Ayatsuri Sakon: Over/Under at 7½

Ayatsuri Sakon follows the crime-fighting adventures of Sakon, a bunraku puppeteer, and Ukon, Sakon’s wise-cracking puppet. Think of them as the Japanese Mr. Garrison and Mr. Hat.

When Sakon’s deductive powers combine with Ukon’s moxy, the two have an uncanny knack for solving murder mysteries once half the suspects are already dead. How do they get access to murder scenes? Sometimes they just happen to be loafing around when a murder takes place right under their noses. Other times the bumbling detective at the scene is Kaoruko, Sakon’s mildly attractive aunt of marriageable age.

I’d hit it

The show is divided into eight arcs of 3-4 episodes each.

Avenger of the Abandoned School

Episodes: 1-3

Difficulty: Hard

Premise: A group of former classmates gets threatened into meeting up at an abandoned school. People die.

The Good: A classic closed-circle mystery; Excellent buildup.

The Bad: The puppetry stuff in the first episode tricked me into thinking the series was going to suck; The identity of the killer was somewhat disappointing; spoiler: [spoiler]

The identity of the killer was a bit of a cop-out. Murder mysteries are more satisfying when the killer has a known motive before he’s caught.

[/spoiler]

Two-Faced Demon of Zushuu, Puppet Hell

Episodes: 4-7

Difficulty: Hard

Premise: A film shoot trespasses upon sacred ground. People die.

The Good: Several viable suspects; evidence pointed in several directions.

The Bad: spoilers: [spoiler]

The killer’s methods seemed implausibly complicated for an impulse kill.

[/spoiler]

The Ghost Chapter

Episodes: 8-10

Difficulty: Medium

Premise: A puppet maker dies in an explosion. People die.

The Good: Explosions; themes of hatred/suffering/revenge.

The Bad: Little girl cries about her feelings; spoiler: [spoiler]

The method of getting a confession was really lame. I’m talking Hamlet lame.

[/spoiler]

Byakko of Shinsuu: Bloody Rain Hell

Episodes: 11-13

Difficulty: Easy

Premise: A slash killer is on the loose with a cursed sword. People die.

The Good: Tsundere girl develops a crush on Sakon

The Bad: Almost too easy; weak fight scene at the end

The Hell of the Egyptian Pharaoh’s Curse

Episodes: 14-17

Difficulty: Medium

Premise: The director of a museum gets murdered as a new exhibit is about to open. People die.

The Good: Awesome title; several viable suspects (at first); badass scene where Sakon calls out the vice director.

The Bad: Most of the suspects get cleared fairly quickly; focus shifts from identifying the killer to proving he did it.

Takigi Noh: Kaoru and Compassion for Tragic Love

Episodes: 18-20

Difficulty: Easy

Premise: The head of an acting family gets murdered during a performance. People die.

The Good: [spoiler]

Kaoruko stays single.

[/spoiler]

The Bad: [spoiler]

Aizen did it. When did I figure it out? When he was in his mother’s womb. Even if conclusive evidence doesn’t show up for a while, you know it has to be him.

[/spoiler]

Ghost Story from the Heart of Hida

Episodes: 21-23

Difficulty: Medium

Premise: The ghost of a woman who committed suicide appears around town. People die.

The Good: Ghosts; explosions; faked deaths.

The Bad: If you’re told that somebody died but the body was never identified…

Flowering Love: Scattering Petals in the Showers

Episodes: 24-26

Difficulty: Medium

Premise: Sakon’s announced succession of his puppet school sparks division. People die.

The Good: Themes of Hatred/Suffering/Revenge; Sakon’s tsundere wannabe girlfriend shows up for some reason.

The Bad: Too much puppetry, too many flashbacks, too much emo sulking.

Anyway, I doubt anyone has seen this show, so I’m setting the Over/Under for relevant comments at 7½. Place your bets.