The last time I read a volume of The Detective is Already Dead it was early 2022 and we were only at Volume 3. In that instalment of the series we met an android version of Siesta, learnt about the Twelve Tuners who keep the world safe and several other things. While it felt like the series had jumped the shark a bit, I like the characters enough to continue into Volume 4. Have things improved here? Let’s find out!
At the very end of Volume 3, our protagonist Kimihiko boldly declares that he is going to find a way to bring Siesta back to life despite the impossible odds that are stacked against him. He and Natsunagi (the inheriter of Siesta’s heart) have proved themselves worthy of carrying on Siesta’s legacy and fly to London, to retrieve important evidence that will help them put a stop to Seed (the alien species that is threatening humanity) for good.
Of course, fighting Seed isn’t something they can do alone. Both Charlie, Siesta’s former companion, and Saikawa the young idol Kimihiko and Natsunagi saved earlier in the series have parts to play in all this. They don’t accompany our duo to London, but they stay behind to train with superhuman Bat who has allegedly switched to the good side…
Waiting for Kimihiko in London isn’t just the evidence Siesta hid in their old apartment, but also one of the Twelve Turners, Oracle. She has the ability to tell the future and has helped save the world numerous times over, always watching over the world from the top of a clock tower in the city (Big Ben perhaps?). If Kimihiko is going to find a future in which Siesta lives, he’s going to need her help. But the Oracle isn’t easy to meet, so our protagonist is going to have to prove himself worthy of her receiving her help first.
Like with Volume 3 of the series, a lot is happening here. It’s not as messy or convoluted as that storyline was, but we’re still headed in a direction that a lot of readers won’t enjoy. There’s a twist at the end of this book that I think will be very controversial among the fanbase, too, which isn’t helping matters.
Putting aside the matter of Siesta, Volume 4 does a good job of tying up loose ends and bringing us closer to that final confrontation with Seed who has been pitted as the final boss since the beginning of the series. I also appreciate that author nigozyu chose to bring one of the Tuners into this book, having gone to the effort of introducing readers to the concept previously. I still think their inclusion is a step too far into the land of silly developments for a light novel that was relatively grounded in reality back in Volume 1, but at least it’s easier to come to terms with if we’re seeing more of them in action first-hand who aren’t Siesta or Charlie.
The big elephant in the room is the concept of bringing Siesta back to life. nigozyu just isn’t managing to convince me that this is a good idea. As much as Kimihiko might be heartbroken over having lost her and he believes the world is better with her in it, I just don’t buy it. And when that’s becoming such a vital part of the story, I’m understandably left with mixed feelings.
The Detective is Already Dead is so frustrating for me. It ticks so many boxes in terms of things I like in a narrative, but it muddies it with these story developments that don’t quite fit. It would be one thing if I could wholesale sit here and say the series is bad, but it isn’t. I still like the characters and enough of the bigger picture that I find myself invested enough to carry on. I just hope that as we go on, nigozyu can rein in some of these ideas and make use of what’s already here rather than throw in even more crazy antics that aren’t necessary.
The Detective is Already Dead Volume 4 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Taylor Engel. As usual, the translation reads well with no issues to note. Since my last review, the series has been renewed for a second anime season which isn’t dated yet but I would be surprised if it wasn’t set to air in 2024.
The series is currently up to 9 Volumes in Japanese with #10 scheduled for October and Yen Press has already released #5 & #6 in English. Currently, there’s no release date for #7 in the schedule, suggesting we may be in for a break now.
Overall, The Detective is Already Dead Volume 4 proves more focused than the previous instalment, but can’t shake the feeling that it’s starting to get carried away with itself. Coupled with a final reveal that’s sure to divide fans of the series, this could very well prove an exit point for many.
Our review copy from Yen Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.