Now that Muhyo and Roji (of Muhyo and Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation) have finally snagged their own anime for the summer, here’s why you should seek them out…
Meta context: I finished writing this post back in April, but I’d completely forgotten about it until now! Then again, it was written before the post that actually has information straight from the manga (if you’re reading this in August 2018 or beyond, you can see the post in question here).
One day, an Anime News Network article comes out and I mention Muhyo and Roji’s in the forum as a manga in need of acknowledgement. Flash forward a few months and I was so excited! They finally got an anime, 10 years after the end of the manga!
…then my face fell, because I’d finished the series years ago and had pretty much forgotten what happened in the series.
Well, here’s what I remember was so good about the pals of the BSI and their many friends.
- There are interesting ways of dealing with spirits.
Muhyo and Roji’s main conceit is its supernatural law system – you’d think a story about law would be boring, but infusing it with Western-style spirits like a train to the underworld or a hellish dog/wheel really does the trick. Not only that, but the intricate way the storyline is structured around the characters without much repetition makes the story more akin to Hell Girl rather than a police procedural show. (By the way, this show is very much interested in the ideas of Hades, the River Styx and so on, so if you like Greek mythology, then this manga’s for you.)
- The devil’s in the detail.
The mangaka of Muhyo and Roji’s really knows how to go all out with details, especially when it comes to the punishments and the backgrounds of magical places. Some of the settings really draw to mind Harry Potter around the three quarter mark, if I remember correctly. Heck, Muhyo even has his own catchphrase to go with his punishments, although my memory fails me as to exactly how it goes…
As for details in the story, the complexity of the Magical Law System has definitely been thought through. There’s a system similar to how the Exwire system works in Blue Exorcist, and there are specialists in the creation of magical tools as well as magical law (like in Boku no Hero Academia with Mei). Names, too, hold significance in that way only kanji/katakana distinctions can make – often people are referred to by nickname (notably, Jiro is referred to by a reversal of his real name), and beyond that, significant kanji can speak volumes about what a character is about (for instance Jiro Kusano has green hair, where “kusa” means “grass”, while Tohru Muhyo is often an unreadable character, and “hyo” in this case refers to “ice”).
- Capitalise on the Harry Potter vacuum!
Speaking of a certain Boy Who Lived, there are some interesting parallels between the two, and while talking about them would involve spoilers – a lot of spoilers – if the entire manga were to be covered, we’d get to see a whole bunch of things we could compare between the best-selling book series and this not-so-great-selling manga. Now that Fantastic Beasts is tearing up the box office, it’s high time Muhyo got his chance to shine.
By the way, this is a horror/supernatural story, so it’s probably the best horror thing to whet your appetite after the critically-underwhelming and maker-of-worst-winter-2018-anime-lists Junji Ito Collection.
Additionally, this manga originally ran from 2004 – 2008, right in the middle of the Harry Potter zeitgeist, hence the comparisons.
- It doesn’t lack emotion.
Despite its conceit being about law and hence impartiality being needed to some degree, the personal issues of the characters tug at the heartstrings, whether they be the problems of a ghost that wanted to be pretty or Roji’s own feelings that Muhyo didn’t pick him to be an assistant (note it’s often the other way around, which goes to show how strong Muhyo is in his field).
Its comic rapport is a bit hard to get used to, as it heavily relies on slapstick dialogue and simple silly faces (which don’t get as much love as the punishments or the settings), but that doesn’t mean it lacks heart.
Although I barely remember Muhyo and Roji’s anymore, I’d like to bring back my memory of it by supporting this anime. So, have any of you read Muhyo and Roji’s and if so, then do you agree with me? If not, did I get you excited for the anime?