Operation Backlog Completion 2024
May 142018

After my disappointment with Layton’s Mystery Journey, I had some misgivings about the anime, but I decided to give it a try.

The anime, which has the alarmingly-long title Layton Mystery Detective Agency: Kat’s Mystery‑Solving Files and potentially 50 episodes, isn’t available in English yet, but subtitled episodes have been posted online.

(They’re currently up again, although it seems they’re occasionally taken down.)

First, the anime showed me how much names were changed for the game’s localization, usually for puns. Apparently Ernest is actually called Noah in the original version, Inspector Hastings is Inspector Aspoirot, and Aleks is Reggie. I’m especially unsure why that last one was changed.

Anyway, I watched the first five episodes of the anime, and they were much more entertaining than the game!

Layton Mystery Detective Agency: Kat’s Mystery-Solving Files seems to take place either around the same time as or after the events of the game, although it hasn’t referenced the game specifically yet to make that clear. Each of the episodes so far has been a short, standalone case, but these ones are much more interesting than the game’s harmless mysteries.

A phantom thief stealing jewels throughout London, a “diabolical dress” that possesses whoever wears it… these are the kind of mysteries I expected from the game’s premise, shorter stories that still capture the Layton tone.

Complete with absurd twists, of course!

The anime has also done something the game struggled with, and that is making Katrielle seem like a smart, competent detective. We see her investigating, the twists are much less obvious, and even though it still shows each clue as she finds it, the revelations come across more like when Professor Layton would piece together some insane mystery.

It’s had some pretty funny moments, and I might enjoy Kat and Sherl even more here than in the game. She comes across more ultra-dramatic than silly, which is great.

Now, so far the episodes have relied a lot on little nods and references to the original six games, such as the cursed dress episode being a clear shout-out to Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box. It will be interesting to see how it goes from here, but so far the anime is off to a much stronger start than the game.

Here’s hoping we see some official subtitles for the Layton anime soon.

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