「 D坂の美少年 その 3」 (Dii-zaka no Bishounen Sono San)
“The Pretty Boy on D. Hill (Part 3)”
In the finale for Bishounen Tanteidan, the pieces have come into place for the Pretty Boy Detectives to find out who tried to run over Mayumi. But the main question they have to hash over is whether it’d be safe to even continue to investigate a case that involves attempted murder.
It was shocking how Yokuya turned out to be a creepy assassin who meticulously planned to injure and/or kill anyone to appease the Academy’s desire to change the curriculum. I wasn’t expecting the animation to completely shift towards an edgy life-like seinen approach as Yokuya gave Mayumi his parlor room scene. They did a good job at making him intimidating despite going the Yoshikage Kira lengths of aiming to be average at everything. It might not’ve been enough to win the crowd like Manabu’s speech, but compared to the other antagonists in the series, it’s impressive how intimidating they made such a minor villain.
Above all else, it was nice to see how much emphasis the episode places on Mayumi’s growth since the beginning. Manabu’s speech was a good way to just summarize all the cases she’s been involved with, but it was a good summarization of what makes Mayumi a fun character. Where, in spite of her proud scumminess and her desire to subvert her friends’ expectations, she is also devoted to the club’s overall message of leaving no stone unturned to validate the idea of beauty and aestheticism being the key towards the truth.
It’s also a nice book-end to the show as Mayumi reflects on last week’s questions of whether all of this is really something you can grow out of. While Mayumi was on board with moving on when it felt necessary, she was deeply disturbed that the detectives were close to adopting that mentality when faced with a problem they felt went out of their comfort zone.
For the time being, Mayumi wants to embrace everything the club stands for, and though the going will be rough, she’s more than happy to take those on with beauty as the driving factor behind her success. She knows she’ll grow out of it eventually with all of the other boys, but for now, she’ll be good to take on any of the challenges she faces with the current support she has as both Student Council President and a Pretty Boy Detective.
Bishounen Tanteidan was an unfortunate victim of a packed season. It’s an awesome show that I would definitely say I loved the most out of the season. But considering how many big-name titles were coming out of the gate, most mentions of the anime were in passing as a show that’s “underrated” or “overlooked”.
It didn’t help that it’s a very niche series because of NisiOisin’s divisive wordplay, Shaft’s eccentric animation, and its cast of pretty boys. Hyouta being designated as the show’s source of fanservice certainly would turn viewers off if you’re only one episode in considering how young he looks. And honestly, if you had to choose between following this and ten other Saturday anime that could easily qualify as AOTY, you might eliminate this choice if any of the above bothered you.
But I was hooked by the charm of the show in how they would take otherwise mundane mysteries, and end up escalating them into these massive conspiracies linked to geopolitical strife. On top of all of this, the only people who could de-escalate these situations happen to be a group of preppies who unironically spout monologues about their love for beauty and aesthetics.
In the process, their curiosity ends up causing them to coincidentally stumble into government secrets, testing sites for private military equipment, and hostage situations. You wonder how their involvement doesn’t end in global conflict, but with the power of “beauty”, they’re able to diffuse the tension and sashay away merely by using their talents in the flashiest way they can.
At the moment, Mayumi Doujima is one of my favorite protagonists of the year. Right off the bat, she resents most of the people around her to the point of garnering a reputation as the club’s scumbag. She spends the early parts of an arc gleefully trying to avoid anything that compels the boys to lean on her talent and throw more responsibilities on her plate.
And yet, she still sees the appeal of the Pretty Boy Detectives as she becomes invested in honing her ability to see through any situation. It’s also always nice to hear Sakamoto Maaya once more, and she has a good time playing up Mayumi’s curiosity and disdain for what she gets roped into.
The cast is very entertaining, but I have to say Michiru stands out as my favorite of the five guys because of his chemistry with Mayumi. As the two cynics in the club, it’s fun to see them both be incapable of mincing their words about the current mystery they’re trying to hash out. They’re also the most level-headed of the group, making their conversations far more natural and realistic compared to the more grandiose and overindulgent ramblings of the more flowery members. Not to mention how funny it is that they both lack the filter to not call each other by the unflattering nicknames they designated for each other.
The animation for Bishounen Tanteidan is even more beautiful than some of the mysteries the Detective Club finds. Its polished and crisp details make every frame stunning, glossy, and expressive. Additionally, it’s fun when the anime indulges in playing around with the art style and dabbles into sketch work, chibi, block print, pop art, and other arrays of styles whenever it wishes to.
I think what makes Bishounen Tanteidan such a great experience to me is how it’s a nice throwback to the era of Shaft anime where quirky characters, cleverly sharp dialogue, and experimental animation dominated. Even though this anime isn’t as outrageous as some of their older shows I loved growing up, it didn’t feel too far off from those days to see how experimental they got with Bishounen Tanteidan.
At the same time, they use many of the modern sensibilities as their animation has become far more sophisticated and lush with their recent hits. Again, your mileage might vary on whether it’s your cuppa or not, but I’d be very excited to see more of Bishounen Tanteidan or visit any of the light novels.