Trickster: Edogawa Ranpo ‚Shōnen Tantei-dan‘ Yori (Trickster: From Edogawa Ranpo’s „The Boy Detectives Club“) by Masahiro Mukai.
Akechi is the founder of a Boy Detectives Club. Hanasaki, a member of this club, meets a young boy crying in an abandoned building. The young boy, named Kobayashi, is immortal which means that he is unable but wish to die. Fascinated by Kobayashi’s ‘gift’, Hanasaki makes a remarkable deal with him: if Kobayashi joins the club, Hanasaki promises to find a way to kill him. Therefore, Kobayashi decides to join the club and this is the beginning of the adventure of their teamwork. The main and worst enemy of the Boy Detectives Club is: Twenty Faces (Kaijin Nijuu Mensou). His obsession is to provide Akechi with many thrills.
“Trickster” contains a very thrilling plot filled with many suspenses and curiosities. Indeed, we are big fans of the anime series, even though it received some negative reviews which it did not deserve. We are very fond of the science fiction elements which give a good depiction of the future. For example, the different inventions and technologies such as Pippo-chan (the owl) are well illustrated. Moreover, Otomo’s inventions (who is responsible for the tools of the Boy Detectives Club) are very creative such as the invisible umbrella.
Additionally, the anime contains many emotional aspects which makes it profound and sympathetic. The flashbacks show the emotional and sad background stories of the characters (esp. Kobayashi, Hanasaki and Akechi). Another fascinating feature is the contrasting friendship between Hanasaki and Kobayashi. Hanasaki is a very confident, helpful and happy young boy, whereas Kobayashi is rather depressed, cold and thoughtless of others. A friendship cannot be more contradictory. The story is about both protagonists and the development of their friendship. Indeed, it is very interesting that the author chose two boys, because if it were a boy and a girl, the story would have ended in a typical love story. Therefore, this anime is not a love story even though their relationship is very cute.
The anime is filled with many funny elements and jokes. These elements are mainly resulted from Kobayashi’s lack of general knowledge and Hanasaki’s hyperactivity. Kobayashi has a different perception of situation awareness which can be noticed by his cynicism. On the other side, Hanasaki is an ‘overexcited optimist’ who takes action without thinking and laughs over simple and sometimes serious things. The computer expert and only female member of the Boy Detectives Club Noro Makoto mostly communicates with the outer world over her owl Pippo-chan. The communication and the actions of the owl are very amusing.
Kobayashi is a young boy who cannot be injured immortally because of an unidentifiable mist which surrounds him. However, he has strong suicidal tendencies and had tried numerous times to kill himself. Towards other people he seems very cynical and cold. Due to his lack of social skills, he does not really understand people’s emotions and feelings. He is very depressed and barely smile or laugh. Kobayashi Yoshio’s “gift” makes the story of the anime very interesting because you always want to know more about this unidentifiable mist.
He is an orphan and adopted to the Hanasaki family. Hanasaki has also a brother who is adopted to the family too. Even though both are not blood related, they treat each other as if they are. As a child, Kensuke (mostly called Hanasaki in the anime) was rejected many times by adoptive parents before he got to the Hanasaki family. However, even father Hanasaki wanted to send him back to the orphans house. Hanasaki Kensuke is energetic and hyperactive which makes him taking funny decisions and this entertains the audience.
A further interesting character is the antagonist Twenty Faces. His appearances in the anime do not clearly show whether he is male or female or maybe both. His abilities make you believe that he might not be human. He uses fascinating methods to manipulate his victims.
The next paragraph contains spoilers! SPOILER ALERT!!
Both characters show an amazing character development. Hanasaki’s personality changes drastically as he meets Twenty Faces. This encounter transforms him from a happy boy into an emotionally scarred and even suicidal human being. Additionally, he even thinks of leaving the Boy Detectives Club. At the beginning of the anime, Kobayashi tries several times to commit suicide and does not have any scratches meaning he is invulnerable. However, in the presence of Hanasaki he seems to be vulnerable. Kobayashi’s life changes after he joined the Boy Detectives Club. He seems to acknowledge the club and consider Hanasaki as a friend.
The fact that we really appreciated the anime series, we hope for a further season. There are still some unanswered question which might be interesting to be revealed in a second season. The story was impressive filled with many adventures and funny elements. The anime consists of many interesting characters which makes it enjoyable and amusing to watch. The ending is very thrilling and unexpected, which makes us liking it. The choices of the intro and ending music were great and they do not spoiler the series (which is mostly done in many other anime series.) All in all, the anime is a rather unknown series and is definitely underrated. We recommend to watch it and ignore the negative critics.