Special Preview: FUUTO PI

Side Note: Due to my attendance at the Gen Con game convention on August 4-7, this week’s episode reviews for DanMachi IV and The Devil is a Part-Timer!! will either be delayed much more than normal or skipped entirely. If skipped, they will be covered with the episodes airing on 8/11.

Streams: Crunchyroll on Sundays (at 9:30 a.m. EDT)

Rating: 3.5 (of 5)

Technically speaking, this is not a standalone series. It adapts a manga which was itself a sequel to the 2009-2010 tokosatsu series Kamen Rider W. It opening scene alludes to that and will probably leave any newcomer scratching their heads. A couple of other references later on also may be a little befuddling if one goes into the series totally blind. However, enough of the nature of the setting and what transpires here follows closely enough to normal anime storytelling tropes and conventions that any veteran anime fan should be able to catch on quickly.

The setting is Fuuto City, a windy city in both literal and figurative senses; much of its power comes from windmills, and indeed, even its name can be translated as “with the wind.” In that city, Shotaro Hidari is a hard-boiled detective – or at least, that’s how he fancies himself, while Akiko (the owner/assistant in his detective agency, who is the daughter of the previous owner) is constantly on his case about his narcissism. He does have a book-smart partner named Philip, but Shotaro mostly handles cases on his own. The current one is about a sexy, bewitching woman who is definitely a thief and may even be a literal witch, since she seems to have superhuman powers and possible involvement in a murder. Neither is unheard-of in Fuuto City, and Shotaro and Philip, who can combine to form a suited hero, are the city’s self-appointed protectors from such threats.

The visuals and animation look surprisingly good for what feels like it should be a low-budget series, and the production team makes some occasionally interesting choices, such as an extended first-person-perspective sequence at one point. The episode finds just the right combination of campiness, sex appeal, and darker elements to warrant its self-proclaimed label as a “hard-boiled detective wannabe” series, and it looks like it could be fun. With my view card being overstuffed already and the school year starting this week locally, I can’t see finding room for this one on my weekly viewing card, but I can’t rule out revisiting it later on.

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