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Cuticle Detective Inaba – Review

by Miguel Douglas

@isugoi

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The story revolves around Hiroshi Inaba, a genetically altered part human and part wolf being. Inaba is also a private detective, who runs his agency with the help of his cross-dressing secretary, Yuta and his “mostly normal” teenaged assistant Kei. The plot mostly centers around the gang trying to arrest Don Valentino, a goat who literally eats money.

When the main villain in a series is a miniature goat that wears a cape, you know that it is probably not a series that takes itself too seriously. Thus is the case with Cuticle Detective Inaba, a series which stems from the ongoing manga of the same name that is illustrated and written by Mochi. It would be appropriate to state that Cuticle Detective Inaba is pure, unadulterated hyperactive comedy, delivering a seemingly relentless barrage of one farce after another with each consistent episode. For the most part, it makes the series extremely interesting to watch, but is it an approach that situates Cuticle Detective Inaba as an inane series too caught up with its own foolishness or does it deliver a refreshing sense of offbeat humor?

For the most part, Cuticle Detective Inaba does succeed in bringing about its eccentric taste in humor. With each episode consisting of two to three different mini-segments that follow a unique case by the private detective Inaba and company, the structure of each episode provides the series  with a sense of speediness as the characters continually find themselves in the most awkward of situations. Quite similar in vein to the comedic premise seen in Kill Me Baby (2012), a series also based on a manga, Cuticle Detective Inaba further extends the notion that it is not a series that is too stern in its delivery. This approach certainly complements the humorous nature of the series itself, establishing a lighthearted tone that presents Cuticle Detective Inaba as a series geared more towards a viewership who simply want a quick laugh and nothing more. It is also a series for viewers who could care less about character development, which Cuticle Detective Inaba considerably lacks but is also quite self aware that it is not trying to provide much in terms of development in the first place.

Provided that the series is exceedingly episodic in nature, which to its credit is reflective of the manga itself, the humor of the show is quite imaginative to say the least. With moments such as the cape-wearing goat Don Valentino pondering if should isolate Japan once he conquers it, to the character of Ogata, a man who has a strange, almost homoerotic affixation for Inaba simply because Inaba is part wolf and Ogata loves wolves, the series plays upon these quirky ideas in a relatively inventive fashion. The rather expeditious and wacky nature of the humor also means that viewers will have to pay ample attention in order to get the full crux of all of it – one can not lazily watch an episode. Unfortunately, this approach also situates Cuticle Detective Inaba as a series that is not entirely too coherent in regards to narrative, often appearing as simply all over the place as it focuses primarily on being comical more so than anything else. But one can not envision such a series as Cuticle Detective Inaba as being too much of anything else to begin with given its foundation as a manga series with quick-witted humor and pacing. Its utter ridiculousness is its strength – and it knows it.

Considering the origin of Cuticle Detective Inaba, it is definitely not a series that refrains from attempting to make the viewer laugh as much as possible. With a cast of colorful characters that all reside within the realm of the bizarre, the series presents a plethora of comical situations that are often surreal, a little lewd at times, and certainly out of the ordinary. Its episodic nature also allows for viewers to not get too accustomed to any sense of regularity, which may dissuade some viewers who prefer the formalities of a structured episode. If one is going in expecting to find a comedy that cares for its characters, then Cuticle Detective Inaba is certainly not the series for you. What it does do successfully though is establish its chaotic world with a sense of detachment, allowing the humor to remain the focal point of the series – often to the detriment of having any sense of coherency – but if one simply wants to enjoy moments of absolute hilarity coupled with insanity, then Cuticle Detective Inaba is a series that highly succeeds.

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Author: Miguel Douglas

As an avid viewer of both Japanese animation and cinema for more than a decade now, Miguel is primarily concerned with establishing a critical look into both mediums as legitimate forms of artistic, cultural, and societal understanding. Never one to simply look at a film or series based solely on superficiality, Miguel has dedicated himself towards bringing awareness to Asian entertainment and its various facets.

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