In/Spectre – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Iwanaga Kotoko became the god of wisdom to the supernatural beings and spends her days solving problems for them. However, the boy who she fell head over heels for, Sakuragawa Kuro, is someone that is feared by all supernatural creatures. The two of them face various mysterious incidents involving the supernatural in this love x romance x mystery series. Where will these fantastical incidents lead them and what will happen with Kotoko’s crush? (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: In/Spectre grabs the audience immediately through its one of a kind female lead, Iwanaga Kotoko. We open as she approaches one Kuro Sakuragawa, a young man just a few years older than her and someone she fell in love with at first sight. What begins as a friendly reunion, having only met briefly two years ago, quickly turns into a series of questions as Kotoko pries into Kuro’s failing love life. This grounded angle makes her relatable to the audience but also curious as to what her goal is when she begins grilling the man not just on his recent relationship failings, but for something deeper. She’s a spunky, outspoken, confident young woman with wit to back it up and feels really unique as female anime protagonists go.
Tom: Kotoko really does feel like such a unique character. From her direct attitude and forceful nature, to the charm of her simplistic yet multi-layered design, and even her voice work nails her as this mysterious and enchanting otherworldly detective-like character. She has presence due to all these elements, making her immediately compelling. Kuro is no slouch either. As we gradually peel back the layers on Kuro our perception of him transforms from little more than a Straight-man reacting to Kotoko’s unusual directness, to an individual shrouded in mystery, a mystery that becomes so surprising that I was eager for a second episode as soon as the credits popped on screen. The power really is in the writing with this series, introducing us to two layered, fascinating leads who feel like anything but trope ridden cliches.
Linny: A lot of the backstory regarding Kuro is told through the gossip of the nurses at the hospital both Kotoko and Kuro frequent, managing to impart this information in a more memorable and engaging way than simply having Kotoko tell Kuro what she already knows about him. It helps to make Kuro’s backstory feel important, especially as we begin to peel away the layers of his character, discovering he’s not merely some innocent crush for Kotoko.
Tom: In/Spectre’s slow first few minutes gradually build and build, keeping our attention with fun dialogue and intriguing mystery until shit hits the fan and we go full supernatural action, aided by animation that leaves the episode’s final few minutes as some of the most memorable this Winter. I don’t want to spoil the series too much, as In/Spectre’s first episode is perfect for viewers looking for unique, captivating characters, fun dialogue and deepening mystery, making it the perfect series to cap off the Winter premieres with.
Linny: In/Spectre does such a good job of integrating its supernatural elements into the story, giving you just enough information and promise yet leaving you with questions and doubts to keep you on the edge. Not only that it balances all its various elements, from comedy to mystery, to produce this one of a kind story that will have you amused, shocked and curious all in equal parts. Having read and been a fan of the original manga, I am eager for more episodes so I apologize if I seem biased but if you’re someone who likes stories with plenty of twists and turns along with supernatural elements and a vein of comedy running through, In/Spectre deserves a high position on your watchlist.
In/Spectre is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.