Police and Crime procedurals are a dime a dozen in North America. From Law and Order to the Closer to the thousands of other law based show’s the format is a staple of American Television.
While other countries have their own law shows i.e. The Bill or Luther for the most part they share the same pattern.
Sometimes it takes a different culture to mix the crime procedural with another genre entirely.
Wizard Barristers is anime series produced by Arms. The series was written and directed by Michiko Itou (Okami-san & Her Seven Companions) and Yasuomi Umetsu (Mezzo Forte, Kite).
The story takes place in Tokyo in the year 2018. However, in this world Wizard’s, or Wuds, inhabit the world. Despite the name these Wuds are normal people who have the ability to control elements.
As you’d expect these people can be seen as a threat to the normal people around them, so the police force create special units to deal with the Wizard’s who use their powers to hurt people.
Along with a police force the Wizards also have their own defenders called Wizard Barristers. These lawyers are responsible for defending the writes of the Wuds and upholding magical law.
The show opens with what looks like a large-scale police chase through a subway car. Once the suspect is cornered, the police (questionably) fire at him.
However, it turns out that the suspect is a wizard and uses his powers to kill the SWAT, destroy the train and much of the area around him.
The Wizard is soon stopped and arrested by two officers, one of which the Wizard hating Quinn Erari, and is soon put on trial.
Justice is quickly served and the Wizard is sentence to death by the Wizard court.
From there we’re introduced to the show’s main character Cecile Sudo, a 17-year-old half Canadian Wizard(from the fictional Blueforest, Ontario). While she’s young she’s extremely intelligent and is the youngest person to become a Barrister and was promptly hired by the Butterfly Law Offices.
As you’d expect from an anime character she’s late for her first day of work and is made even tardier when she stops at a bank robbery scene to find a Wizard to represent.
Once she makes to the Butterfly offices we’re introduced to the rest of the law team run by Ageha.
Cecil is put in charge of the bank robbery case and is supervised by Koromo one of the firms associates.
Koromo soon finds out just how smart Cecil is as she soon gets to the bottom of the case and figure’s out that her client is innocent.
However, before they can file the paperwork, two random Wizards wanting their money attack them both. Cecil soon chases them away by creating a metal monster.
However, the two attackers were seemingly pawns for someone looking to find out just how powerful Cecil truly is.
The episode them ends with the two seemingly being arrested for using magic in public.
Take one look at the art design of Wizard Barristers and it’s clear that this is a show created by Yasuomi Umetsu, as most of the character designs are extremely similar to his other works.
His characters generally have similar facial features, namely the round face shared by most of his female characters.
The show’s main character Cecil shares more than a small resemblance to Sawa (Kite) and the two leads from Mezzo Forte.
While this isn’t always a terrible thing, I always seem to harp on Kyoto Animation for doing the same thing so it should be noted here.
Aside from the round faces, the character design in Wizard Barristers are interesting to say the least.
Each character has their own fashion style that ranges from the conservatively dress Tsunomi to the ridiculously hair dressed Seseri who’s hair makes him look like a cross between a human and a monster from a Half Life game (his hair looks like a blue head crab).
Moving past the over the top fashion choices the show’s animation is very fluid with the movements of the characters looking fairly realistic.
The show’s spell casting allows the animators to show off just how colourful and crazy the show can get as each blast of fire or summoning of a metal giant looks sharp and loud (as in colourful).
Additionally the show uses a great deal of dramatic camera angles for its fight scenes.
The show’s opening action scene features long sweeping action shots that make give the action more of a kick at times.
Following the growing trend in modern anime, the show also uses 3D animation for some of the more difficult visuals effects, mostly the giant creatures that are created by the Wizards at will.
The animation is used sparingly but there is one shot were both the styles clash is a horrifyingly dramatic fashion.
Music wise, the show is a bit all over the place.
The show’s opening and closing themes are traditional light fluffy J-Pop but some of the music used during the action scenes mix a number of musical styles and are a lot more engaging. So far the soundtrack has more depth than the opening themes, but only time will tell weather or not it stays that way.
In the end there’s a lot to like about Wizard Barristers. It has an interesting setting, great animation and strong heritage.
While the fashion and music is a bit off putting, the show is awesome due to three words: Wizard Crime Procedural.
The show has a great concept that’ll win it points for originality. I really want to see what they’ll do with this concept.
Wizard Barristers was produced by Arms. The series is currently being Simulcast on Crunchyroll’s website.