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Anime / Case File nš221: Kabukicho

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Sherlock Holmes as never seen before.note 

"Shinjuku West Side. On the other side of the wall from its well-ordered, well-lit streets lies the chaos of the east. In the darkness of Kabukicho, where elephants roar to sound the time and villains lurk in every shadow, you'll find six detectives. Weirdos, freaks, bozos and fools to a man. Who knows what madness they'll bring with them. Please enjoy this battle of wits between detectives."
Introduction to the show after the 1st episode.

Case File nº221: Kabukicho (or known in Japan as Kabukicho Sherlock) is an original anime production directed by Ai Yoshimura and created by Taku Kishimoto with character designs by Toshiyuki Yahagi and music by Takuro Iga.

The show is animated by Production I.G and airs currently on MBS, TBS and BS-TBS in Japan when the first episode aired on October 11, 2019 under the Animeism program block. The anime will also have a manga and novel adaptation, the former starting by January 4, 2020.

Outside of Japan, Funimation has licensed it for streaming the original Japanese version with English subtitles and an English dub track in North America, Britain and Ireland while AnimeLab streams it in Australia and New Zealand. For Russia and Russian-speaking countries/territories, it is done by Wakanim. Dynit handles the show for Italy and Italian-speaking countries/territories and the show is exclusively aired in those places via Amazon Prime.


The show primarily takes place in Shinjuku, in the red light district of Kabukichō, which has been walled off somehow in the middle. On the advice of a yakuza oyabun named Kaneko, John Watson heads to Kabukichō in order to seek out a detective named Sherlock Holmes. Holmes happened to be The Quiet One who doesn't say much. But he happens to be a very intelligent person who's able to hunt for clues and information by studying the evidence at crime scenes and deduce his theories... most in the form of rakugo.note 


Holmes and Watson started to work together when they investigate a murder case alongside some private and actual detectives of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department dubbed Jack The Ripper. From there, they tackle on cases that occur in Kabukichō and the surrounding areas. That's if... they can work together despite the other detectives trying to upstage him in cracking a case for the money.

Like BBC's Sherlock and CBS' Elementary, it's basically Sherlock Holmes transplanted in modern society set in Japan.

Case File nº221: Kabukicho has the following tropes:

  • Alternate Universe: While everything is mostly the same with the actual Shinjuku, the only difference is that something major happened there that it was used as the basis of splitting the area into the west and east sectors and wall it off with a gate. "The Dream of Fuyuto Kyokgoku, the Ace" shows that security barriers are located in the middle of Shinjuku with security guards roaming with handheld metal detectors and x-ray body scanners for anyone using the pedestrian sidewalks to go from the east to the west and vice versa.
  • Artistic Licence - Geography: The show portrays Kabukicho as a multi-layered area with bridges and elevated walkways. In reality the place is completely flat without any kind of vertical element besides the buildings, themselves. It also gives an impression of far greater size than the actual Kabukicho.
  • Author Appeal: There is a surprisingly large population of drag queens and male to female transvestites in this series.
  • Casting Gag: Both Junichi Suwabe and David Wald have been previously casted by coincidence as Itami back in GATE.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The series is a Lighter and Softer version of Sherlock Holmes where there's a lot of comedy involved with the characters. It only gets serious when the actual Jack the Ripper is involved.
  • Finger in the Mail: The Stinger of "Don't Take Off Your Swimsuit" shows Irene receiving a box containing Agatha's ear and a note from Jack the Ripper, threatening her to give him the USB drive.
  • Funbag Airbag: Irene and Sherlock hide in Milverton's sauna bed when the latter enters his room. Unfortunately, Irene is on top of Sherlock, who is very distracted with her boobs on his face causing to recite the rakugo Jugemu. Irene has to shut him up by smothering her boobs, causing him to pass out.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Wife Looks Into the Future" is full of it, considering it involves a series of AI-powered life-sized, life-like dolls. Though it's never outright said, its, ahem, "extra" duties in terms of companionship are pretty clear. When Toratarō appears in a queue for the latest model, Sherlock wordlessly hands him an entire stack of tissue boxes he had bought for himself earlier. Toratarō thanks him.
  • Happy Ending Override: "Don't Take Off Your Swimsuit" ends with Milverton dead and all his blackmail evidence destroyed by Sherlock, saving all the blackmail victims while Irene helps Agatha cover up her involvement on Milverton's death. The Stinger pulls a cruel twist where Agatha ends up being Jack the Ripper's victim and her ear is sent to Irene as a threat to give the Ripper the USB egg drive.
  • Jack the Ripoff: "Hello Detectives" has Sherlock and the other detectives assume that the murder victim, who's a failed recruit into the cabaret club White Rose, is killed by the actual Jack the Ripper. Turns out that the cabaret owner's personal driver killed the woman by accident when she bumped her head into a table edge. He tried to cover up by fixing the scene to look like Jack did it.
  • Market-Based Title: In Japanese, it's known as Kabukicho Sherlock. Outside Japan, it's known as Case File nº221: Kabukicho. This is most likely due to strong copyright enforcement and trademark issues from the Doyle estate since a few SH stories are not in the public domain.
  • Myth Arc: The show has an overall arc centering on the murders conducted by Jack the Ripper in Shinjuku in the wake of Alexandra Moran's murder and discovery by Watson of a hidden transmitter on her body.
  • Official Couple: Kyogoku and Maki end up together in "That Woman's Pad" and they even have sex together.
  • Once per Episode:
    • Sherlock providing The Summation of the crime with a rakugo performance.
    • Mrs. Hudson also recites a haiku before dispatching the detectives to their case.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The Pipe Cat claims to have six of the best detectives in Kabukicho. But since the series focuses on Sherlock, the other five look incompetent by comparison.
  • Police are Useless: The TMPD has troubles lately in Kabukichō. For starters, they were nowhere in hunting Jack the Ripper that private detectives, including Sherlock, jump into the fray and work on the case. It helps that the mayor is angry at incompetence with the department that he contracted private detectives to take any cases that the police are having trouble with after his daughter was killed by Jack in an incident a few months ago.
  • Reality Ensues: In "Wife Looks Into the Future", the Morstan siblings are detained by Adler's bodyguards while trying to go inside her house to look for the USB drive. They were never seen again for the rest of the episode as they're locked up in jail after they were passed into police custody.
  • Recycled In Space: It's Sherlock Holmes IN MODERN JAPAN!
  • Running Gag: Expect Watson to be forced to clean up Sherlock's mess in his apartment.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: In "Why Not Join the Staring-At-Eye-Moles Squad?", Holmes hires the Kabukicho Irregulars to send the Morstan siblings on a wild goose chase, culminating in a shot of the two chasing after "Holmes" back and forth down the back alleys of the city.
  • Sue Donym: When Watson bumps into Godfrey Norton in his house while trying to find the USB drive, he almost says his real last name so he just combines it with Torataro's surname. Godfrey mishears it as "Johnwa Kobayashi" and seems to buy it despite how ridiculous it sounds.
  • Shown Their Work: The presence of (at least) an African man calling out to anyone passing him to go to a bar is actually correct. Foreigners working in Japan doing this are usually Africans in various wards where there are a lot of bars/clubs.
    • Sherlock using a sensu (paper fan) as part of his rakugo sketch since it's a required item. He doesn't use a tenugui (small cloth) since it's a required item to do rakugo sketches.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Sugimoto's henchman Potter is seen selling a Kabukinger Z model in "Kobayashi the Man, Giving It His All".
    • The deserted theater in "That Woman's Pad" has a movie poster that resembles Sean Connery-era James Bond movie posters.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The six detectives at Pipe Cat compete with each other to solve each case, and most of them resort to spying and sabotage to keep ahead the others.
  • Wham Episode: "That Woman's Pad" seems to be a lighthearted episode since one storyline involves Kyogoku trying to confess his feelings to Maki. But the other storyline involves Jack the Ripper going after Irene and it ends with Irene dying and Watson suspecting Moriarty because no one knows about Irene's hideout except himself, and Sherlock.
  • Wham Line: "Happy Birthday James Moriarty!"note 
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: While attempting to infiltrate Irene's house, Kyogoku disguises himself as an old man who coughs blood in front of her house so that the maid would call for help. Unfortunately for him, Watson is in the vicinity and because he's a doctor, he tries to help him. The gambit falls apart when Irene sees through Kyogoku's disguise and orders her guards to kick him out.
  • Wretched Hive: Kabukichō itself. According to Watson, he calls it a "city of chaos".

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