This was not at all what I expected it to be, and this time it’s not because I didn’t read the synopsis. I thought this would be similar to Danganronpa and Akuma no Riddle, but funnily enough, it actually seems to be closer to Pupa than either of those. But I digress on that point, because the comparison doesn’t run much deeper than “there are butterflies and weird transformation stuff happens”. If anything, this is like an anime version of the TV show Hannibal. The cops are weird, the detective is even weirder, and the main character is the weirdest of them all. The difference is that in Hannibal the main character is an FBI agent detective, whereas the 3 are different in Ranpo Kitan. Also, because this is anime, the main character and the detective are students. There’s also a cat ear-wearing schoolteacher who self-harms(which I think is a slightly tasteless way to show that a character has issues) and a ton of other anime clichés. I feel like this is going to be the thing that puts me off the show for good eventually, because I don’t have much patience for high school hijinks anymore. But hey, at least it’s not the immediate trainwreck I expected it to be, and it managed to annoy me less than Plastic Memories. So that’s pretty good.
Time for the technical talk: It… actually looks ok, which is more than I was expecting. The art and animation themselves are not outstanding in any way, but the composition and theatrical tricks in some of the shots are pretty interesting. There are also some details about the characters that I like: The police officers, especially one of them, look and sound slightly odd, as if there is something wrong with them. The student/detective Akechi looks like he could be the OP main character of a harem fantasy LN adaptation, but his behaviour makes him feel more like a mad scientist type. And the main character, Kobayashi, looks like a girl(as everyone in the show points out), but upon learning he’s actually a boy, I started hearing his voice as eerily neutral instead of very feminine. Kudos to Rie Takahashi for doing a good job voice acting, I guess. Also, the soundtrack had this weird vibe to it that I really liked, but other than that it wasn’t very memorable.
Verdict: Could be interesting, but I expect it to devolve into school-related hijinks. Watch Hannibal instead if you want more human chairs.