Psychic Detective Yakumo Series Review – The Dead Might Speak


Pyschic Detective Yakumo Overview:

Yakumo is a university student who pretty much just wants to be left alone however it is rumoured that he is a psychic.

Haruka believes her friend has been possessed after they went into a supposedly haunted building and asks Yakumo for help. Even after that case is solved, Haruka continues to involve herself with the unsociable Yakumo and learns more about his particular gift and his tragic past.

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Psychic Detective Yakumo Review:

Pyschic Detective Yakumo is a show that should be a lot better than it actually is. I really enjoy watching this show but know that if asked I wouldn’t recommend it as a must watch. It’s the odd curiosity piece that you recommend to someone who claims they’ve seen it all and you know they have a thing for psychic detectives.

However much like Kiznaiver and several other anime that have had pretty cool premises and established plots I am curious about, Yakumo never really capitalises on its strengths and the lacklustre conclusion does little to really leave you feeling all that keen on jumping back into a rewatch.

Psychic Detective Yakumo - follow the little ghost girl.

So let’s start with the concept.

It’s fantastic. Yakumo sees the spirits of the dead and they aren’t monsters or overly chatty, sarcastic guys reeling off one-liners for comedic effect.  They aren’t, for the most part, particularly concerned with the living at all and a lot of their interactions are incidental or are acts of convenience (living people in wrong place at wrong time).

And Yakumo, while he can see these ghosts and talk with them, isn’t particularly keen to do so (due to a general apathy about life in general) and he isn’t a ghost buster or super-powered human. He can see ghosts but unless they choose to move on, there isn’t a whole lot he can do about them.

The way the show treats life, death, and the spirits of the dead is generally very respectful and it is all constructed in a very matter-of-fact manner. It isn’t trying to sensationalize the hauntings and it doesn’t try to tug your heart-strings for the sake of a cheap emotional rise.

While there is a clear message in the show about the value of life and living, death is not seen as the ultimate tragedy either. Characters confront death (both natural and unnatural) almost every episode and it seldom feels cheap.

As a character, Yakumo is interesting. Yeah, he has the typical tragic childhood and absent parents of anime protagonists everywhere and he has the lazy and disconnected attitude toward things that is becoming more and more common amongst anime protagonists (social disconnect is becoming a much bigger issue after all), but he feels like a real character in the way he slowly responds to Haruka and the Gotou and the other characters who try to draw him out of his shell.

Psychic Detective Yakumo - Yakumo's eye

Haruka, doesn’t fare so well, as she seems entirely in the story for plot convenience, which is a shame given so much of the story is filtered through Haruka’s perception and at times she shows some genuine spunk as a character.

However, all to often someone needs to act as a catalyst for Yakumo to change and to drag him out of his room. When she isn’t serving that role, she is the dumb assistant asking questions so the audience can have explanations, and she also plays the obligatory innocent bystander and victim at times.

That isn’t to say she doesn’t have some good moments, but her character is inconsistent and her motivation for continuing to interact with Yakumo is never all that clear.

Psychic Detective Yakumo saves Haruka

Gotou, as the police detective with marital problems, is interesting as is Yakumo’s uncle, Isshin. These two kind of substitute father figures play different roles and represent different ideals in Yaumo’s life. I found this a nice touch as at least it gave Yakumo a lot of ground in between to find his own path, and the glaring flaws of both of these characters meant they didn’t feel like they existed only to be that mentor figure.

The villains of the piece, Nanase and Yakumo’s father, are menacing and have interesting stories, though their actual plot and goal seems a little too doomed to failure to have ever been considered all that much of a threat. Still, they work well in the background for most of the series and certainly step up their activities at the necessary time to lead to a climax and resolution. Though someone needs to take that taser away from Nanase.


Also, the actual final confrontation was somewhat less than thrilling with the mystery behind these two figures being much more engaging than the actual answers. Oh well.

Psychic Detecive Yakumo - Nanase is going to zap the detective.

So, with an interesting concept and some quite solid characters, why isn’t the show as good as it sounds like it could be? Three main problems:

Firstly pacing: Individual episodes of this series tend to focus on their own story, until the midway point where it becomes a little more serialised, but some of these episodes drag, or rather inconsequential parts seem far too long whereas the resolution or conflict is rushed over.

Also, we don’t really get enough time with any of the characters. They are solid enough and we learn enough about them to know who they are but we don’t spend long enough with any of them to really connect the way we need to for the final few episodes to have the appropriate impact.

Secondly, the quality: This is not a pretty anime. And yes, with the subject matter, it was always going to be relatively dark with a subdued colour palette, but everything about this anime just seems unpolished. The backgrounds, character designs and the action. Even the opening of Psychic Detective Yakumo is just kind of dull.

And finally the Luke, I Am Your Father moment. Okay, they don’t go so far as to replicate the scene with Yakumo screaming ‘no’ but it’s one of those shows where the bad guy is actually the father and maybe the uncle knew that all along and just conveniently didn’t tell anyone until it was too late, etc, etc. And while this by itself isn’t a deal breaker and it actually makes a great deal of sense as to why any of the events in the show actually occur, it still feels like slack writing.

Psychic Detective Yakumo - Yakumo and potential father

Should you watch this show? Honestly, if you like murder and mystery with the occasional supernatural element and you don’t mind a slower moving plot, you will probably quite enjoy this show. I know I find it very relaxing to watch Yakumo and crew resolve the various problems and help the dead pass on. However, if you are new to anime or if you are looking for something really exciting, you are probably better off passing on Psychic Detective Yakumo.

Images from: Psychic Detective Yakumo. Dir. T Kurokawa. Bee Train. 2010.

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Karandi James

Top 5: Characters Voiced by Daisuke Ono

Tuesday's Top 5

While I’m not a massive follower of voice actors, every now and then a character’s vocal performance catches my attention. Daisuke Ono has voiced a lot of my very favourite characters (both characters I like in their stories and characters I just love to listen to).

So this is my top 5 list of characters voiced by Daisuke Ono. Feel free to add your favourites below or just suggest your favourite voice actors and actresses.

My 5 Favourite Characters Voiced By Daisuke Ono

Honourable mentions this week: Hugh Anthony Disward (The Mystic Archives of Dantelion) and Seishuu Handa (Barakamon).

Number 5: Kazuma Yagami from Kaze no Stigma

character voiced by Daisuke Ono

I genuinely cannot watch this anime in English because Kazuma’s voice is just wrong. Having heard the original Japanese dub and really loving this character, the English voice just can’t compare. Kazuma from Kaze no Stigma has just the right amount of playfulness and darkness in his voice to really draw you in.

Number 4: Kuroh Yatogami from K


I was actually surprised when I learned that Daisuke Ono was the voice for Kuroh in K. The character is quite different from other characters I’d already associated with the voice. Kuroh might be creepy at times but he has a no nonsense air about him as he pursues his own views of justice. And he manages that without sounding like a naïve adolescent.

Number 3: Yakumo Saitou from Psychic Detective Yakumo


This character in Psychic Detective Yakumo always sounds either bored or ticked off (occasionally he manages both simultaneously). Despite such a limited range of emotions on display, listening to him never get’s boring.

Number 2: The Fourth from Heaven’s Memo Pad.

The Fourth.jpg

It’s hard to be the leader of a gang and not come off as a mindless thug, and yet The Fourth does it admirably with the help of some very effective voice acting. Normally the type of character I would barely tolerate, he actually managed to make me somewhat sympathetic and by the end I actually liked his character in Heaven’s Memo Pad.

Number 1: Sebastian Michaelis from Black Butler.


Who else? I could seriously listen to this character all day long. It’s the reason I will not watch the English dub of this series. While some of the other characters sound really good in the English, Sebastian just isn’t right without Daisuke Ono delivering the lines in Black Butler.

Who would your picks have been? Or which voice actor/actress do you really love to listen to?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James