Based on the 2019 light novel by up-and-coming author Nigojuu, The Detective is Already Dead is a fresh new anime for the Summer 2021 season with an unusual take on the mystery genre. As you might’ve guessed from that Fist of the North Star-inspired title, the eponymous detective is dead for most of the story, but she still participates in a way you might not expect. So let’s check out how this anime is going so far!
First and Second Episode Spoilers Ahead!
Wherever This Anime is Going, We’re Here for It
Kimihiko Kimikuza, a hapless teen who seems to attract trouble wherever he goes, somehow finds himself in the middle of an airplane heist where he’s forced to play sidekick to the self-proclaimed “legendary detective” Siesta. The cool-headed girl promptly defeats the hijacker with increasingly ridiculous mental 5-D chess moves that wouldn’t feel out of place in Death Note or The Promised Neverland, culminating in a gorgeously animated moment where she re-enacts Fate/Zero’s “Excalibur” scene with a giant anime rifle and bullets fashioned from her own blood. Everything seems to be falling into place for an over-the-top crime thriller... until we skip to four years later, after Kimihiko has gone on a whole series’ worth of adventures with Siesta and has been left adrift ever since she mysteriously died three years in.
Wait... what?! Obviously, Siesta’s death had to factor into this somehow, but we figured that she was just a ghost the whole time or something like that. Where is the story supposed to go from here? Well, as it turns out, Kimihiko meets with a new girl named Nagisa whose life was saved by a heart transplant from Siesta and the two set out on a new adventure to finish what the original team started. The mysteries are a bit more grounded and straightforward this time, but with just enough twists and false leads to keep you from guessing the solution too quickly. Whether this new direction can keep up its momentum remains to be seen—however, Nagisa and the older Kimihiko have some great rapport so far.
Outstanding Production Values Everywhere You Look
We’re intrigued by the idea of trying to move on from a loved one’s death while being forced to take their place at the same time—it’s like an accelerated “student must become the master” arc, but focusing more on the grief aspect. All of that potential would be squandered, though, if the sound and visuals weren’t up to par. Luckily, The Detective is Already Dead has some top-notch talent working on just about every facet of its production. Ayano Taketatsu (Kirino from Oreimo) lends her tsundere charms to Nagisa, while Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Sora from No Game No Life and Inosuke from Demon Slayer) plays the devious plane hijacker who’s a lot more important to the story than he seems at first. Even Studio ENGI—whose only previous works were Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out, Kemono Michi, and last season’s Full Dive—has stepped up their game to deliver some truly stunning action animation and vibrant backgrounds. And, lest we forget, the waifu designs are beyond cute!
We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this anime to see if it lives up to the high standards it’s set for itself. Will Kimihiko be able to process his grief and become the legendary detective that Siesta trained him to be? Will Nagisa get to live the fulfilled life that she’s imagined for herself since her sickly childhood? Will we ever understand how Siesta can pull “all according to keikaku” moments out of nowhere to bamboozle her opponents and allies alike? Who knows, but we’re excited to possibly find out!
What did you think of our first impressions? How are you enjoying The Detective is Already Dead so far? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!