What’s it about ?
NEET detectives (and a couple of high-schoolers) fight crime.
Narumi, our point-of-view character. A high-schooler whose family moved around a lot, he stumbles on the NEET detectives by chance and never really manages to get away. He’s something of a loner, joining the Computer club because there’s nobody else there. Also, he’s got very little presence (people forget he’s even there at least twice in the episode). I quite like him : his sarcastic narration is quite fun, and his straightforward approach to problem-solving is a nice contrast to the bozos surrounding him.
“Alice” (not her real name, MAL tells me) is the brains of the NEET detectives ; she’s the “always stays in her room and can barely function socially” kind of NEET. An elite hacker, she alternates between “very smart monotone” and “sickeningly cute” in a way that doesn’t really convince me (Yui Ogara can’t pull it off as well as Aoi Yuuki did in GOSICK).
The NEET field agents mostly act as a group : there’s the big guy with an attitude, the survival-gamer who plants cameras everywhere, and the smooth dude who’s totally not an escort. Oh, and they’re in friendly terms with a group who are totally not local yakuza.
Ayaka, a potential love interest for Narumi, is one of his classmates who approaches him because she’s the only member of her club too (the Gardening Club), and they can help each other’s club survive. Or something. Anyway, she’s the one who brings Narumi and the NEET detectives together (they’re regulars at the restaurant she works part-time at), although he’d already stumbled on them in one of their cases before.
Our case for the week revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a high-school girl practicing “compensated dating”. It’s noticeably darker than the zany hijinks of the NEET detectives, although the writers manage not to make it too jarring.
This reminds me somewhat of Durarara!! : it’s not particularly outstanding quality, but there’s a real attention to detail and body language, and the backgrounds give a real sense of place to the proceedings.
The soundtrack is particularly good, and… wait. Random rapping ? Big sweeping violins on moving scenes ? Hello, Taku Iwasaki ! It’s always a pleasure. (OP & ED are nothing to write home about, though.)
For some reason, the first episode that aired as a preview is double-length (45 minutes). I have no clue whether this is just for the pilot or it is supposed to be the regular format for the show.
Well, now we’re talking. This is the first show this season that impressed me. It’s got a fun premise and a good handling of characterization for most of the characters (which is important, considering the heart of the case resides in subtly conveying the self-destructive feeling of the main three characters involved). My only concern so far is Alice herself, who feels a bit too artificial a character to really work.
Still, this is a promising show. Let’s see how future episodes shake up.