Blossom Detective Holmes
Creator, Producer, Director: Steve Ahn
Review by Brooke Ali
Not a lot of anime is produced in America, but Steve Ahn wants to change that. You may not recognize Ahn by name, but you have probably seen his work: he’s been working in the animation industry for over 10 years including on shows like Voltron: Legendary Defender, The Legend of Korra, and the animated Guardians of the Galaxy series. But last year, Ahn quit his job to follow the dream of creating unique anime-style productions that deal with more mature themes for a young adult to adult audience.
The first of these productions aims to be Blossom Detective Holmes. This 6 episode mini-series follows Skylar Holmes and Jamie, two teenaged detectives in Stockholm, Sweden who are the best in the business. Skylar’s secret weapon against crime is her nose; she can smell the minutest scent particles and uses this information not only to chase bad guys, but to glean information about where they’ve been and even who they are. Jamie brings her meticulous logic and observational skills to the team, but if that wasn’t enough, she also has a special Polaroid camera that can transport the pair by taking a selfie. In the first series instalment, “Selfie with a Strange Intruder,” the pair are hired by a client, Mr. Edvard, to investigate a suspicious robbery at his home. But how did he know the robbery was going to take place?
The first episode is already completed and available to watch on the Kickstarter page or on YouTube. At 6 minutes in length, it’s really more of an introduction to the story than a full episode. This seems more like it will be a 36 minute long story divided into 6 pieces for serialized release, until all pieces are completed at which point it will probably be brought together into a single animated short. The first run of releases will be in Japanese with English subtitles, with an English dubbed version planned as part of their stretch goals.
The art style is unmistakably anime. It has a wonderful pen and ink feel that reminds me of the anime I grew up watching in the ’90s, as opposed to the current computer rendered animation which sometimes feels a little too polished (the expense breakdown on the Kickstarter even includes a budget for paint). The characters of Skylar and Jamie are charming. The character design for Skylar has her decked out in the deer stalker hat and nineteenth century attire of her Holmes namesake. She also carries around a flower that she sniffs as a palette cleanser after she experiences an unpleasant smell, which she balances between her teeth in a manner reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes’s pipe. It’s little details like this that please me to no end and make me optimistic that this will be the unique, high quality production Ahn and his team are promising.
Watch it! Definitely watch the first episode to see the setup of this intriguing detective tale. If you’re as charmed by it as I am, and if you want to support homegrown anime and productions with unique, more mature storylines, consider supporting the Kickstarter and help make this happen. The Kickstarter will be running until February 28.