Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 2 -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 -|Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10 -|Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 11 -|Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 -|Review Score – 3/5
Among the most significant and popular manga franchises to have originated in Japan is Detective Conan. The source material was published continuously until 1994 and has grown into a major television franchise with a range of merchandise, films, television shows, as well as games. The long-running show has also presented so many protagonists and tales that several of them have gained widespread popularity among viewers. Among those spinoffs is The Culprit Hanzawa.
Premised on Gosho Aoyama’s characters and source material, the dark comedy mini-series is an animated series. Hanzawa, a shadowy character with only his mouth and eyes as distinguishing features, is the protagonist of the narrative. His mysterious demeanor is intended to be a representation of the enigmatic criminals who lurk around Beika Town, which boasts the world’s highest crime rate.
We see the story from the perspective of a potential serial killer, which is quite fascinating. What makes it even more intriguing is that the show does not attempt to paint the protagonist in a sympathetic or villainous light, instead it makes him look insane.
Hanzawa believes Beika would be the ideal place to murder his victim and establish himself as a brilliant criminal. Despite this, Aoyama accomplishes something that most people would think was impossible given the premise. He turns it into a comedy. Additionally, the show’s sound score is impressive, as it flawlessly complements the theme of the show and the temperament of the protagonist.
Despite its dark subject matter, the plotline is silly and never takes itself too seriously. Making fun of someone who wants to murder people may sound very gruesome, but Aoyama’s technique of the plotline and the protagonist works well given each of the tales have an air of creativity, naiveté, and sweetness to it. Hanzawa is thus never portrayed as somebody who must be stopped but rather as somebody who should be made aware of his errors in judgment.
Hanzawa does his best to pursue his bizarre fantasy, but he is incompetent, silly, spineless, and almost always manages to screw up whatever dilemma he manages to find himself in. Even though he frequently falls victim to the larger city and more seasoned and intense criminals, it is amusing to chuckle at his blunders.
The show supports the idea that Hanzawa is an unreliable narrator and protagonist, and since we see the events through his eyes, it’s not unreasonable to theorize that the reality of events in the show might be distorted. Hanzawa seems neurotic and delusional. For instance, he seems bothered by the smallest things, such as people judging him, and he gets scared of the smallest things and situations, yet he makes both himself and the viewers believe that he is capable of murder, which makes the show stand at a comedic juxtaposition. This is only enhanced by Hanzawa himself, who appears to shift between moods instantly.
In addition to being unstable with his thoughts, Hanzawa is always seen tilting the narrative in his favor. When the fortune chit tells him something he does not want to hear, he declares that it is not true. And when he picks up another chit that instructs him to do good, he does it anyway.
Each episode presents Hanzawa with a different set of circumstances that only serve to emphasize the absurdity of both the city he happens to live in as well as his mindset. He simply believes it is cool and has no credible reason to wish to be a criminal. However, it appears as though he leads a very standard life and is treated fairly by those around him. Although he occasionally forgets that he must be the antagonist of the story, his motives to transform into a criminal never change.
The premise isn’t all that meaningful, but the bite-sized chapters help the show avoid running too long and it makes the entire journey seem like a fresh air of goofy humor and warmth.
Although Hanzawa is the main focus of the story arc, the supporting cast members are also very entertaining. Although these characters are present, the tale never really delves deeply into their personalities. They are just there to assist Hanzawa on his adventure.
Even though this is a spin-off, this dramedy series still manages to be entertaining by itself. Nevertheless, enthusiasts of the well-liked Detective Conan series will enjoy Detective Conan: The Culprit Hanzawa a lot more. Fans will appreciate the numerous parallels and guest character cameos from the main storyline. The fact that it still succeeds in standing on its own by genuinely being entertaining without requiring an understanding of the main story arc is a delightful surprise.
Overall, this dark comedy anime is an absurd mini-series suitable for anybody looking for some quick chuckles. If you are already a follower of the primary Detective Conan series, you’ll likely find this a lot more entertaining. The show is primarily a journey with characteristics that are similar to numerous vintage comfort anime from the 90’s. The unrealized potential of this parody, however, fails to make it stand out.
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Verdict - 7.5/10