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Six Lost Mysteries of Anime

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Recent anime seasons has shown a renewed interest in the mystery genre, from lighter fare like Haruchika to dark thrillers like this season's ERASED. This is boon for fans of an oft neglected genre, doubly so because its previous entries rarely saw the light of the day in the West. Anime is full of "lost" mysteries waiting to be dusted off and brought over for a chance to shine.

6. Top Secret ~The Revelation~ Top Secret is like Psycho-Pass' long-lost cousin. The show blends crime procedural drama with sci-fi gadgets previously made popular in Western films like Minority Report and The Cell. Ikkō Aoki and Tsuyoshi Maki are agents for the National Research Institute of Police Science's 9th Forensics Laboratory. The lab has developed technology to scan human's brains, even the dead, and retrieve five years worth of memories. This presents the moral conundrum of whether solving crimes at the risk of invading a victim's most intimate moments is a sound decision. As a whole, Top Secret is episodic in nature except for a single, underlying plot thread about a deceased criminal that previously terrorized the unit. This development is mostly rushed, though and the show is more interested in framing its moral questions instead.

5. Shion no Oh Can you solve a cold case through shōgi? Shion is the only surviving member of her family after her parents were brutally murdered when she was a young child. She was discovered at the scene and has not spoken a single word since. The only clue behind the tragedy is a shōgi board and Shion is determined to find the truth behind her parents' death by becoming a professional shōgi player. This is no small feat, given that the game is male dominated and competition is stiff. However, among her opponents could be the killer and Shion won't stop until she finds them.

4. Real Drive The sci-fi musings of Masamune Shirow are brought to life by Production I.G in a series that begs the question, "what if Lain hadn't succeeded and everyone jumped into The Wired?" The answer is a world where two realities, the "real world" and a virtual one filled with the unbridled desires of humanity begin clashing together. One island in particular is the pinnacle of new technology but its inhabitants start to experience strange phenomena and "cyber divers" are sent out to investigate the causes. Given the pedigree of the series, it's a wonder it was never touched for distribution in the U.S.

3. Gosick Many fans in the U.S. are still carrying a torch for Gosick. The series was picked up at the tail end of Bandai Entertainment's career in Western licensing and distribution but was never released stateside. Crunchyroll made the series available for streaming but it's since disappeared from the site's catalog. The story takes the qualities from literature's most famous detective and rewrites them as Victorique, a genius with a penchant for gothic clothing. In her quest to stave off boredom, she solves murders on cruise ships, involving bikers, and the intricacies within her own family.

2. Hyōka Hyōka is one of three remaining unlicensed television series by fan-favorite studio Kyoto Animation. Nichijō and Sora o Miageru Shōjo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai are left, with Amagi Brilliant Park having narrowly escaped the same fate. The adaptation of Honobu Yonezawa's novel follows Hōtarō Oreki, a guy who joins the Classic Literature club at his sister's behest and in a similar way gets roped into mystery solving by curious club member Eru. These "mysteries" are pretty mundane while the show itself (like many a KyoAni anime) is really about watching the characters develop their own dynamic and pull Oreki out of his droll way of doing things.

1. Mōryō no Hako Originally a novel written by Shigeru Mizuki's protege Natsuhiko Kyogoku, Mōryō no Hako is a deeply twisted story taking place in the 1950s. A seemingly freak accident has one middle school girl hit by a train but the circumstances surrounding the accident seem less like bad luck and more like murder. Severed limbs begin showing up in boxes and other girls start disappearing. A P.I., a crime fiction writer, and a news magazine editor all become embroiled in the case. Clues lead to a suspicious cult, an inheritance, and family secrets that reveal a huge web of murderous double-crossings. There's enough characters, horror, and even sci-fi elements to keep viewers rapt if only someone would give the show the chance it deserves.

The new poll: Who is your anime valentine If you don't see your choice, add it using the empty box!

The old poll: Who is your favorite Studio Ghibli protagonist?

  1. Nausicaä (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind) 13.6%
  2. Chihiro (Spirited Away) 13.6%
  3. Howl (Howl's Moving Castle) 11.5%
  4. Ashitaka (Princess Mononoke) 10.4%
  5. Kiki (Kiki's Delivery Service) 10.0%
  6. Sophie Hatter (Howl's Moving Castle) 8.5%
  7. San (Princess Mononoke) 8.3%
  8. Porco Rosso (Porco Rosso) 5.1%
  9. Shizuku Tsukishima (Whisper of the Heart) 2.5%
  10. Arrietty (The Secret World of Arrietty) 1.8%
  11. Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea) 1.2%
  12. Jirō Horikosh (The Wind Rises) 1.2%
  13. Pazu (Laputa: Castle in the Sky) 1.1%
  14. Anna (When Marnie Was There) 1.1%
  15. Seita (Grave of the Fireflies) 1.0%
  16. Umi Matsuzaki (From Up on Poppy Hill) 1.0%
  17. Princess Lusheeta (Laputa: Castle in the Sky) 1.0%

When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her son on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.

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