Woodpecker Detective’s Office Episode 1 Review
Murder is all she wrote
Woodpecker Detective’s Office opens and closes with an interesting framing device. Kindaichi Kyousuke is reminiscing on the good times he has with his old pal Ishikawa Takuboku. Right upfront we learn that in the years since their days sleuthing, Ishikawa has since passed away. It makes sense to open with this up front. The story is loosely based on the real lives of the main characters, and unfortunately Ishikawa died early in his life at age 26.
In the first episode we are watching the origin of Ishikawa’s foray into detective work as he investigates a murder at the hands of Oguri Takotoshi. The mystery aspects of the anime appear very standard fair. I think the most compelling features of the show come in the setting. Ishikawa and Kyousuke’s relationship is also a bright point in the first episode.
Ishikawa Takuboku & Kindaichi Kyousuke
Ishikawa is the Sherlock Holmes of this series. He is not nearly as brash or arrogant as the traditional Holmes archetype is. The man is a poet, and in that sees himself like a detective. I am still trying to figure out the relationship between the two occupations. Hopefully the anime can elaborate further on that.
Kyousuke is somewhat of the Dr. Watson of Woodpecker Detective’s Office. The anime really captures the look of older Kyousuke, as far as the image via Wikipedia is concerned. He plays the part of Ishikawa’s confident and friend. From the first episode you can tell that he is slightly more put together than his cohort Ishikawa, but still young and ready for adventure.
The relationship between Ishikawa and Kyousuke is nicely defined here in the first episode. They good friends and better drinking buddies. It doesn’t feel out of place that Ishikawa would need Kyousuke there for his grand reveal, and that Kyousuke would sell his long treasured collection of books to cover Ishikawa’s rent. Speaking of which, its funny how 40 yen would cover rent during this time period. A lot has changed in a hundred years.
Meiji Era Japan
The first thing that stands out to me is the larger setting. Its the fascinating point in Japanese history where the old style is still intermingled with the western influence. Many men are wearing suits with ties while some continue to wear a yukata. Ishikawa the romantic poet still wears the old style yukata. It contrasts nicely with the western reading scholar Kyousuke, a suit wearing gentleman.
Everything about these historically set anime entertains me. Meiji era Japan is a fascinating place in time. A mystery series grounded in this time period has some really great potential. Turn of the century Japan has its own characteristic similarities to England and the era of Sherlock Holmes. Its feels like the perfect era to set a mystery series where the crimes of the past are starting to come undone by the evolving knowledge of the world.
There are two things that escaped me in Woodpecker Detective’s Office episode 1, and they might be related. The first is why Ishikawa considers poets and detectives similar. I get a similar romantic notion to their profession, but that doesn’t seem particularly connected. I assume that will be elaborated further in future episodes.
The second thing that was missing is why Ishikawa calls his little detective’s office Woodpecker. I didn’t see any references to woodpeckers in the first episode. There wasn’t enough time at the end of the episode for Kyousuke to question it, so I also imagine the answer will come at a later time.