Content Warning: Fanservice of middle schoolers
What’s It About? Dojima Mayumi has one wish: she wants to see a star she saw just once, long ago. Actually, ten long, long, long years ago. Thankfully, there’s a group of very pretty boys who can help: enter the Pretty Boy Detective Club, who are here to save the day… if Mayumi allows herself to be swept up into their world.
I should have known that anything by Nishioshin entitled “Pretty Boy Detective Club” would eventually get an anime adaptation. Then again, I should have also known that with SHAFT working on the series, it’d be a wild ride from start to finish. Spoiler: it was, and I loved this premiere so much.
It seems that my fondness for all things CLAMP School Detectives–a series I still love—hasn’t faded. In fact, Nishioshin–the author of this series, as well as the famously infamous Monogatari series–seemed hellbent on yanking that specific nostalgia out of me. But I’m kind of getting ahead of myself.
So let’s backtrack and start from the beginning.
Episode 1 starts off with some critical information: the rules for being a member of the Pretty Boy Detective Club. First, you need to be pretty. Second, you need to be a boy, which I assume here means a cis male, or at least male-presenting.
Oh yeah; and third, you need to be a detective. Simple enough, right? Well… not so much when you’re talking about the glamorous teens running the detective club at Yubiwa Academy, which is where this episode takes place.
After the intro, we step into Yubiwa proper, and find that it’s dripping with sophistication. It’s the kind of school that I’d be anxious about breathing in, simply because I wouldn’t want to damage anything. Tucked inside is the titular club, who are here to solve ambiguous “mysteries”… most of which they create in their airheaded mayhem.
Thankfully, when they encounter Mayumi, a girl with a “nebulous”(haha) problem of finding a star, the club becomes just as determined as she is to figure out the mystery, which makes up the bulk of this multi-part premiere.
I’ve gotta say it: Pretty Boy Detective Club is gorgeous. It’s a beautiful series, whether you want to talk about the characters, colors, visual effects, or even just the backgrounds. Everything is deliciously colorful
That being said, I have a major problem: blonde club member Ashikaga Hyouta, who the camera loves to leer at. Specifically, the camera loves to check out his legs, a sentence which feels so cursed that I nearly yeeted my computer into the shadow realm. Mind you, the camera loves his very young teen legs, which I don’t want to love at all. In fact, I’d love for the camera to stop leering at them, and I’d pay cold, hard cash to get Mayumi to stop calling him “Mr. Bare-Legs”, a name that she uses frequently during this episode.
Hyouta aside, I really enjoyed my watch, and honestly, kind of want to watch this premiere all over again. It’s just so darn opulent that I can’t help myself. True, the story might not be like, the most original, but honestly… I kind of didn’t care. It was solid enough to carry the animation and scenes, which is all I ask for. Long live Pretty Boy Detective Club!
Except for any scenes involving sexualizing Hyouta legs. Hard pass for like, forever and a day. Ugh.
I think it’s clear that I’m here for this show, though I certainly know that much like Akudama Drive, it’ll probably go unnoticed while airing only to blow up later. I think in a similar vein, it’ll be a visually striking show that actually goes somewhere thoughtful with its plot, though… this is ultimately a series about a junior detective club at a rich kid school.
That’s part of the fun too: the show fully leans into this hilarious premise and plays it up for drama as much as possible. It’s theatrical, it’s grand, and it’s utterly beautiful and incredibly engaging.
That is, if this is your kind of show.
I fully understand that a lot of folks won’t be as into this as I am. I definitely think Hyouta and his leg thing will be a huge turn off for a lot of folks. I also know the storytelling isn’t going to be for a lot of folks. I say that as a big Nishioishin fan who fully understands that his “quirky” way of storytelling can often be a bit confusing, a bit too verbose, and sometimes, a bit fan-service-y in all the ugh ways. For better or for worse, all that’s naturally going to carry over into a show based directly on the Pretty Boy Detective Club novels.
But for me, the concept hits all the right notes and it has the incredible potential to be executed well. I’m already pretty ride or die for Pretty Boy Detective Club and this gaggle of boys.