So, before I start, let me just get the details out first. Trickster: Edogawa Ranpo “Shounen Tanteidan” yori (or Trickster for short) was an anime from Fall/Winter 2016 that I watched and eventually dropped while it was still airing. It was possibly the biggest disappointment that I’ve had so far, in which the expectations from seeing the plot and what the anime presents at first completely falls short later on and in the case of Trickster, it went on to become absolute trash. This post will be a rant on Trickster, what it could and should have been, and what it actually became. There will be heavy spoilers ahead since I will need to reveal the contents of the show in order to rant about it and as such consider this a spoiler warning to stop reading if you haven’t and want to watch this show.
So, what would Trickster be and how would I describe it as at first sight? From the plot and the genre that it places itself at, I would agree and describe it as a mystery type of anime. And it does try to be one. However, there were many (and I mean MANY) disappointments built up from episode one and this anime was just doomed to fail.
Trickster is an anime focused on the main character Kobayashi (no not that Kobayashi) as well as various main characters inside the Boy’s detective club, and how they deal with cases as well as crimes/criminals. If anything, it would seem as if there is only 1 main character in the show and that would be Kobayashi. He single-handedly carried the show (discussed in more detail later on) and in the end could not carry it any further ( more details later on). So, what exactly made this show have potential and slightly good for the first couple of episodes?
The build up (of disappointment)
Kobayashi Yoshio, the main character of this series, and Hanasaki Kensuke, the charismatic best friend, carried the show on their shoulders for the first few episodes. Hanasaki was likeable, extremely hyper and had a positive outlook on everything in life while Kobayashi was extremely pessimistic and only wanted to die. Kobayashi’s pessimism came from his special power, something that makes him completely invulnerable to everything that can hurt him as well as generating a strong kinetic shield in a circle around him that will destroy anything that gets near or what he wants to destroy.
This resulted in him lacking social interactions with others and avoiding people whenever he went just so that he will not harm others, and this lead to him developing extreme pessimism as well as a strong urge to quite literally want to kill himself. However, no matter what he tried, his power kept him from even getting hurt and even if he wanted to starve himself to death the mysterious power would actually shove things down his throat and force him to intake nutrients. As such, at the start of the anime, Kobayashi’s character was already extremely well-developed and interesting. And it was his interactions with Hanasaki, quite possibility his polar opposite that carried the show. And as Hanasaki finally convinced Kobayashi to join the Boy’s Detective club to solve mysteries together with the promise of eventually killing him, we get to discover more and more about Kobayashi’s mysterious power: It scales off of his desire to die. It seems that the more he wants to live, the weaker his power, but the more he wants to die, the stronger his power.
Now this is a very interesting combination and with his best friend now gone missing and eventually joining the villain(more about him later), we discover just how much Kobayashi had been converted by Hanasaki. He now wants to live on and save his friend, therefore his power is weakening and we see his shield actually failing sometimes. With all these in mind, this show actually seems great right? And it also seems to have a lot of potential, with its main villain being very interesting in terms of intellect, power as well as his history with the good guys. With these in mind, we can conclude that this show definitely has lots and lots of potential that it can build upon, so why would I claim it is shit and eventually drop the show?
As the show progressed on, it began to get worse and worse. The first was the suddenly betrayal of Hanasaki to the evil side as mentioned above, with seemingly little conviction to do so. Hanasaki turned into a lil bitch(sorry for the profanities) and complained about everything and everyone all of a sudden, even going so far as to despise Kobayashi for his case solving capabilities and being jealous.
This is definitely uncalled for and just seemed like forced cue for melodrama to me. Not only did the second best character in the series became shit, they also decided to focus on various side characters: the other members in the detective club. They spent a few episodes on a case that boiled down to forced drama for the side characters in the club but they seemed to have forgotten there is still one more side character who has her(yes, her) story unexplained as well as getting neglected most of the time. It seems as if half the time she was just there to provide exposition and small amounts of forced amusement. Not only is she a throwaway character, the other side characters were too. The other members of the club mentioned earlier shined for a tiny bit and had a small bromance going on, but they basically disappeared after that and contributed absolutely nothing to the story or character development. Not only did these minor characters not get any character development, their instructor Akechi Kogorou(who happens to be a main character too), a renowned detective and basically the main flagship of the Boys Detective club as well as the good guys, literally disappeared for a few episodes, and proceeded to come back with (still) zero character development. I did not even know he was meant to be a main character until I looked at the MAL page. The villain mentioned earlier who had lots of potential, nope, did not get the character development, and to my surprise was yet another main character. Would you look at that, 2 main characters with basically no explanation to background or character development. At this point, I still carried on with this anime, since I still want to find out what happens to Kobayashi. However, it was not meant to be and this anime finally triggered me enough to drop it.
Episode 17. The episode that made me unable to take it any longer and drop the anime once and for all. Where should I start. First, Hanasaki returned a few episodes earlier after realising his mistakes. Good, right? NO. Hanasaki continues to be down(like quite literally down) and did not contribute to anything due to hesitation and his remorse for joining the dark side. He basically remained just to get weird character developments in the wrong direction while Kobayashi’s screen time shortened. There was yet another conflict and this time, Kobayashi was actually injured saving someone’s life. He was wounded heavily and here is where the trigger comes in. Hanasaki still faltered when making decisions and had to be told what to do. I finally could take this no longer and with Kobayashi’s power being not as interesting anymore due to meaningless overuse, I decided to drop the anime.
In conclusion, Trickster could have and should have been a good anime, and caused me to have high expectations for it. However, it kept on rubbing me (and many angry viewers on MAL) in the wrong way and committed so many sins that killed my enjoyment for it and I had to drop it. That is how Trickster is beyond saving as an anime.
4/10 (Beyond saving, absolutely trash, avoid if possible)