Pretty Boy Detective Club

Pretty Boy Detective Club

Pretty Boy Detective Club anime series cover art
Pretty Boy Detective Club

1. Be Pretty

Pretty Boy Detective Club (Bishounen Tanteidan / 美少年探偵団) should theoretically be one of my favorite anime. It’s written by NISIOISIN, the author of the Monogatari Series, and it’s animated by Shaft, the studio behind many of my favorite anime.

Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as good as Monogatari, and the only Shaft anime I’ve seen that I would say is worse is the movie Fireworks. That’s not to say Pretty Boy Detective Club is bad, though. It’s pretty alright, all things considered.

Now, the premise of this series is pretty confusing. It’s about a club of boys who are both pretty and detectives. I know, you probably didn’t see that coming based on the title. But in all honesty, the series is exactly what it sounds like.

It follows a group of elementary and middle school boys* who solve mysteries around their school. These mysteries often end up being way crazier than they have any right to be. And yet, their resolutions are often pretty mundane.

Monogatari also has a lot of mundane arc resolutions. However, the difference here is that the Monogatari arcs often revolve around self-help and aren’t a huge deal. The arcs in this series can get pretty out of hand and their resolutions aren’t proportional.

Anyway, you may be wondering how you become a member of the titular pretty boy detective club. Well, they have three rules. You must be a boy*. You must be pretty. And You must be a detective.

That sounds fairly simple, but as I’ll explain in the following section, the members of the pretty boy detective club are anything but your average elementary and middle school students. Each one of them has particular attributes which make them perfect members of the team.

2. Be a Boy

The leader of the Pretty Boy Detective Club is Manabu Soutouin. He’s the youngest member as well as the only elementary school student in the club. His title is Manabu the Aesthete, which just means he loves beautiful things.

Nagahiro Sakiguchi is the oldest member of the club and serves as the student council president at Yubiwa Private Academy. His title is Nagahiro the Orator, and he has the ability to convince anyone with his words.

Michiru Fukuroi is a delinquent who somehow made his way into the club. His title is Michiru the Epicure, which means he’s really into fancy food. He lives up to this title, though, as he’s one of the greatest chefs around.

Manabu Soutouin from the anime series Pretty Boy Detective Club
Manabu Soutouin

Hyouta Ashikaga has the best legs of any member in the club. But, his legs aren’t only for looking at. They can carry him faster than the wind itself (I just made that up, but he’s fast). He’s known as Hyouta the Adonis, which is a testament to his boyish charm.

Sousaku Yubiwa is the last of the original five members of the club. He’s referred to as Sousaku the Artiste because he’s a master at painting (and maybe other art forms, I forget). Sousaku almost never talks, but he still gets his point across.

And lastly, we have Mayumi Doujima, or Mayumi the Seer as she’s known in the club. Mayumi is the protagonist of the series and the only girl to have ever been allowed into the club. She gained her title thanks to her superhuman eyesight, which is apparently so good she can see through walls.

Each arc involves the six members of the pretty boy detective club putting their various expertise together to solve the mystery. And yes, even an Aesthete or Epicure has a role to play within the club.

3. Be a Detective

There are some major problems I have with this series. But before I get into them, I want to say that I’ve heard the light novels solve a lot of them. Simply put, it doesn’t seem like this is a very good adaptation of the source material.

So, the first big issue is one I’ve already mentioned, and that’s the mysteries themselves. Let’s compare it again to Monogatari since that’s obviously the closest thing to this series. In Monogatari, the mysteries generally get resolved in ways that make sense. That’s not the case here.

Monogatari will explain why an apparition is the way it is, why someone was afflicted by it, etc. Pretty Boy Detective Club doesn’t do that for the most part. Instead, it keeps building up the mysteries until they’re unbelievable and then their resolutions tend to come down to “and then it was solved because the members have connections.”

Mayumi Doujima's eyes from the anime series Pretty Boy Detective Club
Mayumi Doujima’s eyes

Allow me to spoil the introductory arc to elaborate. It revolves around Mayumi trying to find a star she spotted when she was younger. In the end, the boys determine that the star was actually a secret military test of a space nuke that Mayumi saw because she has good eyesight, and because of that there are assassins coming after her.

The mystery went from 0-100. And then from what I remember, it was resolved by Mayumi just agreeing not to tell anyone about what she saw. This was helped by the fact that the boys have connections to people in high places.

Another issue I have is with the characters themselves. They’re all quirky and unique, but they feel very surface-level. Apparently, the anime cut out the majority of their interpersonal interactions, so I’m sure they’re better in the novels.

But with that said, I still think it would have been better if the series went more into the gag side of each character. The whole premise of the series sounds like a joke, but then it takes itself surprisingly seriously.

Conclusion

Pretty Boy Detective Club is a 6/10 for me. In a lot of ways, it’s very similar to Monogatari. But it’s basically like if Monogatari was a mid-tier anime instead of a top-tier one. Unless you’re really a NISIOISIN superfan, I wouldn’t recommend this anime. You’re probably better off with the light novels if you’re interested.

Something I will praise this series for, though, is the OP and first ED. The OP song is alright, but the visuals are very good. And the first ED song is very good, and it has some pretty visuals to go with it. I wasn’t a huge fan of the second ED, however.

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