So, I finally watched The Millionaire Detective — Balance: UNLIMITED (Fugou Keiji: Balance: Unlimited), and I freaking LOVED it! Aired (and delayed due to COVID-19) in summer 2020, The Millionaire Detective is an anime adaptation of the 1978 novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui (not published in English). Funimation describes the story:
Detective Daisuke Kambe has no problems using his own fortune to solve crimes even if he assesses human lives based on their financial worth. Compassionate Haru Kato sees all life as sacred and is sickened by Daisuke’s materialistic ways. Can they stop butting heads and overcome their opposing world views for the sake of solving the toughest crimes in the precinct?
The show is rated TV-14, and the content warning includes blood, violence, murder, sexual innuendos, and some language. The series is part buddy cop comedy and part action thriller. The series kicks off with Daisuke Kambe (voiced by Yuusuke Oonuki in Japanese/Adam Rowe in English) joining the Modern Crime Prevention Unit as a detective. The Modern Crime Prevention Unit is the slacker and reject division full of people who have been demoted for various reasons or just placed there so they wouldn't be in the way. Here, we meet Haru Kato (voiced by Mamoru Miyano in Japanese/Ricco Fajardo in English), a late 20-something detective with a penchant for justice. Daisuke is inexperienced, both as a detective and age-wise though you wouldn't have guessed the latter part until they revealed it a few episodes in.
The first few episodes follow an odd couple routine. Slick, well-dressed, mature Daisuke uses his fancy hi-tech gadgets and vast wealth to solve crimes whereas Haru uses old-fashioned police procedures with assistance from his slacker co-workers. Yet, both arrive at the same destination. The slice-of-life episodes finally give way to the real plot and heart of the show: Daisuke's reasons for becoming a detective and joining the Modern Crime Prevention Unit. Turns out there's more to him than just being the bored heir of a wealthy family.
Over the course of 11 episodes, you learn about Daisuke, Haru, and key supporting characters from the police department like 2-weeks-till-retirement Chousuke Nakamoto (voiced by Akira Kamiya in Japanese/Kent Williams in English), but the show is mostly focused on Daisuke and Haru. Basically, Daisuke Kambe is Japanese Bruce Wayne, and Haru is Robin. Both characters are smart and capable leads that complement each other but make no mistake, this is definitely Daisuke's show. He's so cool, and I have a thing for slick and cool characters. (I remember when Daisuke and the show trended on Twitter back in 2020, and now I know why. 😂)
I also have a thing for slick and cool shows. Tomohiko Itō directed the show, and his past works include Sword Art Online, Silver Spoon, and Erased. CloverWorks animated the show, and I think it looks nice. The color palette is muted with a lot of brown, orange, and green. The action and "Kambe is about to do something cool" moments are underscored by an upbeat jazz soundtrack, and it reminds me of American action flicks from the 60s and 70s. Yugo Kanno scored the show and his work includes Psycho-Pass and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure in case you need more reasons to check out The Millionaire Detective.
The great music extends to the opening and ending themes too. The opening theme is "Navigator" by SixTONES, and the ending theme is "Welcome My Friend" by Okamoto's. Both feel inspired and contain a lot of original animation. No clip show opening and endings here!
I love the ending theme and animation, especially. It hits hard. Here's a clip:
I also love how all of the episode titles have something to do with money, and I love how you see the balance in yen at the end of each episode. What I don't like is that this show is still available for streaming only. Aniplex of America is the English licensor and distributor for this series so it's anyone's guess as to when, if ever, we'll see this on dvd/blu-ray. In the meantime, you can watch The Millionaire Detective on Funimation or Crunchyroll. I watched the show in English via Crunchyroll, and I loved the performances. The voices were a mixture of "veterans" I recognize like Christoper R. Sabat, David Matranaga, and Luci Christian and new voices that I'm unfamiliar with like Adam Rowe and Ricco Fajardo. I think everyone's voice fits their character.
In closing, my rating is an 8/10 or ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars. My only gripes were some of the mystery and non-mystery tropes the series leaned into and the first episode didn't completely win me over, but I was sold on the show shortly after. Overall, I had fun, and I bet you will too. The series is short AND not only complete but feels complete. The show could continue with just the duo solving mysteries over and over, but I'm satisfied with what I'm given. That's worth a cool mil in my book.
If you want to watch something similar to The Millionaire Detective, then check out these shows:
Eden of the East (2009)
Great Pretender (2020)
Spy x Family (2022)
If you want to watch anime following cool characters like Kambe, then check out these shows:
Black Butler series (and the live-action film was decent too!)
Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto (2016)
The Case Files of Jeweler Richard (2020)