Neuro is certainly different. Even though it’s a horror anime, it has very bright and vibrant colors. Even though it is a detective mystery, the criminal is always blatantly obvious from the start of the episode. Even though it is a shounen series, it is in no way friendly and is in every way disturbing. The many eccentricities of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro are what make it a very fun watch. However, depending on the viewer, they may not be enough to hold the show afloat. Before I even get started, I want to give a shout-out – Baka-Raptor, if you read this, this show is for you. I want to see your thoughts on it.
So, this is a show about Nougami Neuro, a demon from hell who ‘eats’ mysteries (as literally as imaginable) and has managed to eat every mystery in the underworld. In search of more, he heads to earth, wherein he happens to meet Katsuragi Yako. Yako is a high-school girl whose father was murdered in an incredibly horrific way but in such a way that evidence as to a killer was impossible to find. The police were forced to rule it a suicide, but Yako is unsatisfied. Neuro strikes a deal with Yako that if she becomes the front for his detective agency and helps him find mysteries to satiate his appetite, then they will eventually solve the mystery of her father’s murder.
And so the agency was created, and in addition to the two of them there is butt-monkey ex-loan-shark gangster Shinobu Godai who is hilariously victimized constantly. And also, there’s a braid (as in hair) that hangs out of the wall, belonging to a former girl who was… embedded into the wall? But her hair still lives, and can operate a computer to do research for the group. In each episode, they get some kind of murder case wherein the killer is usually blatantly obvious from the get-go. Neuro pulls crazy evidence out of his asshole as to the insane ways that the killings were done, and then the killer looses their mind and visually morphs into any kind of crazy-looking demon. Neuro then takes them into some kind of shadow realm of sorts, wherein he makes them suffer briefly before his head morphs into that of a giant toucan, and with an ‘itadakimasu’ he bites the criminal’s head off. (only not really, he’s just eating the mystery out of their soul or something of the sort.) I guess it makes sense that Neuro’s hair looks a lot like Yugi Mouto’s because the series style harks back to the early days of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga.
So this show is crazy, and quite violent, too. You’ll see some truly insane criminals and some very grisly murders, but nothing compares to ‘X’ who is introduced in episode 7 (as ‘phantom thief Sai’) and is a superhuman little boy who can morph his cells and is a killing machine with a voice played by Paku Romi and every single bit of creepiness she can muster. His M.O. is cramming people into tiny boxes, which he does by engulfing them in a whirlwind of himself and mincing them into nothing – which is absolutely beautiful to behold. Sai is a repeating character in the series, though he only shows up once in the first 11 episodes.
Amongst all that insanity, the truly stand-out element of the show is the character Nougami Neuro. He’s hilarious, violent, has no regard for human life, is downright cruel to Yako and Godai, and pulls it all off so lovably that he is instantly a favorite character. A lot of that is owed to his amazing voice performance by the one-and-only Takehito Koyasu. Neuro is an interesting Koyasu role, because he switches between his normal suave and awesome voice when talking to his subordinates and an uncharacteristically light and happy tone when tricking others into believing he is the lowly assistant to Yako. It’s a lot like Jun Fukuyama playing Lelouche in Code Geass, only with the opposite implementations.
Besides Neuro’s endless awesomeness, Godai and Yako are a lot of fun, but they are also pretty shallow and hard to connect to. Yako very slowly develops as a detective, but for the most part defaults to the usual sort of good-girl character – never annoying, but not all that interesting. The one thing that makes Yako stand out is that she is always hungry and eats like Goku from Dragonball. I have a soft spot for food-obsessed characters because I put a lot of passion into the act of eating myself, and I love it when characters get into deep monologues about eating, lol. Godai is hilarious just for being what he is, a gangster whose sole purpose in the series is to be comically victimized.
OH! And I almost forgot about the police officers. There is a police duo who always find themselves at the scene of crimes that Yako and Neuro end up solving. The older one is a silver-haired inspector with very thick eyes who always cocks his head to the side and has a cool voice. His assistant is a young upstart who shows signs of being an otaku. That’s all there is to say about them – their place in the series is absolutely pointless.
…And that’s all there really is to say about the show, which is the problem in and of itself. It’s fun and it’s memorable with some cool characters, but there’s only so far that those elements can carry the show. The mysteries are not usually interesting unless they are particularly bizarre (episode 6 had a barber who decapitates women and dresses their hair with their blood, and he was voiced by Tomokazu Seki, so that was cool) and it’s not like you can solve the mysteries beyond knowing who the killers are because the deductions from Neuro usually come from evidence that the viewer never gets to see. In any episode where the mystery gets more time to develop than time spent with Neuro being awesome, it can get quite boring.
Neuro would have been a great show to watch when it was airing and you could just get a fun hit of it once a week, and if you want to watch it now, you will probably want to blast through it in a straight-shot marathon or else it won’t likely hold your attention long enough to keep you coming back. It’s a show that I feel comfortable with liking but not finishing, because I only came for the attraction. After 11 episodes, I just didn’t feel all that compelled to watch it anymore and had other things to move on to. I’m marking it as dropped, but who knows if I could finish it some day – I like it too much to say I never will, but I don’t see making a point to finish it or anything.
Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro – Failed
Not for lack of trying, and not to say that it isn’t worth watching – just that I don’t feel the need to finish it.