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Sanami Mato's original manga is a Lethal Weapon pastiche about fey New York cop Ryo being forced to partner up with Dee, a streetwise macho detective who wants to bed him. For this anime teaser to drag in new readers, Dee and Ryo are packed off to a British country hotel where guests are being murdered, and the supporting cast of the original manga drop by when they're least needed. While Dee's trying to seduce Ryo and idly mulling over the details of unsolved local killings, their teenage sidekicks serve little purpose except to play happy families with Ryo and Dee as mommy and daddy. The children turn what could have been a queer case of Agatha Christie into a pointless holiday farce, with much swapping of rooms and indoor roller-blading-because it's raining outside.

Ryo and Dee are the world's worst detectives, for whom solving a case involves gossiping for a while and waiting for the criminals to reveal themselves. Faced with a murder case that the real police would solve in roughly ten seconds, Fake throws in more cameos from the manga to pad out its running time, including the detectives' future boss, Berkley Rose, and Dee's unrequited admirer, JJ, who waste a few more minutes with comedy business before the script reluctantly returns to the murders at hand.

Fake often walks an uneasy line between comedy and tragedy. A bit of cop-on-cop banter fits fine with mayhem and chaos, but not when people are watching their friends die from multiple stab wounds. As one might expect from a story with its pedigree, it ultimately has too many characters and too little time, making the murder mystery unengaging and turning an original romantic farce into humdrum formula. Far from breaking new ground in gay characterization, Ryo is simply a man playing a stereotypical female role; he gets to be an intuitive sidekick, a maternal figure, an unattainable romantic prize, and, as the show rushes to an insane conclusion, even a damsel in distress.

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Dee Laytner ( x ) ( x ) ( x )

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Original US Poster Art

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Name: Fake
Release Date: Jan. 1, 1996
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Rating: None
Runtime: 60 (mins)
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