Underrated anime: The Skull Man

I’ve seen very little talk about this anime, inspired by a short story by Shotaro Ishinomori, despite its obvious quality. I’ve seen five episodes so far (out of 12) and I can say I’m quite impressed by the results.

Set in Otomo, a small town which is experiencing an outburst of growth and wealth, the story tells the tale of a journalist (Hayato Mikogami) and a young photographer (Kiriko Mamiya) as they try to unveil the mystery behind the “Skeleton Man”, someone that is apparently responsible for a series of murders of famous people throughout the town. Several leads guide them to the mysterious sect called _Byakurenkai _ and to the Otomo Phamaceuticals, a large company whose previous president died in a fire under unclear circumstances. Of course they’re not the only ones investigating, as the town is filled with people with their own agendas, not to mention the Skull Man himself.

Hayato (left) arrives in Otomo

The plot has several lines and that’s what makes it interesting. So far the story seems quite complex and involves a large number of characters, all tied to the situation in different ways. Also, the direction is quite effective (I did not expect it, as Takeshi Mori’s previous works included the terrible Stratos 4) and even goes “experimental” in the opening, something that reminded me of Boogiepop wa warawanai - Boogiepop Phantom. It is more than a resemblance, since one of the screenplay writers actually worked there along with Sadayuki Murai…

It is dangerous to go around at night…

There’s a lot of dialogue, but it is not boring at all, it actually drives the viewer more and more into Otomo, a strange town full of mysteries. Also the tone of the episodes switches effectively between light hearted scenes and darker ones without many problems.

Animation wise, we are at a good level. BONES did the job quite nicely here, and we almost never see drops in the quality. The music also has a good variety and two nice songs for opening and ending.

The Skull Man is highly recommended to everyone (just don’t expect any fancy moe stuff here). The dark plot, the animation, direction and music all convey in making a superior product. I really can’t understand why it’s been ignored so far…

Dialogue & Discussion