Our titular Team

Aya Tachibana is a lonely middle school girl without a single friend. One day, Wakatake, a popular but distant member of the soccer team, nearly runs her over with his bike. He refuses to apologize, claiming that he mistook her for a mailbox. That very same day, Aya learns that she is to join the school’s special cram class, which consists of Wakatake and three of his soccer team friends: Kuroki, Kozuka, and Uesugi. The others welcome her with open arms, but Wakatake remains cold.

Later, a frantic Wakatake drags Aya out of her classroom, insisting that she help him as his precious mountain bike – the very one he ran her over with earlier in the episode – has been stolen. Aya narrates that this was the moment that the special class group first became a “detective team”.

In the second episode, Wakatake tells Aya that, because her special skill is languages, he wants her to write a statement calling out the thief of his bike. She refuses and accuses him of being high and mighty for assuming she’ll do it, but Wakatake is confused and said he thought they were friends. This causes Aya to re-evaluate the way she’s been interacting with others, wondering if the reason she has no friends is because she’s been driving them away. She resolves to become friends with her other cram-school classmates.

The five do some investigating and find some clues, but nothing to point to the bike’s location. Wakatake insists that between himself, Aya, Uesugi’s analytical talents, Kuroki’s “connections” and Kozuka’s skill with social sciences, they can solve the mystery together. Kozuka remarks that Wakatake’s special talent is encouraging others and keeping them motivated. However, it’s getting late and the group
decides to resume the investigation the next day.

Kuroki walks Aya home, and she wonders if he might have feelings for her. Her imaginations of Kuroki as the perfect tuxedo-clad boyfriend vanish abruptly when she arrives home to find her mother in a panic. Apparently, the convenience store next to Aya’s cram school was robbed…and nobody knows how the thief got away.

                                                                       I like the little face on the mailbox

This series surprised me. First, it was a short, which I didn’t know / wasn’t expecting. Seems like a lot of things are inexplicably turning out to be shorts this season? But, it also surprised me in a positive way: it’s quite a cute show. It’s certainly nothing amazing, but “cute” is the perfect word to describe it. The art style is very pastel-y and muted, the character designs are well done if a little generic, and everyone, even the initially abrasive Wakatake, is a genuinely nice character.

I also like the series’ focus on friendship over romance (aside from Aya’s brief fantasy about dating Kuroki). I looked it up and was completely unsurprised to find that Tantei Team originated as a series of chilren’s detective novels. The show definitely seems like it’s aimed at a younger audience, with its art style and focus on relatively tame mysteries such as “who stole my bike”. Although, the end of Episode 2 implied that the bike might have been stolen by a convenience store robber, so the tone might not stay that lighthearted after all.

My biggest complaint with this show is pacing. In two episodes, barely anything has happened. The characters met, Wakatake’s bike was stolen, and they investigated a little bit. I know that these first episodes were focused on the characters all meeting each other, but a single mystery taking 3-4 episodes to solve when it’s just “who stole my bike” does drag a little bit. Why couldn’t this series have had normal length episodes with each mystery taking 1-2 to complete, instead of being a short? (Though the show only has an ending and no opening, it still takes up well over a minute of the already brief runtime). The short episodes and slow pace also means that a few characters have had minimal development so far, especially Kozuka. I’m still curious to see how his special talent (he’s really good at social studies) will help the team solve the mystery.

Still, watching it was an overall pleasant experience, and made a nice refresher from some other things I had to watch this season. With my limited internet, I won’t have time to take this on, but I’ll keep watching and might do a batch review later.

Out of 5 Dios:

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A nice shot of Aya’s dress from the ending

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