Fugou Keiji: Balance:Unlimited – 11 (End) and Series Review

4 weeks ago 12

In the end, Fugou Keiji ended up being something quite different from what I thought it was for most of its run.  After an inconsistent first three episodes it was certainly solid or better right up to the end, which is the most important thing.  But rather than a hardboiled buddy-cop drama or even a buddy-cop comedy, this was effectively a superhero series.  Batman, to be precise – a Japanese take on it at least, with more similarities than I ever would have believed a few weeks ago.

Fun it was, that’s for sure.  But the suspension of disbelief factor was off the charts by the end.  As for Adollium, it was apparently cold-fusion technology in some form, which would obviously have made quite a footprint if it has ever been disseminated to the world.  But Grandma (Kikuko was her name as it turned out) was all about making sure that didn’t happen.  Yes, she was the mastermind behind everything, not Shigeharu.  In fact Shigeharu was pretty much a feint all along – still alive but apparently having lost his mind after the murder of his wife.

Given all the other comic book stuff going on here the mask trope probably isn’t as outlandish as it first strikes you.  In fact The Millionaire Detective combines two comic book cliches in one, as the guy wearing the Shigeharu mask is none other than a superbutler.  It does explain why he was so formidable and why he was so unconcerned with having his face seen on camera et al.  But he was just following orders – Kikuko’s orders, as she strives to contain the release of Adollium at any cost (including multiple murders).

Katou-san is the one left to deal with the butler, as Daisuke confronts is grandmother in the mansion’s teahouse.  The butler doesn’t have orders to kill Katou, so he shoots him in the leg.  That still isn’t enough to sap Katou’s hero energy, though.  Daisuke, for his part, isn’t the hero type but he does initially decide to do the right thing with the information.  However he seems to be on the verge of letting Kikuko talk him out of it, so it’s fortunate Katou chose the place to collapse that he did.

Grandma may not be totally wrong with her warnings about how Adollium will impact the world, but that’s just not how things work.  It’s the kind of paternalistic argument the super-rich have been making since time immemorial – and since Daisuke is super-rich himself it’s easy to see why he’d find Kikuko’s arguments appealing.  This is one of the more realistic sides of Fugou Keiji – Katou and Daisuke make a good partnership because they complement each other.  I think Katou does more for Daisuke than vice-versa, but most partnerships in life aren’t equal anyway.

Our two heroes get their happily ever after narrative, more or less, though with the public blaming the Kambe family over the coverup he’s forced to flee his mansion and, seemingly, Japan.  And while he and Katou are still officially members of the force (Katou turns down an invitation to return to the First Division) they seem to be operating more or less as free-agents.  Katou as the crusader for justice, Daisuke as his partner and tormentor.  At least he’s now sharing HEUSC with the rest of the Modern Crimes unit.

All in all this worked pretty well, though just as a matter of personal taste I would have preferred a more gritty and realistic direction than what we got.  But Fugou Keiji did what I hoped it would, filled that spot on the schedule (I’m almost ready to officially dub it the “Kishimoto Taku slot”).  In fact while it was no masterpiece this does strike me as the sort of series that would be able to sustain a sequel, in the unlikely event it generates enough income to interest anyone in making one – it’s comfortable and accessible, and there are plenty more stories out there in which Katou and Daisuke could easily fit.

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