Lately, we’ve been getting a couple of these urban fantasy anime. This past spring gave us Midnight occult civil servants. Summer gave us Cop Craft. And here we are in Fall 2019 with Special 7: Special Crime Investigation Unit (this title seems longer than it needs to be…). Hell, like Cop Craft, this show also involves the police and coincidentally also has Kenjiro Tsuda playing the veteran cop again. I confess: I am starting to get tired of this genre. It’s not getting as ridiculous as the recent isekai surge but do we really need one per season? And I’m begrudged to say this but whereas isekai can at least get gimmicky, you can’t really vary up cops/government workers investigating the fantastical all that much. These shows are starting to look the same to me.
The one variation I’m seeing from Special 7 is the more normalized setting. The fantastical were in conflict with humanity at one point but by present tie, they’ve normalized into society and relations among everyone are peaceful for the most part. I personally like it when stories treat the otherwordly as normal but the problem with Special 7‘s execution is that anything otherwordly currently feels rather trivial. Like, blink once and you’ll miss the subtle detail that the samurai cop lady has vampire fangs. You’re way more likely to catch the part where she’s a stinking samurai cop. It most certainly doesn’t help that the first case of the week is a normal bank heist with normal humans as the culprits. Seriously? There’s elves, vampires, and who knows what and you’re not even going to take advantage of that from the get go. Both Midnight occult civil servants and Cop Craft knew to bank on this ASAP. Maybe the writer(s) are trying to build up to the supernatural elements…except that it spills the beans on that with a narration early in the episode so I’m still stumped.
The characters don’t do much for me either. Kenjiro Tsuda’s character, Ichinose, is perfectly fine but he is your typical veteran cop character. And this is purely coincidental but it is very distracting to hear Tsuda play this kind of character right after Cop Craft. Opposite of Ichinose is the protagonist, Seiji (Hiro Shimono), who is looking to be very, very punchable. Not only does the man have a grating obsession with justice and being a hero, the show fails to establish from the get go any defining ability that would make him a worthy recruit to a special crimes unit. Midnight occult civil servants’ Arata discovers he can talk to Anothers. Cop Craft‘s Tilarna is a fairy magical girl knight from the start. All Seiji hands himself over as a hostage in a failed attempt to keep a citizen (later suspected as being the culprit) safe and fail to get any information out of his captors. The man is just useless and annoying.
Maybe I’m burnt out on this apparently seasonal trend of urban fantasy anime but you know, first impressions are important to get right and Special 7 misses the mark there. There’s a number of other shows airing this Fall that have my attention more so I think I’ll sit this one out.
Thanks for reading!