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Steam Detectives, Case 1

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Oct 21, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description



Although it aired only a year earlier, Steam Detectives anticipates much of the look of Power Stone and the modus operandi of The Big O. Ten-year-old detective Narutaki fights crime in Steam City with the aid of perky, tea-serving nurse Ling Ling and her squat mecha Goricki. Like Robin without Batman, Narutaki lives in high style, attended by his faithful old butler Kawakubo. He drives a motor scooter, shoots a variety of firearms with impressive accuracy, and makes leaps of crime-solving logic no police detective can match, yet the villains always escape to return in later episodes. Steam City suggests a Victorian London that advanced without developing new sources of energy to replace 19th-century coal and iron technology. Director Kiyoshi Murayama stages the frequent mecha battles with an unimaginative stolidity that makes Steam Detective feel older than it is. (Rated 15 and older: minor profanity and violence) --Charles Solomon

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Section 23
  • DVD Release Date: October 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008G8QG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,316 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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The steampunkiness of "Steam Detectives" cannot be denied.

Even if the title didn't give it away, this detective anime focuses on the troubles of Steam City's prepubescent detective. Unfortunately the first volume is a severely mixed bag -- the first few episodes are hopelessly silly, and the "old school" animation and ridiculous villains are a decided handicap.

In the coal-powered Steam City, the best detective around is Narutaki, a young boy with a steal-trap mind. He's always accompanied by nurse/assistant/cook Ling Ling, and his faithful Megamatron (big steam-powered robot) Goriki.

The series starts with a bizarre mystery -- robberies are being carried out by a Megamatron that seems to be able to teleport, and Narutaki must both figure out what the next target will be, and what the trick is. Then the Crimson Scorpion becomes obsessed with stealing a powerful gem from a meteorite, and the goofy Machine Baron develops a freaky crush on Goriki while trying to figure out how to defeat him (and steal a vacuum while he's at it).

The first three episodes of "Steam Detectives" are, to put it mildly, goofy. There's not much actual mystery in any of these -- a crime is committed (or will be committed) by somebody, and Narutaki and Goriki hang around waiting for the baddies to show up so they can inflict some property damage.

And the extremely retro animation style doesn't do it any favors -- everything is incredibly exaggerated, from Narutaki's daggerlike hair to Ling Ling's gigantic breasts and sleeves (which occasionally makes her look like she has five heads).

Fortunately the plot takes a sharp upturn in the last two episodes, which are filled with more mystery and tension.
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I enjoyed this show a lot. Fun characters, cool steam powered city. Interested to see what happens next!
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Steam Detectives, Case 1
This item: Steam Detectives, Case 1
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