Original Run: April 10, 2020 - September 2020 Number of Episodes: 11 Genre: Comedy, Crime, Mystery Based on the Novel Written By: Yasutaka Tsutsui
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED. Reader discretion is advised.***
Haru Katou (voiced by Mamoru Miyano) is a dedicated cop who once had a promising career in the police department’s most elite detective squad. However, nowadays, he has been regulated to the often forgotten Modern Crime Prevention taskforce. Still, this has not caused Haru to abandon his values and keen sense of justice.
One day, Haru’s squad gains a most unexpected member. The extraordinarily rich Daisuke Kanbe (voiced by Yuusuke Oonuki) joins the police force. Using his immense wealth and unlimited resources, Daisuke takes no heed of proper police conduct. It doesn’t matter how much damage he causes since he knows he can simply pay double the compensation.
Someone like Haru instantly disapproves of Daisuke’s tactics. Nevertheless, the two become an effective team and are able to protect the peace of their city.
It would serve us well to give this review the subheading “Until It Wasn’t.” After all, that was what The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED (The Millionaire Detective) came down to, no?
- This show’s animation was outstanding; until it wasn’t.
- The character growth was engaging and constant; until it wasn’t.
- This series was well-paced and cohesive; until it wasn’t.
- The Millionaire Detective was pretty damn good; until it wasn’t.
Admittedly, that does sound bleak. However, when this show was on a high, what I want to make clear to you is, it was on a high. For a series that I am (spoilers) not going to recommend, it was incredibly easy to watch. There are two reasons why I think this was the case.
First, the opening song was awesome.
“Is this important,” I can hear you asking yourself. Ultimately, no, since the opening theme of any series has zero bearing on how the actual story will be. Why bother mentioning it then? I do as such out of intrigue; how did a song get me excited to watch a show after it became clear it wasn’t going anywhere?
I suppose that is the goal of an opening song; it is meant to identify and call to mind a particular series, hopefully in a positive light. To that extent, The Millionaire Detective was successful.
Second, and on a more meaningful note, this show knew how to build. Say what you will about The Millionaire Detective’s end game, getting there could be quite entertaining and well-executed.
As an example, episode three involved a hostage situation. Before the crisis, Haru Kato struck up a friendly conversation with the about-to-be perpetrator. In the span of a few minutes, we got a sense of what kind of detective Haru was and what strengths he brought to the job. He was a people-person, and he had a knack at connecting with others.
Thus, when the highjacker carried out their plan, and the police were ready to shoot on sight, Haru realized that a potential tragedy could be averted. Although his hero-of-justice mentality got a tad irksome at times, Haru was the most likable person in this show, and not just by pure default.
Even the titular millionaire detective, Daisuke Kambe, was given chances to develop.
And that was the problem, wasn’t it? This series gave so many opportunities for many things to happen, and, for the most part, those opportunities were ignored.
Daisuke Kambe was Batman. Except, instead of Batman, he was the equivalent of the Bruce Wayne persona saying, “f@#$ it,” and using his money to solve every single issue.
And that was why The Millionaire Detective didn’t work.
It sort of took away the challenge of everything when throwing money at a problem made it go away. Again, that was why Haru facing the hostage-taker was so good. Before a meaningful outcome could arise, the perpetrator needed to be calmed down from their state of ultimate desperation. Not only that, Haru had to do everything he could to defuse the situation before things took a deadly turn.
With the hostage-taker, yes, money would have brought an end to the primary concern. However, there was a long way to go before that could work; trust needed to be established.
Now compare that to the very first encounter we had with Daisuke. He went around all of Tokyo, destroying millions of dollars worth of damage, as well as physically abusing people, only to pay his way out of the consequences. Daisuke operated with immunity. Thus, he didn’t understand why his actions made him into a pompously arrogant douchebag.
To be fair, this was Daisuke’s introduction. Of course, if this was the intention, he was going to be at his most unlikeable here. He would have the rest of the show to grow as a character.
There was an episode where Daisuke “got lost” in the world outside his pampered lifestyle. He experienced a taste of what it was like to live an average life and saw it wasn’t that bad. This, too, was a moment when The Millionaire Detective was at its best.
Daisuke was well on his way to changing his habits and becoming a character you could root for; until he wasn’t.
Daisuke was a prick in the beginning, and he was a prick at the end. He never changed; he never got better. The Millionaire Detective went from an enjoyable buddy cop comedy to a weirdly heavy-handed super-spy action thriller. In the middle of this was a character who kept relying on a resource that proved to be unreliable.
This series was perfectly sandwiched between two bookends. Granted, when I say “perfectly,” I mean this perfectly illustrated why the show came up short.
After risking his life to save people, Haru found himself dangling from a bridge over a river in the first episode. Daisuke walked over to where Haru was, looked down at him, and then walked away, letting Haru fall into the water below.
Nevermind that the drop probably should have killed Haru (all he suffered was a bruised cheek), this moment also illustrated what sort of personality Daisuke had.
Cut to the final episode, and the pair found themselves in the same situation. Daisuke was once again looking down at a dangling Haru. Like before, but now wearing a gleeful smile, Daisuke let Haru drop into the water yet again.
Okay, so, nothing had changed. Therefore, what was even the point of watching the show?
I said it at the top of the review.
This series had the makings to be a lot of fun. The story was interesting, the animation was great, the characters were enjoyable, and everything was on track for this to be an anime worth watching. Unfortunately, things only ever remained in a state that was ready to go. We ended up not going anywhere.
The show was quite good; until it wasn’t.
The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED can be skipped.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.