June 06, 2019

Holmes of Kyoto

In a previous discussion about the "Mary Sue," I suggested the "cozy romance" as a companion to the "cozy mystery." Well, a series that qualifies as a cozy mystery, a cozy romance, and a Mary Sue that mostly works is Holmes of Kyoto.

Aoi Mashiro is a boy-crazed ditz when we first meet her. But her encounter with Kiyotaka Yagashira at the Yagashira Antique Shop turns her into a cool-headed antiques appraiser.

Eventually. Kiyotaka hires her to dust and sweep and make tea. But she's a fast study. A really fast study. Nevertheless, we see her put in the work. And she's got a great tutor. So she earns it.

Kiyotaka is, of course, young and handsome, the smartest appraiser in Kyoto. He claims that "Holmes" is merely a play on the kanji for "home" in his name, but he and Aoi end up solving a lot of crimes and mysteries.

The series has a Moriarty as well, though he's closer to Ranpo Edogawa's "Fiend with Twenty Faces." Ensho is a defrocked Buddhist priest and frustrated forger who seems mostly obsessed with fooling Kiyotaka.

Along the way, of course, Aoi and Kiyotaka develop feelings for each other. But by externalizing the conflicts and taking the usual "complications" out of the relationship, the "cozy" romance can mature at a slow slow burn.

Aoi is still in high school, to start with. In any case, I'm not interested in Mary Sue being torn between cowboy Billy and billionaire Bob. Nobody plucks petals off a daisy while intoning, "She loves me, she loves me not."

The art and animation isn't as polished as Snow White with the Red Hair. But if you're looking for cozy mysteries and a very gently simmering romance, this dive into the world of Kyoto antiquing nicely fits the bill.

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