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Holmes of Kyoto | The Miso Review

Sherlock Holmes, the world’s greatest detective (next to Batman, that is).  This character kickstarted the huge popularity of his genre and, perhaps more impressive, a long legacy all of his own. Over the years several adaptations, spin-offs, and fiction inspired by Sherlock have been made. As a Sherlock fan myself, I’m always a little drawn in by mystery. Holmes of Kyoto especially caught my eye thanks to the title. So I set out to investigate this series and now, I’ll present my case notes to you.

Holmes of Kyoto

Aoi and Kiyotaka (Holmes) standing back to back
Aio (left) and Kiyotaka (right), Holmes of Kyoto’s leads

Holmes of Kyoto story starts with an unassuming antiques shop in the Teramachi Sanjou shopping district. However, as the main character discovers, there’s more to it than that. While attempting to sell her grandfather’s hanging scrolls at the shop, highschooler Mashiro Aoi meets the owner’s son, Yagashira Kiyotaka.

Kiyotaka is called “The Holmes of Teramachi Sanjou” and has an amazing eye for art. Because of his skill various clients request his help when things go awry. When Aoi ends up working part-time at the shop with him, she’s roped into several of these odd cases.

Several of the people Holmes has helped. A bald priest, a young man, and two sisters.
Holmes and Aoi assisted many people like these. Often characters that appeared in a case would remain as side characters.

The show is set up in a format similar to the original stories. Each episode presents a new setting, new characters, and new dilemma.

My Thoughts

The mystery aspect of the series was disappointing. Deductions were pretty spontaneous and material leading up to them didn’t give the viewer much of a chance to look back and share in the “aha!” moment. There was a much greater focus put on the relationship and potential romance between Aoi and Kiyotaka than I expected. While that’s not a bad thing in and of itself, it left many points of the anime feeling…shallow.

The cases weren’t boring. I actually found the analysis of the antiques very interesting, but the clients’ reactions and way of dealing with the situations seemed unrealistic. That’s only minor flaw to me since I tend to put aside the notion of ‘realism’ in shows like this. However, this sort of problem carries over to other areas.

An old statue of two Chinese monks standing together on a wooden platform.
A statue of Kanzan and Jittoku

The series possessed a tranquil atmosphere throughout its run. That vibe can be nice but it landed many things into an odd place. The pace was slow yet because of all the information that sprung up it also felt bizarrely fast. One example of this is the main characters. Aoi spilled a lot of her motive and background in the first episode. Aoi’s set up the premise acceptably, but Kiyotaka quickly did the same and his was more jarring. It really felt like they were trying to add depth to their characters, but it was superficial. The relationship between Kiyotaka and his “Moriarty” was similarly lacking.

Nevertheless, the slow development of the protagonists’ romance was decently heartwarming. It was interesting to see a “Holmes”  type with a more emotional portrayal than usual. Even if he nor any other character broke molds by shoujo standards, their interactions were entertaining enough.

Holmes poses with a finger to his lips, saying "Us Kyoto boys are awful nasty."
This line and Kiyotaka’s “wicked” personality soon became a recurring joke.


Holmes of Kyoto wasn’t a terrible anime by far. It didn’t extend much past average either. All in all it was enjoyable, but may be shocking for those who went in expecting a crime-centric show.

Miso Rating: 2.5/5 Miso Soups


Like a good mystery? Explore the puzzles of the mind in our Top Three Psychological Anime.

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