I came across this anime the other day and it looked right up my street, so I bought it for a binge watch. Tokko is an anime about a newly appointed detective named Shindou Ranmaru. Shindou keeps having recurring nightmares linked to the death of his parents. These nightmares always end with him being saved by a topless woman with a katana. He seems to have told everyone about this dream, including his little sister who is a police officer herself. As you might expect, the two have a pretty weird relationship. In fact, the anime doesn’t even try to be subtle about it. In the first ten minutes or so of the first episode, Shindou’s goofy best friend actually spells out the fact that there’s some weird incestuous thing going on there. This isn’t the first anime I’ve seen that has this, and I find it pretty uncomfortable, but I’ve learned over the years to just shrug it off. Anyway, I digress. Shindou and his goofy sidekick whose name escapes me, get assigned to bathroom cleaning duty for making the mistake made by so many anime characters (talking about their nut job of a boss while he’s standing right behind them) and good job too, because he happens upon a plot point in the form of a blonde haired young lady who….*wait for it*…licks his face as some kind of weird greeting. Ok actually, it’s because she needs to find out what he tastes like……yeah.
She turns out to be the lieutenant of a super secret division by the name of Tokko. These officers are equipped with various blade weapons for an unknown reason. Upon visiting his first crime scene, Shindou and the other investigators are attacked by a group of teenagers who have been (for want of a better word) “zombified” by some small, hideous creatures infesting their abdomens. Think of them as the Flood spores from Halo, or the head crabs from Half Life or something similar, only they can talk. They also make their hosts impossible to kill with bullets. Shindou soon discovers this, when he is grabbed by one and subsequently saved by the girl from his dreams, albeit wearing clothes this time. She slashes the creature out of the host and stamps on it, neutralising the threat. The rest of the Tokko squadron then order the case to be covered up. Shindou finds out through some nameless gossips that the woman is Rokujo Sakura: elite detective and part time butcherer of monsters. Obviously, Shindou winds up joining Tokko in order to find out who murdered his parents (and boy does he take his sweet time about it). I hardly blame him for joining Tokko, considering how useless his fellow detectives are. All they talk about is women and partying. The safety of the Japanese public is in good hands, people!
I’m reminded of a scene in episode 2 where the “regular detectives” manage to scrape together a tiny bit of information on the mysterious murders in the form of a photograph or a webbed hand with claws. This made me think that the prime suspect was sure to be someone who (for example) had a weird incestuous relationship with their sister! That, or the murderer is literally a severed hand. Perhaps the Addams family had something to do with it. I exaggerate, since Shindou’s relationship with his sister isn’t incest, just a little too close to it for my liking. The chief of the “regular detective” force is a pretty straightforward and entertaining character. Despite being told numerous times that the only thing that can kill a supernatural monster (in this anime, anyway) is a sword, he just keeps on yelling for more guns, tanks and other such crap.
Despite my Japanese being extremely limited, I couldn’t help noticing that at some points, the subtitles didn’t match what was actually being said. This isn’t not strictly a flaw in the anime itself though, so I’ll ignore it. I only bring it up because of how frequently it happened. At some points it was like, every other sentence. Other nit picks include the “main character late for something important on the first day” cliche, the “unrealistically attractive and smart girl who has never had a boyfriend” cliche, and finally, the “main character being a complete tool” cliche. Saying that, the final one isn’t as prevalent as in a lot of the more popular anime (You know the ones I’m talking about). Also, why don’t Shindou’s eyebrows match his hair? The ending is pretty disappointing. It’s obvious that the anime was supposed to go on for much longer (another season, perhaps) but the budget ran out or something, and they ended up cramming about a season’s worth into one final episode. Not only that, but there were some moments that had “hell yeah potential” (as I call it) but were rushed to the point of being forgettable. I could go on with the complaints about certain moments that didn’t make sense, but that would involve spoilers. Saying that, if they ever did do a remake or a second season, I’d probably watch it, though I can’t really see that happening anytime soon.
Is it entertaining? Yes, despite being slow paced. Scary? Not particularly. I was too busy being frustrated by the amount of times Shindou puts himself in danger and has to be rescued by Rokujo and the other members of Tokko. Disturbing? Well, I certainly won’t lose any sleep over this one but then, I don’t actively look for anime like that. I just like to be entertained and Tokko does that reasonably well, but it’s not something I’ll be pestering all my friends to go out and watch. Tokko kind of reminds me a bit of Bleach, except Bleach didn’t have eight episodes of buildup before anything happened! However, Tokko is rather similar to Bleach in that the main character doesn’t seem to pick up on anything going on around him. Not someone I would hire as a detective, personally.