Volume 2 of The Detective is Already Dead saw protagonist Kimihiko and friends Nagisa and Yui being kidnapped and shown a pre-recorded message from Siesta, urging Kimihiko and co to relive their last mission together. Now the truth behind the detective’s death is out in the open, and our cast is left to figure out what it means for their future in this third instalment of the series.
As it turns out, the kidnapper is actually an android version of Siesta, complete with a backup of her memories and personality and dressed in a maid outfit. Understandably, Kimihiko is shocked to find his former master in front of him, but this Siesta insists that she is not the person Kimihiko loved and is simply a replica built to help him and the others inherit the detective’s will.
Part of this process is having Nagisa accept her place as one of the Twelve Tuners. The Tuners exist to prevent the world from crisis and before her death, Siesta held one of the seats as the “Detective”, alongside roles such as “Assassin”, “Vampire”, “Priestess”, “Phantom Thief” and more. Now Nagisa, having inherited Siesta’s heart, must prepare herself to take her place but being one of the Tuners means putting yourself in incredibly dangerous situations, with no room for the normal life Nagisa’s gotten used to.
Of course, none of this is helped by the fact that it was Nagisa’s split personality Hal who killed Siesta in the first place. Because of this, she’s filled with the guilt of taking someone so important away from Kimihiko and doesn’t know if it’s right for her to take on the detective’s role with such sins to her name. But if she doesn’t take on the seat of a Tuner then the evil organisation SPES will be left to their own devices, since no one else has time to deal with this one crisis among countless others that threaten Earth and humanity.
While Nagisa sorts through her feelings, Kimihiko begins to think about what could be ‘wrong’ with the account of Siesta he and the others were shown. Siesta’s android version is adamant that there is an error with what they were told and it’s up to him to figure it out, but that’s easier said than done when dealing with something so steeped in the supernatural.
If that wasn’t enough, this book also explores some of Charlie’s history with Siesta and shows us how Saikawa fits into all this, given that she originally seemed like a one-off character in Volume 1. Saikawa is now almost as important as Siesta herself which is something I wasn’t expecting originally. Although I do appreciate that she has a purpose now, given how large a cast the series has, we don’t need characters that aren’t going to hold some meaning for the overall storyline.
I confess that while I still enjoyed this volume of The Detective is Already Dead there’s an overriding feeling that the author has jumped the shark. I was more or less on board with the supernatural element of the story so far but the Twelve Tuners feels like a step too far. Especially knowing how many supernatural beings are supposedly among the group and all the crises they’ve supposedly put a stop to. We’ve certainly moved away from what I liked about the series at the beginning, which was Kimihiko solving mysteries for clients.
The end of this book sets up for things to get even more ridiculous in the future and will no doubt serve as a stopping point for quite a few readers. Meanwhile, I’m conflicted because I’ve grown attached to the cast and want to see their story through to the end, but there’s no denying that the story has gotten silly. Maybe author nigozyu can bring it back now the plot we started in Volume 2 is more or less over, but I’m certainly not confident about that.
The other issue I’m having is that for a character who’s supposed to be dead, we’ve been seeing a surprising amount of Siesta. She has an important role to play but when we met Nagisa in Volume 1, I always thought she was supposed to fill Siesta’s shoes sooner than later. With Siesta turning up again (even in android form), Nagisa hasn’t had the time to get any real development.
Even in this book when it’s supposed to be about her coming to terms with taking the Tuners’ spot, Siesta and Kimihiko’s interactions overshadow everything. Kimihiko is the protagonist and this is his story, but Nagisa certainly deserves more focus than she’s been given as of late as his partner in crime. This series needs to be able to stand on its own two feet without Siesta or be forever held back by having her as a crutch to fall back on – and I say that as someone fond of the character.
The Detective is Already Dead Volume 3 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Taylor Engel. The translation reads well with no issues of note. Volume 4 of the series is scheduled for an English release in August.
Overall, Volume 3 of The Detective is Already Dead proves a flawed read with twists and turns that seem completely ridiculous. If you like the cast they’ll certainly see you through, but it’s hard to deny that the quality of the series is quickly going downhill as it rushes to cram too many ideas in. Unless Volume 4 can pick up the pieces this one may not be worth continuing much longer.