Are these side-stories of Toru Amuro worth the watch?
Generally, I’ve been an on and off avid fan of Detective Conan for about 2 decades now. For the amount of canon episodes and the same formula the show’s produced, it has definitely waned heavily on me as I grow into my grey hairs and stressing over the show not looking like it will end anytime soon. Going into this little spin-off, I hoping to get to see something else compelling, similar to what Kaito Kid does in Magic Kaito 1412.
Slice of Zero’s Life
If you’re sick of Detective Conan’s same formula and seeing that only half of the episodes are canon each year, Zero’s Tea Time gives the audience a slice of something different. What’s different is insight into one of the central and most interesting characters of the Detective Conan universe, Toru Amuro. He might be in the most compelling predicament of all the Detective Conan characters. He’s an undercover Japanese policeman, works part-time at a coffee shop under Kogoro Mouri’s Detective office and plays bad guy for the secret “Black Organization.”
Somehow, he’s been able to finesse and balance his life between all of these life threatening scenarios. There’s also so many questions surrounding how he got himself into this predicament in the first place, making it a compelling watch to get to see what Zero’s life is really like. This series gives us a small glimpse into that crazy world where he has to play multiple roles.
Not For Non-Detective Conan Fans
Can you somehow enjoy this mini-series if you’re dry of any Case Closed knowledge? Probably not. These episodes are barely 15 minutes long and the first episode is really slow. When you say this is a slice-of-life series, it’s categorically displayed as a slice of life episode. If you like Toru Amuro a.k.a. Rei Furuya a.k.a. Zero a.k.a. Bourbon, you’ll definitely like this series showcasing all the positive aspects to the character.
What’s great about Detective Conan is it’s deeply rich cast of characters. While I don’t think Toru Amuro will be able to carry his own show like Kaito Kid did, it’s nice to see a little but of slice of life content into a very important and strong character. He has to put on several faces and hats, but not in the way like Kaito Kid. He has to balance between being the good and bad guy—the ultimate double agent. He’s part of the Japanese “National Police Agency Security Bureau,” so there’s a nationalistic pride to propping up this character. His character closely resembles his FBI counterpart, Shuichi Akai, but without still being a double agent and playing for the home team of Japan.
Downside to Zero?
What I actually don’t like as much is Zero’s relationship with Yuya Kazami. It comes off as condescending, which by nature of their relationship of boss and underling can come off that way. In this case, there just seems to be a couple notches down the hatch of Yuya being a bit too dumb. The admiration and hard work that Yuya shows is to be commended for the Zero’s kouhai. I just think it portrays Yuya as someone slightly competent, while making Zero look like the pompous know-it-all. There just seems to be too many displays of Zero being this perfect guy that literally does it all.
There’s also these random aspects to Zero that makes him that much more relatable and kind. I used the word “random” because apparently he has time to teach kids how to ride a bike like in episode 4. Once in a while, the story will remind us of Zero’s motivations of this all. His dislike for Shuichi Akai and his traumatized guilt for not being able to save his friend. When the show leans into his backstory and his vulnerabilities, that’s where Zero shines the best. Relating to Zero and figuring out his whole backstory is the most captivating part of this character. The mystery is always the best.
This little spinoff shows his daily activities at Cafe Poirot. There’s a ton of interaction we get to see with his coworker Azusa Enomoto. We get to see some of his interactions with Vermouth. If you’re needing some action, Zero helps take down multiple bad guys, whether it’s using his physical traits, display of coolness with action packed chase scenes or purely with his wit & deduction ability. By episode 5, there’s an unexpected encounter with a certain rival that definitely gave me a nice chuckle. There maybe even a new adoring character that may make your heart feel warm.
Missing Out on Bourbon..
Honestly, Zero as “Bourbon” has to be one of “the” compelling parts of Zero. As much as the anime teased us Vermouth’s goods, they teased us Zero just having random conversations and dinner with her. I think I speak for us all when I say, “they should have showed us one of his tasks as part of the Black Organization.” If you were hoping to see more of this duo in action, welp.. the picture below represents that.
In the end, this little mini series is exactly what it’s intended to be. If you’re looking to see something different with a change of pace from the Detective Conan series, this spinoff series with Rei Furuya as the main protagonist is a breath of fresh air.
If I had to give this spinoff anime series a score it’d be 6.2/10. Part of the lower score is partially because of the likeability of Amuro and some of the not-so-interesting stories the creator came up with. There are some nice heart-warming moments and maybe one big highlight out of all the episodes. In reality, we watch these kind of spinoffs because we get to see characters we like have more screen time and have more interactions with other side characters. In the end, that’s what you get with Zero’s Tea Time.