Virtual Detective Tabito Higurashi is a 2017 J-drama detective series that ran 9 episodes. It tells the story of a “disabled” detective that solves crimes using his mysterious visual gifts. As such, it checks off all of the boxes for detective series that I enjoy. So let’s see if it actually delivered on its promises.Tabito Higurashi has lost four out of his five senses–his sense of sound, smell, taste, and touch. The only sense he has is sight, which he relies on for his job as a detective who has to investigate and find various missing objects. He works at the detective agency with Yukiji, his buddy and manager, and Tei, his adopted daughter. No matter what it is, Tabito always finds the missing object. His investigative methods, however, are a little bizarre. His eyes seem to be able to see everything, including things that regular people can’t see, like scents and emotions.
Matsuzaka Tori stars as Tabito and he’s been in a lot of things I’ve seen, including the 2013 Gatchaman movie, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Meitantei Conan Season 1. His partner, Yukiji Masahiko is played by Hamada Gaku and he’s done 33pun Tantei, a great, funny and very underrated detective comedy, as well as Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna & Ultraman Gaia: Battle in Hyperspace. Amazingly, Sumida Moeno, the little girl who plays his daughter Tei, has been in things like ON and Kazokugari and is an excellent actress at age 9.
This is actually a very clever series with a lot of heart that explores what happened to Tabito to leave him in his current state. It also explores a potential romance between Tabito and his daughter’s teacher Yoko, played by Tabe Mikako, who has been in things like doS Deka, Tokyo Bandwagon and Naniwa Shonen Tanteidan. There is a lot of emotional impact that arises as the series progresses, which unlike some series where the cases are the focus, here the underlying attachments and relationships between the characters really shines.
Now this series started with a special, but since I watched them backwards, I’m going to review them the way I saw them. You probably ought to watch the 2015 special first, if you can, but I don’t think you miss anything by doing it the way I did. The series does a very good job explaining what came before, to the point that I wasn’t aware that there had been anything prior when I watched it.
I really recommend this series. It’s got all of the things I look for in a detective series, the quirky detective, the well-written cases and the interesting interactions, but I think it’s the emotional resonance that really makes this one something special. Go find it and give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.