Cuticle Detective Inaba Volume 1 Review

Cuticle Detective Inaba :

Volume 1

Reviewed by: Linny

This almost looks like the cover to a different kind of manga.

Synopsis:  Inaba Hiroshi is a private investigator with a hair fetish and a not so secret past as a genetically bred police dog werewolf detective. When a rather strange new mafia lord named Don Valentino begins his reign of crime and terror, Inaba is asked to help bring Valentino down by none other than his former police partner, Detective Ogino.

Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):

Cuticle Detective Inaba is a comedy series through and through. Nothing in its first volume is serious and its humour is of the typical absurd manga kind where people can change form or shape in the blink of an eye due to their mood of power and we have goats as mafia bosses. Though the series is named after Inaba, there’s a heavy focus on other characters as well such as the series starting off with a focus on his former partner, Ogino and the revelation and introductions of Inaba and company being done by Nozaki Kei, a 16 year old who is an employee in Inaba’s private investigation agency and the straight man to all the other crazies in the cast. While Ogino may seem like the straight man early on as he is admired as one of the most commanding officers in the force, it quickly becomes evident that he actually possesses a rather curious personality, one that dotes on his daughter to the point of obsession and a bloodlust for anyone who might dare to harm her.

That seems like a rather inappropriate poll to be held at a police station.

Needless to say, a lot of the humour in the volume comes in the form of the weird personalities and abilities of the cast. From the hero to the minions of the villain, not only are they completely off the wall character wise, a lot of them are also anything but ordinary appearance wise. The jokes arise from how inept or unusual these people are so this manga is clearly not going to impress anyone who prefers smart humour or realistic characters. The humour can also get a little naughty in that our titular character has a really deep fetish for hair but the actual visual lewdness of the joke and nsfw content is low to nonexistant in the first volume.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that tea turns out to be poison flavoured.

For this volume, and also from the cover photo of Volume 2, the villain introduced in the first chapter seems destined to be a permanent or prominent adversary for Inaba and Ogino. Every chapter in Volume 1 lays out a new ‘sinister’ plot or activity that Don Valentino has started or hatched and Inaba and Ogino’s ensuing attempts to thwart him. Each crime is usually of a ridiculous nature, from the first crime being Don Valentino’s attempt to eat all the money in Japan to Valentino’s obsession with Japanese history leading him to steal a magical scroll that is apparently used by the Japanese government to time travel and fix or avoid any potential nation destroying calamities, all just so Valentino can travel to the past and get the autographs of his favourite historical icons. There is a lot of violence in the story, such as a character repeatedly shooting the other in the head but the drawings are more comedic than gorey and shouldn’t bother anyone except for those sensitive even to the idea of a violent act.

What a totally not suspicious message.

A lot of Inaba’s jokes may come off as predictable and common to those who have been into manga and anime for a while but because they are so deep rooted in popular cliches and tropes, they also have the potential to earn a chuckle or two and will most likely really entertain anyone more new to the absurd comedy employed in manga. As someone who’s always been a fan of comedy, and has read and watched a fair share of manga and anime, I still found myself grinning at some of the crazy antics our crew kept getting themselves into. Staples of manga comedy like the violent female, the oblivious wife, the almost controversial pervert and so on fill the cast but the story does a decent job of utilizing them all to their maximum potential. The story has a rather long cast list but it does a good job of introducing and using them at a pace that doesn’t make the cast feel bloated or cause any confusion from having too many new characters in the same chapter.

Boy, this is one mixed bag of reviews.

In summary, Cuticle Detective Inaba isn’t for anyone who seeks a more down to earth comedy but is sure to delight anyone looking for a comedy that goes balls to wall crazy with a cast that is anything but normal. It almost feels like the cartoons we watched as kids when you had a cat and mouse chase being carried out again and again every day or week between two quirky characters (in this case, two quirky factions I guess) and while the mouse kept getting away, there was always a lot of fun to be had in the chase. It may not be the most original when it comes to its characters and comedy, but what it does with them is sure to amuse anyone who has a craving for the absurd. As of the writing of this review, Crunchyroll has 17 volumes of the series, along with all the rest of the chapters that haven’t been combined into volumes so for anyone who tries the first volume and ends up loving it, you have a lot more left that will hopefully charm and entertain you all the way through. For anyone else who thinks that is too much reading, the series has an anime adaptation that is also available for streaming on Crunchyroll though you may ultimately have to turn to the manga to complete the story as the show only has 12 episodes.

Cuticle Detective Inaba is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.

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