Murders, mysteries and a feast for a demon who thrives on such things as he works alongside a high school girl detective.
What They Say:
High school student Yako Katsuragi is a gourmand whose father recently died mysteriously. Soon after his death, the demon Neuro Nougami, who feasts on mysteries, suddenly arrives from the Demon World.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro by Yusei Matsui which ran from 2005 to 2009 for twenty-three volumes total, Neuro is a twenty-five episode series that ran from late 2007 into early 2008 that deals with the fun little cult genre of occult detectives. The original manga ran in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine so it's fairly easy to imagine how the series will work, but it has some good credits behind it with Madhouse producing the animation for NTV and it was directed by Hiroshi Kojina who worked in last year's series Rainbow as a director and goes all the way back to Area 88 as well as being the animation director on Fighting Spirit.
The show operates principally around two characters as we're first introduced to the high school student Yako who lives in something of a state of fear, though she's thought of well by her fellow students as she's known as a high school detective. What makes her life complicated is that she's beholden to a man named Neuro who is actually a demon that exists in the real world and uses her for his own goals. What's interesting about Neuro is that he's actually very keen on mysteries as they're the things that provides his sustenance in this plane of existence. So with Yako in tow, searching up mysteries for them to solve, and for him to feed, makes up the general concept. Yako herself has already earned a reputation for her skills among a number of the police members out there, though there's still a lot of uncertainty and surprise about her presence at any crime scene or mystery.
What's interesting is the angles that are played with this. Yako herself has some lineage to her in that her father, who had died, was a gourmand himself and the opening episod deals with a restaurant murder mystery that has her more intrigued by the meals than anything else. Neuro for his part is a strange counterbalance to her in that he's lanky and sinewy, has a very dark and menacing personality, and definitely fits the image of a demon as he talks, walks and uses his powers. He has such a distinct look about him that when he goes on about everything, exposing what the reality of the murder is about, he comes across just as creepy as those who caused it. The mystery itself isn't all that much, and in a way it doesn't even feel like it's that much of a focus here even though it takes up the bulk of the episode. It's more interesting to watch how Neuro and Yako operate, to understand methods and personalities, more than the actual event. And that weakens the episode because it never feels like we're really drawn into the mystery itself.
It's a simple single episode resolution with some basic ideas brought into play so you get the gist of what the show is about, and it's definitely got its own sense of style when it comes to Neuro, but it's a hard episode that says, 'Come back and watch more as quickly as possible.' The show does get a fair bit done here and it has some good production values to it, but it hasn't truly differentiated itself or stood out at this point. The main draw to it is that Neuro is unlike the usual demons that we get living in the real world as they're often comical, inept or tied in a poor way to someone. Here, it has a chance to go a darker route, but may be harder to pull off because of his appearance which is bordering on comical.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.