 episodes) to fit into, it looks like that it’s gonna be moving fast no matter what. Look at what the economy does to anime :(. On the voice acting side of things, I enjoy listening to Ono Daisuke, and with his serious voice, I think that he can sound pretty scary. With Fujimura Ayumi, I have never heard her until now, but I think her voice fits perfect with Haruka. She has this slight lisp which I love, and I think she just sounds cute. With the previews focusing on a creepy looking guy with shades, a little kid, and a mask wearing spirit, I really hope that Yakumo becomes more creepy as we get deeper into the story. That, and maybe pacing could be a bit better.
I don’t have too much to say for the opening and ending sequences, other then the opening sequence does give me the creepy vibes that I want to get while watching Yakumo. The ending sequence isn’t anything special, but the song and lyrics are nice. With such a strong piano and violin combination, the song really gives off a warm vibe. (Kind of the opposite of what I’m trying to get from Yakumo, but I still like it none the less)