My Twitter timeline got dominated by Fugou Keiji on Thursday completely out of nowhere. I gave it a shot, and I totally see why people are loving it.
I had zero warning that a new anime was about to take over my social media feed, so when I was bombarded with a new flood of pictures of pretty anime boys I had to ask – what the heck is this? Apparently it’s Fugou Keiji (Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited) and it was released on April 9th on Funimation. The speed and intensity in which this flew around my fandom spaces has been quite stunning, so I don’t doubt this is going to have a vibrant and active fandom.
The people I’ve seen obsessing over it are people whose tastes generally align with mine, so I figured if they like it, I’d maybe like it too. And so far, that assumption has proven to be correct. So maybe those of you who have similar taste in media as I do will enjoy this, too. Read on to find out if Fugou Keiji is going to be your next obsession, too!
Character are always more interesting than the plot of a story itself to me. I will cling to something long after the plot has run its course if I truly connect with the characters, sometimes to my own detriment. If you are similar, then you’ll probably find this group of characters just as compelling and worth sticking around for as well.
Right out of the gate I absolutely adore the two main leads, and that’s enough for me to know I’ll be sticking with this for a while, even if the plot doesn’t live up to expectations. In fact, I already crave fanfic for them so I can explore the nitty gritty of who they are inside, but maybe maaaaybe it’s too early for that? Who knows. We’ll see.
Haru is a detective of the Modern Crime Force. He’s also apparently a former member of the elite ‘First Division,’ which he uncomfortably interacts with a few times in the first episode. Now he’s working a more low-key position that forces him to wear ‘lost child guidance’ armband, clearly labeling him as more of a beat detective than whatever elite status he had with his prior job.
I’m sure there’s a backstory here that we’re going to want to dive into soon, but we’re only one episode in, so it’s a bit of a mystery why he got downgraded or what exactly that means for him. Whatever it is, it’s clearly a sore spot for him, as he’s belittled numerous times by the more elite detectives.
Haru is a pretty hardcore character who clearly takes his job seriously, regardless of the prestige of whatever unit he’s attached to. And he’s good at it. He’s quick and thorough and not afraid to get a bit dirty in the line of duty. It’s hard not to love a character like that, and it’s clear from Twitter that he has a lot of fans already.
kato haru loveclub assemble ! ☁🌱🌈⭐🌼 pic.twitter.com/GwVegbSxDq
— 🌼相逢为幸 ✈FKB:U (@pfSOTEad) April 10, 2020
I’ve only had Haru Kato for a day and a half, but if anything happened to him, I would kill everyone in this room and then myself. pic.twitter.com/YgH05mLN1U
— Meera @ Furuba s2 + Fugou Keiji (@SaltyMikl) April 9, 2020
today i offer you kato haru from fugo keiji😌🤲 pic.twitter.com/i0nVznAOY7
— sou (@amqzai) April 9, 2020
So basically, we love Haru. And you should too.
Haru is voiced by Mamoru Miyano, who is well known in voice actor fandom. He’s done a lot of popular voices in the anime world including Dazai in Bungou Stray Dogs, Rin in Free!, JJ in Yuri! on Ice, Atsumu in Haikyuu!!, and a whole lot more. I’ve only listed the ones we particularly love here at The Geekiary, but his work stretches across many anime fandoms and you’ve likely seen something he’s worked on before.
The titular ‘Millionaire Detective’ (Fugou Keiji) that the series is named after, Daisuke Kanbe is a badass who throws bills around like pocket change to accomplish his goals. Honestly, he’s more likely a billionaire or… maybe even something else. In the pilot episode he threw down a billion yen (about $9,200,000 USD) for a car without a second thought. The ‘Balance Unlimited’ portion of the series title seems to refer to his endless bank account.
Just like how there’s an air of mystery to Haru’s backstory, there’s clearly a lot more going on with Daisuke’s history that we’ll learn about as the story progresses. We see snippets of what is presumably his family and we see bits of his life outside of being a Millionaire Detective that will no doubt add depth to his character as the story goes forward. Right now all we know for sure is that he’s an extremely wealthy person who has become the inspector of the Metropolitan Police Detective Division. He likes nice cars and fine cigars and he’s apparently a polyglot who can play the piano.
But even at this early stage of the story, he has an immense amount of fans on social media singing his praises. In fact, they were singing his praises so loudly his name TRENDED WORLDWIDE ON TWITTER. Holy crap. I haven’t seen that happen for a new series in a while, but Daisuke clearly deserves the buzz. He’s kind of amazing.
DAISUKE IS TRENDING WORLDWIDE AND THAT’S ON BEING THE ANITWT’S DADDY pic.twitter.com/JbaSRlYziY
— momo (@sanemititties) April 9, 2020
We’re fairly early in the series right now, so the plot is in its early stages of development. Setting the scene and introducing the characters was the primary goal of this first episode.
That said, we can deduce some direction of the plot based on the synopsis and trailer.
Daisuke Kambe, a detective with an extreme amount of personal wealth, is assigned to the Modern Crime Prevention Headquarters where officers who have caused problems for the Metropolitan Police Department are sent. There, Daisuke is partnered with Haru Katou who is repulsed by Daisuke’s materialistic ways. Challenging mysteries unfold in front of the two detectives, and they must work together to solve them.
The Other Adaptions of Fugou Keiji
The original Fugou Keiji was a light novel series in the 1970s, which then got a manga adaptation in the 80s, and a television drama in 2005. Some of the adaptions go in different directions than the source material, so I’m not sure how close this one will follow the original plot.
That said, I haven’t seen any of the other versions of this, so I’m going into it pretty blind. If I do review this weekly (we’ll see if I continue!), I won’t be doing my normal comparison between series like I usually do, but going in with fresh eyes.
Some people are not a fan of the original author (a NSFW explanation can be found here), but the animation studio apparently owns the rights to this series. Some people who take issue with the original creator may be able to watch this guilt-free with that layer of separation, but others may not be able to get past his rather crude commentary from his past. Both are completely valid stances.
I’ve dropped plenty of media for similar issues regarding people involved with them, so do what you have to do to be comfortable. Everybody has a different level of tolerance when it comes to separating the creator from the creation, so do what you have to do.
The Genre and the Subtext
No, this is not a BL story. It may feel like it, but it’s billed as a mystery and detective genre story. If you are like me and you are a big fan of canon LGBTQ+ content, you’ll have to go into this one expecting to have that primarily subtextual in nature and existing mostly present in fandom spaces. In fact, I’m pretty sure Daisuke has a fiancee in the series (see the previous section: I’m going into this blind, so I can’t confirm this), so that may act as a road block to the ship, but we’ll see.
Sometimes shows surprise us, like how I assumed Yuri on Ice would be mostly subtextual (like so much sports anime usually is), but then the main characters straight up kissed and got engaged. So who knows? But please play it safe and go in knowing what genres it’s billed under and don’t expect anything beyond subtext. If we get more, we can be pleasantly surprised together.
That said, oh my god is there a lot of subtext in Fugou Keiji. And they are definitely using it as a selling point for the series. They know that a lot of BL fandom and LGBTQ+ consumers crave this sort of dynamic and they are running with it. The closing credit sequence is shippy beyond belief on its own.
You are going to ship Haru and Daisuke. A lot of people are already with just this small amount of story presented to us. Within a day there were already over 40 fics on AO3. Some of my other fandoms don’t even have that many fics total. So if this is any indication, we’re going to have a lot of fan content for the pairing.
If You Like Fugou Keiji, You Might Also Like…
That said, if you want some canon LGBTQ+ detective content and the idea that this is likely going to be subtextual, or you just want more similar content, I have two manga recommendations for you.
Fake was one of my first BL/Yaoi series way back in 2003. It’s the story of two New York City detectives who fall in love, and the found family they put together along the way. It’s a short seven volume manga series, though there was also an OVA anime film based on one of the middle stories.
I don’t necessarily recommend the anime, however, as it joins in partway through the overall story and never makes it to the end. The story is a slow burn and best experienced in its entirety as a manga story.
Fake is available in most bookstores that carry manga as it’s licensed by Tokyo Pop.
Honto Yajuu is a wonderful series from Yamamoto Kotetsuko, who is my favorite BL creator. The stories follows the romance between a cop and a yakuza. Despite the fact that that set up could lead to a lot of drama and tragedy, the series is fairly light-hearted and funny. It remains one of my favorite manga series of all time.
Until now I hadn’t realized just how much queer detective stories I’ve consumed, but I guess that’s a thing for me. So if you’ve got more recs, feel free to throw them at me in the comments. That said, yes, I’m aware of Banana Fish but I heard it’s super sad, so I’ve been sort of avoiding it. If major sads aren’t a road block for you perhaps you should go watch that one, too. Maybe when things aren’t quite so sad IRL I’ll give it a shot myself.
That said, if you are just looking for canonical LGBTQ+ content overall, regardless of the genre, I’ve got a list of current favorites over here: 4 Queer Anime Titles (and 1 Donghua) To Watch While Waiting for Yuri on Ice.
The Music in Fugou Keiji SLAPS
Back to Fugou Keiji for a moment, the music in it absolutely slaps. You already saw the closing sequence above, but the intro is pretty darn good too. Unfortunately most of the music has been removed from public streaming sites like YouTube for obvious copyright violations, so you’ll just have to trust me as I regretfully remove the videos I had embedded here.
Both the opening and closing credit sequences are pretty darn awesome both musically and stylistically. It really sets the tone for Fugou Keiji, almost more than the actual trailer itself does. Though I’ve found that to be true of a lot of anime, honestly. But it’s even more true here because of how great the music is. These have both been immediately added to my anime soundtrack music playlist.
I’m hella excited to get more of this story and look forward to what the fandom produces. This is the exact type of story I’m drawn to, so bring it on! Maybe I’ll start reviewing it regularly if there’s enough to talk about each week so stick around.
Will you be watching? Do you have other queer detective titles to share? Let us know!
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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