As some may already know, this show is inspired by, and somewhat based on, the works of Edogawa Ranpo. I’ve yet to read any of the author’s original works, so I can’t say anything about whether this anime captures “the essence” of the novels, but from what I’ve heard, the anime is not considered a very good tribute. I could see the inspiration from western mystery fiction and the absurd nature of some of the elements of the show, but it also contained a lot of anime-isms that I’m not sure I liked.
Those anime-isms include the school setting which, while not actually that bad in its own right, kind of ended up feeling extraneous to and imposing on the “actual” story. And this, individual elements not being bad but ending up feeling pointless, became a theme throughout the whole 11 episodes of the show (it aired in the NoitaminA slot). Among other things, I loved the absurd and black humour of the autopsy scenes, and I loved all the other theatrical moments of the show. Not because they were very instrumental to the story as a whole, but I like visual symbolism and theatrics in general. I also liked Shadow-Man and Black Lizard as characters, because they gave the impression that the world the story takes place in still contains a lot of unsolved and untold mystery (which is true, the 11 episodes of the anime did not tell all of Edogawa Ranpo’s stories).
But unfortunately, as I already said, most of these aspects that I really enjoyed ended up not having much to do with the story the show was trying to tell, the one about Akechi and Kobayashi. Which was unfortunate, because I didn’t really care about Akechi at all, and Kobayashi was pretty boring outside of his nihilism and his girlishness. Speaking of the latter, one of the anime-isms that really bothered me was Hashiba’s (who ended up being basically pointless with regard to the story) obsession with denying his attraction toward Kobayashi. It’s the goddamn 21st century, being attracted to another person of the same sex, whether girlish or not, is not that big a deal… is something I wish anime writers would get used to. Anyway, the actual story regarding Akechi, the late Namikoshi, Kobayashi and Laplace’s Demon (title drop!) was, in my opinion, yawn-worthy. I enjoyed the episodic stories at the start of the show, but when the latter half was almost entirely dedicated to this “Dark Star Chaos Theory” thing, I could not help feeling disappointed. I don’t know if that’s because I personally don’t like stories like that or because someone in the writing department screwed up, but it just didn’t end up working, at all.