Wizard Barristers Is a Great Procedural, But Just Okay for Anime

Procedural as a genre is a little less vague than slice-of-life as a genre, I concede, but I think Wizard Barrister is a pretty solid example of a procedural.

Cecil & naughty frog?

The one biggest issue about procedural as a general category is that it’s too “monster of the week.” I think this is actually one of the biggest problem that anime and manga narratives have overcome since the early ’00s. A good procedurals doesn’t mess with that stuff. In that sense Wizard Barristers go the other end–it doesn’t mess with that stuff (much), but at the same time it feels very much not-quite-a-procedural. Far majority of the episodic plot lines follow the “incident-investigation-trial” pattern to discount Wizard Barrister on a technical level, but you have people complaining that it doesn’t? Except it’s totally like that. Even the finale … is just like that.

So we have a procedural that is by the book, but it feels like a bunch of giggling school girls talking on a school trip. In this sense, Wizard Barristers play with another little often-seen complaint about anime characters not being adults. Except they act like not-adults?

I mean, yeah, what a great representation of adults in a professional environment! Or I should say, all the fun stuff people like about procedural shows, where is it in Wizard Barristers?

Speaking as someone who is interested in the actual procedures of criminal prosecution in this context, I have mixed feelings about the show, to say the least. But let me just say this: most, far most, people do not have any kind of a clue or interest in that, so maybe I come out ahead on Wizard Barristers because I actually do have some interests in the more arcane, and how different elements in the show try to evoke those details.

Today’s audience is pretty demanding, lacking of a better phrase, in terms of what they want out of a procedural. So in that sense there’s little you can do for a procedural as anime. I mean, what, Witch Hunter Robin and Conan are really the two shining examples of this genre, and neither are really all that great for what it’s worth in this context. It’s definitely a gap–the question is just that if this gap is too small to bother to fill.

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