Back when I first entered the yaoi anime fandom in the early 2000’s Yami no Matsuei was one of the few boys love anime that was a full series and I found myself watching it not long after I finished watching Gravitation. I was looking for something else within this genre to watch that wasn’t just a one or two off OVA. Back then this anime had quite a large following within the fujoshi community, one character, in particular, had a large following. That being the bad guy of the series Dr. Muraki. I bring this up because I find myself wondering something. In this current age of fujoshi and anime, would fans latch onto this character now like they did back then? Well if the continued rising popularity of stories like Killing Stalking in the fandom is anything to go by, I believe that answer is yes.
Released in 2000 and produced by studio J.C Staff Yami no Matsuei is a boys love anime with a heavy focus on the mystery and supernatural. In the world of this anime series shinigami monitor, the deaths of humans in the living plain and the series follows happily go lucky Asato Tsuzuki and his mysterious new partner Kursaki Hisoka. The anime is divided into four arcs which each encompass a case the two are investigating but as these investigations go on it becomes clear that there is something else going on behind the scenes and that something else is connected to the mysterious Dr. Kazutaka Muraki, who has a strange obsession with Tsuzuki. As more of his madness is revealed the series dives into the darker themes, which I suppose explains the English title for the series Descendants of Darkness. The series does balance these themes with comedy that will make you smile and endear you to the cast, though there are a few moments where the comedic tone change can feel a little out of place and just makes you feel sad.
One of the biggest pluses of this series is its characters. The main cast of Dr. Muraki, Tsuzuki, and Hisoka get plenty of screen time to really explore their characters and they all get some very interesting development as the story moves forward. One complaint I have seen from many who have read the manga that this series is based on is that many of the characters pushed to the background had a more major part in the story found within the manga. As for myself? I like to believe an adaptation can stand on its own as a piece of media without a need to know the source material and this can mean that an adaptation cannot be exactly the same as the source material. Because what works in one medium might not work in different on. When I first watched this series I had not yet read the manga and was able to enjoy the anime series on its own merit. Some of the subtle symbolism in the manga series is lost in the anime, but you don’t need to get it to enjoy the story the anime shares.
Though at its core a play on the comedy cop drama type of story, Yami no Matsuei brings a supernatural twist. If you are looking for anime series with similar themes but a different story Mirage of Blaze is a boys love anime with a touch of mystery and the supernatural and if you are looking for a cop drama in the boys love genre with a very very small hint of supernatural there is also the OVA for Fake.
Till next Time Mistress of Yaoi says, love, what you love and don’t be ashamed of it!