Special 7: Special Crime Investigation Unit – Episode 1

By: Dee October 7, 20190 Comments
Seiji holds up his detective badge, looking intense

What’s it about? Nanatsuki Seiji has just achieved his dream of making detective, only to get embroiled in a bank robbery on his day off. While trying to aid the hostages, he encounters cynical commander Ichinose Shiori and his special unit, Section 7, a group of human and inhuman officers infamous for their reckless methods. After Seiji helps them save the day, he… suddenly finds himself transferred to Section 7 as well? This is not the way he’d thought his career as a detective would go.

Do you like supernatural cop shows? Then congratulations! You’ll enjoy this entertaining and competently made premiere! Otherwise, there’s probably nothing here for you.

Ichinose and Nijo ride in a car together. Nijo is driving. Nijo is also clearly an elf.
Ah, the old Good Cop/Elf Cop routine. Classic.

Okay, review over! Time to go back to editing contributor arti—

Wait, hang on. The rest of the team is glaring at me. Apparently if I require them to write a full review for their premieres, then I have to hold myself to the same standards. Something about “only using my managerial powers for good”? Aw, beans.

Fine, fine. Let’s try this again.

Bellemer smiles brightly and says "Is that so? All right, then. I'll blow it up."
The word count, that is.

Special 7, an original anime produced by fledgling studio ANIME&CO., has a premiere that can best be described as “solid.” It’s not going to blow anybody’s mind, but it’s well-paced, nicely animated, confidently directed, and does exactly what it needs to do to establish the show’s world, its main characters, and its premise.

Like a lot of stories in this subgenre, we open with a self-contained introductory arc about our team dealing with a crime-in-progress. Fresh-Faced Detective Nanatsuki Seiji finds himself at the scene of a bank heist while he’s off-duty. There, he meets Getting-Too-Old-For-This-Shit Ichinose Shiori, the commander of Section 7, and the two work together to stop the criminals and rescue the hostages.

Their dynamic is the well-worn clash of hot-blooded idealism and intellectual cynicism, but it’s handled well, and we get a good sense of both characters’ strengths and weaknesses before the episode is over. Ichinose’s blunt declaration that nobody in the police force actually cares about protecting people (himself included, although that part’s an obvious lie) also adds an unexpectedly sharp edge to the narrative, although there’s no telling where it’s going to take that going forward.

Ichinose closes his eyes tiredly while a battered Seiji watches him. Subtitles read "I don't care one bit about keeping the citizens safe."
“I-it’s not like I wanna protect them or anything, baka!”

The episode’s ensuing escape, chase, and capture of the bank robbers gives the series time to introduce the rag-tag team of talented misfits that make up Section 7. They’re about what you’d expect, mostly in a good way: a mild-mannered chief, a grizzled sniper, a young tech geek, a cool-headed analyst, and a sword-wielding badass.

Worth noting for an AniFem review: Both the tech geek (Bellemer) and the sword-wielding badass (Akane) are women. They’re handled well in this premiere, shown to be about as equally competent and eccentric as the men on the team. While it’s pretty silly that Akane fights in an ankle-length dress and high heels, both ladies’ outfits are void of obvious fanservice designs like boob windows, and the camera never leers at them.

It’s too early to know how the show is going to treat its cast in the overall narrative, though it seems pretty likely that the rest of the team (including the female characters) will play second-fiddle to our Naive Cop/Cynical Cop central duo. Still, the episode didn’t do anything to raise any alarm bells, and I’d definitely be willing to hang out with this cast some more and get to know them. Not too shabby for such an action-packed opener, really.

Akane holds a sword at an angle, smiling dangerously, and says "Do you really want to keep going?"
Why yes, I would like to watch you embarass more bad guys, thanks.

The fact that I managed to explain the entire premiere without once mentioning any paranormal elements gives you an idea of how the episode handles it, too. Special 7 takes place in a world where supernatural creatures like vampires, elves, and dwarves exist alongside humans, but so far that just means “some of the characters aren’t human and get to do cool stuff like slice bullets in half.”

During some brief introductory narration, Seiji tells us there was a lot of fighting between the species (races?) in the past, but they’ve all begun to coexist peacefully in recent years. Given that Seiji’s origin story features him surviving a terrorist attack and it seems like the same terrorist group might be on the rise again, tensions between communities will likely be a point of conflict in future episodes.

This could lead to some awkward or downright harmful metaphors about real-world racism or cultural pluralism, or it could be handled intelligently and sensitively, or it could just be an excuse to have cool fight scenes and not much else. We’ll have to put a pin in it for now and see where the story goes in the next few weeks.

Seiji stands outside and looks to the side with a satisfied smile on his face. Subtitles read "but the world is at peace."
Cue criminals doing crimes in 3, 2, 1…

And yes, I do intend to see where the story goes. For all the faint praise I’m damning Special 7 with, I really did have a fun time while watching it and plan to give it a three-episode trial run to see if its cast can grow on me. Who knows? Maybe it’ll pull a Sirius the Jaeger and sneak its way onto my favorites list before the year is out.

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