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The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED episode 1 anime review

A fun and satisfying debut that feels in many ways like a throwback to late Nineties anime like The Big O and Cowboy Bebop, albeit with a less masculine and more homoerotic subtext for the Noughties.

The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED delayed due to Coronavirus

16th April 2020: From the third episode onwards, The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED has been delayed until further notice due to the spread of the Coronavirus. The second episode that aired this week will be the series’ last until further notice after Japan declared a national state of emergency earlier today.

Plot summary

Haru Katō’s boring life as a recently demoted police officer shifts into the fast lane when he meets the haughty Millionaire Detective Daisuke Kambe, an enigmatic force of nature, speeding down the road. Kambe has literally unlimited funds at his disposal and is happy payoff everyone whose life (and property) he destroys in pursuit of his prey, but Haru isn’t one to be bought off.

Is the The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED anime any good?

It was a fun and satisfying debut that I really hope continues in this vein of episodic hijinks and inventive action at the same time as chipping away at the layers of Kambe’s high falutin personality. It feels in many ways like a throwback to late Nineties anime like The Big O and Cowboy Bebop, albeit with a less masculine and more homoerotic subtext for the Noughties. I loved the little subplot involving the two hapless and hopeless jewelry robbers and the elegant way their misfortune was woven into the episode’s mad climax.

Stray notes on The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED

  • The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED is based on a novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui. His name should be familiar with anime fans, because he also wrote Paprika and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Not bad, eh?
  • Tsutsui wrote Millionaire Detective in 1978. Apparently, there was a JDrama adaptation in 2005. Curiously, in that version, Kanbe is female! I’ve no idea which version of Kanbe is true to the novel.
  • The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED is airing in the well known Noitamina TV block in Japan. Noitamina is not as big a deal as it used to be, but I’m nevertheless grateful for my hit of josei anime with adult characters. Thank you, Noitamina!
  • From my experience, anime based on novels (caveat: not light novels!) tend to be good. I can imagine that if you’re a character designer or animator, it’s much more interesting to work on an anime series that doesn’t already have a set aesthetic.
  • I’ve read comparisons of The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED to James Bond and Batman, but I’m going to throw in a couple of anime that I thought of when I was watching it: Cowboy Bebop, particularly the more light hearted episodes that climax with collisions of seemingly random people, and the lazy metropolitan office life of ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept..

See you next time!

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