In Bishounen Tanteidan (Pretty Boy Detective Club), Mayumi Dojima, our starry-eyed protagonist, is searching for the magnificent star she saw as a child. This, she believes, is the only way she can pursue her dream of becoming an astronaut. In her search, and as the deadline of this wishful dream approaches—her fourteenth birthday—she comes across Manabu Soutouin, the eccentric president of the Pretty Boy Detective Club. Manabu promises to help Mayumi solve the mystery of the lost star along with the rest of the club.
A Shaft x NISIOISIN production, Pretty Boy Detective Club looks all fresh, colorful, and sparkly in a very modern way, and has a cast of cute boys and girls delivering philosophically loaded dialogues. A feast for your eyes, this series had a smaller but devoted following this season. Let’s take a look at what did and didn’t work!
Pretty Boy Detectives on Adventures
We get several different cases for our young detectives, spanning between two to three episodes each. After Mayumi’s case is solved and she joins the club as an official member, they all engage in surreal cases, like exposing the cheating methods of a high school casino president or finding out the truth behind a former art teacher’s disappearance act.
Not every case would make a lot of sense but this doesn’t stop the show from being downright charming, if not a bit confusing at times. Our favorite case was the one with the art teacher that set up a “heist” with her students, to teach the school a lesson about the value of creativity and freedom of expression. The final case is also really smart and perfect for a strong finale, bringing Mayumi’s coming-of-age story full circle.
Less Acting, More Talking (and Looking Gorgeous)
If you were expecting another Moriarty the Patriot but with younger characters, you will be disappointed. Pretty Boy Detective Club is more about encountering different life approaches, finding out about people with a different worldview, and doing things in good style. A coming-of-age story at its core, we watch the club solving cases all interspersed by the melancholy of fleeting youth. After all, the rules are clear, you’ve got to be a boy to be a member, not necessarily in gender, but more so as a broader definition: with a child-like spirit, ready to engage fully with life, the emphasis being a sense of wonder, not of maturity. This is not a show to watch over your lunchtime, because you don’t want to miss the dialogue, and there’s a lot of important—and not so important—talking going on.
We loved Mayumi and the Pretty Boy Detective Club in all their surreal glory. It would be cool if we got the light novels translated too, to experience even more of their adventures. It’s an idiosyncratic harem, with a small following that swears by it, so if you like bishounen—obviously—anime with school settings, aesthetics, and a slice of mystery, give it a go!
Did you watch Pretty Boy Detective Club? Which case the boys solved did you love the most? And, where you team Nagahiro or team Fukuroi? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading.