Imagine if there was a government permitted detective school for kids run by the best detective in the country? Sounds pretty cool right? Detective School Q happens to justify its title with no explanation. The anime is a hidden gem within the detective mystery genre and released between 2003 and 2004.
Although it didn’t create a wave through the anime community, those who have watched it, admit it is charming and unique. The anime follows the life of Renjo Kyu, who aspires to become like the detective who saved him when he was a kid. There exists a Detective School Q run by Dan Morihiko, the best detective in the country, that operates to nurture future detectives and also, a detective to succeed him. Ambitious Kyu stumbles across a group of equally ambitious people – Megumi, Ryuu, Kinta, and Kazuma – who become his friends and make up the special class “Q.” Together they solve cases ranging from simple to dangerous with their ingenious talents.
Kyu is the supremely optimistic kid who is quite observant and witty (slightly perverted too). Ryuu is a mysterious quiet kid who has “secrets” and is equally smart, Megumi is cute with a photographic memory, Kinta is the street smart kid with physical and olfactory prowess, and Kazuma, the bespectacled kid, is the computer whiz. This does not negatively impact the show as their unique talents do contribute to the situation, and thereby, everybody gets to hog the spotlight at some point of the other – with a slight bend towards Kyu.
Why is this show so likable and why would I suggest it despite its obvious drawbacks? Considering the anime only adapted 1/3rd of the manga storyline, the ending of the anime will probably leave you with lots of questions. Most of the cases are episodic and within arcs, but the story does lean towards an overarching story and common antagonist (if invested, then one would have to read the manga). But the brilliance of the anime is still undeniable. The cases are quite smartly written and are far from boring. The situations stir something in you, but the mystery of it draws you in. The mysteries are not predictable at all – even if predicted, the circumstances or motives aren’t. Whatever it is, the show manages to hold its ground. Despite the flaws, it manages to shine through and become an underrated good detective anime show for you to watch! The show’s tonal balance is fantastic!
The show is poignant with its serious and emotional scenes but manages to get a laugh out of you too. “Stagnant” actually would be an over-exaggeration of the character development as you do see the characters learning to adapt to the detective lifestyle and the gravity of the situations they handle. I watched this as a kid, and I’ve watched much more anime since but Detective School Q still manages to make it to my list of recommendations.