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BladeStone 2008-02-17 19:51

Mystery for the Wife
Alright, anime-suki'ers! This is your chance!

My wife has finally caved and decided to watch a single season of anime of my choosing provided it's a mystery series. Now she's somewhat of an uptight person (so no ecchi). Give me some suggestions that will leave her in awe! Try (if possible) to stay away from action-oriented animes. Some action in a mystery is a given, though.

Thanks! :D

Diodati 2008-02-17 20:02


Only 'problem' is that it's 74 eps long, so I don't know how keen she'd be on that (?)

Matrim 2008-02-17 20:28

I second Monster. Very atypical anime, more like a thriller-mystery live action series than anime, no ecchi, not that much action. My brother is not into anime at all but managed to watch all of its huge length and like it. Don't worry if it's too long, it's an addicting series and it's very difficult to get hooked and stop just because you don;t want to watch so many episodes. :heh:

Alternatively - Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni but it relies a lot on hints and tips which cannot be found in the anime itself and is also kind of long - 52 episodes and a planned third season.

Kyomi 2008-02-17 20:33

For short Series there's always the recent Baccano!
It's short and takes place in the U.S. from 1930-1932 So it requires no knowledge of Japanese culture at all.

Just be aware there is some time jumping during the series, if you can understand that, you'll most likely love it.

Spectacular_Insanity 2008-02-17 20:40

Hm. Death Note, if she doesn't mind the heavy metal influence in the music. Well, you can always skip the openings and endings if you want to I mean, it is a serious mystery, and the artistic style that goes with the crazy "epic writing" is great.

And obviously Detective Conan. It's ALL mystery. Like Scooby Doo but only they're REAL criminals that Conan has to figure out while in the guise of a little kid (and thankfully the bad guy is never a guy dressed up as a monster >_< ). It's a really good series, and I like trying to figure out who's guilty before the people in the show figure it out. :)

monir 2008-02-17 20:41

I've two:

Kaze no Yojimbo: The protagonist of the show goes to a small town to unveil the mystery surrounding an incident that occurs in a train 15 years ago. The pacing is very good. The show consists of 25 episodes.

Boogiepop Phantom: This series consists of 12 episodes. The show revolves around a few disappearances that seem to have occurred randomly at first sight. The theme is pretty dark and it may not be an easy-to-digest show either for anyone who is being introduced to anime.

Hence, I also recommend Ghost Hunt for its easy to digest theme. :) As the name suggest, the show is intertwined with supernatural aspect that is delivered in the shroud of mystery. The show is also archived in smaller arcs to tell 7 different stories, so the show won't impose itself on a viewer who may not find a lengthy continuation appealing.

SeijiSensei 2008-02-17 20:46

There's Monster, and then there's everything else for me.

In the latter category, you might try

Shion no Ou
A four-year-old girl watches as her parents are murdered by someone who leaves behind a Shougi ("Japanese chess") piece. The girl, Shion, later becomes a prodigy at the game. The show combines the growth through competition ("becoming stronger") theme that Hikaru no Go and similar shounen programs mine along with a murder mystery and an emphasis on girl power. My 16-yo daughter and I are watching this pretty much as it's released.

A delightful mixture of 30's American gangsters, alchemists, and immortality elixirs. Quite unlike most anything you've seen. The mystery in Baccano! is figuring out what everybody is up to and how, if at all, it fits together. You need to watch three or four episodes before deciding; the first episode in particular is unrepresentative of the rest of the series.

A strange medicine seller in 19th century Japan combats demons on the side. In each story, he has to determine three characteristics of the demon so he can defeat it. Usually these things also identify why someone in the present day is being haunted for his or her malevolent actions in the past. Obviously it's not your typical mystery, but it's beautiful to look at with compelling stories. It also consists of 2-4 episode story arcs so you can watch one and see if you like it. The R1 DVD "Goblin Cat" contains the prequel to Mononoke called "Bakeneko." It's a three-episode story and quite moving.

Dennou Coil
In the near future children live in both the normal physical world and a virtual, cyber ("Dennou") world visible only with special eyeglasses. Strange occurrences including the suspicious death of an elementary-school girl suggest that all is not right with the system. Again not a traditional mystery, but a lovely show to watch with strong characterizations and a spooky, mysterious plot.

Paranoia Agent
A policeman investigates a strange series of killings where the victims are apparently struck over the head with a baseball bat by a wild boy on skates. It kept my attention, but I'm not sure I ever really understood the story. Licensed.

Boogiepop Phantom
Teenagers are dying mysteriously across a nondescript Japanese city, and the cause of the problem is a phantom. My reaction to this show is quite similar to my reaction to Paranoia Agent. I'd watch both again to see if I can figure out more of what's going on, too. Licensed as well.

Ergo Proxy
Another futuristic show, this time about a female police detective living in a dystopia who must track down a "monster." Naturally there's a lot more to the story than that -- the usual political intrigue and secret machinations play an important role. Another rather confusing plot, but again often compelling to watch with some excellent animation. Also licensed.

Rayneing 2008-02-17 21:38

Boogiepop Phantom, Paranoia Agent, and Monster all get my votes. I'd also like to add in Serial: Experiments Lain.

Higurashi is my most favourite anime ever, but I'm not sure it's a good choice for this topic. Out of all of these, I would probably say go for Paranoia Agent, unless she doesn't mind the length of Monster, although I would imagine she might, given the 'single season' comment.

Ichihara Asako 2008-02-17 21:50

I second Ghost Hunt. It's a josei series, so can (usually) be found more enjoyable by women. As monir said, it's split in to very separate arcs, which can be watched individually (though in order is best due to character development) in bite-sized pieces. It's sort of horror-ish due to its supernatural themes, but is a very solid series, I think.

Diodati 2008-02-17 22:17

You know I'll still say Monster is my fave pick because it sprang to mind first - and anime such as Paranoia Agent, Lain, Boogiepop Phantom are excellent too (although those do have varying amounts of deliberately disorientating content)

But for something a little stylistically different (and little-to-no-action-whatsoever), then how about Haibane Renmei? It's not a mystery in the same sense as other anime mentioned in here (with their murder, conspiracies, ghosts/entities etc), but it has its own definite 'mysterious' and 'intriguing' qualities/questions. And when it comes to meticulous imagery and atmosphere, I can't think of many anime which top Haibane Renmei.

But anyhow it depends a little on what you think she may enjoy story-wise.

Telmah 2008-02-17 23:15

I read this thread earlier and was borderline thinking about suggesting Haibane Renmei as well, so I'll second it. It isn't a traditional mystery by any means. The entire setting though is mysterious to the watcher. You'll quickly pick up on some things like it is a parallel to the afterlife, with the characters getting wings and halos. But some elements are harder to realize, like the crows flying over the wall...the wall being metaphorical between life and death. Or the blurry animation giving it a surreal feeling. The entire show is rife with symbolism. And it does one thing that many anime fail to do, you'll walk away as a better person because of it.

There's no fan service, no tiresome anime cliches, or fighting. It is much like a Ghibli film in that regard. What it is to me is one of the best animes out there, one that makes you think rather than merely be entertained. I've had success in starting a girlfriend and a few other friends on anime as a whole because of this show. I can't say enough good things about it. It is the only anime I think is incredibly good outside the medium of anime.

Proto 2008-02-18 00:58

If it's a newcomer to anime I think Ghost Hunt has the highest probability to appeal to her. As much as i like Boogiepop Phantom, Lain, Higurashi, Death note, Dennou Coil or Shion no Ou, I doubt someone who is completely new would find many of the themes those series go around compelling. Haibane Renmei actually makes up for a good choice if she likes to think and over think what she sees, since it has a good many layers of meaning and a lot of subtilities, not to mention that artistically talking it is a very solid series, while Monster would make for another excellent choice if it wasn't for it's Sheer length.

There are also other non-mistery series that I'd suggest to new comers because of their sheer quality and easy to digest themes (and non reliance on otaku appealers like tsunderes and the sort) like Juuni Kokki(by Ghost Hunt's creator) or X/1999 (or any CLAMP series while we are at it...).

oompa loompa 2008-02-18 01:06

I second death note and monster.. but thats because i havnt seen the others as yet :naughty:

Saber Cherry 2008-02-18 01:22


Originally Posted by BladeStone (Post 1405428)
Now she's somewhat of an uptight person

I don't know if I've ever met an uptight person that liked anime. I think the chances are pretty slim. Considering how small the field becomes once you add the 'must be mystery' proviso, I think you're setting up for a failure. Or in other words, there are not all that many exceptionally good anime, and none of them are action-free mysteries suitable for uptight people.

Higurashi? No way. Mysterious, excellent, but psychotic blood-drenched children are not really a good way to initiate a doubtful wife to anime. It is more 'suspense/horror' than mystery.

Death Note is a bit less extreme, but it is still quite gory. And it's not a mystery.

Monster is certainly gentler than those two, but that's not really saying a lot. And it is more 'suspense' than mystery.

Tantei Gakuen Q and Detective Conan are both cute, and both work pretty well as mystery anime. Neither are exceptionally good, and both seem a bit like they are aimed at a younger audience, but they are still possibilities.

Maybe you should try Mushishi or Ghost Hunt, but those are not really 'mystery', but rather 'supernatural/mystery', which is really entirely different... as different as historical fiction and fantasy.

Overall... if you want "to leave her in awe", I think the mystery genre will probably not be sufficient.

KholdStare 2008-02-18 01:47

I recommend against Monster (too long), Higurashi (too confusing), and Shion no Ou (I love it even though I don't understand Shougi, but would someone who isn't an anime addict love it?).

Death Note would probably be the best recommendation, but just remember that it's 37 episodes. Bakeneko and Mononoke are what I would recommend.

devildog23 2008-02-18 21:42

Hmm... This is a hard one considering age and gender(Lol btw no offense, I unconsciously think that people who are married are at least in their 20's). You probably should show her one with a good first episode that draws her in, but I can't think of any like that since I don't watch many mystery anime.

I'll second Monster because as long as she likes it, it doesn't matter the length right?
Ghost Hunt would be a pretty good bet, and maybe even Paranoia Agent. Hmm...Another that might catch her eye is Spiral.

One that she might enjoy that contains elements of mystery, but mystery isn't exactly a genre is The Skull Man

ani_d 2008-02-19 02:25

Ghost Hunt is only effective for teenagers, or for people who think like teenagers (fresh and cool haha). If you're mature enough, I'd second Death Note. Everything down to the animation is badass. The plot gets you hook if you're new to the story. I want to spread the Light Yagami hate as much as I can.

qtipbrit 2008-02-19 03:24

Though I'm not an expert in this field, here goes:

Originally Posted by Saber Cherry (Post 1406017)
Higurashi? No way. Mysterious, excellent, but psychotic blood-drenched children are not really a good way to initiate a doubtful wife to anime. It is more 'suspense/horror' than mystery.

Agreed here, Higurashi isn't a straightforward mystery, though you two can debate on explanations of the events that occur within the series and related activities. It's also not something you would want to really show to someone not expecting it, as it involves minors killing one another (repeatedly) in sometimes gruesome but realistic ways. I'm a fan of the series, but as SC said, it falls more into the suspense and horror categories than mystery.

Originally Posted by Saber Cherry (Post 1406017)
Death Note is a bit less extreme, but it is still quite gory. And it's not a mystery.

Death Note actually has very few true "gore" scenes, as most of the deaths are by heart attack (does this merit spoiler tags?), and the only scene I consider gory in any sense is the epic pen-stab. And it's not really a mystery, but it will be enjoyable if you like the mystery genre, as it's very ingenious and thorough with its clever characters and such.

BladeStone 2008-02-19 12:55

This is the thing . . she HATES anime. She's quite the close-minded person. The reason she's watching this is because I made a deal with her. So this is my one shot to get her hooked. If she doesn't like it, probability is high that she won't ever try it again. I'll watch through most of the suggestions. :)

cerrian 2008-02-19 13:13

I'll second Kaze no Yojimbo. It is great drama and mystery series that doesn't rely on supernaturals powers or beings nor on outrageous action sequences. It solely relies on character development and superb storytelling to slowly peel back one layer of the mystery at a time.

Out of all the recommendations made on this thread so far, Kaze no Yojimbo and Monster are the ones that have the least amount of stereotypical anime characteristics and are probably the closest to American tv series.

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