Toshiyuki MorikawaAri OzawaYuko KaidaKenji Nojima
Special 7: Special Crime Investigation Unit
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2019: S
Also known as: Keishichou Tokumubu Tokushu Kyouakuhan Taisakushitsu Dainanaka: Tokunana
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2019
Director: Takayuki Kuriyama, Harume Kosaka
Writer: Yuichiro Higashide
Actor: Ari Ozawa, Hiro Shimono, Kenji Nojima, Kenjiro Tsuda, Tatsuhisa Suzuki, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yuko Kaida
Keywords: fantasy, anime, detective, vampires, samurai, ninja
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2019
Review date: 10 December 2020
special seven
It's a cop drama starring the growling Kenjiro Tsuda, so I had to watch it. It's not a deliberate cut-and-paste of the same year's Cop Craft and/or Midnight Occult Civil Servants, but they all have a similar premise and setting. It's set in the real world, except with elves, vampires, dragons, etc. Despite the fantasy elements, though, our cop heroes have to deal with standard cop story elements, like terrorists, bombs, ex-wives and rival law enforcement agencies.
I enjoyed the show. It's amusing. However I don't think it's a keeper, unlike Cop Craft. That show went further with its genre-clash juxtapositions and was driven by the strong Kei-Tilarna relationship. This one's lighter and more fantastical, with an ensemble cast and less of a character focus. Special 7 is a seven-cop team who investigate a theoretically disbanded terrorist group called Nine. Five of the seven are male and all the big emotional beats go to the boys. Our heroes are:
0. Sakon Zeroemon Kiryuin (m) = the serene, slightly goofy boss.
1. Ichinose (m) (played by Kenjiro Tsuda) = snarky, superintelligent incompetent who can't shoot straight or run for more than a few minutes at a time. He has an embarrassing first name, but only if you're Japanese.
2. Kujaku Nijo (m) = cold, unfriendly elf who's brilliant at analysis but has reasons to dislike Ichinose.
4. Akane Shikisai (f) = samurai vampire. She never bites anyone, but she's the team's ultimate close-combat weapon. She can cut through armoured cars.
5. Bellemer Cinq (f) = small, cheerful homunculus who calls herself a ninja at every opportunity.
6. Rokusuke Endo (m) = a tall dwarf with an eyepatch. Grizzled sniper with a teenage daughter and an ex-wife.
7. Seiji Nanatsuki (m) = survivor of a terrorist attack who grew up to become an idealistic boy scout in the police force. He's not in Special 7 at the start of ep.1.
The plot's fine. Nothing wrong with it, but it's based around a hammy magical supervillain and his terrorists. I enjoyed it, but I can't imagine ever needing to rewatch it. Similarly, the characters are amusing but not particularly deep. My favourite episode was ep.7, where everyone takes the day off and ends up at a Vietnamese restaurant. Shikisai has a husband! Well, at least a boyfriend. (He's a lucky man.) It's also nice to glimpse Endo's home life.
The show feels masculine to Western eyes, being a gritty-ish terrorist cop show, but I wonder if it might not have been quietly targeting a female audience. The only possible romance is man-on-man, with Shikisai and Cinq both being out of the question for multiple reasons. The show never goes there, admittedly, but it does have Shirtless Elf and intense male scenes.
What it's really into, though, is cool cops and action scenes.
Is this a good show? Yeah, sure, if you're not looking for too much depth. I enjoyed it. The difference between this, Cop Craft and Midnight Occult Civil Servants is quite small, but all three are worth watching. (For what it's worth, I'd rank this in the middle, with Cop Craft first and the civil servants third.) There are shows with more dramatic meat, but the cast are fun and the Ichinose-Seiji banter made me laugh. Nothing wrong with it at all.