The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED – Mid Season Anime Review
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Synopsis: Detective Daisuke Kanbe has no problems using his own fortune to solve crimes even if he assesses human lives based on their financial worth. Compassionate Haru Kato sees all life as sacred and is sickened by Daisuke’s materialistic ways. Can they stop butting heads and overcome their opposing world views for the sake of solving the toughest crimes in the precinct? (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Despite boasting a pair of charming, fun, quirky leads, and a simple buddy-cop premise that seems like it would set the stage for well-crafted, if predictable drama about each taking lessons from the other; The Millionaire Detective isn’t traditionally good. The buddy-cop dynamic of good cop and rich cop never quite materializes as meaningful drama, or character development, making the show feel aimless in the way Daisuke and Haru come together as partners. For all the synopsis and first episode might imply that Daisuke is somewhat amoral in his approach to solving crime; that of using his massive wealth to ‘bulldoze’ his way through an investigation or chase, he’s actually got a rather kind heart. By making Daisuke perhaps too personable, it defuses what little the series had going for it in the way of conflict between the two leads. That said, the two are still so charming, and goofy, in their approach to solving crime that you can’t help but love them, even if their relationship lacks a core conflict.
Linny: The first four episodes of Millionaire Detective are all one off tales, mostly played for fun or high stakes action that ultimately ends on a generally light-hearted note. For example the first episode involves store robbers but then wraps around to a lover’s betrayal and then wraps up with a clearly meant to be funny reconciliation between said lovers. Other examples involve diffusing a hostage situation with the help of a boy-band or an episode about our millionaire Daisuke having to spend an entire day without a single cent to his name. These episodes made for silly, goofy entertainment. They were competent enough to amuse anyone who just wanted a playful action/crime show. And if The Millionaire Detective had stuck with offering similar content for its entire run, it may have ended up as one of the recommendable shows of its season. To clarify, by no means would it have been a must watch but it would still have made for some good decent fun as viewers sat back and watched the show turn serious situations into something more lighthearted or even heartwarming.
Tom: The big problem The Millionaire Detective suffers, and what really keeps it from being a traditionally good watch, is a reliance on contrivances. Daisuke and Haru’s aimless relationship and character conflict aside, the show has a number of major contrivances in a number of episodes, with a few developments that make no logical sense. One excellent example is when Daisuke becomes locked in a panic room, where the only way out is for someone outside to find a special shaped key that’s been stolen. For one; that’s not how panic rooms work. At all. You can’t get locked in them and be unable to get out. Next, most panic rooms don’t have exclusively made special, near one of a kind keys that, if lost, would trap its occupants for all of eternity. It’s generally easy to overlook such shoddy writing though when the characters are so much fun and the general atmosphere is one that’s more fun and frivolous. It’s during these early, light-hearted, episodes that The Millionaire Detective is able to get away with a lot, simply because the characters are fun. Even the side characters’ quirky personas help to overlook a lot of the issues. But despite that, The Millionaire Detective eventually changes directions, forcing us away from the light-hearted tone that was keeping its most pressing issues from bubbling to the top.
Linny: The Millionaire Detective’s main problem begins around Episode 5 when it decides to go all in on a much more serious and lengthier narrative arc that involves lots of death and conspiracies. To be fair, episode 5 still ends on a playful note, with a somewhat lewd gag, but it kicks off a story that only gets darker and heavier as it continues. By episode 6, we have 2 deaths and no gags at all as the show continues with this singular plot. It’s a drastic shift in tone and frankly, not one that the show can really pull off considering how goofy it has been up until now. And the show has made it pretty clear that this is going to be the modus operandi for a while, if not perhaps for the rest of the season. This puts the audience in an awkward position. Anyone who had grown fond of The Millionaire Detective’s playful, one off content now find themselves completely deprived of the very thing they were watching the show for. And for anyone who might have been sucked in by the more serious tone the show has now embraced probably abandoned ship long ago thanks to how goofy everything was early on. And as Tom mentioned, another huge hurdle to accepting the show’s new tone is that its stories often suffer glaringly contrived plot elements, which are easier to ignore when dealing with a comedy but a lot harder to swallow in a more sombre setting. This means the writing needs to get a lot tighter and plot elements have to be really polished for The Millionaire Detective to make its new, serious story not only believable but also convincing and engaging.
Tom: The fact of the matter is the writing just isn’t strong enough for The Millionaire Detective to make this turn towards a more grim, thriller-esque narrative work. Nothing has been built to withstand the scrutiny that comes with delving into far more dramatic territory. The series would have been better off remaining a light-hearted, drama verging on straight-comedy. If this new, more dour narrative is the rest of the series then The Millionaire Detective is going to get rough. But if this is but a couple episodes in an otherwise enjoyable run of iffy-writing, yet lovable characters, it might still be a show worth checking out.
Linny: The Millionaire Detective is at its best when it’s playing off familiar buddy cop anime tropes and exploring the fun dynamic and clashes between Daisuke, the suave millionaire and Haru, the earnest, down to earth cop. Yes, this aspect of the show isn’t without flaws, such as how the show, or more specifically Haru, mocks and judges Daisuke for using cash to solve problems and being materialistic even though Daisuke seems to solely use his cash for good causes, making for a weak excuse for our two leads to clash. And yes, it isn’t the most original premise or set up either. But the show does enough with its little gags and showcasing Daisuke’s ridiculously expensive and often over the top approach to solving cases or taking down criminals that it made for decent entertainment. If the show is going to stick with the hard tonal shift it showcased fully in episode 6, it seems to have nixed the very things that were enjoyable about it. If this is what the rest of its season is going to be like, The Millionaire Detective is going to end up all the worse because of it.
The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED is available for streaming via Funimation.com