Steam Detectives (Japan 2003)

Rating: **
Review Date: 4/19/08

Contains 26 episodes

Disappointing. As a fan of Kia Asamiya's original manga, I expected the same amount of innovation and adventure in the anime series. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate well, and the whole thing comes off as juvenile, plodding, and uninteresting. Boy detective Narutaki lives in Steam City and always manages to solve crimes that the police can't figure out. Helping him out are Nurse Ling Ling and her powerful Megamaton Goriki. Together they tackle all sorts of criminals that take advantage of the thick fog that enshrouds Steam City, but none of it succeeds in engaging the viewer. While the show perfectly captures Asamiya's visual style, it fails to imbue it with any charm or energy at all, making it a sluggish and tiresome show to watch. The proceedings also seem like they're aimed at a pre-teen audience, and Ling Ling even warns viewers to watch TV in a well lit room at a distance to avoid eye strain at the beginning of each episode. It's well animated for the most part, but the most curious thing is how old it looks. For a show that came out in 2003, it looks much more like something that the early to mid 90's would have produced. I only managed to make it through two episodes before boredom overtook me, and I doubt I'll go back and revisit the rest of Narutaki's story (which is a shame since I bought the entire series - groan).