Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Anime Series Review

Special 7 Series

Special 7 Is A Rough Draft For A Much More Interesting Story

When Special 7 first aired I definitely had some reservations about the series. My initial thoughts captured in my first episode review can be summed up as:

“…episode 1 certainly set a tone that indicated I would enjoy this series but probably not recommend it…”

Karandi – Special 7 Episode 1 Review

By and large, 12 episodes and a recap episode later and that was more or less my feeling about the series. It has fairly low production values, a reasonable concept for a story but pretty low ability to execute said story in a way that is actually interesting viewing. For a story set in a future where there are elves and vampires and you have a terrorist organisation worshipping a dragon and on a mission to bring dragons back to the world you have to wonder how they managed to make viewing each week so bland.


Given the studio, Anima&Co, at time of drafting this post had no other anime listed in MAL possibly some of the problem comes from inexperience or lack of resources but either way it makes this anime one that at its core is exactly the kind of story I like and yet is executed in such a way that I didn’t even bother writing my thoughts individually for the final three episodes because, despite actually being a climax and finishing the story, I just had that little to say about those episodes.

Special 7 kicks of with Nanatsuki, a newly minted police officer, getting involved in a bank robbery. There he meets the suspicious Ichinose, though it turns out Ichinose is actually a detective. After the incident is resolved Nanatsuki is recruited into the unit, Special 7, that is responsible for investigating the crimes of a terrorist organisation known as Nine.


In case you haven’t noticed this anime has a real thing about numbers. Each of the members of special 7 have a number in their name and each episode title has the number of the episode as part of the title. Special 7 has 7 members which means it makes perfect sense. The terrorist group being called Nine makes no sense until a reveal right at the end and even then it is a blink and you’ll miss it moment, not to mention if they’d never given us that information nothing would have changed in the story regardless. It all felt a bit tacked on.


The real problem with Special 7, outside of the poor visuals (seriously, who makes a dragon look that lame other than Arifureta and then Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life – okay, 2019 was not a good year for dragon animations, moving on now) is that everything is there but it is all really bland. The characterisation of the seven members of the team is barely there and with the exception of Bellemer, the self-proclaimed Ninja-Homunculus who more or less is there to act cute and do the fast typing hacker thing, most of the members of the team are largely interchangeable outside of their special skill. And as we barely meet anyone outside of the team it means there’s not one character in this anime you walk away from the show feeling you know anything about other than something about justice being a good thing.


The flat characters could be overcome by a compelling and tightly woven narrative but here we have so much bloat and incredibly slow pacing. If we cut out the key parts of the central narrative, stream lined it a bit and actually hit them with some drama or tension this could possibly be a pretty incredible story, unfortunately here you will be picking out the bits that matter and trying to find anything of interest the rest of the time.

Then we finally get the conclusion of the story. I won’t spoil it but I will give the anime points for giving us an actual conclusion. I’ll even give it points for the conclusion even kind of making sense with the information given leading up to it. Where I’ll question it is in the sudden ‘believe in yourself’ or ‘believe in you teammates’ power-up that more or less decides the outcome. I’d expect something like this from a shounen or a magical girl anime but prior to this point Special 7 had mostly been a police anime and had held off on random character power-ups despite the fantasy trappings.


I still did enjoy this well enough. I finished it and in a season where I ended up not finishing a lot of anime I started largely because of work getting much busier than anticipated, I clearly liked this enough to want to know how it ended. However, I also feel this is one anime that is going to quickly be forgotten and I kind of feel that’s appropriate.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Episodes 8 +9 Review

Special Episode 8 9

There’s still time: vote for the best anime of 2019.


Justice Doesn’t Just Mean Saving the Nice

Special 7 continues to not really be anything all that special and yet it also is fairly watchable in bite size chunks. Episodes 8 and 9 both get the audience to think about justice in different ways and episode 9 is clearly setting up for a bigger conflict but really neither episode goes far enough or has all that much impact.


Episode 9 has our idiotic rookie answering a cry in the street from a woman who had her purse snatched. Heedless of danger to himself he sprints after the motorbike, hops a ride on a truck, leaps from the moving truck to tackle the guy on the moving motorbike and apprehends him, only the bag falls into the river. Instead of being thanked for his heroic (?) deed the woman berates him about losing her work equipment. That in and of itself makes you wonder if playing the hero is ever worth the effort however in case that wasn’t cause enough to question whether she was worth saving, we later learn the character is involved in the kidnapping of Belle. Bottom line, she isn’t a very nice person.


Does that mean the audience should be happy she was mugged or that she lost her bag? Does that mean the Nanatsuki was wrong for trying to help her when she needed someone? It isn’t really clear what the anime wants to say here but it at least asks the question in episode 8 which makes episode 9’s blatant ideological slap in the face a lot easier to take.

Affiliate Link – Soundtrack

As offices of the law the characters in this story have to follow their orders and they should be protecting everyone, not just the people they like. However, that is a hard pill to swallow for the group when they are tasked with transporting a terrorist involved in the airport explosion nine years ago. Ichinose lost his partner. Nanatsuki was a hostage caught up in the explosion. Nijou’s brother ‘died’. Yet for whatever reason they need to transport the guy safely. Of course, the rest of the terrorist group may take care of the problem for them but in the meantime there’s a lot of questions about whether the guy is even worth protecting.


While some of the other characters struggle with this question, Nanatsuki, straight forward as always, simply declares that he is finding his own justice and that means protecting the guy so that he can testify. It’s simplistic but suits his character. Whether the other characters agree or not remains to be seen but there’s bigger fish to fry by the end of the episode and I guess we’re moving onto the climax in the next episode or so.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Episodes 6 + 7 Review

Special Episode 6 7

They Are Special 7

I know I’m still an episode behind on this one but I found watching these two episodes back to back helped. Where episode 5 kind of dragged and then finished without resolution, episode 6 gave us the resolution and episode 7 was a fairly well constructed bridging episode between the cases so far and what is coming. That said, on its own, episode 7 doesn’t do all that much other than giving us a few character moments for the members of Special 7 who have so far had less screen time. It only works in the context of what comes before it and what presumably will come after which is where watching it immediately following another episode notably helped.


Anyway the terrorists in the upper levels of the mall are fairly quickly taken out once Special 7 put their plan into action, even if one of their plans involves swinging the rookie from a rope while firing (not worried about the hostages catching fire maybe?). It is then we learn, or it is confirmed, that the upper level terrorists really are expendable and the fact that they are taken out was all part of the plan in the first place even if the hostages being rescued wasn’t.


I feel there was a missed opportunity here as we don’t see any more of the terrorists from the basement that are apparently actually not amateurs and that very quickly diffuses the sense of danger. The dragon that appears is a little ludicrous looking and hard to take seriously, though it does confirm that there is indeed something off about our rookie. Or rather that he, like the rest of the time, really does take that ‘special’ title a little too seriously.

But after that incident, the characters get some down time, which makes sense if you’ve just taken out a terrorist unit. On a day off we see some of the unit in their home lives and others going grave visiting. None of this is entirely mind-blowing but it does feel like they are making some effort at giving these characters actual lives beyond their next mission. Even then, a lot of information is given to us about the characters and their current situations and theirs a number of points raised that potentially going to play an important role in future episodes, though I guess we’ll see if they do.


Also, they end the episode on a high note with the group gathering over a meal. It’s a lot of nothing but it is pleasant regardless. Special 7 continues to be one of those anime I am enjoying quite a bit, though it isn’t all that special. After the season ends, unless it does something mind-blowing in the next few episodes, I’ll probably forget this show even happened. That said, I’m happy I picked it up this season and I kind of want it to have a reasonable conclusion.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Episode 5 Review

Special Episode 5

What Do We Do?

This episode is a very slow burn as the characters are searching for traces of magic in a mall before the mall suddenly gets taken over by terrorists from nine. There’s a lot of amateurs but some actual pros mixed in, but to be honest not much happens in this episode except seemingly set up for what might be a payoff next week.


The start of the episode though feels like it is going to enlighten us about something we’ve been teased about since the beginning and that is how magic works in this world. Unfortunately, despite two different characters discussing it, the specifics are pretty non-existent and then we’re back to characters waving guns around so I’m not sure it matters whether they are elves, vampires, or even dragons in the end. I guess eventually this show may make use of its setting, or it may ultimately be one of those stories where the author thought the setting sounded cool but had no idea how to use it.


Outside of that though, there’s a lot of characters sitting around or standing around and not a lot of real tension. Which seems odd given everyone is in the midst of a terrorist incident. And even one of the cast taking fire in the basement couldn’t really liven this episode up.

I’ve enjoyed Special 7 well enough up until now, however I definitely found episode 5 a little on the dull side. I wanted more from the villains and I wanted to feel some escalating tension. Instead it just kind of feels like we were in a holding pattern and waiting down the twenty minute episode clock so that we could end the episode on a revelation that I guess was perhaps meant to get our attention for next week but mostly just seemed like a desperate attempt to salvage something from the time.

Though cat guy terrorist was a nice enough diversion even if he was a bit of an idiot.

There’s just a sense of something missing this week and while this anime has never been amazing, this episode lost some of the spark that’s made it hold my attention up until now. Hopefully it gets it back next week.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Episode 4 Review

Special Episode 4

It’s Not Paranoia If They Are Really After You

I’m apparently a little slow on the uptake as I’ve only just realised that the episode titles are counting up. Between the special 7 where each character has a number in their name, the terrorist group 9, and each episode counting up – this week being “Family of Four” – I suspect that either all these numbers are significant or the person writing this just had a real number fixation. Either way, it is an interesting detail to throw into the mix.


This week our Rookie, Nanatsuki, is paired up with the cool, glasses wearing Nijou. Did I mention my interests levels increased dramatically knowing we were focusing in on Nijou? Ichinose is all well and good but his maverick like abilities make it difficult to take things seriously whereas with Nijou it feels like they are actually having to work to get to a resolution even if magic computer girl literally instantly gets them whatever information they need.


The case this week involved potential insurance fraud with a man having insured his son for a large number right before the car he bought went up in flames. Equally suspect was the fact that his other two sons had died within the past couple of years, also yielding insurance payouts. While I was on the fence as to which way they would take this, they ended up actually linking this plot back to the last one and it was actually a fairly decent connection.


Affiliate Link

Live a Live – RPG Game

I will point out it is becoming increasingly obvious the animation budget isn’t great here. The images of an arm holding a glass and not moving while dialogue is heard, and similarly shots of character’s eyes but not their mouths, while carrying on a conversation permeate this episode. While it works with the overall style here, which I don’t mind, it does leave a lot of the visuals looking pretty static.


This episode does give me the sense that overall this is building to something. Whether that something will be a payoff worth getting to remains to be seen, however I am enjoying getting to know the members of Special 7. Now if they will just explain why the Rookie seems invulnerable to harm I think I’d be thrilled.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Episode 3 Review

Special Episode 3

Dramatic Staring Time

There’s something to be said for a classic and a bomb being planted in a building is pretty standard in cop shows (even if the cops involved aren’t in any way associated with the bomb squad they somehow end up involved). So Special 7 pulling a bomb threat and assembling the team is not a terrible way to go particularly when they explain that there’s the potential that magic was being used with the bomb. So for a set up this one isn’t terrible.


The problems start cropping up once the inter-departmental shenanigans go on. Once they find not one but four bombs in three different buildings and public safety still apparently shorts them on access to the bomb squad you really have to question the logic of what is going on in this world. Who would want to be the one in charge of having denied a request for the bomb squad if three buildings went kaboom?


Still, all the members of the team are out and about in this episode and mostly not being quirky or playing to their strengths but stuck watching a bomb count down while waiting for the bomb squad. While the terrorists ultimately force them into taking action, it was actually kind of nice seeing this group just doing some standard work without any bells, whistles or weirdness. Incidentally, while watching this episode I noted that I also just really like the visual style of the anime even if the animation isn’t great. Small things and all.

This would have been another positive step for Special 7 except for the finale on this whole episode. I won’t spoil it but in the grand nature of anime it one ups the danger and as the protagonists kind of overcome it they one up it again and so on but the final solution is just plain dumb and if it was that easy to solve the problem it kind of makes everything else they did more or less pointless.


However this one has low-key settled into my watch list and while my expectations remain low, I’m also having a bit of fun watching it. While it would be nice to have the Rookie character actually not just spout platitudes about the role of police and justice, the rest of the characters have settled into a fairly easy pattern to just ride along with even if the world building is still a bit on the weak side. For now I’m enjoying it enough but I’m also not recommending this one unless you really want an anime with a police focus and you aren’t overly picky.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Episode 2 Review

Special Episode 2

4 Victims
No Problem

While not a game changer by any means, episode 2 of Special 7 gives us what realistically could have been a fairly solid opening episode to the series. Our rookie detective is introduced to the rest of the team (people we saw do stuff last week but had no context for) and then he rides along as Ichinose solves a quadruple murder seemingly easily. It isn’t exactly brilliant writing but it is fun enough to follow along with and they are certainly trying to plant some seeds for future use in this series though I don’t know that anything is going to come of it during the run time.


The one real thing hampering this episode, outside of the lack of tension as they went about solving the case due to not a lot happening and the case being seemingly unrelated to anything (probably isn’t unrelated when you think about what one of the culprits says but I guess that’s a later issue), is that each of the characters introduced in the unit is so incredibly one note. Admittedly, given their screen time thus far it would be hard to actually have created well rounded individuals, but each member’s personality seems to consist of one and only one quirk which is more or less summarised in their bosses ‘code’ name for them that nobody else wants to use.


That isn’t to say that these characters won’t grow as the series progresses, or at least that the characters won’t get fleshed out, but at the moment, given they clearly aren’t expecting to hook us with any kind of mystery or detective story, one assumes the characters are what we are supposed to be on-board with. About the only interesting aspect so far is that our rookie seems to recover from injuries way too fast, something that we kind of saw last week and this week even his clothes managed to repair and once again he didn’t say anything about it. Maybe that will be something of use later on.


Affiliate Link

Live a Live – RPG Game

Despite my overall feeling that this is about as average as they come, I still kind of enjoyed the episode enough. I do like the start of the OP but then it kind of fizzles and that more or less sums up my current mood toward this show. There are aspects that kind of click and work and then there’s a lot that is just kind of there and maybe it will go somewhere by the end.


Despite that, episode 2 is definitely a better lead in to the story than episode one and it almost feels like they could have given us the information from episode one through dialogue or flash backs at a later time when it was relevant and we could have just started from here with the rookie joining the team.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7 Episode 1

Special Episode 1

Good Intentions
And All That

Right so I’m getting a mix of Phantom in the Twilight with Midnight Occult Civil Servants vibes from this first episode and it isn’t just the slightly budget looking visuals being thrown across the screen (seriously, way too many images where we’re panning across stills here). However, I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. While neither Twilight nor Midnight (I never made that connection before I wrote this post) were ‘must watch’ viewing, they were both fun enough and hit a particular taste I have for supernatural urban fantasy. Whether Special 7 ends up being an anime I am fond of while admitting its glaring faults remains to be seen, but episode 1 certainly set a tone that indicated I would enjoy this series but probably not recommend it.


The set up here is relatively standard with the only real surprise being that this isn’t the rookie’s first day on the job. He hasn’t even started the job yet and somehow landed himself in the middle of a bank-robbery. The young and idealistic seeker of justice who has their eyes opened on the job (or helps the older and more jaded characters reignite their sense of justice) is a pretty standard template for these kinds of stories though it would have been nice if our bright eyed main character seemed like he would be a more interesting character to get to know. Unfortunately, other than being green and earnest, as well as a little stupid, he doesn’t really present much in the way of personality just yet.

More or less my reaction to the guy.

Affiliate Link – Playmat
Action Anime Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Upper Moons Playmat Game Mat

The bank robbery isn’t all that thrilling though they do get to blow a small hole in the rainbow bridge and we get a minor fight sequence which is as much action as this episode sees (which given action is one of the tags MAL has given it seems odd) and it works well enough. There’s also some set-up and world building (largely through exposition) about terrorists, peace, and the existence of elves, vampires, etc. So far they haven’t done much with that yet other than tell us about it.


Naturally though by the end of the episode our newly minted detective reports for duty and is directed to a ‘special’ unit whose purpose we still don’t know. However, the post credits show us a guy with a scarred face shooting another guy with a brief-case which I guess is set up for the next episode. Given the assessment of new-guy during the bank robbery was that he was an idiot, I can’t imagine why said special unit have bothered to recruit him. Maybe it has something to do with him surviving being shot and thrown from a moving car with no actual injury after the fact? Just one more question mark I guess.


I’m not going to lie. This wasn’t a great first episode. It was barely even good. However, if this type of story is something you enjoy its also pretty harmless. I will admit, I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what this one does and I’m hoping it doesn’t self-destruct.

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Karandi James

Special 7 is not so special, but here’s the episode coverage.

Images from: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Special 7. Dir. H Kosaka. Anima&Co. 2019.

Top 5 Anime About Police

Tuesday's Top 5

Watching Cop Craft this season got me thinking. I love police procedural stories and I love buddy cop action movies with a bit of comedy and yet I don’t come across these kinds of stories in anime very often. Whether it is Bones, Castle, NCIS, Lethal Weapon or any of the myriad of TV shows and movies I’ve watched, I thoroughly enjoy them for some good popcorn viewing. So I decided to see if I could figure out which 5 anime that have police as a central focus in some way I have enjoyed the most. This was actually harder than I thought at first because it turns out I just don’t watch that many anime about police.

As always, I’d love for you to share your favourites in the comments, and in this case I’m really keen to hear your thoughts because I’d love to find some more police focused anime to get around to watching.

Number 5: Psycho Pass


Okay, I actually really love this one but technically not actually police but a part of the Ministry of Welfare Public Safety Bureau. But a rose by any other name still gives us a down and out detective tracking down the criminal who he knows is out there because he can see his fingers in so many crimes but cannot prove it. For all its sci-fi and dystopian trappings, Psycho Pass is at its core a police procedural story with the new kid on the block getting drawn in over her head in a case that will shake the foundation of the country. Very cool story with very cool guns.

Number 4: Psychic Detective Yakumo


I always thought the title of this one was a bit misleading. Yakumo isn’t actually a detective. He’s a moody college student who tries to avoid people. However, he does actually see ghosts and a detective who saved him when he was young regularly drops by to seek advice on whatever case he is working on. The detective himself has a bit of a reputation for solving these weird crimes and in fairness the detective isn’t a slouch and doing nothing on his own, but Yakumo is definitely the one who solves most of the cases and there’s very little police work involved given mostly it involves Yakumo just asking the ghosts where the evidence is.

Number 3: Death Note

death note misa2

This one is a little bit weird because even though Light’s father is in the police and initially it is the police trying to track down Kira, very soon the Japanese police drop the case leaving L, an independent, and a small group of former police on the job. Again, there isn’t a lot of standard police work going on as L and Kira both prepare to play some fairly elaborate mind games, but there are still some tense moments in the game of cat and mouse.

Affiliate Link – Cushion

Number 2: Terror In Resonance

horriblesubs zankyou no terror 10 720p mkv snapshot 06 12 2014 09 22 11 18 31

The story here primarily focuses on the terrorists and their plans, however early on in the story they send taunting videos to the police with riddles to solve. Shibazaki, an older and jaded detective who learned earlier in his career that it didn’t really pay to seek the truth out, unravels one of the riddles and then becomes obsessed with seeking out the truth behind the terrorists in this story. While he does play a secondary role, he is vital to the success of this story as he really is the only character looking clearly at the truth and wanting all the facts laid out.

Number 1: Darker Than Black


Beginning with Misaki Kirihara, a section chief in a division that specifically looks after cases involving Contractors, Darker Than Black is a fun story with so many different factions. The police are only notable in that Kirihara is our main contact point with them and her narration bookends the series as it establishes the scenes and concludes the first season. She is a great character but her superiors seems more like they are under the thumb of the many other agencies playing in this anime, so again don’t expect a lot of police work going on here as by and large these guys are late on the scene. Still a very fun anime though.

And that’s my list this week but be sure to let me know what your favourite anime with police are.

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Karandi James

elDLIVE Episode 10



For a show that supposedly has only 12 episodes they really aren’t making any effort to bring this season to any kind of climax. We get another kind of throw-away investigation of the week episode with some bare minimum character development propped against it in episode 10. And also a random introduction to yet another new character in the final minutes (there’s two episodes left). While I’m glad Misuzu isn’t going to be nose plugged any more and that Chuta can finally get over his rampant insecurity about his smell and start being illogically insecure about pretty much anything else, there really wasn’t any other point to anything this episode. The side characters more or less read a few lines and vanished and the actual ‘case’ was pretty pathetic.

elDLIVE is available on Crunchyroll.

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Karandi James.