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Hopefully, this post isn’t too weird. Many mystery shows stretch out a larger mystery across multiple episodes or split the series into longer arcs. These would be shows like Death Note or Erased/Boku dake ga Inai Machi. It’s a great way to build intrigue and tension across an entire series. I definitely enjoy watching shows like this, but I often find myself with more of an affinity towards the shorter, bite-sized mysteries.
I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes, so I have a soft spot for shows that follow that same pattern.. Watching a complicated mystery unfold is great, but I think there’s something to be said about a show that gives you the satisfaction of an answer promptly. In honor of that, here’s a list of 5 shows shorter mystery segments that I enjoyed watching.
5. Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
Centering on the titular Sakurako Kujou, this series follows an eccentric bone expert who solves cases with her expertise. We see the story through her plucky assistant, Shoutarou Tatewaki. I think part of what drew my interest in this series was how active Shoutarou’s role in it is. He’s often seen pushing the story forward or examining his own cases. It was a fun series overall.
Boy does this series make me feel old. Taking place in a dystopian future, the series follows the disgraced detective, Shinjuurou Yuuki, as he solves mysteries to regain his reputation. Joining him is Inga, a mysterious boy who often aids him by forcing his suspects to answer one question truthfully. I liked the dynamic between the main characters in this series, especially given that the mysteries tend to focus around Shinjuurou figuring out the right question to ask.
I’ve talked this show to death, so I won’t spend too much time here. Most shows in this genre focus on more traditional crimes, full of death and betrayal. I’ve always thought that this series was refreshing for looking at much more mundane mysteries, unveiling the wonder and stories behind everyday life.
2. Dantalian no Shoka
This might be a hard series to sell. The story follows Hugh Anthony Disward, a man who inherits the estate of his recently deceased grandfather. In the manor, he finds a strange girl named Dalian, who maintains the titular library. Contained within that library is a collection of Phantom Books, magical books with a variety of powers. Together with Dalian, Hugh seeks to recover the books that have made it out into the world, solving the mysteries surrounding their new owners.
Kazuya Kujou is a Japanese student transferring into a fancy boarding school in Europe, who is shunned by his classmates for his foreign appearance. While exploring the school’s massive library, he meets a mysterious girl named Victorique on the top floor. Together, the two solve mysteries, largely relying on Victorique’s “fountain of wisdom”.
This series arguably doesn’t belong here because of how the story shifts at about the halfway point. However, the first half of the series fits the bill quite well. It’s probably the most endearing series on this list, and I really liked Victorique as a character.