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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

24 people love sucking up to me

  1. OK, I’m interested. But you better be seeding the torrents.

    And I put 4 pairs of catgirl ears (freshly killed) on Over. Wait, what does “relevant” mean? Do they have to make multiple references to the Muppet Show?

  2. Thats a weird way of setting the tension…At first the hard cases then the easy ones and last the medium ones? Meh
    Crime Solving Puppeteers…Its like Pinocchio in cool huh?

    Youve got me interested my dear Dinosaur.Ill doubt ill find it though

  3. I saw the first episode because hey, I like mystery shows. But it just didn’t seem all that interesting. Now that I can’t find anything more in the genre besides waiting for crappy filler episodes of Detective Conan, I might give it another shot. It’s still collecting dust on a hard drive somewhere.

  4. @Blowfish: Perhaps I got used to the show during the later arcs. After a while you get a sense for when an “evidence moment” pops up.

    @Calaveth: It’s not the best mystery anime out there (Higurashi is, also see Monster). But it’s better than K-ON.

  5. @Kairu: Rarely do you see a show that’s both unique and different.

    @Qwerty: There’s a great reason he has a puppet: he’s a puppeteer. Other ways the puppetry contributes to the story: puppetry is the art of mind reading (or something like that), which helps him get into the minds of the killers; also, Sakon comes off as a bit timid, so the puppet is a tool for expressing himself.

  6. This article was like getting bashed over the head with a hand-truck full of nostalgia.
    For that you have my thanks.

  7. I watched like the first arc, then like most other arc-styled mystery anime, simply forgot to continue watching the next arcs.

    Was rather creepy that the puppet had all the personality while the puppeteer had none though. I wouldn’t have minded as much except it was always the puppet’s expression that kept changing not the human’s…

  8. @LJ: I see we have another fan of The Melancholy Brain. It was part of the same episode as The Megalomaniacal Adventures Of Brainie The Poo, which unfortunately I can only find in bits and pieces on YouTube.

    @issa-sa: If I were one of those “deep” bloggers, you’d have a thousand-word analysis of who the real puppet is. Is it not Ukon that actually controls Sakon?!?! But that’s a load of bullshit you’ll never hear from me.

  9. Shit, this is pretty obscure. I watched this last year during my “watch anything even if it’s crap phase” (a time I’m not really willing to revert to, and not to say this show is bad necessarily). My then-roommate and I made an inside joke out of the scene where the psycho bitch from the first mystery is stalking the other woman and calls out to her, saying “Let’s talk…”

  10. I’ve started watching this about a year ago. I’m currently still on episode 11, I believe. It’s not a very entertaining series; Sakon also creeps me out because he needs a puppet to speak his mind. I believe this is like the lesser Mononoke. Episodes 8-10 weren’t difficult. I figured it out by episode nine. I just had to pay attention enough, because it at least makes the watching a lot more bearable.

    It’s a good show, but I don’t like it very much. Watch Mononoke if you haven’t, though.

  11. Found a Torrent with 1 Seed and 7 Peers.
    Looks like thisll take me some time.

    Yeah,after some time you get the knack for what to watch out for.Im looking forward to this

  12. @Merk: What a coincidence, I picked this up because I was in a “watch anything even if it’s crap phase” as well (thanks K-ON).

    @Michael: You can’t point conclusively to the killer until the match incident. There are intuition and process-of-elimination type hints earlier, but those are based off scenes unique to the viewer, not hard evidence available to Sakon & Ukon.

    @Blowfish: Suck it up, it was the same for me. While you’re waiting, you could always watch Queen’s Blade….

  13. Ill prolly end up checking this show out… i love mysteries
    i def like higurashi and monster was great… however no1 mentioned Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro, which i thought was a great show

  14. Final Count: 8

    – 7 by me (not part of the over/under count)
    – 6 irrelevant comments (kadian1364, Kairu, Qwerty, Rakuen, Laguna, Blowfish-18)

    As the only one who bet anything, kadian1364 gets his cat ears.

  15. Yay for contributing nothing and receiving imaginary scalps. I’m on episode 1, by the way.

  16. I would agree, though. The earlier mysteries were hard. The first had the advantage of stereotypical misdirection, because most of us assumed that police are on the right side of the law (not condoning murders and such). The second was just hard (not like the first one), because it relied on swift yet deliberate actions, and topical misdirection. The lady had to think on her feet and pull off murders, and it was smart.

    P.S. Where is my Opal Mehta book? I have been waiting. My birthday was February 23. I thought it would have arrived by May. 😛

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