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Manga / Detective School Q

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Detective School Q or Tantei Gakuen Q is a 22 volume manga by Seimaru Amagi (who also wrote The Kindaichi Case Files) that ran from 2001 to 2005. It was adapted into television in 2003, albeit incompletely, spanning a mere forty-five episodes covering only the beginning of the manga, leaving out most of the plot. Later, the series was also adapted into a live action drama. It was also followed in 2007 by a one-volume manga called Tantei Gakuen Q Premium, which is a sequel to the original one.

This story involves a group of students called the Q class of Dan Detective School, founded by Retired Badass Detective Morihiko Dan, the best detective in Japan. These students, led by Kyū Renjō, form a Five-Man Band and are tasked to solve seemingly unsolvable mysteries, as well as to battle a criminal organization led by Pluto who had a past with Morihiko Dan and a mysterious connection with one of the students...


This work provides examples of:

  • Acquainted in Real Life: In one arc, the killer believed that this was happening between himself and the prettiest girl in his class, as the individual he'd been communicating with had her name spelled backward. When that girl vanished immediately after the online persona said she'd kill herself on account of persistent bullying, he tracked down the bully and killed him, only to find out afterward that his online girlfriend had actually been a different girl in his class who only "killed" her online persona by quitting the account.
  • Arc Word: Meikyuu (labyrinth). Kyu's catchphrase, "If a detective gives up, the case won't be solved!" is written as "tantei wa akirametara, jiken wa meikyuuirinanda!"note . Outside the catchphrase, it's usually thrown a few times as a mystery analogy. The word is also included in the last keyword to fully unlock Ryu's memory as the legitimate descendant of Takumi Kuzuryu.
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  • Action Girl: Shino and Yukihira, though each gets hit with the Distress Ball at least once.
  • A-Cup Angst: Sakurako Yukihira is lacking in the mammary department, much to her displeasure.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Kiriyuu family, the family in Setsugekka Murder Case is renamed into "Fukunaga" in the live-action adaptation. Thus the family members' name all become Ukon Fukunaga, Samon Fukunaga, Tomoe Fukunaga and Hazuki Fukunaga.
    • Kuzuryu Takumi becomes Amakusa Takumi in live-action, and becomes Ryu's father.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Setsugekka Murder Case's content is heavily reduced when adapted into live action. The Setsugekka element itself is nonexistent, two of Ukon's step-sisters are missing, and Samon Fukunaga's actually not paralyzed instead of only having motor functions on his upper body, thus reducing the complexity of the case.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Kaoru Ichinose's brothers' motive in killing the medium was a bit more noble in the anime than in the manga. The anime said they committed the murder because they thought the spirit medium was their aunt's (who underwent an Adaptational Villainy) accomplice in her scheme to get the family fortune, while in the manga it was implied they didn't want any content in their late mother's will that was advantageous to them to be revealed.
  • Adapted Out: Since the anime ended where the story truly began in the manga, lots of character were not adapted into the movie; Cerberus, Sir Charon (who was possibly replaced by Sir Anubis in anime), Thanatos, even King Hades himself didn't appear.
    • Some case-specific characters also don't appear in anime. One example includes the village chief of Jinchu village. The owner of inn the casts stay in instead is Natsumi, who is the village chief's granddaughter in the manga.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Subverted. Kuniko drastically changed her looks between a very traumatic incident and her arrival to Class A, but it takes her much more than that to fully blossom.
  • Affably Evil: Cerberus and his replacement character in the anime Anubis.
  • Becoming the Mask: Ryu was supposed to be The Mole, but he grew fond of Kyuu, Megu, Kazuma and Kinta for real as time passed. This is anime-only.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Please don't comment on Megu's panties.
    • And in the case of her older sister Akane, don't mess up with anything in the Minami household.
  • Break the Cutie: More than one case is a painful, slow, tear-jerking breaking process for either victims, Sympathetic Murderers or witnesses, the top examples being Miyo Fuuma, the three Ichinose siblings, Kuniko Tooya, Mitsuru Hoshou and both her boyfriend Manabu and her half-sister Arisa, Midori Tachikawa, and Yuri Hitsuji. And in-story, Ryu gets progressively broken as he develops more.
  • Brown Note: The "Banquet of Evil" (Devil's Trill in manga adaptation) violin solo drives a violinist into increasing insanity as soon as he hears it, and it's mentioned that a mysterious person is forcing three other people to hear it as well through cellphone calls. The reason? It was the favorite musical piece of a brilliant player who was handicapped and killed herself... after a horrible trap staged by the other four (it was actually three because her boyfriend has never considered that this could lead to tragedy). Who end up murdered by the girl's fellow violinist and the aforementioned boyfriend. And had he not done it, they would've died at the hands of the girl's half-sister (who originally wanted to kill the boyfriend because she thought that he was also in on their plan before the reveal).
  • The Cameo: You can find a cameo of Kindaichi Hajime among the wave of people taking the exam in the first chapter. The Reverse also happens in Kindaichi's "Alchemy Murder Case"
  • The Chessmaster: King Hades is the biggest example in this manga, in order to make Ryu his successor with the finale as the proof of his ability. By the concept of "losing hope after betrayal", King Hades purposely enrolled Ryu into DDS to gain True Companions who, at least it's what King Hades think, will doubt Ryu when his identity as grandson of DDS's Arch-Enemy comes out. To increase the doubt, he created a murder plan involving Ryu's unlocked past about his dead father (who's not really dead; it's actually one of his henchmen's disguise) and former employees who became the victims. In each murder, traces of Ryu's presence in the crime scene would be present, further driving people into the conclusion that Ryu indeed killed them. The truth is, those people died from them killing one another with personal motives King Hades planted for years. The plan was so crazy, yet plausible. The only miscalculation he made is everything about Kyu.
  • Chick Magnet: Ryu. Older women, young girls and little girls blush at the sight of him.
  • The Chikan: A whole episode centers on this type of delinquent. One of them attacks Kuniko in a train, and once she recovers from the incoming Heroic BSoD, Yukihira and Megu help her catch him.
  • Collector of the Strange: Onikobe Dokuro, head of DDS research centre, collects two thousand wooden-carved skulls based on murder victims. One of them even has a ribbon and is called "Elizabeth".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: One of the victims in "Murder of Setsugekka painting" was locked in a room that had been previously used as a freezing room from the outside while the temperature was lowered gradually. The shots after that showed her fingers bleeding and the door full of blood and scratch marks, depicting her desperation to get out alive.
  • Cut Short: The anime faithfully followed the manga and was on track towards greatness when it was cancelled at a point in the manga where the real story was hardly beginning to unfold, and we mean almost 2/3 of the plot, leaving virtually everything in the air, and throwing in a Gainax Ending on top of that.
  • Cute Bruiser: Kuniko, when she stops cowering after someone else's back.
  • Dark Action Girl: Kaori, a rather skilled knife fighter and Master of Disguise
  • Death by Adaptation: In the manga, Kaoru Ichinose's aunt Sachiyo survives the case she was featured in. It's not the case in anime.
  • Disguised in Drag: Ryu and Tooya was tasked to infiltrate a school regarding a vandalism which may turn into a murder. Unfortunately, since the target school is an all-female school, Ryu was forced to do a total makeover to become a new transfer student.
    • Interestingly, the timing was close to a school play and Ryu is forced to play the prince role in said play, meaning he was disguised as a girl who plays a role of a man!
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: There's an epic "Whaaaat!?" moment when the high priest behind four murder cases in Kamaikakushi village is revealed to be the cute and innocent Fuuma Mio, who later turns out to be another Anti-Villain as a result of More Than Mind Control that Broke the Cutie.
  • Expy: Kintaro to Kindaichi Hajime; he even has a similar Catchphrase. Also Cerberus to Yoichi Takato, both refer to a perfectly done crime as "art with perfect beauty" and doesn't take it well when plans they've made get ruined and will find out who ruined their plan.
  • Faking the Dead: The businesswoman Hanayo Ichinose tried this to save her enterprise. She got plastic surgery and returned under a disguise to stop her Smug Snake sister's machinations and check on her three children... and ended up dead because the two eldest didn't recognize her and thought she was the Smug Snake's accomplice, so they killed her to protect their baby sister.
  • Five-Man Band: The Q class of Dan's Detective School consists of 5 members, each fulfilling a typical 5MB archetype.
    • The Leader: Kyu is the Stock Shōnen Hero. He's a very enthusiastic young boy who possesses an incredible passion, determination and intuition to become a detective. His uncanny ability to solve misteries based on just a few hints is balanced by his lack of common sense in pretty much every other area in life. He does, however, have a big heart that's willing to do his best for those around him.
    • The Lancer: Ryu is Kyu's polar opposite, being very calm and rational, to the point of being seen as cold-hearted. He is almost the complete opposite of Kyu, if not for their shared passion for mysteries and solving cases, and is pretty much the only one that stands as equals with Kyu in terms of detective skills.
    • The Smart Guy: Kazuma is a genius hacker who can build complex programs and solve codes despite only being a grade schooler. His primary role in the team is to find background information about suspects and other miscellaneous data necessary to solve the case.
    • The Big Guy: Kinta is probably the least intellectual of his class, but makes up for his lack of wits by his physical strength, combat abilites and, to a lesser extent, his sharp sense of smell.
    • The Chick: Megu is the sole female of the group, and while her Photographic Memory is very helpful to solve the cases they're involved in, she mostly serve to comment on Kyu or Ryu's abilities, or occasionally be the Damsel in Distress.
  • Forced to Watch: In the Boarding School case, Megumi is kidnapped and then Bound and Gagged, having to helplessly watch as her masked kidnapper (and the culprit) murders the Student Council President.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Despite her photographic memory, Megu forgets that she used to play with Ryu during her time in Talent Development Research Facility. This is all due to King Hades' hypnosis.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Hongou-sensei not only has a huge scar on his face, but his hands and arms are covered with knife marks.
  • Guile Hero: All of them, in their own ways. Ryu and Kyu handle the big deductions, Megumi gives emotional support and uses her Photographic Memory, Kazuma examines stuff and details and Kintarou is Street Smart as well as Super Senses that help make him a detail person.
  • Handicapped Badass: Dan is a Guile Hero who's wheelchair-bound and is still a pretty good shot. The manga even shows that he's the only one who can see through deception of the first murder plan made by Cerberus which tricks ALL Q-class member and successfully catch him.
  • Heir to the Dojo: Kuniko, whose family has an Aikido dojo.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Two murders happen in onsens. Only one of these mini-arcs has fanservice, as Kyuu and Kinta first fail to get Ryu naked in the springs (as he arrives at the male side of the springs with a Modesty Towel) and then they try to peep on a Sexy Secretary bathing on the other side... and end up beaten by Megu, whom they get to see in the nude. The incident is actually plot-relevant, as it drops hints about the murderer - said Sexy Secretary, and she tried to use it as an alibi but the detectives weren't fooled.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Q-class is having lunch at an okonomiyaki place, Ryu says that it's his first time eating at such a place. Megu then remarks that it makes sense as Ryu's upbringing strikes her as being "like a prince". Unbeknownst to anyone else, Kerberos previously referred to Ryu as the prince of Meiousei/Pluto with his position being In the Blood. Since Ryu finds this fact horrible, he reacts badly to Megu's remark.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Satoru had to leave Kyuu and his mom when he started investigating Meiousei/Pluto, only watching them from a distance. The single time he attempted to approach little Kyu directly, he was kidnapped by Meiousei, and Satoru went all Papa Wolf on them and singlehandedly got his kid back. A few days later, though, he was killed.
  • Jack the Ripoff: Psychic Murder Case is one to a similar case that happened long ago in National Ability Research Facility where Megu and Saburomaru went before joining DDS. While the murder trick was given by Meiosei, the one who gave the trick to the first and second killers were different members. The first member was able to make the murder unsolvable, but the second member couldn't. Ryu even lampshaded it.
  • Karma Houdini: Kerberos. As if being Magnificent Bastard wasn't enough, he escapes the heroes at the end too.
  • Locked Room Mystery: This is featured in a lot of cases. The solution generally involves some manner of sealing the room from the inside in some way that can be performed while outside the room or committing the crime from outside the room.
  • Magician Detective: Hayato Shiramine is a famous magician who enrolled in Dan Detective School. While he's a minor character since he's in A-class, he shows his his crime-solving ability when he won an analysis duel against Kazumanote .
  • Manchurian Agent: Pluto does this all the time to its clients and its own agents as a failsafe. On the trigger, they'll kill witnesses, or themselves, or go insane... it's not pretty.
  • Master of Disguise: DDS teaches its student art of disguise, probably to make them easier in tailing their targets. So far DDS members knowing the art of disguise are Nanami, Tooya, Ryu (via crossdressing but develops real ones later on in the climax)
    • Pretty much every member of Meiousei shown are this. It's sometimes taken Up to Eleven since the disguise can't be removed by normal means.
  • Madness Mantra: Kaori's "Tartarus... Tartarus... Tartarus..."
  • Meaningful Name: Lots of them. For starters, Q-class is not based on all the rankings found in normal DDS class (from A to D). It was personally selected by Dan Morihiko as "Q"ualified people who will be his successor.
    • Case-related wise, Jinchu village's name, where "Mayahime Legend Murder Case" occurs, can also be read as "Hitobashira (Human Pillar)" following the village's tradition to burn one of its people on a stake to repel bad luck. Yes, all of the murders happened there has a burn-theme.
    • One of the first cases Q-class faces is a mysterious disappearance in Kamikakushi Village. In Japan, Kamikakushi means "Spirited away". Almost all of the cases happened related to people missing mysteriously.
  • Meitantei: The main genre. Dan Morihiko is also considered one, being one of the few detectives with license to wield guns.
  • Mistaken for Romance: Discussed for laughs in the sequel, where Kyu, Kazuma and Kinta must compete against Ryu and Megumi to solve a case. While the former group runs wanders around town to find clues, the latter heads to a cafe to discuss the case. Kazuma mentions that Ryu and Megu has "couple vibes", to Kyu's dismay.
  • More Than Mind Control: Apparently, what made Mio Fuuma a murderer.
    • Also applied on several culprits, courtesy of Pluto itself. Basically, they give you the means to carry your revenge and keep an agent close as a monitor, but when said revenge is foiled, they force you to either kill yourself or murder the person who blows your cover. And if a Meiousei agent is captured by the police, another will activate some sort of trigger that will make them kill themselves as well.
  • Mundane Luxury: Due to his strictly controlled upbringing, Ryu has never been exposed to certain things that are commonplace to his classmates and has strong positive reactions to things like the taste of natto (an extremely common food in Japan).
  • Basically, what the Meiousei group does.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Besides the many cases where the murderer of a case realizes how big a mistake killing the victim was, Kinta gets a nasty bout of this trope when he makes Kyu switch cleaning shifts with him and this leads to him and Megu going missing and having a highly venomous snake sicked on them by a Pluto agent, nearly killing Megu.
  • Not Blood Siblings: A plot point in Setsugekka murder case is a small Ship Tease between Tomoe and Ukon Kiriyu who are step-siblings and other characters who lightly tease them about it. Tomoe is a child not related to Ukon's stepmother because she also was a stepchild to her current mother. Too bad it fell apart when she's revealed to be the murderer in the case and tried to stab (Nanami disguised as) Ukon for knowing too much about the murderer.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Ukon acts like a child around the house despite showing early signs of great intellect during elementary school, which is quickly hinted to readers in early case chapters. It's because he doesn't trust any of his step-sibling, suspecting some (if not all) of them as the cause of his father's paralysis. S Howing any signs of cognitive awareness is a way to divert suspicions.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Kyuu's mother, in regards to his csreer choice of being a detective.
  • Panty Shot: Kyuu ending up seeing up Megu's skirt and blurting out what kind of pattern is on her underwear is a Running Gag. The audience does not get to see.
  • Photographic Memory: Megu's main ability. Also, Shino's deceased Unlucky Childhood Friend Masami, whose murder is resolved by Class Q.
  • Plucky Girl: Megu, Yukihira, Shino Katagiri. Kuniko wants to become one, but she still has a long way to go.
  • Prison Episode: Miss Kaori's interrogation and Cerberus's imprisonment, momentarily.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Kuroki Ranko in "Bloody Flower Garden" (manga exclusive). Despite being a teacher in a religious girl-only school, she doesn't really hide her homosexual tendencies, as evidenced by her hitting on a crossdressing Ryu the first time she arrives at the teacher's lounge and the rumors circulating among students about how she'd try to show a scar on her cleavage to students she deemed pretty. The more depraved part of this trope comes when one girl rejected her advances, thus she decided to torment her everyday through bullying.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: In one case, Ryu is forced to disguise as a girl to infiltrate an all-girl school. Upon arrival, he catches the eye of the drama club members, who forces him to play the role of Prince Charming in their upcoming show.
  • Red Herring: Oh, lots and lots of them. One of the most famous cases's trick was about the real killer making someone agree to be one while said person becoming target themselves. Then after the red herring's "suicide", an apparent conversation between Meiosei member and one of the suspects also became one. If one is observant, you can see from the contents that there are still several chapters left.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Nanami and Tatsumi.
  • Rhyme Theme Naming: The Big Bad and Big Good of the series is respectively named Hoshihiko and Morihiko. Their similarities do not end there, as they are both known as The Ace at their school.
  • Running Gag: Kyu frequently rushes to class believing that he's late, even though his watch is 30 minutes fast. When he realises this, he would complain about "falling to the time difference trick", to his friends' exasperation and bemusement.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Many of the murders, whether they have Meiosei's interference or not, turn out to be this.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Akihiko and Kunihiko Ichinose thought they were protecting their little sister Kaoru from their Smug Snake aunt Sachiyo by killing her accomplice. Said accomplice was their mom, Hanayo, under a disguise. Whoopsie.
  • Serial Killer: Lots of main cases happened around Q-class are this. Largely subverted in Kirisaki Island because it was a test to determine whether people selected by Morihiko Dan are suitable to be member of Q-class thus no one was killed and Seiryukan Murder Case (manga and live-action only) because the four murders happened were actually separate murders committed by all the victims, courtesy of hypnosis (live-action) or careful planning from King Hades as a plot to make Ryu into his successor.
  • Sexy Secretary:
    • Yuri Hitsuji. Who also happens to be the Sympathetic Murderer of the case she's in.
    • Shino Katagiri can be considered as Morihiko Dan's sexy secretary too.
  • Shipper on Deck: Megu's Cool Big Sis Akane ships Kyuu/Megu.
  • Shrinking Violet: Kuniko is very, VERY shy and traumatized.
  • Smug Snake: Many culprits, but specially Sachiyo Ichinose anime-version.
  • Snuff Film: One of the case has this theme. One murder is an edited-and-uploaded type of video while another one is a live footage. It's mainly for the killer's alibi though, and the second one is not even a real footage.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Maya Asabuki dies from a stab wound in the manga. In the anime, her head is hit by a small vase in her dorm room and is revealed to be alive at the end of the case.
    • The victim of "Train Alibi" minicase, Kenji Taga, ends up surviving instead of dying.
    • Since the only adapts around half of the manga, a certain character who dies at the manga's last chapter is still alive in the anime. Said character is Dan Morihiko.
  • Stopped Clock: Played with, to the point of becoming A Running Gag. Kyu's watch will stop at when he needs the most outside the case.
  • Taking the Bullet: When a case ends with Kinta unintentionally provoking a suspect into trying to stab Kyu, Ryu dives in front of his friend.
    • Nanami also tries this at the manga's climax when Sir Charon shoots Dan Morihiko. Unfortunately, he fails. However, Dan Morihiko gets better.
  • Team Dad: Morihiko Dan, and Tatsumi Hongou is a sterner version. Nanami counts more as Big Brother Mentor due to his closer approach.
  • Team Mom: Shino Katagiri is a responsible and beautiful woman who helps out the kids more than once.
  • Teen Genius: Basically those who were enrolled in National Talent Developement Research Facility becomes this once they are teenagers except for several people for different reasons. Case in point for people who are teenagers in the manga's current timeline are Megu with her photographic memory, Fuko Asaba, teen jazz musician playing in New York, Isshiki Haruna and Toru Kumakura who opens internet business togetherand Ryu Amakusa.
  • Theme Serial Killer: Murders rely on this trope, following local folklore (Example being Kamikakushi/Spirited away or Hitobashira/Burning people), spirits of the deceased (Houshou Mitsuru's Devil Trill in Imaginary Music Hall), or certain artifacts (Takumi Kuzuryuu's Setsugekka painting).
  • Title of the Dead: Episode 22 "Dinner of the Dead", that deals with the murder of a food connoisseur.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Some of the locations Q-class visits contain secrets. Some are somewhat well-known while some other are covered with an equally bizarre quirk. The most notable one is "Hyotan" and its neighboring village "Kamikakushi". Kamikakushi was long erased from the map by people of Hyotan village and was replaced by one half of Hyotan village due to an experimental smallpox weapon outbreak using a religious cover which worships a God related to disease and disaster. Anyone who discovers this secret will be eliminated by the name of "Kamikakushi" (spirited away)
  • Tsundere: The Type B Megu is all sweet and light and gentleness, until Kyuu comments on her panties or flirts with other girls. Yukihira is a Type A, quite more competitive and tsuntsun.
  • Undying Loyalty: All of the members of Q-class to each other. All of them have been willing to place their lives and reputations on the line for each other. This ends up being a Spanner in the Works against Pluto as their plan to destroy Ryu's life so thoroughly he has no choice but to come back to them is foiled by Kyu's refusal to abandon Ryu and the rest of Q-class following suit.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Midori Tachikawa, Kazuma's favorite teacher at his elementary school, did this to get money from life insurance. Which wasn't even for herself, but for her seriously ill baby's treatment. Kazuma unmasks her, but also makes sure she gets a lighter sentence and the money she needs for her child.

Alternative Title(s): Tantei Gakuen Q


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